Transformation of the Day: Daphne lost 80 pounds by adopting a plant-based diet. After doing lots of reseach, she transitioned one meal at a time and began enjoying the awesome variety of food that is part of plant-based nutrition. As a nurse, she has used what she’s learned about nutrition to help her patients as well.
I maintained a healthy weight for most of my early life. Then life began to settle in after college, marriage, children, graduate school, full-time work, etc. My weight fluctuated from a healthy weight to obesity in those years. I could usually lose some weight, but I struggled to maintain it.
I began experimenting with a vegan/planted-based diet starting in 2014. I enjoyed cooking and preparing foods that looked so vibrant and were full of nutrition, but I didn’t commit to totally eliminating dairy and meat from my diet. Having a sweet tooth didn’t help either.
As a nurse, I consider myself a life-long learner, and I value this about myself. When I truly began learning and educating myself about the tremendous benefits of plant-based nutrition, my commitment solidified. I was also motivated to have more knowledge about empowered nutrition to help my patients gain insight into their health.
I changed my eating habits by initially eating just one whole food plant-based meal a day. I figured that breakfast would be the easiest transition for me because I like things like oatmeal and grits for breakfast. I would eat oatmeal with walnuts, dried or fresh fruit, and a splash of almond milk or whole-grain cereal with almond milk.
I liked making small changes first and moving on to bigger goals. After about a month, I moved on to eating a plant-based lunch as well. I ate soups, stews, salads for lunch. Things that I could pack away in one container and food that would make great leftovers.
I quickly moved on to a fully plant-based vegan diet for all my meals and snacks. I eliminated all meat, dairy, and eggs. I loved discovering new plants I had never tried before or only had in a restaurant meal. Foods like kale, Swiss chard, lentils, quinoa, and berries became staples in my life. I experimented with different flavors from across to globe to keep me interested. I tried Indian, South African, and Mexican foods that were all plant-based. I found many of my recipes with just a quick Google search and had a few plant-based cookbooks.
I began working out most days a week (5-7 days), but I only did between 15-30 minutes of exercise. I did not want to overcommit and be disappointed if I couldn’t make a workout. I started a walk/jog routine just in my neighborhood and used old-school workout DVD videos I had purchased many years ago after having my kids. I found that a good DVD workout video that includes light weights and cardio could be easy and convenient to use right in my living room.
As I grew stronger and more confident, I wanted more support. I joined my local Black Girls Run group again. I even signed up and ran a few 5Ks. I also joined my local YMCA on a family plan and began taking group workout classes and Zumba.
At my heaviest, I weighed 240 pounds, and now I weight 160 pounds at 5’8″. I’ve been fully committed to a plant-based diet for almost one year now. I have shed my excess weight over the past year with moderate exercise and my plant-based diet. No pills, no potions! I feel sensational, and I’ve met the initial personal goals I set for myself when first committing to my weight loss/optimal health journey.
Those five initial goals were:
- Lowering my elevating blood pressure
- Being able to run again
- Having a restful sleep without snoring
- Eliminating heartburn
- Being able to cross my legs comfortably
The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that in many cases, it’s entirely free to begin a health and wellness journey. There is no need to buy anything but a good pair of training sneakers. Using the technology that I was already paying for or had already paid for is what made the greatest impact and helped me to invest in me (i.e., cable, DVR, old workout DVDs, and recipes online). Also, getting proper rest and sleep is essential for a wellness plan.
I’m still learning, evolving, and growing. In many ways, this journey is just beginning. I want to be able to maintain my weight loss long-term, tone up, and increase my level of health, wellness, and fitness.
The advice I offer to those who are at the beginning of their journey: Share your desires for a different life and good health with your healthcare providers, friends, and family. Support is everything! Also, knowledge is power, so seek out reputable information about plant-based nutrition from published, evidence-based resources. I wish you all success on your journey.