The Danger of Before/After

As we are in the full on swing of 2022, 2020 v. 2, New Years, New Year’s Resolutions, and my ultimate favorite, “New Year, New You,” I first want to remind you that you are just as you are meant to be right now–amazing, intelligent, compassionate, loving, and excelling at being YOU.

The $70+ billion dollar diet industry is extremely loud in this season of the year, trying to convince you that how you exist right now is somehow wrong, and that your body is to be restricted, deprived, and manipulated in the name of “health.” It’s easy to fall prey to the temptation of the challenge, fix, product, or other shiny new way that these predators have labelled their diets.

I’m not going to lie and say I’ve never been a victim of those myself–if you scroll back far enough on my blog or some social platforms, you’ll see the very pride I took in “lifestyle change” to manipulate my body size with a parade of before and after photos. I won’t lie that I’ve spent the last 7+ years in dismantling my own bias around diets, diet culture, and the fallacy of intentional weight loss. Am I perfect in my language and understanding? Of course not, and it’s because I still continue my own personal and intentional inner work as I grow, change, and more studies (yes, science) comes available.

But here’s the deal, there’s a lot of things you can be focusing on right now that spur you to the place you want to be. I talk to a lot of people that are convinced it’s weight loss that will bring them what they desire, but when you break it down in conversation, it’s things like strength, stability, stamina, endurance, a different relationship with food, or changing a particular health outcome (ie: blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, chronic pain/conditions, etc) that is driving the motivation to lose weight. Let me be the one to tell you again (hopefully, I’m not the first), that none of these goals have anything to do with the scale or body mass index. They are incumbent on how you FEEL, and not the measure of your gravitational pull. Even goals such as achieving a particular aesthetic (*remembering that most of your inspiration is filtered, edited, and airbrushed) aren’t based on weight, it’s based on movement, nutrition, and (#sorrynotsorry to break this one to you) mostly genetics. While achieving a particular body size is still praised in the majority of society, remember that it isn’t long-lived. The studies are there that long-term intentional weight loss is not sustainable.

Now that I’ve got you in a cheery mood, let’s flip the script. As the noise is flooding you this time of year (and let’s face it, always), know that you don’t have to buy into the hype that your current body is a “before” and you are to be in pursuit of the “after.” Look at your body in the present moment, acknowledge it, appreciate it, and (a stretch for some of us still making peace with our bodies) love it. Take inventory of your body needs and desires to feel its best. Is it movement? Is it edifying nutrition that serves YOU? Maybe it’s rest, hydration, better stress management/coping skills, spiritual growth, or other things that have aren’t part of our physical wholeness.

Once you identify what it is that you need, that’s where your attention is to be spent–what are the goals, supports, and resources that empower you to feel how you want to feel and get those needs met? (Shameless plug: I have an e-learning course launching in a couple weeks to help you identify those things)

When we focus on how we want to feel and really hone in on those best supportive practices that aid us in getting there, we are free to release the shackles of diet culture and live as we were meant to live–in the present moment, not as a before chasing the after. You are worthy, perfect, and whole just as you are right now.

Originally posted by Stephanie Lueras, CPT, FNS on 1/4/2022 at https://stephanieunderconstruction.com/2022/01/04/the-danger-of-before-after/

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