Apr. 1st, 2013 11:31 am
ladyjendifi: (Bike)
[personal profile] ladyjendifi
 photo WeightLoss1Year_zps7b09ccea.jpg

It's been a year since I started this whole foods, plant based experiment in earnest.

In the weeks of March 2012, I was blogging about things, saying such observant statements as:
So, it turns out when you break up with a long term partner, move, your job consumes your entire life and leaves no time for shopping/cooking, live alone with no one to account for your shameful binging habits, and all your social time revolves around drinking, you gain weight. Who knew? :P

After about four weeks of struggling, I wrote this on March 29th. From that very small seed, filled with hesitation and doubt, fraught with fear about how people would perceive and judge me, I grew mighty. I know I've talked about all of them separately, but let me list how much has changed for me health wise.

  • The weight is the most obvious one: I'm down nearly 60 pounds

  • Sleep I get is more quality. Less sleep seems to go further. I was a chronic napper before this whole thing started, and now even when I lay down to 'rest', I'm almost never actually asleep.

  • No more back pain.

  • I smell better/different.

  • No more dandruff.

  • My skin cleared up.

  • I used to get the most intense mood swings. Those do not happen anymore. Consequently, I'm a much more cheerful and happy person.

  • Concentration is better.

  • My hair and nails are stronger.

  • Cardiovascular performance improved an observable amount within the first few weeks, and continues to improve all the time with exercise.

  • Inflammation decreased in my injured hand so much that I can rest my pinky against my ring finger again.

  • Scar tissue around my bad shoulder became more pliable and increased my range of motion in that shoulder (which for a fire dancer is kind of a big deal).

  • I had the strength and wherewithal to quit caffeine, something I had struggled with for years.

And all these improvements came from a person who had, in the month previous to this change, been diagnosed as extraordinarily healthy by the mainstream medical system. All by bloodwork was stellar- my cholesterol was 153, and everyone who took my blood pressure always commented on how low it was. In fact, my doctor on that visit actually told me to eat more eggs because she thought my cholesterol was too low! So when I started transitioning from being heavy but feeling okay to losing weight like crazy and feeling AWESOME, imagine my shock and surprise- not to mention my anger at the way no one had ever suggested this path and its benefits to me before.

As I delved deeper into plant based eating: research and lectures, cookbooks, classes, blogs, meetups, etc., the knowledge I gained reinforced my empirical results. I became more confident in what I was doing, and made less of an effort to hide my dietary choices from others when asked. I stopped just accepting when servers would not understand my special orders (never rudely), and stuck to my guns when eating out. When people started talking about health and nutrition, I began to engage in healthy respectful debate. And the better I felt, and the more weight I lost, the more I began to enjoy the idea of being 'out' as a vegan (even using that label was very uncomfortable initially). Instead of fearing it, I began to relish the fact that people could see someone who had struggled their whole life with weight loss finally figure it out. I was feeling so good that I wanted everyone to feel as good. I started filming cooking demos for my YouTube channel, and very tentatively posting them on non-high traffic social media.

Then health changes started to precipitate larger life changes. I healed long-broken relationships with old friends, and was able to put to bed some hard fought struggles concerning my breakup with Jeremy. I started to feel and behave more like the person I had always wanted to be. When I started seeing all aspects of my life in the context of, 'healthy or unhealthy', all sorts of shifts in behavior occurred. It was and still isn't perfect, but it became a very good measuring tool for a lot of behaviors in which I was engaging. I started riding my bike more, and rode my first century in February. Quite a paradigm shift, if I do say so.

Somewhere along the way, I began to hear about friends and family members that were trying to incorporate more veggies into their diets. People at work went out of their way to tell me if they had eaten a vegetarian meal, or skipped the cheese on their sandwich. My mom and aunt started using almond milk in their coffee.
I have a cousin that went vegan and her decades long issues with acne disappeared. Jeremy went vegan and dropped about 30 pounds and stopped being pre-diabetic, and balanced out some of his energy issues. Alex and Fin were able to realize a long held desire to stop eating meat, and both have had some success with weight loss goals. After Happy Herbivore wrote about me on her blog (this is a big deal, Lindsay is a jolly green in the plant based eating community...see what I did there?) I got people from all over the world emailing me for advice on plant based eating. Somehow this quiet change that I made for me had transformed me, and not just me, but it had spilled over and informed, if not transformed, others' health and their perspective. Because of that I am taking steps to start a blog and incorporate my YouTube videos to reach a wider audience.

Posting all of that to Facebook today is kind of the last stage of my 'coming out' process as far as my diet is concerned. Yes, this is how I eat and live, and I take pride in those things. Hopefully I can be an example of how getting healthy may take some work. It can be a learning curve at the beginning, but overall  its not that difficult. Once that shift in food consciousness takes place, there's no limit.

My heart is full of gratitude. Beyond being healthy, happy, and being closer to the weight I'd like to be, I feel empowered by this experience. It was and continues to be a powerful lesson in the ability to manifest one's own reality, to take control of outcomes, and live an actualized life. And if any of that rubs off even a little bit on others, then I feel like perhaps I've left the earth a little better than I found it.

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