I Lost Over 100 Pounds Eating Mindfully
I was always a skinny kid growing up. I am 5’9” and weighed 135 lbs. all the way through high school. I finally filled out a bit in college and was a normal 165-175 lbs. I got married young and my wife loved to bake. I put on a little weight but was never over 200 lbs. Now mind you, I am a pretty stocky guy for my height. I naturally have 54 inch shoulders and a 33-34 inch waist. I was always able to shed any extra pounds easily by eating low carb and getting a bit more exercise.
THEN I moved to Michigan, met a woman that can seriously cook (as can I), turned 40, and took over a restaurant!
The restaurant was a little breakfast and lunch diner with gourmet style breakfasts and exquisite, and huge grilled sandwiches for lunch. We were in a not-so-good location and struggling a bit so we decided to add BBQ dinners on the weekend. REAL WOOD FIRED SMOKED MEATS and homemade Southern style sides. That took off and eventually we turned it into a full-on BBQ restaurant with a gourmet Southern style weekend breakfast.
One of the things you should know about Michigan is that they have the BEST craft beers. There are around 140 craft beer brewers. I am a dark beer drinker and started drinking Founders Porter.
Another thing you should know about restaurant owners is that most of us work 70-90 hours per week, most are ‘Foodies’, and we all get tired of eating our own food. What would happen is that we would wait to eat until we got home late and were famished by then, and would over eat right before bed. Then throw a couple of good micro-brews or a couple of glasses of wine in there and you have a recipe for serious weight gain.
After 5 years of continuing to gain weight and working 90 hours per week, my knees were shot, my back was giving me issues, I had serious Edema in my leg, a compressed nerve in my foot, was barely able to walk, had sleep apnea, and I weighed almost 350 lbs. I did get a CPAP machine to help me sleep better and saw my doctor multiple times about the Edema. The doctor gave me some medication and I had a serious allergic reaction to it. The result was my health failed on me and I ended up in the hospital. When I was released from the hospital, they gave me a whole list of other medications to take.
The day I was released I spoke with my 68-year-old, Vegan, and extremely healthy mother about this. Her reaction was, “No way! Food is Medicine! Do the research and do NOT fill those prescriptions!” So I did the research.
After doing many hours of research, here is what I did:
I stopped eating beef and pork. I only ate organic chicken and fish for meat. I stopped drinking pop and alcohol. I stopped eating after 7:00 pm. I went on an anti-inflammatory diet eating a lot of fruits and veggies and included 3 tsp of Turmeric into my diet. I hydrated with water only that had lemon and lime in it. I also kept my bad carbohydrates (refined carbs) under 40 grams per day and rarely would eat refined carbs in the evening. I mostly stick with whole grains.
After a couple of months into my weight loss, I figured out that dairy is horrible for inflammation and horrible for human health. (READ: Giving Up Cheese) I also realized that plants have plenty of protein – a cup of beans contains 41g of protein – and that I don’t need meat and the extra saturated fats to be healthy. In fact, just the opposite is true. Fruits, vegetables and whole grains are PROTECTIVE against cancer, inflammation, and chronic diseases. Centurions living in the Blue Zones eat a primarily plant based diet.
Note that I did not go to the gym once. I do get some exercise almost every day but it is low impact yoga, walking, leg lifts to strengthen my knees, and I do have a couple of small weights and an exercise band that I use. I exercise maybe a half an hour a day and often skip days. You only need about 20 minutes of mild exercise per day.
The result is: I can walk! I have my life back! I can do activities that I wasn’t able to do before like ride my bike! I lost over 100 lbs. and counting in 6 months! Update: As of today Jan 1st 2018, a little over a year in, I am down 141 lbs., and I feel great!
I eat mindfully and organically. First and foremost, I am Living Respectfully toward myself. I found out the hard way that if you don’t have your health you don’t have anything.
I would encourage you to check out the documentary ‘Forks Over Knives’. They also have a fantastic website at forksoverknives.com.
P.S. Since writing this, I have stopped eating chicken, fish and dairy. I feel great – More energy than ever! See follow up post here.