In 2013 I was feeling pretty good, taking my blood pressure medicine, my cholesterol medicine, using my CPAP machine for my sleep apnea and coping with random aches and pains in my back, knees and shoulders. I knew I was fat, wearing size XXL shirts and size 44 pants. My weight maxed out at 284 lbs the year before. By the end of that year I had managed to lose 10 whole pounds. Not much of a difference and I knew it.
When I decided to change my life I was lucky enough to have access to the information I needed to point me in the right direction. Here's my list of 3 things you can start doing right now:
1) Get some motivation from your television. Your TV is a remarkable teaching instrument. It captures your attention and allows you to stop, rewind and go over information as many times as it takes to understand. If you have Netflix, watch Forks Over Knives and then watch Plant Pure Nation. You have all this great information available right in your own home. It's time to sit down and let it sink in.
2) Collect a few Plant Based Whole Foods recipes. Learn about things you can do to veganize food that you already enjoy. For example I love oatmeal for breakfast. I buy steel cut oats because I like the texture. It's available at any grocery store and also in most bulk food stores. Instead of cow's milk I like vanilla almond milk. Make a pot with 2 cups of steel cut oats, 4 cups of water, 4 cups of vanilla almond milk then spice it up. I put in varying combinations of cinnamon, a chopped banana, allspice, dried cherries, raisins, chopped dates, chopped walnuts and or chopped apples. All of that is from plants and nothing has been highly processed. I like to sprinkle on a tablespoon or two of milled flaxseed for the Omega 3 fatty acids once it’s in my bowl. My blog has a bunch of other simple recipes for spaghetti, macaroni, veggie burgers and ice cream substitutes that you're going to love. There are lots of vegan cookbooks out there. Pick one, like the Engine 2 Cookbook or The Plant Power Way and flip through it. It will give you great results and give you an idea of the many substitutes you can use instead of oil, milk, sugar and meat! Once you collect 10 or 15 recipes to rotate, you'll never get bored.
3) Make a commitment to yourself. Set a time to get started. Changing your eating habits is the same as breaking any addiction. It takes your body a month to get over the withdrawal symptoms of an addiction. It's not a coincidence that the most effective substance abuse rehab programs are a minimum of 1 month. High fat, processed, sugary, salty processed foods stimulate the same pleasure center in your brain as opiates. I chose New Year's Day and committed myself to do this for 1 year. By the end of the 1st month I had lost 20 lbs and already felt better physically and mentally. Three years later, I'm down 110 lbs and off the CPAP, off the meds and feeling great! We're all watching football and recovering from the holidays on New Year's Day. It's a great time to begin.
Here’s a chance to follow through with the same resolution you've been making every year and breaking every year. Make this the year that you commit to yourself. Your family and friends will probably poke fun at you. When you are committed to improving your own health you can laugh along and still stay on track. Nobody is going to do it for you!