A Tale of Two SistersAs I pass the August 1, 2016 two-year anniversary of adopting a Protective Diet, I’m reflecting on my journey, and that of my sister, Cathy.
I’ve been a “foodaholic” all of my life. I’m 66 now, and since I was a young girl, I’ve struggled with my weight. I’ve never been considered obese, and the most I weighed was about 40 pounds over my “ideal” weight. And yet I struggled greatly, losing the same 20-30 pounds over and over during my lifetime.
I’ve tried many “diets,” from Atkins and other diet fads, to protein sparing fasts, to diet powders, to Weight Watchers, to extreme calorie restriction and vitamin shots. I would always lose weight, and be “happy” for a while, but eventually I’d tire of whatever program I was following, the pounds would creep back on, and I’d be miserable again. I couldn’t sustain weight loss. And I never enjoyed cooking or eating, because I knew I’d gain weight.
I love food, and I love to eat. Food has always been my “drug of choice.” And restricting myself, and constantly beating myself up, has not served me well. I’ve never been a big meat eater, and didn’t even really care much for a lot of oil, fried foods or fast foods. I gave up Diet Coke in my 30s. But sugar – ah, that was a different story. I loved chocolate, and ice cream, and muffins, and chocolate chip cookies (and dough), and a few other sugary items that kept sneaking their way into my kitchen. I’ve been known to stash a bag of chocolate chips and a jar of crunchy peanut butter, and eat those for my nighttime snack. I’d always feel lightheaded and awful after eating a lot of it, but it tasted good at the time. It would call to me, and I’d just do it again the next night.
In April of 2014, I was diagnosed with early macular degeneration, due to extreme nearsightedness and very thin retinas. I’d had a detached retina in my left eye in 1998, and that resulted in more weakness. So now I have almost no vision in my left eye. It terrified me. About that time, my dear friend Judi B. was telling me about a new “eating program” she had discovered called Protective Diet. It intrigued me, and I wanted to do everything I could to try to retain sight in my right eye. I researched it, tried a few of the free recipes, loved them, and decided to give it a try full time.
On August 1st of 2014, I committed to a Protective Diet 100%, and it was the best decision I’ve ever made. My weight loss isn’t stunning and dramatic, like many on PD, but over the first couple of months, I lost about 22 pounds. (My “after” photo is taken with my awesome barre instructor). The weight came off rather quickly, and even though Julie said you could expect it, I thought I would be different, because I didn’t have that much to lose. It was surprising and delightful. And I’ve easily maintained my new weight ever since.
Since going 100%, I’ve experienced a freedom from food addiction I never thought possible. Food no longer rules my life, because I know I can always eat. Cooking has become fun. I’d pretty much stopped cooking, other than some basics, because I couldn’t eat anything I cooked without gaining weight. Now, I know I can eat until I’m full and satisfied. And if I occasionally overindulge, it’s always with PD foods, and it doesn’t cause weight gain.
As I’m sure is true with many people, I have my favorites, and I tend to cook them frequently, but I also love trying new recipes. My husband Jon, who is not 100% PD, has dramatically reduced his intake of animal products, oil and sugar as well, and probably eats 75-80% PD most of the time. He loves a lot of the recipes, and enjoys them with me frequently.
In addition, I’ve experienced a number of health improvements. I was taking a low dose statin medication, and within two months of going 100% PD, I was off of the medication completely. My vision has improved in my right eye, and while PD may not entirely stave off macular degeneration, I’m thankful for that improvement. My dentist and hygienist tell me that my gum health has improved significantly, and that they’re continually amazed at how healthy my gums are, and that the “pockets” they look for that signal gum disease and deterioration are almost non-existent now. Within a month or two of going 100%, I noticed how my energy had leveled out significantly. On most days, I experience energy throughout the day, and don’t have the highs and lows I used to have when eating sugar.
I’m very grateful to my friend Judi for introducing me to PD, and to Julie and Jerry for making this program fun, satisfying, and health promoting for all of us. The benefits of adopting a Protective Diet 100% go far beyond weight loss!!
Sister Cathy S.
My sister, Cathy, lives in northern California, and I usually see her once or twice a year. She had been relatively slim as a young person, but had two children in her 20s and never seemed to be able to lose weight after that. She had a third child at around age 40, and gained even more weight. She loved sugar and cheese, and ate it in abundance. She also loved to bake sugary foods, and of course ate them. She struggled with a number of health issues, including lack of energy, high cholesterol, painful knees and hips, constant back pain, inability to walk very far or climb stairs, some loss of bladder control, sleep issues, and overall inability to exercise. She would take long naps during the day simply because she didn’t have the energy to do anything. She was taking prescription medication for cholesterol, acid reflux, arthritis/pain, and bladder control issues, and her days were controlled by her medication schedule.
In September of 2014, I took her on her first cruise. At the beginning of the five-day cruise, she was eating everything in sight, but always watching how I was eating and adapting. By the end of the cruise, she was ordering as I was (plant based, no oil, no sugar). Slowly, she began paying attention to my way of eating, and learning more about the Protective Diet. During that visit, she tasted PD food, and she always loved it.
She visited again in January of 2015, and told me she wanted to try 100% PD during her week-long visit to see if she “could do it. “ She loved ALL of the food! She ate only PD foods and recipes, ate as much as she needed to feel full and satisfied, and lost seven pounds in one week! She was amazed!! She committed to 100% PD, and has not looked back. We ate a lot of Frosties and Breakfast Brownies that week!
Cathy has lost almost 45 pounds, and is now at a weight she probably hasn’t seen in 30 years or more. She is off every medication she was taking, with the exception of one for overactive bladder that she now takes once a day (rather than three times a day, before PD). The arthritis in her knees is significantly reduced, and she can now easily walk up and down stairs. She takes long walks with ease as well. She loves to cook again, and enjoys taking PD foods to potlucks in her apartment building and at her church. She’s able to attend more social events, retreats and other functions she simply didn’t have the energy to attend before PD. And she sleeps well. She inspires others, and enjoys the compliments she receives from friends and family after going from a size 14-16 to a size 6. She’s been able to donate most of her older clothing, and has had great fun acquiring a new wardrobe, much of it from resale shops.
She’s a total success story, and I couldn’t be more proud of her! As I write this, she has embarked, at age 65, on her very first trip to Germany, to visit her son and her new grandson (2 ½). She could not even have considered doing this before PD, and now she’s looking forward to walking the cobblestone streets in the charming old German towns and playing with her grandson!
We’re both thankful for Protective Diet, and plan to continue on this amazing plan for the rest of our lives!