I’ve been looking for something that’s been missing in my life/ Now 49 years old, I am struggling with an “unhealthy heart” looking to make external changes instead of looking inside to improve myself. May 15 at 4:15am I had the revelation I needed to recommit to change, in order to make myself better, from the inside out.

Life isn’t supposed to be easy. It’s a series of challenges we must face and overcome. I’ve done it in the past, making that commitment and the change was amazing! Kent Sparks has been quite an inspiration in the few weeks I’ve listened to him speak. His words and more importantly, his message has opened my eyes to many shortcomings in the time I’ve been alive. His most recent talk about Keystone Habits: Learning the why behind the what” has given me some excellent guidance but know I face an uphill battle that requires a lot of work.

Three years ago, this past April I ran my third 50-mile race, finishing in 13:40:39, knocking off over 15-minutes from the previous year. The feeling of accomplishment, determination, hard work, perseverance culminated in the last :35 seconds of the race, coming down the chute, people cheering and clapping, to hear your name and city called out as you cross the finish line. It’s a feel I will never forgot but want to recapture.

While there is much work to be done, I’ve started setting goals. In the last few years I’ve become lost and become unrecognizable in my personal life, work life and most important, home life. While much of the change will take from within, there are external goals I’ve set. Talking to co-worker and friend, Brian, we are setting a goal to run the American River 50 Mile Endurance Run in April 2020. This would be our third time participating, both races I’ve finished, but my running buddy has unfortunately dropped out both time. He wants to get the monkey off his back and we will cross that finish line together next year.

I’ve recommitted to physical change by heading back to the gym, getting back on the Stronglifts 5×5 program that put me in the best shape of my life and allowed me to push my limits and run 50 miles! While I’ve yet to resolve the foot issue, I’ve started running again, 30 minutes, which will increase over the next few weeks.

This journey wouldn’t be complete without the support and involved of Julie and Jerry and those who follow a Protective Diet, a lifestyle change I am followed since 2011, when the site was known as “Plant Purity,” when I made Julie’s, Cheezy Scalloped Potatoes! Still one of my favorites to this day! The success I had changing my eating habits was nothing short of amazing. You can read my testimonial on the PD site!

I am excited at the prospects, having set the race goal, as well as dropping some weight to get back into better physical shape. More important all the physical changes, the change that occurs from within. Having listened to Kent speak has really inspired me to fix my heart and make a commitment and have faith in the words he speaks as the truth. It’s an exciting time and hopefully I can share some of the journey as I move forward.

PD – Day 5

As I start today’s thought I have just warmed up some PD Chili Mac accompanied by Julie’s Detoxifying Red Lentil Salad. Now, I know this is just day 5 of my commitment to regain control of my health, but the best part has been all the cooking I have accomplished this week. It has helped I have been ahead of the game by PLANNING my meals, a task promoted by Julie. In fact, I already have next week’s menu worked out, attempting to use ingredients I already have, in order to minimize my trip to the market.

Today’s post isn’t food related though, it’s more personal and delves deeper into who I am and who I want to be. When the decision was made to better my health, I made a commitment to change. Unfortunately, many individuals don’t welcome change. The adage, “you can’t teach an old dog, new tricks” comes to mind and hits at the heart of the problem.

In my journey to health, I was the direct beneficiary. In some respect, my son and wife benefited, as their father/husband was in the best health of his life and should live a long and prosperous life. I embraced the decision, as life changing and upon seeing and feeling results was amazed at who I had become.

Unfortunately, there has been a disconnect, as I have not been able to carry this sort of commitment and determination as it relates to the mental aspects of my life. Poor decisions years ago had an adverse affect in my life that has continued to haunt me to this day. The person I was then, I still am today, even though I “swear” I am committed to change. It appears I continue to be that “old dog” unable to learn from the past, in order to make positive change for the future.

Even though pain has subsided, memories continue to reflect a negative message that has me questioning that lack of commitment to make a mental change in my life. A loss of faith and trust cut straight through to my heart, sometimes unable to mend that tear. Words carry no strength, as actions continue to speak a different tone.

In an attempt to heal and make positive changes, I have attempted meditation to resolve procrastination and improve self esteem. I can surmise there hasn’t been much improvement mentally as I continue to struggle, following a similar pattern I set years ago. Change is necessary, without I could end up in a very dark place that could ruin my mental state and turn my world upside down. How does one move forward, gain that motivation and commitment to be a better person and promote that change that came so easy when I was the beneficiary?

