Updated May 6, 2013
During my lifetime, I’ve been on every diet under the sun, beginning with Weight Watchers as a teenager. My mom would cook me hot dogs and tell me I could drink all the diet soda I wanted. The worst diet, by far, was the “Boiled Eggs Diet!” I lost weight and then gained it back and more. As each diet progressed, so did my weight gain. My weight yo-yo’d all of my adult life, gaining more and more as the years went by.
In February of 2002 as I was approaching my 50th birthday, I was at my highest weight, 253 pounds. I heard about the McDougall Program as a weight loss plan, so I called for information. After reading the literature, I knew it was something I wanted but could not afford. I went to Barnes and Noble looking for any books I could find on Dr. McDougall, and I found The McDougall Program –12 Days to Dynamic Health. I bought it and read it, and the light went on for me. Dr. McDougall said everything I already knew but could not get to on my own. I realized how programmed I was to eat the way I did. I was so happy to find out the truth about eating meat, which is something, at some level, I never wanted to do. I cleaned out the refrigerator and shelves, brought the grocery list from the book to the store, and I created the McDougall 12-Day Program in my kitchen. As I ate the food my body desired, my unhealthy cravings for sugar, salt and fat dissipated. It was amazing. As my weight decreased, my energy level and feeling of wellness increased.
Two years later, I’ve lost over 70 pounds and have never been healthier or happier. I now walk daily and practice yoga. In September of 2003 I had total knee replacement, and after the surgery, I contracted a serious intestinal infection from the hospital. If I had been in my previous horrible physical state, I may not have recovered.
I have brought two other people through the McDougall Program, and I would love to do more of that. After seeing the changes in me over the past two years, my daughter asked me to show her the basics of my cooking over Christmas vacation. She went home and bought the book and is now preparing her own healthy meals. I love sharing with people what Dr. McDougall has taught me.
– Anne Heineman
Sharing the McDougall Program
Seeing family and friends ill and looking less than ideal is painful, especially when you know there is a simple alternative – the right diet and lifestyle choices. In fact, I bet most of you are like me and cannot understand why they choose to suffer so needlessly – even after you have given them the plain facts and they have seen your remarkable progress. Well, it just isn’t that easy for most people and they need our help. One question many of you have is: “Why should I bother? After all, I’m just going to cause pain for them and for me with my intrusions.”
You should bother – it is your obligation as a person who knows these valuable lessons, to share the truth. You may make some enemies, and most likely, 9 out of 10 people will think you are from outer space. But through your efforts you will change the people you care about. And they will be eternally grateful to you for their much improved life – nothing is more rewarding than to help the ones you love.
Ten Simple Ways to Help Others
1) Invite a friend or family member over for a familiar delicious dinner. Choose recipes that you feel they are most likely to enjoy. Mexican and Italian dishes are not a big stretch for most people because they are used to beans, rice, pastas and the sauces.
2) Take them to some local restaurants for lunch and dinner and show them how you order low-fat, vegan, and tasty.
3) Take them shopping with you to the supermarket and natural food stores so they learn their way around. Show them the many healthy foods that are just waiting there in the aisles for them to choose.
4) Make arrangements to exercise together. Take them to your health club and yoga classes. Invite them for swimming, golf and tennis. Relationships are enhanced with these shared times.
5) Share your results with them. Don’t forget to tell them that changing was not an overnight journey for you either. Change is punctuated by positive and negative experiences. Make every effort to help friends and family take the easy road. Explain that mistakes are not failures but learning experiences – and little is lost from these apparent setbacks. The goal is to get them to a healthy level of eating long before they are permanently and seriously injured – like with a stroke or cancer.
6) Take the time to show them sections of the McDougall books, newsletters, web site, and DVDs that would be most interesting to them. Introduce them to the National Library of Medicine (www.nlm.nih.gov) – so they can find out more about their troubles and better solutions.
7) Form support groups with several friends. Have potlucks where you show educational materials and bring in guest speakers. The more support the better.
8) Some close friends and relatives may be worthy of an intense education from you that can only be delivered by living together for a lengthy time. Invite yourself to stay with them and you do the cooking – or for them to stay at your house.
9) Because changing lives is so difficult, but necessary, we have a 10-day (lock-up) live-in McDougall Program in Santa Rosa. Friends tell friends that they need this experience – it beats the alternative which is a shorter, more miserable life.
10) Don’t get discouraged. I spent 17 years intensely working with my very best friend before he was able to effectively change – and I can tell you all the effort and patience was worthwhile for the both of us. He credits me for saving his life – and I did. How better could I show my friendship?
Can you think of someone who needs better health? Why not give “food missionary work” a try today?