My Journey into Health – My weight struggles are iconic and legendary. I started out as a “husky” child in the 1950s and 1960s, which was cathartic because my twin brother was thin as a bean. I was the product of my parents’ depression-era beliefs that fat equaled prosperity. As I look back, I was fed a horrible diet of bread, butter, gravy, potatoes, and fatty foods. I was put on my first diet when I was 8 years old by my pediatrician, who limited me to one slice of white Wonder bread a day. I was 5’6” tall and weighed 185 pounds when I was in 10th grade.
My parents called me healthy, but I felt fat compared to my three brothers, who were all thin. I was self-conscious around strangers, especially girls. Until recently, I was reluctant to take my shirt off in public; I had a doughnut around my waist and was addicted to sugar, dairy, and gluten.
I fell in love with long-distance running and sports in college and law school. I had brief moments of healthy body fat ratios and even entered bodybuilding competitions. These moments were short-lived and always were followed by binge eating and drinking, which ballooned me up to around 250 pounds.
My life has been traumatic, with strict discipline from my parents and five near-death experiences. I was diagnosed with PTSD when I was 60. After graduating from law school, I went into practicing law, where I was constantly stressed and subject to elevated levels of adrenalin and cortisol. As a result of the stress and other factors, after 27 years of practicing law, I had a nervous breakdown and burned out. I quit practicing law and went on a spiritual journey to find out what happened to me and how I could have prevented it.
I still struggled with my weight. The AMA suggests that my normal body weight should be 150-165 pounds. According to their charts, I was obese. That hurt my feelings because I exercised every day and was always on some sort of weight loss diet or supplement. I walked around with a pumpkin/beer belly, even though I rarely drank alcohol.
I had a fondness for ice cream, pizza, and red meat. I started on the intermittent fasting diet and only ate once a day. My weight never dropped below 200, even though I was running marathons and working out every day. I had pretty much given up on the hope of being at a healthy weight, rationalizing that my metabolism was too low to be thin.
I went on hormone therapy for a hypoactive thyroid to boost my metabolism. I went to a longevity clinic to get the latest injectables to improve my health. To be honest, none of this helped me lose weight. I was eating 1000 calories a day and not losing weight. When I would fall off the diet wagon and eat my favorite foods, my weight skyrocketed.
I was also suffering from chronic pain, gas, toenail fungus infections, postnasal drip, and several other nagging problems. I had spent thousands of dollars on medication for these conditions, but there was no improvement.
I did hundreds of hours of research to try to find out what was happening to my body. I learned that cortisol is the body’s way of protecting itself during times of famine and it converts all available calories into fat. By starving myself, I was doubling down on high-fat percentages because my cortisol would spike, and I would pack on the fat pounds. The stress of being fat also spiked my cortisol levels, which was a negative spiral.
Last summer, I partnered with a California film producer to produce documentaries. He shared with me that he had diabetes and other serious health issues but was off his medication and had lost 85 pounds. He attributed his miraculous transformation to a strict raw plant-based vegan diet designed by a California nutritionist with enzymes, amino acids, and plant protein supplementation.
I was determined to get to the bottom of my health problems and hired a nutritionist to help me with my issues. He stressed the fact that it would require a complete lifestyle change mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. He also required me to watch a series of documentaries on toxins in our food, specifically “The Game Changers,” ‘What the Health,” “Seaspiracy,” “Forks Over Knives,” and “Earthlings”.
I was horrified about what I had been eating for the first 70 years of my life. It seemed that most of the food I had eaten, even when I was a vegetarian for ten years, was highly toxic and had low nutritional value. I was determined to clean up my act and eat as he recommended.
The first step was to get a live blood analysis. This is not a conventional blood test and is only offered in a few states. The results of the analysis were startling. I had a leaky gut, plaque mucus in my digestive tract, enzyme deficiency and parasites. It’s not a pretty picture, to be sure. The good news is it is healable.
I have been on a raw, plant-based vegan food plan since the first of August, 2023. I am eating three times a day with snacks. I have lost close to 50 pounds and am down to 175 pounds. I am sleeping better and feel healthier and people are wondering what I am up to. At my last measurement, I was down to 15% body fat. Miraculous!
I urge everyone with health concerns to consider what they are consuming as a cause of their health problems. Although being on a raw plant-based vegan diet takes planning and prep time, I know I have added years to my life.
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