This commitment, would obviously benefit those around, from family and friends to co-worker or those individuals I come in contact with every day. I want to be “self less” but in order to be successful, change needs to occur. Aspects in my life need to change. Not quite sure how a Protective Diet lifestyle can aid in this aspect of life. Excuse are no longer accepted and “sorry” has no clout. Still change and commitment must unite in order to improve my mentality.

Lifestyle Changes

This is not a diet, this is how I eat.I’ll admit I have had very little support in deciding to change my lifestyle, beginning with my eating habits. Support is a cornerstone when it comes to making positive lifestyle changes. To say the results I have experienced are anything short of extraordinary would be an understatement. I ate a very unhealthy diet and working in a stagnate job, eating lots of fried and unhealthy food it was only a matter of time before it caught up and took a toll on my body.

While my wife initially called this changing in diet a “kick” she is proud of the accomplishments I have made in just 9 months. Nine months to see a positive change in how I feel with more energy, in how I look since shedding 42 pounds of excess weight and improvement in my lipid panels (blood tests), reducing my total cholesterol by 88 points (to date).

I have drawn support from many who have come before me using Dr. McDougall’s wisdom and program to achieve success. His Star McDougallers are just a small percentage of people who have made radical changes in their life for the better. Many of these individuals were more sickly than I was when they started, but to hear their stories and see the positive changes only reinforces that the decisions I have made for my health are the right ones.

I read many comments on the McDougall Discussion Board from people who can’t do this program or are going at it alone, with a spouse dead set on not giving up a diet laden with meat, dairy and oils.  Best thing to remember you aren’t alone, the discussion board is a GREAT place to communicate with others, some who have been through a similar situation. Educating yourself on this lifestyle takes time. I didn’t jump in with both feet initially, as I wanted to read more about Dr. McDougall, what he stood for and why I was not healthy or losing weight when eating an industrialized and processed diet.

Many look at me as unique because of my dietary requirements, I now believe this way of eating is normal and wouldn’t consider going back to eating meat, dairy and oils in my diet.  The opportunity to cheat is always present and for some it could be very difficult to pass up that chance telling yourself, “oh just this once, it won’t hurt me.” You then suddenly find yourself making excuses to sneak more unhealthy food and suddenly you are not seeing progress in yourself.

A discussion board regular, Pinkrose has “identified some of the major causes of failure and success related to McDougalling, especially weight management” in a thread titled, Why Fail? He breaks it down into three simple reasons:

1. People remember their history of eating!

2. Some are overly concerned about what others think of their food choices.

3. Some underestimate their ability to adapt to changes.

If you asked me this time last year, I never would have imagined I would be where I am today with my health. I have achieved my weight goal of 175 pounds and continue to work on improving my cholesterol numbers. I still remember what I was eating this time last year. Meats, dairy and oils were a regular part of my diet, it was also not suggested by my family physician to cuts any of these out, even though I had high cholesterol and was placed on medication.

One of my biggest concerns, what others would think. It was frustrating at times, confrontational at others when I attempted to justify this lifestyle. It got to a point where I didn’t care what anyone thought of my lifestyle change, because it was mine and would only benefit me. Many still feel they are registered nutritionist when I bring up my plant based diet, telling em what I need to consume in order to be healthy. I usually listen, with a nod of my head and then move on. Not sure why my way of eating is suddenly the hot topic in the office, when in reality it’s me who is concerned for the health of my co-workers.

Change. People usually hate change. Some don’t believe they can achieve it, while others procrastinate. This way of eating didn’t come easy, but I made progress each day. As I mentioned, I didn’t jump in with both feet, I sort of waded into the waters cautiously. Once I started learning more I gained a confidence that I could achieve results that would end up making me healthier and happier. I had some vices, still do. Along the way I might have slipped occasionally, but I continued make an effort and I saw the changes taking place. No longer did my fat pants fits (size 36), my belt is now on it’s last loop. Shirts that were too small for me, now fit and hang normally. No longer and I self conscience when I take my shirt off in public. At 42 I feel very good about myself. This change has taken time and I have made an effort at goals I felt I could achieve, but required some work.

Knowing what I do now, feeling and seeing the changes I would love to share the success I have had with others. Many start with the excuses as to why they can’t achieve what I have.  More importantly being able to share my experiences and read stories about other like minded individuals have helped me get to where I am today. I am very thankful that I found a solution that fits my lifestyle. A solution that will allow me to eat many wonderful foods without having to count calories or weigh myself to make sure I meet a goal. Don’t underestimate the support you can find online to help you achieve your health goals.