The Power of Not Giving Up

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I’ve sat where you’re sat.

I’ve devoured the articles on paleo and the blog posts, followed the in-post links. I’ve pored over the studies, wondering if the answer to my problem lies in the full transcript or if I can skip all that and just read the summary.

I’ve sunk thousands of dollars into doctors, treatments and supplements not covered by my insurance. I’ve had times when I’ve felt a fool for even hoping that something as simple as changing my diet would ever work.

I’ve sat right there and I know how frustrating, scary and soul destroying it is. You are not alone.

I was just like you.

I was desperate, scared and exhausted. I was in pain, both acute and specific, ache-y and general. I’d already sacrificed so many years, hopes and dreams to ill-health. Was my life destined to be characterized this way?

I felt I’d plumbed the depths of what modern medicine had to offer. I refused to sink any more of my family’s money into treatments that ranged from the standard to the unconventional, all of which had given me only a fleeting, tantalizing glimpse of robust health. And made me feel dependent on something outside myself. Things did not look good.

Then I found paleo.

I read all the blogs. (All the blogs.) Read most of Marks Daily Apple (felt like it, anyway). Read The Primal Blueprint. Slept. Drank a lot of tea. Thought even more. Gave myself some headaches and spent a lot of time thinking about how cool it would be for this paleo thing to actually work for me one day.

You’re waiting for the bit where I say I got better, right? Where I say I dove right in, cut out all the crap overnight, got well and created a blog to tell everyone how to do it? Sadly, no.

I didn’t do that.

Some people jump in the deep end, they run as fast as they can, leap into the air, curl up in a ball and hit the water with huge impact, drenching the people around them, ultimately swirling around in the water like a fetus in some kind of fast-moving amniotic fluid.

Other people enter via the shallow end, gingerly getting into the water, step by step, tentatively, shiveringly, pushing their tender boundaries, hating every minute, but progressing nonetheless because they want to be different, have a different experience to the one they were just having.

Maybe they were hot and they want to cool off, maybe they want to have fun like the big baby they just saw dive bombing into the water, maybe they want to experience the water in a calm, leisurely, enjoyable manner, like the other people they see in the deeper water. So they push on.

I experimented. Tested. Built new habits. Learned new skills. I carefully, cautiously dipped first one toe, a whole foot, two feet, then half a leg in the water.

It was a slow process.

Some people ask me why I write this blog. And, truthfully, sometimes I wonder myself. 🙂 Many people who disseminate information say they do it because they want to “help people.” Often they add, “If I help just one person, it makes it all worth it.”

Neither is the case, here.

My prime reason for writing this blog is that it keeps me honest. I keep pushing my boundaries. I come up with ideas to handle paleo in a non-paleo world that I put into practice in my own life. It keeps my focus on paleo and holds me accountable.

I’m quite sure if it weren’t for this blog, I would not be as “clean” as I am at this point. I may well have given up paleo because making a sandwich is just easier, and habitual. I live in horror of someone seeing me eat a burrito or similar in real life and recognizing me. So I don’t.

As for helping just one person? Heck, I’m not going to all this trouble just for one.

I want thousands!

So I wrote this blog to keep me honest and I kept on experimenting. Noticing when I failed to hit my dietary goals. Developing strategies to correct things for next time. 

Over time, I got some readers. Not a lot, but some. I got a little bit of traffic. I decided to put my money where my mouth was, I hired a blogging coach. I was that determined to change my eating habits and diet I was willing to put a few dollars behind it because I knew the more I got read, the more I’d stick with paleo.

A few other bloggers said some nice things about what I wrote. I got picked up by Marks Daily Apple as a “Health and Fitness Blog You Should Be Reading“. My site crashed. I had a couple of guest blogs here and there.

And I kept on writing this blog.

And I kept on experimenting: refining my paleo template; working out what worked for me yesterday, last week, last month; sharing what I learned.

Month by month, more people signed up. I launched a book. I guest-posted on a few more sites. Scored some great interviews. Posted recipes. Shared readers success stories. Connected with paleo peeps all over the world.

Flash forward to now.

My habits are automatic: my morning broth (or stock, which is it?), my fish lettuce tacos for lunch, my afternoon dark chocolate truffle, my daily exercise, my ten o’clock bedtime. But here’s the really crazy part.

Nothing special happened.

I didn’t just happen to get a column in the New York Times. Nobody invited me to be on Dr Oz. I didn’t get featured in Paleo Magazine. Despite my repeated attempts, I’m still not married to Mark Sisson. I didn’t do anything special. The gods did not smile on me.

I kept on, keeping on.

As Mark says in the foreword to The Modern, No-Nonsense Guide to Paleo, paleo/Primal is easy. And it is, when you’ve climbed the mountain. When you’ve planned, practiced, and put in the work. But scaling the summit can be a bear.

And whether you’re a splash bomber or a toe dipper, staying afloat takes practice.

The point of all of this?

Please don’t give up. I know it’s terrifying. I know you are under indescribable pressure to do something to get your life back on track. I know that temptation lies around every corner, waiting to seduce you to give up your crazy ideas and just eat what everyone else does, dammit! I know that some days, this is the hardest thing you’ve ever done.

I know your family thinks you’re crazy. I know you feel completely alone. I know you feel like it’s never, ever going to work.

But what you’re reading here and here and here? It works. I promise. Please don’t lose heart.

Have you had days when you struggle? What helps you keep going? Please tell us in the comments!

We have very lively goings-on at the Paleo/NonPaleo Facebook page with discussions and information that is far more than a posting of blog post links. Please like it, it’s great fun!

Or share this post with your friends, there are buttons below and in the sharebar to your left.

amazon, modern no nonsense guide to paleoAre you struggling to sustain a paleo lifestyle change? Or not sure how to start? Or perhaps those around you are resistant and you’re feeling undermined and unsure. The Modern, No-Nonsense Guide to Paleo provides practical tools to ease the transition to a full-on paleo life. Each chapter includes strategies, tips and checklists to identify the actions to power you on your paleo journey and create sustainable change. Buy it at Amazon.com.

 



amazon, modern no nonsense guide to paleoAre you struggling to sustain a paleo lifestyle change? Or not sure how to start? Or perhaps those around you are resistant and you're feeling undermined and unsure. The Modern, No-Nonsense Guide to Paleo provides practical tools to ease the transition to a full-on paleo life. Each chapter includes strategies, tips and checklists to identify the actions to power you on your paleo journey and create sustainable change. Buy it at Amazon.com.

Written by 

Alison Golden writes on the topic of paleo over at Paleo/NonPaleo. She aims to share ideas, inspire and motivate readers by teaching them how to live paleo in a non-paleo world. She is also the author of the bestselling book, The Modern, No-Nonsense Guide to Paleo, a unique tool that gives the reader hundreds of strategies to navigate the learning process to successful paleo living.

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