Batesburg-Leesville, SC (Paul Kirby) – For Batesburg-Leesville Assistant Town Manager Seth Duncan, there was a day when he just said, “Enough is enough!” For most of his life, Seth had struggled with his weight. He admits he had fallen in a trap that many of us as American’s have. He made poor food choices, led a sedentary lifestyle, sat behind a desk most days at work, and as Seth put it regarding weight gain, “Eventually, it just creeps up on you.” Finally, he was sitting around the table with his wife Johnna and their four children eating supper one evening in March of 2018. She had been dieting and had lost a great deal of weight. It suddenly just dawned on Seth that he and their kids weren’t being supportive of his wife’s efforts to eat healthy. That was that moment when he put his fork of American packaged, heavily processed food down, and decided to make a change.
At his heaviest, Seth tipped the scale around 380 pounds. Sure, there were times he’d diet and get down a bit closer to 300, but he went up and down like a yo-yo, something millions of Americans do. “I basically ate the SAD diet,” Seth said. “It was heavy on meats, carbohydrates, and processed foods with lots of salt and sugar.” Right there at his table, he realized that he was setting a poor example for his children and he needed to do something. He decided to switch from what he had always eaten, SAD, to a fully plant-based diet. Quickly, the pounds began to come off.
A plant-based diet is very easy to understand. “If it grows in the ground, I’ll eat it,” Seth explained. He said he enjoys cucumbers, eggplant, squash, legumes (peas & beans), nuts, and especially potatoes. He says that co-workers just about started calling him Mr. Potato he eats so many. Seth said he’s the kind of person that can eat one thing over and over without getting tired of that food. He explained you don’t have to be like that to eat a plant-based diet. He said there’s lots of choices if you want the variety, you do what’s right for you.
Prior to beginning his journey to good health through eating differently, Seth had been sick. He went through a bone marrow transplant from his brother for aplastic anemia. This is a condition where your body stops producing enough red blood cells. It can lead to uncontrolled bleeding and an increased rate of infections. Seth’s marrow transplant worked, even at 289 pounds. He realized that God had given him a second chance at life. Losing the excess weight was Seth’s way of saying he wasn’t going to waste the blessing he’d been granted.
For Seth, cutting out the animal fats and animal proteins really wasn’t that hard. He said it’s a misconception that he eats nothing but salads. “I rarely eat a salad and when I do, it’s normally at an event where that’s my best option.” His weight dropped off noticeably and he began to feel so much better. Now at about 208 pounds, Seth says there’s so much more he can do than before. He said now he doesn’t subconsciously think ahead about where he’ll sit at an event or even where he buys clothes. “It’s so nice to be able to walk into a store and buy something straight off the rack that just fits,” he said.
Seth has started exercising regularly, something he didn’t do when he was up over 300 pounds. He runs regularly with a goal of increasing his exercise routine a little at a time. He’d like to lose 20 or 25 pounds more but he’s not stressing about it. “My whole lifestyle has changed and I’m confident that those last pounds will come off,” he said.
Seth and his wife have also changed their children’s diet, something they were surprised they didn’t get more resistance on. At home, his children eat a variety of things that are 100% plant-based. They drink lots of water and one son loves orange juice. Seth says he’ll occasionally have a cup of coffee, something he didn’t do much before his diet changed. Most of the time he drinks water. His wife enjoys tea, just without the processed sugar.
Seth says that dining out isn’t as hard as you think. When they go out, they let the kids have cheese pizza. That’s really one of the few animal products they have. He said that many Mexican foods are plant based as are other international meals like Italian and Indian dishes. Again, if it grows in the ground, they’ll eat it. Seth says that allowing their children the cheese hasn’t hurt and honey has been a great treat for a sweet tooth. He says there are many resources on social media that can help you make the right decisions on eating this way.
Now, at his new lower weight, Seth has a bright outlook on life. “Weight loss starts in the kitchen,” he said. “We’ve completely changed the way we eat and that’s completely changed the way we look and feel.” Seth doesn’t press his new diet on anyone but his success with weight loss has inspired others to try changing their lives too. Both his blood sugar and cholesterol are great, he has more energy, and he’s proud of the way he looks and feel. He doesn’t go around hungry; he can stuff himself as long as it grows in the ground. He said he never thought he’d say he enjoyed tofu (bean curd), but he has. “It’s all in how it’s prepared,” Seth said.
When you look at Seth now, it’s easy to see he’s happy. He’s not starving himself and he just looks like a new man. He reminds everyone to do what’s right for them regarding diet. “Even if I may not know you, I can promise you that eating packaged, processed foods from the SAD diet isn’t what’s right for your body. Try fresh fruits, vegetable, nuts……...you may find that you enjoy them just like we do.” For Seth Duncan, it really has made him appreciate that second chance at life God gave him.”