Lose a few pounds. Gain a better life.

Share your McDougall successes here in order to inspire others.

Moderators: JeffN, f1jim, carolve, Heather McDougall

Lose a few pounds. Gain a better life.

Postby Suey51 » Fri Feb 02, 2018 3:15 am

Image
“Once upon a time there was a young girl who loved to read. She would read anything, from classic fairy tales and children’s books to the words on the back of cereal boxes at breakfast. She even enjoyed reading her Mum’s slimming magazines, particularly the success stories of weight loss involving transformations and new starts.”

As you may have guessed that girl was me. As a slim child, I couldn’t really identify with the characters in the slimming magazine stories, so I am surprised to be sat here, starting to tell you my own success story.

I grew up in a happy family with loving parents and a younger brother. Mum was a 4 foot 11 dynamo, juggling motherhood, work as a medical secretary, housework and DIY projects, famously laying an enormous patio in our back garden! Dad was a journalist who loved reading, cricket, barbecues and growing vegetables. Our family enjoyed traditional British family meals, like roast beef Sunday lunches and summer barbecues as well as, for those times, more exotic treats, like a trip to an Italian or Greek restaurant, and a huge cheeseboard after celebratory meals.

As a teenager, I remember both Mum and Dad gaining a little weight. Mum got involved with Weight Watchers, going to weekly weigh-ins. At work Dad was part of a group asked to write a piece on their experiences with various diets and luckily for him, he had to try the Beer Drinkers diet! He lost weight by making a few simple and long-term changes like cutting out butter and desserts. He stuck with it long-term, apart from an annual roast potato and slice of pudding at Christmas.

At university I grew to love curry, and learned to make my own from a Madhur Jaffrey cookbook and by watching a housemate who worked in an Indian restaurant cook elaborate meals. As unlucky diners/victims will confirm, I was never good at improvising meals, so developed a library of cookbooks. My staples for everyday cookery were the ones Mum bought me, Delia Smith and Good Housekeeping, and then for special occasions, or just reading, I had books by TV chefs like Keith Floyd, Nigel Slater and Rick Stein.

In spite of my love for food and dislike of most forms of exercise, I managed to remain slim until I was in my 30’s. At first, I was pleased to acquire a few more curves and to acquire the infamous ‘Richardson bottom’ named after my Mum’s side of the family. But, things like my clothes getting too small made me feel down. I developed intestinal troubles which the doctor said was Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and kept a stock of my ‘pink medicine’ (Pepto Bismol) at home and took it on holiday. Each Spring I tried to ‘lose a few pounds’ as my weight had crept up over the winter/Christmas period.

My diary has lots of entries like these:
March 2006: “Goal: Lose 8 pounds by 22nd June”
June 2012: “Gulp! Just weighed myself at 10 stone 3 pounds (143 pounds). Heaviest ever :( First time in my life been 10 stone earlier this year. Goal lose 11 pounds by 31st July”

Each time I’d embark on a new eating/exercise plan, trying Atkins, Dukan, calorie control, 5:2 fasting, eating less and exercising more. And each time I was able to lose 2 – 4 pounds but couldn’t stick with the plan for more than a couple of weeks. When I reverted to my usual way of eating, the weight went back on.

Going plant-based

By March 2014 I weighed 10 stone 4 pounds (146 pounds) and had again decided to try and ‘lose a few pounds’. I’d also been suffering with acid reflux, typically coming on during a foreign holiday when I tended to consume lots of rich food and alcohol. My GP prescribed Omeprazole which helped, but I decided that I didn’t want to be on it for life.

