Kim Dropped 95 lbs and Got Her Health and Life Back!

Kim was 40-years-old, and mother of four, when life took a tailspin into several years of intense stress with ailing parents who eventually passed away within eight weeks of each other.   Between the ongoing struggles and debilitating depression that consumed her life she gained 90 lbs in a relatively short amount of time. Unfortunately, her doctor put her on more and more medications to attempt to relieve the symptoms of dangerously high blood pressure, rising blood sugars, and other maladies of a nutrient-deficient diet. However, today Kim is the epitome of vibrant health and well being as a result of following Dr. Fuhrman’s nutritarian approach. Welcome to Disease Proof, Kim!  

                    

 

What was your life like before discovering Dr. Fuhrman’s nutritarian diet-style?

My life was a roller coaster.  I was a yo-yo dieter for many years and each time I gained more and more weight.  In 2005 I gave birth to my 4th child just shy of my 40th birthday, and my mom was diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer.  Stress and hormones ruled my life, and my doctor said my blood pressure was high and that I needed meds.  I took them periodically but never followed up.  In 2007 my mom's health took a 180 degree turn for the worst, and stress, depression and poor eating habits caused me to gain about 30 lbs. The depression sent me to the doctor who decided to put me on a regiment of meds, and then I gained an additional 30 lbs almost instantly.  

My mom and dad passed away within 8 weeks of each other so the doctor doubled my meds, and I gained another 30 lbs! By this time my blood pressure was 165/105 with medication.  My hemoglobin A1c [measures glucose in the blood] was up to 8 so the doctor put me on more meds. I was starting to have mild chest pains and shortness of breath all the time; I even had to lie down after showering. Instinctively, I knew that something had to change quickly or my youngest, who was 5 at the time, could possibly grow up without a Mommy. 



How did you discover Dr. Fuhrman?

One day I was watching TV while folding laundry.  When looking at the TV Preview Guide I saw 3 Steps to Incredible Health listed on PBS.  I’ve always been a sucker to anything weight-loss related so I decided to watch it.  As I listened I was mesmerized. “How could this possibly work?  Eating real food seemed so incredibly simple but this was the answer!” It was that day, June 4, 2011 that I stopped eating any processed food and adopted the 90/10 rule*.  After losing 50 lbs and researching more about eliminating animal products I became a Vegan.

* [Dr. Fuhrman mentioned in 3 Steps to Incredible Health that we have to flip from eating 90% animal products & refined foods and 10% produce to the other way around.]



How do you feel now?

I've lost 95 lbs, and I have nothing but energy! I’m like the Energizer Bunny now; I'll never sit on the sidelines again! Plus, I’m never hungry, and I never count calories, which used to drive me crazy back in the day of other diets.  I cried the day my doctor told me my blood pressure was 106/75. 
 

 

 BEFORE

 AFTER

Height

 5’ 5”

 

Weight

 231 lbs

 135 lbs

Cholesterol

 165

 136

Fasting Blood Sugar

 145

   81

Blood Pressure

 165/105 (with meds)

 106/75 (without meds)

Size

 18

    4

 

What are your success tips?

  • Be organized!  Know what you need for the day ahead.  I’d take too much food to work and took pride when I’d bring more than half of it home.  Once my body received all its necessary nutrients it told me when I was full - truly a miracle!!  
  • When eating out, I always look at the menu before I go so that I know what I'll order beforehand.  That way I'm not making unwise decisions under the pressure of the moment. 

 

In a nutshell, what has the nutritarian approach done for you?

Being a Nutritarian has given me my health and life back.  I’ve really enjoyed learning how nutrition works and incorporating it in all that I do every single day.  I’ll never go back to the Western style of eating.  This is my way of eating for the rest of my life, and I wouldn't have it any other way!

 

Congratulations Kim! 

