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Last week we met Cole, who tells herself that people who achieve their goals aren’t perfect, they are just persistent ( I love this quote). This week we meet Melissa, who has lost about 100 lbs!
HH: How long have you been following a plant- based diet?
I've been on a plant-based diet since January 3, 2011. I started at 310 pounds and am now down to 200 pounds! I've got about 50 to go in order to hit my goal weight...so excited!
HH: How has a plant-based diet affected your day-to-day lifestyle?
It's been a journey for sure! At first I was pretty lost as to what I could eat. I bought a lot of books and cookbooks and started subscribing to blogs...and that helped a lot! Now, I'm super aware of what's in everything. I ask when we (my husband & I) go out to eat what's in EVERYTHING. I am always looking at labels. So, overall, I'm very aware of what I put in my body and it's changed me for the better. I feel lighter, happier, and just overall more balanced. It's also much more cheaper to go to the grocery store now! lol
HH: Who or what persuaded you to try a plant-based diet?
The Universe! LOL I had been pushed for a long time (getting "signs": kept coming up in conversation, on TV, books that were "recommended" to me on Amazon when I hadn't looked them up in the first place, etc.) to change my eating habits. My husband & I both grew up in households where we didn't learn to cook and fast food was the norm. I started gaining weight, we ate out for almost every meal, and I started having awful reactions to food. I kept blaming it on this or that and finally after YEARS, it got to the point where I had to go to the hospital. I found out that I had NAFLD (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease) and I knew that something had to change. I started by cutting out red meat completely; but then I realized that whenever I ate meat, I was in horrible pain. I didn't even LIKE eating meat but it was such apart of my life and so "normal" that I never seriously thought of giving it up. Since this all happened around the end of the year, I told myself that in the first week of January 2011, I'd leave it behind forever.
HH: How have your friends and family reacted to your lifestyle change?
I guess the usual reaction: "Where are you going to get your protein?!" and all the questions that we (or most of us Vegetarians/Vegans) go through. It took a while but once I started telling them the amazing changes I've gone through, the awesome health benefits and disease prevention/cures that are associated with this way of eating, and some of them watched Forks Over Knives... their minds changed. Not all of them, but most.
HH: What advice do you have for those thinking about making the switch?
Find out what works for you: are you the type of person who needs to dive in completely (and do you actually keep with it?) or do you need to slowly change your ways? I've always been one to go in all gung-ho but I never stuck with anything for too long. The slow and steady changes worked for me. Also, do your research. Read, watch documentaries, do what you can to be informed. Find the answers because if those around you aren't supportive or don't understand, the information you have can make this an easy transition and will help boost you up rather than feel like you're in a constant battle. Give the facts out with love instead of attacking and trying to change those around you. The only person you can change is yourself.
Everything else is up to everyone else!
Thank you Melissa for sharing your amazing story!