I’d been on a diet decades ago, which like every diet, works until you can’t stand it anymore. Then you revert back to the weight you were before or worse get even heavier. I was determined to find something that not only works but that I could be happy with for life. Found it!
Note from Jonathan Bailor: Dan’s SANE success story is simply amazing. You will note that Dan talks about juicing. Please note that I recommend blending vs. juicing if fruits or carrots are involved to avoid unintentionally consuming excess sugar. Now back to Dan’s story. – Jonathan Bailor
My journey to improved health and weight loss started about a year ago. I’m in my mid-fifties and both my wife and I were unhappy with my weight of 220 pounds. Being just under 5’ 11” and having had an obvious beer gut, I didn’t look attractive and I felt worse than I looked.
I’ve found that most people won’t take steps to change their eating habits until something very serious or scary happens to prompt them to change. For me, the big eye-opener came when I saw the results from my annual physical about a year ago. It really made me start giving my health some serious thought. The tests showed that I had pre-hyper tension, a 39” waist, weighted 220 pounds, and my triglycerides were off the chart. I had to use my search engine to find out what to do about the triglycerides. Apparently, you can lower triglycerides by exercising. I had known for several years that I was overweight but at 220 pounds, most of my joints ached from the excess weight.
By comparison, I was 155 pounds when I graduated high school and 165 pounds 4 years later when I had added some muscle during my 4 years in the Navy.
Possibly even worse than the way I looked was the way I felt. The worst of which was scary low energy and very achy joints. My knees, in particular, but my hips, ankles, and back were also inflamed. The sore joints made it hard to exercise in the way that I wanted to (I like to play basketball) and my lack of energy made it all but impossible to exercise frequently enough.
I made up my mind that I was going to make some significant changes. I’d been on a diet once before, decades ago, which like every diet I’ve ever heard of usually works until you can’t stand it anymore. Then you revert back to the weight you were before or worse get even heavier. I was determined to find something that not only works but that I could be happy with for life. In other words, a healthy life style not a fad diet.
I’d been on a diet once before, decades ago, which like every diet I’ve ever heard of usually works until you can’t stand it anymore. Then you revert back to the weight you were before or worse get even heavier.
I started reading lots of books and watching lots of documentaries about health. A couple of the documentaries that I found on NetFlix were particularly inspiring and informative. They are:
Armed with this information and new found inspiration, I decided to make some changes that I hoped would help.
Over a period of a few months, I began juicing whole fruit, berries, and veggies every morning. I also tried juice fasting for the first time in my life. A juice fast is where you abstain from solid food, and drink only juice, water, and optionally green tea. With my first attempt, I made it only two meals before I had to have solid food. Weeks later I tried again and made it an entire day on just juice and water. On my third attempt I was able to go three days (my personal record so far). Each time it got easier and each time I lost more weight and felt more energized. I plan to continue doing short juice fasts every month or so for this reason and also to detox.
When I’m not fasting, I sometimes blend instead of juice so that I get the fiber as well. Here’s a good article that explains the difference between juicing and blending. The reason I started juicing instead of blending is because I read that you can get more nutrition per ounce from juicing and that the absence of the fiber minimizes your hunger pangs during a fast. I’m not sure about that second point but I am blending more now because I know how beneficial the fiber that the juicer removes is to your health.
Of course, since my juice fasts were short, I mostly ate solid food as I did before except tried to make healthier choices. Over this same period, I substituted more and more processed foods such as chips, cookies, and ice cream with whole foods like nuts, fruit, and veggies. Between drinking a glass of juice daily, doing a few short fasts, and substituting whole foods for processed foods, I was able to drop my weight to about 200 pounds. I was happy with this success and my closest friends and family members took notice that I was looking better. I felt better to, since my joints didn’t ache quite as much and I had more energy. I told them I wasn’t done, that I was going to lose even more. The problem was, after that initial 20 pound drop from just eating mostly healthier food) I was stuck at 200 pounds, my new set point. The weeks went by but my weight wouldn’t fall below 200.
I don’t know how much consideration to give to the BMI (body mass index) rating but according to that guideline I needed to reach 177 pounds before I had a healthy BMI. In my mind, I was thinking…10 pounds at a time, 10 pounds at a time. I was not yet optimistic enough to think I could see 177 pounds again.
I’m grateful for the improved health that making healthier choices has provided me. To this day, I still substitute a meal now and then with just juice or use it as a snack but I haven’t fasted for a while. Since I wasn’t able to sustain a long enough juice fast to break through the 200 pound barrier I was stuck at, I knew I needed to do something more. Something I could sustain and hopefully even enjoy…enter SANE.
As soon as I heard the title of Jonathan’s Book I was interested. The word “Science” in the title of the book is what caught me because I feel that scientific research lends an important sense of credibility to any advice.
I bought the Kindle version of the book the very day it came out and I couldn’t put it down. As a technical writer by trade, I was immediately impressed with Jonathan’s writing style which was very easy to follow, even though it provided a lot of complex information.
Of the many things I learned from the book, what I found most interesting was the explanation of the body’s insulin response to sugar. I knew that eating processed sugar triggered insulin to be released into your blood stream but I had no idea about the full impact of that. Like everyone I know, I thought that if I ate 100 calories of processed sugar, I would only gain weight from those 100 calories of sugary yummyness. Now that I understand how wrong that belief is, I avoid processed sugar like a cat avoids a sudsy bath.
I avoid processed sugar like a cat avoids a sudsy bath.
I also learned the importance of swapping out starchy foods, such as white potatoes for non-starchy vegetables. There’s also a complete explanation in the book about the importance of protein and fats as well as the importance of balancing the percentage of calories you get from fruits & veggies, with fats and protein. There’s also a whole chapter about eccentric exercises which I’d never heard of before but I’m adding that into my routine as well. I’m having difficulty with some of the leg exercises due to achy knees. But my joint pain is getting better, so I do what I can.
The result of incorporating the knowledge I gained from SANE is that I lost another 20 pounds over the course of a few months. That puts my new set point (the lowest weight my metabolism currently allows) at 180 pounds. This puts me within striking distance of my initial goal of 177 pounds. I also moved from pre-hyper tension to comfortably within a normal blood pressure level.
I continue to drink freshly made juice or smoothies almost every day. It’ a great way to get my nutrients from fruits and veggies. I’ll continue avoiding processed sugar and avoid processed foods in general (most of the food in the center isles of the store), while keeping starchy food intake low.
I still have some old habits to work on. For example, I enjoy a glass of wine or beer or two most evenings, but I’m working on reducing that. I also have a tendency to want to snack in the evening, usually while watching a movie. I’ve been fairly successful at substituting better choices in that regard, though. For example, I don’t eat chips but instead I usually eat nuts or carrot and celery sticks with nut butter.
Thanks for reading my story. I’d like to give you the same advice I give my friends who ask me how I lost my weight. Here’s my top ten list in no particular order.
Best wishes to your good health!
– Dan Evers