Inspiration

Not sure how my inspiration went out the door, as I started the new year very strong in working to get back to my “happy place” after making healthy changes in my life. While conditions and circumstances are different now than they were in 2011 when I took control, one things still remains. EXCUSES! We all have many, but don’t let any of them hold you back when it comes to achieving your goals.

While some will see my transformation impressive, which I have showcased in the past and is featured on the Protective Diet Testimonial page. Managing our health using food and exercise is easier than managing doctor appointments and a pill schedule, in an attempt to remedy what ails us. It didn’t take me long to realize that drugs and pharmaceutical comes are not a key to good health.

When I look to getting inspired, there are countless articles we can turn to on the Internet about a stranger going from “zero to hero” and gaining control of their health. Then, there are those individuals we know personally, who end up being a “superhero” because of their accomplishments. Meet Aaron, we refer to him as “AAA” at work. I met him approximately 10 years ago, sitting on an interview panel, as he was looking to secure a promotion in the office I work.

The first thing I noticed about AAA, his size, he was a big guy, in an comfortable looking grey suit with his hair in a ponytail and an energy drink in his hand. For a first impression, he didn’t make a good one. Eventually Aaron was hired, a few years later and as I got to know him, he was a great guy! Personable, funny, knowledgeable and good at what he did. There is more to a person, than just how they look, big or small, but Aaron knew his size was unhealhty.

We connected on a few levels and the day I ran my first (and only) half marathon in San Leandro, he and his wife were there, at the finishing cheering me on. Aaron had run a 5k earlier and decided to hang around. Eventually, we joined a company running team and because more than just co-workers, sharing the passion of running together.

The image above represents where AAA was a few years back how he has done an absolutely amazing job of transforming himself in a completely new person, physically. He is MY motivation to get back to a point I was at, running 50 mile races and being happy with my health. While not plant based, he does what works for him. No longer do I push my lifestyle on anyone. What works for some, might not work for others. So I have nothing but accolades for AAA and all his effort and work when it comes to gaining control of his health and excelling as a runner.

As I look to shed a few pounds and attempt to get back into running (bad feet and all), I remember this picture of AAA and refer back to a similar, before and after image that really made me feel good about myself. Nothing is impossible! As the Nike slogan does, “Just do it!” I’ve started June strong, dropped a few pounds as we approach summer. While my approach has been altered just a bit, I am taking steps in the right direction to regain control of my health, as I have struggled (again) to start the year, with the inspiration I have, change is coming.

 

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Eat Happy. Be Happy.

It’s been four months of failure since PD – Week 4 was written. Preparation or SUS, “set up Sunday” plays an important role in being successful. When I first started a plant based lifestyle, I had no plan, just Dr. McDougall’s book, The McDougall Program – 12 Days To Dynamic Health. This book preached very simple recipes when acclimating to a new routine and how to eat. Over the years, that routine has been lost and I have been going day to day, rudderless, trying to find the right equation to get me back on course.

What happens when you fall back to old habits? I have noticed quite a few changes that have resulted on my life negatively. Falling away from basic principles taught by McDougall and Julie-Marie put me in a place I don’t want to be at. Yet, only I can make the changes to reverse the process. It’s been a very challenging 2018, as I resolved to make strides in improving myself. Yet as we look towards June 1, what minimal progress that was made in the first few weeks have been lost.

Inspiration should come from within, but sometimes a bit of external pushing can help. I have a co-worker who continues to drop weight and get control of his health. He’s been absolutely amazing after a stomach surgery, as he’s held to his program and continued to make great steps, not only in his health, but his active lifestyle. I have run with him a few times, as he’s become more accomplished than I have over the last few years. This is how I saw myself  when I was on the road to recovery, as I wrestled with health. Hopefully I can use some of his inspiration to help kick start change.

I know it’s been said time and time again, but I need to micromanage my intake, something that you shouldn’t have to do when following a Protective Diet. Yet some of the greatest strides I made, where made using software to track everything I ate. Every day is a new day and it’s never too late to start. Hopefully tomorrow is that day.

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PD – Week 4

Responsibility and planning. Two keys to my success have slipped the past week, to the point I am getting frustrated. While the point isn’t necessarily to lose weight, gaining control of my health is more important. I know for a fact the weight will come off. However, without the meal planning (SUS, right Julie?) I end up wandering aimlessly in the kitchen, opening and closing cabinets wondering what I am going to eat for dinner.

