Fat Brain vs. Fit Brain

By Brianne, “Former Fat Chick” 

Recently I read an article in Canadian Running magazine, where overweight runners talked about how they felt about themselves as well as how they felt other runners perceived them.  It was an interesting article, pointing out that the media enhances the skinny, fit stereotype and so do fitness apparel companies (seriously, would it kill some of these companies to make clothing that a larger woman could wear without muffin topping???)  Now I’m paraphrasing on the “skinny, fit” – I think they were a little more politically correct in their phrasing – but the point was the same.  There were a lot of other good points in the article, but what I really got out of it was how amazing our brains are and how they can really work against us sometimes.

So what do I mean by fat brain versus fit brain?  It’s really simple – those with a fit brain are motivated and for the most part, have always been motivated.  There usually hasn’t been a struggle to get out of the house and suffer the pain and agony of chaffing between their thighs from even just walking.  Fitness is a part of their regular routine and pretty much always has been.  Weight is never an issue because it never really was an issue.  A fit brain automatically makes good choices and doesn’t fall off the wagon when a bad one is made, because it has most likely has known what it is like to struggle in that capacity.  Most importantly, a fit brain will never think you are overweight and will always think of you as fit, healthy and happy.

A fat brain is…well, the complete opposite.  Having struggled with weight and confidence issues, a fat brain has a harder time coming around even after you have lost 110 pounds and you are in the best shape of your life.  A fat brain has the capacity to think you are fit, healthy and happy, but always with a little negativity looming in the background.  When you walk into a room and assess those around you, your fat brain will automatically lump you together with the bigger people in the room.  And if you are in the process of trying to lose weight and to get fit and healthy, a fat brain will be your own worse enemy.

An interesting comment in the article was made by a woman who trained for months to run a half-marathon.  She mentioned on the above stereotypes and how she felt her confidence lag when people ran past her in the race and gave her encouraging comments, words of encouragement that she was sure were given to her because she was an overweight runner.  She wondered if they were encouraging everyone they ran past.  She started doubting herself.  She felt that spectators were looking at her, wondering what someone like her was doing in a half-marathon.  Her fat brain went into a downward spiral and she couldn’t get it back.  She still finished the race, but it seems that whatever joy she might have had was overshadowed by her thoughts.

This is a common affliction of the fat brain.  Sometimes the smallest thing can shatter our confidence.  It’s hard and it’s an upward battle almost everyday.  Even after losing all that weight, I still have days where in my head I am the fat girl that everyone made fun of my entire elementary school career.  Sometimes when I am at crossfit, I will look at the other people working out with me and instantly I am downgrading my ability to compete with them because in my head, I am still that fat girl.  I will run a race and have a personal best, shattering my previous time because I trained better and am stronger, but while I’m running I will have constant doubts in my head that no matter what, I can’t seem to shake.

It isn’t all doom and gloom, though!  Just because you have a fat brain doesn’t mean you can’t ever have a fit brain!  It may sound ridiculously simple and slight corny, but it doesn’t change the fact that the best way to beat your fat brain is to pick yourself up when you are down, and get back at it.  As long as you don’t let your fat brain win, you will always be one step closer to having a fit brain.  Size doesn’t matter with a fit brain – when you have a fit brain, you have accepted yourself, no matter what.  You know what you need to do to be happy, and you will stick with the plan because you know, in the end, it’s right for you.  Your fit brain will let you think that you will never be the “skinny, fit” person beside you, because that’s not who you are!!!  You are meant to be exactly who you are at that moment.  You may be a heavy runner, but you are out there running and are one step ahead of that skinny guy sitting on the couch.  You just ran past that skinny girl who didn’t train for the race.

The moral of my blog is this – in the end, we all have a little of both brains inside our heads.  Some of us just have a greater capacity for overcoming the bad stuff.  If you ever need words of encouragement, come by Foot Tools for a chat.  I’m always available to talk about the struggles that comes with making a change.  Better yet, come out for our clinics, designed for all levels (yes, even those who want to learn how to run) and get encouraged by seeing what you can do!  Chris and I have both been there and understand how hard it is when your fat brain takes over!  We want to help you feel better about yourself, and what better way then to be surrounded by people who are probably going through the same thing.  🙂  See you out there!

1 reply
  1. John Lawson
    John Lawson says:

    Interesting how our heads can effect our performance. In a race or group work out everyone has a job You are either pulling others along or pushing others to keep ahead. Sometimes the hardest positions to be in are first and last. In first no one is pulling you in last no one is pushing you.


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