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Linda Chalmers: Cured High Blood Pressure & Lost Weight

The fundamentals of the McDougall Program are simple yet often difficult to implement. Star McDougallers have either adopted the Program themselves by learning from our website and books or joining one of our programs. For personalized help, learn more about the 12-Day McDougall Program. For questions on whether a change in diet can help your ailment, learn more about our consultations.
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My Journey to Health

Linda Chalmers Before

Hello, my name is Linda Chalmers and I am from Manitoba Canada.

When I was young I was very active with walking, downhill skiing, x country skiing, swimming, bike riding and I was super thin.

I was also a very picky eater and I ate a horrible diet of everything unhealthily; bread, meat, eggs, milk, sandwiches, pizza with double cheese, french fries with gravy, cookies, muffins, doughnuts, chips, chocolate bars and diet pop. I hated all vegetables with the exception of tomatoes, cucumbers, raw carrots, although, yet strange enough, I did like vegetable soup.

My diet didn’t change as I got older, and after I had my children I started to gain weight. I started to yo-yo diet which for me meant not eating enough calories and exercising to keep the weight off.

At one point in my life I was going through a lot of stressful transitions and I stopped any kind of dieting and working out. I ate what I wanted, when I wanted and I gained over 120 lbs.

I couldn’t walk a block without pain and being out of breath. I was diagnosed with chronic bronchitis when I was young and being out of breath scared me. I used to tell my husband that if it wasn’t so embarrassing I’d ask him to go get the truck and come back to pick me up. My husband who is 12 years older than I am was in much better shape than I was.

In 2011 I crashed! You don’t ever forget when that happens.

I felt like crap – I was obese and out of shape, I had no energy, my chest was always tight, I was tired, I would choke when eating and often I couldn’t even swallow my food. I suffered anxiety and while I wasn’t clinically depressed I didn’t feel very good about myself. I honestly didn’t even recognise myself.

Linda Chalmers Before

My family came for dinner one Sunday and I wasn’t feeling well at all. I had no energy, I was flushed and my chest was tighter than usual. I pretended I was fine but decided if I wasn’t better by morning, I would go to the Dr. I felt worse in the morning, so I went to the walk-in clinic. My blood pressure was 190/110 and the Dr. prescribed me medication which he said to take before I left the parking lot, and he told me to see my regular Dr. in a few days.
When I went to see my regular Dr., he did blood work and found that in addition to high blood pressure, my cholesterol was also high. He wanted to put me on medication for high cholesterol but I asked him to give me 3 months to try to get my cholesterol down on my own. The Dr. also took me off work for at least 6 months due to stress and anxiety.

I didn’t have a wellness plan other than to walk and eat better.

My husband, daughter (and her children) and I started to walk every day. It was winter and we’d be outside for 1.5 hours a day. We have beautiful trails and sliding hills along the river and we explored them all. I was getting fresh air, losing weight and starting to get fit, and having fun at the same time.

I slowly started to change my diet. I had so much to change and I wanted it to stick, so I tackled it one thing at a time. I cut back on meat, eggs, cheese and bread and junk food and started to introduce vegetables. Every cooked vegetable I tried was a first so it was a steep learning curve.

Linda Chalmers

My daughter and I went on a 2-week vegan challenge. That was another huge stretch for me, but I felt really good eating that way and decided to I would eat mostly vegetarian, but keep a little chicken and fish.

I ate like this for 9 months when I decided to go vegetarian. After a week I knew that being a vegetarian wouldn’t work for me because I found myself eating a lot of eggs and cheese which wouldn’t help my health at all.

I decided to go all in and go vegan. I dropped meat, eggs, cheese and all dairy and began scouring the internet to learn what I could about the vegan diet.

During my internet searches I discovered Dr. John McDougall and the Starch Solution as well as The McDougall Program for Maximum Weight Loss. I often listen to the Starch Solution when I’m on the treadmill I love Dr. McDougall’s no-nonsense approach to health and weight loss. I’ve never met him but he is my mentor and go to guy for health and plant based information.
I also discovered Forks over Knives and other plant based Drs. which have been helpful.

So, I changed my diet yet again, this time to a whole food, plant based diet. It has changed my whole life!

Linda Chalmers Now

My weight is coming off slowly and I’ve lost 80 lbs so far, my blood pressure is normal and I am off blood pressure medication, my cholesterol is in the normal range, my anxiety is gone, I haven’t had bronchitis in years, I used to get severe headaches that made me sick and now my headaches are gone, my digestion is amazing and I no longer choke when I eat. I am able to exercise however I choose; I walk or use the treadmill, ride my bike or stationary bike, hike, use moderate weights. I have tried running but it’s not my favourite thing. My Dr. is thrilled with my results and asks me “What exactly are you doing different?” When I tell him, I follow a whole food, plant based diet, he tells me to keep doing what I’m doing.

Because I know how a whole food, plant based diet can heal our bodies, I am passionate and committed to helping others get unstuck and find the health they desire by adopting a plant based diet along with other lifestyle changes.

I started a Facebook page to share plant based information and I have unofficially coached people in their plant based journey.

I studied to become a Health and Life Coach so I could reach and help more people achieve total health transformation. My business is called Expect to Thrive because I want to help people move from a life of poor health to a life where they can expect to thrive in great health. I help them to find ways to live their very best life!

My Facebook page is , my webpage is and my email is

I love helping people make healthier food choices and cheer them on as their food related diseases are reduced or eliminated.

My husband and I enjoy a great life. Good health propels us! My favourite foods are lentil taco salad, rice and bean burritos, soups of all kinds, oven roasted vegetables, oven roasted potatoes, stir fries, homemade veggie burgers. I eat much more variety of foods now than I ever did before.

Here’s to health! Expect to Thrive!

Linda Chalmers