Now, it’s been 4 weeks and by no means do I feel as if I am failing. I don’t expect perfection, I do expect consistency. Sometimes, we might have to take 2 steps back, in order to go 1 step forward. With that in mind, I need to get control of the menu planning. Sometimes I wonder, “how was I so successful when I started in 2011?” Maybe I am trying to get too creative on the meals. That’s not to say Julie’s recipes are simple…they are. I know I consistently went back Dr. John McDougall’s book, The McDougall Program, including the very simple recipes that John and his wife included.

This time around, I have been supplementing many of Julie’s recipes with other, plant based, PD friendly recipes. A key to this program is the simplicity. Remember the 1960’s Navy adage, “KISS?” Keep it simple, stupid. Why should I try to outsmart the menu or what we know as PD lifers, works? I know my way around the kitchen, and I can usually throw something together in minutes, given the plethora of ingredients I own. So why doesn’t it seem that simple?

Time. One thing many of us wish we had more of. Time is something I seem to lack once I arrive at home. Once I walk home from school with my son, it’s time to help accomplish homework. In that time, I might be working in and around the kitchen, starting dinner for him and wife or pre-cooking something I might use. This hour to 90 minutes is very important. if I don’t get anything accomplished, chances are dinner is going to be a challenge.

After my son is done, I usually commit 30 minutes to an hour to clean kennels and feed the animals (my wife breeds Bengal cats). It’s my goal to have this finish no later than 5pm, to allow me 90 minutes to cook and clean before heading upstairs to shower and hopefully relax with my wife on the nights I don’t have scouting responsibilities.

In the meantime, I am cooking dinner for both my wife and son, sometimes the same meal, others times not. Maybe I just force my son to eat whatever I cook for my wife. How many of us, I am 48 years old, growing up had to eat whatever our parents put on our plate? I am sure we all did, even had to clean our plate if we wanted to get up. I remember sitting there many times, struggling to eat ratatouille, until it was cold and my milk, was warm. Talk about nasty tasting!

This is what meal planning is so important. The Excel spreadsheet I had on my flash drive has been misplaced with links to recipes and my weekly meals planned. Not that I make this as an excuse, but doing all my shopping ahead of time and planning what meals will fall on what days, what will be eaten for other meals as leftovers really helps me organize my life and limit unnecessary time in the kitchen.

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PD – Day 15

This is the health I want to recapture from 2014. Trim, fit and healthy. Smiling after my first 50k finish with Otto.

Now 2 weeks in I get to look back on what has transpired since jumping into the PDL pool with both feet. As expected, the water is warm, refreshing and quite comfortable. Thanks in part to the many wonderful people who follow the principles set forth by Julie Christensen, creator of the Protective Diet. While I subscribed to the entire program, I have yet to achieve that 100% PD lifestyle, it’s a goal I will continue to strive to attain. Right now, day 15 as I look back what have I learned?

First, this lifestyle is an ultra marathon, not a sprint. While I have expectations, I know for a fact, if I follow the the Guide to Optimal Health I will see improvements in my overall life. Weight will be down, clothes will fit better. Energy will be up and I will be living to eat, instead of eating to live. The steps are simple to follow and to date, I am setting a good pace in the early portion of my journey back into the Protective Diet lifestyle.

Keeping a journal has been great fun, then again I enjoy sharing my experiences, not only to help myself but to help others who could potentially run into issues moving forward. It was great to hear Julie mention my previous success (56:00 minutes) in Class #200 Stop the Snacks Challenge. What made a difference recently, as Julie cited, was going back and re-reading my PD testimonial I posted  in October, 2013. Reading can influence our decisions, but “a picture is worth a thousand words.”

I know I fall back on this repeated in just 2 weeks. Looking at where I was, bloated, heavy, out of shape and otherwise miserable, living with pains and unsettling blood work numbers. The after picture, taken at a Tough Mudder event and just slim and trim I look. I still remember how I felt that day and may days after it. The feeling was one in a million! Comparable to crossing the finish line in one of my 50 mile races. It’s something that I just can’t describe, but that feeling is short lived if you don’t follow through and resolve to maintain that lifestyle you created for yourself.

