Mid-Week Musings: Mental Toughness, Making Goals Public, and Another Convo on Shakes

Hi everybody!!! I hope everyone is having a great week so far.

The time is narrowing down to when I’ll return to work and I’ve been trying my hardest to take advantage of what’s left of my summer by running as much as I can (but smartly) and reading all the blogs ūüôā

There are so many good blogs out there (you can check out some that I follow ^^^) but it’s tough setting aside time to keep up with reading and commenting. I usually try to limit myself to 5 different ones a day or else hours will have gone by without me realizing lol!

Mental Toughness

Anyway, I’ve been keeping notes on ideas for blog posts and one of them I’ve been wanting to talk about is increasing/coping with pain tolerance. Funny that yesterday I was on twitter and caught Amber from PB&PRs re-tweet on an article written by VegaTeam (more on them later) titled, How To Overcome Three Top Mental Challenges In Marathon Training. It is a very well-written article that talks about dealing with Pain, Intensity, and Fear, three things I know I need help on.

The article first talks about how pain is functional or non-functional. When it’s the latter, obviously the runner should stop to prevent injury. But the article talks about how when it’s the former type of pain, we can use it and control it however we’d like. Ultimately, we decide how we want to interpret functional pain.

“The defeatist mindset interprets pain to mean¬†this sucks, I obviously didn‚Äôt train hard enough and now I‚Äôll never achieve my goal.¬†The competitive mindset, on the other hand, interprets pain to mean¬†my body is talking to me to either let me know I need to adjust some aspect of my activity or dig deep for that extra motivation to power through.¬†Once pain becomes less of an enemy and more of an ally, you can use imagery (A.K.A. visualization) to power through.”

The second topic on the list is understanding intensity. ¬†Recently,¬†Rae¬†at Darlin’ Rae¬†talked about how important it is for us to take our “easy” runs seriously and I thought about her words while reading the article. The article emphasize listening to our body cues and using that as a guide to determine intensity. I dig.

Finally, the article addresses coping with fear. This is a big one for me along with the first, pain. I like that article acknowledges fear as a real thing and not something easy you can just ignore. The article does state however, that like pain, it is something we can control and offers suggestions on how to do it.

1.) When negative thoughts creep in, review past accomplishments
2.) Turn fear into challenges
3.) Feel your fears but do it anyway

Check out the article for more details on the above. It’s a good short read.

Publicizing Your Goals

My buddy at A Fast Paced Life recently wrote about the disadvantages of announcing your goals. This immediately sparked my interest as you usually associate announcing your goal as brave and conducive to achieving said goal.

But Cardamom makes some good points.

The researchers postulated that when people make their goals public, they receive praise and accolades just for setting those goals. Because they already received the reward (i.e., praise, attention), there is less incentive to fulfill the goal. Attention given to your public goal brings a premature sense of having already accomplished the goal by having your identity as a member of the group affirmed by other people.

I nodded my head reading this thinking yeah, that does happen. But at the same time, I think¬†that how important the goal is to the person, finalizing it–making it come to life, is a huge factor in how easily they are affected by premature praise. Some people aren’t comfortable¬†with praise unless they know they deserve it.

Very interesting article and topic, and I’d love to know your thoughts. Make sure you read her full article here.

The Shake Debate

Finally, last Friday I wrote about a few things I would never in Hell-y Land try, one of them being shakes (i.e. Herbal Life, Shakeology, Advocare, Plexus, etc.). For the most part, people agreed that the abundance of these companies that promote shakes is a little exasperating (like one commenter on another blog said, there’s a reason it’s a multi-million dollar industry), yet¬†there were some who were offended that these companies they like and endorse get bad reps.

I don’t know the details of every single product, one person was offended that I associated their company solely with shakes (they offer pills and supplements as well). What I do know and what I dislike, is that there are a lot of people who think that the only way they can get healthy, get faster, get thinner, get whatever is by spending a lot of money on something they might not even need.

I know quite a few people who really like¬†some of these companies, who promote¬†them, who use them in their daily life and have noticed positive changes. I have a friend who works for Isagenix in one of their main offices. I have multiple friends who are Herbal Life and Beachbody coaches. In fact, I stalk follow Robin @KneadToCook¬† who is a¬†Vega Sport ambassador.¬†She’s so unlike me in many ways. She’s really fast, she eats really, really healthy (she’s vegan), and she swears by Vega Sport, a clean, plant-based, natural nutrition system. Her recipes using the product seriously make me salivate.

