The Daily Beet

12 Aug Adventures with Ami: Sue’s Story

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I am sharing the story of one of my favorite E2X members, Sue! I had the pleasure of meeting Sue at the Farms 2 Forks: Chicago event in May after meeting her online this past winter.  Sue has worked really hard at mastering plant-strong living.  She is an inspiration to others in and out of the E2X community!  She recently completed a 7 mile race and her running times get faster every time her feet hit the pavement.  I am so proud of the progress she has made, way to go Sue!

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I’m Sue. I started my plant-strong journey January 6th, 2013. I was on the couch with the flu a couple days before. I accidentally watched Forks over Knives, Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead, and Food Matters on Netflix. This lead to watching other documentaries such as Engine 2 Kitchen Rescue, which lead to E2X online and the support of the coaches there. Since then I’ve read My Beef with Meat, The Starch Solution and The Pleasure Trap.  I have to say that all these resources have been life changing for me.  I will never look at food in the same way ever again.  I will turn 50 on Thanksgiving this year, and my friends and family can attest to the fact I’ve been on a “diet” most of my adult life.  I’m so happy to say I’m done with that. I’m done with protein powders, shakes, juices, vitamins etc.  I’ve learned that healthy is 70% food and 30% exercise.  And when you eat the right food you actually FEEL like exercising and then it’s just like a domino effect.)

I’m 5’7” and I started at 200 pounds.  It’s not the heaviest I’ve been in my life, but it might as well have been.  I was ready for a change.  I quit my S.A.D. (Standard American Diet) way of eating cold “turkey”.  I cried the first time I grocery shopped for plants, but I did it. I didn’t give up thanks to all the support that I’ve received at E2X.  I’m now down to 158 pounds and I’ve lost 4 sizes!! It’s simply amazing and it’s even more amazing to feel so much better every day.  My blood work and blood pressure are all wonderful and that’s a plus!

The hardest part about this lifestyle is the social pressure to eat and drink for that reason: being social.  Everything seems to revolve around food and drinks.  I have to say that it does get easier. After a while people expect you to “bring your lunch” or to not order while at a restaurant (I often eat before I go).  I also have to be prepared days ahead to be sure there is food I can eat.  If I’m unprepared it would be easy to grab for Mr. Bad Food.  The freezer is my friend! I love that you can pull out leftovers or just frozen rice/veggies for a meal for $2.00! This way of eating is NOT expensive… It’s yummy and I feel SO much better after eating. No guilt!

If I can do this then ANYONE can do this.  I’m proud of myself and I love that I can run and bike.  It’s SO much fun!  Sometimes I look at my workouts and my times and it feels like it isn’t even me! I think it can’t be possible, but it is! I ran a 7 mile race on a Saturday and rode 36 miles on my bike the very next day! Recovery? Forget about it!! Plants Rule!

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Ami Mackey
Ami Mackey

Ami Mackey is the Communications Director at Engine 2. She is also a food coach at Engine 2 Extra and has been plant-strong since 2011. When she isn't attending to all things Engine 2, she is the Program Director at St Louis All City Boxing a nonprofit youth program. She has earned certificates from eCornell in Plant-Based Nutrition & Fitness Nutrition from NASM.

  • Penny


  • Tracy

    Very nice!!!! I have been plant strong for about a year and a half now and put on a few lbs lately and am a bit disappointed with myself. This story has inspired me to get over and get back to what I know works – eating well and exercising – so CONGRATS and THANKS!!!

  • Bstone

    Very inspiring!! Just what I needed today.

  • peonies@pearls

    Wonderful and inspiring!!!

  • Kris Tutte

    Good for you! I have been eating plant strong for about 5 weeks. I have lost about 12 pounds, but more importantly I feel so much better. My joints have lost the pain and inflammation and I just feel better all around. My biggest struggle is cooking for my meat eating hubby, but feeling better is my inspiration to stick with this.

  • Kirsten

    WAY TO GO SUE…you are a rock-star and a testament to the wonderful benefits of a plant strong lifestyle :)

    • Sue Marsden

      Thanks Kirsten!! ( idk how I got three pictures… ) Love E2X!!

  • Colleen

    That’s great! I’m trying to stay strong. What kind of pre do you do in the beginning of the week?

    • Sue Marsden

      HI! It does take some food prep! I just pick like 3 meals and have leftover’s a lot. I stick some in the freezer to pull out on CRAZY days! I make a huge salad and rice and beans ahead and chop veggies ahead and throw everything in the fridge. Burgers and fries are great leftover.. I started with 2-3 different meals I like and I add things in as I feel comfortable. The coaches are AMAZING and helped me a lot. If you arent an E2X member, it’s worth it to try it out! Thank!!

  • Jean Hayes

    Great job Sue!! You look wonderful, and it sounds like you are feeling great, too!

  • Lillian Pereyda

    Good for you Sue. I also been on the plant based for 4 months now and planning on staying on it for life. I lost 11 pounds but I feel great. No lower back pain, I know it was my weight. I will continue I know it will take me for as long as I reach my goal weight. Thank you for sharing your story Sue your an inspiration. Thanks.

  • rhonda

    I’m just happy to know that someone else age 50 or over has been successful. I am 56 and need to lose the same 30 pounds I have fought with for years with every diet mentionable. Our Whole Foods is doing the Engine 2 28-day challene in September and I can hardly wait. I’ve already dabbled in whole and clean eating a little and feel so much better. I’m so excited to go full force with plant-strong. Thank you for your wonderful inspiration.

  • Leah

    Congratulations Sue! You look beautiful and vibrant, and a 7 mile race plus awesome recovery tells how beautiful and vibrant you are on the inside as well! Here’s to life and health and inspiration!

  • Lynnette

    Way to go SUE!!!! What a great story! Congratulations on all the running and biking accomplishments too. You look amazing.

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