“Food isn’t bad and exercise isn’t punishment.”

Triple threat. Hat trick. Monica, Rachel, and Phoebe.

We’ve all heard that bad things come in threes – but how about all the good things that come in threes.

A few weeks ago, I dug into the topic of trying to define healthy vs. unhealthy food. The conclusion: there is no one-size-fits-all label for a food to be healthy or unhealthy. Inclusivity wins. So eat all the food! In moderation, of course, blah blah blah.


My favorite lunch after my favorite activity with my favorite guy

A few days ago, I was watching a presentation from a wellness company and I got annoyed. Why? More than once, the presenter did something that’s one of my biggest health and fitness pet peeves. She talked about how to figure out what it takes to burn off certain foods.

Basically, she implied that food is bad and exercise is punishment, and if you want to eat a certain food, you should feel badly enough about that decision to be prepared to burn it off.

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, and I’ll say it forever. Food isn’t bad. Exercise isn’t punishment.

Please PLEASE let’s stop equating a donut to how many miles we “have to” run to burn it off. Flip side, let’s stop equating exercise to how much we “get to” eat because we burned calories. Not only is this flawed because counting calories and calories burned is a very imperfect science and both counts are likely inaccurate, it speaks to exactly what is wrong with the way most people view food and exercise.

So, in case it’s not clear: Food isn’t bad. Exercise isn’t punishment. Mkay, are we good on that?

Now back to the good. Food is one of the best parts of life. And when I go back to the idea of “good things come in threes,” food is no exception. There are three key ways that food makes our lives better.

Food Fuels Our Bodies
Whether your goal is to take the stairs every day, play with your kids, or run a marathon, you need energy. What’s one of our primary sources of energy? Food. Food fuels our bodies to do ordinary and extraordinary things.

At it’s very basic, the body burns calories just by being. It needs fuel to replace that lost energy and keep going. Add to that sleep, chores, caring for a family, and exercise, and it needs even more fuel. We NEED to eat; food is a necessity, not a source of shame.


Great-grandfather/grandson time at Zorbaz. With pizza.

Food Fuels Our Minds
Awhile back, I accidentally skipped breakfast a few times. And it didn’t bode well for me, particularly at work.

What happens when you skip breakfast? Well, for me, lack of food hurt my focus and quality of work. Just as quality foods are crucial for babies to develop and grow their brains, food is crucial for us to be on top of our mental game.

Food Fuels Our Happiness
Family dinner. Lunch with a friend. A weekend birthday party – with cake. We come together and enjoy food together in many ways. Imagine a life without the social engagements built around sharing a meal or treat. How sad!

Not only that, we should enjoy food, period. It brings me happiness to eat waffles every morning. I enjoy my lunch salad with tater tots and a couple Reese’s to wash it down. If you have similar happy feelings for you food, that’s great. We need to eat so let’s not feel guilty over it – let’s enjoy it.

Before I go, one more time, in case anyone missed the message: Food isn’t bad. Exercise isn’t punishment.

What’s your favorite part about food – fueling your body, mind, or happiness? The comments are your space to share thoughts so please do so. Or, connect with me on Twitter @LindsayIRL.


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