“You workout… you can eat what you want”

“You workout… you can eat what you want”

Have any of you heard this line before? My boss brought in a bunch of Girl Scout cookies into the office last week and I politely declined saying I wasn’t hungry and I had hit a sweets quota over the weekend when I worked at a chocolate fundraising event. His response? “Monique, you work out all the time. You can eat a cookie… or 5… and be fine.” Well, he’s probably right, but does that make it ok? Does the fact that I workout mean that I can eat what I want and not have to worry? Well, no. It doesn’t.

I’ve heard that 90% of how you look is what you eat. It’s what you put into your body. What you’re fueling yourself with. If your diet is made up of constant pizza, ice cream, cheese burgers and French fries, you’re going to have to work out a lot longer than a few hours a day to try and counteract that, right? And, if that is your diet on a consistent basis, do you think you’ll have the energy and motivation to get to the gym to “work it off”? Probably not. I know when I have off days with eating where I find myself eating greasy food, chips and sweets, it brings my mood down, makes me cranky and also makes me lethargic. On the other hand, when I have a day where I fuel myself properly with fruits, veggies, yogurt, nuts, etc., my energy is usually cranking and I want to get to the gym to keep the healthy feeling going. When I look and feel good because of what I’ve eaten and what I’ve been doing at the gym, it serves as motivation to keep doing those things.



But this doesn’t always happen and sometimes we all fall off the wagon, right? It may just be a day or a few days, and while those aren’t going to throw away all of the hard work you’ve done to look and feel good (just like eating a cookie), it’s important to get yourself back on track to where you’re eating foods that make you feel good.IMG_5652

The point is, I workout hard and often because I love it and because I like to look and feel my best. I realize that having a cookie isn’t going to throw all of my hard work away, but the mind frame of “I workout so I can eat what I want”, could throw it away over time, or not give you the results you’re looking for after spending day after day at the gym (side note: my friend, Mary, wrote an awesome guest post on Athena’s blog talking about her “Journey to Fit” and when she had her “ah ha” moment about not being able to out-exercise her diet, she started to see the changes she wanted. It’s definitely worth a read if you haven’t read it yet). If you’re making the time to get to the gym with the goal to get stronger, leaner and more toned, you really need to commit to that and fuel your body to help foster that change.

Here are some ways I fuel my body to help make me look and feel good, as well as prepare me for my workouts:

  • Eat lots of veggies- I bring a salad for lunch at work every day, making sure to load it up with veggies, spinach, protein (chicken or turkey or eggs), healthy fats (avocado or nuts) and dairy (cheese). I also make sure my dinners have loads of veggies in them.
  • Eat lots of fruit- I have a banana, apple and berries on a daily basis. To go with my salad for lunch at work, I have a Greek yogurt with berries and chia seeds. This lunch helps keep me satisfied for at least a few hours.


  • Eat healthy fats- I always have almonds with me for a snack, as well as almond butter and/or peanut butter. I also try to eat avocados whenever I can.
  • Dairy- I know there’s a lot of debate on whether or not we need dairy in our diets, but since I don’t have any issues with it, I enjoy that piece of my diet. I love cereal and have it almost daily. I recently made the switch to 1% milk instead of Skim and it’s such a difference… for the better!
  • Protein! Since I’m at the gym so much, I really need to make sure I’m eating enough protein to support my growing muscles. I’ve contemplated adding a protein powder into my diet, but haven’t made that jump yet. For now, I’m making sure I eat plenty of nut butters, lean chicken or other meats, eggs, etc.


With that said, I’m not strict with my diet and I have cheat days, too. I don’t restrict anything from my diet, but I am trying to cut back on sweets. I was good over the summer, but over the past 3-4 months, my sweet tooth has been out of control, which is part of the reason why I turned down the cookie. It was 10am and the last thing I needed to do was crank up my sweet tooth at that time of the day. I’ll never cut out sweets entirely because I love them too much, but cutting back and getting rid of the cravings is my goal over the next few months.

So, I want to hear from you! Do people give you a hard time when you turn down an indulgence (sweets, chips, fried food, etc.)? How do you handle that? How do you fuel your body for your workouts and day to day activities? What’s one piece of your diet that you swear by the most? What’s your biggest weakness- sweets or savory foods? Any tips you want to share that help you stay on track with your eating and workouts?

