Four years ago my wife and I decided it was time for a change - a time to start to take charge of our lives and the way we ate and lived. We were both overweight and going nowhere healthy in the direction of our lives. I was drinking more, eating more and more - the weight climbing as each day passed.
I struggled with my weight ever since I stopped being an athlete in my early twenties. I was never taught much about food - except to eat as much as I could. To get as big and powerful as I could to knock peoples heads off in football.
When the playing days were over I was left with the same appetite - but way less working out. I sat around eating everything and kept gaining. I tried everything from diet pills, cutting weight pills, starvation, fasting and anything that was advertised to help lose weight. During this time my mind faltered on me as well, I started dwelling on my past and falling into a sadness and dark place I could not get out of no matter what I tried.
This affected everything in my life - my relationships with family, friends and anyone that came into my life. I sat, depressed, going deeper inside myself - inside this huge pit until I could no longer see the light at the top. I would be the goofiest person around but inside I was dying. Not many people would have realized the shape I was in only my wife knew most of it, she couldn't reach me at times. Even though she could be the most loving person in the world and most understanding she couldn't pull me out of my darkness I created. I never wanted to be like this - I never wanted to feel this way or be like that and I never wanted to be obese but everything I didn't want was coming to me. I couldn't see the wonderful things that were right in front of me - I couldn't see anything in the blinding darkness. No matter how many times I tried to pull myself out of a funk or anything I would drag myself back into it wallowing in some bad thing that happened to me. I was sitting around hoping to die... praying that I had the strength to end it all. I tried to find every outlet to take me away from myself be it drugs or alcohol or acting. Yes I used one of the few things I loved as an outlet of my pain. Acting let me be someone else other than myself - let me feel some relief of being around me. I wasn't a monster to anyone - mostly just to myself, inside myself. I was waiting to die and forgot I had a life to live because I couldn't get over my past. I was holding on to the pain that people had caused me, the pain of losing my mother... and everything else it all accumulated inside me and I couldn't let go. I wasn't close to anyone in my family after my mother died because my brothers lived with my father or had grown up and moved on. One of the most painful things for me was calling my brothers and letting them know that mom had died. The other thing was seeing my mother lying there... I just held onto those images and memories for so long I forgot about happiness. I did know about happiness I wanted it but I couldn't achieve it because of my mind would not let go of the past. I ballooned to over 300 pounds...
After years of struggle and just needing a change, my wife and I decided it was enough and we needed a change. I wasn't getting any healthier. My family history wasn't great either. My dad has had many heart problems and my mother died from complications of years of high blood pressure. I finally got it after our second son was born - that I wouldn't see him grow up if I kept the pace I was going. My wife started training for a 5k and we bought ourselves a treadmill and changed the way we ate. I got hooked on running and broke the first three treadmills. My wife and I started to educate ourselves about what to eat and how much is safe to eat. We also read a lot on food and exercise.
But I still didn't have my head all the way on about my weight or how I saw food.
We aren't taught about food and where it comes from or how to eat it. Most of us are like myself and just eat whatever they put on the television. We believe everything they tell us - and go blindly out and get obese before we know who we are anymore.
I started running and doing races, but I would use food as an award still for my accomplishments - for finishing or doing well in races. So I would balloon back up 20 pounds or more after a race. We were trying to eat right, organically and what not, but I still used food and alcohol as an award and would binge eat and drink after races. I wasn't learning the lessons. I had this goal but like always I would self-sabotage myself before getting there so I could pout and go back to that dark place. I just wasn't getting it in my head - what the right way is to eat - and how I used food or I should say abused food.
When my wife and I moved to San Diego a couple years ago I got it in my head to do the PCT50 - a 50 mile ultra trail run - to test myself beyond anything I had ever heard about. That race truly changed my life - the person that came away from that race was a much stronger person than I ever thought lived inside of me. I persevered where I had always failed and it showed me something that half and full marathons never could...
Running became my therapy.
Life is worth living to the fullest and that life is beautiful as long as you make it that way.
Be strong even when adversity comes into your life.
I had my head on straight after this race but I still had bad habits of eating and drinking - and I ballooned up again to 245 pounds.
But during this time my son and I volunteered for the SD100 race - a 100 mile ultra trail run - at one of the Aid Stations. During our time there, someone mentioned the ENGINE 2 diet. So I came home and told Rachel about it and we started looking into it.
I had no real idea what a vegan was before this, I heard all the stories of lacking all the nutrients and that anyone who was vegan looked like they were about to die. I didn't know anything about being plant-based(vegan) until the ENGINE 2 diet challenge. This ENGINE 2 is a plant-based plant strong diet, and Rachel and I decided on June 20th to take the 28 Day Challenge, which is a meal plan that you can find on the Engine 2 website.
I ended up losing 25 pounds in the 28 Day Challenge. We have stayed the course after finishing the challenge and I have lost over 46 pounds. What is even better is I reached my goal weight finally which was 200 pounds - I am now 198.2 as of today.
Eating plant-based has made me healthier and smarter about food.
I finally have the meal plan I so needed. I have the knowledge I lacked during all those years of abusing myself eating the wrong stuff for the wrong reasons. I feel amazing! Never before in my life have I felt this good. I attribute this to ultrarunning which keeps me in shape, and the knowledge I learned through the ENGINE 2 meal plan. My wife and I have enjoyed learning how to make the same things we enjoyed before ENGINE 2 but now using Plant-based ingredients and recipes.
We as Omnivores now have a choice of what we eat, we should choose the healthiest possible way for ourselves and for those we love. This omnivore has found being plant-strong is the best and healthiest way to eat. I would like to thank the ENGINE 2 meal plan for helping me become smarter on my choices of food. It helps to get to know food and not to abuse it.
I am writing more goals down now - embarking on new adventures to chase them down and achieve them. I truly do hope that everyone finds that strong individual inside themselves and goes out and totally lives the life they deserve to live. Find the things that work for you to find your peace and happiness.