Weight Loss – The Mental Obstacles

Written by Ann Brennan

430000_4704892989883_1721917109_nOne of the biggest mental obstacles to weight loss for runners is falling into the trap of believing that because we run we can eat anything we want. But if we pay attention to the scales we will see that that is not the case. If we pay attention to the scales over time we will notice that with each decade that passes those numbers are harder and harder to bring down.

But, it can be done and when we are trying to qualify for Boston, get a PR or just maintain the speed we have always run at, weight loss just might be the missing ingredient.

As I am training for a fall marathon in which I plan to finally, at 45, qualify for Boston, I know that I need to lose weight. For anyone who has ever seen this short, wide frame, I know they would agree.

In today’s podcast I talk about the importance of weight loss for runners, the reason why I do not agree with being a food Nazi and most importantly, I discuss the mental obstacles that keep us from dropping those stubborn pounds. As with running, I believe that weight loss is as much mental as physical. If we do not tame our inner demons, if we can not control our thoughts about food and body image, then we are fighting a losing battle.

Please listen to the podcast, then share…What is your biggest mental obstacle in fighting the weight loss battle.


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Out of the DarknessFor the first time in the four years since I began Ann’s Running Commentary I have decided to come out officially for a cause. I am currently raising funds for the Out of the Darkness organization. Through the generosity of my readers and friends I have met my goal of $1000 but I would love to see that number continue to rise. The number of people around the world suffering with depression and other mental illnesses continues to grow and the amount of help available to them continues to shrink. Please help me to be a part of the change. If you cannot donate I ask that you share my story of depression and suicide so that others will know they are not alone. Thank you so much for all of your support.

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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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13 Responses to Weight Loss – The Mental Obstacles

  1. jamie rigdon says:

    Ann, this was great. I could’ve written this word for word. I have the exact same issues and I appreciate your honesty. Just what I needed today! Thank you. Thank you.

  2. Ann Brennan says:

    Thanks Jamie. My husband hates when I say I am short and wide. But it is true and it doesn’t do any of us good to keep up the lie that weight loss is easy. Just don’t go to MacDonald’s, be perfect in your diet (that’s easy, right?) and get a few minutes of exercise everyday. There is much more to it than that and most of it is mental.

  3. Thanks for this Ann! My biggest hurdle is eating in general! I’ve always been a big eater, even when I was skinny I could put away a large pizza and still be hungry. I eat too fast. I eat without thinking. I eat without listening to my body. I also eat to celebrate and eat to mourn (those are cultural and so far my greatest hurdles b/c not eating is considered rude). So, when my metabolism slowed down my eating habits did not change. I’m working on it. It’s something I’ll probably always be working on, but I finally feel motivated to make some changes and step up my accountability.

  4. Melissa Kro says:

    Thanks for bringing up this issue. I have struggled with stress eating since age 12 (and I’m now 44) and the older I get, the harder it is to keep things under control. I am currently in marathon training and disgusted with myself when I should be proud of what I can do! I struggle with needing to fuel my body and dealing with training hunger and seeing the scale move in the wrong direction. What a terrible trap!
    Thanks for all you do and for letting me know I am not alone.

  5. Ann Brennan says:

    I get so frustrated with people who are not honest about the struggle. When I did lose all of the weight a few years back I was very honest with people when they would ask. It takes a lot of work. It was really hard work. Maybe I was too honest though because every time I think that that is what I have to do to get back in that kind of shape I think. Maybe it isn’t worth it. That was seriously hard work.

  6. Ann Brennan says:

    Jacqui, I am right there with you. When people see how much food I eat they are shocked. “Well there’s your problem,” they want to say but are too polite to ever say out loud. And they are right. It is my problem. I have to really put a lot of thought into what I eat otherwise I just eat and eat and eat and don’t even think about whether it is good or bad food.

  7. I had managed to loose 100 lbs and for the first time in my life, I wasn’t the ‘fat one’. Due to medications, I gained quite a bit of weight back. This made my depression cycles kick in, which caused to sleep and eat to much , which made me to gain more weight…which caused me to be depressed and not run/exercise…which caused me to gain weight. At this point, I have soooo much mental work to do in order to get back to a healthier, happier me. Currently I’m not feeling strong enough to overcome these mental blocks, but I’m trying!

  8. Ann Brennan says:

    I can imagine your frustration. To work so hard and have the weight come on with medication would be frustrating. I try not to worry about my weight unless I have to but that is easier said than done.

  9. Melissa Joyce says:

    Thanks for this very honest podcast Ann! It lets me know I am not alone in my struggles. My biggest hurdle is sweets & a poor self image. I’ve lost 103 pounds & still see myself as FAT. I’m not a healthy eater & I’m always making poor choices. Tis makes me feel even worse and I pig out on sugary foods ALL the time. It’s a vicious circle. I’m either starving myself or I’m pigging out on king sized candy bars, ice cream, and snack pies. I’ve managed to gain 20 pounds in the last 2 years – even with all the running and exercise that I do. :(( Haven’t been able to figure my way out of this dreadful situation I’m in. :((

  10. Ann Brennan says:

    It really is hard. I hate when people say that we can’t judge ourselves by what we weight because that is only part of it. You sound like me and that what you are judging yourself by is a lack of willpower. I fight this issue a lot and I wonder why. I think when it comes down to it, at least for me and probably for a lot of people food is comfort and until we find something else that gives us that comfort we will struggle. But we can keep moving forward. Keep trying to find the way around the obstacles and one day we might win this battle.

  11. Pamela says:

    My biggest obstacle is that I love to eat, and as soon as I start to ramp up exercise, eat more for the joy of it. I’ll never be a tiny woman. It definitely affects my performance.

  12. Ann Brennan says:

    Loving good food is a tough issue. I love to cook so when I am in the midst of trying to diet that makes it really hard.

  13. *Finally* was able to listen to the podcast! (issues on my end, not yours).

    I have struggled with weight my whole life – well, until I was 23 I was just fat (or rather fat, really fat and then very obese) … and for the same amount of years since I have struggled to maintain my healthy weight. As it turns out I have a pretty good metabolism (even at this point) – so the problem? Food – and myself!

    I definitely agree with the mental hurdles to weight loss being HUGE – and also the frustration over how people deal with those of us who are currently thin. Do you know how many times people have tried to cajole me into overeating or making bad choices, saying things like ‘you’re a runner, just do a couple of extra miles tomorrow’, or ‘you’re too skinny now, you need to treat yourself more’ or whatever.

    I got to the thinnest and best shape of my life through hard work, and also by altering my nutritional plan. I have always loved fruits and vegetables, and easily give up processed foods and fried foods. But I love desserts and sweets …

    So for the last year I have worked hard to use the ‘food is fuel’ mantra to maintain healthy weight while not feeling like I was denying myself. Not easy, but it has worked.

    Everyone is different and we all need to do what we can – it is NOT easy!

    One thing I do want to call you on – you refer to yourself as ‘not attractive’ again here. Have you forgotten that you are a beautiful, badass mom of three? While there are times we all don’t like ourselves in the mirror or on the scale, we need to realize that is an internal struggle – and those who love us see our beauty and only want us to be happy.

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