**Side note… when I say “diet”, I mean what you eat on a daily basis and things you try to incorporate or leave out. I don’t mean a “diet” where you’re counting calories or points or restricting yourself or anything like that. I don’t believe in those types of diets because I think if you eat REAL foods (staying away from over-processed snacks, meals, etc.), 80-90% of the time, you deserve to have 10-20% of your diet to be a little less structured (I stay on track all week, but on the weekends, if I want a beer with lunch or French fries with my sandwich instead of a salad… I do it. We all deserve to indulge a little, otherwise we’ll end up binging in the long run.).


13 thoughts on ““You workout… you can eat what you want”

  1. Jen Ryder says:

    I did get alot of slack when I wasn’t drinking for the first 6 weeks of this year. Same mantra- “you can have just one and be ok”. But the purpose for me was cutting out all alcohol for that time period. I also get the cake/cookie thing alot too- especially at work. I think of fueling my body now as fueling my car- I wouldn’t put oil into my car to fuel it, just what makes it run right. I only fuel my body with what makes ME run good- veggies, fruit, good carbs, etc.

  2. Kim says:

    Not gonna lie, when I was younger, that was totally my thought about myself – I ran XX miles and could eat whatever I wanted. Then I started getting older (and older….) and that didn’t work so I made changes!!! Most people that know me are surprised when they learn how very much I love French Fries and potato chips!! (I just don’t eat them as often as I want them because I don’t like to negate all my hard work.)

    • Burpees to Bubbly says:

      It’s funny how much our bodies change as we get older, huh? I’m a sucker for French fries, too, but since I love sweet potato fries so much, I try to eat those (not that they are really THAT much better). Self control is a great thing, as is knowing your limits and what works for you!

  3. Fiona MacDonald says:

    OH man I hear this ALL the time, and especially when I’ve fallen off the wagon and I”m trying to get back on, people always seem to want you to be in their ‘if she’s eating it, I can eat it’ mentality. It’s such a hard balance because eating well makes you feel well but then once you indulge too much, you feel all your hard work go to the way-side. I just try to keep thinking, “I’m eating the way I’m eating for ME, and NOT for anyone else.’ This helps me feel less bad for turning down sweet treats or hurting anyone’s feelings.

    • Burpees to Bubbly says:

      You’re so right, Fiona. The people giving a hard time are often the ones that should be taking a page out of your book! They don’t want to feel badly about what they’re eating so they want everyone else to eat it too so they aren’t alone. Eating the way you eat for YOU is huge- and you should never feel bad about turning down sweets. The balance can definitely be hard, though. Keep it up!

  4. Kaylin says:

    Great post and thoughts! I hate that guilty feeling from coworkers as well when you are trying to be good for your own personal goals. Don’t get me wrong, I love to indulge when I want to, but we shouldn’t get guilted into things for being good when we want to.

    I also read an interesting article recently that another blogger posted about why we shouldn’t freak out when we over-indulge on the weekend. Thought it was interesting and helped me to not get down on myself so much when I overindulge on the weekends!

    • Burpees to Bubbly says:

      I totally agree, Kaylin. I’m all about indulgences (in moderation), but when I don’t want to have a cookie at 10am, I shouldn’t be ridiculed for it. Thanks for sending that link- super interesting and a great reminder to let go of a bad eating weekend. I totally agree that I feel great during the week, but enjoy the “relaxed” aspect of eating and schedules on the weekend. I actually follow Elle, blog author of Nutrionella- too funny!!

  5. Athena @ Fitness & Feta says:

    As you know, I get this all the time. I had a whole fiasco with a co-worker over a cookie tin once! I politely declined the holiday cookie and got an “of course not” as a response. Um, ok? What if it were the other way around and I said “oh, of course” every time someone who DOESN’T take care of themselves purchased a sausage breakfast every morning? It’s such a double standard (something I’ve had a draft blog post on for a loooooong time), and I can’t stand it! That being said, I definitely pay more attention to what I’m putting in my body now than I did even four years ago, but the way I feel makes a world of a difference!

    • Burpees to Bubbly says:

      “of course not”- that is so rude. I agree with the double standard, as we’ve discussed before. It’s like people have no problems pointing out disorders of thin people, but no one would ever say that to an overweight person. The people who give attitude towards other’s eating habits are generally doing it out of jealousy or to try and rationalize their own diet. Very frustrating for sure!

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