One of the personal trainers at a local gym (@TheWellnessGuru) was doing a Masters degree in nutrition and had recently become vegan. He said that if I wanted to lose weight I should cut down or cut out meat, dairy and sugar. At the time, that wasn’t what I wanted to hear. I wanted to keep eating what I had always eaten and exercise my way to weight loss. But this advice came from someone ‘in the know’, so I started changing to a wholefoods, plant-based diet. He recommended Dr T Colin Campbell’s ‘The China Study’ which I read. It opened my eyes to the role of food in major diseases like cancer, heart disease and diabetes. From there I somehow found Dr John McDougall’s book “12 Days To Dynamic Health”. Gradually I nudged closer to a wholefoods, plant-based diet but still ate chocolate, oil, crisps and a little cheese. The IBS symptoms eased considerably.

By January 2015 my weight had reached its highest ever, 11 stone 2 pounds (156 pounds). My 50th birthday was approaching so I decided yet again, to lose a few pounds. By the time of my birthday in early August I had lost 7 pounds. By this stage I had become comfortable with my body size and shape. However, realising that it’s the only body I will ever have, I decided to take more care of it. I didn’t consider myself fat but my BMI was now 26 which counts as overweight. I also had minor ailments like pain in my thumb and big toe and back pain from many years working long hours at a computer.

The death of my Dad later that year, (followed by a close friend, mother-in-law and uncle within 12 months), gave me a sharp prod to sort out my own life. Keeping healthy suddenly seemed much more important. I threw myself into fitness classes at my local gym, started meditating and spent time cooking and baking from new plant-based recipe books. After a few months, my left knee was very painful and I was advised by a physio to avoid high impact fitness classes. I even found walking painful which scared me. I love walking, whether rambling in the countryside or just doing errands around town. If I couldn’t walk then life would be very different. I’d seen how painful osteoarthritis in the knees had reduced my Mum’s mobility and this was even more motivation to lose weight. I set a goal of getting to 10 stone, but didn’t manage to get below 10 stone 6.

Staying with friends for a weekend in December 2016, my weight dropped by 2 pounds! Reflecting on the reasons, I realised that I was better behaved in other people’s houses, not feeling I could indulge in high calorie evening snacks.

12 Days To Dynamic Health

On holiday in May 2017, I re-read Dr John McDougall’s “12 Days to Dynamic Health” and decided that I’d had enough of the knee pain and was determined to lose weight. On my return home, I decided to follow the McDougall program for 12 days and, almost on a whim, joined the May 2017 Maximum Weight Loss (MWL) weigh-in group. I hoped that the accountability would help with motivation.

My goal was to lose 10 pounds, only because it was a nice round number and would get me below the psychologically important 10 stone barrier. The first few days were tough, particularly the evenings. I like data and numbers, so I tracked my food and weighed myself each day. (Although neither of those are recommended on the program).

It wasn’t a great time to start as we had some major work on the house starting that week. In moments of house project stress I was sorely tempted to eat off-program foods. After sharing my struggles at the first weigh-in, Amy the group facilitator, gave me some great advice about cooking a batch of baby potatoes and having those to snack on in such moments. It felt great to be able to share my struggle with people who were supportive and could offer helpful advice at the right time.

I mostly stuck to the same breakfast of banana porridge/oatmeal made with water and topped with fresh fruit. After a couple of days, I added a few sultanas to sweeten it, although they aren’t allowed on the McDougall Program. Lunch was usually a big salad or homemade bean and vegetable soup. Dinner was baked potatoes or rice and beans, with veggies. I found it helpful to chop a batch of vegetables, and to batch cook things like rice, potatoes, soup, burgers or curry so that I could make meals or snacks very quickly. Other members of the weigh-in group advised me to keep food simple, and that really did help. Once my taste buds adjusted, I discovered that plain food can taste delicious.

By the end of 12 days I had lost 2.5 pounds, less than many people lose on the MWL program, but I was delighted. I realised that eating a starch-based diet meant I could lose weight while not feeling hungry. It was so different from other weight loss plans I’d tried. It wasn’t easy, but I decided to keep going and achieved my goal of losing 10 pounds in 9 weeks. I continued exercising, but stuck to lower impact activities like pilates, yoga, tai chi and walking. I also did weights at the gym once or twice a week.

