A New Journey Begun
So here I am, 52 years old, married with 2.5 kids and one Golden Retriever. I have struggled with my weight to some extent a good portion of my life, and later on with other health issues. Now and then I would have some success with dieting, but nothing that I could maintain. Having surrendered in my battle against Ulcerative Colitis ten years ago by giving up the offending body parts, I moved on and hoped for a healthier life. But the Prednisone that I was on for the Colitis had kicked off my struggle with Diabetes. Weight gain returned and along with it – elevated blood pressure. Then came the intermittent atrial fibrillation. How did I get here? Maybe part genetics, maybe part environment, but definitely part the Standard American Diet (SAD).
Along with all of these ailments came the litany of medications to treat them. Sometimes I sat at the table with my meal in front of me and wondered – will I still be hungry for my food after I finish taking all of these pills? My doctor had tried to impress upon me time and again that changing my diet and losing weight was what I needed to do. I agreed completely, and frequently I tried. As time passed following each office visit, the motivation faded, I became disenchanted with my results, and inevitably I found myself sitting in front of him months later, no better off than the time before, and sometimes worse. Then during a recent office visit he basically told me – you really need to get off of the medications you have been taking – they are not good for you. He was absolutely right. The proof: I was on all of these medications that helped keep my “numbers” in line, and I still felt like crap.
This concept – potentially getting off of my medications – for whatever reason seemed almost revolutionary to me in terms of a way to be healthier. It was then that I realized how deeply I had fallen into the concept that, when you have a problem, you get a medication that fixes it. The revelation was – none of my medications really fixed anything. They were just potentially making it less likely that the condition being treated would eventually kill me. The price of that risk reduction: other potential side effects that might kill me instead! They did not FIX any of the underlying problems.
During that particular office visit he recommended I contact Theresa who is a Certified Holistic Health Coach. He felt she had a good chance of helping me toward my new goal: getting off some of these medications.
My wife and I met with Theresa and she explained the various concepts and life style changes she felt would make a difference for me, and how she could help me along the way. I have been meeting with Theresa weekly since that introduction, and I can say there is just no substitute for having someone with experience there to guide you through the learning curve of such a significant lifestyle change.
Theresa recommended I adopt a whole food plant-based lifestyle. Through recommended movies and internet films I was introduced to many of the concepts associated with that lifestyle. I would never have watched these before her recommendation – and they were eye opening.
One of the most beneficial sessions with Theresa was a trip to the grocery store. Learning the ins and outs of modern food terminology – organic, non-GMO, vegan, non-dairy… Learning what to look for on labels, what foods were better choices than others, a multitude of concepts to make replacing what I had been eating with things that are much better for me. I feel it is the diversity of foods that are good for me and that I really like that will allow me to make this my permanent lifestyle.
I have been using many of Theresa’s recommended tools and techniques in my transition as well. It started by keeping a daily log of what I eat. I had done this before – at the request of my Endocrinologist. The difference this time? Theresa will read it in detail, analyze it, make suggestions, use it to help guide me. My Endo? He would look at it momentarily – say “good” – keep doing this – and move on to the next subject. My journal has since expanded into a record of not only my daily meals, but also of my blood sugar readings, blood pressure, weight, medications, exercise, even notes on how I am feeling each day. I made a list of the guidelines that I set for myself in terms of food. I decided to take a fairly strict path and eliminate all meat and dairy, and to avoid highly processed foods and sweeteners. I made a list of healthy foods I found that I liked – and a list of things that I tried and I did not like. I have used juicing for its benefits – and I need to do more of this. I have explored many new foods and recipes – with many, many more to come. I have read research and articles that explain my various conditions and how they come about. We have begun to discuss natural supplements and how they may be beneficial to use in place of medications. Because of all of this and the accompanying motivational support I have become truly invested in controlling my own health.
I am now half way through a 12 week program with Theresa. What are the results so far?
Weight: My recent high: 274 pounds three to four months ago. I had lost about 10 pounds before starting sessions with Theresa and have now dropped a total of about 35 pounds.
Blood Pressure: Normal at the start of the program, but only by taking 3 different blood pressure medications daily. It is still normal, but I now take no blood pressure medications!
Blood Sugar: Slightly elevated at the start of the program, but only maintained by taking 3 different diabetic medications including an Insulin product. I still have somewhat elevated (but not terrible) blood sugar readings – but I have been able to stop taking 2 of the three medications including the Insulin! With continued weight loss I hope to realize continued improvement here as well.
How I Feel: As I mentioned earlier, in the beginning I felt like crap. Now each day I am noticing little changes – improvements in my energy level, simple tasks taking less effort, fewer aches and pains. Perhaps most importantly – I feel incredibly optimistic about where I am headed in this journey to better health.
My doctor, who I coordinate my progress with regularly, said that he expected positive changes from my efforts, but I don’t believe he expected how profound the changes would be or how quickly they would occur. His advice: Its working – keep it up!
I really don’t see how I could ask for anything more in such a short period of time.
A New Journey Begun