A Word on Willpower

I have a confession: I’m addicted to food. If you put a giant bag of M&M’s in front of me, I’ll eat until they’re gone, probably w/out even realizing I’m doing it, and when I go in later for some more and the bag is empty, I’ll be slightly confused, like, “who ate all these?” If a friend wants to grab a bite, I’m on my way, even if I already ate. I’ve long known that I have absolutely no willpower when it comes to food, and I’m coming to terms w/ it - ie: not feeling guilty after eating an entire pint of Ben & Jerry’s; it’s an addiction, okay?

While this flawed mentality isn’t doing my health any favors, it sure is alleviating some embarrassment in my life; like after a three-course meal when I’m trolling the cupboard for snacks and B is looking at me like he’s both disgusted and impressed (although I don’t think he’s buying my whole “addiction” spiel).

While my willpower regarding food is nonexistent, yesterday proved that I’m not totally hopeless. All day, I was mentally setting myself up for the run I knew I was going to do when I got home from work. Temperatures reached a record high here in Boston, so I was excited about the thought of running in a t-shirt and possibly even shorts. The weather couldn’t have been more perfect, I was physically and mentally ready to tear it up…but something was just off. You know those days? Nothing is outright wrong, but you’re not quite on point. By the time I got home after picking up B and getting ready for work the next day, it was almost 7, and I was ready to call it a night. I was hungry and tired, and the last thing I wanted to do was go back outside; even though it was still mild out, it was windy as shit – which I was using as an excuse to bail on my run. I had my sweats on and was about to join B on the couch when I felt it: I wanted to go. It wasn’t my guilt forcing me into it, or the fear of not being on course with my training plan; I legit wanted to run. I changed and headed out, telling B I probably wouldn’t be that long, since I was still feeling off and wasn’t going to push myself. I’m planning my first five mile run this weekend, so I’ve been slowly adding distance, and my most recent run was 4.25. I planned on doing about 3 of those miles then heading home.

In my hurry to get out before I lost the motivation, I forgot to put in my contacts. I don’t run in my glasses b/c I don’t want to deal w/ them getting all sweaty and slipping all over my nose, so if I’m going for a run at night, I wear my contacts so I’m not totally blind – which I was last night. I stepped outside, realized immediately how dangerous it was, and instead of going back to put in my contacts, I continued on my route (maybe I’m not addicted to food, just bad decisions in general). As crazy as this sounds, I think it actually helped me w/ the run. Instead of being able to see all my usual landmarks in the distance and think about reaching them, I was limited to seeing the few steps right in front of me. I wasn’t concerned with getting to that next corner or traffic light, b/c I couldn’t see that far ahead; I was focusing on putting one foot in front of the other. The first mile was the scariest, and after that, I found my groove (not unlike a naked mole-rat). It wasn’t my fastest 4.2 miles, but I did ‘em.

If you’ve ever forced yourself through a run or a work-out, you know the feeling of accomplishment afterwards; you may have hated every minute, every mile, every damn burpee you forced yourself though, but the second it’s over, you’re a different person. You’re capable. You’re strong. And you’re damn proud of it.

I learned a few things last night:

1) The wind does have a purpose (besides making those giant inflatable tube men go nuts on used car lots), which is to help cool you off during a great run

2) I’m practically blind and should never operate w/out my glasses or contacts again – especially at night when I’m on unfamiliar terrain (even on familiar terrain - it’s just too risky)

3) I do have willpower! Now if only I can harness it towards my food addiction…

courtesy of fitbie


Sarah said…
I identify with so many things in this post it's scary, like we are sisters or something! I don't know if it's our genes or our big legs, but B is finally starting to learn that I have a huge appetite and that if we order something to share, he will only get 50%, if even that much. :)

As much as I love running, I have to psych myself up for almost every run. The weird thing is that I find the less I expect of myself, the better the run usually ends up at the end. If I tell myself to go out and at least do 20 minutes, I can usually double that and finish feeling really positive. It's all mental.