Archive for Married-1 WFPB

“I have had easy weight loss without being hungry or having to track any calories”

By: Sarah Gale

I’ve struggled with health and weight for all of my married life. I joined Weight Watchers in 2002 and lost the 35 pounds of extra weight I had put on, but it was very slow going, difficult to do, and I was hungry and unhappy all the time. It also made me feel obsessed with food. I began having periods of binge eating and then starving myself to try and compensate. Five years into marriage, I got pregnant, something I wanted more than anything I had ever wanted. However, I ended up miscarrying that baby, which was horribly devastating to me. I turned to food for comfort, and promptly gained back all the 35 pounds I had lost. A year later, I was able to get pregnant again, and this time, the pregnancy worked out. However, I gained 40 pounds! I went back to Weight Watchers, and lost a lot of the weight, but the old feelings of deprivation came back, and I ended up on a binge and starve cycle again.

With our second child, I gained 30 pounds. I tried exercise, got into P90X and did it faithfully every day for 3 rounds of 90 days. I got strong and felt great, but I only lost 5 pounds!

After another miscarriage, I got pregnant again fairly soon. However, somewhere around the 18th week, I started noticing that I was very short of breath. The doctors and specialists couldn’t figure it out. Finally, I got a blessing from my husband, and he said the doctors would be able to find what was wrong. I soon learned I had a very rare tracheal stenosis, which required have multiple surgeries, ending in an extremely intense resection surgery and a high dose of steroids, which led to a dramatic weight gain.

To get my weight under control, I decided to try to the latest and greatest thing, the low carb diet. This time, I actually got a little nagging feeling in the back of my brain that this was not a good diet, and not what the Word of Wisdom taught, but I brushed it off. After recovering from the surgery, I started low carb, and the pounds just melted off. I lost 65 pounds in about 8 months, and was back to a healthy weight. Then with a fourth pregnancy, I was 100 pounds overweight!

About a year ago, I started getting back to the point where I could think about getting my weight under control and my health back. I didn’t want to do low carb again. I told my husband I just didn’t think it was in harmony with the Word of Wisdom. He rolled his eyes and said that part was outdated, and I shouldn’t worry about it! I decided to count calories with the MyFitnessPal app on my phone. I told myself I would eat three meals per day and no snacks, because snacking seems to be my downfall for binge eating . . . like the potato chips advertise, you can’t have just one! It worked very well, and I lost 65 pounds! But, again, it got difficult to keep it up!

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“I didn’t want the foods that harm my body and defeat my spirit”

By: Julianne Kravetz

Determination, willpower and resolve are all characteristics that help define moral fiber. These qualities often serve us well in life, driving success as we pursue dreams and aspirations – except when they don’t. Despite our greatest desire, determination, our best efforts, and even all the willpower we can muster, we sometimes fail. And some of us fail again and again, leaving us feeling hopeless and alone in a barren desert of despair. This was the place where I eventually found myself.

When I was a young mother, a book was recommended to me written by Dr. John McDougall. He proposed a plant-based diet for ultimate health and weight loss. He claimed that disease, illness and suffering was not an inevitable result of aging. If that were true, we could live with health and vitality – our food choices could help us avoid needless pain. To me, this “diet” was the Word of Wisdom exemplified.

I recognized the evidence of poor food choices which resulted in obesity, complications of which is the leading cause of death in this country. And yet, this was my struggle. My recurring efforts to become a “McDougaller” were taken up, then abandoned again and again. I thought then that it was just too hard, too time consuming, too inconvenient. My never-ending trudging up and down over the dunes of struggle revealed a trail of short-lived success – then failure with pockets full of sand. What would cause people to succumb to a lifestyle that would eventually lead to preventable diseases? I knew I wouldn’t consciously choose that path, and yet there I was.

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“No food that causes me to be ill is worth it”

By: Robyn Grow

I’d like to share what I have learned through my experience with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Several years ago I began having soreness in my inner-thigh area. At first I thought that I had somehow pulled a muscle because I had been squatting down a lot as I was working with the first-graders that I teach. I decided that I was out of shape and that I should workout more to get rid of the soreness. The pain progressed to the extent that I had sharp pain radiating down my leg, sometimes both legs. I could not stand on one leg (like when I was putting on a shoe). I went to my regular physician’s assistant and was told that nothing was wrong and that people have aches and pains.

