Jenny’s Fitness Journey: Week 4) Psychology 101
by UP Fitness, January 31, 2017
This week marks a third of my journey complete, although the days are all blending into one now.
Timeframes are becoming very distorted and this week has been very psychologically eye-opening.
When it comes to timescales, I have mentioned before the importance of setting short- and long-term goals to help you to stay motivated.
However, even making progress isn’t always enough to keep you focused and you have to remind yourself why you’re embarking on such a challenge in the first place.
Tapping into my own psychological devices has been prevalent this week; learning about my triggers and how to overcome the days that leave me sapped of motivation and energy.
A pair of headphones and some beautiful bowls of food have been key for me this week.
Before a PT session, I’m either excited or nervous knowing what’s to come.
I’ve started psyching myself up with music when I’m not quite ‘feeling it’. Ed Sheeran and the White Stripes have been pushing me along all week, in particular when I’m pedalling through another 6K on the watt bike.
Music is a game-changer, and finding a playlist that fires you up during a session is a great motivational tool.
Food can be harder to crack, psychologically. Most of us come with some form of emotional relationship with food, and working on mine has been an interesting learning curve.
I can make food look and taste great. Top tip: Buy yourself some lovely bowls, plates, and even cutlery.
When you dish up your meals, present them with care and they will ooze appeal. I even do this at work; I always empty my Tupperware onto a nice plate before I tuck in.
Planning ahead and making a little effort with your food is an easy way to stay satisfied.
It is important to focus on what delicious foods I can have, as opposed to all of the things that I can’t have. That way, I don’t feel like I’m missing out.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work like that, as I found out on Sunday.
I went out with my partner to visit family and foolishly didn’t take my meal prep with me. I figured we would only be a couple of hours, but nearly five hours later I was ravenous and without options. We were sat in a pub, sparkling water quickly losing its sparkle, and I felt awful because I was aware that I was terrible company.
I was ‘hangry‘ and tired, and all I could think about was eating.
I felt like I had no control over the situation at all; the only food in the pub was a cheese and onion roll or a packet of crisps, and I could feel my eyelids getting heavier and heavier. When we finally set off back home, my patience was wearing thin, I was snappy, and it seemed like every traffic light was on red.
I inhaled my porridge the minute I got through the door, but I was still hungry. That’s the problem when you wait too long to eat; it’s harder to satiate your appetite. My partner and his brother sliced up their pizzas.
My head was in my hands, on the kitchen table, writing out hundreds of messages to my trainer trying to think of the best way to say ‘I quit! I’ve had enough! I’m tired! I’m hungry! I want pizza! I’m fed up! Eight more weeks is too long!’
Holding back tears, increasingly wound up by how much I knew was overreacting, I sent them all to my drafts folder and went to bed. I felt irrational and out of control, and I hated it.
I also brushed my teeth. Top Tip: Brushing your teeth helps to stop cravings, I think it’s to do with associating it with the end of the day, a signal that you’ve finished eating.
Waking up on Monday morning, I knew I’d feel much better, and I was glad I hadn’t entertained sending any of those messages for too long, but it has taught me to make sure I’m always prepared.
My mind does crazy things when I’m hungry.
This week I’ve learnt a lot about my mindset, and I’ve established some tricks to keep me on the path to a successful transformation. I’ve also learned the hard way that my mind can turn on me at any point, and staying prepared and in control is the key.
Today, I’m booking a spa day and some weekend rock-climbing with my (very patient!) other half. Training my brain to take pleasure from things other than food (a primary source of joy for me!) is crucial to maintaining a positive outlook throughout this challenging process, so it’s all about lots of things to look forward to that don’t revolve around edible treats.
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