Wednesday, May 5, 2010

FIRST MAGAZINE ASKS, "WEIGHT LOSS STORY ON YOU?"


Hi Michelle,

I was given your name and contact info from Angela Stokes. I'm a writer with FIRST magazine. My job is to find women who have amazing weight-loss success stories to share with readers. I hear you may have a story. Congrats. I'd love to learn all about it to see if it might be a good fit for the magazine. Do you have any availability this afternoon or tomorrow for a brief phone interview? Also, do you have any "before" and current "after" snapshots you could send me, just for reference?

Thanks for your help. I look forward to hearing from you soon,
Lisa

_ _ _ _ _ _ _

Well, can you imagine my surprise receiving THAT email???? Especially with the dissappointing RELAPSE i've experienced the past few months. I decided to write "Lisa" back, and hope that, if not now, then perhaps in the future, a story will be written on me. It's very motivating that this request came now. It fills me with tons of motivation and inspiration to become the success-story I was meant to be! So far, the binge eating is gone and so is over 20 lbs of water weight and eggplant parmesan in my gut. In just a few days. Pretty spectacular this raw diet is. I had gotten to over 310 lbs. and this morning weighed in at 289 lbs. When did i start the green smoothie feast, 4 days ago?

Yesterday i had green smoothie in large amounts 3x, lots of apples throughout the day whenever i got hungry. A small salad for lunch at susans. A large salad at home with almond dressing. And a banana. It wasn't a fat-free or salt -free day, but it's working. It's a lot closer to 80-10-10 than full blown gourmet raw binge eating with 3 bags of Brad's chips daily and two packs of raw fudge as a "snack."

Here's the note i sent to "Lisa."

Oh, and this is the message i want to impart: I may fall down, but the days are long gone when i don't pick myself up again. Gaining 50 lbs was not fun and not something I wish to repeat again. Though it seemed i had lost control, I still had the wherewithall to not allow myself to gain everything back, plus more, like i have done many times in the past.

What i want to say is: I am a hard-core food addict and binge eater, so, f I can do this....believe me, ANYBODY CAN!

_ _ _ _ _ _ _

Hi Lisa,

Wow, thanks so much for the interest in my story. I'd love to have a story written on me. Though i wish i were closer to my goal, I'll tell you a little bit about me.

Three and a half years ago, I weighed over 425 pounds. The picture of me in my purple moo-moo was when i weighed about 400 lbs. I could hardly walk anymore, couldn't fit in the tub, could hardly fit behind the car steering wheel, in movie theater seats or airplane seats. I was obsessed with food, especially hamburgers and fast food, and would shamefully binge in my car several times daily on enormous amounts of food. It was not uncommon for me to eat 5 or 6 value meals...in a row. First I'd drive to KFC, then to McDonalds, then to Burger King, then to Wendy's, then to Wawa. I was utterly hopeless, depressed, and completely addicted to food and to binge eating.

I knew I didn't want to get a gastric bypass. A lobotomy seemed more like the answer, because my head was so obsessed with food always!!! I didn't think the size of my stomach was the problem. I decided a radical change in my diet might rescue me from self-destruction. My wonderful parents helped to send me to a health retreat in San Diego as a guest. I was fortunate enough to end up securing a temporary job at the retreat, so that I could extend my stay as long as possible.

The retreat was a very special place that focused on food that would cleanse and heal. They served no meat, no dairy, no bread, just sprouts, wheat grass juice, fresh raw organic vegetables and greens, raw fruits, seaweed salads, unroasted seeds, a fermented quinoa drink called "rejuvelac," and tons of sprouts. Everything was raw, vegan and organic. This type of diet is called the "raw vegan" diet. Many people with cancer go to such retreats to heal wholistically.

The weight dropped off of me. In 8 short months, I lost 140 lbs. Not only that, my severely crippling back pains left me after only 4 days on the plan. My sleep apnea left, i stopped snoring, my depression lifted, I felt reborn, rejuvenated, and hopeful for the first time in a long time.

After my temp job at the retreat ended, I knew my need to stay on the raw vegan diet couldn't end. I came home to Philadelphia, and immediately sought out a job as a raw vegan chef. This would support my newfound diet and help me to inspire others to change their diet with my newly acquired skills in raw food preparation. I am blessed to be one of the raw vegan chefs at ARNOLDS WAY RAW VEGETARIAN CAFE AND EDUCATION CENTER in Lansdale, PA, for the last 3 years. (I am also now a partner in a raw catering company called, "Mostly Raw Catering." We catered a "mostly raw" party for 200 in honor of host Bernard Michael Beckwith last September!) Arnold's Way is the most wonderful place to work, so supportive, so nurturing. Arnold took me under his wing and continues to do so, prodding me along in the right direction.

While working at "Arnold's Way," I encountered a sticky situation with regards to food. Food was now around me all day, and snacking on cafe food became an issue. Though I gained no weight snacking all day, my weight loss did plateau for quite some time.

With Arnold's help, I began last summer to eat more and more lean and light fruit and vegetables, and less and less caloric avocados and nuts. I exercised more, and lost an additional 35 lbs, making my total weight loss 175 lbs. Here I am with David Wolfe at Angela Stokes' wedding last summer, where I sang as the bride walked down the aisle!

Weighing just under 250 lbs felt fantastic, but I was still about 100 lbs from my goal weight.

Unfortunately, my behavior the last few months have not only thwarted me from my goal weight, they sent me spiraling out of control. My mother became ill, I moved in to take care of her, and began eating emotionally, picking up comforting cooked vegetarian food again for the first time in 3.5 years. First it was beans, then it was rice, soon it became bread and pizza and vegetarian egg rolls, potato chips, icecream, cookies. My addictive leanings quickly escalated, as did my weight. Eating cooked food only inflamed my obsession for food, and packed on the weight. I gained back more than 50 lbs.

I realized the raw vegan diet was my savior and would rescue me again and I'm now back on track. Within just a few days, I lost over 15 pounds. What's so amazing about the raw vegan diet is how it controls my appetite and my weight.

Arnold has asked me to star in THE 90 DAY GREEN SMOOTHIE REVOLUTION at Arnold's Way! We are videotaping my journey weekly where I will return to my raw vegan diet, and drink green smoothies several times a day for the next 90 days, along with fresh fruits and salads, and minimize fat and salt.

I also detail my journey daily on my blog: http://PureRawJoy.blogspot.com.

My biggest hope is that my blog serves as an inspiration to those with binge eating and morbid obesity. Though I've not yet reached my goal weight, I recognize the value of the raw vegan diet to calm binge eating and to encourage rapid weight loss, and I continue to push myself forward towards my goal. So many people lose extreme amounts of weight only to gain them all back and more. I've done that numerous times in my life. The raw vegan diet is special. It keeps you in check, helps you lose fast and helps you lose your obsession with food. I'm glad I finally realize it again.

Please wish me luck in my journey.

P.S. I'd love to do a phone interview. I can be reached at 215-284-6525.

Sincerely Yours,
Michelle Joy Schulman

xoxo michelle joy

1 comment:

mikelle said...

michelle joy~ i have tears in my eyes after reading this post and your letter. i truly adore you and the honesty you display in your blog is so inspiring. your journey amazes me daily. THANK YOU for sharing yourself - you are beautiful