“Results not typical.” There’s a reason for that small-print disclaimer on advertisements for popular weight loss schemes: for every person who experiences lasting success on most commercial weight loss programs, there are many more who are starting again from scratch. There are plenty of reasons why we don’t experience long-term satisfaction from these programs, but the before-and-after photos keep inspiring us to see if maybe, this time, we are the ones who will strike gold.
In a recent conversation with a client, we talked about the twisty, winding road that leads to permanent health and body transformation. Marketing companies and social media posts make it easy to believe that a new life is a quick 30 or 90 days away, and have the photos to prove it. Just look at the inches lost and sizes dropped! And then, she made me very proud. She said, “my before and after pictures would have to be of my brain.”
Friends, there are times when you work really hard, taking two steps forward and one step back, take the long road to success, and do the inside work for months before anything shows up in the mirror, and it can seem like you’re not actually making any progress. But then you start noticing things, like the time you got excited about a bowl of ice cream and it was just okay. Or when on Sunday night you realize that you don’t feel sluggish from a weekend of overdoing it. And it feels weird to hear yourself order a side salad instead of french fries or say, “nah, I’m good,” to that second beer. Guess what? Those are your before-and-afters.
If you’re taking the winding path, the one that looks more like a roller coaster than a bridge to change, I challenge you to discover your own before-and-afters this week. Notice when you are doing something that is different from what you would have done before, and snap a mental picture of it.
When you jog the stretch of road that you used to walk, take a mental picture.
When you pass by the mashed potatoes and get two scoops of broccoli, snap a pic.
When you don’t listen to the voice that nudges you towards the pantry in those times when you’re nervous or anxious or just feeling antsy...remember that.
Keep those mental images with you so when everyone else is showcasing their body before and after their latest diet, you can appreciate the before and after of your life.
Now, yes, I know you want your body to look better too. We all do! It is part of being human. And I guarantee you, if you keep making progress along that crazy, crooked path, your results will be visible on the outside, too. And when that happens, post a picture for everyone to see so we can all cheer for you! That is hard work and it deserves appreciation.
But don’t discount the before-and-after transformation that you can’t take a picture of, the one that no one else really sees. The milestones you reach might not be measured in inches and pounds for a while, and that’s okay. It can be a really good thing when your results are not typical.