I agreed to give Steve 8 weeks to make me a believer. He did it in three. Live and Lead's approach of healthy living and leadership focused on plant based eating and personalized coaching has accomplished what no other plans have been able to do - get me to stick with the program for more than a couple of months. I attribute that accomplishment to my group coaching sessions with Steve. I have struggled with my weight my entire life, but I had, at least, always been healthy. Two kids, family health issues, a divorce, early menopause, and stress changed all of that. I gained 60 lbs. over a period of 5 years, and I was no longer healthy. My cholesterol, blood pressure, risk of cardiovascular disease as well as type 2 diabetes all increased significantly. I tried everything including diet programs that counted calories and/or points, gym memberships, food journaling, fasting, low carb diets, and even juice cleanses - but nothing worked long term for me, mainly because I would not stick with any of them for any length of time. The minute I lost focus and gave up, I would gain the weight back (faster and with way less effort than it took me to lose it.). I knew I needed to do something different but was not sure what to do. I knew to succeed, I not only needed to change my eating habits, but also needed to change the way I felt about food and my behavior of stress eating, but not sure how to do it. I needed a complete mind and body overhaul but did not know where to begin. God answered my prayers by leading me to Live & Lead.
During our initial consultation with Steve, he talked about his, and his family's own experience with changing to a plant-based diet. I never in a million years would have thought eating dairy, chicken breast and lean meats could be doing me more harm than good. Everything I had read and learned up until this point was that I should focus on animal-based protein. And could I really give up meat and dairy? I mean, my favorite all time meal is a burger, fries, and a milkshake. I had always liked eating fruits and veggies, so that was not a problem, but I was afraid they would not fill me up or give me enough energy to make it through the day.
During our first session we talked about values, goals, and being the person, I wanted to become. I wanted to be healthy and make sure I am doing everything in my power to be around for my kids for as long as possible. Together, we decided that I would stop focusing on lowering the number on my scale, and instead, focus on getting healthier, measured not by pounds lost, but by lowered vital scores and reducing my risks of chronic illnesses. Giving up meat and dairy would be the fastest way to hit that goal. So, I agreed to try a plant-based diet for 8 weeks and signed up for weekly coaching sessions. Right from our initial consultation, I could tell that Steve was authentic, and so very genuine in his approach to help me get healthier. He listens to understand our individual challenges, goals, and gets to know your personality to figure out how best to help you reach your goals.
After just 3 weeks I could not believe how much better I felt and was shocked that I was not missing meat or dairy (not even my little bowl of ice cream each night with the kids.) And I was never hungry or felt like I was starving or depriving myself. During one of our sessions, Steve introduced us to several types of lentils, beans, and rice along with how to cook and spice them up. I cannot believe how much I like beans and rice! But what was most amazing, was the benefits I was getting from the weekly sessions with Steve. Each week, I learn something new that gets me excited to try throughout the week until our next session. We have made incredible breakthroughs in identifying my emotional triggers to eating, as well as recognizing and reversing self-sabotaging behaviors. He holds us accountable in a positive way by focusing on our wins from the past week, setting our priorities for the next week, and reminding us that everyone has slips and surges and we should always focus on progress, not perfection.
After 8 weeks of eating plant based, I was able to lower my cholesterol from 244 to 202. After 12 weeks I had lost 15 lbs. without even focusing on weight loss. I am making progress every day and cannot wait to come back and share my continued progress in a future update.