A Different Mind-Set

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Last week, I read a post from Fitness Magazine on Facebook about learning to do three fitness moves that have previously been obstacles to you. One of them was a pull-up, which I’ve never been able to do, but have always wanted to. It’s one of those things that would just make me feel very accomplished in my fitness journey based on the simple fact that it will mean succeeding at something at which I’d previously failed.

The first step was to simply hang from the bar, supporting all your weight with your arms, for 30 seconds (I thought…more on that in a minute). Simple enough, I thought. I put our chin-up bar in the doorway and told Brian to time me.

Oh. My. Goodness.

I didn’t realize how long 30 seconds could be. Right away, it was hard. I almost quit. Then, I realized that, if I quit, I would be failing not due to inability, but due to the fact that I gave up.

So, I held on. For the entire 30 seconds.

In that 30 seconds, I realized something amazing. My whole mind-set has changed. I’m no longer a quitter.

I’m not sure if I attribute that change to running or to my whole weight-loss journey overall. My first thought was that it was due to running. When I first started running, I could barely run for a minute at a time without feeling like I was going to die. Now, I can run 4.5 miles without stopping. (And, with the perfect running weather I had Sunday night, I really think I could have gone farther.)

Running has made me realize that I can do anything for a little while – that, generally speaking, I’m not going to die doing most things for a few seconds or a few minutes. That, as long as I don’t quit, I’ll be rewarded with success and an incredible feeling of accomplishment.

It may just be the whole weight-loss journey, though. I’ve come so far and been so much more successful than I ever thought I’d be (though it’s taking forever to get the last 20 or so pounds off). It’s helped me realize that I really can be successful if I just keep working towards my goals.

Now, for the full disclosure and the rest of the story on that whole 30 seconds thing. The next two times I tried, I just could not hold onto that bar to save my life. My hands were slipping and I could barely do 10 seconds.

Over the next couple of days, I tried again with the same results – I just couldn’t hold on to the bar. So, I finally resolved that I would just hold on as long as I could and work up to 30 seconds. That was going well for me.

Today, I picked up the paper where I’d printed off the steps to building up to a pull-up and read it again. It said to build up to where you could hold on for 30 seconds.

Oh. Good idea.

What unexpected things have you learned about yourself in the course of your weight-loss or fitness journey?

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  1. Thank you for this post.  I struggle with thinking that I will never be able to do this; never be successful.  I do believe it is a mental battle but it is nice to read someone elses success!  

  2. I agree that, with many things in life that we think we can't do, it's 90% mental. It's amazing to realize that you really can do something if you just don't quit.


  3. So great! I want to be able to real push-ups. I have definitely gotten stronger at the ones with my knees down, I can go for a full minute, but still can only do one or maybe two of the real ones.  
    I have learned great and not-so-great things. Not-so-great? Weight loss is no where near as easy as I hoped. The great? That I can do anything I set my mind to. I have kept up with a fitness routine for over four months now!

  4. Way to go sticking with your fitness routine, Sybil! I agree: losing weight and getting in shape are not easy…but so very worth the effort.


  5. Push ups!  I have a mental block with push ups!  I am working on it!!  I remember reading in your About Me page that you had tried step aerobics.  Step is my absolute favorite way to burn calories.  At first I hated it.  It was hard.  The more I went, the better I got.  The better I got the more confident I became.  Now I LOVE it!!!  Would you ever consider giving it another shot?

  6. This post is awesome.  I am having such a hard time not quitting!  I started back on a fitness plan about a month ago and during that time I pulled something in my neck, had a week long stomach bug, and also pinched a nerve in my back.  What in the world?!  Yesterday, my oldest son came in with my 30 Day Shred DVD and so sweetly and excitedly asked me if we were going to work out.  🙂  It's much easier to quit and do nothing than it is to actually change my life, but I can at least go walking and watch my calorie intake until my body gets itself under control!  🙂  I was thinking as I read this post what awesome life skills you're teaching your kids…the best way possible, by example.  And I know my kids will be much happier with a life of activity rather than being a family of couch potatoes!  Thank you for your encouragement and consistancy.  🙂 

  7. Nope! 😉 I really did hate it, but I did buy a step (got a great deal on a gym quality Reebok step…only $10 and it's like new) and I use it sometimes when I'm watching TV. I've found my passion now, though — running! I never, ever, ever thought I would enjoy running, but I love it. To me that's the key: finding something you love. It makes working out fun.

  8. Aw, thanks, Abby. You don't know how great your comment made me feel. It's not always been easy, but being active is so much more fun than being overweight and inactive. I never would have believed the difference it would make in my life and in my family.

    Last night we were watching The Biggest Loser and my husband told me that we should have made a video of my obese self giving my much lighter self a pep talk like they do on the show. I told him I never would have made the video because I didn't think I would succeed when I started. He was shocked, but it was true. I mostly started to prove that I couldn't do it so I could quit feeling guilty about not doing it.

    It's amazing what you can do when you just start and don't quit.

  9. New reader here. Looking forward to following your blog and browsing through your old archives. 

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