I lost 30 lbs in 6 Months by Eating Vegan and No Longer Prediabetic

Jul 14 2017 - 9:25pm
Catalina Vegan Diet Weight loss

My story begins with a simple idea, an idea that evolved into a goal, a goal that became a journey, and a journey that became a vegan lifestyle and weight loss.

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It was mid October 2016, and a friend had posted an article on Facebook. The article was titled "Are Vegans Right?" My friend Carin, who posted it is a long term vegan, 15+ years, and had posted the article just to help educate. The article caused me to feel guilty and I wanted to take on the challenge. Unfortunately, I decided to wait on starting the challenge because I knew the holidays were drawing near and I didn’t want to offend anyone by not participating in holiday potlucks and such. I made up my mind that I would make it my New Year’s resolution, I would start January 1st and I would be done with the 6 month challenge at the end of June, just in time to eat hot dogs on the 4th of July if the “diet” didn’t stick.

I knew it would be difficult, food was such a part of my lifestyle. It drove my daily life, I would plan meetings with friends and family over food. And I would do so in what I was or had been craving. I felt like a prisoner to food. It wasn’t even that it made me feel good because I always felt like crap after eating. It satisfied a short term need but didn’t make me feel better about myself in any way, shape or form.

Last year, 2016, was a rough year; I had been dealing with some personal issues and just was having a hard time. I knew that I was gaining weight, but I didn’t seem to care. I ate what I wanted, when I wanted, drank whatever I wanted and had no motivation to exercise. This was extremely upsetting in itself because I have always been such an active person. You name it I did it, skydiving, scuba diving, bungee jumping, running, hiking, rock climbing etc. I’ve always been on the heavier side, but because of my active lifestyle, weight hadn’t really been an issue until the last few years. Along with my lack of motivation, I seemed to be in some sort of funk. I wont call it depression, because it was never diagnosed, but the symptoms were definitely there. I was just so negative about my life; work didn’t seem to help, I couldn’t seem to get happy and I wanted to quit.

After getting through the holidays, it was time to put my money where my mouth was. It was December 31st and I wanted to have my last meal… my husband went out and picked me up a rack of bbq ribs, a side of macaroni and cheese, and mashed potatoes and gravy; all from Yardhouse. I also had him get extra sauce because I knew there wouldn’t be enough. I polished off my entire meal. Then shortly after, went over to my parents’ house to bring in the New Year. They were having a little potluck with family and I proceeded to have more snacks throughout the night. After all, this was my grand finale.

First Day of My Challenge

January 1st, 2017 was the first day of my challenge, Ill never forget it. I woke up hungry but my sister, husband and I had decided that we were going to take the dogs up to the snow so I had no time to make breakfast. I packed some snacks to go, wheat thins, and nuts, and we left for the mountains. It was a fun time, we spent a few hours up there. I remember wanting to leave and being hungry but I had no idea where we could grab a bite because this was my first day being “vegan”. We got down the mountain and headed to a town nearby, I had been googling places that had vegan options. We made it to the Crepes of Wrath and I ordered a vegan crepe, with veggies. It was delicious, and I ate every bit of it.

Of course I wasn’t full, this was a whole new experience and my body had to adjust.

The first few weeks were really a blur, it was a lot of time spent trying to figure out what I could eat. You never know or realize how much animal byproducts process food have until you have to go shopping for things that don’t include such ingredients. Besides feeling completely lost at first, I was hungry. I realized early on that quick snacks were going to be essential to my success. Most of my mistakes were made early on, going out to restaurants and assuming that their veggie burger was in fact vegetarian, not vegan; realizing that bread is a big factor in being a non-vegan food item
January 14th, I went to visit my doctor.

I had yet to establish a doctor at Kaiser and thought this would be the perfect opportunity to get my first physical, bloodwork and overall check up since I would be starting something new that would affect my health. During my visit, the doctor concluded that I fell into the obese category. My blood results came in later that week and I received notice that I was prediabetic and that I should do something to improve my overall health.

During my third week, I remember going out to eat with some friends at a restaurant and I ordered what I thought was a vegan burger, I was wrong. On our way home from dinner, I was immediately sick to my stomach and rushed to get home. Without going into too much detail, I suffered from food poisoning like symptoms for the remainder of the night. I truly believe that at this time my body was already adjusting to not eating meat or dairy and could not handle. It was at this point that I began looking into, more carefully, the things that I was putting into my body.

