We love a good makeover, don’t we? It’s a concept built in to our culture from the time we are children. We see Cinderella go from cleaning lady to princess. The Beauty’s Beast goes from hairy and scary to smooth and suave. Think about all of the shows making over human and house; from one extreme to another, all we need is a magic wand and it all becomes new. We need the “Before” so that we can get to the “After”.
Sure, there can be some reluctance at the brink of change. We’ve all seen what happens when the frogs on Queer Eye get ambushed before being turned into princes. But, the promise of those “After” photos keeps us going strong and provides a safe spot to land at the end of the whirling tornado. We need to believe that who and what we will be when this is all over will make all of our struggle worthwhile.
The final scene always shows the hero or heroine looking fabulous, smiling broadly, confident. But, what happens when the cameras pack up and the fairy godmother moves out?
What happens after the “After”?
This is a concept that I have been pondering quite a bit lately. I spend a lot of time guiding athletes out of their unhealthy habits and into a place where they can assess, recover, thrive. Many of them think that all they have to do is get to “After” and everything can go back to normal. They want to change without changing...too much. They want to become something new by staying the same. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that this is impossible! The mindset makes the process unnecessarily difficult. So, I started to ask myself, “How can I help athletes see that there are so many amazing, wonderful things on the other side of recovery?”
My answer is: Show them.
Up until now, I’ve been reluctant to share the details of my daily life because I’ve been telling myself that it’s not relevant. No one cares about the $13 pineapple you accidentally bought, Jill. No one cares that you found a new trail to walk or that your friends played guitar at your birthday party or that you love your class this semester.
However, people do care that I was so sick with Overtraining Syndrome and didn’t get a period for almost five years, but now am healthy. They do care that I never thought I could live without running 300 miles per month, but now am happier than I’ve ever been. They do care that I would rather run away for the weekend than run...away...from everything.
I’ve been thinking...can I help people more by showing them more? Can I be more in service by sharing what happened to me after the “After”? If I think back to how I felt when I was afraid to change anything, it probably would have helped me to see that someone like me was doing just fine in the wake of this major life upheaval. In fact, if I saw that she was doing AWESOME, I probably would have felt even better.
This blog and the YouTube channel will continue to be the trusted resource you know, filled with practical, scientific information to help you get through this moment. Now, It will also be a place where you can see what the outcome of all of this looks like, after the “After”. You’ll see me hashtagging #aftertheafter on IG and encouraging you to share your strength by doing the same. We’ve all been harassed by messages telling us that we aren’t good enough, now let’s help each other see why we are. I hope that if you have questions, you will ask me. I hope that if something seems scary or impossible or wonderful, if something makes you terrified or hopefull or happy, that you will tell me about it. You know I want you to be honest with me and I will always be honest with you.
There’s a big life out there. Let’s go get it!