The photo above is my before and after photo. It's me at the beach- making this, my beach body and me, beach body ready!
This picture was taken in Costa Rica, before my spring tour, before my cookbook was sent off to print, before my husband and I bought our first home, before my book comes out, before I one day have children, and before hundreds of other awesome, challenging, rewarding, exciting, mundane, and unknown life adventures.
It's just the before though. No one ever really cares about before photos, except to compare them to how much better the after is.
So maybe my after photo will be better.
I haven't picked up on the latest and seemingly awesome work out craze (though I am very tempted, what with all the new dancing vibes I've been seeing). It's impossible to escape what's happening but it is amazing. Large groups of people are being motivated to get off their tushies and move in a way that makes them feel strong, fit, healthy and empowered. Go forth and burpie it on up. I love that these workouts also allow people to stop, drop and crunch just about anywhere - no machines, gadgets, big investments or gurus needed. It's working.
I don't personally have a desire to change my body to have an amazing after photo. That photo above? That's also my after photo and I'm proud of the progress I've made. There is no thigh gap, there never has been. I have some extra softness at the hips and maybe the waist too, depending on how tightly you hug me, but I don't think that's the best reflection of my after. I am small at five feet tall, and most people who meet me for the first time comment on this. I'm okay with that. That's just me, or at least just surface stuff.
But that photo is my after, too. After living my life for 35+ years.
That's me after ten days playing in Costa Rica and one month after I coached the first round of the Awesome Life Detox. That's me after my manuscript for my second book when to be type-set for print.
This is me one year after I launched the Academy of Culinary Nutrition. That is me two and a half years after I got married. This is three years after my dad kicked cancer, and five years after he was diagnosed. This is me six years after I started dating the man I would marry and seven years after I started my business. That photo is me nine years after healing from an incurable disease that often leaves sufferers malnourished, depleted, and in chronic pain. This is me 11 years after I backpacked solo through Africa and fifteen years after my mom and I were having dinner at a restaurant in the south of France and broke out in giggles that soon had the entire restaurant in hysterics. This is me twenty-five years after I moved from Winnipeg to Toronto.
We all have our before and after photos. We go through life in this body, and this body will change as we pick up and drop off experiences. I have a variety of before and after photos of myself at all different times in my life as I went about figuring out what diet and lifestyle worked best for me. Comparing those photos to each other shows me that my life keeps evolving and changing. That's it.
We can track our progress by how how comfortable we are in our own skin. That's part of self confidence- but only a part of our after story. We can also track our progress by the thoughts we have in the morning, and the ones that accompany us to sleep at night. We can see how we're getting on by the conversations we have, the meals we make for ourselves, the books we read, the places we go and the people we meet. We can evaluate our physical health by how our jeans fit but also add to that how well we're digesting our food, how deeply we're sleeping, and how filled with love and laughter our life is.
All of these things are what will ultimately bring us the most beautiful, awakening, inspiring before and after photos. Even better than before and after, the best, in fact, is right now. Being present for the process is where the real magic lies.
It's up to you to do what you need, in order to love what you see when you look in the mirror. How's that for a #transformationtuesday?