|My friend Carol and me out on a ski at dusk. It was about 10 degrees|
that evening. I think I had that giddy smile on my face most of the weekend!
I feel like I have been moving this direction for a long time, but there were many other pressing issues: motherhood, miscarriages, more babies, homeschooling, moving, planning a house, 7 years of sleep deprivation, etc, etc. By March of last year, I had been logging calories online and exercising and had managed to lose 4 pounds. In two months. Not exactly big progress. I started thinking that maybe it is not as simple as calories in/calories out. Thankfully, a pivotal moment came at the end of March. I was sitting on the couch with a fever, watching my kids play outside with their dad. I decided to watch a movie on Netflix called Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. I wouldn't necessarily recommend this movie, but it was the arrow that pointed toward the rabbit hole. A man goes on a road trip around the Lower 48 while juicing fruits and vegetables He doesn't eat any solids, meat or dairy. He loses a bunch of weight and heals many of his health issues. I was intrigued.
The movie was inspiring, but I wasn't willing to juice for 60 days. I am a parent, a homeschooling parent too. My kids are with me nearly 24 hours a day. I consider myself a role model to them in every way. I have to be what I want for them. So, I have never talked about my weight in front of them, I never degrade myself out loud about the way I look, I have never gone on a fad diet, and have strived to put what I believed to be healthy food on our plates every day. Juicing was not an option I was willing to do in front of my kids.
I googled "most nutritious way to lose weight." At the time, the second item was to Dr. Fuhrman's website. I checked it out, I was skeptical so googled him some more, found blogs of people who had read his book, read reviews on Amazon and within a few days ordered 2 books- Eat to Live and Engine 2 Diet. While I had that fever, I quit caffeine and dairy. A day later, I decided I had eaten my last turkey sandwich.
I began reading Eat to Live by Dr. Fuhrman. Based on a significant amount of research, he advocates for a nutrient-dense diet, focusing on a whole-foods, plant-based menu. I decided to give it 100 percent for the first 6 weeks, during which I lost 15 pounds, without adding exercise. Then I decided to give it another 6 weeks, then I was on board until I lost all the weight I wanted to lose. In the meantime, I fell in love with all the wonderful foods I was eating every day; so many veggies and delicious summer fruits and trying new recipes with the kids. I also read The China Study and learned more about why it is such a healthy way to eat. I was busy doing activities with the kids, but I was not exercising in a vigorous way, just my usual outdoor adventuring, but I felt so much better about it.
From Thanksgiving through January, my weight loss plateaued (not a pound gained or lost over that time), which is an accomplishment in itself. I made a few adjustments recently, and began losing weight again. Since starting last March, I have lost 60 pounds without counting calories, being hungry, excessive exercise, or compromising my health. Rather, I have dramatically improved my health and my life. I am working on losing another 25 pounds and have recently started exercising without my kids because I want to, not because I think I need to.
All three friends that went on this weekend trip, eat like I do. I am so excited that I helped inspire them to make a change for health too. While losing weight was my initial motivation, it is not my sole motivation now. Great health and a long and healthy life are my goals, but really, I love, love, love the food. I don't want to eat any other way.
Our weekend felt indulgent, mostly because as moms, it is rare that we have free time or someone else making our meals. We took turns with the meals and if you are wondering what we ate, here is an abbreviated menu: after our first ski we had veggies and salsa with a few chips, a hearty curry stew with sweet potatoes, cauliflower, lentils, carrots, mushrooms on top of spinach, peas, green onions, with avocado and cashews. We had some heart-healthy black bean brownies for dessert and there was wine too. The next morning we made smoothies and oatmeal, skied, came back for lunch, which was a big salad topped with mexican quinoa salad, and homemade hummus and veggies and pita, fruit, back out for a ski, then back to the hottub. Dinner was a moroccan sweet potato stew with greens and a bit of wine. The next day we had a similar breakfast, ski, and big lunch.
I headed home grateful for my heath and new found energy, grateful for old and newer friends, looking forward to the next trip and new skis!