"My name is Annette Fowler. I have struggled with my weight from the age of 13. I was led to believe that an obese life was my destiny. With that belief, I never truly tried to lose weight, as I thought it was not a possibility for me. I spent my teen years steadily growing through the high 100s. The last weight I remember being was 167lbs when I was in grade 10. After that, I never really weighed myself unless I went to the Dr's, and even then, the weight was recorded and never mentioned.
As I reached my 30's, I finally came into contact with a physician who actually spoke to me about my weight and how it affected my health. She told me that if I did not make a change in my lifestyle, I should expect to have a heart attack and or stroke within the next decade or so. At that time, I was around 280 lbs. I started eating foods that were known to lower cholesterol, but did not think about where the cholesterol came from to begin with in order to make sure I ingested as little as possible. My weight continued to climb in spite of what I ate. I knew I was eating out of control, and my borderline-high cholesterol, with the attachment of a possible heart attack was beginning to be all I could think about. I remembered reading somewhere that the single act of losing weight actually lowered cholesterol. So, in my 35th year, two years after losing my mother to a brain aneurysm, I decided to dig my feet in and take some weight off. After 3 months of following a "diabetic diet", I knew my clothes were fitting more loosely, so I asked the doctor for a recorded weight when I went in for a blood work checkup. I almost fell through the floor when I saw 309lbs come up. I had no idea I was over 300lbs to begin with!! When I asked my doctor to find my last recorded weight, after many minutes of searching, she found it: 339lbs. So, even though I was over 300, I was excited that I lost at least 30lbs. That spurred me on to lose 125lbs total within 9 months. Unfortunately, it didn't help my cholesterol much. I was still just skimming by without the need for meds.
In the process of losing that weight, I exercised almost every waking minute of my day, as that was the way I believed I had to operate in order to remove the weight. In doing so, I blew out my adrenal glands and ended up developing fibromyalgia. I was also born with a mild form of spina bifida and I developed osteoarthritis in my spine as well as my knees and ankles as a result of my excess weight. With the onset of the fibromyalgia, my exercising slowly diminished to nothing and within a year, I was back up to 330 lbs. I somehow maintained that weight, or so I think I did, for the next decade.
So, there I sat, 330lbs and was given yet another diagnosis to add to my "collection"..... pre-diabetes. I decided to do some research to see if I could get calcium from foods other than dairy as I have been on a disability pension since 2000 and, as sad as it sounds, could not afford the 3 servings of dairy and the 2 servings of lean protein I would need daily according to "Canada's Food Guide To Healthy Living". I was never really worried about the protein aspect of it, I knew I could get all I needed from beans and lentils. As I looked for food sources of calcium, I came across the documentary "Forks Over Knives" in May of 2012. ALL blinders were blown off!!!! I have since had a different kind of hunger, a hunger for nutritional knowledge.
My plant-based journey has been slow. I am, as of this writing, 145lbs lighter and while I still need to remove about 60 more pounds, I have no doubt my body will take care of it as long as I continue to feed it what it was MEANT to have all along! The most important things I have lost are my pre-diabetes, I have reduced my fibromyalgia meds from 8 pills a day to 2 pills a day, I have reduced my cholesterol meds in half and am now on the lowest dosage, for now, and, I'm on the lowest dosage of blood pressure meds. I can walk for 30-45 minutes steady, whereas before, I could not walk more than 5 minutes without extreme pain. A shower used to put me back in bed with a flare and now, I shower and THEN go for a 30 minute walk without batting an eye!! I currently walk with a walker, but I have hopes that I will be able to walk away from it one day soon.
I owe my life to the makers of Forks Over Knives. I am very much frustrated that wealth tops health as far as the government is concerned. I saw exactly how true that is when I saw PlantPure Nation. I cannot wait for the day when plant-based living becomes mainstream! Thank you so much for allowing me to share my story. I hope it will help others. I will be 50 this month, (August), and I have never felt better! And, I'm not even done yet! The best is yet to come!!!!!!!!!!"
- Annette Fowler, Prescott, Ontario
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