After almost 4 months on Rip Esselstyn's Engine 2 Diet, Iggy, Mo and Doug share the plan's biggest challenges and rewards - and whether the Engine 2 plan is no longer a diet, but a lifestyle.
During a visit to Chicago in January, 2010, Dr. Oz was approached by a firefighter asking for help, "Dr. Oz, I know more men that are dying by the fork than by the fire." This was an alarm no doctor could ignore, and almost 4 months later, we're checking in on 3 of Chicago's bravest who chose to fight the fat.
Before and After Stats
Mauricio "Mo" Trado
Weight: 284 | 251
Waist Size: 42" | 38"
Weight: 237 | 214
Waist Size: 44" | 34"
Ignacio "Iggy" Brown
Weight: 235 | 198
Waist Size: 43" | 33"
They've all lost weight and inches. Here are their weight-loss stories.
The Dr. Oz Show: How have you changed your eating and exercise habits?
Mo: I work out a minimum of 3 times a week and stick to the Engine 2 Diet religiously.
Doug: My eating habits have dramatically changed. I learned too much about proper nutrition to return to my previous habits. The emphasis at each meal for me is radically different. I ask, "Is this "real food?" Which means minimally refined and organically grown. I also try to draw from a diverse range to vegetables. It's very common that dinner is some form of salad. Don't get me wrong, I still eat things that aren't so healthy, like cheese pizza or French fries. The difference now is that those indulgences are maybe once a week, not 8 times a week. My exercising has changed a bit. I've been leaning towards circuit weight training that covers the whole body in 6-7 different exercises. My priorities are trunk strength, flexibility and stamina. On days I don't feel like lifting, I'll do 45-60 minute cardio sessions. An easy goal is to devote an hour of activity to each day.
Iggy: I always exercised, but off and on. Since starting Engine2, I cut out weights completely and focused on 45 minutes of cardio, 5 times a week. If the weather is nice, I'll walk around the park with my wife; otherwise I'll go to the health club and change it up between the treadmill, climber, bike and elliptical trainer so I don't get bored. Two weeks ago I started lifting weights again to build up more muscle and not look so swallowed up by my clothes. I had gone from people calling me "Big Guy" to "Little Guy." Last week, I finally took all my clothes that are too big and donated them to a family shelter.
As far as my eating habits - I still eat a ton of food, there's just certain food I'll eat and certain food I won't. I was 100% vegan for 3 1/2 months. Over the last week or so, I've had a little fish and it was OK. I tried some chicken and it didn't appeal to me at all. I really enjoy eating vegetarian.
The Dr. Oz Show: How have the changes affected the way you look and feel?
Mo: I feel great! I wake up with such energy and activities that were tough before aren't now. People also say I've never looked better and I can see the change physically and athletically.
Doug: I feel terrific. People we don't see often are the most surprised by the changes. A friend actually told me that my skin looked healthy. I found that odd. So like six months ago my skin looked sickly? Bottom line is it's great to get compliments and that good will just continues to inspire me.
Iggy: I'm 47 years old. I thought at this point in my life I wouldn't see my abs again unless I got really sick or was on my death bed. As an athlete, I knew what it would take only with workouts to get there and I wasn't willing to torture myself at this point in my life. I didn't know that I could get there just by changing the way I eat and exercising moderately. My body looks the way it did when I was 20 and I feel great. Now I have a 6-pack!
The Dr. Oz Show: Have there been any improvements to your health conditions or blood pressure?
Mo: I definitely have lower blood pressure now - 120/84 and, at one point, my cholesterol was 110.
Doug: My BP dropped to 110/70. Total cholesterol was 102 and my LDL was 50. I've also noticed that my allergies are less severe and I shake colds twice as fast.
Iggy: My blood pressure was high during The Dr. Oz Show - it was 160/94. I check it regularly now and it's pretty consistently 120/80. My bad (LDL) cholesterol was 140. Remarkably, within one month of eating plant-based, this went down to 80.
