A regular saying in sports is to “get your head in the game.” This only works when you’ve already gone through the mental training it takes to be a high performance athlete. But unfortunately most of us are just regular Joe’s working our 9 to 5’s trying to lose a couple pounds. Which is why I constantly have to tell ALL my clients to: GET OUT OF YOUR HEAD! And it’s probably the hardest thing to do.
Our minds and the words they form are powerful!
As soon as you say you can’t do one more push-up, your body accepts that as the gospel truth, and you probably won’t be able to do it. I encourage my clients to let their bodies tell them what it can do. This is why people hire personal trainers. In addition to our overall exercise knowledge, they need us to push and motivate them because their mind isn’t strong enough yet.
In our society we mentally train both men and women to be insecure, especially when it comes to our bodies. Traditionally men were “supposed” to be big and strong so they can provide for and protect women, which doesn’t make sense anymore. And women are supposed to be thin and delicate, so we can look pretty and keep men’s attention. Which is simply ridiculous.
In any case, how are you going to be happy or make someone else happy when you’re HUNGRY cause you’re on some crazy crash diet, trying to fit into a size 2??
We are all trying to fit into ideals of what we should be when we need to start working with what we have. As I touched on, in March’s post: BMI Inaccurate for People of Colour; the first step is mental. Getting your mind right and focused is key.
From January – March 2013 I was at the lowest point emotionally that I had ever been. I had given up. I went to work Monday to Friday just going through the motions. I didn’t talk to anyone and I ate lunch alone. I cried at my desk, in the bathroom and in my car. When I was home, I didn’t answer my phone, curled up on the couch with a bottle of wine, and ordered some take out. I ate, drank and cried until it was time to go to sleep. I was tired of it all. I also did A LOT of thinking, which is why I was crying. Facing your mistakes, your anger and your fears is hard but it is cleansing. And then one day I was clean and refreshed. I wasn’t 100% cured from my depression but I did make a decision.
Make a Promise to yourself and keep it!
My first decision was to lose 15lbs. I worked out 6 days a week, and changed my eating habits completely. I prepared all my meals and snacks so I would always be ready. I got on a supplement plan to boost my body's deficiencies and knocked those pounds off in about 6 weeks. Without even noticing it, my mood was boosted, I had amazing energy, my work improved, and I was motivated to make a new goal.
In April 2013, I set my next goal to lose 5 more lbs of fat and then put on as much muscle as possible. That took almost a year. In March 2014 I finally reached my goal, down 20lbs of fat and up 10lbs of muscle. I'm looking and feeling great, because I accepted my body. I had always wanted a smaller waist, but my natural shape and genetics made it impossible. My waist is a 31; the smallest it will go unless I start removing organs (not an option!) and I learned to love myself at my best. It took a full year to lose the weight, and build my mental and physical strength.
It wasn’t easy, but it was worth it.
Make a promise to yourself and keep it, set the example and make it a habit for all your daily activities. We tend to keep promises to everyone but ourselves. It is extremely Canadian to always be apologizing because we want to be seen as kind. Well it’s time to start being kind to ourselves.
Figure out what YOU want FOR YOU!
Not what others tell you. It is what would actually make you happier. If you lost 20lbs, would you feel better about yourself? If you could run up the subway stairs without a break or passing out, would that be an important accomplishment? If you could bench press or squat your weight, would you feel stronger? If you could eat a meal without feeling bloated or needing a nap, would that change your life?
I did one extra chin-up today then I could do last week. And I still get excited and feel proud of myself and more importantly allow myself to be happy for me. It’s not vain, its not self-indulgent, it is necessary for growth. I had convinced myself that mountain climbers were impossible, until I committed myself to conquering them by mentally making the commitment. I physically built up my shoulder and core strength so that now I can add ankle weights and perform them one legged.
When my clients ask me why I change their workouts every time they see me, I explain to them, “to inspire growth”. If you keep doing the same thing over and over you’ll get the same result. If you have to constantly adjust your mind and your body to new exercises, both will adjust. It’s just a small step in opening yourself to new ideas. But it will take hard work, dedication, time and patience.
And so I twist KRS One’s lyric to say:
“Your body will look soooo good when your brain is ready… Let’s goooo!!!”