I have, in the past, hesitated to share before and after pictures because some of the pictures can be painful for me to look at. Not only because I didn't like the way I looked when I was morbidly obese, but because looking at these pictures forced me to vividly remember the feelings of despair, and even at times, utter hopelessness that I experienced at that period in my life. However, after joining PBNSG, I resolved to share my own story in the hope that it can help and encourage others to see that they are not alone in their struggle and that nothing is hopeless.
Throughout my life, I have struggled with my weight. Over the years, I have tried what seems like a million different so-called diets. Like many others, with most of these fad diets, I experienced the rush of brief initial success, but ultimately, the crush of not only regaining the weight, but often gaining back even more, and as a result, my health suffered. I first bought Dr. McDougall's book The McDougall Program for Maximum Weight Loss when it was released in 1995. I followed it on again off for many years, and I dropped down from my heaviest weight of 225 lbs.(a very tight plus size 22) to in my 190's (plus size 18). The program worked, but no one else that I knew was plant-based and I didn't have the support to stay with it consistently. Then, two years ago, I was faced with a major health crisis of my own. Rising blood pressure had caused bleeding in the retina of my left eye leaving me with reduced and blurred vision. My hypertension was so severe that I was faced with potentially permanent vision loss and the growing risk of a suffering a stroke. I was terrified. I was placed on two types of blood pressure medications. Now, I faced the choice of living on medication for the rest of my life, and possibly still losing my sight and having a stroke or finally making a permanent change.
In January of 2013, I weighed almost 200 pounds, and was barely squeezing into plus sized 18 pants. The following May, I fully committed to following a plant based diet, incorporating exercise into my day, and focusing on completely transforming my life. In my search for answers, I was inspired and encouraged by many whole foods plant-based experts. I read the books, examined the research, and watched the videos of Dr. Caldwell B. Essystein Jr., Dr. John McDougall, Dr. Neal Barnard and many more. Lani Muelrath, a wonderful Plant-based health coach and advocate became my mentor. This has resulted in the loss of a 100 pounds, and more than 9 pants sizes so far. The weight is continuing to drop off. I don’t have a “goal weight” anymore. A large part of my transformation has been learning to listen to my own body, especially when it comes to differentiating between real hunger and the feeling of anxiety, stress or boredom. Even more importantly, my blood pressure is now normal with no medication. The ophthalmologist says he has never seen anything like this, but my eyesight has returned to normal. I have more physical energy and zest for life than I have had in very many years. I am now looking forward to living a very long and active life.
I am so happy that I didn’t let past defeats hold me back from trying again. I finally realized that in order to finally step out of the cycle of yo-yo dieting, the temporary fixes that lead to permanent problems, that this is different, not simply a diet that offers a band aid fix to a water main break but a lifestyle change. Feeling younger than I have in many years is another fantastic bonus of my lifestyle changes.
No more high blood pressure, no more ulcers, no more debilitating migraine headaches, and most incredibly, I've regained my sight. I feel and look better than I have in years. My goal is to share what has worked for me with others who also struggle with their weight and have health problems. I am excited to be working with Paul and the other board members of PBNSG to help those who are interested in successfully transitioning to a Whole Foods Plant-Based lifestyle.