Two Employees - One Challenge to Change Their Eating Habits
Two Rocky Mountain PBS employees – one challenge. Both are following Dr. Joel Fuhrman's "Three Steps to Incredible Health."
Tune in TONIGHT to see Ryan and Julie live on Rocky Mountain PBS when they join Dr. Joel Fuhrman to talk about his three steps to incredible health.
Read Julie's blogs...
Let’s start with the fact I was recruited for this diet program (There are some very persuasive people walking the halls of Rocky Mountain PBS.) And unlike Ryan, my colleague and compatriot in this adventure, I didn’t jump at the chance to change the way I eat and think about food.
Sure, I’m slightly overweight and recently have developed some digestion issues that Dr. Furhman says can be overcome on this eating plan, but I’m also lazy, cheap and prefer to spend little time in the kitchen.
So why did I agree to try it?
What caught my eye about the three-step program is the overarching theme that this is not a diet but a way to build a new, healthier life. And I’m interested in leading a healthier lifestyle. Who isn’t?
So it’s two weeks in and I’ve pretty much been me – that is, lazy.
Salads have always been a favorite of mine so I felt comfortable starting the program, but for the past two weeks I have been living on salads and juicing.
Do I feel lighter? Yes, I do – but I also feel like I can’t keep this up long-term. After digging out my old juicer, I now remember why it’s been in the closet. Juicing is way too much work and I’m too busy so I’ve resorted to buying my juice. Much easier.
My first week on the program was not game-changing. I am too cheap to throw everything out of my ‘frig and I already had some dinner and cocktail dates scheduled that I couldn't cancel. So I sort of eased into the program.
I now have given up the “whites,” fried foods and salt, and I have started reading labels – if a label contains a word I can’t pronounce, Dr. Fuhrman says to pass on it. I also have stopped eating after 8pm and I’ve started eating breakfast.
I hate fruit – believe it or not – but I’ve eaten more fruit in the last week than in my entire life. There’s a lifestyle change!
Dr. Fuhrman recommends keeping frozen fruit and vegetables around--- this is heaven-sent for me. Let’s not lose sight of the fact I love convenience so tackling the recipes is not for me, but I have tried some of them, and I’m feeling good about how things are going.
Dr. Fuhrman says while the program is a three-step plan, I can stay on step one as long as I want – no pressure except that I don’t want to look fat when Ryan and I join Dr. Fuhrman on March 6 on live TV. So with the support of my family and friends, I am now really embarking on a road to incredible health. So far, so good.
Dear Juliespeer, to answer your question:
Step one: Learn it!
You are what you eat – heard that one before?
So I’m learning the basics of what healthy foods are – those that are high in key nutrients – since Dr. Fuhrman’s program is a plant-based “high-nutrient diet.”
Since I haven’t spent a lot of time thinking about my diet in the past, I’ve been studying up and learning the hows and whys about how this program will benefit me and will make me want to change my eating habits for life. Understanding the underlying concept is key if I’m going to embrace a lifestyle change that could hopefully result in weight loss.
But my real goal – I’ll admit – is to lower my bad cholesterol levels without medication.
The good thing about this program is it’s not an all-or-nothing commitment - there are no counting calories, you eat when you’re hungry, and there’s no portion control.
Why so lax you ask? Because high-nutrient foods are the secret weapon – when you’ve eaten your fill of the suggested high-nutrient plant-based foods, you won’t crave the non-nutrient foods as much.
I’m still taking it gradually since Dr. Fuhrman warns of possible food withdrawals (Hmmm, will it be the chocolate – or the cheese?) And he even mentions the anxiety of giving up foods you love.
So I walked down the ice cream aisle this past weekend- and had in my hand a carton of ice cream, but I took the time to read the label. As I mentioned last week – if I can’t pronounce it, I walk away…so, believe it or not, I walked away.
Bye-bye, monoglycerides! You’re dead to me, myristic acids! (OK, I can pronounce those, but they don’t sound appetizing.)
Luckily Dr Furhman has recipes for the sweet cravings, but let’s remember that I’m lazy and long for convenience. So maybe to make this commitment to my health I must acknowledge…
Step two: Live it!
In addition to two high-nutrient meals a day, which include beans, nuts and seeds, I have to work in a half pound each of raw vegetables and fruit.
At this point, I’m supposed to be setting a routine – learning to “live it” – so at the same time each day, I get in the habit of eating my fruits and vegetables (Dr. Fuhrman recommends the fruit in the morning and the vegetables at lunch.)
The real question is how you determine what a half pound is when you don’t rely on a scale as he recommends – I guess it really is eat all you want!
And hark back to what Mother used to say – chew each bite 100 times. Dr. Fuhrman doesn’t say to chew 100 times, but he does say to chew thoroughly and slowly, getting every morsel of “goodness” out of each bite – and by that, he means the nutrients and flavor.
More “living it” next week. Stay tuned!
OK, I CHEATED.
I’m not perfect, but I’m still happy.
Maybe it was the withdrawal symptoms that Dr. Fuhrman mentions that made me do it, but personally I believe it was 5280 Restaurant Week -- or was it the Oscars party that I so enjoyed?
In any case, in the last week, I’ve had cheese, desserts (yes, sugar) and WINE!!
Eating out was like cheating, although the restaurant I went to – and no plugs here, sorry - was perfect in every way.
I started with the winter salad, which had turnips, pears, rutabaga, carrots, friseé, and a vanilla vinaigrette. Loved every bite.
The main course was fun even for me – the old meat and potato gal. I chose the vegetarian entree, which was a polenta dish with kale, mushrooms and an onion soubise. I have become so much more adventurous!
The killer was the dessert, which was carrot cake. Hey, it's a vegetable and I am allowed to eat as many vegetables as I want :)
Do I feel guilty? Nah.
Admittedly, weekends are the hardest. When I'm at work, I can keep busy, but at home, it's harder not to think about eating. I really need to keep myself busier on the weekends to really make this work -- at least for a little while longer. Going to the rec center might just be the answer.
As I get ready to go on air for the first time next Tuesday, I find myself “nervous eating” – frantically stuffing my face. This is the “toxic hunger” Dr. Furhman refers to: eating when you are not really hungry.
That sure sounds right, but what can I do about it? Will I ask the doctor how to handle these times? Yup, I sure will.
Although, to be clear, the week hasn’t been a total loss: I’ve found easy, healthy recipes – not only from Dr. Fuhrman’s cookbook, but also online and even in the paper. Just this past Sunday, there was a recipe in the Denver Post for a Tuscan vegetable soup. Even better, I had all the ingredients on hand and the soup was terrific.
And I’ve changed my ways – I now walk the stairs without even thinking about it, for one thing. Will I keep that up or start to come up with excuses? What about that quart of ice cream -- will I eat it? I’ll consider it, but when I stop to think about it, I feel I have learned enough to make a food exchange that is better for me that will promote this healthier lifestyle I am practicing.
I may not look any thinner but I feel great. Tune in Tuesday, March 6 at 7pm to hear straight from the doctor about what we all need to do to live healthier lives.
-Julie Charles, membership coordinator, Rocky Mountain PBS
Read Ryan's blog