 

Reasons to Get Social: The Correlation Between Our Health and Relationships

It was my birthday last week and as such, I contemplated which activity would give me the most satisfaction and provide me with a lasting memory.  Other than venturing to the movies to soak up the last Harry Potter movie installment (it’s release date was the same day as my date of birth- score!), I thought of all my family members and friends who make my life truly worthwhile and whom provide me with happiness each and every day.  I concluded that the celebration of my birthday was really a celebration of them, because seriously, I wouldn’t be my happy, healthy self without these people in my life.  I realize this is a pretty sappy thought, but it’s an objective truth.  It then dawned on me that the best birthday activity I could do was take a seat and begin writing cards to the people I appreciate in my life and tell them why they are so special to me.  Instead of relishing the thought of people writing cards to me and giving me gifts, I wanted to do this for others.  Admittedly, the Harry Potter movie was thrilling, witty, and had terrific special effects, but I had just as much fun, if not more so, shopping for presents for my friends and family. I dare say it’s one of the coolest birthday ideas I’ve ever had. 

Okay so what does my birthday idea have to do with nutrition and health and why blog about my birthday revelation on DiseaseProof? Well I’ve got a whopping lot of reasons. Our health is influenced by many things, diet being one of the most important.  Yet, what would we have to live for if not for the other people in our lives and the meaning and joy we get from those relationships? The relationships we have with others are a significant part of our well-being and status as healthy, vibrant, disease-free individuals.  We could eat the most nutrient dense diet in the world, but die a lonely, likely premature death simply by being a hermit.  The people in our lives give us reason to want to be disease free and in turn, the act of having relationships themselves help keep us healthy. 

Research shows just this.  Loving relationships have an extraordinary ability to prevent stress-induced illness, significantly contribute to healing and repair from injury and inflammation, and add years to our lives.  I know the influence of relationships on our health might seem like an awfully cumbersome subject to study given their variability, intangibility and uniqueness, but researchers in the field of positive psychology have managed to make some fantastically impressive headway.  Take, for example, a study of almost ten thousand healthy married men at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.  The researchers found that the men with high risk factors for heart disease, like elevated cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes and electrocardiogram abnormalities, were more than twenty times as likely to develop angina (chest pain indicating heart disease) during the next five years.  But get this, all the men were asked, “Does your wife show you her love?” and those men than answered “yes” had less heart disease even when they had high levels of risk factors.  

Stress is known to be a slow grim reaper.  People who experience high stress levels at work, with finances, their health, or through toxic relationships have a greater risk of dying than those who maintain a stress free existence.  However, relationships have been shown to mitigate the negative health consequences of a high stress lifestyle. Yet another study was conducted demonstrating that people who report to have a dependable network of intimacy- a spouse, family members or close friends- were shown to be buffered against the negative health effects of stress and, under these supportive conditions, there turned out to be no relationship whatsoever between high stress levels and premature death.

Apparently I was onto something with my birthday celebration idea and its ability to uplift my spirits.  We should all acknowledge the people who contribute to our lives as much as we can and tell them how much they mean to us; it is a two way reward system which affords benefits to our happiness levels, and  to prosperous health.  To all of you on the journey to beaming health and a disease-free existence, seek out people who show that they care about you, care about your health, and support your healthy eating lifestyle.  Your body will thank you just like it thanks you with every wholesome bite of salad.  Each and every day, not just on one’s birthday, it is a great idea to recognize how much friends and family members make every year true gifts.    

How's your PMA?

Right after college I was on staff at a large camp in northern Michigan.  Over a ten week period of time we had over 10,000 summer campers, and I learned the importance of positive mental attitude (PMA) that summer.  Periodically during the mealtimes and various activities, the staff and campers would stop whatever they were doing, and chant in unison, “How’s your PMA?”  It seems like a silly camp ritual, but looking back, continually keeping a check on one’s positive mental attitude was a great habit to develop.

Many have a natural tendency to become negative under stress; and stress is just a simple word for, “Life’s the pits right now, I’m overwhelmed, and things aren’t going the way I had planned.”   

When negativity wraps its ugly claws around our minds, we typically don’t want to make good choices, because negativity causes us to feel sorry for ourselves.  Poor me.  Self-pity mentality can be detrimental to our well-being and to those around us.

Emily BollerHow do I know?  I experienced it first hand last weekend.  On June 3rd I had what was ‘supposed’ to be a simple arthroscopic knee procedure to mend a meniscus tear.  No big deal.  A couple of days off of it, and then a couple of weeks of TLC, and I would be good to go again.  Well, the surgery ended up being more involved, and upon discharge I was instructed to not bear any weight on the injured leg for six weeks; and also be on a continuous passive machine (CPM) for eight hours, every single day, for those six weeks.

