Eat to Live 6 Week Challenge- Melissa Week 1

/, Melissa’s Eat to Live Journey/Eat to Live 6 Week Challenge- Melissa Week 1

My first week of Jumpstart #4 went well.  I really focused this week on no oil and no meat, as these are the two areas that I’ve had the most trouble with totally giving up for the entire 6 weeks.  But the first week wasn’t as bad as I had expected, I think maybe because I had been reducing the amounts of each over time.  And, since I’ve been eating this way for awhile now, I really didn’t experience any detox symptoms, but boy do I remember the headaches and lack of energy! I posted Philippians 4:13everywhere back then, and still now, “I can do all things through Christ who give me strength.”

As for the weight loss, I lost 2.2 pounds this week.  I’ve been averaging around 10-12 pounds per jumpstart. (I lost 10 pounds before starting ETL and I’ve managed to lose a few pounds between jumpstarts as well).


HINT: Find what encourages you to stay the course and stay encouraged! Also, if you can’t quit something cold turkey, try reducing the amounts until you can quit completely.  You can do this!


I’ve really started noticing lately that my taste preferences have changed.  Dr. Fuhrman says this would happen in his book, End of Dieting, “Food preferences are learned and can be changed.” I had also read about this happening to others on the ETL face book support page, but honestly I was a bit skeptical.  Listen to me! It really happens! Just this past week I tried balsamic vinegar on my salad and I liked it! And I tried Nutritarian Hummus AGAIN and this time I really enjoyed it! (I had tried the Hummus when I first started ETL back in July but didn’t really care for it.) I never dreamed that one day garbanzo beans, dates, vegetable stock and other ETL staples would fill my kitchen cabinets!


HINT: If you try something and don’t like it, give yourself some time and try it again! Your taste preferences really do change! And be open to trying new things!




For Breakfast, I had overnight oats with fruit and I changed up my fruit each day.  For lunch, I tried something new and chopped my salad.  Chopping down the volume seemed to help me not be so overwhelmed with the size of my salad and I think it actually helped me eat more of it. I used either Pecan Balsamic Vinaigrette or Creamy Citrus Dressing, again recipes I did not like early on, but now they are both my favorites! At lunch, I also had a bean or vegetable soup and some fruit AND a black bean brownie! (more on that treat later!) For dinner, I had another chopped salad and some soup.  My husband’s favorite is Brown Rice Soup. And ANOTHER brownie!!

It wasn’t until the holiday jumpstart that I even allowed myself any types of Nutritarian treats for fear they would trigger a sugar-eating frenzy in me! Sugar has always been my trigger food. And through the holiday, the “Lord stood by me and gave me strength” (2 Tim. 4:17) because I was surrounded by so many sweet treats, as I’m sure many of you were.  But I refused them and instead, I turned to Nutritarian treats such as Blueberry Nice Cream, Peanut Butter Cookie Dough and Black Bean Brownies.  And these treats are what helped me get through the holidays without gaining any weight. Actually, I lost weight and I promise, that has never, ever happened before!

Last week I noticed that after eating my chopped salad for lunch, I really wasn’t that hungry by dinnertime.  I posted something about it on our Jumpstart Facebook page because I was worried I wasn’t eating enough.  My sweet ETL friend, Kimberley, suggested that I look at what I’m eating to make sure I’m eating enough of the unlimited foods (salads, vegetables and fruits).  I told her I was eating the right foods and staying away from the red zone foods. It wasn’t until I sat down to write this that I took a long, honest look at my food journal and Kimberley was absolutely right.  I was “crowding out” my salads, vegetables and fruits with my Nutritarian treats like Black Bean Brownies (I told ya we’d talk about these again)! I was preferring the treats over my other food. So, I know now that I’m going to need to be more careful even with the Nutritarian treats.


HINT: Use the Facebook community to ask questions or for advice, and journal your meals to give you an accurate and honest review of your week. And, don’t let those yummy, good-for-you, Nutritarian treats crowd out what your body needs first! Fill up first on salad, vegetables and fruits, then enjoy a treat!


Since I’m being honest, let me tell you that this is the first jumpstart that I actually did the cabinet and refrigerator clean-out. I’m not sure why I didn’t do it before, but I think it definitely would have been helpful. I’m glad I went ahead and did it this time.  I feel more prepared and organized with all my ETL food organized into one cabinet, and the non-ETL food (for my teenager, and yes, I need to buy him more food!) in the other cabinet.  It sure makes it easier for a quick glance in the cabinet or refrigerator for what I need before my grocery shopping.  I think it’s smart to keep foods visible that you want to encourage to be eaten and to hide those that you don’t want to be eaten. (The Dr. Pepper, an old favorite of mine, is IN the non-ETL cabinet and not ON my counter, this way I won’t see it!) I try to keep fresh fruit out on my counters and vegetables chopped and ready to be gobbled up in the frig.

HINT: Get rid of any non-ETL food, if you can; or at least organize the ETL food separately in your cabinets and refrigerator.  Stay prepared by having ETL food handy and ready to eat. And, keep it visible!


Something else I’ve started this jumpstart is incorporating regular exercise.  The back and nerve pain I had in my legs before ETL kept me from being active.  Now that these issues have resolved, and now that I have some weight off, I’m excited about being able to exercise and be active again! Several of us in this jumpstart post our daily steps on the jumpstart face book page as a way of holding each other accountable.  My goal is to get 10,000 steps daily.  I work as a Ministry Assistant so much of my day during the week is generally behind a desk, so I use some of my lunch time to get my steps in.  Walking during lunch helps me get my steps, but it also helps me avoid any temptations in the breakroom while my co-workers are eating. After my walk, when I return to the breakroom, my co-workers are finished eating and I can enjoy my lunch, and their company


HINT: Remove yourself from temptations when possible.  And, move more!


I’m excited to try more NEW things this jumpstart! I’ll post next week about some of the NEW recipes I’m planning to try, and some NEW kitchen tools I’ve purchased!


Until then, Let food be thy medicine!


Melissa McCarty


About the Author:

Elisha is the founder of the Eat to Live Support Group on Facebook, a community of 30k plus whole-food, plant-based eaters. Elisha began blogging about this lifestyle in 2010 after discovering that it was a treatment for years of yo-yo dieting and disordered eating. Today she is a mentor to thousands who are striving to adopt this lifestyle.


  1. Elisha, CNC January 9, 2018 at 11:09 pm - Reply

    Oh my gosh, Melissa, I LOVE IT!!! So so proud of your progress!!

    • Melissa M January 10, 2018 at 12:38 pm - Reply

      Thanks Elisha! You have been such a huge part of my journey and I’m so grateful for you!!

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