FOOD, MIND, WORKOUT 25th January 2016

Pushing for Injury: The Psychology of Setbacks


Last week I found out I have tendonitis in my right wrist and today will mark six days since I lifted any kind of weight. Usually I’m the first to say things happen for a reason, but on this occasion the only thought replaying in my mind was ‘why me?’.

On Tuesday I received the diagnosis: ‘De Quervains Tenosynovitis’ which is inflammation between the thumb and wrist. (De Quervain is the French doctor who first discovered it). The doc said I should be fine within a month and to wear a hand brace.

On Thursday, I spent hours researching the condition and printed off a textbooks worth of material. Reading through I learned that a brace is only beneficial at the acute stages of an injury but beyond that can weaken muscle tissue. I opted to compromise and only wear mine at night (it was too impractical to wear during the day anyway, just look at it!). Into the evening, my mind dwelled on healing modalities, recovery times, alternative exercises and diet adjustments and I headed to the gym for a spin on the Stairmaster….. cardio was all I had.

On Friday an IG post caught my eye, it said:

‘When something goes wrong take a moment to reflect on everything that’s going right.’

This quote was not only appropriate for me but also gave me the reality check I needed.  However, woe was still me and I couldn’t shake it off. I wasn’t critically ill or bed bound so why was I feeling this way and why was I unable to practice the daily gratitude routine I am normally so consistent with?  I looked to Google for answers:


‘‘Injuries can be devastating to individuals who are consistently active and/or are training for an event or ongoing participation in a sport. The physical repercussions are usually apparent, but the emotional and psychological sequelae are often less obvious.’’

In this blog, the writer Dr. Allison Belger, founder of PsychologyWOD goes on to list six emotional responses to injuries:

1.  Isolation
2. Anxiety
3. Fear of Re-injury
4. Depression
5. Low Self-Esteem
6. Paradoxical Sense of Relief

OK, I can safely say I related to three of the above on some level and it was comforting to know my response wasn’t out of the ordinary. This is when I came to the conclusion that if you are passionate about something of course you feel crushed when unknown fates take control of your life. I take my training very seriously and make it my business to work as hard as I can, with the best trainers I can access. Therefore when it all comes to a grinding halt, damn right I should be down, its an insult to myself if I’m not. But this is where I take a cue from my friend Zain’s twenty four hour rule.  The rule is simple: For one day, let yourself be down, talk about it, be sad, but come tomorrow that ends.  You cannot let negative thought patterns dominate for more than twenty four hours or else they become habitual enough for the law of attraction to kick in and cause you to miss that train, get stuck in traffic or wait forever in line at Whole Foods. Essentially, you are what you think and it is crucial to think positively especially when your circumstances are not.

With that said, this weekend was one long snow day here in the city and as I stood in line at D’agastino’s I couldn’t help but notice the carts of my fellow New Yorkers. The snow day bought with it an urgent need for Haagen Dasz, Doritos and wine for my neighbors. But that wasn’t going to be me, because while its easy to give zero f*cks to the diet when you’re injured, it’s vitally important to eat as well as you must think (google Louise Hay of Hay House publishing, a remarkable woman we can all learn from when the chips are down …. her chips were waaaaaay below where I am right now).  And if you were wondering, my cart consisted of  free-range eggs, greek yoghurt and apples. These were my emergency supplies for Jonas.

So what now? Initially I was mad because those five consecutive wide grip pull ups I worked so hard for, risk being one. My squat had turned a corner and I was getting depth and ATG (#ASSTOGRASS for the uninformed). But in both cases, I know I can get back in no time if I stay strong mentally and do everything in my control to stay active.  I push for health on a physical level and must maintain it on a mental level too.

The morale of the story for me is this:

An injury is JUST a setback; nothing more and nothing less.

I’ll be back next week to update you on my progress!  Also, please note I changed my blog frequency to once a week to allow for quality content and time to research. Though if I cook something BOMB.COM I’ll be sharing it for sure!

As always, Pushing for Health,

Sukhey x