My husband has struggled with weight probably his entire life. And I’ve been witness to that struggle for nearly 35 years. It’s one of the reasons I have so much compassion and understanding for people who struggle with obesity. Losing weight and keeping it off is HARD.
Yet, even though food and health are my passion and professional calling, all my counseling, “helpful hints” and attempts at serving healthy meals seemed to backfire and even cause some friction between the two of us. Probably because, to my husband, I wasn’t a trusted, well-meaning healthcare professional – I was just a nagging wife. Defeated, at some point I gave up realizing that I couldn’t do it for him. He had to do it for himself. Meanwhile, he slowly ballooned up to 248 lbs for his 6’1” frame.
That doesn’t mean he never tried dieting. In fact, he’s probably tried every fad diet out there! It’s just that he never found a regimen he could stick with long enough to get to his goal of getting under 200 on the scale. His sweet tooth always won.
In some ways he never had a chance.
You see, my husband is a surgeon -- one of the most stressful, time intensive healthcare jobs you can have. And one way people deal with stress – and lack of time - is turning to comfort food, especially sweets. Cue the doctors’ lounge, overflowing with donuts, cookies and candy bars. This food dystopia is actually the norm in healthcare settings (and one of the reasons obesity is highly prevalent among healthcare workers. But don’t get me started!).
Then one day - October 4th, 2020 to be exact - he made himself a Step One Smoothie for breakfast. We obviously have the food around the house, but I’m typically the one eating it. I said nothing, and just observed. Then I saw him pick up a couple Apple bars, make himself a cup of coffee and head out the door.
And that was the beginning.
The first three days were his hardest. Avoiding the donut tray took some serious self-restraint! But after that, he not only realized he could enjoy the bars and smoothies just as much – he also noticed that the energy crashes he used to experience during the day were gone. As were the hunger pangs.
And this is what his routine became: A Smoothie in the morning, two Apple bars for lunch typically with a latte, and a normal dinner into which he voluntarily incorporated a salad. (One small caveat – he adds a whole banana, lots of ice cubes and 2 single serve containers of “Fit and Light” artificially sweetened vanilla yogurt to one packet of the Smoothie mix. So he ends up with a pretty big serving.)
Last Saturday, he stepped on the scale and it read 198. He had lost 50 pounds in just under 6 months! And, by the way, he has yet to add regular exercise to his routine. But building physical fitness is next on his list. It’s like I’m living with a new person!
Best of all, he’s lost all interest in the donuts. Mostly because he feels so much better eating this way. And for the first time ever he believes he has found an approach that is not only better for him but is actually sustainable. As you might imagine I’m thrilled for him and for what this means for his long-term health.
Notice he didn’t follow a “diet” this time -- or turn his life upside down to lose weight. He made two realistic, sustainable substitutions for what he had been eating. His nutritional intake is not yet perfect – artificial sweeteners are scattered in there after all - but there’s no question his health has markedly improved.
And this is the big point behind the “No Diet Guide”. Attaining a healthier weight should not be about dieting! It should be about finding a way to eat that just works better…for YOU.
And to be clear, I’m not guaranteeing that everyone who follows my husband’s plan will lose 50 pounds in 6 months! But, just like amazing cholesterol results can be seen, amazing weight results can happen too.
Behold the power of food.