The Dr. Oz Show: What's been the best and worst part about being on the Engine 2 Diet?
Mo: The best part is the results - and knowing that I'm making myself, my brothers and my department proud. The worst part was the first week and all the adjustments.
Doug: The best part was working with Rip individually. He devoted great time and energy into the challenge. I learned a lot about how to approach food just from listening to his attitude about eating right. There really was no worst part. The largest challenge I encountered was learning about so many new foods and grasping America's distorted relationship with food. It is an eye-opening experience learning to really read a food label and understanding what our bodies need. The good news is once you learn, it is an extremely empowering tool. I really credit Rip with guiding me through the learning.
Iggy: The best part about the Engine 2 lifestyle is how I feel. Like I said before, I feel like I did in my 20s when I was a world-class football and track athlete. The way I feel now outweighs any desire to eat meat or drink milk again. The worst part of the diet was relearning how to cook and the initial shopping trips. After our first trip to Whole Foods, I almost quit right then and there. It was like being in a foreign country figuring out what we needed, reading all the labels...we were in the store 3 hours on that first trip. After the second or third time, everything became familiar and now it's just a new way of life.
The Dr. Oz Show: Now that the challenge is over, how do you plan to incorporate what you've learned into your lifestyle?
Mo: I will incorporate the Engine 2 Diet into my lifestyle as much as possible, as well as keep my workout regiments solid.
Doug: I quickly ditched the terms challenge and diet; this has become a lifestyle change for me. I always keep in mind that a year from now, when all the attention subsides, I want to still maintain a "plantstrong" lifestyle.
Iggy: It is my lifestyle now. And I have no plans to change it.
The Dr. Oz Show: Have you inspired people around to change - at home, the firehouse or extended family?
Mo: I have seen a change in my friends in family - they've tried soy milk, vegan foods and take working out more seriously. As of now, I often work out with fellow members of the department as well as family.
Doug: I hope I have. My Engine 2 Diet book has been circulated to 5 different friends at the firehouse. My wife's uncle and cousin also took the 28-day challenge. I know they had results. The great news is that people are very curious about the challenge. My priority is to respect people's choices. I never want to sound intrusive or judgmental. There are plenty of ways to gently say what you're eating is good, while suggesting a couple of variations that are better. My goal is to steer their choices towards Rip's gold standard. When people ask, I simply explain exactly why this plan works for me.
Iggy: Yes - now that I'm starting to buy new clothes that fit me, everyone I run into wants to know how I lost the weight and how they can do it. I never looked fat because I'm a big guy with big shoulders and arms. But I had a solid pot belly which is completely gone now.
Two other guys at the firehouse - both paramedics - started and have lost 60 lbs between them. Another guy at the firehouse told me recently that he's cutting out pork and beef this month, and next month he plans to drop chicken and fish.
My wife has been 100% on board with the diet since day 1 and continues to keep me on track if she thinks I might cheat.
Also, 2 of my sisters are doing it now and my brother wants to start after the holidays. He and I have always been competitive. When he saw me recently, he said, "You sick? Do we need to take you to the hospital or something?" He kept egging me on to take off my shirt in front of the rest of the family. When I finally agreed, everyone's jaws dropped. Afterwards, he took me aside and whispered, "What are you doing? I want to get in on this!"
The Dr. Oz Show: How has the Engine 2 Diet changed your life?
Mo: More than people know! I feel so much more capable of taking meeting every challenge head first and I've never been so positive with my health and fitness regiments.
Doug: Dramatic changes physically and spiritually. My relationship with food is more direct.
Iggy: Engine 2 helped me to understand what food I shouldn't be eating - meat, dairy, oils and sugar. People that aren't familiar with Engine 2 might say, "What can you eat?" I tell them there is no shortage of food options. I don't consider this to be a diet; I look at it as a lifestyle. I've just completely changed my eating habits and now look and feel 20 years younger.