Later I noticed that my hands and feet began to feel as if they had been slammed in a door. I went to a rheumatologist and found that I had both rheumatoid and osteoarthritis. The x-rays also concluded that I had osteitis pubis (a side effect of RA and osteo attacking my pubic joint). I began needing to use a cane to walk on most days because the pain seemed to be weight bearing. I felt like I was walking around with some kind of fracture (or sciatic nerve down both legs). I had the pain all of the time. I could no longer teach, and I began to feel like my quality of life was slipping away from me. I began visiting an endless succession of doctors and enduring the usual required MRI, X-rays and CAT scans. All the experts agreed that I had a problem, but they didn’t have any healing solutions for me. Instead, they only offered me drugs, mostly biologics (which is mild form chemo) like Methotrexate and steroid injections. Since I am in my early 50’s, these drugs were scary for me because of the long-term dangers associated with them. I chose to take a daily antibiotic (hydroxichloriquin) that kept the rheumatoid under better control and gave me more energy to focus on walking normally again.

I spoke with a physiologist, and she told me that every pound that I lose would take 6-8 pounds of pressure off of my joints. I thought to myself, “That sounds like an easy way to lift some of the immense pain that I am feeling.” So, I began a journey to feel better by losing 30 pounds. Losing 30 pounds is equivalent to 180 pounds of pressure off of my aching joints. The weight-loss did lift some of the pain, however I was still in jeopardy of losing my ability to walk as the pain was still there every time I stood, walked or tried to lift anything.

I went the full route in using homeopathic remedies. Each time I tried a new combination, I stuck to it for 2-3 months. I never really felt like there was any cure or relief in using any of them. I also used several of the miracle cures, drinks, and concoctions. Most didn’t help, and some of them even made me very ill. Through research I learned that if you have a serious condition, some homeopathics can actually block your prescribed medications, so natural remedies should be run by the prescribing doctor first. After about a year and a half of this, the only natural remedies that proved helpful to me were turmeric and ginger.

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“I am 110 pounds lighter”

By: Brad Clark

In March 2013 I was 43 years old, 281 pounds, eating the standard American diet, working long hours, and generally not taking care of myself. My wife and five kids (aged 5 to 15) were used to my low levels of energy and high levels of frustration. I had recently given up on yet another diet program sponsored by my work which “worked” because I’d lost 20 lbs on it, but it was also a failure because just like the dozens of times I’d tried to lose weight before I’d put the weight back on. And that is when I started to notice some discomfort when I’d try any activity more than casual walking.

At first I just thought it was a new low in my level of fitness and that if I stuck it out and got on a treadmill I could raise my fitness. But no, the pain persisted. It took more than a month for me to get the guts up to make an appointment with my primary care physician. The day I called to make the appointment the receptionist asked why I wanted to visit. The alarm in her voice as I explained my symptoms—and the fact that she made an appointment for me to see him the same day—scared me even more.

I worked in the middle of San Francisco, so leaving for the doctor mid-day meant having to walk almost a mile to the BART (transit) station. On the walk I was alarmed that the pain I had been hoping to brush under the rug was now intense enough that I was relieved each time I got to stop at the crosswalk. The reality of my situation was finally sinking in, and I knew I was in trouble. That was Wednesday, May 22, 2013. By that Friday I was on my cardiologist’s treadmill and though the official diagnosis took a little longer to receive, that Friday is also the last time I’ve eaten any animal products and the day I started on my return journey to health.

Having lost both parents to heart disease I had previously researched preventative programs. Years earlier I had even followed the Ornish program for about six months before falling off of it. But because of that experience, the day I was diagnosed with heart disease I knew exactly what I needed to do and was finally motivated enough to do it.

