- Name: Elleen Hannah
- Age: 40s
- City: New York, NY
- Start weight: 201 lbs.
- Current weight: 177 lbs.
- Time on diet so far: 10 Weeks
What was the turning point that made you want to lose weight?
I was tired of being tired. I got winded whenever I climbed a flight of stairs, my clothes were getting tighter and tighter, and I just got to the point where I refused to buy clothes another size up. While running errands on several occasions, I didn't even recognize my reflection when passing a window because I had gained so much weight. I was like, Who's that big girl? Bottom line, at that time I had a come-to-Jesus moment during which I had to face the cold hard facts that I wasn't my best self and that this was carrying over into other aspects of my life. It was time to trim the fat.
Have you tried a diet before? What's different about this one?
Have I tried a diet before? Does peanut butter love jelly? Let's see here… I've tried the grapefruit diet (throughout my teens), Atkins Diet (in my 20s), the Master Cleanse (also in my 20s), Weight Watchers (late-20s), the Six Week Body Makeover (30s), and a return to Weight Watchers (30s). Of course there were also the 1,000 calorie fad diets that come out every year — I can't even begin to guess how many of those I've tried.
It was refreshing to not have to jump up and down repeatedly while sucking in my belly just to put on my jeans each morning.
I believe excessive dieting throughout the years wreaked havoc on my metabolism. In 2014, I decided to make a lifestyle change. No more diets. I went on Dr. Oz's Rapid Weight-Loss Plan and lost a total of 31 pounds! However, about a year ago I plateaued and the weight stopped coming off. I was beginning to get discouraged as the scale began creeping up this past October to my "Girl, get it together" weight. Fortunately, I found out about this plan during the same month.
[Dr. Oz's 21-Day Weight-Loss Breakthrough] has alleviated my IBS and bloating, my eyes are bright, my skin is glowing, I'm fitting into my "maybe one day" jeans, and I'm shopping in the junior's section! In the course of about two months, I've lost a total of 24 lbs. – and that's after not being able to lose any weight in over a year. I don't feel deprived, and after the first 10 days I stopped craving meat and sweets.
What's your end goal, both in terms of weight and life in general?
To be the best me — mind, body, and spirit — and to be in the best shape of my life. I'll know the weight once I get there, but my goal is to lose at least 25 more pounds.
Do you have a favorite 21-Day Weight-Loss Breakthrough recipe?
Yes, the Bean Chili With Mango was quite good!
Was there a recipe you thought you wouldn't like but ended up loving?
I didn't expect to like the tofu, but that changed when I began making my own version. I'd soak the tofu in lightly salted boiled water for 10 minutes, followed by patting it dry, cutting it into "wheat thin" squares, and cooking it in a cast-iron skillet until golden brown on both sides. I take it with me whenever I leave the house.
Have there been any times you've wanted to stop? What's kept you motivated?
I wanted to stop every day for the first 10 days; however, after the tenth day, I no longer felt tempted to stop as my cravings for meat and sweets ended. I also began seeing and feeling results around that tenth day, and that really motivated me to keep going. It was refreshing to not have to jump up and down repeatedly while sucking in my belly just to put on my jeans each morning.
What kind of physical activity have you been doing since starting the diet?
I have a Pilates machine at home, so I do a Pilates workout a few times a week. I also have a fitness tracker and challenge myself to walk 12,000 to 18,000 steps each day.
What do you like about this diet?
I love the results. I love finding creative ways to experiment with plant-based food. I love how I look and especially how I feel health-wise. I love that this plan enabled me to surpass my year-end weight-loss goals without making me feel hungry or like I'm missing out on eating tasty food. This plan has really changed the game for me.
What has surprised you about this experience?
I was surprised I didn't feel like I was missing out, which is one of the reasons why I've continued on this plan beyond the three weeks. I was also surprised that I could give up meat and still feel satiated. By the second week, I had stopped eating the two meat proteins allowed per week – but I still take comfort in knowing I can eat meat if I choose to do so.
Do you have any advice for other people considering trying this diet?
The first 10 days will be the most difficult. Just know there's light at the end of the tunnel. Once the cravings for meat and sugar stop, smooth sailing will be ahead. Also, prepare meals in advance. Look at the wonderful possibilities that the list of various beans, spices, and unlimited veggies present and switch up the daily order if it's not working for you.
Also, have a good support system and learn to ignore or avoid being around the undercover hater – you know, the one who secretly (or not so secretly) wants you to fail at this lifestyle change. The one who relentlessly tries to tempt you with your "kryptonite" – aka junk food.
This plan has reenergized me and confirmed it's not too late. I can achieve anything I put my mind to.
I couldn't have gotten through the holidays unscathed without the uncompromising support of my mother. Prior to my visit, she rid the house of all my favorite treats, called before I came to confirm the food I needed, and encouraged me every day. In fact, both my parents were awesome about telling me how proud they were of me and my progress. That recharged me to another level and put me in a zone. Lo and behold, when I returned home after Thanksgiving, I discovered I had lost another 6 lbs.! Thanks, mom and dad — I owe a big part of my success on this journey to you both.
Overall, this plan has truly been life changing. It's not even just about the weight loss. It's about setting what I thought was an impossible goal, surpassing that goal, and excelling at it. As a now middle-aged woman, I've experienced people trying to make me feel like it's too late. Too late to get married, to have children, to start a new career, and so on. This plan has reenergized me and confirmed it's not too late. I can achieve anything I put my mind to, and you know what? The sky's the limit!
The interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.