A Life Changed
by Debbie Warne-Jacobsen (Yurtdwellingmama)
When I started my ETL journey over two years ago I had some pretty clear ideas of how my life would change if I was successful. Primary in my mind was that I would be a better role model for my then three year old daughter. I wanted to lose weight and model a healthful weight and a healthy way of eating. Even though we were already vegetarian, and she had been vegan since birth, I knew we were not eating healthfully. There was French toast made from whole grain bread, soy cheese pizza, tofu fried in oil. Even fast food . . . BK Veggies with French fries (fries are vegan after all), Taco Bell bean burritos. You get the picture.
I hoped I would feel better. I had been experiencing episodes of tachycardia for several months. I had one terrifying episode where my heart was beating so fast, and I was so short of breath, I had to call my mother-in-law home from work, on a day that my husband was out of town, because I feared I would pass out while caring for my daughter.
I also hoped my blood pressure would lower. I had difficulty with my blood pressure throughout the third trimester of my pregnancy, and although it had stabilized to just below borderline since my daughter’s birth, it was for sure too high and out of the optimum range.
Those were my hopes, and that led to an assessment of my reality. I knew I needed to lose 50 lbs. (a difficult thing to admit to myself). I needed to improve my health. I needed to set a better example for my daughter so she would not struggle with her weight and later her health like I had.
As soon as I found Dr. Fuhrman’s plan, I was certain it was the plan for me. I already believed in the fundamentals of the diet, having followed something similar years before (Fit for Life by Harvey Diamond). When I started reading the comprehensive nutritional information that was backed up by study after study in his book Eat to Live, I was sold. I was eager and wanted to lose weight as quickly as I could, so I opted for the most aggressive form of the diet. I decided to follow the vegan program and in addition completely eliminate grains or starchy vegetables from my diet. I would eat nothing but whole foods: fruit, vegetables, beans and nuts.
As Dr. Fuhrman says in his book, I did not try to follow the program. I did follow the program, 100%. I’d never done that before and that in itself was exciting. Why, was I able to stay on this diet when I had been unable to stay committed to other plans? The answer is simple: Results. Not only was the weight falling off (I lost 6 lbs the first week) I was starting to feel good. I mean really good. After a few days initially of feeling headachy and generally poor (detoxing), I started to have more energy, my bouts of tachycardia were fewer and fewer, I no longer woke feeling groggy and unable to face the day.
I was also motivated in a new way to exercise. I started walking. It was the middle of winter, and I live in the northern Midwest, so it was cold. No matter what the weather, I walked. Snowing, I walked. Twenty-five degrees below zero, I walked. I started out walking for about 20 minutes, then leading up to about an hour per day.
After the initial six weeks of the program was complete, I’d lost 23 lbs. It had been a few weeks since I had an episode of tachycardia, and other things started happening in my life too. Things I didn’t anticipate when I had been imagining what it would be like if I was successful.
I was joyful. I’ve always been pretty happy in my life. I have a wonderful husband and a daughter, both of whom bring me a great deal of joy. This was different however, this was an inner joy that I was feeling all the time. I was joyful when I was shopping for my food at our local food co-op. I was joyful preparing the beautiful food that I was now eating and serving to my family, and most of all I felt overwhelming joy and satisfaction while eating! Not only was the food healthful, it was fantastic! I didn’t have to give up my love of food! I was enjoying it more than ever.
My journey began to touch the lives of the people I care about. My family was doing the program too. My husband was pretty much 100% also, and even though before being on the program I would have said he did not need to lose any weight, he lost 20 lbs. One day he just looked at me and said, “Thank you, thank you for getting us eating like this.” I nearly cried.
It wasn’t just my own family who was affected. By the time I had lost 30 lbs, people starting asking me about it. By the time I hit 40 lbs, I couldn’t go anywhere without running into someone and having an in depth conversation about my weight loss and how I’d done it. The local co-op starting carrying “Eat to Live,” and they were selling. I was asked to make smoothies at the co-op and give out samples. I later learned that a woman who had a sampled one of my green smoothies was drinking them daily herself, and feeding them to her two year old son!
My mother-in-law, whom we eat dinner with many nights per week, was eating the same dinners we were, and she started noticing a difference with just eating one ETL meal per day. She started telling people about it and several people she knows started following the program.
Even my 80 year old Aunt who lives 2,000 miles away was so excited by my success that she bought the book and started following the plan.
It doesn’t stop there. All kinds of amazing things were happening in my life. I was asked by the Food Co-op to run for their board of directors. I did and I was elected. Of course I was unopposed for my seat . My professional life exploded. I’m a freelance graphic and web designer, and I have had about a three month back-log of work for the past two years. How do I attribute that to Eat to Live, you might ask? Well, I think it is several fold. I have more energy. I have more self confidence. I feel empowered. If I could succeed at transforming my diet, my health and ultimately my life, I can succeed at anything. I think people could sense that. Beyond, just commenting that I looked great, people often mentioned how happy I seemed. One person noted that I had so much energy I glowed.
It took me about six months to lose 51 lbs, and what a thrilling ride those six months were. There was not one aspect of my life that was not touched in some way by my transformation. More recently, I’ve been thrilled to learn that my best friend in all the world, and her family have been following the plan. My last update was that they’d lost over 40 lbs between them.
Things now have quieted down, and this now is just my life. I’ve kept the weight off. My blood pressure is well within the optimum range. I have not had a tachycardia episode in nearly two years. I feel good every day. That is worth repeating. It is always the answer I give when people ask me about Eat to Live. I feel good every day. I feel good EVERY day.
What more can you want than that?