What's your motivation?
If you are like me, this isn't the first time you are looking for help controlling your weight. I'm 59 and have been yo-yo dieting most of my life. There are so many programs from which to choose. Most of them are based on some type of research (read Whole to discover the limitations of current nutritional research), some of them are a quick fix, and others are based on questionable science that may even be harmful. Before you choose, I highly recommend you see your doctor and have a physical. Not only will this give you a solid baseline documenting your current weight, blood sugar level, cholesterol numbers, kidney, thyroid and liver function, but it will help you target the area or areas on which you need to focus. Your doctor also may pick up on a number of other things needing immediate attention so get your physical before you move forward.
Have you been diagnosed with a medical problem such as Diabetes or does Heart Disease run in your family? Have you become complacent, accepting the fate of your parent's as your own? Do you look in the mirror or get on the scale and not like what you see? Have you recently lost a loved one or a friend to what could be considered a diet-related illness? Are you taking a number of different medications and looking for a way to reduce the amount? Remember that "Genetics load the gun but lifestyle pulls the trigger." You would probably not be reading this if your current eating and activity habits were healthy. This is a chance to change direction and learn to take care of yourself. If you are already suffering from a food-related problem or if you have just decided that it's time to start taking better care of yourself to avoid future illness, this may be the answer.
Now that you are ready, think about how and why you are motivated to do this. Are you motivated to do the research on your own? If so, this website and all the people associated with it will be a valuable resource providing you with real science, recipes, and plenty to read. If you have a question during your research, we will help you as little or as much as you want. Our volunteers and Directors include doctors, personal trainers, chefs, dietitians, and experienced plant-based eaters -all are eager to help if you need it. Your questions will be directed to the person or persons best suited to give you accurate, constructive answers. We are also tied into an international network of plant-based professionals. If we don't have the answer immediately, we can find it.
For those people who prefer social interaction to provide motivation, we have resources for you as well. We have Small Groups where you can interact with others at different stages of Whole Food Plant-Based (WFPB) transiton - the plant-skeptics, plant-curious, and plant-strong. The meetings are casual, insightful, and provide a non-threatening environment within which to ask any question and sample some fantastic plant-based food! There are market tours to teach you what to buy, what to avoid, and how to read food labels. We make arrangements at plant-based compliant restaurants for dinner meetings open to everyone interested in trying some delicious food. There are group meetings with local speakers and cooking demonstrations. Then we have our large monthly meetings featuring speakers that, just this year, have included Dr. Joel Kahn (our local super star!), Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn from the Cleveland Clinic and the movie Forks Over Knives, and Dr. Neal Barnard, a prolific author and founder of The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. A small $5.00 fee or donation of your choosing may be collected at the door of the monthly meetings to help offset the expense of the venue.
We are the largest Plant-Based Nutrition Support Group in the United States. How you found us doesn't really matter. It's free to join and you can be as active or as passive as you like. We are always looking for volunteers. We all have our own stories and motivating factors. Some of the stories are truly inspirational.
Personally, I've lost 85 lbs in 16 months without exercise. I've been keeping a record of my recipes and progress in a blog. My cholesterol level went from 234 to 141 without medication. I didn't have a personal medical scare. My best friend and my cousin both died from heart disease within a year of each other. At the age of 58, it was just time for me to make a change. I listened to some very smart people and they helped guide me, answering my sometimes silly questions along the way. I've made lots of mistakes, but I do the best I can to stick to the basics. Nobody has judged me. The benefits have been truly remarkable and I feel as good as I've ever felt in my life.
So get started. Find the movie Forks Over Knives, available on Netflix, and see if you learn a few things. If you are not happy with your weight and you just make a few healthy changes, it’s still better than continuing with the habits that got you to this point. I was surprised at how easy it is to take control of what goes in my mouth. Who chooses what YOU eat?