Giving Up

I’ve given up in the past. I’ve reached the point where I just couldn’t continue whatever it was. Whether it was a diet, a run, or a healthy lifestyle, I reached a point where I just couldn’t keep putting in the work and making the sacrifices required to succeed.

Giving up made me feel terrible, and each time I gave up, it made it easier and easier to give up. After a while, I got used to giving up, and each new diet, exercise plan, or lifestyle change lasted shorter and shorter durations. Eventually, I gave up even trying.

I lived for a few years without even considering making any changes. I’d reached a point where I accepted my poor health, my lack of any physical fitness, and the fact that I’d likely die young due to my decisions.

They say that all revolutions require a spark, and for me, that spark was the morning that I couldn’t tie my shoes without having to hold my breath. My stomach was so large that I couldn’t bend over without holding my breath. That was the spark for me. Something had to change.

The problem I had was that I had failed and given up so many times in the past. I knew that my chances for success were slim based on my past performance. But then I happened to hear something that gave me hope: success is built on a ladder of failure, with each rung a different failure. We get closer to success with each failure because we learn what didn’t work.

I began looking into people who were obese and were successful with losing weight. Reddit became a huge part of my success, namely the subreddit known as /r/progresspics. This subreddit of progress pictures of people who were successful at losing weight truly motivated me. Most of the people were much younger than me, but that was okay. The main take-away for me was the fact that all these people were losing incredible amounts of weight, and the vast majority of them were doing it without surgery, procedures, pills, powders, or weird programs. They were doing it through diet and exercise.

As I began researching losing weight, I came across Whole30 and the Paleo Diet, and while they looked interesting, I didn’t really look too much into it any further until, by chance, my cousin Sarah came to visit. She’s a Physician Assistant, and she’s done Whole30’s. She talked to me about my health, and she was concerned that I wouldn’t last long on my current trajectory. I told her I agreed, but I felt helpless without a plan that excluded exercise. I was too heavy and my joints too worn out to exercise at my heavy weight. She told me more about Whole30 and the Paleo Diet, and I began doing my own research in earnest.

Without Sarah’s talk, I’m not sure if I’d have ended up on Whole30 and the Paleo Diet. The more reading I did, the more convinced I was that I could do this. Once I convinced my wife to try it with me, the rest is history, as they say. We both lost an incredible amount of weight our first year: I lost 130 lbs, and Sherry lost 65 lbs (to be fair, I had a lot more weight to lose).

Giving up isn’t the end. It is the beginning to your next attempt at success. It’s another thing you learn that you use to be successful later. I failed many, many times with diets and lifestyle changes. I gave up more times than I can count. But in the end, I persevered, tried again, and used my failures to fuel my success. You can do the same, not just with your diet and exercise, but with anything in life. This is one of those things that applies to literally everything.

So go out there and give it a try. If you fail or give up, that’s okay. Think about what happened, analyze, regroup, and try again! Who knows. A year from now, you might be writing your own blog entry about losing a bunch of weight or getting back in shape!

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