These friends are great people¬†who I really care about and I don’t judge them on what they believe truly works for them. I just don’t think people can expect others to readily accept something they’ve never been comfortable with or are not ready to try. I can respect other’s opinions on their beliefs in a product no matter how much I might disagree, I’d hope¬†they’d¬†respect my viewpoint in return.

So there you have it, I didn’t mean to ruffle any feathers with my anti-shakes post last week. I honestly respect those who use them, endorse them, swear by them. Right now, it’s just not for me. Maybe that will change in the future as I keep seeing Robin’s Instagram pictures of her food, and maybe it won’t (because you all know how much I looove cooking–except not!) ūüėÄ

Have a great week friends!! We’re getting closer and closer to TGIF! ‚̧ , helly

–Do you struggle with mental toughness while running?¬†
–Are you comfortable publicizing your goals?
–Thoughts on the shake debate?

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Flying Pig Half Marathon: My Brother’s Weight Loss Journey

There’s quite a few things I feel the need to share with you so that you can fully grasp the magnitude of the race that was The Flying Pig 1/2 Marathon. If you recall, I signed up for this race for the sole purpose of seeing my brother run it.

I never, ever, ever, ever thought my brother would run a half marathon. It requires a lot of discipline, self-motivation, and commitment–all words I never associated with him.

My brother growing up was always in trouble. He was in trouble in school, at home, in his life and for as long as I can remember, he was always in some kind of mess.

It was difficult seeing my brother live his life this way but it was something we kinda just accepted. That was how he was.

He’d always been overweight, using food and alcohol as a means of comfort when there really wasn’t anything positive in his life. Eating and drinking made him happy. There were many times when I became concerned about his health;¬†at 6’2, 300+ pounds, I knew there was no way he was healthy.

And then a few¬†years ago, on his own, he began to change. He¬†left behind old habits and¬†found a good, steady job and was finally¬†doing well. It was what we had all been waiting for. But it seemed maybe to cope and maybe even compensate for no longer having his previous¬†vices, he turned to eating–even more. He visited me last Christmas and he was the heaviest I had ever seen him. He was happy–but it was difficult for him to move around, to get up off the couch, to walk short distances. I was worried when I saw him but it was another one of those things where I felt like even if I said something, it needed to come from him. He wouldn’t change if he didn’t want to change.

My brother's before pic

The “before” pic

I”m not sure if it was a combination of New Year’s, his birthday (it’s in early January), or something else all together, but he decided 2015 would be the year of change. It was finally coming from him. He signed up for a gym membership and began with walking on the treadmill and spending a few minutes on the elliptical. He’d send me a picture every few days of his workouts, “2 miles on the treadmill!” “30 minutes on the elliptical!” “I finally ran outside today!” and each text would make my day.

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He ran a 5k on St. Patrick’s day and was excited to gauge his progress (he’d run one last year–his first race–without any training). He blew us away killing his previous time and finishing with a 27:58!! Yes, you read that right. At that point, he had lost about 35 pounds and was proud of himself for how far he’d come. But he said he wasn’t finished.

With my sister after the 5k--they both PRd!

With my sister after the 5k–they both PRd!

Having done so well and maybe even perhaps still on his race high, he decided to sign up for the Flying Pig Half Marathon. I was so excited for him and knew having this goal would only help motivate him further.

But what he did next took me by complete surprise.

He got a training plan and committed himself to it entirely, sometimes even doing double workouts on days he was feeling good. He’d send me pictures of his mileage, “My first run over 5 miles!” “I did this all with the treadmill inclined!”¬†He would send me post workout pics and on each one he’d have a huge smile, a proud workout done. He began sharing his journey on Facebook and his friends applauded his change–(that seemed to motivate him too, his friends seeing him do something positive for himself).

On of his double days

One of his double days

I remember showing my husband one of my brother’s pics and telling him how proud I was of my brother and how I wished I could be there to join him on¬†his first half marathon. I rarely make it to Ohio as traveling with 2 small children isn’t exactly ideal both financially and mentally lol!

But my husband said, “You should¬†be there!” and purchased a ticket for only me to go. He’d stay behind with our kids.

I was so grateful and so ridiculously excited that I would be able to witness firsthand and share that special day with my brother. At first, I wanted it to be a surprise and told my sister such as we planned out logistics. But as usual with surprises, they’re tough to keep and my brother soon knew that I would be there that day. He was so thankful and said that that would help him to train even harder knowing that I’d be there.

