Brain Food: You don’t have to accept the messages that are fed to you.

Target sells some really cool graphic tees (my KALE jersey style shirt is one of my favorites), but there was one a few years ago that was particularly un-cool, and I used to want it bad. I begged my mom to get it for me and she did-not knowing I had an obsession with exercise and did it for the wrong reasons.

The shirt said “Excuses don’t burn calories.” While the statement is technically true, I now find this message to be quite negative and it puts an unhealthy twist on exercise.

Wait, exercise can be unhealthy? You bet.

Physical activity should be fun and done out of love for your body, mind, and soul.

When I used to have a horrible body image, a bad relationship with food, and was addicted to exercising, I would have this message replaying in my head, and it was quotes like this that were my “motivation.” While I’m sure this message is harmless to some and was just meant to be a quirky, funny saying, it can send out the wrong idea.

I see how it could be motivating to some, but I will point out that working out isn’t everything. It shouldn’t take over your life. I challenge you to look deep within and ask yourself why you really choose to workout.

Are you doing it because you want to burn calories or because you love the way it makes you feel and how energizing and therapeutic it is? This quote made me feel like burning calories and looking slim is all I should be thinking about.

I believe this quote reinforces the idea that so many people follow: you need to work out to burn off the calories from the food you eat.

That is so wrong and couldn’t be further from the truth. You deserve to eat always! It doesn’t matter if you worked out or not.

You were put on this earth for more than just weight loss.

You should workout to feel good, release endorphins, challenge yourself, think more clearly, and to have fun. There are so many other benefits to exercise than the way it can alter your physical body.

Life is easier and more enjoyable when you are choosing to live from a place of love instead of fear.

This message has fear behind it. You shouldn’t work out because you fear gaining weight and holding onto those calories, but because you love and appreciate your body for all it can do.

By all means, keep exercising to stay healthy and feel good, but be aware of the kinds of things you say.Are you someone who eats a piece of chocolate cake and then immediately says or thinks “I have to go burn this off” or “Now I feel like crap because I didn’t work out today”?

This shirt is just a minor example of all the messages that are out there that could lead to negative mindsets in vulnerable minds. Everyone has probably been affected by the media in one way or another. Social media is not real life though, and you don’t have to listen to and believe the messages that are advertised everywhere we look.

I’m happy to say that I got rid of the shirt because of its negative reminder.

I now surround myself with positive and uplifting Instagram accounts, podcasts, blogs, and books that promote self-love, body positivity, individuality, true health, and love! I recommend you do the same; it makes a world of a difference.