- Name: Yvette
- Age: 62
- City: New York, NY
- Start weight: 174
- Current weight: 163
- Time on diet so far: 5 weeks
What was the turning point that made you want to lose weight?
While I always wanted to lose weight, I found wanting it and occasionally cutting back on things wouldn't make it happen. Last year I had a bout with bronchitis and went to an urgent care center to be treated since I didn't have a primary care physician. While examining me and learning of my high blood pressure, the doctor took my hand in his, looked deep into my eyes, and implored me to seek medical attention for my blood pressure. I had no other choice but to promise him I would. I decided to start with a cardiologist, given my family history.
My grandmother died of a stroke at age 65, and my first cousin had multiple atrial fibrillation (AFib) events, ultimately leading to a stroke four years ago and leaving the right side of her body impaired. On top of that, my son suffered an AFib attack three years ago.
I surprised myself — I almost thought I didn't have it in me.
After examining and talking with me, my cardiologist immediately put me on medication to bring down my high blood pressure. We decided that the best course of action to see what was going on was to get a CAT scan of my heart.
Two days prior to the scheduled CAT scan, I experienced shortness of breath, which I attributed to the fact that I had stopped going to the gym at the beginning of the summer and had not returned. Two days later, I continued to experience shortness of breath while walking to the subway traveling to the hospital to get my scan. Right then and there on the table, completely prepped for the test, I experienced my first AFib attack, throwing the test out the window and the technicians to race to call my doctor.
My doctor insisted on me coming in first thing the next morning — New Year's Eve. He immediately put me on blood thinners and cholesterol meds in addition to the blood pressure medication I was already taking. That was the beginning of my journey to getting healthy.
There are two things I needed to do on my journey to getting well: Lose weight and exercise more. I stepped on the scale and realized that I was the heaviest I had ever been, even when I was nine months pregnant! My stars were aligned that day, though: I saw Dr. Oz was looking for volunteers to try a new 21-day diet. It wasn't long before I lost 11 pounds. That's more than I've lost in a decade!
How are you feeling so far?
I'm feeling less bloated, no irritation in my stomach, less burping, less sluggish, and my clothes are more comfortable.
What's your end goal, both in terms of weight and life in general?
Based on my height and age, I should be around 133 lbs. I'm not sure I could get that low, but I'd like to try. I was 118 lbs. the day I got married, over 39 years ago. I want to look healthy, not drawn. I'd like my clothes to fit and I'd like to tie my shoes without having to hold my breath when I bend down. As far as life goals, I want to live it. I intend to go back to the gym and I'm going on a bucket list cruise to Alaska in July. I'd like to have more energy. I need it. I have seven grandchildren and an eighth due in May!
What's your favorite healthy snack?
Right now is persimmon season; I've loved persimmons since I was a child. My grandfather even bought me a case of persimmons for my birthday when I was 12. I also carry a snack bag of nuts and oolong tea bags with me wherever I go.
Have you had any cravings during the diet?
White rice, but don't tell Dr. Oz! Growing up in our house, my great-grandmother, grandmother, and mother started each dinner with a pot of rice and then decided which vegetable and meat to cook. Sometimes there isn't anything more comforting than a nice hot bowl of rice. I dealt with my craving by making Tofu Green Curry, which I would have eaten with white rice. I just put it in a bowl and ate it like that. It satisfied me and I hardly noticed the rice wasn't there.
Have there been any times you've wanted to stop, and if so, what's kept you motivated?
21 days seemed doable to me so I just wanted to see what happened after those 21 days were up. As I lost a pound or two in a short time, I thought, 'Let me keep going and see if I can make it to the 21st day.' It was my personal challenge, like a game. I knew I could stop anytime I chose, but I chose to continue.
What do you like about this diet?
I love it! To me, this wasn't a diet; it was a food adventure. It's like going to another country and submerging yourself in their cuisine. My mom was born in Singapore, and I'm first generation born in the United States. I was raised on tofu and vegetables. Until the diet, I didn't eat beans and legumes as regularly but I really enjoyed them. I remember my grandmother and I eating hearts of palm when I was young, which I hadn't bought in decades. They were as delicious as I remembered. By the time I got done making a salad, it was enough to share with four people! It was loaded with fresh, crisp yumminess. I also loved that we could eat beets! That was a nice surprise.
What has surprised you about this experience?
I surprised myself — I almost thought I didn't have it in me. I enjoyed the Facebook support and exchange, but I was really impressed meeting some of the participants in person in the green room backstage at The Dr. Oz Show and hearing stories about why they decided to participate. Everyone was on their own journey for different reasons. It was very inspiring.
Do you have any advice for other people considering trying this diet?
A fellow participant said it best: This is a psychological diet. You have to invest yourself into it. The diet gives you the guidelines, but you're the creator. If you're willing, you can learn a lot about how food affects your body. Be prepared. Have things around that you can eat or drink when you're hungry. Like I said, I carry nuts and tea bags with me. I roast garlic heads and red peppers and keep them in the refrigerator so I can pull them out to add to my toast in the morning or on top of salads. And I also have a container of store-bought hummus, just in case.
The interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.