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“I felt prompted to really read the Word of Wisdom”

By: Julie Haws

About four years ago I started experiencing some chest pain. Being a dietitian, I search for nutrition-related answers to health problems. I read The China Study and also Dr. Esselstyn’s book Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease and followed this diet very strictly for about a year. Following this diet was an adjustment at first, but I was motivated because my symptoms went away, and I felt wonderful. People told me I glowed. Then I got pregnant with my third child. I experienced nausea and also extreme fatigue for much of my pregnancy. I normally rarely eat fast food or eat at restaurants, but I did during this pregnancy because of my symptoms.

A few months after having my daughter Amy I found I could not stand for more than a few minutes at a time without experiencing dizziness, sweating, and chest pain. After a year we discovered I had a condition called POTS (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome), which is basically a fainting disorder. I never fainted, but I would get close to it. I had days and weeks where I had to spend most of my days sitting or lying down. Anyone who has had 3 children under 5 years old knows what a challenge it was. It was truly debilitating. I couldn’t cook, clean, or shop much for about a year. My husband and family helped out a lot. When I started having these symptoms I did start to follow Dr. Esselstyn’s diet again, but I was not quite as strict with my diet, and I ate meat still a few times a week. My symptoms were about 60% better.

During this time I read my scriptures a lot and prayed and fasted that my body could heal completely. I had to fast with water or my symptoms would get very severe. I still was not able to stand for long periods of time and still had unpredictable spells. Around the time of my 40th birthday, I felt prompted to really read the Word of Wisdom. While reading it the following phrase stuck out to me.

Yea, flesh also of beasts and of the fowls of the air, I, the Lord, have ordained for the use of man with thanksgiving; nevertheless they are to be used sparingly; And it is pleasing unto me that they should not be used, only in times of winter, or of cold, or famine. (D&C 89:12–13)

This surprised me, and I wondered why before I had only read up to the word “sparingly” and stopped there? What is the definition of sparingly? The Word of Wisdom specifies what sparingly means, “only in times of winter, or of cold, or famine.” And then it repeats this counsel again in verse 15, “And these hath God made for the use of man only in times of famine and excess of hunger.”

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“I am free!”

Cristie CarterBy: Cristie Carter

While I was a child growing up my father was in the produce business so fruits and vegetables were in abundance at our home. My dad would say, “The whiter the bread, the sooner you’re dead,” and mean it. But, we consumed all of the whole milk anyone could want. I remember always reaching for a glass of milk when I was thirsty, preferring milk to drinking water. I grew up healthy and active. It was when I went to college and then got married that I ate more convenience foods.

To be honest I have not been a moderation kind of girl and that has been my eating downfall. When it comes to sweets in the house, no matter what room I’m in they beckon me to come and enjoy. If I were bored or wanted some variety to my day the list of sweet indulgences is long and quite varied with all of the delicious concoctions I would come up with and consume. Epictetus wrote, “No man is free who is not master of himself.” This out of control compulsion was bondage to me.

If you were to visit my library you would soon see that I have been eagerly learning all that I can throughout the years about food and nutrition from the Diamond’s Fit for Life to The China Study by Campbell and numerous books in between. I knew much of this information was important, and in my quest for better eating and health I have experimented being raw vegan off and on for the past sixteen years. I felt great and the physical results were impressive, but because that regimen of eating was so restrictive I found it impossible to adhere to permanently.

This time last year I met up with a friend for lunch. As we were eating I mentioned how wonderful she looked. She told me about a new eating plan she had been following, and when I asked her about it I soon learned that it was very heavy in meat consumption. I asked her if she had any qualms about eating that much meat since the Word of Wisdom states quite specifically that little to no meat is better. That afternoon I went home and did a web search for “MOST HEALTHY FOOD DIET” which resulted in a plethora of varied information. It was then that I found Jane Birch’s blog, Discovering the Word of Wisdom, and began reading all of the inspiring testimonials found there.

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“I am no longer obsessed about food or how much I weigh”

Doug WeberBy: Doug Weber

I’ve been studying nutrition and fitness as a hobby for about 20 years. During this time, my weight has been all over the map. I’ve been very thin at times—when serving in the Air Force, I was on a calorie-restricted diet and doing lots of running and got down to 150 lbs. I’ve been overweight most of the time—up to 230 lbs at one point.

