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How I Lost 15 Pounds in 6 Months on Joel Fuhrman's Eat to Live Program

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Sherri is an online writer with years of experience writing about health-related issues.

I lost 15 pounds with the Eat to Live program; here's how you can too!

I lost 15 pounds with the Eat to Live program; here's how you can too!

Eat to Live Six Week Plan Results

Six months ago I decided to get serious about losing the weight I’d been gaining slowly but surely over the last decades. I know I’m not alone with this age-typical weight gain. Lack of exercise added to normal muscle loss combined with a penchant for comfort foods like bread and pasta set the stage for eventually graduating into women’s plus-sized clothing.

In July 2011, with my daughter’s encouragement, I began Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s Eat To Live weight loss program. After July, I weighed myself only twice: once in mid-August to find I’d lost seven pounds, and then in January 2012 to find I’d lost a total of 15 pounds. I lost those 15 pounds while sitting on my butt and never feeling hungry.

Before I give you the skinny about my amazing experience, you should know that I’m not a medical professional nor am I attempting to sell you something you don’t need to buy. I offer you no medical or nutritional advice, only my experience. Although there is a link further down the page for Dr. Fuhrman’s book, and although the book is definitely a worthwhile investment if you would like to lose weight and keep it off, you can get plenty of good information about the Eat To Live program for free on the Internet or through your local library. At the end of this article are links to websites that explain the program in detail and provide recipes that are Eat To Live friendly.

The Goals I Set for Myself

I committed to a way of life, not a diet. As you read through my experience, you will notice that I never call what I’m doing a weight-loss diet. That’s because it isn’t a diet, but a way of life. A weight-loss diet implies eliminating foods and calories for the purpose of knocking off pounds, but the Eat To Live program is something different. It is very much a matter of removing toxic substances from our bodies in order not only to lose weight but to make a return to health. In my case, following my modified version of this program has gotten rid of my intestinal bloating and has given more strength and pain relief to my knees and other joints. It’s also important to tell you that I did not follow this program religiously; if I had, I’d have lost a lot more weight than I did. But the modifications I made were ones that helped keep me motivated to continue to a better way of living.

This article is about the plan that worked and is working for me so that I can achieve these goals:

  • Lose weight safely over time. I have lost 15 pounds, but have 30 more to go. If I step up the pace I set for myself in July 2011 with exercise, I should reach that goal by January 2013. Right now, I can visualize 15 pounds of fresh butter lost. I’m looking for that total of 45 one-pound boxes of butter to be gone off my body.
  • Improve my digestive system. I am lucky that I’ve never suffered from constipation; however, bloating and gas have been with me more often than not in recent years. I want to put an end to that!
  • Get into smaller-sized clothing. I have a closet full of classically tailored jackets and slacks in fine fabrics that are timeless. I want to get back into them.

What You Should Know Before Following This Program

Dr. Fuhrman designed this plan for people whose weight threatened their lives.

It is not a vegetarian or vegan diet. It is a “nutritarian” food plan, incorporating the entire spectrum of what humans are designed to eat, that is, after you get past the first six weeks of the program.

There’s plenty of controversy about Dr. Fuhrman and his program. If you like, you can start learning about that controversy by clicking on the link to his book (below) and reading the Amazon member reviews.

What I Eliminated From My Diet

For the Eat to Live program, I cut out wheat, dairy, processed foods, and animal protein.

1. Wheat and Dairy

I’d been suspecting for a long time that wheat didn’t agree with me, that I’d become intolerant. So I got rid of it. And that included wheat-based foods like cakes, pies, and cookies. I already knew I was lactose intolerant, so dairy products should never have been in my refrigerator, but I always kept some cheese or sour cream for times when I just couldn’t resist the urge. I got rid of all of that, too. These were relatively easy foods to eliminate from my diet. More challenging were processed foods and animal protein.

2. Processed Foods

Processed foods were more difficult to eliminate not because I’m a junk food or fatty, salty, sugary snack freak, but because so many of the otherwise healthy dishes I prepare rely at least in part on foods that are commercially available. I’m talking about jarred tomato sauce, prepared vegetable and meat stocks, canned corn and beans, frozen vegetables packaged with prepared flavorings, and yes, even seemingly healthy dry cereals like instant oatmeal and corn flakes. At the beginning of my modified Eat To Live plan, I read ingredient labels on commercially available foods until I could hardly see. I learned two important facts while I strained my eyes: a jar of tomato sauce has a lot more in it than tomatoes, including salt, sugar, and a list of chemical taste enhancers and preservatives; and, perhaps even more important, where did those tomatoes come from anyway, and were they genetically modified? Why would I want to put such things into my body? I have gradually made the transition, everywhere I could, to certified organic foods and have nearly eliminated all processed foods.

3. Animal Protein

Eliminating animal protein from my food plan was the hardest thing to do and the place where I cheated and continue to cheat the most. I love chicken especially, and every two weeks or so I will roast a chicken and make sure every bit of it (except the skin and fat) is consumed by either me or the dog. Equally difficult to go without are lunch meats like ham, turkey, salami, and bologna. These were foods I was raised with. They hold a special place in my heart and in my taste buds. And let’s not even talk about roast beef, hamburgers, and stuffed veal pocket.

If you choose to follow the Eat To Live program, you may do very well following its recommendations to a “T”, and that would be the better approach to rapid weight loss. However, if you can’t bring yourself to do that, as I couldn’t, at least not in the first six months, then pat yourself on the back anyway, because you will have made huge strides in breaking old food habits and creating new ones that are much better for you now and into the future.