Losing a few more pounds

After that, I figured why not keep going? I set another arbitrary 10 pounds target and stuck with the McDougall Program. I often had very simple dinners and my husband ate different foods. However, I also learned to cook more complex meals without oil, so that we could eat together. We both love Indian food, so I would cook several different dishes for a special meal.

Whenever I had an off-day I tried to get straight back on track. As we say to each other in the weigh-in group, ‘keep on keeping on!’ My biggest eating challenges were learning to eat McDougall style at restaurants and evening snacking at home. I tried to see each challenge and mistake as an opportunity to learn, and each new day as an opportunity to start again. The McDougall books, website, webinars and weigh-in group were an ongoing source of information, advice and motivation. As a recovering perfectionist, I was surprised to learn that I didn’t have to follow the diet 100% to lose weight. As the McDougall Program staff psychologist, Doug Lisle, says ‘80% is good enough’.

It took 13 weeks to lose a further 10 pounds. Some weeks I didn’t lose anything, but the discipline of reporting my weight each Friday, helped me keep on track. Occasionally, if I gained weight, I thought, ‘oh I won’t tell the truth’ but then I’d say ‘why would you lie to yourself?’. Amy and the weigh-in group were never judgemental, always encouraging and had a good sense of humour. Each week, I looked forward to hearing how everyone was doing and to Amy’s feedback and links to useful resources. Although we’ve never met in person, the group feel like the best kind of friends: ones who understand your struggles, believe in you and celebrate each others’ success.

Results

In 8 months I’ve lost 1 stone 9 pounds (23 pounds), my knee pain and IBS have gone and, most importantly, I feel so well on the inside :D This might sound obvious, but I also feel lighter. I have much more energy and feel like I’m glowing with health. I have trained as a health walk leader, gone back to tap dance classes and joined a flamenco class. The pleasure I get from exercise is another motivation to keep eating well and to keep my body fit.

I’m comfortable with my current weight of 9 stone (126 pounds) and BMI of 21.6 for my height (5 foot 4). My goal for 2018 is to stick at this weight and continue with this way of eating. I know if I do gain a couple of pounds, through less compliant eating, I can lose it again by getting back on track.

The biggest side effect has been the change on the outside. The Richardson bottom has dropped off, and my face, legs and tummy are noticeably slimmer. I’ve dropped at least a dress size and bought new clothes in styles that I wouldn’t have felt confident enough to wear before. I’ve altered my old clothes or given them away. It was tempting to keep some ‘just in case’, but I wanted to give my sub-conscious a message that re-gaining the weight was not an option. There was a wonderful moment recently when clothes shopping with my Mum and I overheard her tell the shop assistant that I’d lost weight. I could tell that she was proud of me :-D

I’ve learned a lot in the process; the role of calorie density in weight loss, the psychology of why we like oil, sugar and salt, the importance of our food environment and the benefits of a support group in making a big change. And I’ve had to face up to a few home truths. The biggest of these is that I’d been kidding myself for at least a decade that I needed to lose a few pounds. My body has been happy to lose 23 pounds, or more than 15% of my starting weight. The dictionary defines ‘few’ as a ‘small number, not many, one or two’, not 23!

My husband, previously a huge meat and processed meat fan, has reduced his intake of both as well as cheese and now thinks of himself as a ‘half-vegan’. His weight has dropped from over 14 stone (198 pounds) to 12 stone 7 (175 pounds) in the past couple of years. We are learning how to cook together and he even helps out with chopping veggies for me :-D He now understands the importance for me of not having the wrong foods in the house and either doesn’t buy them, or hides them away! We have taken on an allotment and grow a wide variety of vegetables there and in our own garden. Working together in the fresh air has been a source of joy. We have become aware of the impact of animal farming and human life in general on the environment . We are trying to reduce our use of plastic and get involved in litter picking locally and when we travel. Seeing success on the scales has given me the confidence to tackle other aspects of a healthy lifestyle, like reducing my alcohol intake.

