The Mental Game


I’ve written before about my head lagging behind my body. The mind is not to be underestimated. It has more to do with this health and fitness thing that you think until you’re in the trenches. Whelp, three years in the trenches and I’m being reminded again and again. In the last few months, I’m noticing quite often that it’s only my mind that likes junk food, only my mind that gives up the run halfway through and walks the rest of the way home.

A few weeks ago, I was running a route that I know is 5.5 miles. About 2 miles from home, I thought ‘eh I’m done with this, I’ll just walk the rest of the way home’. And then this smacked me upside the head, seriously I heard the words loud and clear ‘You are only cheating yourself’. I know that I can run 5.5 miles. There is no reason for me to walk any of that. It wasn’t a bad day, the weather was great, I felt great, and I was thoroughly enjoying my workout. No one would have cared if I walked the rest of the way home, but I’ve got goals and I want to build speed and endurance and I planned 5.5 miles. Walking home was not the answer. So I kept running and don’t you know? I made it. I thought I’d wimp out and just phone it in and I decided not to give in and I was happy I didn’t. It got me thinking about how many times I’ve given less than all of my effort. If I put all of those times together, where might I be?

I’ve made a few poor food choices recently too that were all in my mind. I’ve gotten the fries and regretted it. It seemed like a good idea but in reality I actually like the salad better. I don’t leave the restaurant feeling stuffed and miserable. We went to a burger joint a few weekends ago that we go to from time and I typically order the chicken instead of beef, on lettuce instead of a bun, with salad instead of fries. I eat one or two of Dan’s fries and I leave feeling happy and physically good rather than thinking I need to be rolled to the car. This time, for some reason I decided all of my special requests were too much work and I deserved to just order whatever. Well, suffice it to say that as we walked to the car, I asked Dan to remind me of that night next time I said I was getting the beef burger, on a roll,

with fries. I can pretty honestly say that these days when I make a poor food choice, it’s rarely out of actual hunger. It just seems like a good idea in my mind. I’ve been through enough trial and error than I know my body and what foods make it happy and what doesn’t. For some reason though, sometimes my head tells me the unhappy foods won’t be unhappy this time.

I know the headspace is a constant battle, it always will be, but to me knowing the mind is to be carefully monitored is the first half of the battle. There will always be slip ups but I’m recommitting to doing what I know works, eating the foods that I know make me feel good, doing the workouts I know my body can handle. That’s not to say there will never be a food splurge but it shouldn’t leave me feeling rotten and that’s not to say there will never be a halfway workout but that should be reserved for when it’s just not my day, not used just because.

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