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If just an apple's supposed to keep doctors away, then I'm in good shape! Salads make up two-thirds of my daily diet.

If just an apple's supposed to keep doctors away, then I'm in good shape! Salads make up two-thirds of my daily diet.

These Are the Foods I Eat Every Day

The foods I eat every day keep hunger away and also seem to stave off sugar and starch cravings. Although I’d love a slice of apple pie or a homemade oatmeal cookie, or even a few squares of chocolate and a bowl of potato chips, I don’t crave any of these foods and haven’t for the last four months. Most of the foods I eat every day can be consumed in unlimited amounts, with the exception of animal protein and the fats that come from seeds, nuts, and avocado. I eat, daily:

  • Fresh vegetables including a lot of leafy green things like romaine lettuce, red leaf lettuce, and Swiss chard; yellow vegetables like carrots and winter or summer squash, root vegetables like parsnips and rutabaga; and of course, lots of broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and cabbage.
  • Fresh fruits like bananas, apples, oranges, grapefruits, pears, avocado, grapes (this list goes on and on, depending on what’s available at a reasonable price).
  • “Old fashioned” oatmeal (rolled or steel cut oats, not the instant kind) or brown rice.
  • Nuts and seeds, particularly raw walnuts, cashews, and sunflower seeds
  • Beans that I cook from scratch.
  • Vinegars of every variety, flavored with garlic, black or white ground pepper, and dried herbs, to dress a salad or ramp up a dish of steamed broccoli or cauliflower.
  • Chicken or eggs, occasionally.

My Grocery Bill Went Down, Not Up

We've heard that eating a diet based on fresh foods is too expensive. This is simply not true. You do have to pay attention to what’s in season and what’s on sale for the most reasonable prices. If you live in a temperate climate, as I do in Pennsylvania, then don’t be buying fresh plums and peaches in the winter when the cost is twice what it is in the summer. Instead, buy apples, grapes, citrus, and pears, fruits that have a long history of excellent distribution systems and competitive pricing. Use your head on this one.

Before I changed my diet, my weekly food bill (for one person) ran around 70 USD. Afterwards, it dropped to under 40 USD. Think about it: Almost any fruit or vegetable price per pound is going to be less than what you’d pay for beef, salmon, pork, or most any other animal product or processed food. Nuts and seeds are exceptions but, according to Eat To Live, you shouldn’t be eating more than one ounce of them per day. Six dollars worth of walnuts will last you more than two weeks. Try making a pound of beef go that far!

Attitudinal and Emotional Impacts of Eat to Live

In the first few weeks, I was angry about not being able to butter a slice of fresh homemade bread any time I wanted or reach into the refrigerator for a helping of leftover Impossible Quiche. But over time I learned to replace these delicious comfort foods with a piece of fruit, a handful of cashews, or a small bowl of one of my favorite bean salads (yes, I did cheat with the kidney bean salad recipe and to this day continue to use the mayonnaise as dressing for it). As the weeks went by and the pounds started to come off, my anger and whining about losing these favorite foods disappeared. Something good was happening.

In November 2011, my living circumstances changed so that I could no longer smoke cigarettes in my home. This change resulted in a 75% cutback in my cigarette smoking. As most of you know, whether you smoke or not, weight gain is an almost guaranteed consequence of quitting or cutting back on smoking. However, I continued to lose weight. I believe that’s because of the foods I was choosing to replace smoking. No bagels and cream cheese, no apple pie, no donuts, no fresh bread or sandwiches…only fruits, vegetables, nuts, and beans. For all of you who are going to embark on a smoking cessation or reduction program, I strongly recommend accompanying your commitment with the Eat To Live program.

I think it would be very hard, for most people, to make this life change alone. I am blessed with an accountabilibuddy who is my daughter. I can tell her what I’m thinking and how I’m feeling. But even more important, she has signed on to engage with me about what is happening. She listens and she also offers her insights which are sometimes courageously critical. Fortunately for me, she has a sense of humor, too, and so we are not having the outcome that South Park’s poor Butters experienced on his first day at camp.

For as angry as I was in the beginning, I am that much elated now. I’ve gone down two clothing sizes, my knees don’t hurt when I navigate stairs, and I can sit attractively with one leg crossed over the other in a feminine fashion. What I’m saying is that my overall mood and disposition have stepped up to the positive, despite the sacrifices of old and comfortable habits.

Keep going, you can do it!

Keep going, you can do it!

You Can Do It!

They say it takes 21 days to break an old habit and 21 days to make a new one. This is so true. The first 21 days of my modified Eat To Live program were the most difficult. All I wanted to do during that time was to eat a ham sandwich or stuff myself with big, fat, fresh ears of sweet summer corn smothered in butter and liberally dusted with salt. I resisted these urges. It took 21 days for me to learn to shop for meal ingredients that didn’t include wheat, dairy, and processed foods and to adjust to the idea that my old food practices were things of the past. At the end of those 21 days, most old cravings had disappeared and I’d already lost seven pounds.

A Word about Holiday Foods

There are times when you dine with friends and family who do not follow your food plan. With the exception of foods I know cause me problems, like dairy and wheat, I will joyously eat, in moderation, anything that is put in front of me by someone I love. I refer to these foods made by others as “holiday” foods, which means I am “on holiday” from my food plan. I credit my mother and daughter with this acceptable deviation from the Eat To Live program. My mother loves to cook for me, but she cooks within her realm (the realm I grew up with but no longer follow the way she does). On a recent visit to her house, she was concerned that she wouldn’t be preparing the right foods for me. It was my daughter who said, barring dairy and wheat, just go on holiday for a day! Great advice.

