On May 31st 2019, I turned 45.
Whatever excuse you’ll want to give yourself, just think how much happier you could be, how much health you can gain, how much endurance and strength you can obtain – you’ll just have to start with something, even if you think it is small and insignificant – just start. Start by ditching meat, dairy and junk food and adding variety of whole vegetables, fruits, grains and legumes – you will never know how good it feels, until you feel it. I’m never going back, I’m only moving forward.
The time gap between two pictures is exactly 7 years and 7 days. On the first picture I was 164 pounds, struggling with generalized anxiety disorder (my doctor was ready to put me on meds, luckily I declined), with acne covered skin, vitamin D deficient (doctor offered more meds for that), couldn’t go a flight of stairs without loosing my breath, horrible acid reflux after almost every meal (meds anyone?), high levels of cholesterol (possible meds in the nearest future), acute sinus infections (regularly on meds for that) and the list could go on. The main thing – I was not happy with the way I felt and looked. Every reflection in every mirror or window, every photo taken was screaming at me – you’ve got to do something besides baggy clothes because they are not helping! Although my husband told me everyday how much he loves me, I knew he was concerned about my health too. Every time he wanted to take me for a hike or go for a run or take our bikes out – I was not the best company to do outdoor activities with (or any physical activity at all).
I wasn’t even 40 at that time…. And at that time I was eating so called Standard American Diet – lots of junk, lots of meat and cheese, not enough vegetables and more than enough of alcohol and soda…
Fast forward three years, March 2015, enough is enough – first I started with ditching sugar addiction, one day I just said “No” to the daily box of my beloved lemon cookies. 10 days of mental agony, vigorous cardio at the gym – which at the time consisted just of fast walking on the treadmill – and I realized – there is so much more I can do! By lucky coincidence, my friend decided to do something about her health too and she opened the FB group around the same time. We were sharing recipes of the home cooked meals and lots of information – medical and scientific evidence – on food and nutrition. After watching few documentaries (Forks Over Knives, What The Health and Eating You Alive), my husband and I decided to cut out meat and dairy for few months – we’ll see how it goes, we thought. I liked the results – I started to loose weight, my skin started to get better, so I was doing about 80% plant based (still consuming occasional pizza and sushi) for about six months. With my husband’s encouragement, I started going to the gym more and actually found myself enjoying it. By the beginning of 2016 I was 100% plant based – no meat, no dairy, although, was still consuming oil, salt, bread, and occasionally could finish a bottle of wine by myself… My anxiety got a bit better, my bad skin – a little better, I lost about 25 pounds, my husband and I started going for occasional runs around the block or at the gym, but most of all I realized – I’m on the path where I could be happy again! At the end of January 2018 same friend (who became a personal health coach) signed me up for yet another FB group, I went 100% whole food exclusively plant based with no added sugar, oil, flour, alcohol or salt (aka SOFAS Free) – only wholesome fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes – you can call it “high carb low fat diet”, but I prefer more science to it – it is a lifestyle for me and it is a life choice (and I don’t control my portions – I actually eat a lot!). Lost another 18 pounds in 4 months and kept it off since August 2018 (while keep gaining muscle). I started to run regularly and workout more – my husband is my personal trainer now, my vitamin D level is absolutely perfect (as well as all my other lab results), my anxiety is virtually nonexistent, my skin is radiant and very youthful looking, I have very low body fat, but quite good percentage of lean muscle and I haven’t been seriously sick in two years (besides maybe a sneeze here or there). So here I am on the second picture, at the age of 45, being more healthy and happy as I ever was, even in my twenties, completing my first 6K trail run – half of which was uphill, under the merciless hot sun. It was not about how fast I could run, but about the mere fact of completion – I did it! I DID IT! So can you. So can anybody else. I’m 45 years young, and I am moving forward.