I was reminiscing today about when I started working a few years ago and its impact on my kids. I had told them I would start a coaching business but that I would be doing it while they were at school, and it wouldn’t impact them. At first, they weren’t upset at all and were fine with the idea.
Well, a few months in, they sat me down and said, “It’s impacting us.” I remember that I thought it was both adorable and annoying that they had taken my words and were now using them against me to complain.
I obviously couldn’t blame them for their feelings because they are valid, whether they’re annoying me or not.
For their whole lives, I had been able to say yes for the most part. I was super involved in volunteering in their classrooms and their activities. I drove them everywhere and did a lot of things for them. My time was dedicated largely to meeting their needs and taking care of them and my household.
When I started my business, there were naturally some things I had to say no to more often than before.
At first, they felt the high contrast of me going from being available nearly all the time to my new, more limited availability.
Fast forward three years and they’ve grown up a lot. They’ve gotten used to it and accepted this as the new normal. None of them bat an eye when I am not available. The contrast isn’t as high for them anymore.
They have seen that not only can they survive it, which they doubted in the beginning, but that we’re all better when we support each other in reaching for our individual dreams.
I’ve also learned how to better balance my life to take advantage of time with them and take care of myself and my business.
The impact of change
I see a parallel here in changing up our food, taking care of our bodies, and learning how to manage our minds differently.
When we make changes, at first it feels like a shock. I watch my clients spend time feeling a little lost, out of whack, and confused. It’s impacting us, as my kids would say.
We’re able to come to terms with it eventually, but it takes some growing up and some getting used to it. It takes some acceptance and time spent finding balance.
You may not be thinking that balance fits here, but when we’re eating without regard to how our body feels and without consideration of how our actions now are impacting our body’s future, we are out of balance.
When we’re focused only on our in-the-moment pleasure and not on long-term well being, we are out of balance.
My experience going from comfort to discomfort
When we try to make changes to restore balance, of course our brain is going to complain. It feels so different and uncertain. The contrast is high.
I’ve also had moments of my brain complaining and protesting this new normal. The contrast was high for me as well. I was a full-time mom for 16 years. I loved it so much. It was my choice, and it’s what I wanted to do. It was such a gift to be able to do it.
When I put my youngest child on the bus for the first day of first grade, I started thinking about my life differently. I considered what kind of contribution I wanted to make in the world in addition to the one I was making in my little family.
At first it was hard. I participated in a year-long business mentoring program that started in the fall of 2018.
We kicked off the year with a week-long in-person workshop in Dallas where we created our websites, Facebook ads, and our marketing funnels. We worked hard to set our businesses up for success over the next year.
Some rules were governing our time in the program. We were required to work 40 hours a week and carefully plan our time and turn in our weekly schedules every Monday for the week ahead.
My very first day of this 40-hour work week schedule happened to be a Monday that my kids had off school. Usually, on days off of school I would have been with them, hanging out, going to lunch, taking them and their friends somewhere fun, but I was working instead.
At the end of the day, I laid in my bed and cried. I remember thinking, “What have I done?”
I think it was some mourning that the era of my kids being little and needing to be my primary focus was over.
There was also the unknown of this new phase where they were going to keep growing up and living their own lives and I wanted to occupy my own space in the world.
Part of my emotion was also just being sad because I loved being with them and sitting in my office and working seemed like me having to give that up at that moment.
It’s always our choice
This is what our brains offer us when we make a change—a bunch of thoughts about it not being our choice.
Thoughts like we have to give up our favorite foods and our freedom to lose weight.
But it’s always our choice.
I chose to seek out my passion, work toward a goal, and learn what I was capable of. No one was making me. My tears that night were mostly about me moving into discomfort from comfort.
What you think is freedom is not freedom
Most of us experience moving from comfort to discomfort on our weight loss journeys.
We mourn eating whatever, whenever, and however because we often see that as freedom. We feel like we have to give that up.
One thing that I see happening with my clients is some mourning over food no longer working as an escape from difficult feelings.
Now that they know it doesn’t solve things for them, they can’t use it as their go-to. It just doesn’t work as effectively anymore.
It felt so much easier when they could just go into the bag of chips or the bottle of wine and feel temporarily better.
Now the curtain is open wide and they see that it’s no longer working. They see that it didn’t make things easier in reality, but more challenging in the end.
I also felt that I was giving up freedom with my time. Previously I could do whatever whenever, but now I had this structure governing how I spent my time.
This is a trap we fall into: believing that freedom is overeating or not having a schedule. But the truth is that we actually create MORE freedom in our bodies and with our time when we’re intentional about it.
True freedom around food
I had this human desire to create and improve and contribute differently, but without intentional focus and some loving limits, my brain just wanted to choose easy.
I wanted to do what I had always done, without regard to the results. My only focus was comfort at the moment.
Having some structure to my time and learning to choose what I wanted most over being comfortable at the moment paid dividends for the future.
I’m more intentional about how I spend my time and more grateful for it. Doing hard things, setting goals, and working through struggles creates strength, capability and so much freedom on the other side.
Eating whatever you want at the moment without thought or consideration of the impact on your body feels fun and carefree. It feels like it skips the hard of saying no to ourselves.
But it creates a lot of hard in the end. It makes it hard to move, hard to trust yourself, hard to believe you can keep commitments and take care of yourself.
The other side
On the other side of this experience, I have a healthy, thriving business and healthy relationships with my kids and myself.
I expect the contrast to be high and the discomfort to be there when I’m embarking on something new.
I’ve learned so much about how to keep commitments to myself and take the best care of myself and my family. I can show up so much better for them because I’m taking care of me.
I have the bonus of having this beautiful business and this life I’ve created where I get to contribute to the world and fulfill a greater purpose and help people.
I love setting an example for my kids as well. I’m showing them that working hard at something, stepping outside of your comfort zone, pushing yourself to do hard things, and going through the growing pains of all that is worth it.
Notice high contrast points
So here’s my challenge for you today: notice where the contrast is high on your weight loss journey and find out why.
- What feels uncomfortable that once felt comfortable?
- What is that discomfort in service of? What makes it worth it in the end?
- What are you learning as a result of the discomfort, or what are you moving toward?
- Notice the places where the contrast once was high, but it has mellowed out as you have changed the ways you perceive it or how you’re showing up for it.
- What feels comfortable that once felt uncomfortable? Was there a time where you thought this was impossible?
I like to reflect on these things and take note of it for the future.
What does balance look like in the different aspects of your journey? Where do you notice things are out of balance? How might you bring them back into balance?
Balance doesn’t always look like equal parts of everything. Balance is created individually and discovered with trial and error and over time.
It will be different for me than it is for you. We all need to find what balance is to us in whatever season we happen to be in.
When you’re in it you can’t see the end. But when you get on the other side of it, you can look back and see how you have grown and changed.
Keep going, keep raising awareness, keep investigating, and it will change.
When you’re ready to get started on your weight loss journey, watch my free video on how to lose the first five pounds — and keep going.