Losing the Next 15 Pounds

I am energized and motivated by the first 15-pound weight loss. I really didn’t expect it to happen. Yes, I cut out the things that were troublesome to me, but cheated here and there, and still, the weight came off. I know I’m doing something very right.

It’s now coming into spring in the northeast of the USA, where I live. The weather will be nicer and I will be walking in the beautiful community in which I live. You must know by now that I have no desire for exercise, so walking is something I’ll have to take 21 days to adapt to.

I don’t think I’ll ever cut out the occasional animal protein or the Holiday Foods concept.

I’m looking forward to another 15-pound weight loss between now and July 2012. Then I’ll have to follow this plan for another six months after that to get to a weight that is ultimately good for me.

I can do this.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.


Kathy Dunlap from Altamont on January 07, 2020:

Over the yrs, I had slowly gained weight. My mother was a yo-yo dieter and almost all of her health issues were exacerbated by her weight - I share most of them. She was extremely obese. Cancer is a well-known family member including female cancers. When I got my 2nd breast cancer diagnosis in a year, it was time. In the past 2 yrs, I've lost 55 lbs with 20 to go to my target. However, I have done this primarily by not eating and not exercising. I now have osteoporosis. It's difficult finding recipes and menus for singles, which is how I found you. Your article has given me hope and inspiration.

Selby on September 16, 2016:

I am a binge eater. I rebel against being told what to eat and not eat. I've bounced up & down by 20 lbs in a year for years. Currently I'm 65 lbs over where I want to be. But I just can't seem to stay wiith a healthy plan for more than a few days. Once I cheat with candy Or cookies I go out in Search of "bad " foods and stuff myself. What makes this plan different and able to break this destructive pattern

Rachel on April 22, 2014:

This was so encouraging. I'm only on week two but have been a bit discouaged by how bland my food is. I chose the week before Easter as my start week and ate terribly on the holiday. I did not realize that I was only allowed one serving of starch for the day - Yikes. But I'm back on the horse and hoping to get to the place where I love eating this way quickly.

roxysurfboard from canada on March 24, 2014:

Great information. I love all the posts, I really enjoyed, I would like more information about this, because it is very nice, Thanks for sharing I like the site best......

eccfvlvida on May 19, 2013:

I discovered your site site on yahoo and check a few of your early posts. Keep on the good operate. I simply additional encourage Rss to my MSN News Reader. Seeking toward reading much more from you finding out down the road!…

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on December 22, 2012:

pstraubie48, thanks so much for sharing your struggle. You know you are not alone.

Once you remove all the stuff from your diet that Dr. F recommends, and you get used to eating nothing but fruits and veggies (and those few other things that are allowed at the beginning), it really is possible to change completely the way you eat. Why? Because you will feel better. Not just feeling better because the weight is coming off, but feeling better all, attitude. I hope you try the Eat To Live program. It really is life changing. All the best to you. :)

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on December 22, 2012:

Weight loss is something that I have struggled with for too many years. I have recently lost 12 pounds but not the way I would have wished. I have changed my eating habits quite a bit though and Dr. F's plan seems like something that is reasonable and workable. I like hearing about a plan from someone who has tried it and found success. thank you for sharing. Sending Angels to you. :) ps

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on December 13, 2012:

Pinkchic18 , thanks for reading and commenting.

Sarah Carlsley from Minnesota on December 13, 2012:

Very neat article, I enjoyed reading this. Congrats on losing the weight!

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on December 04, 2012:

Hi Dolores! I'm so glad you read this hub and commented, and glad that you feel so good about your weight loss. You are so makes us feel so much better.

I've yet to put butter back in my diet, but boy, do I miss it!

Dolores Monet from East Coast, United States on December 03, 2012:

Hi Sally - great to hear about your weight loss. It certainly feels great to shed those extra pounds and the fact that food cost less money only adds to the benefits of this diet! Last year I lost about 10 pounds and boy did that make me feel great. It's easier to move around, you have more energy, and generally feel better about yourself. (I did not give up butter though)

Stephanie Marie Severson from Atlanta, GA on August 21, 2012:

Great Hub! I love it!

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on August 21, 2012:

You are welcome. :)

iguidenetwork from Austin, TX on August 21, 2012:

I'd probably try out these tips. Thanks for posting! :)

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on August 19, 2012:

@donnah75, Joel Fuhrman has written many books in line with his Eat To Live plan. Your library should have a number of them. Thank you for your good wishes, votes, and share. :)

@rebeccamealey, you are welcome!

@nanderson500, thank you! I'm glad you found this to be an interesting read.

nanderson500 from Seattle, WA on August 18, 2012:

Good advice, interesting read.

Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on August 18, 2012:

This is really inspirational for good eating. Thanks!

Donna Hilbrandt from Upstate New York on August 18, 2012:

This is a very inspiring story. I have never heard of this particular way of eating, but I may see if the book is in the local library. I hope you continue to do well. Voted up and sharing.

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on July 16, 2012:

Scribenet, you are proof that exchanging old, destructive habits for new, productive ones is the key to taking weight off and keeping it off. Congratulations!

Maggie Griess from Ontario, Canada on July 15, 2012:

Wonderful! I also lost quite a bit of weight going to less meat and smaller portions and two small snacks a day. It took forever to get used to but it was a huge eye opener how daily habits over decades creep on the pounds! Congratulations!