My diet has also been all over the map. I’ve tried the good old calorie-restricted diet many times and succeeded in losing a lot of weight each time, only to gain it all back each time. I also saw success with the Shangri-La Diet (google it) but didn’t have the will power to stay on it indefinitely. I saw success with the Atkins Diet; however, I had the same problem, an inability to stay on it long term. The same with Nutrisystem—I did that for a year and lost 55 pounds, then gained it all back.

In late 2015, I decided to try the Ketogenic Diet where 75% of calories come from fat, 20% from protein, and only 5% from carbs. It is an extreme version of the Atkins diet. During this diet, I was eating a lot of meat, a lot of extra fat (bacon grease on everything!) and was checking my ketones each morning to try to hit the magic range of 2.0 to 3.0 mmol/L. My lab numbers all got better, but in hindsight I believe it was due to my no longer eating highly processed foods.

During this time, I was corresponding with my daughter and her husband in Provo. We had an on-going discussion about nutrition and fitness for a few years. My son-in-law challenged me on my interpretation of D&C 89:12-13. I interpreted verse 13 to mean it’s okay to eat meat sparingly all the time, not just during times of winter, cold, or famine. He forwarded an article to me that included a reference to Jane Birch’s book, Discovering the Word of Wisdom. I read her book and decided I was completely wrong. I now understand those verses to mean that it is pleasing to the Lord if we never eat meat unless we must in order to survive. I was inspired by Jane’s notion that she had eaten more meat during the first half of her life than would ever be pleasing unto the Lord, so she is committed to eating no meat the second half of her life to try to make up for the first half—that has become my desire as well.

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“When I was 5 years old, I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes”

Jennifer Wheeler and daughterBy: Jennifer Wheeler

Being healthy has been a goal of mine since I was very young. When I was 5 years old, I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. I had an experience in the hospital that made a strong and lasting impression on my young mind. I’ve always been very social, so I was visiting all the kids on my floor while I was in the hospital and trying to get to know them. I went into one young girl’s room who had just had her leg amputated. She was on sitting on top of the sheets, so it was very visible. It shocked me, and I didn’t know what to say to her. After a few moments, I left. This experience stuck with me and became significant to my story a few years later.

My parents were referred to a good endocrinologist shortly after I was diagnosed. At this doctor’s office, I saw a dietician as well. She taught us what the best diet for a diabetic is. One of the first things we were taught is to avoid sugar. The second was to eat protein with every meal because it slows down the metabolic process and helps your blood sugars not spike as easily. We were told that the best form of protein is animal products. They also taught us about the importance of fruits and vegetables, but that fruits should be eaten sparingly because of their high sugar content. (The reason I remember what they taught us is because they reviewed the same things several times a year until I was an older teenager.)

Another thing we were taught was if we didn’t learn to control my blood sugar levels, all kinds of bad things could happen, like having my foot or leg amputated. I don’t remember exactly how old I was when this conversation registered with me, but I remember being very young (maybe 8 or so). Because I had seen the young girl in the hospital without a leg, I actually knew what the doctor and dietician were talking about when they told my parents this, and I determined at a very young age that I wanted to be healthy and keep both my legs and feet.

My parents were diligent about helping me avoid sugar, and eating protein with every meal was no problem because we all LOVED meat! As a teenager, I was counseled several times in various blessings to follow the Word of Wisdom. I felt the main emphasis was to avoid alcohol, coffee, tea, and tobacco, but I recognized there was great counsel as to how we should eat. I tried to limit the amount of sugar I ate. I loved whole grains and ate lots of them. I didn’t love vegetables, but I’d eat some because I knew they were good for me, and I ate fruit sparingly. Even though the Word of Wisdom tells us to eat meat sparingly, if at all, I justified not following this counsel because of my diabetes. I was very active physically and had lots of energy. I thought I was healthy, and I thought I was following the Word of Wisdom.

