Herbie of the Week: Tracy! (This Wisconsin girl gave up her occasional cheese, broke through her plateau using the meal plans, and lost 35 pounds!)

Meet our Herbie of the Week: Tracy!

Tracy has a family history of Type 2 Diabetes, and knew she had to do something about her health so that she would not follow that path. She went plant-based and lost weight, but hit a plateau. Meal Mentor helped her break through it and start losing again.

I'll let Tracy tell her story.

My "before" pic was taken Christmas Eve of 2013, the second Christmas Eve of 2014, and the last pic is pretty current, taken about a month ago. I thought this might give some insight to how transformation can take time for some of us. I started out in picture #1 at 195 lbs. The last picture I was down to 148, and the numbers keep falling

After that 2013 picture, the reality of how I had allowed myself to neglect my health had hit me. I hadn't always been obese. It was time to get healthy. My family has a history of Type 2 diabetes. While on paper my numbers looked ok, not great, I didn't want to become a statistic of my own genetic markers. If I didn't do something about my habits and addictions I would follow down the path of others. This change didn't happen overnight, so I know it would take some work and honesty with myself.

I'm a self-employed Massage Therapist. So that means a lot of 10-12 hour days and not a lot of time for making meals at the end of the day. I wasn't much help to my husband, because when you're tired at the end of the day, who wants to think of what to eat. So we did the easy thing. We got "food" to go. A lot. Like 2-4 times a week. That adds up in more ways than one. That eating out cost me energy and money, and gained my body inches. I was always tired from 2:30 to 4:30 in the afternoon. And like Lindsay says, I would get "hangry" by the end of the day. What kind of Massage Therapist am I if I can't be an example of a healthier lifestyle to my clients? Things had to change.

In January of 2014 I bought a Fitbit. That was step one. Now let me say it had nothing to do with a resolution. I don't believe in resolutions, they're empty promises made to ourselves to be broken. I was committing to my health. So I walked and not a lot happened. My activity had increased, but my eating habits really hadn't. Yet my Fitbit had me upping my movement.

Fast forward to the beginning May of 2014. I was listening to the radio on a Wednesday and Dr. Fuhrman was on. What he had to say about plant based eating made sense to me. So that same day I picked up "Eat to Live" and started on my journey to a plant based life. I saw my doctor for my yearly visit the following Monday, and started my journey to better health, telling her nothing about it. If I didn't talk about it, then nobody would know I failed. The first six weeks were great, I had lost 25 lbs. Then summer happened. I would eat plant based during the week and lose a pound or two only to sabotage my efforts on the weekends with family and friends. This continued for the rest of the year and when the holidays rolled around, I put on 5 lbs. due to the food, sweets, and the mentality of "but it's the holiday season, it comes once a year". But it's 5-6 weeks of once a year.

So in comes January of 2015. While I had heard of it, I had finally watched "Forks Over Knives". It was enlightening. So I went back to my Dr. Fuhrman books and ordered the FOK cookbooks, Dr. McDougall books, The China Study, Engine 2 Diet books etc. I read them voraciously, applied what I learned and lost another 8 lbs in the next 8 weeks. I felt amazing. I had more energy than I can remember.

Now it was time to get real honest with myself. Again, while we were eating well most of the time, I would go back to the way of eat well during the week and the weekends were a little looser. While I wasn't adding meat, sugar or oil to my meals, I was enjoying my cheese. Not an everyday kind of enjoy, more like a couple times a week kind of enjoy. I'm a Wisconsin girl. I was raised in "America's Dairyland". Cheese is in our blood. So, nachos, with lots of cheese, sour cream, guacamole and beautiful veggies on them were my weakness. And let's not forget pizza. I would have them on a Thursday when I was tired and had worked a 12 hour day. In this regard my hubby had no objections. He enjoyed the "treat" as much as I did. Except my weight loss stalled again.

This is where Happy Herbivore and Meal Mentor comes in. I finally went back to the Happy Herbivore website and clicked on the Meal Plans tab in May of 2015. I can't say thank you enough. The Meal Mentor plans have become the answer to what has been holding us back. Shuffling through cookbooks and making lists wasn't working real well for us. We shop on Friday night or Saturday morning and cook 4-5 family meals a week every Sunday. It's enough for dinner and leftovers for lunch the next day. As a result, the weight is coming off again and I've lost another 24 lbs. since we've started the plans. People are noticing again.

My hubby has lost a little weight he had gained too. While he's an omnivore, he knows this is what we're having and if he wants meat, he can to add it to his meal. Just so you know, I get dirty looks from him because "this stuff isn't supposed to taste this good". Not every day is a challenge, but when they do come up, it's not such a big deal. There are meals ready to go in the fridge. It takes all the guesswork away at the end of the day when my brain is mush. Thank you, you have made life simpler and I feel amazing!

Thank you so much Tracy for sharing your plant-based journey with us!

UPDATE (Feb. 2016)

My cholesterol has dipped from a high of 221 to 131. Crazy! I’ve also started the Certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition through the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies. I’ve had so many people ask for help with becoming informed about this way of living and transitioning, that I want to help as much as possible.