Early in 2016, I decided to follow a passion of my own and pursue a certification in health coaching and what I discovered as the curriculum unfolded was that so many of the things I was learning dovetailed perfectly with the concepts and principles that Deb shares in her programs.
That June, at our annual Breakthrough Summit, I was approached by a number of the attendees who were curious about my new journey. As our conversations progressed it became crystal clear to me that people are so confused when it comes to taking charge of their health. I heard “Just tell me what to do and I’ll do it! I just don’t know what to DO anymore” more than once over those four days. It’s a refrain I have heard so many times – heck, I’ve said it myself!
So, on Sunday at the Summit, while we were all sitting around talking and passing the time before leaving for the airport, the conversation turned once again to diet and weight loss and somehow we agreed to a CRAZY weight release challenge for next year’s Summit and I was asked when I would launch my program to get us all there. Without a great deal of hesitation I mentally flipped through the calendar in my head and committed to launching a program on August 15th. This was Aim-Fire-Ready at its finest, but I am so proud of Unrealogical Health I could just bust!
We launched a 12-week pilot program with 20 participants on August 14, 2016 (because starting a program on a Tuesday – which was the day 8/15 fell on – is just silly). I honestly wasn’t sure if the transformations that Deb and I had experienced using the UH principles would translate to a general audience and we were very transparent about that fact. We didn’t know what would happen and we didn’t promise ANYTHING.
However, the results from that program were nothing less than remarkable! Did people lose weight? Yes, most of them did – not all, but MOST. EVERYONE reported feeling better than they had in years – more energy, better mental clarity and focus, better quality sleep, digestive issues vanished, skin conditions cleared up, etc. But what excited me the most was that we had several people in the program who were either insulin dependent Type-2 diabetics or pre-diabetic, and their conditions DRASTICALLY improved. Going in, I made them PROMISE me that they would work with their doctors throughout the program – and if you have similar health conditions and even consider digging into UH, I need you to promise me and yourself that you will regularly check in with your doctor as well. Our insulin-dependent diabetic had his insulin dosage lowered 8 times over the course of the pilot program – he was actually to the point of wondering at when his doctor would turn off his insulin pump. This is the impact this program can have!
And here’s what I can promise you: If you follow the program and do the work – which is SIMPLE, but not necessarily EASY – you will have a better relationship with food than perhaps ever before. You will be healthier and you will likely release weight. The program will set you up with a sound foundation in nutrition and the weight release mindset needed to achieve whatever your ultimate goals may be. There is no magic bullet when it comes to taking control of our health, but there are small tweaks we can make, week by week, that yield HUGE benefits.
Deb and I had very different weight release journeys, however, we both arrived at a place in our early 50’s where despite our most diligent (and even extreme) efforts regarding our nutrition and exercise, we were both slowly gaining weight. Clearly there was some mechanism at work other than the traditional “calories in, calories out” model and we were determined to find it!
I’ll spare you all the gory details, but suffice to say I have probably tried every diet that has ever been brought to market over the past 30 years in my quest to finally and forever get my weight under control. I have had successes and I have had dismal failures, but up until 2010 my efforts had mostly been in vain as my weight slowly marched upward in spite of my best intentions, leaving me with disordered eating habits and a fat, flabby body. At the end of 2009, I weighed 183 pounds, wore a size 14 and was miserable. When I started working with Deb in early 2010, one of the areas we focused on was my overall health and wellness (which my brain just translated to “LOSE WEIGHT” at the time). And I did! Lots of it! I followed the methodology that Deb used herself, which was the program we eventually shared in our book Release. By the end of 2010 I had dropped 40 pounds and added a substantial amount of muscle to my body. For the first time in decades I didn’t shy away from mirrors and was proud of what my body looked like and how it performed.
Then in 2014, something unexpected started happening. Even though I was still following the plan and I was exercising more than ever, I started gaining weight. Not a lot of weight, but by the end of 2015 I had gained 10 pounds. At first I thought it was just muscle mass from all the running and cycling I was doing as I was training for triathlons, but I couldn’t ignore the jiggle that had returned. No, this wasn’t muscle – this was FAT! As I launched into training for Ironman Florida I weighed 153 pounds and was literally burning thousands of calories each day as I swam, biked, and ran hundreds of miles each week. I tallied up the miles I logged between January and November of 2016 and I could have traveled from Florida to Alaska and do you know how much weight I lost? 2 pounds! TWO! I stepped on the scale the day before we left for the Ironman race and I weighed 151 pounds. And it’s not like I was gorging myself with food either. I followed a ridiculously healthy diet and consumed, on average, around 1,900 calories per day of clean, plant-based nutrition spread over 4-6 meals and yet I only lost TWO measly pounds! It’s not like I was using Ironman training as a weight loss program, but I still figured I couldn’t help but drop some weight along the way, right?
I would have thought I was just some freak of nature who was doomed and destined to be a tad overweight had this just been happening to me, but Deb was experiencing the same phenomenon.
Unlike me, Deb never had a real weight problem. Even at her heaviest no one would ever look at her and say she was overweight. Growing up she was an athlete and had natural six-pack abs – it was disgusting, really! J However, in her 30’s she found herself slowly putting on a pound or 2 each year and it was troubling to her, so she found a program she liked and she “fixed” the problem. Over time, she tweaked that program to suit her individual needs and it became the foundation of the Release program.
And it worked GREAT! All of the extra pounds melted away and in their place was the ripped physique of a body builder. She began her karate journey and even the men in the class feared ground fighting classes with her. She guided many people through her program and they also experienced terrific results, including me. Then, in late 2014, it became more difficult to keep the pounds off and Deb’s weight started creeping ever so slowly upwards.
We started experimenting with small tweaks in our nutrition – eating our largest meal of the day in the middle of the day and only having a salad for dinner… eating more calories in case we were unknowingly in “starvation mode”… switching to a 100% plant-based diet… eliminating acid-producing foods… And with each change, we actually FELT better, but the weight creep continued.
Again, clearly there was some other mechanism at work here than the traditional “calories in, calories out” model we have all grown so accustomed to. We went back to the basics of the basics and started researching the latest in what’s working and what’s not in health and wellness and we discovered some things that really shocked the heck out of us. We have both lost a significant amount of weight and feel better than ever before and we are excited and enthusiastic about sharing our knowledge and success with the world.