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on July 09, 2012:

Hooray for you, kerlynb! You are proof that this food / lifestyle change does work. Four more pounds to go? You'll do it! And another thing will won't want to return to old habits, because if you do, you won't feel as good as you do now. I know because I lapsed a couple of times and paid a price--not in weight gain but in how I felt. Thanks for your wonderful comment. :)

kerlynb from Philippines, Southeast Asia, Earth ^_^ on July 09, 2012:

Wow! So it is all about a change in lifestyle and eating habits - little meat and more plant foods. I've actually been doing the same things for the past few months. I eat more veggies than before and try to skip fried foods, sugared juices, and junk foods. I've noticed same results as you did. I've shed some stubborn pounds and my grocery bill has also gone down. Four more pounds to shed for me. I'll get there, I know. I'll keep your tips in mind. :)

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on May 17, 2012:

LOL, CR, about the sugar monkey. He hangs on my shoulder, too.

Yes, we can get into a cycle of lose it, gain it, lose it again. That rubber ball, that roller coaster. What I can say at this point, almost a year into this, is that nothing is coming back to haunt me. There are more things I could be doing (exercise, foregoing the evening cocktail), but this has been a change of life style, and I'm stickin' to it.

Wheat and dairy are forever off the menu...they are bad for me. The rest follows. I like living in jeans two sizes smaller than a year ago, which are now in danger of falling off. I have to hike them up whenever I get out of the car, being careful to use the car door as a shield. Little by little. I just don't want to go back to the way it was.

Pamela Hutson from Moonlight Maine on May 17, 2012:

Wow, I'm definitely going to check this out. I've recently come to the conclusion, on my own, that meat is not very easy for me to digest and it's full of crap and they raise most it in cruel hideous ways, so enough. Sugar, I get that I have a sugar monkey. So sick of losing the same 20 or so pounds over and over. Thanks, if this worked for you I'm thinking I could do it too. (Maybe. lol!)

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on May 15, 2012:

anivardiashvili, so right you are!

Nicole, ty so much. Sounds like you've got some great experience with making life-changing diet decisions.

Nicole S Hanson from Minnesota on May 15, 2012:

You've got a great system going. Cutting out refined sugars and processed foods can make huge changes to your body. Congrats on your success!

anivardiashvili from Georgia on May 15, 2012:

Great Hub. I agree that weight loss is only obtainable if you commit to a lifestyle change rather than a few months of eathing healthy.

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on May 15, 2012:

TY, beingwell! It gets easier as time goes on.

@Melissa A Smith, just for the record, I have nothing against ingesting animal protein. And you are right, eliminating wheat and processed foods has probably been the best step to success, for me. But an interesting thing has happened...after the first 6 weeks of Dr. Fuhrman's plan, I lost interest in meat (fowl and fish, as well). Today, eight months later, I do eat some chicken I bake, and I do enjoy some salmon or cod, and definitely Polish sausage, all very rarely and in limited amounts, but, a big, fat, juicy steak or a pork loin (foods I used to prepare and eat often) doesn't appeal to me at all. It's an adventure. :)

Melissa A Smith from New York on May 14, 2012:

I'm not sure what you have against animal protein. Lean, humanely-raised and properly fed sources of animal protein will make you feel better and not promote weight gain. Not even the 'fat'. The idea that fat makes you fat is a myth. On the other hand, eliminating wheat and processed food probably gave you the most success, as well as increased the quality of your health.

beingwell from Bangkok on May 14, 2012:

That's amazing! Good luck with your weight loss!!

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on May 14, 2012:

Good for you, Marc, and thanks for sharing. It does work! :)

Marc Rohde from Racine, WI on May 13, 2012:

Great suggestions, I followed a similar lifestyle change and was able to take off more than 50 lbs!

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on May 10, 2012:

Go for it, prairieprincess! It's not easy to start, but amazingly, it's easy enough to stick to after the amount of time it takes to break old habits. You are right, this is not a diet mentality I've written about. It's a change of life mentality. I'm doing well with food choices, but I have yet to take that next big step to become more active (walking in my beautiful community). I'd rather sit all day!. One step at a time. For now, I am patting myself on the back. :)

Sharilee Swaity from Canada on May 10, 2012:

Sally, congratulations on making such significant changes in your life. I am trying to also make big changes and I know, like you say, a diet mentality doesn't work. What works is doing something you can stick with and make your new life. It sounds like you have done that and that is very commendable! Great hub -- very encouraging!

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on April 16, 2012:

Jools, it's not easy to change food habits, even harder when there are others in the family who don't want to go that route. It was doable for me because I had the support of my daughter, who had chosen to make the same changes, and I also knew there were certain foods (dairy and gluten, specifically) which were not agreeing with me. Once you get into the plan, however, each day becomes easier, especially when you see the weight coming off and your gastric system starts behaving the way it should! Good luck to you in giving the Eat To Live plan a try. :)

Jools Hogg from North-East UK on April 15, 2012:

Interesting hub - I'm not sure I can give up the meat protein, we eat loads of chicken. I think if I was just feeding myself it would be easier but I'm feeding 3 of us. I might give this a try during the school holidays when I'm in on my own.

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on March 20, 2012:

TY, Lilleyth, for sharing your thoughts. It does work. It's been more than 6 months since I started this food plan, and the weight loss is more than the 15 pounds that I reported when I wrote this hub. It truly does work. It's a matter of time and of patience with changing old habits. Please pass on my comments to your daughter. I wish you both well.

