Most of us hate change. There are some changes that we just have to live with and adapt. However, there is change that you can initiate to change your life for the better.

Let me introduce myself.

My name is Giselle and I’m 64 years old, 5’2” and at my heaviest, was 185 lbs. I’ve struggled with my weight all my life. I’m Puerto Rican – born there, but raised in New York City. Besides rice and beans, the Puerto Rican diet includes a lot of fried foods. Plus, I had a passion for ice cream sandwiches. When shopping for clothes, Mom always took me to the “chubby” section.

I wasn’t very athletic till my senior year in high school. All of a sudden I enjoyed gymnastics, field hockey and volleyball. I started losing weight.

In college, I had a friend who was on Weight Watchers and she gave me their brochure. Following their point system, I lost some weight, but it didn’t stay lost. I tried to learn how to play tennis, joined the synchronized swimming team for a while and finally took up horseback riding for my PE credits. (The horse does most of the work.)

Disco changed my life…

When disco died, the weight came back. Change in the wrong direction.It was after college that I discovered a new passion that helped me get skinny – disco dancing. I was dancing for 3 hours every night and having a blast. I was 21 years old and 120 lbs. Then disco died and I stopped dancing often and started gaining the weight back. (Picture>> The Skinny Me, “San Juan San Juan” Disco, Puerto Rico.)

Fast forward to 2008 and the scary diagnosis of osteoarthritis. The doctor told me, “Good news, it’s not rheumatoid, but the bad news is there’s no cure. So she prescribed some NSAIDs and sent me on my way. Came to discover that the NSAIDs – which really weren’t helping with the pain – were affecting my kidneys.

I stopped taking them. I can live with the pain, but I can’t live without my kidneys.

But the pain was unbearable. Then my first chiropractor from back in Miami, posted on Facebook about this book called “Inflammation Nation” (Amazon) and how most everything that ails us is caused by inflammation and how we can reduce it by changing what we eat. Sold!

Wow! What a revelation! 

I followed the book, but was having trouble figuring out the whole glycemic index thing. (We’ll have more articles on this soon.) I needed to get more information. (What I really needed was a professional nutritionist guiding me through the diet plan.)

So, I got on Pinterest and I searched for anti-inflammatory foods. I found tons of  infographics like this one showing the foods that cause inflammation and the ones that reduce inflammation.

Inflammation: Foods that cause & reduce inflammation - change for the better

It was a simple change. Stop eating the bad foods and eat more of the good ones. 

One of the culprits was gluten (found in wheat, rye and barley) and the other was dairy products (cow’s milk, cheese and yogurt). 

Some of the  anti-inflammatory foods turned out to be all the herbs and spices. Learning how to cook with them was easy.

I tried it for a week and I felt great!

So, I thought I’d test it and I had a pizza. I was in pain the next day. Everything! Ankles, feet, knees. I had to drink 3 cups of ginger tea to feel better. Never again!

I’ve been gluten-free and dairy free for 5 years. However, the pain still flares up on occasion and I have to double up on the supplements. (Watch for more articles on inflammation and living gluten-free and dairy-free. Also, follow HHS on your favorite social network for more health and wellness tips and information.)

Recently, I was experiencing severe shoulder pain.

I couldn’t stand it any more. I knew Dr. Matt French from church and his practice is not far from me in North Phoenix. Traditional medicine was not going to make me sick anymore. After the whole NSAIDs experience and I going seeing a naturopathic doctor. Except, she moved to Tempe  – too far. It was a no-brainer to start seeing Dr. Jason Jensen for my thyroid problem and Dr. French for my aches and pains at Holistic Health Solutions.

A 180-Degree Life Change

While waiting to get adjusted one day, I saw this “Whole Life 180” brochure. I asked Dr. French and he explained that it’s not just a weight loss plan, but a total “180” lifestyle change. Medical professionals guide you through it, so you’re not left on your own to try and figure out what works and doesn’t work or how much to take when.

Plus, each body is different. There is no “one-size-fits-all” plan – it doesn’t exist.

Tired as I was with yo-yo dieting, (Look for an article soon on all the weight-loss books that I’ve tried.) I said why not?

I’ve got nothing to lose but weight.

So here’s my starting video. This was recorded March 12, 2017, when I started the Whole Life 180 plan. I weighed in at 170 — I was at 185 — my heaviest EVER. I had gotten down to 163 last year, but kept gaining it back. If I went over 170, I start getting GERD – or very bad acid reflux. As of April 24, 2017, I’m at 161.5. I’ve lost 2 inches off my waist and 1 inch off my hips! Folks, this works. I’m finally out of the “obese” range in the BMI scale! And, believe me, I plan to NEVER go back there again! 

If you’re like me and are sick and tired of being sick and tired, isn’t time you tried Whole Life 180? Click here for more info

With the website reconstruction, this was reposted in early June, 2017. I blew by my first goal which was 159 (out of the 160s!) and am just 6 lbs. away from my 2nd goal of 149! (Bye, bye 150s – never again!)

Update 11/26/19 — Never say never — Change in the wrong direction

I was happily losing weight on the Keto Diet. I had surpassed my 149 lbs. goal to get down to 142. Then I had to go to Puerto Rico in May of 2018 to put my mom in a nursing home.

Needless to say, I gained some of the weight back. Besides the stress, I went back to eating a lot of rice and beans. I gained 10 lbs.

Once I got home, I spoke with nutritionist Lorrie and she gave me some guidelines. She did tell me that I shouldn’t stay on the Keto Diet forever. However, whenever I started eating carbs again, I’d gain the weight back. So I stayed on it.

In the spring of 2019, I developed Gout — a nasty side-effect of the Keto Diet. Since then, I’ve gained almost all the weight back short of 10 lbs. My first priority, at the time, was to reduce the pain in my hand.

The Change in Diet took me in the Wrong Direction

Doubling up on the anti-inflammatory supplements, some major detoxing, and eliminating a lot of the gout-causing foods, I finally got rid of the gout. I still have tendonitis in my wrist from years of computer work. (I guess that’s why the gout picked that joint above foot or ankle which are more common.) But with Dr. French’s guidance, I’ve gotten a handle on the pain.

Dr. French suggested that I try the Vegan-Keto diet, but vegan is not for me. Vegetarian, yes. I love eggs and Manchego (sheep’s milk) cheese. It’s bad enough giving up carbs, I have to give up eggs and cheese too?

Change is Good

So, I’m back to the challenge of restricting carbs, but not overdoing it with the meats and managing the pain. Once a year I get a Healthy Aging Screening to check to see that everything is normal. 

If you need help managing pain or losing weight, click here to make and appointment with Dr. French.