I was recently thinking about how the best part of so many things in life is the after. After a workout, after the pregnancy, or after an event when all the planning and entertaining is over. But what I realized is that many people wouldn’t necessarily agree with me, and today, I’m inviting you to stretch your brain to see that you always have an option for what you choose to see as the best part.
Your weight loss journey has a before, during, and an after. For many of you, there’s no question that the “during” part is the worst. You hate having to say no, making changes, and being accountable, and it feels like the suffering will never end. But I believe that this part can be the best part by far, and I’m posing some questions to you so you can start shifting your perspective too.
Listen in this week as I demonstrate the concept of “the best part” by laying it out to you on micro and macro levels. It can be so profound to question why you might see any part of a journey – whether it’s related to weight loss or not – as the best part, and challenging your current opinion is going to open you up to so many other possibilities.
This is Weight Loss Success with Natalie Brown, episode 45.
Welcome to Weight Loss Success with Natalie Brown. If you’re a successful woman who is ready to stop struggling with your weight, you’re in the right place. You’ll learn everything you need to know to lose weight for the last time in bitesize pieces. Here’s your host, certified life and weight coach Natalie Brown.
Hello everybody. As I was driving home from my workout the other day, I had this overwhelming sense of joy that my workout was over. I love working out, don’t get me wrong, but I love how I feel right after I work out the most.
And so 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. And what I realized is that many people would disagree with me. They would say the best part is before, or maybe during, and the after is the worst part.
Our weight loss is a journey with a before, a during, and an after. And we experience the before, during, and after of each moment along the way. I have clients who have dread in each of those moments, and some that experience joy in one and dread in the others.
So I wanted to present the case, pros and cons for each, just to stretch your mind out of wherever it may be stuck right now. I’m going to offer you a different perspective, some optional thoughts in several areas, so you can see how what you may be thinking is the worst part could actually be the best part, depending on what lens you choose to see it through.
You always have an option. And the thought option you choose will always dictate how you feel and how you show up. What you do and don’t do. And that will determine your ultimate results.
Like I said, my brain thinks the after is the best part of my workout. I’ve kept my commitment to myself at that point, I’ve pushed my lungs, my heart, and muscles, I’ve said yes to doing something for me and my future self, I feel the benefit of increased serotonin, and it’s over. I can check it off my life for the day.
I think the after is the best part of a hike too. Well, the after the uphill part. Does anyone love Jimmy Fallon like I do? If you do, you know he does thank you notes on Friday where he pretends to write thank you notes to random things and people and it’s hilarious.
One of my favorites was this. “Thank you hiking, you’re the perfect past time for people who like walking but wish it was harder and there were more things in the day.” This is a little bit how I feel about hiking. I live at the base of the majestic Rocky Mountains, so I know it’s practically blasphemy to say I don’t particularly love hiking, but here I am saying it.
I do love when I get to the top though. After I have climbed. Because where I live, and occasionally hike, there’s always a breathtaking view. A beautiful mountain lake, something amazing to enjoy. And then all that’s left is the downhill, which is a breeze.
I also think that the best part of big events I’m in charge of is the after it’s over. I have nothing left to do, I’m done running errands and preparing and checking items off, I’ve entertained, and I’ve fed the people, and now I get to climb back into my introvert cave and rest.
On the flip side, some people disagree. They think the saddest part of the event is when it’s over, when everyone leaves and all there’s left is cleanup. There’s a particular time when I think that after is the worst part. It’s Christmas night, as I’m going to sleep, knowing that I have 365 days in front of me until the magic of next Christmas.
Some people think the before is the best part, like the before a vacation or wedding or fun event, when they get to dream and plan and research and discover and look forward to something. And there is a physiological explanation for this.
Dopamine works to reward us with pleasure after we take certain actions, but it also starts ramping up in anticipation of us doing something pleasurable. Anticipatory dopamine is a reward in and of itself that encourages us to keep moving toward and making that pleasurable thing a reality.
The food, the vacation, sex, et cetera. I love the quote from The Little Prince. “If you come at four in the afternoon, I’ll begin to be happy by three.” Our anticipation, the before feels like fun in and of itself.
So think about your weight loss journey. Most of you 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. And that 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, to be comfortable in your skin.
To know what food feels like in your body and how much you need and be maintaining your weight effortlessly. The after is amazing. What we forget is that after only comes after 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.
For many of you, when looking at your weight loss journey, there’s no question. During is the worst part. You may have some before dread in getting started, but it’s usually because you hate the during part so much.
You hate the part where you have to say no to yourself, where you have to make changes that feel difficult, where you have to be accountable. You 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, and like it will never end. It’s fascinating though, if we zoom into a moment along the journey, let’s say a moment you are having an urge for a brownie when there is no brownie on your plan, the before you eat it part feels terrible as you run through the reasons you shouldn’t in your mind, and then the after feels even worse as you beat yourself up for being so weak and eating the brownie.
But during, during the eating of the brownie feels like the best part. The taste is happening now, the experience our brain is craving, the influx of glucose is happening during. So any feeling good is happening during the eating by default, even though it is a false and fleeting pleasure.
During the eating feels like the best part momentarily but makes the rest kind of the worst. Because if we keep living for those false pleasure moments during eating, we will never make it to our after. We have to choose to see the discomfort during the journey, the discomfort that comes from sacrificing the false pleasure of the moment for the life-long pleasure of living in the healthy body we want as the best part.
I think the middle part of your journey on your way from here to that after can be the best part by far, if you are willing to do it a little differently. That 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. That is where you can learn to see your value separate from your weight. That is where you can open up to discomfort, where you can learn to invite urges in, leave desire for brownies unanswered, and answer instead the desire for a future you that is strong, wise, and healthy.
What if we valued the before and the during as much as value the after? We can choose to think that during is the worst part and the after is the best but notice how difficult it makes the work when we think it’s the worst part.
So let’s think about this concept of before, during, and after on a micro and macro level and do some investigating. When you think about the before of your weight loss journey, before you get started, you may be there right now, do you see it as the best part or the worst part? Why?
You may think it’s the worst part 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 for someone else, perhaps. So the worst is actually the best and vice versa.
Think about during your weight loss journey. Best part or worst part? Why? Think about your current opinion and how the opposite might be true. Think about your after. Worst part or best part? Why? Can you see how the opposite might be true there?
Now let’s zoom into the moments along the way. 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? Before, during, or after? What’s the best part? Before, during, or after? 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 maybe isn’t serving me. I like to ask how could the opposite be true?
I can still choose to keep my strong opinion, but I’ve at least stretched my brain to see some other options and opened up my mind to other possibilities. Okay my friends, have the merriest of Christmases and the happiest of holidays. I’ll see you soon.
Thanks for listening to this week’s episode of Weight Loss Success with Natalie Brown. If you want to learn more about how to lose weight for the last time, come on over to itbeginswithathought.com. We’ll see you here next week.