Suzanne Sheffield from Mid-Atlantic on March 20, 2012:

I've been meaning to read up on this diet as I would like to lose 20 pounds myself. My daughter just started this diet and I forwarded your hub to her.

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on March 15, 2012:

Thank you, editorsupremo. It really is amazing what cutting out junk food and empty carbs can do. Good luck on your "back to basics" journey!

editorsupremo from London, England on March 14, 2012:

Lovely, funny and inspiring hub! See what you can do if you cut out the junk food? Back to basics for me.

Congrats on losing the excess weight!

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on March 08, 2012:

TY, RTalloni, for the comment. It's really hard to change everything we've been doing for years in order to get back onto a better track.

I'm especially sad because my upbringing was never food-centric, meaning, food was there, you eat it, and then you do other things. Food was never an issue. But food became a comfort later on.

I think fast food and advertising have everything to do with unhealthful diets. For me, it's a matter of getting back to the basics I grew up with, but also taking a drastic turn based on what I know my body can't tolerate.

As for exercise...well, what did we do as kids? Time to get back to that. Let's go play some stick ball. :)

RTalloni on March 08, 2012:

Yay-rah for improving your health and sharing your how-to with us. Thanks for encouragement to live healthy. Right now I am struggling with getting the regular exercise I need for my health. It really is about making living healthy a way of life. Glad to learn about the Fuhrman plan.

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on March 05, 2012:

Thank you, Marlene. Definitely, write that hub on body brushing! :)

Marlene McPherson from Worcester, Western Cape on March 05, 2012:

Sorry this is a bit late, but I'm not online often (enough)here, seeing as Hubpages is not mobile friendly (grrr)...

About Body Brushing...I feel a hub coming *grin*

Circular movements with a loofah, rough bodyglove, or stiff-ish brush over all the cellulite spots, thighs, upper buttocks, upper arms and shoulders. This gets the lymph pumping again and gets rid of the toxins stuck in the lymph nodes!!!

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on February 23, 2012:

Victoria Lynn, I hear you! There were things I had to give up, especially bread and pasta (translate into fried things, pies, cakes, and pancakes, cream of wheat, just to name a few) and animal protein. However, all of these things based on wheat I'd recognized for a long time my body wasn't tolerating well. That goes for dairy, too. Once I made the decision to get rid of dairy and wheat, the rest fell into place nicely because I felt better. No more gastric upsets, no more lethargy. I still want pasta or bread and do cheat from time to time, but I pay for it, in spades.

I think it's very hard to give up these life-long preferences, but it becomes easy to give them up when you discover, by giving them up, that you feel better. You just have to give yourself a chance to get rid of the old habits and see what the new habits will bring.

Thank you for your very affirming words. :)

Victoria Lynn from Arkansas, USA on February 22, 2012:

So proud of you! I can't imagine giving up dairy, especially milk! That would be the hardest for me. And chocolate! I love chicken and beef, but I eat lots of vegetarian meals with beans. And I frankly don't want to give up all that stuff. haha. I've started trying to exercise regularly to get rid of excess weight. I'm impressed with anybody who can give up so many things. Inspiring hub!Lots of votes here.

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on February 22, 2012:

trimar7, thanks so much for reading and commenting. I think the Eat To Live program makes good sense, too.

trimar7 from New York on February 22, 2012:

This makes good sense. It is all about the lifestyle change. It's a mindset to accept what is truly good for your body. Thank you for educating us!

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on February 21, 2012:

Ruby, so right! 21 days to break a habit, 21 days to make a new one. Sound like you are doing something very good for yourself. :)

Maree Michael Martin from Northwest Washington on an Island on February 21, 2012:

Yeah, that 21 days to break a habit is very true. It works the other way too. When I walk for 21 days straight, it becomes easier to do. Great article, keep up the good work.

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on February 21, 2012:

bredandagnes, please keep on going! It is worth it.

bredandagnes from Ireland on February 21, 2012:

well done you. Feel motivated to continue with my "lifestyle" changes after reading of your success.Know its the best way to go.

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on February 21, 2012:

Dolores, I know, so know, what you mean about cheese. I've known it's not been a good thing for me for years (lactose intolerance), but I ate it anyway (in private). Now, no cheese for six months. Oh, do I miss it! Your son is on the right path. :)

Dolores Monet from East Coast, United States on February 21, 2012:

Very interesting read, Sally. It sure makes sense. All those foods we know are wrong, but just keep eating anyway. My son eats the way that you suggest, he's slim as can be, has tons of energy, and spends way less on food than most people. But I'd have a real hard time giving up cheese.

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on February 20, 2012:

TY Mary Stuart and Geraldnduru for reading and sharing your thoughts.

Geraldnduru from Kenya on February 19, 2012:

Awesome this idea is quite logical.I'm one of those people who need to avoid unhealthy foods.

Mary from Washington on February 19, 2012:

Thank you! I have another 12 pounds that need to come off. I will give your suggestions a try. I really appreciate your advice.

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on February 18, 2012:

TY, Sonya!

Sonya L Morley from Edinburgh on February 17, 2012:

I found this a really inspiring article, thank you for writing it, very interesting.

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on February 10, 2012:

Ruby, thank you so much for your kind words and for sharing your thoughts about how one gets started and then can so easily stagnate. The more I think back on those early weeks in July and August, the more and more grateful I am for the support of my daughter, my accountabilibuddy. It really helps to have someone who not only understands what you are trying to achieve but who also is willing to call you on your unproductive behavior. :) You are definitely on the right track, Ruby. You will do it!

