As I was driving home from my workout the other day, I had this overwhelming sense of joy that my workout was over. I do love working out but I love how I feel right after I work out the most.
I started thinking about how the best part of so many things is the after. After a workout, after the pregnancy when the baby is finally here, after a project is finished, after the harvest of your garden.
Our weight loss is a journey with a “before,” “during,” and “after.” We also experience these things each moment along the way.
But what if you didn’t have to wait until after you lose weight to be happy? What if the best part was the part you’re in right now??
After you lose the weight
Think about your weight loss journey. Most of us think the “after” is the best part. After you’ve put in the work and you get to look in the mirror and see a new vision of you.
It is so much fun to be able to live in your new body that you’ve worked so hard for, to be able to get off medications you may have previously relied on to move in the world like you want to move, to sit in an airplane seat or a kayak and feel great, to be free from food chatter, to be eating food on your terms, and to be comfortable in your skin.
The “after” is amazing. What we forget is that “after” comes because of the “before” and the “during,” which may not feel like as much fun.
The reward comes only after the work. The reaping after the sowing. We have to start and we have to keep going in order to get the sweet “after.”
During the weight loss journey
For many of us, when looking at our weight loss journey, there’s no question – “during” is the worst part.
We hate the part where we have to say no to ourselves, where we must make changes that feel difficult, where we have to be accountable.
We think about all the missing out, the unfairness, the willpower, and the white knuckling, all wrapped up in your past failures and mistakes.
During the process feels like pain and suffering. It feels like it will never end.
I want you to try something that I find fascinating: Zoom in on a moment along the journey–say a moment you are having an urge for a brownie when there is no brownie on your plan.
The “before” part feels terrible as you run through the reasons you shouldn’t eat the brownie in your mind. The “after” feels even worse as you beat yourself up for being so weak and eating the brownie.
But the “during” — the eating of the brownie — feels like the best part. The taste is happening now, the experience our brain is craving is satisfied in that moment, and the influx of glucose is happening.
All the good feelings are happening “during,” but we know that this is a false pleasure. If we keep living for those false pleasure moments during eating, we will never make it to our after.
How to see what you’re capable of
I think the “during” part of your journey on your way from here to that “after” can actually be the best part, if you are willing to do it a little differently.
Discomfort comes from sacrificing the false pleasure of the moment for the life-long pleasure of living in the healthy body we want. But the discomfort can truly be the best part. Here’s why.
The “during” is where you can see what you’re capable of. That’s where you can learn from mistakes and move forward in a new way. It’s where you can learn to see your value separate from your weight.
It’s where you can open up to discomfort, where you can learn to invite urges in, leave desires unanswered, and instead, answer the desire for a future you that is strong, wise, and healthy.
What if the opposite is true?
When you think about your weight loss journey, what do you see as the best and worst part?
You may think the worst part is the “before” if you are eating without any regard to how it feels and beating yourself up and heaping on the self-loathing based on your eating choices and your image in the mirror.
You may think it’s the best part because you equate eating whatever and however much you want in any given moment as freedom, and you don’t want to feel restricted and miss out on eating things.
Either way, think about your current opinion and challenge yourself to see how the opposite might be true.
This could be done with almost anything: maybe it’s stepping on the scale, maybe it’s going to a party or an event where people are eating foods that are not on your plan that day, maybe it’s having a strong urge to escape your stress with chocolate and choosing to say no to yourself.
What’s the worst part of one of those moments?
Is it the before, during, or after?
What’s the best part? Why?
Go through each example and brainstorm how the opposite might be true. This is one of my favorite exercises for my own brain whenever I sense a strong opinion that may not be serving me.
I can still choose to keep my strong opinion, but I’ve at least stretched my brain to see some other options and opened my mind to other possibilities.
This kind of thought work is invaluable on your journey to losing weight for life. If you’re ready to get started, watch my free video on how to lose the first five pounds — and keep going.