Here are all the details of my Plant-Based Diet Transformation. As of publication, I have lost 40 pounds. I hope this Vegan Testimonial inspires you to eat more plants.
Update: We have been featured in the Winter 2022 issue of the Forks Over Knives Magazine and on the FOK Website.
What Led to our Plant-Based Diet Transformation
This story begins in July of 2019. While on vacation, we spent the day with a friend and her daughter. When I looked at our posed photos together, I could not believe what I looked like. I know that I had been gaining weight and inches around my belly, but the photo shocked me. Right then I decided that I had to make changes in my lifestyle to get my weight and health under control.
A few days later we were having dinner with extended family and I noticed that my cousin had lost weight since we saw him a year before. His wife mentioned intermittent fasting to me along with a low-carb diet.
Upon arriving home, I saw some before and after photos of a friend who had some success with intermittent fasting and low-carbs too, so I thought I should try it out.
I am no stranger to a lower-carb diet. For years, both my husband and I tried to follow a lesser carb diet. That always goes out the window when we are on vacation.
Lower carbs worked fairly well at slimming down a little bit when we first tried it, but as I approached 50 and perimenopause, weight was rapidly shifting to my belly. Many of my friends were experiencing the same.
So back on strict low-carb diet I went at the end of July 2019, along with intermittent fasting. While I was gaining control over my eating, I was concerned about the diet itself. Strict low carb has you eating a lot more meat, which cannot be good for you.
Concern About Meat Consumption
A few weeks later, after discussing my concern about meat processing with someone, I decided to do research on the subject. This led me to two documentaries; What the Health and Forks Over Knives. It validated what I knew deep down inside about meat being bad for us. The part that shocked me the most was how dairy is processed. I was completely grossed out by all the practices surrounding factory farming. I asked my husband, Eric, to watch it right away. Upon viewing he asked me if the answer is low carbs or no animals. The obvious answer is no animals. We decided at that moment on August 25, 2019, to become vegan.
For us, it was like flipping a switch. We made that decision to never consume animals anymore, and we have never strayed from it. Most people consider that very drastic, but we found it easy. Many of the big decisions we have made as a couple have been made without a lot of drama, fanfare, or discord. Many have proven to be our best and most powerful decisions.
Find Support for your Vegan Transition
I am fortunate that one of my best friends, Tiffani, is plant-based. She was happy with our decision and helped answer so many questions about this lifestyle for us. It would have been far more challenging without Tiffani. She gave me the China Study Cookbook, which was a great start for our new lifestyle.
If you are considering transforming to a more plant-based diet, I highly recommend that you find a friend to help you start. If you cannot find someone, please reach out to me. You can find a list of my favorite plant-based resources in a linked format that can be downloaded at the bottom of this post.
I will be honest and say that I was totally overwhelmed at first. I wanted to make sure I was doing it right and fully understand the benefits. The first four months were spent reading and watching everything I could about this lifestyle. It was around that four-month mark that I felt settled in and secure in my knowledge of what to eat as part of a whole food plant-based lifestyle.
Do I consider myself a Vegan?
While I use the term vegan and plant-based interchangeably, I consider myself whole food plant-based. I do not consume oil and I try to minimize the amount of processed food I eat. Learn about the differences of vegan vs. plant-based to better understand. Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen Checklist serves as my daily intake guide.
Benefits of a WFPB Diet
Here the many positive changes and results from switching to a healthy vegan diet.
- Feel & Look Great
- Natural Weight Loss
- Loss of Inches
- Increased Energy
- Sleeping Well
- No Acid Reflux
Check out our Vegan Before and After Comparison
We look and feel so much younger! Our skin has a healthy glow. Our clothes fit well. Actually, I still seem to be in between sizes, but instead of 14 and 16, it is 8 and 10. With women’s clothes, it depends on the cut and brand. I am still losing weight, so I anticipate being more like a 6 or 8 when I have a new set weight. At that point, my pants will need to be a 6-Tall because I am 5’8″.
Whole Food Plant Based Weight Loss
Before changing what I eat, I was overweight. I always thought I needed to lose around 20-25 pounds when in actuality it was 40+ pounds. Here is a chart of my vegan weight loss transformation.
|August 25, 2019||194 pounds||29.50|
|December 24, 2019||172 pounds||26.2|
|April 10, 2020||161 pounds||24.5|
|August 25, 2020||157 pounds||23.9|
|January 20, 2021||154 pounds||23.4|
It has slowed down as I fell within a normal weight range, but enduring the changes and stresses brought on by a pandemic, I am happy with my progress. My goal is to get down to 148 pounds, which is an ideal BMI of 22.5.
I am proud of my weight loss. It happened naturally and easily! I did think it would come off more quickly, but it took a while to put it all on.
Reduce Waist Size Naturally
Before my vegan body transformation, my expanding waistline was discouraging. No matter what steps I took, my waist did not reduce. Of course, when I ate poorly, like at the holidays or while traveling, it just got bigger.
