Jason Kokx is an automation test engineer at LifeOmic.

My wife and I had been eating the standard American diet for 20 years. This consisted of doughnuts with bacon, eggs, and hash browns for breakfast, fast food for every lunch meal, and pasta with meatballs and garlic bread for dinner. One day, I stepped on the scale and found I weighed 225 lbs more than I ever had. I knew I had gained weight but that surprised me. I calculated my BMI and found it to be 31, which put me in the obese category. That really shocked me!  I thought, “How could I be obese? I’m an active person. I don’t look that heavy.” But that was reality and I knew I had to take action to promote my health. 

I decided to follow a whole-food, plant-based, vegan eating plan. My wife is a petite woman who was not overweight, but really wanted to see me get healthy.  She joined me on this journey, which was key for sticking with it. I lost about 30 pounds over several years but then stagnated.  We did more research and found that getting adequate protein was very helpful for weight loss, and we weren’t getting enough on our vegan diet. We decided to add some animal protein back into our plan.  We also changed our exercise habits. We had been walking regularly but progressed to running and swimming 3-4 days/week. We started lifting weights 2-3 days a week as well.  This lifestyle change helped me lose another 15 pounds.  

Jason and his wife, Lisa.

In this process, we also started counting our calorie intake. Yes, we weighed and measured everything.  Although that is not really sustainable over the long haul, it was a great method to learn about our caloric intake with snacks and unhealthy food. Counting every calorie you consume can be very eye opening! This is what really drove me to eat mostly fruits and vegetables with just a few ounces of animal protein at each meal.  I currently eat between 12 and 25 servings of fruits and veggies per day, which I track on the LIFE Extend app.  We have fruit and/or vegetables at every meal. We use microwavable frozen vegetables, frozen or canned fruit, pre-cut fresh veggies, and dried fruit to make it easier. We eat a big salad daily. We also keep a good amount of fresh fruit around so it’s quick and easy to grab when we’re hungry. 

What we eat for breakfast: Egg white & cheese bagel sandwich or 1 cup egg whites with 1 cup diced onions, plus 2 -3 servings of fruit.

For lunch: 3 oz of chicken or shrimp. The sauce is the key here.  I use 4 or 5 different pre-made (low sodium) bottled sauces to mix up the flavors so I don’t get too bored with eating the same things all the time. 4 servings frozen broccoli or 5 servings mixed frozen veggies, plus 2-3 servings of fruit

For dinner: 6 servings of veggies (I use a 9-cup bowl for a green spring mix) chopped up to reduce volume (8 cups of greens) + 2 cups of assorted veggies (tomatoes, mushrooms, carrots, broccoli slaw, cucumbers, onions), plus 2-3 servings of fruit. Then I add 3 hard-boiled egg whites.  Occasionally, I will add bacon and / or feta cheese. Mixing up salad dressings is a big help here to break monotony. I try to go light on the dressing, otherwise it turns into a calorie bomb.

Weekend treat= cheese and crackers, ice cream, or home-made nachos

Through LifeOmic, I discovered intermittent fasting. I typically fast for 16 hours a day, 7 days a week, which helped me lose an additional 5 lbs. I started tracking my fasting in the LIFE Extend app which also started me down the path of daily mindfulness.  Now I meditate from 10 to 20 minutes per day which has greatly helped my sleep.  I had historically been a terrible sleeper. I used to only sleep for 2 hours and then would toss and turn for the rest of the night.  Meditation has taught me how to quiet my mind and get back to sleep after I wake up.  I now sleep for 5 or 6 hours.

My cholesterol had started out at 384 mg/dL. When we started eating more nutritious food, it went down to 282.  By tweaking the types of food I ate and doing a lot of exercise, it got down to 230.  When I started fasting, my cholesterol went down to 201. My level got stuck there so my doctor finally prescribed a statin, and I’m now at 182 mg/dL as of late July.

Having my wife with me in this journey has made all the difference in the world.  I would never have even considered making the changes we did if we could not do it together.  It can really help to have a friend or family member make changes with you. She also has seen the benefits of this new lifestyle. She now has more energy, gets better sleep, and is able to better manage her stress.