Attitude is Everything

Only a positive attitude can help you to achieve your goals and desires.

February 7, 2013
Attitude is Everything

Last weekend my coach came in and we held two really great nutrition/training seminars. I really enjoyed meeting everyone and being able to share some of my experiences with them. But one of the things I loved most was seeing all the enthusiasm of the attendees. If I could bottle this attitude I would stockpile it and make sure no one ever ran out of it! Your success depends so much on your attitude.

There are definitely the people that continue pushing and working hard and always have their head up. But, on the other hand, there are the ones that are like "Debbie Downers," always complaining about their diet, schlepping through the whole process and counting down the days until it’s over so they can go back to what they did before. Yes, we all have these moments especially toward the end of a prep, but too much of that negative frame of mind can lead to discouragement and only sets you up for failure. You become stressed and start resenting it all. It drains your energy and motivation—ultimately causing you to give up. I always say, "It's all mental," and I truly believe that. Your life is what your thoughts make it, and you are fully responsible for your attitude. It's no one else's fault but yours, and only you can change it.

I learned not to be a pessimist or act like a victim early in my fitness journey. I’ll never forget my very first contest prep. We had a previously scheduled family trip to Italy that happened to be just a couple weeks before the show. However, I was very focused and I didn't think dieting would be a problem. Boy, was I wrong! Being in Italy with 15 of my closest family indulging in all sorts of Italian delicacies while I begrudgingly ate my days-old, bland protein and asparagus was pure torture! (Or so I thought at the time.) I even cried one night in a restaurant! Yes, after waiting patiently for well over an hour watching the family eat good food and drink fine wine, the waiter came over to inform me that (in my best Italian accent) "pollo finite." What he meant was that they were out of chicken, and the meal I so patiently waited for was not coming. As a newbie, I was ridiculously anal about sticking exactly to the plan that my trainer gave me and nothing else on the menu even came close. And yes, I literally cried. True story. We laugh about it now, but at the time I was miserable. I traveled through Italy for two weeks moping and glancing over at everyone else's food with sad eyes like, "Poor dieting Patty. Don't you all feel sorry for me?" as if I was some kind of victim of my own diet choice. Luckily, I didn't have this mindset all the time. I know how miserable I was, and I knew I would never be able to fully commit to the lifestyle change that is so critical to long-term success in health and fitness if I didn’t change my attitude. Otherwise, I would eventually resent everything about it and failure would be inevitable.

That trip to Italy taught me how important my attitude is, and I will not allow myself to think that way ever again. Instead, I try not to lose sight of my reasons for wanting to get fit in the first place. If your reasons are strong enough (not just "because my significant other will like me better" etc.), you won't let yourself down. I also keep in mind all the reasons why I love my lifestyle. I love feeling good, having energy, sleeping well, and setting a good example for my kids. It lifts my mood, boosts my confidence, my clothes fit better, I'm better at doing other things I enjoy, reduces the risk of disease...the list goes on and on! I always try to keep in mind that this is my choice and there is nothing to feel sorry for whatsoever. (Although I will admit, I still have dreams of going back to Italy someday and eating everything I see! Ha!) But instead of being a diet martyr, I’m embracing it all, focusing on the positive, and grateful that I'm healthy enough to do what I love to do. As they say, "Attitude is the little thing that makes a big difference." I refuse to allow my attitude to sabotage my goals.

Keep your head up and keep smiling!

Patty Zariello
IFBB Figure Pro
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