It is recommended that your waist measurement be less than half your height. At 5’8″ or 68″, it should be less than 34″. Not the 44″ it was the summer of 2019. Bigger waists could be an indication of prediabetes as well as other health issues.
Now my waist is 34″. My goal is to get it under 33″. It is doable if I stick to whole foods and avoid refined foods. This includes processed plant foods like bread, baked goods, tortillas, etc. They are what nutrition experts call yellow light foods. These are the comfort foods that I reach to during stress and travel but should be consumed with caution.
I do not feel deprived by following the stoplight feeding guide. I don’t even avoid yellow light foods altogether. One roll or tortilla is enough. I do not need a half dozen!
Many of the yellow light foods are carb-heavy, but that is due to how they are prepared. We do not cook with oil. We enjoy microwave potato chips or popcorn. That is made by placing 1/8 of a cup of popcorn kernels in a glass microwave-safe bowl, cover, and microwave for about 90 seconds. Yum!
We are Full of Energy
I am so strong and full of energy! I no longer get that midday bonk that many people experience. Eric gave up coffee and I have switched from coffee to tea. Tea has so many great benefits!
I have so much extra energy, that I have added new exercise workouts and activities to burn it off. I feel so much better than I did in my 40s.
Sleep Well on a Whole Food Diet
Both my husband and I are sleeping regular 8 hour nights now. We think one of the contributing factors to this is the presence of carbs in our diet. We sleep pretty hard and fall back to sleep quickly when we do wake to use the bathroom.
No More Heart Burn
Antacids were regularly consumed in our home before we adjusted our nutritional intake. Our acid reflux and associated issues have disappeared.
Regular Like Clock Work
I will not go into detail here, but I will say that there are no bathroom issues anymore. Our new diet lends itself to the consumption of fiber at the recommended levels. This makes for ease and regularity in the bathroom.
When we first switched over to a plant-based diet, we were bloated and full of gas. This discomfort lasted a week or so. Our gut flora was changing. We still have gas, but it is less odoriferous.
People are concerned about protein intake when the issue is really fiber intake. A well balanced whole food plant-based diet will provide you with all the protein you need!
A Hidden Benefit
For years I have had issues with foot fungus, especially in the summer. I always thought it was the shape of my toes. Miraculously, my athlete’s foot has disappeared, which I know is due to the plant-based diet.
Best Parts of My Vegan Diet Transformation
In addition to losing weight and inches, my favorite parts of my plant-based diet transformation are no more dieting, eating as much as I want, and the fabulous variety of tasty foods.
No More Fighting with my Diet
What I love best about a WFPB diet is there is no thinking about it or fighting it. I don’t feel deprived or that I have failed. I just choose not to consume any animal products. That is it!
It really is that easy. I do not think about what I am missing. My tastes have changed and I no longer want cheese or ice cream or junk food. There is plenty of vegan junk food out there (Oreos, Coke, and so many newer products like non-dairy Ben & Jerry’s), but we don’t keep them on hand.
I no longer feel like I have failed a diet or that I will put on weight by having something I shouldn’t. There is no calorie counting or looking to see how many carbohydrates are in something. The only label stalking is just making sure there are no animal products. Easy peasy!
Eating Large Amounts
Plants are mostly lower in caloric density, which means it takes a lot more to fill you up. We love to eat and now we what seems like all the time. We eat whatever we want, whenever we want it. It is just that what we want to eat has changed. We LOVE this lifestyle!
So Many Delicious Foods
Many think a vegan diet is boring. I get it! Before eating this way, I would have said a vegan diet is boring or tasteless. It is not. We feel like we have more options available to us and that our old way of eating was boring and SAD. I love recipes from PlantPure Nation and Forks Over Knives.
SAD = Standard American Diet
Before our son left for the military he enjoyed our cooking. He said it was really tasty. Our teen daughter is a vegetarian, although I only purchase dairy on rare occasions for her. She just wants to be able to have pizza with friends from time to time. She stopped eating meat before we did.
Best Plant-Based Vegan Resources
Has this plant-based diet transformation inspired you? I have put together a collection of my favorite whole food plant-based resources. These recommendations have been put into a linked pdf. Download the Plant-Based Lifestyle Resouce List, which I will update as I find more information.
Top Plant-Based Resources
The resources mentioned below are also included in my list linked in the last paragraph. I just wanted to list my very favorites in this post.
- Documentaries: What the Health & Forks Over Knives
- Wondering how a plant-based diet will help? Go to NutritionFacts.org and search for any health issue that is of interest to you. You will get a list of short videos related to that topic. This site provides so much useful information on how evidence-based nutrition is the healthiest diet on the planet.
- How Not to Diet is a book that I highly recommend that you read. I actually bought the audiobook since I love the author’s enthusiast read of it. Dr. Michael Greger has also written How Not to Die, which EVERYONE needs to read or listen to.
I will be updating this post as I lose more weight and inches. Please let me know if you have any question in the comments below.