While I am not one for excuses, I know I have slipped a few in on my wife, one too many times and they get tiring to hear, over and over. While I don’t have any excuses, I know the mistakes I made, they were made knowingly that it would compromise my health and start me down a dark path, that left unchecked would take me to a place I vowed I would not return to. Looking in the mirror daily I didn’t get a sense of the regression. Stepping on the scale it was more apparent that my poor decisions were putting weight back on that I didn’t want to carry at age 48.

Still a few years away from 50, I vow now to have the best health in my life when I hit this milestone! It WILL be done! Why? Because I have been there before and I have the road map and experience to get there. Setting goals and monitor progress aided me in my journey, thus the reason I continuously write about my experiences, weigh myself and track the foods I eat. All these working together put get me in “my zone” where I feel I have the best chance to succeed.

Next milestone in this journey is 30 days. I know what to expect and where I believe I will stand when I report back. It my intention to “stay the course” and remain engaged with the PDL community for the love and support of those who follow this lifestyle. That aspect alone is priceless. I appreciate all the feedback and comments from those on the Facebook group as we all continue on this journey together.

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PD – Day 14

Now 2 weeks into the new year and “new me!” Actually, it’s the same me but with the mental fortitude and desire to “get it done” as my running partner always says. This time around feels very similar to how I started back in October, 2011 with a commitment to myself. Some called what I was doing, “short term” and “extreme” but 10 months later the results were shocking! The weight loss, eating a starch based diet was incredible.

This time around, I have found my Kryptonite. Snacking. I know Julie mentioned this recently in Class #200 – Stop the Snacks Challenge. Following her Guide to Optimal Health, I consider myself to be somewhere between Level #3 and Level #4. I’ve already eliminated the “food addiction and cravings” and understand the basics of a Protective Diet living.

While I may never perfect a Protective Diet, I know what my goals are, where I currently am and know what I need to do in order to achieve it. As Julie mentioned, I have achieved my goal some years back. I got a false sense of security that I was “heart attack proof” (remember Dr. Esselstyn?) and I let my guard down slowly. I lapsed into making poor dietary decisions and failed to follow what got me to where I wanted to be. It’s starts with a Protective Diet.

Not sure if its snacking in the true sense of the words, as I have been doing well, while at work avoiding the crap that shows up in the break room. Even during my days off from work, I am not caught in the kitchen too often ahead of a planned meal. My problem comes after I eat dinner, I find myself unsatisfied and wanting to eat more and have dipped into the pantry for some otherwise unacceptable bites.

Currently, I am trying to get myself to the point of feeling satiated when I eat. Right now, as has been the case for a few weeks I feel bloated even before a meal approaches. Eating on top of that only makes me feel like a fat slob, as guilt starts to creep in and I question my determination.

Being able to identify “true hunger” is what I need to key on. Being able to stop at “full and satisfied” is where I need to begin, while staying away from the between meal bites that are aiding that “stuffed and lethargic” feeling I currently have. It’s a terrible feeling I have been struggling with for nearly 2 weeks. Eating until satiated has been a challenge.

I fall back to what I have learned since 2011 and pictures of before and after. The motivation is there! I will succeed but need to fine tune some of the practices of mindful eating in order to take advantages of what a Protective Diet promotes. Reviewing the Goals of Protective Diet Mindful Eating Practices, there is work to be done of what allowed me to achieve my optimal health. For me, the most important aspect is, “experience and appreciate true hunger before meals.” Too many times I notice I am cooking and eating because the clock dictates it’s lunch or dinner time.

I can identify with Jerry and the need to snack because of all the calories burned when running. When I was at my optimal level, I would eat after I got done with a run and follow it up in a few hours with a meal. However, with a foot injury and my current health, I haven’t been all that active on the trails, putting in the miles to justify those “added calories” (snacking) to my lifestyle. In the future, when I get back to where I need to be and the running increases, snacking will return in due time, but that isn’t now.

Maybe writing on my experiences, when “overwhelmed,” sharing my previous and current challenges with others allows me a solution. Just sharing details of what I am doing helps me mentally on a Protective Diet. I know I am not the only one who has struggled. We all have at some point and time. Even Julie, as amazing as she looks and feels now has struggled.

In conjunction with watching Class #200 today, I am challenging myself to “Stop the Snacks!” One step I have already taken, as been attempting to drink more water daily. The past few weeks I start the morning with 32 ounces of water on the way to work. Once I am at my desk, I easily drink 4-6 cups of tea in a 2-hour period. I will revisit this challenge in 2 weeks as I near the end of January to see where I am.

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