By Nalida Lacet Besson
I’ve lost over 100 pounds by going from being a junk food vegetarian to eating a clean, whole foods, plant-based diet. Following the guidelines of Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s “Eat To Live” book, changing my lifestyle, incorporating information and support from other plant based experts, tracking/journaling my food, exercise and dealing with past emotional eating issues, provided accountability and success.
I started my journey in July 2013 at 241.5 pounds, a BMI of 36.7 and a size 22/24. When I began, I had chronic pain all over my body. Even my skin hurt! I was eating a junk food vegetarian diet as I’ve been a lifelong vegetarian. I knew I wanted to be around for my children so I begged God to help me heal the body I’d so abused with food. On my nightstand was Dr. Fuhrman’s book. I finally decided to pick it up, read it, and follow the principles toward better health.
I now eat raw and cooked vegetables, nut or seed based dressings that provide better absorption of nutrients as well as flavoring my salads, lots of beans, veggie stews and soups, fruits, sweet potatoes, whole grains, and healthy whole fats (avocado, nuts, seeds in smaller amounts, but no oils).
More of how I did it: ”Not ONE bite!” Dr. Fuhrman mandated. This is the phrase that rang in my mind constantly because of all the SOS (sugar, oil and salt). Even though salt was hard to quit, sugar was my biggest addiction. ONE bite would not be enough. Before I quit sugar for good on December 27, 2013, I lied to myself about eating in moderation because I was still able to lose weight even while eating it.
It was around the holidays and I received emails with articles and videos urging “not one bite!” I wouldn’t even read them and I certainly didn’t watch any of the short videos telling me the truth about it. All those desserts with sugar and maple syrup, and the oils that inevitably come with them, were killing me. I was having frequent gallbladder attacks. Cutting out oil had helped with the attacks, but sugar really triggered gallstones.
I finally read the emails, watched the videos, prayed for strength, and vowed to stop killing myself with sugar. By God’s grace I have not had sugar since December 27, 2013. If I want something sweet, fruits sweeten the deal for me. The best part is no gallbladder attacks! With the help of Internet and television personality Chef AJ, I let go of salt in January 2015. The author of the popular book “Unprocessed: How to Achieve Vibrant Health and Your Ideal Weight,” her book has delicious recipes and her DVDs have great cooking demos. Who knew that salt-free seasonings and things like tomato paste, when used in the right amount, could taste good! When I first cut out salt, my husband said, “Haitian people eat salt!” (He is originally from Haiti as are my parents and family.) Even he can’t believe that we, including our three children, have all adapted.
A faith-based, Catholic Christian counselor, changing my mindset and finally dealing with the trauma and toxic shame of being overweight helped me take this journey! The mind and psyche have to heal if success can happen and be sustained. Tracking my food by using an app (LoseIt!) EVERY day for EVERY bite/meal and ALL exercise/movements has also been instrumental to my success. I’m still a little shocked that I’m wearing size 6s and some 4s coming from a size 22/24! I’ve never been this slim and fit since elementary school, and even then, I began to get chubby in mid-elementary school. I’m a wife, a mother to three wonderful children who happen to have special needs, and a teacher. I’m no more extraordinary than anyone else. We all are extraordinary beings. If I can do it, you can too.
Nalida is a wife, mother to three, and special education teacher. I also recently registered my small business, “Plant Based God’s Grace,” locally as an Educational Wellness business to offer weight-release, wellness, and plant based presentations. She has a private Facebook page called “Plant Based God’s Grace,” and she has new book on these topics can be found at http://thebp.site/118491