Pony Express 5k

Pony Express 5k
My first race ever!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

It's all in your head

Now if you are going to win any battle you have to do one thing. You have to make the mind run the body. Never let the body tell the mind what to do. The body will always give up. It is always tired morning, noon, and night. But the body is never tired if the mind is not tired. When you were younger the mind could make you dance all night, and the body was never tired...You've always got to make the mind take over and keep going.

George S. Patton, U.S. Army General and 1912 Olympian
This was my Runner's World quote of the day today.  It fits in perfectly with a lesson I've been struggling with.  Mental strength is a constant battle.  We are attacked on every side with what we should be doing, what we don't feel capable of doing, other's expectations, our expectations.  Sometimes it's overwhelming.  When I don't meet performance goals, I feel less than I am which in turn makes me less likely to meet them the next time.  
 Lately I've felt frustrated as I've tried to take off some pounds to get to what I think would be a better race weight.  It would help me meet my time goals for racing.  It seemed no matter what I did, I could not lower my body fat %.  For those who don't know, I've already lost a ton of weight and went from 37% to 26%, but couldn't seem to break past that point.  Since last summer I gained back a few pounds, but the % stayed the same.  
 This was getting especially frustrating, as I'm a personal trainer and hope to one day be a triathlon coach.  Here's where the mental mess up starts.  How do I help someone else do what I can't seem to do for myself?  How can I possibly train as hard as I do, lift weights as heavy as I do, run the miles, teach spin, and not see any change in my body's composition?  Who am I to preach to other people?  Why should they trust me?  I think it was starting to show in a lack of confidence some days.  
So, which is it that matters?  Reality or warped mental perspective?  I asked my boss to measure me with calipers.  I haven't done this for over a year and was hoping to hear some different news.  I had every reason to trust the handheld monitor.  Both times I had been calipered before, I had results within .2% of what the handheld said.  
When she handed my my printout with results, I was stunned!  19.4% bodyfat!  I have been walking around with a hangdog expression thinking I had 15-20 lbs of fat to get where I wanted to be (20-22%), wondering why I was struggling so much.  Here I was feeling like a failure, when in reality, I had already exceeded my goal.  I just looked the wrong place for validation.  People would tell me I didn't need to lose it, but I "saw" it there.  Even though it wasn't.  Yes, I do want to do about 8 lbs, but that's a big difference in goal and approach.  
When I thought I was unsuccessful, I acted like it.  But with a reality check, I have a whole new outlook.  It's amazing what a change of attitude can do for you.  I feel more confident, more knowledgeable, more able to help others reach their goals.
Nothing changed except my mind, so it really is all in your head.  My mom always used to say, "whether you think you can, or think you can't.... You're right." 


  1. Cool that Patton was an Olympian. The half marathon I ran with my friends this fall really drove home this idea that I am limiting myself by thinking I can't do something. My plan was to run it in 2:20 or under. I ran with a friend who pushed me and did it in just under 2:06. So, now I know I'm capable of that, why not shoot for 2:00 next time?

    And congrats on your fat % - you don't look like someone who needs to lose 15-20 pounds of fat! In fact, I think we all should throw out our scales and body fat calculators and start measuring ourselves by how we look and feel.

  2. this is the first time I've been to the blog and I've been meaning to tell you how your transformation has always been an inspiration to me. Remember several years ago we were sitting at Jiffy Lube and I asked what you'd beeen doing and to paraphrase you said: Well, I eat less and exercise more. Wow! What a novel idea- I felt like an idiot. I guess we each have to get to that point when the novelty of good health becomes a daily routine. Thanks for all of your support towards me and much love- Julie McNair

  3. Thank you Julie! You are an inspiration to me as well. When I think of tremendous inner strength, of the will to overcome devastating circumstances, you are the woman who comes to mind. I miss you! Hope to see and hug the new you soon!