I made a realization this morning. I was plugging away at my cardio on the bike, giving it a half-hearted effort, and I knew full well that I was capable of pushing more. I asked myself why it is that some mornings I give it 110%, while other mornings I'm just there to get to that 45:00 minute mark. I did a full-body scan: are my legs sore from my workout? No, I haven't had a tough leg day yet this week. Am I extremely tired? No, I got 7hrs sleep. Am I starving? Not especially. Am I too warm/cold? Nope. Insufficient warmup time? No again. With all the physical questions answered, I turned inwards: Do I feel strong and powerful? No. Am I sad and discouraged? Yes. Aha! There it is.
So much of training is mental and emotional. When I'm in a good mood, my energy and focus are through the roof! I feel accomplished, strong, sexy.... unstoppable. And when I'm feeling weak, unattractive and discouraged, my whole body shuts down. You'd expect it to be the other way around: if you're feeling fat and bloated, wouldn't you want to work that much harder to counteract it? And yet the reverse is true to my diet! I don't tend to cheat or overeat when I'm sad - I cheat when I'm happy! I've never been one to comfort myself with food, but I do celebrate with it. If I'm in a good place mentally and physically (I've had a good week of clean eating and solid exercise, I'm feeling fit and firm, and I've been productive at work, or am having fun socially) then I somehow convince myself that a treat is deserved. After all, a small treat couldn't possibly derail my efforts after such a good week.... certainly I can afford it! (Yeah, keep telling yourself that, Tess)
I guess I already knew both of these things already. But the true epiphany was that I am at risk of falling off the bandwagon when I'm both happy AND sad.... kind of a double-whammy/lose-lose situation, eh? So, what to do about it? I'm an optimist by nature, which helps my workouts but hurts my diet, but I certainly don't intend to give that up for the sake of dieting! lol
I think the realization itself is half the battle. Just having an awareness of the problem gives me the tools to work on it. When I'm feeling down and lazy at the gym, I'll try to find something (a song, an image, a memory, a goal) to perk me up again. And when I'm feeling impervious, I'll self-medicate myself with a good dose of humility, and remind myself that there is always more work to be done.