At 73 years old, it was time for me to start the new third of my life. I was tired, and I weighed 170-something pounds, and I couldn't lose it. I had been able to lose previously in my life, and I wanted help.
All my life I'd been addicted to sugar, but I never called it that. Sugar was my drug of choice. I grew up on it. It tasted good and gave me a boost. I grew up in the South and sugar was in everything, much like it is today if you read package labels. Even in the health food store, sugar is in everything, because people are addicted to sugar. People love sugar. People crave sugar. I ate it all the time.
Craving something all the time makes you feel crazy. It's hard. It's difficult to focus. It certainly doesn't help a person like me who has a focus problem. I tend to be hyperactive, and the sugar just magnifies that. It really makes life difficult. It makes it difficult to make the right choices. The change came when Pastor Rick stood up and said, "You know, willpower is nothing. It's God's power."
Now that I'm on The Daniel Plan, my focus is really more on the Lord. And the reason I say that is because I can focus. I read his word, and I'm more in touch with what I see him saying to me. I can listen to other people, and I listen with much more sincerity. I can focus on my work. It's wonderful.
Since I've been on The Daniel Plan, I was laid off from teaching, which I had been doing about 40 years. I ended up working at home, in my office, and had to be self-motivated, get up at 6:30-7:30 in the morning, and stay on the phones and the computer, and take my own breaks. I could never have done this if I was tired like before. I could never have done this if I was not able to make good choices. The Daniel Plan has helped me in that area, and in every other area of my life. My finances have gotten healthy too. I paid off the second mortgage of my house.
My original goal was to lose about 50 pounds, and feel better. But, you know, I've learned with Pastor Rick when he says something that catches my interest, that tugs at my heart: my goal is secondary to what God has planned for me. And that's the way it is with The Daniel Plan. Every goal that I set is secondary to what God has done for me with The Daniel Plan. My whole life has totally changed. I have a life.
I'm a creative cook, and I've gleaned many wonderful tips from the doctors and wellness experts and from the information that we've had in the seminars and the website. I've learned to use spices and not salt, not sugar. I am so grateful for Pastor Rick going through this whole process with us.
I knew that I needed to find support with small group. So I started looking. Dr. Hyman was giving a lecture on blood sugar levels, and I sat beside a gal who was feverishly taking notes. Kathy and I began just noticing each other, and I said, "Do you want to start a small group?" She said, "Yes." You know, we did it. So we have been together in our small group since the beginning of The Daniel Plan.
So Kathy and I started this small group. And she is really interested in working out. She likes to go to the gym. I am really, really interested in food. And so, we always share information. We have a two-hour small group. The first hour is The Daniel Plan, our successes and our challenges. We bring information to share with each other. And I've watched her, and I learn from her. The truth is; we’re better together. We can't do it alone. We need God leading. We need the Word of God. We need the prayers and support of our friends to help us.
I have lost 43 pounds, that's what people see on the outside, but I’ve really gained so much more. I’ve healed inside and out. Now when I make the choices about what I want to eat, people begin to try and pull me back and say, "Oh, come on. You can have some ice cream. Oh, don't you want this bread with your sandwich?" Well, you know, that makes it hard, because I like to please people. But what I've learned is that the only one person that really matters is God, and what truly matters is pleasing God. It doesn't please him when I compromise what he has told me to do.
I’m back teaching. I’ve gained so much confidence – it’s not prideful confidence as when I was laying it on top like a mask. It’s from the inside. I can say no to things now. I don’t hide my feelings anymore. The goodness never stops. God keeps making changes in me.
My whole life has changed. I recently attended my 55th high school reunion and no one recognized me! They couldn’t believe it – they were astounded. I was glowing. The Daniel Plan is my secret sauce and my story keeps getting better and better!
Mandy and her childhood friend Buddy at their
55th Little Rock High School Reunion