The day he ran his 10 miler, his first double digit run, I cried. I just couldn’t believe it. Who was this man who had transformed himself in such a short period of time? He was a dedicated, disciplined, motivated, definitely NOT lazy man who was working very hard to reach¬†a goal. And doing it all on his own.

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This text. All the emotions.

He was ready. The day of the race he was 60 pounds lighter. Sixty. This was a different person toeing the start line. A completely different person.

And man, I couldn’t wait to see him cross the finish !!!

The "after" pic (for now :) )

And the “after” pic … (for now ūüôā )

Part II of my brother’s weightless journey to his first half marathon will be up soon. Let me just say, he crushed that race–I can’t wait to share it with you!!¬†

‚̧ , helly

 

Weight Loss Denial

I wrote a couple of months ago how I was able to lose the pregnancy weight after two babies back to back and how I was so happy to be at my pre pre-pregnancy size.

I love clothes and nothing made me happier than finally fitting in to them ūüôā

Since that time though, I’ve lost a few more pounds and while some might ask, “Wait, isn’t that a good thing?” it is, but I’m having some trouble accepting it.

I’ve never¬†been below my pre-pregnancy size. High school and earlier not counting, I’ve always been the same size and I worked ¬†out to maintain that comfortable, healthy-for-me number.

But as I’ve been shopping, and I do that a lot, I’ve been noticing that size not fitting like it used to. I’ve chalk it up to design and cut and still buy it because I like it.

On one shopping excursion, my husband was with me. I chose a few things to try and on and he waited for me to come out and model for him. I love getting his opinions and he actually likes going shopping with me (I have a winner!).

He took one look at me and said what I couldn’t for some reason¬†let¬†myself say out loud, “I think you need to try a size smaller.”

“It’s not going to fit.”

“Just try it.”

I’ve never had any major body issues (thankfully) but I also don’t like not fitting into things and I was scared of the possibility of sardine-ing my way into a pair of pants I knew wouldn’t fit me.

Except they did.

I’m not a big scale person but I do weigh myself from time to time and I’m actually a few pounds away from my pre-pregnancy weight. So while I’m in my normal size of clothing, the number isn’t what it used to be. (Further proof that you shouldn’t live by¬†the scale.)

I bought the new size pants but with the bag of new jeans I carried away a feeling that they would most likely collect dust in my closet.

But why? I know that my fitness plans are not changing. My diet has changed a bit as I’m no longer consuming insane amounts of McDonald’s but that’s not changing either. There’s nothing to say that I won’t continue to maintain my body the way it is now. In fact, with MCM in the fall and Phoenix Marathon early next year, I might even lose a few more pounds and/or tone up a bit more as my training increases.

So why am I in a weight loss denial?

I brought this topic up to my Healthy Moms online board where several moms have also lost weight. A few of them agreed with me that there’s something scary new about losing weight. Will I¬†stay at that weight? Should I¬†invest in new clothing? Will I eventually go back to my old size? The pounds will surely come back, right?

Why is hard for us to accept accomplishment and trust in ourselves to continue and embrace our new lifestyle? Because for me it was never about about dieting. It was is most certainly about changing the way I approach working out and eating right. I wasn’t looking for a number to reach and stopping when I reached it. I started taking running seriously because I wanted to challenge myself with goals I hoped to reach–and then challenging myself by setting new goals. I don’t think any of that is going to change soon.

While I’m learning to accept this new body and embrace, I made ¬†a pretty significant breakthrough yesterday.

I was at a small hotel gym getting some treadmill miles in. It was really hot in there but I figured it had something to do with our 98 degree weather outside. About a mile in, I was sweating profusely and decided heck, no need to suffer, I’m taking my shirt off.

I’ve NEVER ran in just a sports bra. Not even pre pre-pregnancy, not in high school, not because of our scorching summers. Never. But somewhere long the way of losing weight, I’ve gained self-confidence. I could see my body in the multitude of mirrors in the gym and I was perfectly fine with what I saw. No nit-picking, no self-judging, just me running.

In fact, I looked at my two baby body with pride. I’ve worked hard.

I’m working hard.

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–Have you lost weight and felt uncomfortable with the newness?

–What are your thoughts on weight loss denial? Why do you think it’s hard for people to accept weight loss?

Thanks for listening friends. This was a personal piece for me.