What?? What are you even talking about Carrie? That’s what you’re saying, right?
I’m talking about the assumption that when you achieve the goal/hit the mark/finish the process, that you will feel elated. And you probably will…and that’s great! But having reached a few significant goals in my life, I’d have to say that while the achievement felt great it was the WHOLE of my accomplishment and the lessons learned along the way that held the most value to me…THAT stuff was the best part to me.
We’ve all heard the expression “Enjoy the process!” And we’ve probably all at one time responded in our head…or even out loud…with “Yeah, right! The process sucks! I just want to be there already!” I get it. I so, so, so, so, soooooo-oooo get it! Particularly in the realm of weight loss, I get it. At all other attempts to lose weight in my life–with the notable exception of what I began in 2010–I only had one thing on my mind: reaching my goal weight as fast as possible.
Sadly, I had nothing on my radar about learning…myself, about food, or movement…nothing! My whole focus was only the final prize: my goal weight! *you know the place where angels sing and a ray of light filters over your sublimely happy face and you hear ah-ahh-aaaahhhhh*
Until this last, and very different, go-round I never got to the happy place and here’s why: I didn’t care about learning!
I didn’t care about long-term. I only wanted to lose weight, be thin, and then return to “normal.” I didn’t consider HEALTH is my equation. To me “normal” meant not worrying about what I was eating or if I exercised. Normal meant not eating vegetables all the damn time. Normal meant eating any damn thing I wanted, whenever I wanted.
The “in-between” time of losing weight was only a temporary stepping stone to get me back to normal. Oddly, I thought back then if I just lost the weight and got skinny, THEN I could eat whatever and stay that way. Somehow or other I had this delusional idea that skinny people ate whatever the hell they wanted in whatever quantity and stayed skinny.
Wack-a-doodle doesn’t begin to describe it!!
July 2010: the time I began bootcamp and began, in earnest, a journey of weight loss AND long term health improvement AND personal development.
What did I do different this time than before??
Quite a few things as it turns out, but my mindset at the start was totally different than any other time prior.
First, I was prepared this was going to take a long time…at least a year.
Real change…learning and then applying and internalizing said change…takes time. You don’t accomplish “internalizing” in a monthly challenge or 21 day program or 3 day detox. You need to take time to learn. TIME!!
Second, I wasn’t going to tackle weight loss with any “sold and told” program or gimmick-y thing.
I was going to figure out how to do it MY way so I only had to lose weight one…last…time! If I was going to work that effing hard to change then I wasn’t going back again to repeat the process. In fact, now that I’m writing this and thinking about it, perhaps that was one of my stumbling blocks before: the hard work.
I had done lots of gimmicks and they hadn’t worked long-term. I had never tried to change my habits, and I also didn’t have to dig very deep to get some sort of result. I could stick to something short-term without too much discomfort and still lose some weight.
This last time though, I worked very hard and very diligently to change. I’m certain that extraordinary effort has cemented something inside me: the lessons run deep and I don’t want to go back and rebuild. Ever. Again.
Third, it wasn’t going to suck and feel depriving.
I completely understood and accepted that I needed to eat differently, but I also was not going to give up cookies. Whatever I tried would include cookies…because a life without cookies just isn’t worth living! 😉
So with my mind in a totally different space at the beginning than it had been in my previous endeavors I began to work my ass off: both literally and figuratively. I pushed myself at every bootcamp workout and focused on IMPROVEMENTS: from how long I could hold a plank, to achieving a toe pushup, to not being in the last group of finishers during a sprint.
I systematically worked to implement new eating habits: from decreasing my soda intake, to eating out less, to phasing out processed foods in my cooking, to eating more protein and less grain.
Deprivation was not part of the plan. I ate bacon, butter, ice cream, pizza, chips, and alcohol all along my weight loss journey (I still eat all those things, in fact!). Yep, I had to work super hard to learn to eat all those things in a moderate manner. Yep, I had to fight through cravings after dinner and learn to eat for hunger.
Those things were difficult and required effort, but the whole process didn’t suck from start to finish. I was learning and improving!! I could feel it and I could feel the momentum building! It was exciting as I learned and improved and felt better, both inside and out. It wasn’t something awful that I felt I was enduring to reach the finish line.
Change takes work…a LOT of effing hard work! It takes a ton of energy to give pause to your current habits and think before you automatically do what you’ve always done. But…But…Buh-uuuut….if you can:
- find patience
- focus on what you are doing better as you’re “in the trenches”
- shift your focus away from only the final result
- and trust yourself and the process
then you can EMBRACE the change rather than ENDURE it.
Embrace versus endure!
Embrace the small victories for they are the foundation of what will come.
Embrace each day and look for the growth that you made on that single day.
Embrace the wins.
When you are focused on all the small positive things you are doing, there is no room for enduring, just simple enjoyment (of the process)!
See?? It IS possible to enjoy the process! 🙂