Day Eight: Books…

… and the amazing stories people share.

I am telling myself I have a renewed sense of energy for my Whole 25 today, and perhaps I do. Perhaps the more I say it the closer it will be to the truth. Maybe a little reflection on my journey will help. Looking back, it all really started with one book, then another, then another. So here’s an ode to the books that have lighted my way:

1. The Abs Diet by David Zinczenko

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It all began with the Abs Diet, which my partner tried to sell me on shortly after we began living together. I was trapped in a media-fueled state of misinformation and thought – I don’t want a protein heavy diet and weight lifting program, that’s for bulking up. But then we found the Abs Diet for Women (which is exactly the same). I read it’s women-focused explanation of the program and bought in – it was all about knowing what your body needs and wants, controlling your portion sizes, and eating lots and lots of protein. The Abs Diet features superfoods like almonds, eggs, peanut butter, etc. We followed it very closely for about a year, eating carefully planned and prepared meals plus one cheat meal each week. This program, and the feeling of power and motivation that came from reading the book, is responsible for the first 30 pounds of weight that I lost. It has some stark contrasts to the Whole30, but it was the right place for me to start.

2. Slow Fat Triathlete by Jayne Williams

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3. Your First Triathlon by Joe Friel

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Around the same time I read two other important books – Slow Fat Triathlete and Your First Triathlon. Slow Fat Triathlete gave me the confidence to complete my first triathlon. Your First Triathlon gave me the tools.

4. Joy Fit Club by Joy Bauer

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The next book I read was the Joy Fit Club, full of stories of people of all ages who had lost 100 pounds or more. Their dedication was simply inspiring. It gave me hope not only for myself, but for others close to me who are dangerously unhealthy.

5. It Starts With Food by Melissa and Dallas Hartwig

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And then of course there’s It Starts With Food, which has changed my life in ways it’s hard to describe, but you know that already.

There are many other stories and role models I have drawn inspiration from along the way, but this is where it started. I have gone most of my life completely misinformed about food and how it affects my body. Reading allowed me to unlearn things I believed to be true and learn what I could change. It put me in control. And if I had to go back and do it all again, there might be other books I would add. Some here I might remove. But no one sets out to begin a life long journey when they pick up that first book. You don’t plan the whole thing out. It’s a series of books, a series of decisions that don’t begin to take shape until much further down the road. And one day you realize you’ve started something important and you’re going to keep going as long as you can.

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