PD – Week 3

Monday starts week 3 of reacquainting myself with the principles and living a Protective Diet. I’ve decided to change logging format to a weekly basis now, rather than daily. While I have many thoughts, it’s easier to post and hopefully have others in a similar situation follow along. Don’t want to feel I am boring readers with information they don’t need or want to read. Hopefully that isn’t the fact and if I can help one person with something I write, then excellent!

Week 3 started off well, but I find myself falling into some frustrating habits. In the motto of the Boy Scouts, “Be prepared!” is something I haven’t been. I’ve been attempting to follow a weekly menu I put forth each week, but after the first 14 days, I’ve started to run into problem. These could easily be resolved if I had time on my days off to follow SUS (Set Up Sunday) as Julie calls it, however, and I’ve said this before my days off are spent working, cleaning the house, doing house related projects. Rarely do I have time to cook for 2-3 hours in preparation for the week. Can I fit it in? Sure, I could make a few early morning adjustments and probably start my day working on SUS before starting my day off.

Going back to Julie and Class 200 – Stop the Snack Challenge, this was a key point that I had been failing on, which saw me start the downward slide. Outside of just a day or two, I have done well. Eating through out the day, has really helped to cut out those between meal snacks. I continue to struggle after dinner, grabbing a snack less than an hour after I eat. Not sure why, as I am satiated but left feeling hungry to some degree. I think there might be a connection, especially on the weekends, as I have been known to skip lunch on my days off, which makes me more hungry approaching dinner time.

Overall, things are still moving in the right direction. As I recall, from reading my words, it wasn’t easy to begin. While I don’t struggle in the kitchen, cooking was challenging, but the longer I followed McDougall and PD, it did get easier. While I have a plethora of recipes, it’s sometimes challenging with so much good food to eat, where to begin.

What I do know, the longer I follow PD, the stronger my conviction becomes. I know what I am doing is the right thing and while the start has tapered off just a bit as I start the 4th week, but continue to adhere to the program and most importantly, always learning.

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.

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.

PD – Day 10

This week hasn’t gone according to plan in the kitchen, which has been a bit frustrating,  as my menu planning hasn’t quite happened. Monday was cut short due to a doctor’s appointment with my wife, while Wednesday was spent at the pharmacy arguing with the insurance company over an approval for one of her back medicines. This was followed by scouting, which left me no time to put together my Sloppy Jerrys or Hoppin’ John.

Tonight! Tonight! Tonight! *queue Phil Collins* “I am going to make it right” by cooking up the Hoppin’ John with cornbread. Over the last 10 days, if there has been a weak spot, it’s putting in the necessary time to get the cooking done. While the weekend is set aside for SUS, I don’t really cook much on my days off. Maybe I should, given I have the entire day, but usually end up working around the house and after 8 hours, cooking is sometimes the last thing on my mind. Guess that’s a GREAT time for a one-pot meal, huh?

Yet today’s piece isn’t on food or where I stand on the journey just began. Julie had an interesting response to Dorothy’s comment on the PDL group on Facebook.

…one thing I’ve noticed is expectations are what we experience. Our minds are powerful and what we expect becomes our experience. Stephen Toumi has done this successfully once and knows it produces dramatic fast results. He expects them and there they are. We must all visualize and expect results while we take action to achieve

The mind is a very powerful tool when it comes to your success, not only on a Protective Diet but whatever you decide to do. While I never gave up eating a plant based diet, I did fall away from principles Julie taught, which had negative results in my life. There was weight gain, bloated feeling, aches and pains returned. At age 48, I don’t want any of those in my otherwise, healthy life. Experiencing the health I had, I want to regain control and continue to put into practice the principles she teaches.

Everything I had worked for over the course of 10 months was undone because I lost the mindset and started making exceptions. “Oh just this once.” “Just a little bit won’t hurt me.” Even friends and family would hop on this, “go ahead and try a bite.” With the cards stacked against me, it was the experience I had when I started this journey. Looking in the mirror and seeing the physical changes were a powerful thing. Wearing clothes that actually fit; jeans not too tight, shirts that actually hang properly. The new found energy I had, the positive mindset of knowing whatever I challenged I was going to end up victorious!

