Although I didn’t necessarily believe it before, I do believe that it’s never too late to start improving and optimizing your health.
Meat and Processed Foods Growing Up
Growing up in the 1950’s and 60’s, I ate a diet heavy on meat and processed foods. That continued into adulthood. Although I was thin and active growing up, as adulthood came, I started to experience weight-creep.
As a busy and stressed business executive with a high-pressured job, I struggled with weight and health for many years. I had experimented with many diets, like Adkins and South Beach and while I’d lose a few pounds, I’d eventually “fall off the wagon” and yo-yo back up in my weight.
Onset of Metabolic Syndrome
Back in 2006, I had many of the chronic disease symptoms that when grouped together, put me in the high-risk category called “metabolic syndrome”. At 6’ 1’ and 265 pounds, I had high blood pressure; a high blood sugar level; excess body fat around my waist and an abnormal cholesterol level. I couldn’t walk up a flight of stairs without getting out of breath. In essence, I had an increased risk for developing heart disease and/or type 2 diabetes.
I hit a low point at that time by sitting down in a canvas chair at one of my son’s soccer games and breaking it because it had a 250 pound weight limit. At that point, I knew I had to change my unhealthy lifestyle.
First Baby Steps Toward Better Health
I dived into learning everything I could about exercise and nutrition, to the point of obsession. I even earned certifications in personal training, nutrition, weight loss and habit change. Taking small steps, I slowly began my journey of changing the way I ate and carving out some time for physical activity.
By changing my eating habits and starting to get back to regular exercise, I was able to lose over 60 pounds, bring my blood pressure back down to a normal level and achieve a somewhat healthy blood profile. With the consent of my doctor, I was able to stop taking my blood pressure medicine, but he continued to have me take a statin.
As my friends and acquaintances saw the results I had achieved, they asked for my help and guidance in changing their lifestyles, ultimately leading me to my encore career as a personal trainer and health coach.
The Blessing of Prostate Cancer
Then I got some bad news. In early 2013, my PSA had risen above 4.0 and then had continued to rise. I went to a urologist, who monitored me with quarterly PSA tests and occasional biopsies. I knew that diet might have some impact, so I transitioned to a pescatarian diet.
It wasn’t until late 2015 that my brother mentioned that one of his friends had been diagnosed with prostate cancer and had basically seen it disappear. I got in contact with him and he told me about how he had gone whole-food plant-based based on what he had learned from Drs. Ornish, McDougall and Greger. He sent me a lot of their materials so I could acquaint myself.
Transitioning to a Plant-Based Diet
I’m one who can make a change instantly, so as I read the materials, it took no time to be convinced that I needed to transition from being a pescatarian to a whole-food plant-based no-oil (WFPBNO) dietary lifestyle. With my wife’s full support, we have been very strict in maintaining a whole-food plant-based no-oil dietary lifestyle since late 2015.
Thankfully, I have seen no further progression of the cancer, although I continue to be monitored under what is called active surveillance.
My mission is now to inspire others to adopt healthier lifestyles through WFPB eating and by developing long-lasting healthy fitness habits so they can live healthy and fit for the rest of their lives. Sometimes, I even feel like a preacher preaching the gospel of eating WFPBNO to all my coaching clients.
You Can Change Too
Change is hard, but it can be accomplished. You need patience, the proper mindset and motivation. You need to decide it’s the right time for you to start making healthy changes to your lifestyle. This isn’t easy. There will be times when you fall off the path or you’ll feel like your journey will never get you to your destination. You must remember that transformation doesn’t happen overnight. You will need a support system that provides daily nudges to gradually ease you towards reaching your goals.
Mitch Kahn is the founder of Live Lean and Fit. Mitch is a Master Personal Trainer, Health Coach and Weight Loss Specialist.
Find out how changing your mindset can help you life a fitter, healthier and happier life and what to do about it.
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