The Daily Beet

26 Sep Happy Anniversary to Me

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Before we hear from Char today, we want to officially welcome her as the newest member to our Engine 2 Team! Char has been a part of our E2 family for a few years (as you will read below). We thought it was the perfect day to welcome her onto our team! Please leave her a plant-strong welcome in the comments!


Seems like aeons ago.  Before Engine 2, my life had two speeds…I was either on a diet…or not on a diet.  And, I’d go on crazy diets that would socially isolate me.  When friends would call, they’d say, “Well, not sure whose diet you are following this week, but do you want to come out to dinner with us?”  I’d have to think long and hard before giving a response.  The truth of the matter is that, I’d join them for dinner, and as the evening progressed, I slowly ease into eating everything that was on the table.  I’d devour a dessert, and in my head, I would tell myself, “You can pick up this diet tomorrow.”  By evening’s end, I would have consumed a trillion calories and would have also beaten myself up.

My life really changed on Wednesday, September 23, 2009.  I went to a meeting to see the regional president of the world’s healthiest grocery store give a talk to a small group I was with.  When this guy walked into the room, I did a double take.  He’d lost weight, but, he also carried a new calm and inner light that I had never seen before.  He seemed happier, more carefree.  I remember thinking, “Where do I sign up?”

As the morning progressed, we all learned about this new book called The Engine 2 Diet.  I had an Oprah “ah-ha” moment, because I had remembered seeing this book.  Its title had promised me that my life would be saved, and that I would burn away the pounds.  But, for me, there was one small obstacle…I’d have to give up eating meat.  In my head, I had planned the 28 days of eating plant-strong, but, I gave even more thought to what Day 29 would look like.  I remember saying to a colleague, “Well, I think I can do anything for 28 days, but on Day 29, I see a pizza in my future.”

On my way home from the meeting, I stopped at a bookstore (remember those?) and got a copy of The Engine 2 Diet.  Next stop was the grocery store.  And little did I know that my life would change forever on this day.  When I woke up the next morning, I made a bowl of oatmeal with almond milk, and after almost choking, I thought to myself, “I got this, 28 days, I will own you!”  Rip always says that everyone has a 28 Day Challenge in them, but what he doesn’t tell you is that you will feel so great, that you will stop counting the days.  That’s how it was for me, and on about day five, I popped outta bed, and noticed that my hobbling was gone.  A few weeks later, I bumped into someone who’d asked me if I had a facelift because my skin looked so good.  Then, I noticed that I was beginning my sentences with, “Hey, have you heard about the Engine 2 Diet?”  And, if I had a captive audience, I would get out my soapbox and recite principles of Engine 2.

So, here I am, three years later.  I’ve lost ninety pounds in my travels, and continue to “plant” my future weightloss.  People will say, still, “Oh, come on Char, you gotta have a burger on July 4th, you got to!”  And, I do have a burger on the 4th, but it is a homemade veggie burger that is truly delish.  Oh, and you know what is the funniest thing?  When people see me eating my veggie burger, they’ll say, “Hey, what’s that?  Mind if I take a bite?”  What I have learned is this:  Always take an arsenal of homemade veggie burgers to any outing!

Reinforcement is the main key for me.  When I began, Engine2Extra wasn’t around.  So, I had to find my own reinforcements to remain plant-strong, or as I like to say, “plant-strong to thine own self.”  Here are a few things that have helped me stay the course for the past three years…

~Everyday, no matter where I am, I randomly pick up my weather-torn copy of Engine 2, and I read something…just a few pages of anything to reinforce my journey to get that “rEinforcement.”

~Go to YOU TUBE, and type in Rip’s name, or Engine 2.  Watch a video.  My favorite, to this day, is the Tracy Smith interview on CBS SUNDAY MORNING.  It features all of the Esselstyns, and clearly just makes me smile.  Here’s a link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d–E13lhyNw

~Look for an E2 28 Day Challenge at your local Whole Foods Market.  Who doesn’t LOVE Whole Foods Market?  They’re such a friend to the community.  An organized face-to-face challenge is another way to reinforce your journey.