This was the same powerful mindset I had when I attempted my first 50 mile ultra marathon. With no training runs over 20 miles and just a 50k (31.1 miles) under my belt I made the decision (with my running partner) to attempt this race. From the first gun to the final cow bell, I knew I had this race won. For me, finishing is winning. While I like to consider myself competitive in my younger days, it’s now about having fun. I knew going into the race I wasn’t going to win or even come in hear the top of the pack, but it didn’t matter. Thus my motto for these longer races was “finishing is winning.”

The mindset early on was strong, as I kept positive thoughts, yet went through a whirlwind of emotions at different points of the race. I recall talking to my wife briefly, as she was at Disneyland and it was all I could to do, to hold back tears when talking to her. Her voice was a much needed motivation that came at the right time.

Approaching the final timed aid station, my running partner said he was quitting, as he’d been running on a twisted ankle for 20 miles and could not go on. I succumbed to the fact I would quit, in support of him. However, the combination of his words, telling me to go on, coupled with a feeling I will never forget as I rolled into the aid station.

I saw another runner I am friends with on Facebook, who’s local to my area. He’s a very positive guy with lots of energy, who appears to have lots of love for the running community in general. This was the first time I met him in person, but his smile, comforting hug and words of encouragement reinforced the mindset I started the race with 11 hours earlier. “I CAN DO THIS!” With just seconds to get over the timing pad, I was off for the last 2.5 hours of my race.

The mind is a powerful thing and the feeling I had as I achieved my health goals were nothing short of amazing. Just like hearing the cheers and my name as I crossed the finish line in my race. I find I fall back on these experiences more often than I think, when it comes to a Protective Diet, as well as running. As my running partner says regularly, “You got this!” You know what? I do have this. The past experiences play a major role for me going forward. While it’s only been 10 days, it’s been 7 years of living a plant based lifestyle. I can’t stress enough the amazing results I have achieved in that time.

While no results are immediate, each day builds upon the previous day and before you know it 30 days will be up and the results could astound you. They did me the first time around. At the end of 10 months, with little exercise and following the principles set forth the results were something I never thought I would experience. A picture is worth a thousand words. I think that sums it up.

(L) Before in 2009. (R) After taken 2014.

 

 

PD – Day 9

The best part of a Protective Diet lifestyle is the simple fact you when hungry. At the point you feel satiated, you stop and repeat the process when hunger strikes again. Never in my wildest thoughts did think the love for starch would see me dropping over 40 pounds! Now, as I look to rekindle the relationship with this favorable lifestyle and food, there is a component I don’t follow.

We are each individuals and make our own decisions when it comes to how we live and to what degree we want to be successful. Julie and Jerry have provided more than just a recipe for success with all the wonderful food we have seen flourish on a Protective Diet. The countless “lifestyle” videos allow you take your plant-based habits to a new level and truly live life!

For me, I will achieve my goals in the coming months, for that I have no doubts. One tool I use that isn’t on a Protective Diet is the counting of calories or tracking of food. Since 2011 I have used a few programs that aid me in my progress. Originally I started with a PC program called Fit Day, while it was a bit clunky back in the, the online version and mobile application have improved over the years. When I upgraded my Garmin running watch, I linked it to the popular mobile app, My Fitness Pal. Along the same lines of Fit Day, I am able to track what I eat and drink over the course of a day and track my eating habits and weight loss, including the ability to record photos.

While stepping on the scale isn’t encouraged, I make it a religious habit. Why? As a tool I am able to see the progress by the numbers. More tell, as I am sure Julie will agree is to look in the mirror. How do you see yourself? Are your clothes fitting better? The numbers should back up the person you see staring back at you. I still recall that point in my journey when shirts started to fit different and pants were “too baggy.” It was an amazing feeling. Like Julie shedding the different pants in her Class #181 video, I was finding myself fitting into clothes I had not worn in years.

Now into the second week of I am down close to 5 pounds and have cooked more recipes in the last 7 days for myself than I did over the last 2 months. All this thanks in part to Julie and the Protective Diet. Of course I wouldn’t be successful if I didn’t give accolades to all those in the Protective Diet Lifestyle Group on Facebook who are always so positive and supportive. Not only towards me but to ALL people who are willing to give this lifestyle a try. It’s been just 9 days, but it’s amazing to see how people come together as one to thrive.