Saturday, October 18, 2014

28 Day Challenge

Beginning on October 22, 2014 I will start the Engine 2 Diet's 28 Day Challenge. Arisa is going to do a modified version, but already there is no meat other than fish in the house!

Okay, so the last time I posted on my blog was almost a year ago and this my first post of 2014. My last post was about the Holiday Hold that I did last year through the New Year. I actually did lose weight an ended up under 170. At least for a short while anyway.

Well, it's October a year later and the news isn't so good. I ended up putting back almost all the weight. While my official "Holiday Hold" weight was 178, prior to that I had been as heavy as 190 pounds. At 5'5" that made me obese. (Using BMI of 32 to mean obese) So when I say I put almost all the weight back on, I was 5 pounds short of 190. When I hit 185 again I decided I couldn't wait anymore, so in late August I started making changes.

From the beginning of the summer I had been taking nutrition classes at Hylandsince they are available for free - we have a dietician onsite a couple of days a week. I also had watched a few documentaries including Forks over Knives, Food Inc. and others. But it was Forks and Knives that really got my interest.

I'd like to say that it was the science presented, a "cure" to heart disease that peaked my interest. But I'm shallower than that. If you have seen it you know thatDr. Esselstyn's research is core to the movie. Well, his and Dr. Colin Campbell's research. For me though, it was recognizing Dr. Esselstyn - I knew his daughter briefly back when I was in high school or college.

Side Bar

I wont' lie, it a long time ago. It was proably 30 years ago so my memory is a little fuzzy. But I have alwayes remembered Jane and a have an image of her as a bundle of energy, a really, really nice person and a lot of fun to be with. In fact, if I recall correctly I even think we talked about the fact that her family were "vegetarians" and I remember her talking about her brother (Rip) and the fact that being a "vegetarian" didn't hurt his ability as a division 1 swimmer (I also remember the pride with which she spoke about her brother). Of course, I didn't believe a word of it and thought she was a little nutty. I guess the joke is on me. So 30 years later, 30-50 pounds overweight and feeling relatively lethargic and old, particularly with the knee joint pain when coming down the stairs, I have to admit Jane wasn't nutty, I am.

Getting Back on Track

Anyway, knowing Jane made me more receptive to the message being delivered. But it wasn't the only influencing factor. Seeing other documentaries, my increasing interest in growing my own food (just finished harvesting my Kale), the classes at Hyland, my approaching biometrics screening at work, a family history of diabetes all l were contributing factors to making me more open to the message and making changes in lifestyle. But more than anything it was looking at myself in pictures. It is particularly striking in my attempted selfies - I always delete them because of the double-chin. And the scale - when I hit 185 pounds I decided it was time to start.

Some where along the way I ended up buying and reading Rip Esselstyn's Engine 2 Diet book and decided to implement the 28 Day Challenge. I made this decision around the time of the annual biometrics screening at work. Initially I was going to start the day of the screening but Rip said something interesting in one of the videos. He says to clean the house out of all the stuff you can't eat during the challenge. He sai the challenge "should not be about will power". This really resonated with me. Having quit a couple of things (tobacco and booze), he is absolutely right. Accomplishing change is a lot harder when the temptation is staring you in the face.

For me though it was less about having say cheese around the house than the excuse of not knowing how to prepare the food. I can make a hamburger, or deli sandwich pretty easily. Never having prepared the kind of food contained in the book would have been the perfect excuse to default to my unhealthy habits for meals.So I decided to make only small changes like oatmeal and "green smoothies" at breakfast while learning to prepare the recipes in Rip's book, I also bought Jane and Ann's The Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease Cookbook. That's why I first picked about a month after the biometrics screening as my start date but after talking with Arisa we decided since the date I picked was the same weekend Ken was coming home from Villanova we'd push off the start date until he left.

The reason I picked Wednesday the 22nd was because Wednesday's are when I meet with the Hyland dietitian(She is currently reading the Engine 2 Diet so we are on the same page). The 22nd is the first Wednesday after Ken goes back to school.

The plan is every Wednesday we'll check my weight and body fat % so we can see the progress. I will also be getting the biometrics screening again on the 22nd so I'll have an accurate snapshot of my numbers at the start of the challenge. Since my the September screening I have lost about 10 pounds but even more intriguing is a more in-depth blood test about a month later indicated my glucose had dropped significantly - down to normal level of 89 from 108! If it drops that much by simply slowly introducing only some of the changes required by the Challenge can you image what a whole month of full bore Firefighter level will do!?

I will be having a screening done at the end of the Challenge as well to have a before and after. One thing my dietitian suggested to do is to keep a journal, preferably before during and after the challenge. Writing down how I feel, any changes etc. In fact, that suggestion is what prompted this post. I should also get pictures as well as waist and neck measurements. I hope to use this blog as my journal at least once a week through Thanksgiving. So check back and see my progress.

At this point I have to say I am really looking forward to starting the Challenge. I'll post my starting numbers next week.

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