How the Earn & Burn Mentality sucks the fun out of life

When was the last time you felt the need to burn off that extra slice of 4-cheese pizza you had?  Or you ran an extra 5 miles on the treadmill because you’re planning to go out for dinner tonight with friends?

I’ve done it, and you probably have too.

This is what I call the Earn and Burn Mentality, a by-product of our diet-obsessed culture.

If you don’t know what I mean, the evidence is in the headlines lurking in the corners of the internet:

“Make Your Body Earn/Burn What It Eats”

“Earn Your Dessert By Burning Off the Calories With These 7 Exercises”

“10 Junk Foods and The Exercises You Need to Burn Them Off”

Articles like these talk about food and exercise in terms of burpee equivalents (the number of burpees one must suffer through to burn off your favorite food) and hours you’ll need to spend on the treadmill to undo the damage of Thanksgiving dinner.

Guess what? It’s all bullshit.

Food does not have to be earned. You are not a dog performing tricks for treats.

This Earn and Burn Mentality has been perpetuated for so long that it seems perfectly normal to talk about food and fitness this way.

But it’s not normal and here’s why: when you continue to think of food in terms of exercise required to burn it off, you can’t fully enjoy the food or the exercise. 

Ask yourself: Do I want to live the rest of my life like this?

NOTE: There's a difference between normal calorie-counting determine if you’re eating too little or too much for the energy you expend everyday (which can be  good thing) and The Earn and Burn Mentality.

The difference is the heaping spoonful of GUILT that comes on the side.

To lessen your post-cheeseburger food guilt, you spend an extra hour huffing and puffing away on the elliptical to burn as many calories as possible.

Not only is earning and burning not necessary, it’s not sustainable. It takes up a lot of time, energy, and headspace. I know this from years of experience and you probably know it too.

This way of thinking is running rampant and it needs to be stopped because there’s more to life than doing damage control for the cheesecake you had last night.

I stopped playing this crazy game a long time ago because it was exhausting and I always ended up feeling like a loser.

The good news is that you can stop playing it too.

Now it's your turn: when was the last time you felt like you had to earn your food? Tell me in the comments below.