I’m originally from Mississippi and grew up on the other “SAD” diet…the “souther american diet”…you know the one where we use pork as a seasoning? My main diet my whole life, literally, was meat, mayo and cheese. Through High School and college I played sport and was very active. After school, I became more and more inactive and began to steadily gain weight; gaining roughly 50lbs. from the time I was 20 until my wedding when I was 26…I weighed 240 lbs. My wife never bugged me but was always concerned as she saw me eat like there were no consequences.
Shortly after turning 35, and the birth of our fourth child, I gave in and went and had a physical; I was devastated with the results. I was diagnosed as a pre-diabetic; high blood pressure; high cholesterol which was over 300; fatty liver; sleep apnea and my pancreas was showing insulin resistance. My doctor sent me a letter of concern and requested to see me to discuss my options. After the initial shock wore off, I did what any concerned person would’ve done: I didn’t go back…not for four years.
Over the course of the next four years, I gained more weight until finally reaching my pinnacle at 281lbs. I began to get staph infections constantly that would not heal; extreme fatigue; developed dark patches under my arms and neck, which a doctor friend at church informed me he was certain I was full blown diabetic; more sleep apnea; joint pain; shortness of breath and whole other list of ailments.
A few weeks before my 40th birthday I decided to have my blood pressure checked and the results: 153/106…I was a freaking time bomb. I realized I had to do something or my life would be cut extremely short and my wife would be left alone to raise our five children. I reached out to a friend I knew who had lost a lot of weight to see what he had done. I had tried every diet in the past and nothing worked. He encouraged me to watch Forks Over Knives, and I did, two weeks before my 40th birthday. It was because of that documentary I learned about the Engine 2 Diet…I started cold turkey the next day. The results were nothing short of amazing. I lost 19lbs. the first two weeks; in the first 3 months I lost 55 lbs. and had a physical for life insurance. My weight dropped from 281 to 226; my BP dropped from 153/106 to 126/79; my cholesterol dropped from almost 400 to 199 and glucose test came back on the low end of normal…the lab report actually made a point of saying I showed no signs of diabetes or was in danger of developing diabetes(if they had only know). From that moment on, I was sold and Rip Esselstyn became my hero.
I’m in ministry full-time, and at the time, we couldn’t afford the Engine 2 books but because of the website, we had access to many of the recipes and I watched every Rip Esselstyn video on YouTube I could find. Rip literally saved my life and I get emotional every time I talk about it. I started running shortly after and competing in 5K’s and currently training for a Triathlon eventually. My family have embraced this lifestyle and the energy I have, the way I feel is truly amazing. We have recently moved to Jackson, MS and thankful there is a Whole Foods(we love our Engine 2 burgers).
Back in February, I attended the Engine 2 challenge at the local Whole Foods, not because I “needed it” but because I wanted to be living example for everyone who was there and be encouragement for them. It went over so well, I was asked to be the main speaker at the “graduation” and have since developed a group called Famine To Feast that my wife and I host in our home with many of the Engine 2 graduates to keep them motivated. We eat, discuss and I always end the evening with a cooking demo…always pushing Engine 2 and Whole Foods products.
To date, I have lost 80 pounds and my current stats are: BP 113/72; Cholesterol:158
Engine 2 has made such an impact in my life, so much so, I am going to be enrolling in eCornell’s plant-based nutrition certification program with the hopes of starting my own business in health coaching and speaking…I figure I’ve been speaking in church the last 10 years, I can do it with food:) Engine 2 has truly changed my life and I can’t thank you all enough. Keep up the good work and thanks for this opportunity!
Shane Martin (Famine To Feast)
On Twitter: @famine_to_feast