The Mental Game

Updated: Feb 22, 2018

Over the years I have seen hundreds of clients and filtered through countless tips, tricks, products, fads, and diets. But it wasn’t until after becoming a mom when I began taking true care of my body, that everything came full circle. Before, I was full of energy, loved to workout hard, and my primary goal was remaining fit and athletic. But pregnancy was when the struggle got real! I thought I’d have a beautifully athletic pregnancy and I planned to remain super active till I popped. But as you most likely know, God, my body, and that baby had a whole different plan.


Pregnancy rocked me. I didn’t have control of my body. I did my best to stay healthy and active, but sometime in the 2nd trimester, I had to take my leave from work. I couldn’t even lead guided walks let alone exercise classes. I was a bit devastated, but this is when I had to embrace one of my key wellness concepts. >>> There’s a time to take on the mountain and a time to be patient below. Meaning, when your health is in line, mental or physical, then go for those goals! Push yourself, get your head in the game, and climb the mountain! And conversely, there’s a time to be patient and accepting. A time to be gentle with yourself and address physical or spiritual setbacks. <<<


It is crucial to recognize a healthy ebb and flow to your health and fitness. Even the most accomplished and disciplined athletes have off seasons and recovery periods. Now, I’m not saying to completely fall off the wagon on a regular basis. Extreme fluctuations in your body fat and overall body conditioning are unhealthy. I’m talking mild changes and gentle periods in which you catch your breath or focus your energy on a matter at hand.


Pregnancy, postpartum, severe illness, traumatic experience, injury and so on are not the times to beat yourself up. There have been many times in my life when I carried a higher body fat percentage than I would have liked. I didn’t let it get me down though because I knew it was part of the ebb and flow. I would still take care of my nutrition and remain active, but I only did what I could handle at that time. I was gentle with myself and practiced grace towards myself. Whatever I didn’t have control over, I made peace with.


Each time I finally came to a point when I was ready to pursue my goals. Whether it was physical, mental, or nutrition based, I remained mindful, so when the time was right, I became committed and ready for the flow of success.


If you are injured, pregnant, or whatever, then slow down and figure out what is realistic and beneficial to your health. It might be a time to pull back and get into an accepting and grateful space. Know that this period will pass so you do your best and wait for better timing.


It took me a while before I honestly felt like I could give my goals my all. Between becoming a mom, running an animal sanctuary, relocating across California, and juggling the challenges of marriage I could only do so much! Grace, it goes a long way. And friends, they make all the difference! It wasn’t until my daughter was two when I started to manage everything better. I felt excited to workout, enjoyed healthy cooking, and I had the mental space to grow positive outcomes.


I genuinely believe that recognizing periods of struggle or strength make a huge difference. It is the practice of shifting gears to successfully navigate the terrain of life. Doing so keeps people out of prolonged periods of disappointment, stress, and an unhealthy pressure created by negative inner dialogue.


As painful as the start of motherhood can be, it has created a wholly refreshed gratitude for my body and health. I am healthier and stronger than I have ever been. I am fueled by the grit and determination that flows in a mother’s veins. But more importantly, I see myself in phases, stages, and periods of growth. I give Hadley a lot of credit for that. Let me explain…


We are harder on ourselves than anyone else and frequently our own worst critic. However, when we look at our kids and manage their development, we see it in phases. We are more understanding, patient, and conscious of the situation because it is our precious child. As crazy as it sounds, that same should be done for ourselves. We too are learning, growing, and recovering from our mistakes. So just like we tell our children, next time you will make a better choice. You can try again tomorrow and make it better.


It really is that simple: when you can, you will and when you know better, do better!



Dana Qualco Photography www.danagualcophotography.com IG & Facebook: @danaqualcophotography

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