Pat Vanlier’s story began six years ago when she decided to improve her health. Pat weighed close to 300 lbs and was pre-diabetic, with both high cholesterol and blood pressure. Coupled with the fact that Pat had a family history of heart disease and type 2 diabetes, she knew it was time to make a change. She began by eating a “healthy diet” and adding exercise to her routine. After 1½ years, she lost 100 lbs. Unfortunately, her weight loss plateaued, even though she was still eating what she considered to be a healthy diet. Additionally, during the past 2 years, there were a few family issues that added just enough stress, causing her to gain back 50 lbs. In Pat’s words, she could not seem to get her motivation back.
When the company she worked for, APG Electric Company, announced their pilot PlantPure Corporate Jumpstart program, Pat knew she wanted to participate. Pat had been intrigued with the idea of eating a plant-based diet, but had no idea where to begin. Adding to this, she did not like to cook and considers herself to be the ‘queen of the microwave”. So when Pat found out that PlantPure meals only required heating in the microwave (or warming trays), she was definitely motivated to give the program a try.
Pat took to this new way of eating “like a fish to water”; she loved the food and found the program very easy to follow. Before beginning the Jumpstart, she cleaned out her cupboards and got rid of everything that was highly processed or not plant-based, a step she found very helpful. APG also offered cooking demonstrations and classes during the Jumpstart which gave Pat the confidence to begin cooking on her own. Pat now enjoys pulling out her cookbooks, planning a menu for the week, and shopping for healthy ingredients.
Pat describes her new lifestyle as easy and enjoyable. She lost 32 lbs in just 9 weeks, which for her is amazing, especially since weight loss was never easy. In addition, Pat had been experiencing lower back pain for 3 months before the Jumpstart and within 3 days of eating a whole food, plant-based diet, the pain disappeared. I asked Pat what her advice would be to others who are not plant-based and she replied, “I just focus on modeling how much I love the food and how great I feel because that is a far more effective way to convince someone to try this lifestyle than preaching!”