Oh, this was soooooo hard! I don't like being a judge and selecting a single winner. So many people did really well. Congratulations to all of you. Here is Diane's final report:
I discovered the Eat to Live program in June and immediately embraced it. I did extremely well the first 3 weeks, then found it difficult to continue. We were traveling a lot with my husband’s work and I found it difficult to find the foods that I needed in restaurants, which was our usual way to eat on the road.
So, I was looking for help staying on the diet when I found your challenge. This was exactly what I needed to help me adjust to the ETL lifestyle. I chose to set my goals as learning to organize my food and life to fit the Eat to Live program and staying on the program throughout the 6 weeks, specifically healthy eating at every meal and every snack.
I feel that I have met these goals, although I am still learning and evolving. I found it easiest to get into a pattern of eating that supports these healthy eating goals. While the foods eaten change, the pattern has stayed the same. I eat a fruit salad and fruit juice for breakfast, a large green salad for lunch, and a homemade bean or lentil and vegetable soup or steamed vegetables for dinner. I sometimes add beans or a sweet potato to the lunch salad to keep me from getting hungry again before dinner, but I usually eat my beans in the dinner soup. I also have a green juice in the afternoon, when I have time to make it in the morning, and green tea or water during the day. I will occasionally snack on some homemade low-fat hummus with snow peas, nappa cabbage or other vegetables. I’ve discovered a few excellent no-oil salad dressing recipes. My favorite is tangerine juice, lemon or lime, and vinegar. The hardest part of the challenge is to not eat late at night, when my husband has his late night snack.
I wake up each morning hungry, for the first time in my life. I was never much of a breakfast eater in the past. And I am usually ravenous by dinner time. But I can honestly say that I have not had any problems with cravings, which is also unusual. The fruit satisfies my sweet tooth; but I am used to eating a lot of salt. I will admit that I cheated a few times in the beginning, adding salt to my soup, but I have gradually adjusted my salt addiction and am doing better now.
I am slowly getting healthy. Although I have a long way to go to truly regain my health, I can honestly say that I am a lot better off now than I was only 6 weeks ago. I have a heart arrhythmia and an autoimmune disease that have severely limited my movement and energy levels in the past. Getting my health back is my priority right now, because I had truly lost it. I need to turn that around quickly. I believe that the Eat to Live program is my best chance of regaining a healthy body.
The autoimmune disease manifests itself in very painful skin lesions that make my life difficult. The Eat to Live program these past 6 weeks has helped, I have only had one new lesion in the last 6 weeks, and the old lesions seem to be improving, although not fast enough to suit me. It seems to me that improvement is directly related to my consumption of green juice. The more I drink, the better they get.
I also had a bad episode of A Fib during the challenge. This is not unusual, actually only having one is probably a great improvement. In the past, I have had bad episodes regularly, sometimes weekly, so one in 6 weeks is an improvement. I have increased my nut and seed consumption and that seems to have helped.
My blood pressure is good, without medication and I have more energy than before, with the exception of the week of the A Fib episode. I have also lost some weight, although I promised myself I wasn’t going to concentrate on my weight during this challenge. I wanted good health to be my goal.
I have made quite an improvement, although I still have a ways to go. I will be joining you on your next challenge and look forward to a lifetime of healthy eating. I appreciate your running this challenge and supporting us. The Vitamix has been a nice incentive, and I do need one; but I know that I am a winner either way.
I really feel that a Vitamix would help me drink more vegetable juices and this challenge has only intensified my longing for one. I have been making juice in my regular blender, but I have to strain it. The entire process takes a lot of time that I don’t really have in the mornings. The fruit juice is easier, since I can drink it without straining, and it seems to blend a lot faster.
I have been struggling to figure out how to afford a Vitamix, we are very strained financially and It doesn’t fit into our budget. I am putting it on my Christmas list, however, in the hope that we might manage it. My husband and I talked about getting one for my birthday, which is only a few days away, but decided that we just couldn’t make it happen right now. Thank you for this challenge and your support.