It’s summer-like weather now in Indiana.  We just endured a long, cold winter and spring, and the weather is finally nice.  I had a full summer of activities planned.  Being indoors, hooked up to a CPM machine was definitely not on that list.  Worse yet I can’t even prepare a simple meal or wash a load of dirty clothes without enormous effort . . . for me, that’s stress!

Two days post-op I was feeling sorry for myself, and guess what?  I really didn’t care two cents about my health.  Apathy had set in, and the negativity affected my rational thinking and well-being, big time.  Who knows, I might have even resorted to drowning my sorrows in a hot fudge sundae at Dairy Queen; but thankfully I couldn’t drive!

I have no choice but to continuously check my positive mental attitude right now.  I must focus on the positive blessings in my life and not the negative circumstances; otherwise I’m undone.

So when those moments of stress hit, and life gets overwhelming, or when it’s not going the way we had expected, that’s the time to evaluate our positive mental attitude.  That's the time to list everything that we are thankful for.  Our perspective will always affect our choices; and choices will always determine the difference between marginal health and incredible health!

 

How about you?  How’s your PMA today?

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Stress

black and white image of person with hands on head leaning over table depicting stress

Stress.    

We’ve all been there. Done that. Bought the t-shirt. 

It’s a part of life. 

Kids get sick. Job lay-offs happen. Loved ones die. Mundane responsibilities of life get overwhelming. Life gets too busy for fun.

It’s during those times, which may be chronic, we usually reach for ways to somehow pamper ourselves. 

Pamper (verb) to treat with extreme or excessive care and attention (Merriam-Webster dictionary)

We rationalize, "Life’s been hard. I deserve a break. I deserve to be pampered. It's okay. Everyone will understand. No one will care if I dig into a huge bowl of ice-cream and hot fudge. I’ll skip exercise and do whatever I want. Forget health. When life gets easier, I’ll focus on it again.”

STOP! 

WAKE-UP AND BUST THE LIES!

 

It’s in moments like these that “excessive care and attention” are required the most!  

It’s in times of stress that excellent nutrition, exercise and rejuvenation are crucial to restore optimal health and well-being.

Excellent nutrition will nourish the cells with much needed micronutrients, minerals and phytochemicals. 

Exercise will oxygenize and rejuvenate the mind and entire body. 

An empty stomach will cleanse toxins and provide deep, restorative rest.

Let’s wake up to reality. Let’s make the choice to pamper our bodies with kindness during times of stress. 

A body under stress deserves the best of care possible.

Let’s shine the light into the deep crevices of our thoughts and expose the lies that hold us captive.

Do we pamper our bodies with the best of care during times of stress?

The truth will set us free.

Excuses

No Excuses logo

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines excuse as granting exemption or release; to allow to leave.

I’ve been contemplating that word a lot lately as I’ve been dealing with an increase amount of stress caring for a sick child. In the past, any form of stress in my life, whether it was a crying infant, an overcommitted schedule, a long road trip or just about anything out of normalcy, I’d think (maybe not consciously), “okay time to grant release” from wise choices. Moments of “granting release” during times of stress turned into days, months and years of excuses; thus resulting in an obese body.

It’s easy to allow our minds to automatically grant permission from what we know is the right thing to do when under stress. If we are not careful, stress can be the welcomed excuse to throw-in-the-towel and indulge on whatever; whenever.

Even with the nutritarian lifestyle, one can use stress as the excuse to grant permission to overeat when hunger has already been satisfied, or to skip much needed exercise “because it’s been a hectic day.”

Shining light into the dark places of our lives expose the lies that enslave and prevent us from living in optimal health.

Are you granting yourself exemption from wise choices during busy-ness and stress? Are you deceiving yourself by saying, “When life slows down and I’m under less stress I’ll commit to eating for health.”

Moments of stress and crisis are the best times to practice making wise choices that build nutritarian muscle!

Let’s dialogue. What excuses are preventing you from living in optimal health today?