Sometimes I QUIT. (& you should too.)

I wrote a post yesterday about this being the last week of our Whole30 challenge. I confessed my failure to follow the regimen perfectly and my resolution to see it through to the finish. Just for the sake of finishing.

I referenced a beautiful quote:

Being defeated is often a temporary condition.
Giving up is what makes it permanent.

– Marilyn Vos Savant

Finish, no matter what?  I'm calling BULL. "Being defeated is often a temporary condition. Giving up is what makes it permanent." Except when it DOESN'T. Here's the truth sometimes I QUIT. (and YOU SHOULD TOO.)  Read on to find out when and why.You won’t find the post now. I took it all down less than 24 hours after I hit “publish.”

I didn’t know why at the time, but I felt sick inside about it. Something felt very wrong.

I realize that something is this:

Being defeated IS often a temporary condition. And giving up IS what makes it permanent.

Except when it DOESN’T.

Because what if that thing you’re trying to accomplish isn’t healthy? Or healthy for YOU? OR healthy for you RIGHT NOW?

Like the runner who pulls up short during a race because she feels THE PAIN.

If you’re an athlete, you know what I mean. Not the good hurt. I mean the BAD PAIN. The “if-I-keep-running-on-this-something-is-REALLY-going-to-be-messed-up” pain.

Some would say it doesn’t matter – you should finish, no matter what.

I disagree.

If finishing THAT particular race is the ultimate goal for you, then yes. By all means, please finish. Even if you injure yourself so badly you can’t run again for a year. Really.

If what you will protect by stopping is more valuable than what you will gain by finishing, it's time to stop.But if what you will protect by stopping is more valuable than what you will gain by finishing… IT’S TIME TO STOP.

Let’s be clear though: whether from a lifetime of competitive sports or just the all-or-nothing perfectionist in my brain – my brain’s default setting is, “GO BIG OR GO HOME.”

Enter my personal decision to do the Whole30: “I’m doing pretty well with my eating habits, but I could probably eat more veggies, not so much ice cream, and a bit less wine… I KNOW! I’ll do this really extreme Whole30 challenge! GO BIG OR GO HOME.

What I essentially did was the equivalent of, “I’d like to run a few more miles every week. I KNOW! I’ll train for a MARATHON! GO BIG OR GO HOME.

Do you see the faulty thinking there? Marathon training will tax you in a completely different way than 5K training. If a 5K is what’s best for you – or at least what’s best for you RIGHT NOW – then jumping into a BIGGER, MORE EXTREME version of that is NOT necessarily the bestER thing.

Marathons are not bad. But a marathon could be an unhealthy choice for you. Or unhealthy for you right now.

In the same way, the Whole30 IS NOT BAD. But it could be an unhealthy choice for me. Or unhealthy for me right now.

Full disclosure: the fact is, when doing something extreme in my diet, my tendency is to get obsessive, anxious, and not super healthy about it. So, it stands to reason that as my anxiety about food is soaring in the stratosphere, when left with the ultimatum, “GO BIG OR GO HOME,” the right choice for me is: GO HOME.

“Go home,” regroup, and determine what is healthiest for me.

Even if the healthiest thing qualifies as “quitting.”

Deciding to “GO BIG,” in this case, undermined the small changes that would’ve been entirely healthy for me right now. Bigger is NOT always better.

Sometimes going “BIG” only serves to crush the “small” thing you were really meant to do.

And this certainly doesn’t just apply to a food challenge.

What are the “small” things you could focus on doing well that get crushed under the weight of “BIG?”

5 thoughts on “Sometimes I QUIT. (& you should too.)

  1. Susan

    Hi, Amanda. Sure wish I’d read this when you wrote it! I’ve been learning the same lessons the hard way! I started working out with a trainer twice a week because I panicked that I was turning 50 and if I didn’t do something drastic now, It would be too late! So I went through months of pain and injury to finally accept that 1) Advocare’s 24-day challenge is not for EVERYONE…it wasn’t healthy for my body. 2) My 50 year old body that has given birth 6 times and had 2 hernias is NOT a 30 year old body and needs a different approach to fitness. 3) I don’t have to do everything my trainers says. 4) It is not a defeat to go home, regroup, and discover what is HEALTHY for ME. Thanks for your post. Everybody needs some validation. You affirmed me. Keep sharing your thoughts!

    1. amandauher Post author

      Wow, Susan – and you just affirmed me! Thanks so much for reading and thanks for taking the time to share your experience!

  2. Janet

    Thanks you so much for your honesty. Loving your blog. Just found it today. I can relate to the comment above too. I keep thinking all or nothing but really baby steps and small changes that I might be able to stick with prob be better and this makes more sense. Thanks. Have signed up for your updates. You have really uplifted my spirit today and I’ve forwarded a few stories on yo friends also. X


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