Everybody loves before and after pictures. They confirm our secret belief that personal transformation is a kind of magical lightning bolt thing: We make one big effort, there’s a brilliant flash of light, and we arise from the ashes of our tired, imperfect bodies, fit, glowing, and beautiful.
I don’t mean to say we can’t transform, I just mean that the path to get there is rarely ever straightforward. And it’s NEVER a one shot deal. Just ask anyone who’s ever regained lost weight.
I’m going to give you a new definition of transformation. It’s not sexy, and it doesn’t fill me personally with inspirational fire, but it’s the truth, and I think the truth trumps fantasy every time: Radical transformation is a series of small consistent steps over time.
It’s one foot in front of the other, over and over again. Once you step on the path of change, you quickly discover that it’s more like a labyrinth than a straight road –sometimes you move forward, sometimes backward. But when you’ve committed, you’re always moving toward the goal at the center: conscious personal evolution.
As you explore the labyrinth, it may be helpful to adjust your expectations about what progress looks like in this world of lifestyle change. If you know that the ride is bumpy, that the path will involve some backsliding as well as forward motion, then you’ll be less likely to feel discouraged and give up when you hit a snag. Because eventually, even if things go great for you from the start, you will hit a snag. Or even two.... or twenty.
You can feel happy when you do, because that’s your chance to take your efforts beyond just another trend du jour. You will know that that struggle is the signal to go deeper, to start again with a clean slate, or to just put your head down and plow on through it. On a diet, ninety percent of us hit a bump, throw it out as a lost cause, and tune back in to Oprah or Self to see what other weight loss scheme they have to throw our way. That’s a big part of the reason diets don’t work.
So drop your membership to the diet-and-fitness-trend-of-the-month club once and for all. Instead, commit to making a series of realistic gradual adjustments over time to improve your eating and exercise habits. And consider making these gradual changes permanent.
No matter how things go each day, when you go to bed wipe the slate clean and start fresh in the morning. This isn’t a fad, it’s your life –you have to recommit daily, sometimes hourly, or even minute-to-minute. Transforming habits is a marathon, not a sprint. So don’t shoot for perfection –there’s no such thing. Just work hard, very hard, to keep taking small consistent steps over time. Try to stay curious rather than judgmental, focused on the positive (what’s working), rather than the negative (what’s not working), and above all, be kind and patient with yourself (remember how long it took you to build the body you have now!)
Welcome to the labyrinth. Want more? Check out The Clean Food Coach Facebook Page for tons of tips, tricks and recipes for prepping clean, whole foods in tasty, innovative and easy ways.