The Power of the Mind

So, Wednesday morning I wake up with a pain in the side of the right foot. It kinda hurts to walk, but I suck it up and get myself to work. My commute to work is about a 20-25min walk.  It’s a bit painful during the day, but nothing extreme. Wednesday night’s I often go to meet up with friends and I walk to their neighbourhood – a good 7km walk that takes me about 1h15. It’s a nice way to unwind after work and usually the weather is nice (yes, I even do the walk in bad weather/rain/humidity/winter).  My foot hurts, but again, nothing extreme. The pain goes away over the night, but when I get home it comes back.

Thursday I wake up and the pain is worse. So bad, that walking really hurts in the morning and I start to compensate by putting the weight on the balls of my fee. I’m working from and so I start googling…oh no.  Well, a few google searches and running forums later I have a fear that I might have a stress fracture. It all fits – it came on suddenly, I’d run a lot more in the last little while (a 5K on Saturday, 7K on Sunday, and 6K on Tuesday) – and I don’t usually run each day, and it hurt to walk and even a bit just at rest. I went for a slow 5K run on Thursday to test it out. Apparently stress fractures get worse over a run, and it hurts to hop on your foot. Well the run went okay… I could feel my foot (I’ve been terribly aware of my foot for the last day and half), but it got a bit better during the run and I could hop on my foot – it hurt, but it wasn’t impossible.

Well then the pain got worse and my fears got worse…what it if this was a stress fracture. Oh NO! What was I going to do – that would mean about 6-8 weeks of no running, and possibly no/very little walking. I live in a major city and walking is my primary mode of transportation. That means I can’t run my 10K in mid-October (oh, wait have I mentioned that? Yes? No? Okay, I’ll elaborate in my next post.) That means I can’t run in the fall, the BEST time of year to run.  That means I can’t be as active as usually am…what about my weight? My eating hasn’t been great lately and I fear a lack in activity will cause more gains. EEEKK! Yes, my mind start to race and spiral out of control and the pain gets worse. So badly that by Thursday night I can barely walk.  Here is where my pain was localized:

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I decide I have to get myself to a doctor asap. Friday morning I walk up and head out to the clinic. My 10minute walk to the subway is awful, I’m in pain, unhappy, and fearful. I’m so scared what the doctor will say, well an hour later I get my diagnosis…NOT A STRESS FRACTURE!! Woohoo!!! He says I’ve probably just strained my foot muscle from over use. Phew. I’m so relieved. He says to stay off it for a while and ice it. So I decide to forego my long run this weekend (the plan was to try a 9K) and give it some time to heal properly.

I get to work for an afternoon filled with meetings and as the day progresses  I realize something…my foot feels better. And not just a bit better, but a lot better. My the evening I’m feel strong enough to get the gym for a strength training session. This morning I wake up and my foot is feeling SO much better. I can walk around the house with relative ease and will pop out for some grocery shopping.

What has this 3 day excitement taught me? Well, for starters I am amazed at the power of the mind. When I had convinced myself that I might have a stress fracture my pain got so much worse and the minute my fears were alleviated I started feeling better.

Truly, to be so aware of how my mindset affected me physically was a big wake-up call. I had to wonder – has my almost year-long plateau been due to my negative thoughts? I have never been at a healthy weight, not even as a child. Am I afraid? Do I keep sabotaging my efforts with my mindset? Do I not think I can do it? Do I not think I deserve to be at a healthy weight? Do I think it’s inevitable that I’ll regain this weight?

Well these are questions to ponder aren’t they…just why do I think I can’t get down to a healthy weight? Really, there’s no reason. No one is force-feeding me, I am responsible for my actions and my meals. So why am I creating obstacles that weren’t there before (like the late-night snacking?) I need to regroup and reset my thinking. I need to get my mind back on track, think positively about what I have accomplished and that if I can lose 1 lb, I can lose 20. It won’t happen over night (clearly!) but it will happen. I think sometimes we (I?) underestimate the power of our minds when it comes to weight loss – and I’m not talking about willpower, but just the idea of positive thinking. It sounds hokey, but it’s so important isn’t it? A good lesson learned.

Happy Weekend Everyone!

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6 thoughts on “The Power of the Mind

  1. I am exactly the same way! Once anxiety about any health-related concern of mine hits, I start to google it and it just spirals out of control until I either have a doctor tell me I’m fine or I forget about it 😉

  2. The mind is a powerful tool. I am a masage therapist and we are taught that if you use your mind, body and soul you can recover from anything. I hope your foot gets better.

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