Control The Controllables

Written by Ann Brennan

Control the ControllablesTwo years ago, as I was prepared for the Beach to Battleship Ironman, I started talking to my daughter about all the things that could go wrong. The weather might be horrible, I might get a flat, or my knee that had been bothering me throughout training might finally give out. The list was a mile long. Finally, my daughter stopped me and reminded me that the best I could do was to control the controllables.

Yesterday, as I was running it finally occurred to me that this is a lesson I have not followed very well over the past year. Instead of controlling the things I truly can control, I have been focusing on events that I have no control over and in the process I have let go of the areas of my life that I can control. Instead of focusing on my health and fitness as I have for 22 years, I tried to control my daughter’s recovery and the way my family reacted to it.

One of the benefits of leading a healthy lifestyle is the routine it gives us, the chance to truly take control over our lives. In general, I am not a very detail oriented person but being able to focus on the details can bring a sense of calm to our lives, even in the craziest of times.

This morning, after steeling myself for what I knew would be very bad news indeed, I stepped on the scales for the first time in almost three months. I was not disappointed. The scale said pretty much what I had seen in the mirror. I am heavier than I have been in 22 years.

I had braced myself for this news, thinking that it might leave me so gutted that I could not move forward. Instead, it gave me the push I needed. It was almost cheering. If this is how much I weigh now when I am prepared to start working again, then I will be able to see progress in the next few weeks and months.

I immediately opened the Diet Tracker app on my computer and logged my weight. Then I logged my breakfast. Finally I had something concrete, not just that horrible, mean little voice in my head telling me I am fat. With numbers I have something I can control. With the right tools I can track my nutrition, making sure that I keep my calories within range while also managing the key nutrients that keep me strong, keeping my health as well as my waistline in check.

I cannot make my daughter better. I can make sure she has the best care possible, that she has the tools she needs to get better, but I am not in control of her recovery. However, I can control my health. I can take control of my nutrition and my fitness routine. I can control the controllables.

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About Ann Brennan

Ann Brennan is first and foremost a mom of three beautiful children. She is the managing editor of Beyond Limits Magazine and the creator of Ann’s Running Commentary. In 2012, Ann took Ann’s Running Commentary to new levels – first with a segment on the RunRunLive Podcast, chronicling her journey to her first Ironman and second, with a new channel on YouTube. Currently Ann is working on a non-fiction book series and working hard every day to remind people to get up, get active and get out there.
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2 Responses to Control The Controllables

  1. You are so right – we can only control the things we can control. It seems so obvious, yet we seem to constantly operate outside of our influence. By controlling what you can, you can make yourself the best Annie you can be – which helps you better to deal with the ‘uncontrollables’. :)

    And you are brave … at my heaviest in 1989 and second heaviest in 2012, I got myself started with weight-loss before I weighed myself … :)
    Michael Anderson recently posted…Thought for Thursday – Compromise and ‘Seven Wants’My Profile

  2. Kirstin says:

    You can do this, Ann!
    Kirstin recently posted…Spring AdventuresMy Profile

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