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“In order to be the best doctor I can be, I follow a plant-based diet”

Ernest SevernBy: Dr. Ernest Severn

I switched to a plant-based diet so long ago, and I have so many reasons, it is hard to know where to start so I will just jump in. I would have to say for me there are seven main reasons I follow a whole food, plant-based (WFPB) diet, but there are really even more than that. It’s more like seven categories of reasons.

I was a missionary for the Church in the early eighties. I served in New York City among the Greek immigrants there. I walked every day, usually over 10 miles a day. When I returned from my mission, I gained 10-15 lbs. so I decided to lose it. I started running and doing some other exercises. I was exposed to Dr. John McDougall, I think on a radio program. I got his book, The McDougall Program: 12 Days to Dynamic Health and read it. I decided to follow it, and I lost the weight I had gained in a month pretty easily. In his book, Dr. McDougall talked about all the other benefits of this way of eating so I learned about that as well. Initially, I used the diet to control my weight so I went back and forth, sometimes being strict and sometimes not.

In 1987 my father died suddenly. He was 54 years old and had a history of high blood pressure. He died of a dissecting aortic aneurysm. I also had an uncle die while I was on my mission of a heart attack. He was only 45 years old. I decided to have my cholesterol checked and found that it was high, so I went back to following the WFPB diet strictly, and it went down. So then I had two health reasons to follow that diet. As I stayed on the diet longer, I found that other health problems improved or went away. My allergies got better, my energy improved, my stomach cramps and constipation were gone. I had less oily skin and less acne. This is when I decided to make this a long-term lifestyle choice and not just a temporary diet to lose weight. Over the years my extended family has continued to have numerous health problems, but I have not. These health problems include heart disease, Parkinson’s, ALS, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, hypertension, high cholesterol, obesity, and stroke. I’m 54 years old now and still going strong. I still run and have a normal weight and enjoy lots of activities. So my first “category” of reasons I follow this diet is for better health.

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“I used to think people that LIKED running were strange”

elisabeth-barlowBy: Elisabeth Barlow

My food history could be summed up by the phrase “meat and potatoes,” as long as we were talking about fried potatoes. I liked meat, dairy, chips, cookies, white bread, sugar, etc. and was a generally picky eater. As a teenager, I remember opening a bag of Nacho Cheese Doritos after school and eating most of the bag by myself. I am shocked I didn’t end up with more health problems, but I was a typical teenage girl who didn’t want to eat her veggies.

Once I was married, the pounds started to creep on. By the time I was pregnant with my first child, I was 10-15 pounds heavier than when I got married. After the baby was born, I had a lot of weight to lose, but I didn’t do anything until my baby was almost two years old and I realized I was as heavy as I was when I was full-term pregnant. I joined Weight Watchers online because I thought it was a safe and effective way to lose weight. I was back to my pre-pregnancy weight after a few months, but I quit once I reached my goal and wanted to stop paying a monthly fee and obsessively track everything I ate. I went through the same cycle with each successive pregnancy until after my fourth baby which is when I found a better way!

I started thinking about my relationship to food after watching the Overcoming Addiction series that was put out by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. One of those videos was about a woman that overcame food addiction. I had never thought I had a food addiction, but I often felt like if I started eating a package of cookies or chips, I could never stop with just one or two! Many times I felt like the only thing that would relieve my stress was chocolate or a bakery item high in fat and sugar. I craved meals heavy in cheese and bacon. Although I knew I wasn’t eating the healthiest foods every day, I was resistant to anything that said to stop eating meat. I had read the Word of Wisdom before and knew that I could eat meat sparingly and that animals are for our use.

However, I was also worried about my health. I had a yearly blood draw coming up as part of our insurance requirements, and I wanted to be able to improve my numbers and not have to pay a surcharge if I had worse results than the year before. My post-baby weight loss had stalled, and to top it off I got sick with a horrible stomach virus or food poisoning and had to take two days off of work to recover. So, in March of 2016 when I found Forks Over Knives on Netflix, I was determined to try a whole food, plant-based diet. Now that I have been eating that way for 6, going on 7 months, I want to recap everything that has changed for me.

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