Donald R. Henderson, MD, MPH

Over the past month, I have shared with you my battle to overcome food addiction. I managed the holiday seasonal food cravings, however it’s still difficult to navigate many of the food temptations. Once I was able to identify my impulses, I finally could pinpoint certain stressors that lead to overeating.

For the remainder of this Eating Season, which ends on Super Bowl Sunday, I intend to control my consumption. Most importantly, I have been slowly working towards realistic, attainable goals. As I walk around my neighborhood, I value the colors of the winter season. I’m taking the time to engage in light exercise around the house. I, as many of you have, committed this New Year to staying on track.

Realistically I plan to lose 25 lbs. by the end of Spring. Weight loss is an achievable goal and I believe I can exceed my personal expectations. Moving into the foreseeable future, I promise to be more mindful of my eating habits.

Recently I was invited to a dinner party. I planned to share my resolutions with a group of friends. These friends have a penchant for cooking rich, high caloric meals. Then I saw this beautiful woman who looked familiar. We talked and then I recognized her. She was one of my patients. She began to tell me the story of her weight loss.

By eliminating meat and sweets, she and her husband had loss nearly 30 lbs. Before the weight loss, she was pre-diabetic. Now her diabetic blood test returned to a normal range. Her husband requires less blood pressure medications and his blood sugar levels are also improved. She was especially pleased that she could now fit into her favorite clothes.

I was baffled by the commitment she had displayed. It must have been four months since I had seen this couple as patients. Such a drastic change can simply come from eliminating one or two of your favorite high caloric items from your diet. My personal dedication was reinforced.

Veganism and vegetarianism are commonplace now, but it wasn’t so long ago that the idea of supplementing meat protein with plant, soy and wheat-based alternatives seemed foreign. At one time, I was uncertain whether meat dietary restriction was safe. After some research, and a better understanding of vegetarian meal planning, I came to realize that vegetarian diet can be safe and potentially healthier than meat consumption.

For example, the Impossible Burger is a combination of wheat and potato-based protein. Combined with coconut fat and heme, the iron rich complex that gives blood it’s texture, the Impossible Burger does a good job of replicating the experience of eating a beef patty.

Similarly, Beyond Meat which is another alternative to beef, chicken and pork is made from processed plant-based materials. A Beyond Meat Patty consists of pea protein, potato starch, red beet juice and other additives. A plant-based diet offers a chance to achieve weight loss while improving your health.

To remain healthy, you will still need to be mindful of your total caloric intake. If you’re over age 40, 1,200 calories per day will keep the doctor away. My scale at home told me that I have lost 10 lbs. so far.

I am making a concerted effort to curb my meat consumption. I see this as an opportunity to change my relationship with food. Join me on this wellness journey and share your results.

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