Monday, July 29, 2013

Three Reasons You Should Never Give Up

NEVER give up!
NEVER give up!
Image: Shutterstock
Last week, a Facebook status update from one of my friends from junior high and high school alerted me to the fact that she has lost 200 pounds in the past two years. My jaw dropped. For as long as I have known her, she has been obese. I knew she had been trying to lose weight, but I haven’t actually seen her since we graduated high school several years ago. I had no idea she had started such a completely inspiring journey.

Her profile picture showed her face only, which definitely looked thinner. But it wasn’t until I flipped through the full size images of her recently that I realized how far she’s come. I have never seen her look so healthy, confident, or happy.

Another friend has been actively trying to lose weight since this fall. We participated in a 5K together in March, and she has started using any down time at the clinic she works at to walk or jog on the treadmill there. She has a pedometer to track how far she goes each day. Most days, it’s somewhere between 3 and 5 miles.

When I saw her a few months ago, she was down probably twenty pounds. When I saw her again last night, she was down a total of forty. Every time I see her, she looks even healthier. And I can tell she’s so proud of herself, too.

Then this morning, when I was perusing the news to see what’s up in the health world, I found another inspiring story. It was about a man named Ryan “Mac” McDonald. Three years ago, Mac was 35 years old and topping out at a weight of 530 lbs.

Ten years previously, he had gone to the gym after some friends bought him a gym membership for his birthday. He was so heavy that the treadmills began to smoke under his weight. He avoided treadmills and gyms altogether for a long time after that.

But eventually, Mac realized he had to do something before he killed himself with fast food, sodas, and the myriad health problems that come with severe obesity. He began slowly, starting with occasional visits to the gym. When that was successful, he decided to give up fast food and all-you-can-eat buffets. Next came sodas. Finally, he began buying healthy food at the store.

The slow start and gradual progression allowed Mac to start tackling what had previously been an overwhelming goal. He wanted to make a change, and he wanted to maintain it—something that becomes more difficult the stricter the rules are. To maintain, it had to be a gradual change in lifestyle.

That gradual change has led to a total weight loss—so far—of 300 pounds. Today, Mac weighs in around 230 pounds and is accomplishing things he never could do before—like running in half marathons and racing motorcycles. If that’s not inspiring, I don’t know what is.

So start this week off with those three stories and know that if you’re one of the many people out there trying to lose weight, you’re not alone. And even if you have three hundred pounds to go, it’s not impossible. Rather, it’s completely possible—just as long as you never give up.