“Nothing worthwhile is fast, easy or comes without work”
I have a friend who has done something incredible. It’s not something she did in a day, a few weeks or even several months. It’s something she has been doing more than a year and is continuing to do every day.
This woman, who I’ll call, MV, has lost more than 100 pounds. More impressive than that, she has done it the right way. No pills, starvation diets or unhealthy amounts of exercise, instead by making lifestyle changes and working hard to continue to make good choices every day.
Her remarkable journey is especially meaningful to me because I preach all the time about lifestyle and sustainability. Making changes like starting a fitness routine or eating better are great but, too often, people take too drastic an approach and can’t stick with it in the long run. Healthy changes have to be sustainable and fit into a lifestyle. Shows like The Biggest Loser feed into people’s misconceptions that they can and should be able to drop a ton of weight and get fit really fast. But what this show also proves is that sort of method isn’t sustainable, it’s not a lasting solution, as a majority of the contestants gain back some, even all their weight.
I want to recognize what she has done so I did in the best way I know how: I wrote her a letter. I’m sharing it here because I believe her story will inspire others and prove that, yes, it can be done.
You’re amazing. I had to say that first. You’ve done something great. Something admirable. Something most wouldn’t have the patience and dedication to do. You’ve made the decision to live a healthy lifestyle. Along the way, you’ve lost weight, gotten stronger and gained crazy amounts of energy and positivity. Best of all, you’ve done it the right way.
You’re a mother and a wife, you have a full time job, numerous social commitments and a family that lives 3 hours away. Yet, you never complain that you’re too busy to plan healthy meals. That you’re too tired to work out. That work sucked, you feel sluggish, you’re having a bad hair day, KJ kept you up late or any of about a million reasons you could use to excuse unhealthy choices. Sure, you may say all those things to yourself from time to time (let’s be honest, we all do) but you never say them aloud. Because once they’re said out loud, they’re out there and available for you to use as an excuse. Rather, I’ve only heard you preach positivity.
Then there’s the sheer weight loss and level of fitness you’ve achieved. Everyone wants to lose weight and be fit. They want a magic pill, a “super food”, a machine that just take 7 minutes a day, anything that equals fast. Achieving “health and fitness” is a marathon, not a sprint. It takes time. It’s a long-term lifestyle, not a New Year’s Resolution. I admire so much how you’ve embraced this long-term, healthy approach. How you’ve stayed positive over the months and stayed motivated. Many would have thrown in the towel, given up and reverted back to the easy way. You didn’t.
Speaking of the “easy way”, just like most people want a fast solution to weight loss and fitness, most also want it to be easy. They don’t want to work for it. To earn it with sweat, time and dedication. Those who live a healthy lifestyle don’t bust their ass in the gym or “diet” for two weeks, then just expect it to be smooth sailing after that. They put in work and effort every day. Is it easier to watch TV after work vs. go to the gym? Of course. Is it easier to go to the drive thru vs. plan and prepare a healthy meal? Definitely. But you choose what’s right, not what’s easy.
I’ve used the words “choice” and “choices” a lot in this letter. That’s because being healthy is a choice. Being healthy isn’t a gift or a right. It’s not something we’re entitled to or deserve. It’s a choice. It’s a commitment and it’s work. Some days, the work is easy but most days, it’s hard. A year ago, you made the choice to be healthy, and every day since then, you’ve made about a million other choices to support that commitment to your health. As I’ve already said, a lot of those choices weren’t the easy ones or what you may have felt like doing. But you understand the small choices are really what matters in the big picture.
What you’ve done has no doubt inspired others and will continue to every day. Someone out there who has a long journey ahead and feels hopeless can see what you’ve accomplished and realize, yes, it can be done. I know, in your heart, you know you’re awesome and you’ve done something remarkable. I know ’re proud of yourself. And you should be. I want you to know that others are too. You deserve to hear it. You’ve earned it. Now keep kicking ass!