Thursday, November 19, 2015

It's a Battle...a Fight to the Death!

You can't be involved in working out or fitness or health...wait, let me revise where I'm headed with this. You can't be ALIVE and not see all the time about the importance of mental toughness. You know, it starts early with trite sayings like "When the going gets tough, the tough get going." or "Life is tough, but you're tougher." They are endless!! And there's a reason for that.

The reason is because having the ability to be mentally tough is so important!! Seriously, there's much in life you simply can't do without it. And the thing is that you might be super mentally tough in one arena of life, but be super mentally weak in another one. For example, when it comes to being a Mom, I've always prided myself on being able to hold it together even through the super stressful things like injuries or illnesses. Where one parent might pass out at the sight of blood, I can stand stoic and calm. But where I struggle constantly? Mental toughness in my diet and exercise.

I know what I want and I'm willing to fight for it...right up until it gets hard. And then the hamster wheel of doubt starts to kick in, or the wheel of excuses starts spinning, and my brain all of a sudden starts believing what it is being told. That I'm "too tired and need a break" or that "one piece of candy won't kill me" or "I've been sick, I need to take it easy" or "what's the difference, you're never going to hit your PR goal's already lost". Honestly, the list of doubts and excuses could go on for days because they are always changing, and yet always staying the same.

When most athletes are asked what their key to success is, it almost always comes down to mental toughness. The ability to push through the wall and keep going. Kara Goucher has bravely shared that she struggles with this same issue - the mental game. Some athletes are able to run for hours through a desert, while others crumble under much lesser circumstances. It would almost seem like mental toughness, especially when it comes to exercise performance, is something that you're either born with or you aren't. Maybe you're born with it, maybe it's Maybelline? If only there was a mascara you could apply that gives you the ability to increase mental toughness by 25%! The star athletes have it - that combination of natural talent and mental toughness to push through. You can't be a star athlete without some combination of both of those things.

But I'm not a star athlete and am not trying to be one. I am just an average person that has dreams and desires - things that are going to take FIGHTING FOR to achieve them and yet I stumble when it comes to the mental aspect. I succumb to the fatigue in my head that tells me that my legs are giving out. I succumb to the fatigue in my brain that says that I deserve to eat something I want. I succumb to the things that take me further away from goal instead of closer to it. Now, not all the time mind you...but enough of the time that it affects my journey towards my goals. Do I not want it enough? Is that my stumbling block???

There's a gazillion and one articles about how to strengthen your mental toughness...just Google it and you'll see for yourself. Be confident! Use a mantra! Visualize success! Practice it in Training!

But I'm honestly asking...what do you do when you use those tools and they still fail you? What's the trick here because I'm at a loss for how to keep pushing when my entire body says just fuhgeddaboutit. I'm at a loss for how to stop myself from thinking constantly about the candy in the jar or glancing at it every single time I walk by it.

I will say that for me it's a battle that sometimes is easy to fight, and sometimes is close to impossible. Sometimes I can spend hours of standing firm, and others it's a second by second battle. Am I a little overly dramatic when I say it's a fight to the death? Perhaps...but it's definitely a battle I will be fighting UNTIL death because I'm not willing to give up. I'll keep fighting this fight. There's things I want and I may not always know how to be strong enough to get them, but I'll keep trying to figure it out. Any help towards that end that you can offer is always appreciated!!

Seek a quality life, friends! Talk to you again soon...


  1. I hear ya! I have the mental fortitude to eat right and exercise 6 days a week but then go bats**t on the one day I don't have to cook. It's not that I eat enough to undo all I did all week but it's like "at least I'm not 200 lbs heavier" so I justify it. You couple that with people around me moving, being sick or whatever and I start getting that feeling of just one day of indulgence won't hurt but do I adjust my normal high cal day? Nope. You're right, it's that whole 'how bad do you want it?' and sometimes I just tell myself I'm comfortable enough even if I'm not at goal. S-L-A-C-K-E-R! (me, not you! LOL)

    1. Oh girl - you and I are always pretty darn close on our thinking!! I've been a slacker too and I know that I find myself not yet at goal, but more comfortable in my skin and that makes the battle even harder because it is sooooo easy to find justification for everything. I am planning on keeping it in check through the holidays, but not getting too rigid, and then kicking it into really high gear right after Christmas. We can do it!!!

  2. I think the secret of mentally tough people is that they realize they will fail; it's just a given -- so the real secret is to keep picking yourself up and trying again.

    I've had races I've quite on (not many, but a few) and others were I've really pushed myself beyond what I thought I was capable of.

    I've lost 40 lbs, only to regain it and a few friends, to lose it again -- over the span of 20+ years!

    There are days I do great, there are days I do terrible, but I never, ever give up.

    1. Really, really awesome insight here, Judy!! Thank you so much!!! You're right - never, ever give up - and I never ever will!!! Thanks!!!!

  3. Ah yes, this is something we all deal with at least some of the time. It was a big hurdle for me to overcome when I lost all my weight in 2008/2009. I used to eat whatever and not think about the consequences. It was an emotional battle, and part of me didn't care.
    Now, I remind myself that I'm important. You have to do it for yourself. Then, it's about making a choice each time that urge comes into play, I use any and all tricks to overcome it. I win 99% of the time, but there are always times that I give in.
    I think we just have to do our best and have a support system in place when you need help being talked off of the ledge. That was extremely helpful for me with my weight loss and still helps when I have a tough hill to overcome and just want to eat that darn cookie!

    1. I think I need to get some more accountability in place - that's what has really worked in the past and I'm going to need to use that again if I want to reach my goals. Thank you for your great insight!!!! <3