Herbie of the Week: Beth Ann (She's Lost Over 75lbs & Continues to Make Progress!)

Meet our Herbie of the Week: Beth Ann!

Beth Ann first shared her plant-based journey in a comment she left on my nutrition elitism post (you can the entire blog post here):

I thought what Beth Ann said was a great example of why "Progress, Not Perfection" is needed -- not to mention I couldn't stop starring at her amazing glow!

But there is SO much more to Beth Ann's story than what was mentioned in that brief comment. Since starting her plant-based journey, she's lost nearly 80lbs, her sugar is stable, she has more energy, and the list goes on!

I'll let Beth Ann take it away...

I almost didn’t want to write this post for Happy Herbivore. I feel so inadequate when talking about my plant-based journey; however, I feel as though I can put a face to that typical American. If you are reading this and not an herbivore, I was probably you. I used to think you only cooked or bathed with water. I would drink several liters of soda a day and thought my daily banana was enough to suffice my fruit and veggie quota. I was eating out a lot and loved my fast food diet. Yeah, I’m that girl. But, I needed to face reality. I was extremely overweight with my diabetes out of control. So, I decided to start a journey of health. I am not perfect…but I am progress and VERY close to being 100% WFPB.

For me, this journey started two years ago. I was diagnosed with “bronchitis” that I could not get rid of. I coughed for 13 weeks solid. I coughed so much I cracked a rib! I went to the doctor, but they would only give me about 10 days worth of medicine. At the same time, I was facing a job debacle and was making about half the money I had been making at one point (with all the same bills). I only had the money to go to the doctor once a month. So whenever my medicine ran out, I would have to wait until next month to go back to the doctor. This was the reason it was ongoing and I just couldn’t seem to get rid of it. I started to look for alternative ways of healing myself and, through research, I read about how dairy affects some people’s respiratory system and causes a lot of mucus within the body. I decided to cut my dairy and see what happened. Amazingly, I quit coughing within three days! I wish I could say that I went all in and never looked back, but in time, I got back into some bad habits again.

This journey really just got serious in 2014. I’ve worked for a while to lose weight and over several years I have done that, but never really in a healthy way, and my health was still not good. What changed my mind for me was talking to my Mom. I love my Mom, but she is 65 and really not in good health. I knew I was headed for the same unhealthy life if I didn’t make changes. So, last year, I decided to make changes…..and DID NOT incorporate trying to lose weight. I decided that I would get healthy; every decision would be for my health. I decided to add more fruits and veggies, less dairy, and get myself to a WFPB diet. Let’s just say, it has been a journey. I had one doctor who was not helpful, so I got another one!!! (This is where I insert that good doctors are hard to find but they are out there and some open to a WFPB diet!) I actually don’t eat much meat, eggs, butter (those items are not even in my house). But cheese! Cheese is my vice. I’m still really working on that aspect. [Editorial note: for tips on how to give up cheese, see this post.]

Since I know many don’t go with the "progress not perfection" mantra of Lindsay’s, I know some might not like saying I’m still working on being WFPB. But, this is what I have accomplished this year: I now drink at least 100 oz of water daily and generally only have a soda when I dine out. I eat many vegetables and stir-fry’s with tofu and fresh veggies. I make a killer salad weekly that I use for lunches and side salads. (I used to avoid salad at all costs before.) I have learned to love quinoa and didn’t even know what that was before. I can’t remember the last time I bought anything processed out of a box to make; I pretty much stick to fresh veggies and fruits. (I didn’t get my first HH book until a few months ago, but I have been having fun making a lot of different recipes!) From the start of this journey until now, I have lost nearly 75 pounds and feel better. I don’t wake up feeling like I haven’t slept anymore, and I feel like I have energy. My sugar is stable now where it hasn’t been that way for years, and I am sure in time I won’t need the medicine anymore. I’ve been able to get back to wearing contacts after years of having “dry eyes” and my skin is much clearer also.

I have also learned where there is a will, there is a way! If you don’t want to do something, you won’t. I had someone ridicule me once because I wasn’t eating all organic, but then I had someone else come along and remind me what I had accomplished. (I talked about that on Lindsay’s last progress not perfection post in the comments.) Sometimes foodie people can be the worst critics, but then I’m reminded of why I started this journey. I’ve had some friends who were supportive and others who want to lecture me on why I should be Paleo, all organic, or whatever they think is the “best diet” for someone. If you are reading this know that even the most overweight typical American girl can make changes to improve her life with diet. Don’t ever write someone off because you think they wouldn’t change … and in the same token … only encourage!! Your criticism of someone does nothing to further the WFPB diet movement in America. I’m actually glad I wrote this post, because it will give me a challenge as I know Lindsay likes to keep up with the Herbies! (I got to work more on that cheese and eating out.) So, for now, know that I am still a work in progress….and the next time you see me, I’m sure I’ll be off those meds and even healthier!

Thanks Beth Ann for sharing your plant-based journey with us!

Update (Feb. 2015)

I am still a work in process but I am down to 296 pounds (79 pounds lost). I can't remember the last time I was under 300. I think it was after high school. I started this journey at 375. This year, I want to really focus and see what I can accomplish. I'm also looking forward to walking again when it isn't negative temperatures outside. LOL. I've also come to realize that food is my drug of choice. It's something not talked about much in America. I do pretty good at home, but when I am out is when I steer from the WFPB way. I must work on that. And food is everywhere....the office, social functions, everywhere!!! So for now, I will keep working and maybe Lindsay can come back to me later to show the final story. :)