To anyone wanting to improve their health and/or lose a few pounds (or more!), I recommend the McDougall Program. It works. You don’t feel hungry. It’s sustainable. And, most importantly you’ll feel wonderful. I also recommend you join the MWL weigh-in group. At the start I didn’t know anyone else eating this way and at times I felt very alone. The weigh-in group has been so supportive, encouraging, and full of great advice and tips on useful books, blog posts and videos. I don’t think I would have been so successful without their support.

I would like to say a huge thank you to all involved with the McDougall Program, to my husband for his support and willingness to try McDougall-friendly meals, to family and friends for their patience and to Paul Malekos for introducing me to plant-based eating. People say it takes a village to raise a child. I like to add that it’s taken a village to lose this weight.

It feels like a ‘happy ever after’ ending is appropriate here. But it’s not an ending, it’s the beginning of a new, happier, healthier chapter in my life. There is so much to look forward to. I will keep on keeping on.

Image
Last edited by Suey51 on Sun Jul 22, 2018 12:30 am, edited 5 times in total.
User avatar
Suey51
 
Posts: 198
Joined: Mon May 08, 2017 11:21 am
Location: UK

Re: Lose a few pounds. Gain a better life.

Postby ranomore » Fri Feb 02, 2018 3:30 pm

Congratulations on your success! Thanks for your inspiring and encouraging story!
ranomore
 
Posts: 11
Joined: Tue Aug 22, 2017 11:09 am

Re: Lose a few pounds. Gain a better life.

Postby Suey51 » Fri Feb 02, 2018 4:02 pm

Thank you ranomore :-D
Last edited by Suey51 on Tue Mar 06, 2018 3:09 am, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
Suey51
 
Posts: 198
Joined: Mon May 08, 2017 11:21 am
Location: UK

Re: Lose a few pounds. Gain a better life.

Postby calvin » Fri Feb 02, 2018 5:23 pm

Inspiring story! :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:
calvin
 
Posts: 547
Joined: Wed Oct 29, 2014 9:39 am
Location: San Fernando Valley

Re: Lose a few pounds. Gain a better life.

Postby Suey51 » Sat Feb 03, 2018 2:16 am

Thank you calvin :-D
Last edited by Suey51 on Tue Mar 06, 2018 3:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
Suey51
 
Posts: 198
Joined: Mon May 08, 2017 11:21 am
Location: UK

Re: Lose a few pounds. Gain a better life.

Postby Suey51 » Fri Mar 02, 2018 1:33 am

1st March 2018
Four years ago today, on 1st March 2014, my life changed. A personal trainer at my gym said, “if you want to lose weight, cut down or cut out, meat, dairy and sugar”. He recommended a wholefoods, plant-based diets and suggested I read Dr T Colin Campbell’s ‘The China Study’ to understand the research supporting that way of eating. At that point I weighed 10 stone 6 pounds (146 pounds) and my BMI was 25.

I didn’t switch overnight to a wholefoods plant-based diet but that day was the start of a new weigh of life (pun intended!). My health gradually improved as I cut down on meat, fish, dairy and processed foods. I read ‘The China Study’ and ‘12 Days To Dynamic Health’ by Dr John McDougall and started making more plant-based meals. My weight went up and then down again, but I couldn’t get below 10 stone 6.

In May 2017, I decided to try out Dr McDougall’s Maximum Weight Loss Program for 12 days. Today, 1st March 2018, I’ve reached my 3rd weight loss goal, of 8 stone 12 pounds (124 pounds) and my BMI is 21.2. Following a wholefoods plant-based diet made me feel better. Following the McDougall Program made me feel wonderfully well and got me back to the weight I was 14 years ago :D
User avatar
Suey51
 
Posts: 198
Joined: Mon May 08, 2017 11:21 am
Location: UK

Re: Lose a few pounds. Gain a better life.

