Richard and his wife were a part of the original Daniel Plan launch in 2011. After the buzz from the initial months of the plan ended, their willpower ran out. They slowly went back to their old ways and weights. Here is Richard’s story of how the right perspective on healthy lifestyle changes, a great support system, and relying on God makes all the difference in the world. 

I remember feeling that The Daniel Plan made so much sense and we both did feel great when we were living by the principles found in the plan. So why did we ever stop? After some prayer and reflection, I realized that I had looked at it as a diet, not a lifestyle change and it was something I did by myself. No encouragement, no accountability, and no drawing on God’s strength to help me.

Reclaiming Life

When I started back on The Daniel Plan back in November of 2013, my original goal was not to lose weight, but to get healthy. Like a lot of guys my age, I had put on a pound or two a year since college and it had added up. The real issue was that over the past three years, I went from being fairly active and feeling healthy, to having high blood pressure, high cholesterol, arthritis in my hands and knees, acid reflux, and was suffering from depression. I took half a dozen pills every night plus pain relievers and antacids as needed. The worst of it was hearing my wife say that I was not present in her life anymore. I came home drained of energy and had nothing left to give her. This wasn’t what God wanted for my family and me. Something had to change.

The principals taught in The Daniel Plan have helped me reclaim my life.

Over the past ninety days, I have gone from 195 pounds and 23% body fat to 175 pounds and 18% body fat. I am no longer taking any medications and my blood pressure and cholesterol levels are within healthy limits once more. My energy levels are continuing to rise, my mental clarity has improved significantly and my relationships with God, my wife, and family are better than I can remember. My day starts and ends with thankful prayer to God and I feel an awakening in my spirit that I haven’t felt in years.

A Method to the Madness

This time, I decided to take smaller steps, but ones I could live with for the rest of my life.  The engineer in me wanted scientific tests each step of the way so I could build my convictions for the choices I made. I enlisted the help of a doctor and nutritionist and set up weekly appointments to have the critical body measurements taken and to review my health journal for the last week.

Since the initial measurements showed my body was very inflamed, I started with a 30 day cleanse. Nothing fancy, just removing things like dairy, gluten, corn, coffee, alcohol, processed foods and replacing them with lots of organic green vegetables, fresh fruits, wild caught fish and clean water. I ate all the vegetables I wanted and developed the habit of having healthy snacks with me at all times. I had a lot more energy and even felt the urge to exercise. At the end of the cleanse, my inflammation was within normal limits and I had dropped about ten pounds in the process.

At this point I began introducing some additional foods, but quickly discovered that I had intolerance for dairy and gluten. It was difficult to imagine not eating baked goods ever again, but each time I cheated, I felt the pain. God soon made me realize this was His way of telling me what was good for me, so I refocused my efforts on identifying what I would eat when I craved dairy or baked goods. This is now an ongoing game as my wife and I try to create more healthy treats to satisfy our cravings.

I also started more regular exercise, beginning with my morning walk with our three dogs. This is now 45 minutes of “walking as if I was late to something”. In addition to this, my wife and I started doing “Holy Yoga” twice a week with an instructor we met through Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, CA. I started mountain biking with a group from the church as well.

Perks of the Plan

The best change in all of this has been in my relationships. I have really reconnected with my wife and family. I look forward to my daily time with God and have begun to hear him speak into my life again. I am surrounded by a group of friends that support me and hold me accountable. I feel engaged and alive once again and this has made all the difference for me, and those around me. My family has repeatedly thanked me for stepping up and being the husband, father, and leader that they have needed over these past few months. I now see how impossible it is to live the life God intended for me without being healthy first. That is all the motivation I need to persevere.

Richard and his family live in Southern California. His success story is inspiring others to reap the full benefits of living the Daniel Plan lifestyle. Healthy choices in the key five areas of Faith, Food, Fitness, Focus, and Friends will improve all areas of your life—not just your physical appearance!