Maree Michael Martin from Northwest Washington on an Island on February 09, 2012:

Yeah, the 21 day rule is for sure a true one. I get started and get stagnet. Thanks for this article to keep me going. I am on the right track eating lots more fruits and veggies, you gave me lots of more great insight. Hubup!

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on February 09, 2012:

MosLadder, you are so right about the intestinal tract resetting itself in a good may take a bit of time for that to happen, as you know. Thanks so much for offering your thoughts and experiences here. This program, rigorously followed or modified, can make an enormous positive impact not only on weight but on energy and attitude as well. :)

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on February 08, 2012:

Melovy, you are so right and so insightful about the 80/20. And that has a lot to do with kindness to the self.

I had a conversation with a friend of mine the other day where we talked about our propensity for beating ourselves up when we fall off this food program. After a while, we laughed. Not accepting something like the 80/20 is a sure-fire track into failure. DUH!

Glad you love the section on holiday foods...that's the 20. :)

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on February 08, 2012:

Marlene, what a super comment. I read your profile and understand where you are coming from. But, ummmm...what is bodybrushing?

You have a new fan. :) Welcome to HubPages.

Chris Montgomery from Irvine, CA on February 08, 2012:

Oh yes Sally, I didn't even read through the whole thing before needing to comment! Sorry! I have to say though, It is amazing what these changes do for you! I didn't do half of what you did, just eliminated some processed foods (certainly not canned veggies and fruits) dairy 99 percent of the time, and any grain products 99 percent of the time. Wow. When you substitute fresh fruits and lots of veggies for these things, it increases your energy, for sure the bloating (!) and after a while it seems like your intestinal tract just resets itself; in a good way. So thank you for writing this, and here's to your continued success!

Yvonne Spence from UK on February 08, 2012:

I love this hub. I love your honesty, and I love the section on holiday foods. I’m sure your approach would make it feel doable for others who might like to try a healthier way of eating but aren’t sure they could manage.

I have read that a good approach is to any healthy eating plan is to adopt the 80/20 rule - which means make sure 80% of what you eat is healthy and relax about the rest, and you seem to be naturally doing this.

And congratulations on making all these great changes!

Marlene McPherson from Worcester, Western Cape on February 08, 2012:

Great Hub! Thanks for sharing!

Kudos to you for making the change to a healthy lifestyle!

...and I agree with SallyTX, making your own choices based on good sense and research, and reading lables...those are the things that will keep you on the right track for you!

Remember that exercise doesn't need to be heavy, the reason we need to move is that we're built to move, so just keep the joints going and the muscles stretched with 10 minutes a day (even bodybrushing will work!)to start off with and go from there!

Good luck with the rest of the programme!

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on February 06, 2012:

SallyTX, you bring up an excellent point about controversy, and there's plenty of it surrounding Dr. Fuhrman, too. I suspect the root of at least part of it is that he's advocating a life change, not a diet. Thanks for sharing your insight and for leaving the super votes. :)

Sally Branche from Only In Texas! on February 05, 2012:

Great, practical advice! Sensible, lifelong nutrition plans always meet a lot of "controversy" because they get you off the diet treadmill. If you are eating sensibly and staying healthy, you aren't spending money on diet concoctions, visits to the doctor and pharmaceuticals. Those industries have a big investment in keeping you hooked, and they aren't above creating "controversy"! Voted up and awesome! ;D

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on February 05, 2012:

fortunerep, I think you just said it all. It's not a matter of dieting, it's a matter of changing. Thanks for the awesome comment.

Don, it works, doesn't it, trading fats and starches for veggies? Green peppers and cauliflower instead of waffles or pancakes or sausage and eggs..just exactly how are you eating those peppers and cauliflower for breakfast??? Thanks so much for sharing your experience. Nearly 5 pounds in a month is a great achievement.

Don Simkovich from Pasadena, CA on February 05, 2012:

Glad to read about your experience. I lost 4.5 lbs in January. I'm eating lots of fresh vegetables for breakfast and I'm enjoying it, too. Like green peppers and cauliflower.

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on February 05, 2012:

Trish, my dear friend, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts here. I think many will identify with you.

I'm particularly struck about the "switch" you describe. I don't know what might trigger it from off to on, but I'm pretty sure the trigger isn't "Monday".

No matter what, you know I'm here for you. Here, with always a huge salad neither of us can eat to the bottom of the bowl. :)

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on February 05, 2012:

Shalini, you can take that first step. It's just one salad where you realize you are full and can't take another bite. It starts from there, I think. :)

Nevada, I know what you mean! All that fantastic Amish food, but you know, they can eat all that because they work it off in the day. The problem comes when you eat it and then sit. Thanks so much for the encouragement. What I wouldn't do for a big hunk of Amish friendship bread smothered in fresh butter. :)

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on February 05, 2012:

Steph, I so appreciate your words. I know for sure you will never get to the place I've gone where this kind of backtracking has to happen. Thank you for your encouragement and for the special grace you give by saying that you consider me a motivational person. When people have to change their lives around, they choose to step up to that challenge or not. Cheers to you, Steph.