Postby astirle » Fri Mar 02, 2018 3:39 pm

Thanks for sharing your fabulous story.
I so identified with your comment about feeling so "wonderfully well" this is the best reward from this way of eating.
No taste can compete with that feeling of health!
On the quest for resilience
User avatar
astirle
 
Posts: 107
Joined: Thu Dec 29, 2016 8:01 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Lose a few pounds. Gain a better life.

Postby viv » Sat Mar 03, 2018 10:42 am

Many Congratulations Suey. I love your story, so well written and engaging. You look fabulous and I love the dress with lacy sleeves-- very sophisticated! You found the secret to weight loss and long term health, STARCH is the key.

Viv
5'8", Started March 2013
Starting weight: 217
Current weight: 157
60lbs gone--for good!
viv
 
Posts: 1354
Joined: Thu Feb 21, 2013 10:28 pm

Re: Lose a few pounds. Gain a better life.

Postby Suey51 » Sun Mar 04, 2018 4:31 am

Thank you astirle :-D
Last edited by Suey51 on Tue Mar 06, 2018 3:11 am, edited 2 times in total.
User avatar
Suey51
 
Posts: 198
Joined: Mon May 08, 2017 11:21 am
Location: UK

Re: Lose a few pounds. Gain a better life.

Postby Suey51 » Sun Mar 04, 2018 4:35 am

Thank you Viv and congratulations on your weight loss! 'Starch is the key' = you are so right.

PS The dress is the one I mention in the story about shopping with my Mum so it felt right to use that photo :-)

Sue
Last edited by Suey51 on Tue Mar 06, 2018 3:10 am, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
Suey51
 
Posts: 198
Joined: Mon May 08, 2017 11:21 am
Location: UK

Re: Lose a few pounds. Gain a better life.

Postby Lyndzie » Sun Mar 04, 2018 2:42 pm

I love your story! While some people start this way of eating 100% and never look back, many (maybe most?) of us have a slower path to get here. Also, that Doug Lisle quote keeps me sane!

Keep up your awesomeness!!
Lindsey
My food journal: Adventures in Eating
My pregnancy journal: Maybe a Baby 2017
Lyndzie
 
Posts: 1093
Joined: Fri Dec 16, 2016 7:24 pm
Location: Indianapolis, Indiana USA

Re: Lose a few pounds. Gain a better life.

Postby Suey51 » Mon Mar 05, 2018 11:59 am

Thanks Lyndzie :-D
User avatar
Suey51
 
Posts: 198
Joined: Mon May 08, 2017 11:21 am
Location: UK

Re: Lose a few pounds. Gain a better life.

Postby squealcat » Tue Aug 07, 2018 12:51 pm

Just read your story Suey ! Thank you so much for sharing !! Today has been a hard day for me and you story has really helped !
squealcat
 
Posts: 65
Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2015 10:26 am
Location: Michigan

Re: Lose a few pounds. Gain a better life.

Postby Suey51 » Tue Aug 07, 2018 1:10 pm

Oh squealcat, I’m sorry to hear about your hard day. Thanks for your kind words. Sending you a big hug and hope you have a better day tomorrow xx
User avatar
Suey51
 
Posts: 198
Joined: Mon May 08, 2017 11:21 am
Location: UK

Re: Lose a few pounds. Gain a better life.

Postby OOnaOwl » Sat Sep 08, 2018 6:50 pm

Just finished reading your story, congratulations on your success! I feel very inspired. I "only" have about 15 pounds to lose, but it is about 15% of my weight so I can really relate. I loved reading about the 80% compliance too, that is helpful to remember. I have struggled so much with my increased weight, I was slim up until my early 40s. Hope to return to that by the years end or at least Springtime. Best of luck on your maintenance plan :)
[url=http://www.TickerFactory.com/weight-loss/wAKnwyn/]
Image

"Fall down seven times, stand up eight" -Japanese proverb
User avatar
OOnaOwl
 
Posts: 130
Joined: Thu Dec 06, 2012 8:58 pm
Location: Cascadia, U.S.A.

Next

Return to Testimonials and Success Stories

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest