You can lose weight and get fit. Yes, you!

Anyone can do it. Even you.

Stop laughing.

Listen. I know it’s hard to believe. Look at the picture below. Look at it.

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That was me. At that point in my life, I thought that there was no way I could ever lose weight and be healthy again. Ever. Being fit? That was even more laughable.

Then, my amazing cousin talked to me about Whole30 and Paleo. She was never as heavy as I was, but she had struggled with weight and knew that it was difficult to just lose weight. That she shares a lot of my genetic background lent further credence to her advice. I decided to give it a shot and I was met with results beyond my wildest dreams.

Was it easy? Yes and no. I’ll elaborate. I was able to lose all the weight (110+ lbs) without a single bit of exercise. That’s right (and no, I’m not kidding or exaggerating); I did it all without running, yoga, weight lifting, cardio, or any kind of exercise at all. What I did use was a healthy dose of determination, discipline, and perseverance.

I did have to avoid foods that made me gain weight: foods with sugar, grain, beans, soy, and pre-processed foods. No fast food. No pasta. No pizza. No bread. Was it easy to give up foods I have loved since childhood? No, it was not, but the alternative was an early grave. Yes, my health was in dire straights, and unless I changed something (and fast!), I was destined to die young.

I hear people say all the time that they can’t give up food x or food y because they love it too much. To these people, I say that you really have to evaluate whether your life and existence means more to you than the temporary and short-lived gratification of eating a certain food. For me, the answer was clear as day: I choose life! Fortunately, there are Paleo alternatives to nearly every food I love, so the transition has been easy and delicious (and needless to say, much healthier!).

I’ve seen criticism of Whole30 and Paleo, calling them “Fad Diets” and saying that any diet that restricts entire food groups raises some sort of alarm flags as being unhealthy. What I find unhealthy is the incessant insistence that we eat food from “every food group.” This is out-dated and poor advice and is not rooted in any real science (which these same people claim to cling to). The food triangle? Pure fantasy.

I eat meat and vegetables. I sometimes have some fruit. I very rarely allow myself any treats, and I don’t allow myself to go off-plan for so-called “Cheat days.” I view those as sabotage days, and I will never willingly sabotage my progress toward being fit and healthy.

If you’ve read this, and you are still trying to decide whether you can do it, ask yourself this question: Have you ever accomplished anything difficult and time-consuming in your life that you had to wait months or even years to complete? High school diploma? College degree? Professional certification? Military boot camp? If the answer to any of these is yes, then you can do it. I’m not saying it’s easy. It’s not. But it’s not hard, either. It just is. If you can set your mind to accomplishing anything, you can set your mind to do this. I know you can. I was sitting in your seat not too long ago. You just have to take the next step and commit. Then, make it happen. It’s within you.

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