Meet our Herbie of the Week: Marybeth!
Marybeth didn't always have a healthy and active lifestyle, but after marrying her super active husband, her lack of energy inspired her to switch to a low-fat, plant-based diet.
Not only did she lose 30lbs (which she's maintained for over 15 years now!), Marybeth is more active than ever (she recently became an Adirondack 46er!), feels cleaner and enjoys the taste of her food more!
I'll let Marybeth take it away...
Growing up, I was known as the "fat one" of my siblings; not morbidly obese but certainly having a "fluffy" body type which reflected my very sedentary preferences. I did not have much energy, certainly did not want to pursue any physically demanding activities, and did not think that I would ever be able to change that, as weight issues and corresponding physical ailments appeared to be the norm for a large percentage of the previous generations of my family.
Thankfully, marriage to a very active guy prompted me to want to make a lifestyle change that would not only change my physical appearance but, more importantly, cause me to be healthier, hopefully avoiding some of the associative complications that come with carrying extra weight. Although I had grown up eating an overall healthy diet, I soon realized that my body functioned best when consuming only a plant-based diet which avoided the inclusion of extra oils. This change, considered to be revolutionary by many of my family members, allowed me to not only lose around 30lbs of unnecessary adipose tissue - a weight loss maintained for over 15 years now - but also allowed the formerly sedentary me to now be able to pursue activities which I never would have thought possible.
Fueled by a plant-based, no-added-oils diet, I have been able to successfully hike many miles of challenging mountainous terrain along with my extremely supportive hubby as part of our pursuit of the lofty Adirondack 46er's status, successfully completing hikes up to 20+ miles in one day which often include summiting several 4,000+ ft. tall mountains. Within a few weeks, we will have climbed all 46 high peaks, an accomplishment which I never would have thought possible for my formerly fluffy self. When standing on each summit and taking in the incredible views, I can't help but think of what I would have missed, had I not embraced a healthier, plant-based lifestyle. I'm so very glad that I did!
In addition to weight loss and a more active lifestyle, I feel cleaner (like my body is burning clean fuel!), enjoy the taste of my food more, and do not experience the post-meal sluggish feeling that I used to prior to switching to a plant-based diet. I also love knowing where my food comes from, so wildcrafting, gardening, and farmer's markets are wonderful ways in which to incorporate good food to my diet. I am almost never sick with the flu or with cold viruses, so my immune system must love this diet, too!
I am also currently finishing up my MPH (Masters of Public Health) degree with a concentration in Nutrition, and am using that (and my undergraduate background in Biology and Human Development) to be able to use my knowledge of the benefit of a plant-based diet on a professional level.
To those thinking of making the switch: just do it! I have zero regrets about switching to a herbivore diet, and, despite continual questions from friends and family members, honestly do not miss meat, butter, fried foods, or anything else that I used to eat. The foods that I eat are delicious (the Happy Herbivore recipes are incredible), make me feel fabulous, keep me from being obese, and make my body healthier overall (I recently had an annual checkup, and according to my physician, was, by far, the healthiest person that he had seen that entire week). That doesn't happen by eating junk; it happens by putting good fuel into the body, and then letting the body do what it is meant to do - live.
Thank you, Marybeth, for sharing your story with us!
UPDATE - October 2015
My husband and I finally completed all of the 46 high peaks, so are now official ADK 46ers (yay!). I'm so excited to have earned that designation and fully intend to keep hiking and climbing mountains (fueled by plants, of course!).