Let’s face it: Before and After photos sell.
They sell the promise of a slim jawline, thin thighs, and a flat stomach.
They sell the promise of never-ending happiness and a successful life.
But they don’t always tell the whole truth.
Beyond the good lighting, spray tans, and oil-glistened skin, you have no idea what it took to get that body—or what it will take to keep it.
So, before you go comparing yourself negatively to someone’s “After” photo, consider what that particular “look” may be costing that person.
Does it take extreme restriction to get that flat stomach?
Does it take enduring constant hunger to get that slim jawline?
Do they suffer from self-hate, telling themselves that their thighs still aren’t thin enough?
And what will happen after the cleanse is over, or they stop taking the pills, or stop drinking the shakes and go back to eating real food?
You and I both know what happens. We know because we’ve been there.
Keep this in mind the next time you notice yourself being seduced by Before and After photos. Keep in mind, too, that there is little room for that promised happiness when restriction, constant hunger, and self-hate are your daily companions.
Instead of the usual kinds of photos we see, I wish we had images celebrating the vibrant energy of those who have succeeded in cultivating a healthy relationship with food and with their body after years of diet hell. Sure, they may not always look like the hard-bodies in the glossy photos, but they radiate with the glow of genuine happiness as they enjoy the long-term results they continue to create from a place of truly loving themselves.
I would much rather have that any day.
How about you?
If you long to have a peaceful relationship with food and your body, but you need help ending the “Binge-Diet-Binge” cycle, contact me here and let’s talk! I have some coaching spots available… is one of them yours?
Have you ever tasted something and didn’t like it, but then finished it anyway because you paid for it, only to feel unsatisfied and then eat something else on top of it even though you were no longer hungry? I know I have. This can be an unconscious way we overeat because we tend to forget about consuming the food we didn’t like and only register the food we did. But your body knows what you consumed, and it now has to deal with the excess it didn’t need. That excess often gets stored as body fat.
I used to do this a lot until I understood why: Any time you continue eating something you don’t like, it’s because you have a belief driving that action.
The minute you realize you don’t like what you’re eating, do you hear thoughts in your head like these?
“That was expensive.”
“I already bought it, so I might as well finish it.”
“I don’t want to waste my money.”
We believe that we’re somehow “saving money” by consuming the food or drink rather than throwing it away. But here is something to consider: Aren’t you and your health worth more than the cost of that item?
Let’s do some math on a recent experience I had to give you some perspective on what I’m talking about. One Friday night I treated myself to a bottle of wine that cost $15.00. I had one generous glass that was nice, but it didn’t knock my socks off, plus I felt really run down the next morning. Still, there was about three generous glasses left and I contemplated finishing the bottle over the weekend “because I paid for it.”
The next day, I used my free coupon at Peet’s Coffee and tried out a Pumpkin Spice latte for the very first time. After three sips, I found that I didn’t like it at all. I thought about finishing it because I didn’t want to “waste my free coupon,” but then I thought better of myself and decided to pour the latte down the drain. While I was at it, I poured the rest of the bottle of wine down the drain, too. I didn’t love it, and I didn’t like the way I felt after drinking it. I did the math and decided that I was worth more than $11.25.
Do your own math the next time you don’t like what you’re eating or drinking and then really look at that number.
When you hear your mind say, “That was expensive,” tell yourself:“I am worth more than that.”
When you hear your mind say, “I already bought it, so I might as well finish it,” tell yourself: “I am worthy of food and drink that taste awesome to me.”
When you hear your mind say, “I don’t want to waste my money,”tell yourself: “It is never a waste of money to honor myself.”
Not making yourself consume food or drink you don’t like is honoring yourself.
Not overeating is honoring yourself.
Recognizing that you are worth more than $4.99 (or whatever) is honoring yourself.
And if you can’t give the item away to someone who would enjoy it more than you, remember that wasting it in the trash is always better than wasting in your body.
If you’ve been following my work for a while, you know that my coaching practice is focused on helping people free themselves from their joy-crushing diet mentality mindset. Though I am anti-diet, I’m all for supporting a client’s desire to lose weight and improve their health by addressing their habit of emotional eating. What I’m not into are shortcuts and quick fixes.
If you have a past history of dieting like me, you know all too well what happens when you go on a crash diet, over-exercise, or rely on shakes, pills, or cleanses to drop pounds quickly. Those actions are not sustainable and you either quit, or you quit and you binge in response to the immense deprivation you just put yourself through. You eventually end up where you started—or heavier than before. This is why taking shortcuts is the long way around, and the only thing that ends up lighter is your wallet.
I know, I know… you’ve heard it a million times, but it’s true: When it comes to making long-term changes in your body, there are no quick fixes—it has to be a lifestyle change. Any new habits you choose to practice have to be consistent and sustainable in order to keep the results you create. As you begin to develop your desired self-care routine, ask yourself these questions:
- Do I feel mentally and physically awesome when I do this?
- Am I willing to do this for the rest of my life to maintain the results I create?
Now, when you first begin something, like adding in exercise after you’ve been sedentary for a while, then yeah, it might not feel awesome right away. In that case, give yourself time for your body and mind to adjust before evaluating its place in your life. Otherwise, if the answer to these questions is NO, and you’re going to eventually quit, then why put yourself through it in the first place? Why not spend that same effort and energy on a strategy that works? What’s that you ask? The answer is consistent, loving self-care.
Listen, you are worth way more than shortcuts that don’t work. Time is going to pass anyway, so instead of taking two steps forward and three steps back the quick-fix way, I invite you to focus on taking consistent half-steps forward by adding in small, sustainable changes to your self-care routine. Please don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to change everything all at once! Just focus on adding in ONE THING and keep practicing that until it becomes automatic. Then add in another and repeat the process.
In a world of perfectionism and all-or-nothing thinking, believe me when I tell you that taking half-steps forward is absolutely good enough. Taking those half-steps forward will lead you to a very different place than if you keep taking several steps back, or if you don’t take any steps at all.
What is the half-step forward you’ll be taking today? Whatever it is, know that it is good enough. And know that you are more than good enough. You are awesome! I invite you to treat yourself as such—today and every day.