When we think about where we’ve been, we’re asking ourselves, “Where did I start from and how far have I come?” Sometimes we get so lost in looking at how far away we are from our goal, that we forget to look at how much progress we’ve made. In the spirit of being our own best cheerleader, we want to acknowledge our accomplishments and give credit where credit is due. We also want to have more than one way of measuring progress. Are we only counting pounds and inches lost or gained, or are we noticing how much happier we are, that our relationships are better, that we feel more confident and at peace? Be sure to give yourself credit for all aspects of your life that have improved.
We can also look at what we might have overcome so far. What struggles have I had in the past that just don’t exist now? Is there something that used to always reduce me to tears, or make me feel guilty, that doesn’t trigger me anymore? Is there someone who used to always get a rise out of me, but who doesn’t bother me now? What have I been able to neutralize by removing the emotional charge that used to be associated with it? Be sure to mark your progress in any situation that is easier for you now than ever before.
What have I gained so far in the way of insights? Do I have a new understanding of my own motivations? Do I recognize some of the triggers that keep me in a pattern that slows my progress? Insights can pop for us at any time and about any aspect of our lives. Give yourself credit for the ways in which you have a new viewpoint or a different attitude because of the work you are doing to reach your weight goals.
What new habits of thought and action have I formed? Here at the Main Meal Weight Management Support we are all about change and about forming new habits. Take a good look back and recognize what habits of thought you’ve formed. Do you think of food as a choice rather than as something good or bad? Have you formed new habits in your daily life where food and exercise are concerned? Have you begun a habit of inspirational reading or meditation? Do you see yourself as whole and unbroken now rather than someone who needs to be fixed? Give yourself a gold star for every new habit you are practicing.
What habits of thought and action have I eliminated? This is a big one and goes hand in hand with the newly formed habits. Have you quit saying, “I’m so bad for eating ___,” or “I’m going to be a good person and eat _______?” Have you stopped judging every bite of food you eat? I’m sure you have stopped doing a lot of things you used to do and you feel much freer and happier for having dropped those habits of thought and action. Give yourself a lot of credit!
Am I having fun yet? Oh my gosh, this is a big one! The whole point of this is to enjoy our whole lives! We want to feast at the Main Meal of life, every aspect of life. Are my friendships happier because I pay attention to my friends instead of worrying about how I look or what I’m eating? Is my job more enjoyable because I can give it the focus it needs and not rob it with thoughts of what’s for lunch? Am I happier in my home life because I value the time spent with loved ones without obsessing with my weight and size? Am I tapping into joy and living my best life in every moment? Mark your progress with a great big celebration!
The biggest benefit of taking this look back to see where we’ve been is that we do find the successes and improvements we’ve made so far. We take a moment to honor ourselves, give ourselves a pat on the back, and most of all recognize that we are getting closer to our goals. We can get so caught up in our day to day activities that we don’t see the difference we’ve made in our own lives. It’s so valuable and so necessary to do this reassessment and to validate our progress.
Another benefit to taking a look at the journey so far is that we get a better idea of what we’d like to continue doing, thinking, and feeling and how we might make changes. We can ‘correct our course’ if we’ve taken one, or one too many, of those side trips to a roadside attraction. We take an honest look at what’s working for us and find a way to build more of that into our daily routines. We can also see what sidetracked us and figure out a way to avoid that or modify it, so it works for us instead of against us. As an example, did we find a healthy snack that was a good substitute for what we used to eat, but that has turned into something we can’t stop eating? Is this now something to eliminate, or can we find a way to modify how often we buy it? How do we make it work in our favor?
The caution in looking back is not to get caught up in what we wish we had done. There’s no future and there’s no happiness in regret. The idea is to make an honest assessment of where we were, where we’ve been and what we’ve been doing between then and now. By looking at it as all part of who we are, we can make adjustments where necessary and keep making progress. When we can take the regret off the journey, (and by regret, I mean guilt) we become more authentic to ourselves. We allow ourselves to make progress or to stand still, to move backward and to move forward in honesty and integrity. We don’t become paralyzed in self-doubt or in beating ourselves up for not being ‘better’ than we are. Accepting who we are and where we are allows us to continue to move and grow.
So, take a deep breath and look at where you’ve been. I’m pretty sure you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how far you’ve come, and the journey ahead won’t feel nearly as long.