~Watch Forks Over Knives, the brilliant documentary that focuses on the China Study.  I’ve seen this film, a dozen times, and I never tire of its content.

And now, with the inception of Engine2Extra, you are purely golden.  Here’s a reliable, steadfast network available to you whenever you have a question, idea, etc.   There is a swell of wellness in our country, and I believe that Engine 2 is responsible for that surge in achieving better health.  We have so many safety nets in our lives…from seatbelts to smoke detectors…and now, Engine 2.

So, I planned a celebration for this event…and what did I do?  Headed to a steak house with the carnivores friends  in my life.  A steak house is the easiest place to eat plant-strong.  I got a double order of steamed broccoli, a dry baked potato, and the salad bar.  And the reason a steak house?  No worry about what’s in the food.  And, you don’t ever have to explain anything to the food server.  Plain and simple.  And more me, fancy.

Happy Anniversary to me.  And happy anniversary to you, whenever that maybe!

Power to the Plants!

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Char Nolan for Engine 2
Char Nolan

Char Nolan is a blog contributor and Engine 2 Extra Coach. She's been plant-strong for almost five years. From Philadelphia, she works in the plant-based whole foods arena, and is also the "vegan features writer," for the "Town Dish." She's lost a great deal of weight from being plant-strong, practices yoga, and is always dabbling in her kitchen to create new, plant-strong recipes. Armed with a degree in public health, Char also holds a certificate in plant-based nutrition from e-Cornell.

  • Kirsten
    Posted at 06:03h, 26 September

    Happy Anniversary Char…thank you for sharing your wonderful story!
    You are an inspiration =)

  • Candyce Loescher
    Posted at 07:22h, 26 September

    Char – thanks for sharing your story. I love hearing from people whose lives have been changed by eating this way! It gives me hope! Am excited that you will be part of leading this on line journey. Happy Anniversary!

  • JenO
    Posted at 09:22h, 26 September

    I get chills when reading this…your path has been amazing. Congrats! Please keep the inspiration coming.

  • DeAnn Marie Barrett
    Posted at 12:29h, 26 September

    Happy Anniversary Char!!! Reading this felt like a description of myself when I started! I felt it after the first week and knew that 28 days was going to be easy! I look forward to celebrating my first anniversary! And you’re right, there is a swell happening in this country. Engine2 has taken off and I’m so glad to be part of this community with you and the rest of the Engine2 Team!

  • Erica Thompson
    Posted at 12:39h, 26 September

    Congrats on becoming part of the E2 team Char. That’s great news! This is a two month anniversary for me. Happy anniversary to you. The support has been awesome and I can not imagine going back to the way I was eating!

  • Elizabeth
    Posted at 12:58h, 26 September

    Philly reppin’!!!!!! Way to go!

  • Martha
    Posted at 14:13h, 26 September

    The link for the video didn’t work for me… Congrats to you!

  • Patti Parrish
    Posted at 15:12h, 26 September

    Congratulations and thanks for the encouragement!!!

  • Christa
    Posted at 17:22h, 26 September

    Happy Anniversary Char – you are inspiring!

  • Miranda Waddill
    Posted at 02:11h, 27 September

    Thanks for your “stay the course tips”, they are great! Congratulations to you, and may you have many more….happy anniversaries.

  • Jennifer Edwards
    Posted at 17:51h, 27 September

    I continually watch lectures and interviews with the Engine 2 team, and their colleagues who teach a whole foods plant based diet! I thought I was the only one who did this! 🙂 Great tip; it really helps to keep one’s focus. I’m 40 pounds down and riding a century in a few weeks; I can’t wait to be where you are. Go Char!

  • Kate Murray
    Posted at 10:18h, 29 September

    I like your suggestion for the “veggie burger on the 4th” the “hey what’s that can I have a bite” strategy is really effective!

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