Dori S Matte from Hillsborough on February 05, 2012:

Great Hub! Gave you thumbs up! I do think losing wieght slowly is healthier and will stay off. I hate dieting, so changing the way you look at what you are putting in your body, that's a wake up call, good job!!


trish1048 on February 05, 2012:

I am so privileged to have you for my best friend. I remember when you told me you had started this life plan, and my negative reaction to it. I thought, and perhaps vocalized that no, this doesn't sound exciting at all lol. The thought of giving up my white bread, dairy and meat left me thinking there's not much left to choose from. I am wrong. There is, however, it does not translate into action for me, simply because it involves a lot of planning, and you know I always look for the easiest, fastest way to get things done. Which, now that I see what I just said tells me this thinking is the reason for my decades of yo-yo dieting along with my need for instant gratification.

Intellectually, I know better, I do. As you and I have discussed, for me it has to be the sound, if you will, of the switch in my brain that tells me I'm good to go. I wish I knew what that trigger is, but have yet to figure it out.

I know one thing, when I decide to get serious, I will call whatever road I choose a life plan, not a diet. I need to eliminate the word diet in order to eliminate foods that are harming me. That will be the biggest challenge. There is one issue I can see, which has been my downfall so many times, is that I stated 'when I decide to get serious'. I think therein lies the problem, just when is when? It's always I'll start Monday, or after the New Year, or whatever date I choose, it just never comes.

Now, addressing your giant salad. I was privileged to enjoy a huge bowl of salad with you, and I too, after getting half-way through, could not finish it. It surprised me because until that point, no other salad I've ever eaten left me feeling full. It was amazing. One thing I'm so happy to hear is your conviction to keep the mayo in your kidney bean salad :)

So, so proud of you my dearest bestest friend. I'm behind you 100%. And don't worry, you definitely have planted seeds of inspiration in me. As you well know, it will take me longer to 'arrive', but I plan on getting there.

Here's to the next 15 lbs.!

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on February 04, 2012:

FP, you just reminded me of something that happened the very first day I started this plan. I made myself a huge green salad for dinner, sitting down to eat while being furious that there were no eggs or chicken involved. By the time I was half-way through the bowl, I was so full I couldn't eat another bite. I covered the remainder of the salad and put it in the fridge, and then a light bulb went off...I realized that not only wasn't I hungry, my anger had given way to a kind of calm. I think it was satisfaction with myself for having taken that first step and having come out physically sated half-way through. What a surprise! Well, the point is, just take that first step and see what happens. :)

Nevada Logan from USA on February 04, 2012:

Thanks for all the tips. I'm from PA too and we know how they have all those fattening foods, especially where I'm from, the Heart of Amish country! Congrats on the 15 lbs and I'm rooting for you for the next 15!

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on February 04, 2012:

KimmiS, thank you so much for your encouraging comment. I knew before I embarked on this plan that a "diet" wasn't going to work for me, because at the end of it, with 45 pounds lost, I'd just be looking to reward myself with favorite foods, and then the cycle would start again.

Readers and friends, check out KimmiS's informative website, Real Raw Health:

Shalini Kagal from India on February 03, 2012:

I wish, I wish...... great hub, Sally's Trove and so inspiring! Now to try to take that first step.....

Stephanie Marshall from Bend, Oregon on February 03, 2012:

Congratulations on your changing lifestyles and diet - across the board from weight loss to cutting down smoking and now adding more exercise. You are one motivational person! Love that you write about this more as a healthy change for good, rather than a get thin quick "diet." I am convinced you will get to your goals this way. Found this interesting and voted up across the board - just wish there was an "inspirational" button too. Cheers, Steph

Feline Prophet on February 03, 2012:

Way to go, ST! I wish I could adapt to a wheat- and dairy-free diet as well...the rest of it doesn't seem that tough to follow. You have inspired me to try however, so more power to you! :)

KimmiS from Vancouver, Canada on February 03, 2012:

I am so pleased to hear of another person who has succeeded with a plant based whole food diet (even if you still incorporate some animals once in a while). I love the Eat To Live principles. I just wish more people would commit to a lifestyle change like you did, rather than focusing on diets. Kudos to you :)

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on February 03, 2012:

vwriter, you have a special privilege, or challenge, in sharing your life with another. I'm sure, as in all matters, you two will not agree on everything, but it sounds like your lead is having a positive effect on your husbands's health. I love it when I hear a story about people working together. You two seem to be doing that about this, and you are in charge? :)

Uninvited Writer, I totally understand what you are saying. It's a matter of paying attention to what our bodies are telling us. Should I go on a carb binge, I will be lethargic for a day or more. I didn't see this until recently. My daughter observed my behavior and traced it back to a lapse I had with things I shouldn't be eating. I think she's right. As for going without bread, that's really hard to do. However, if you go without bread for a while and start to feel good (or better) and then eat bread again, your body may very well speak to you.

Tony, ty for the encouragement. People need to come to this way of eating on their own. They need information in order to make their own decisions. Then, even if they decide to make this change, it is still difficult to follow through. I hope this hub gives people information and encouragement so they can make this life-changing decision on their own.

Tony Lawrence from SE MA on February 03, 2012:

Good for you! We have suggested this to a number of people, but so few will follow through..

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on February 03, 2012:

G-Ma, I am so glad to see your comment and to know that you've embarked on the Eat To Live program. You're in your first week, and I'm thrilled for you. Two of the points I didn't emphasize in this hub are that this program is not exclusively vegetarian and that there is a time for introducing meats and a variety of carbs later on (like the Artisan breads).

Thank you so much for contributing your thoughts about seasonal foods and "eye candy" produce. As you know, organic produce is not always eye-appealing but it is so much better for you. Sort of like the most handsome looking person may seem desirable, but is that person really good for you? We've been hoodwinked by advertising for too long. It's not the farmers who let the healthy but less attractive produce go to waste; it's the consumer who doesn't have the knowledge to make the better choice.

