By Joel Comiskey, Living in Victory
In 2018, I spoke at twenty-four conferences in many different countries and contexts. I practiced the missionary creed of eating everything on my plate. But I also suffered for it. I was overweight, my cholesterol was elevated, and I had to go to the emergency room three times because of a tear duct problem, which eventually required surgery. I frequently felt tired. While trying to give to others, I often felt like someone needed to be pouring into my own life.
By the end of the year, I was sick, bloated, and out of shape. I turned to my wife on a plane ride from Washington to Los Angeles in December 2018, saying, “Help me.” I showed her a picture I had taken at a Methodist conference in Brazil a few months earlier, which showed my waistline bulging from the conference t-shirt. “I need help,” I pleaded.
In January 2019, I made some key changes. I decided to follow a strict, plant-based diet. I lost twenty pounds and have kept those pounds off. I now only eat three meals per day, avoid snacks, and focus on eating particular foods (e.g., vegetables, salads, fruits, beans, etc.).
Since 2006, I had generally followed Joel Fuhrman’s “Life Plan” from his book Eat to Live
But I had also taken many more eating liberties than necessary. I lacked the discipline to get back on his general plan after a conference. Losing weight, according to Fuhrman, was the byproduct of healthy eating. Fuhrman points to many scientific studies to support an emphasis on plant-based foods. Fuhrman is against diets and views healthy eating as the best way to avoid disease, while losing weight as a result.
Fuhrman’s life plan includes some meat and dairy, but he emphasizes fruits, salads, vegetables, and legumes. He also has a six-week plan for those getting started, which I followed for six weeks back in 2006. Since then I had generally tried to stay on his life plan with some success. In January 2019, I decided to follow the six-week plan and stay on it indefinitely.
Staying faithful to Fuhrman’s six-week plan was hard because of my travel schedule, but I decided to give it a try. I had to explain to host churches that I was only going to eat certain foods, such as fruits, vegetables, salads, legumes, nuts, and other plant-based foods. In explaining my new diet to these churches, I normally just mentioned my high cholesterol without going into a lot more detail.
As a result of this plan, I lost twenty-five pounds and have kept those pounds off for 3.5 years. I have felt a lot more energy in everything I do. For example, at my wife’s yearly family camp in August 2019, I played several rounds of basketball without becoming exhausted, something I could not do in 2018 on the same court and with many of the same people.