Give me a success story and I’ll break out into a huge smile, get tingly and may even shed a tear. Seriously, I’m hooked.
My friend Eric has Crohn’s Disease…a gastrointestinal (GI) disorder that often results in a lack of absorption of proteins, calories, and vitamins. These deficiencies or malabsorption of nutrients means that diet is really important, because without the right amount and balance of nutrients, a person like Eric will find it difficult to gain weight and won’t get the nutrients he needs for proper growth and bodily function.
For years, Eric wouldn’t pay much attention to what he ate. He would eat whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted, never thinking about his caloric intake. For the most part, he would eat twice a day, mostly consuming fast food (Taco Bell is his favorite) and highly processed foods. Exercise wasn’t in his vocabulary and he would often feel sluggish and tired. And when it came to his mental outlook, Eric suffered from depression, tended to be moody and felt less than positive. At 5′ 4″, Eric was a mere 114 pounds…significantly underweight for his height and frame.
This last year, however, Eric started to make some changes. He started going to the gym on a regular basis, doing light cardio and strength training. He eats 3 meals a day and has protein shakes to ensure he is balancing his need for protein with his carbs. He eats less processed foods and has a more varied diet of fish, pasta and steak. The result? He has much more energy, feels great and has a positive outlook on life. He is now 140 pounds, and still has the same lean body mass as he did when he was 114 pounds. His weight gain has been solid muscle (Before and after pictures above)!
When I speak to Eric, he tells me that he has a whole new perspective on health. He LOVES feeling this way and would never want to go back. It has done so much for him beyond enhance his physique…he also feels great mentally.
Eric’s story, and others like his, make me want to shout from the mountain tops. I love hearing about success stories, because I think they are one of the most powerful tools in motivating people to live healthy. Here’s why:
- Feeling is Believing: It is one thing to tell people that living healthy is going to make them feel and look great, it is another for them to actually feel it.
- It Eliminates Excuses: Anyone who thinks they ‘can’t’ be healthy or do something because they are sick, are weak or don’t have time, will question their own excuses when they read success stories. It is all about a person’s mindset. Positivity always out wins negativity.
- Just Like Everyone Else: Success stories give people hope and inspiration in an approachable way. People who are afraid to take the first step or think they will fail may be intimidated or feel unsure of embarking on a new lifestyle. Success stories give people someone who they can identify with and the encouragement they need to take the first step.
- More Compelling than Doctor Advice: Everyone knows what they are supposed to do. But it is always easier said than done. If a Doctor tells you that you need to lose weight or exercise, you may recoil, become defensive or ignore their “prescription”. However, when you hear of someone overcoming the same challenges you face, it is much easier to sit up and take notice. “Supposed to” turns into “Really? You were just like me and now you feel better? I want to feel better! Sign me up!”
- Warm Fuzzies for the Underdog: Call me a sap, but I tend to root for the underdog. I love to see people conquer their obstacles and challenges to ultimately be successful and overcome the impossible.
Have you had a success story? What was it? How did it make you feel?