Thanks so much for your rich comment.

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on February 03, 2012:

robie2, you know I live for your up votes and praise! lol I want to congratulate you on your WW success. You and I have been sort of paralleling each other using different plans, and we're both sticking to them. Bully for us!

annemaeve, you are the best. If it weren't for you, I wouldn't be doing this at all, and you know that. Meanwhile, as accountabilibuddies, there does seem to be a bit of dragging, kicking, and screaming on both our parts...all of which is enormously, enormously worth it. I love you. :)

Susan Keeping from Kitchener, Ontario on February 03, 2012:

I wonder if i have wheat allergies, every time i have something with wheat i feel tired after eating it. I already know i am slightly lactose intolerant. I don't know if i would have the willpower to go without bread...

This was a very informative hub.

vwriter from US on February 03, 2012:

Great hub. I too have decided to make some lifestyle changes. I do eat chicken and fish, but I'm doing away with all other meat. Also, I'm increasing my vegetables and fruit. My husband, of course, keeps saying, "I need the meat." Because there are some meals that are strictly vegetable base. But it is definitely helping my health and his. Case in point, my blood sugar has dropped to the normal range. Don't know about my cholesterol level. We will see.

Anyway, your experience is giving me the encouragement to continue on my own lifestyle changes. As to my husband, I'll probably hear some moans and groans, but he is still following my course.

Good Eating and Good Health.

Merle Ann Johnson from NW in the land of the Free on February 03, 2012:

I just watched two shows on CBS with Dr. Fuhrman and am also doing this new way of eating. Though I have been eating Organic foods now for like 8 years and I do eat most of what he suggests I still eat too much Artisian breads and meats,though they are also organic, I guess I can do with less.

It is so true about eating what is in season, and I also saw a program on the foodnetwork about how Americans have been programed to only buy what looks good, and I have found many "Managers Specials" that save me money and the food isn't thrown out. It was terrible how much food the farmers waste because it doesn't LOOK perfect.

I have been following this plan now (Dr. Fuhrman) just for one week, but honestly I can feel the difference. I have always used Quinoa, spelt,brown rice etc. and make things from scratch. Not saying I never use processed, but for sure now I won't anymore...

Was great to find this Hub today Thanks and Good Eating...:O) Hugs G-Ma

annemaeve from Philly Burbs on February 03, 2012:

I love you. You can totally do this! And if I get dragged along, kicking and screaming... well... it's good for the both of us. I'm so proud of you, and I will always be accountabilibuddiable for you.

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on February 03, 2012:

Thanks, wowsite1234. This is definitely a lifestyle change for me, one I intend to keep. :)

Roberta Kyle from Central New Jersey on February 03, 2012:

Great Hub as always ST-- First of all congrats on the lifestyle change and weight loss. As you know I have been doing Weight Watchers and I too am eating lots more salads and raw veggies than I used to and I'm feeling just great.

This is just awesome so it is gettting all the up votess I can give it

wowsite1234 from Moncks Corner, SC on February 03, 2012:

Great Hub. I agree that weight loss is only obtainable if you commit to a lifestyle change rather than a few months of eathing healthy.

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on February 03, 2012:

Naima Manal, I was truly amazed at how cutting out wheat and dairy made such a big impact. And when I think about it, both of these foods go more or less hand-in-hand with fats, as well. For example, I love a cheese sandwich with mayonnaise, and there you have, in one attractive bundle, dairy, wheat, and fat. No more of these for me!

Millionaire Tips, you make a good point about being more strict without being obsessive. As I continue with my modified Eat To Live plan, I find I'm just naturally adding more and more appropriate foods while eliminating more of my favorite "cheats". Doing so just makes me feel better, and thus it becomes easier to continue to do the right thing without getting obsessive about it.

Thanks, Lisa HW! I appreciate the "sensible" vote very much. :)

ktrapp, my best wishes go to you as you begin changing your eating habits. I'm very glad you find my experience encouraging. You can do it!

tammyswallow, the subject of wheat products and their ill effects is complicated, as you've seen while studying weight loss. I chose not to address the subject here, because this Hub would have become entirely too long! But here's an interesting interview with Dr. William Davis on the evils of wheat, for any who care to learn a bit more:

Pollyannalana, there definitely is something to it. Dr. Davis's interview is enlightening, although a little lengthy. :)

Pollyannalana from US on February 03, 2012:

I am amazed all of a sudden to hear bad about wheat when I have been trying to get it into my diet, not just from you so apparently there is something to it.

Tammy from North Carolina on February 02, 2012:

This is great information. I have been studying weight loss also and I didn't realize how bad wheat products are for most people. Many years ago I read "Eat Right for Your Blood type and it said it was the worst thing I could eat. This is great advice.

Kristin Trapp from Illinois on February 02, 2012:

This is so encouraging. I am about to embark on changing my own eating habits, not dieting as you point out, and increasing exercise. I like your slow and steady pace; best wishes as you continue to eat better and live better!

Lisa HW from Massachusetts on February 02, 2012:

It seems like the kind of plan that makes a lot of good sense. Congratulations on your weight loss so far. Voted "up" and "useful" (and would have voted "sensible" if there were such a button)

Shasta Matova from USA on February 02, 2012:

This sounds like a great plan - I too have been trying to increase my fruit and vegetable intake, and reduce my meat intake, and eliminate wheat completely. Looks like I need to be even more strict without being obsessive. Voted up.

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