It was during my first month that my husband, Adam, decided that he was going to go vegan also. He originally wanted to be pescatarian during my 6 month challenge, but quickly changed his mind when he began doing research on nutrition. He had originally been concerned with my health, and worried that I would be nutrient deficient. He made it his mission to make sure I would be getting the proper nutrients since I would be cutting all meat and dairy from my diet. It was during his research that he realized that a plant based vegan diet, was not only sustainable, but that one could thrive off of it. He has been by my side on this vegan quest ever since.

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In addition to becoming vegan, I quickly realized that I wanted to be plant based. I didn’t want to just make a change to benefit the animals or the environment, those are both great reasons to go vegan by the way, but I wanted to improve my health. I wanted to be better overall, so I made another commitment, I was going to be completely plant based in my food choices. It took more getting used to but the more I did it the easier it became. I was now craving vegetables and fruits. I loved going to the grocery store because it was such a good feeling to look at the check stand rotating belt and seeing nothing but produce. The best part was knowing that I was going to consume it and it wouldn’t be ending up in the trash.

During this whole adventure I learned that recipes can be found everywhere. Literally, Google and Pinterest are the best resources when trying to find a recipe for a specific vegetable. I have fallen in love with creating new dishes and showing friends and family foods that are vegan. I thought it was going to be difficult but it has been so easy.

With every month that passed, I realized that this whole vegan diet, wasn’t just a diet, it was a lifestyle. It was a lifestyle that I wanted to continuously be a part of. It didn’t take me long to realize that I wouldn’t just be commiting to 6 months, but that I would keep going and plan to keep going for the rest of my life.

Weight Loss

I haven’t even begun to explain the weight loss portion of this whole ordeal. Within the first 2 weeks I was already noticing that the bloating in my belly was decreasing. Within the first month I had probably dropped nearly 10 lbs. I kept eating healthy and the pounds seemed to be melting off. It was pretty consistent for the first few months, I was losing 2-3 lbs a week without changes much besides my diet. I had also started walking 2 times a week up a local mountain with my grandma. The hike was approx. 3 mi in total and it was something that we enjoyed doing together. Up until about a month ago we were continuously doing it until it began getting too hot so we decided to stop.

I have lost 30 lbs to date and have kept it off since last month when I plateaued at weight loss. I knew I would need to begin working out and I finally felt ready to start something a little more challenging. Last week I began a 4 week bootcamp, it goes 3 days/week, 1 hr 15 min each session. I already feel way more energetic and I can’t wait to see my final results.

On July 8, 2017 I scheduled a visit with my doctor and requested that we do all the same panels of bloodwork that had been completed in January. Also, I wanted him to check my Vitamin B12 level since that is a vitamin that vegans tend to be deficient on since it is not made in plants. I received my results earlier this week, when I made my post and I am happy to announce to the world that I am no longer prediabetic; my blood pressure, resting heart rate, cholesterol, all which weren’t at horrible levels but also not great, all went down and are perfect. My doctor was extremely impressed with my weight loss, he actually had to look twice at the number. Also, my Vitamin B12 levels are within normal range. I have nothing but positive results to report on the doctor and I am ecstatic!

Plant Based Vegan Lifestyle

Since making the change to a plant based vegan lifestyle, I have nothing but wonderful things to say. I am so much more energetic. Overall my mentality has become way more positive. I am no longer saddened by my life. I find so much peace and happiness in daily life. I am just so thankful for the opportunity that has been placed upon me and I just want to share it with everyone! It hasn’t been easy but I cannot lie about what it has done for me, mentally, physically, emotionally, in every way possible it has helped be to become a healthier and a better person. I love that food doesn’t drive me anymore, that I plan my meetings with friends and family over adventures that we can share instead of food.

Don’t get me wrong I still love food, but it’s a different kind of relationship now. I no longer feel a prisoner to food but more of a food connoisseur… and not just any but of the most pristine foods that one could put into their body; Because I am no longer a graveyard for the flesh that I used to consume, I care way to much for my body to poison it with the carcasses of dead animals. It sounds drastic, but so does eating dead animal flesh.

I can honestly say that becoming vegan was best thing I could’ve done for my body and it has shown me how to appreciate life and not to take it for granted.

I never push veganism, obviously not everyone can do it or it would be a hell of a lot more popular… all I preach is more vegetables! Everyone can benefit from more vegetables in their diet.

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