Sharing My Plant-Based Weight Loss and How I Lost 46 Pounds and Feel The Best I Ever Have In My Life.
Three years ago on January 1st, I made a goal to live the best life I could in all aspects of my life.
One of the goals was to eat better, to not only lose weight, but to be healthy overall.
But this time around was different. As there have been many times before this that I had this goal only to fail, I decided to make a pact with myself. I told myself to take it slow this time around. Slow and steady was my motto.
I had no need to lose 10 pounds by a certain day or event. My focus was on the big picture… as in the rest of my life. :-)
I truly set out to learn to eat better to live better so it would become habit.
How I Started My Plant-Based Weight Loss Success
My journey started with the WW Freestyle program online, now called the Blue Program. I highly recommend this as a way to get started as it is a solid plan where you get to choose what you like to eat.
You can eat the foods that you like, are real and satisfying. Recipes with veggies, fruits, eggs, beans and chicken breasts. I could eat as much of these as I wanted. I liked all of the options and ate them daily.
I have always strived to eat well and be active. I gave up dairy 15 years ago. It had been making me feel sick and bloated along with chronic nasal allergies since I was a child. Seeing the changes in my body after giving it up and how much better I felt was positive proof to me that we are what we eat and breathe.
For exercise, I started walking for an hour, 6 days a week and went to a 45-minute fitness class 3 days a week. Doing this, I lost 22 pounds in 6 months. I kept up with this routine for 2 years and didn’t gain any of the weight back, but the weight loss stopped, even with following the plan.
When we traveled to Paris, I did allow myself the indulgence of chocolate, wine and bread, but ate very carefully so I wouldn’t gain weight. Happily, I came home not having gained an ounce.
I felt proud of myself that I had learned what was working for me. And this I found was the key to success. I had to do it in my own style, just like I do everything else.
How I Stayed Positive
Fast forward to March 2020 when the pandemic hit. We had to go into lockdown and we were homebound with no place to go.
Comfort food was calling my name, but I didn’t give in. But my weight loss had stalled at 22 pounds. I still wanted to lose more weight.
A few months earlier, not happy with my weight loss plateau, I read The Obesity Code by Jason Fung. I understood the concept behind the premise of intermittent fasting, but at the time said to myself that there is no way I could skip a meal. I forgot all about the book.
So when we started lockdown, I decided to read the book again and give it a go.
I also did something else to make myself accountable. If you read my blog last year, then you may remember the post I wrote entitled, A Note to You and From You.
It was something positive I did for myself over the few weeks that we thought lockdown was going to last. Ha! Little did we know it would be more than a year.
I wrote a note to myself with a list of what I wanted to do while we were stuck at home with newfound time on our hands. I wrote to continue to try to lose weight and get healthier. Then, when the lockdown ended, I would have accomplished something, instead of letting the time slip by.
Here we are… a year later. I could not be happier that I will be coming out of this pandemic just as I wanted with 24 pounds lost to my already 22. 46 pounds total.
How Did I Break Out of My Weight Loss Plateau?
During the first few weeks of lockdown, I started to fast for 16 hours – no breakfast for 3 days a week. It was hard the first few days, but at the end of the first week, I lost 4 pounds.
It was the first time the scale moved down in a year and a half. I was eating the same things, just within a time window. So I kept at it and loved watching the scale go down.
As I got into the rhythm of it, I found it very easy and started to do it every day. I ate basically all the healthy whole food I wanted between the hours of noon and 8PM.
According to the author of the book, intermittent fasting is the missing link that one should add to any weight loss program. Your body needs to rest to re-adjust. It has to do with insulin and our hormones.
I felt great after a few weeks so that made it easy to keep at it. I was still counting WW points while intermittent fasting.
While following WW and fasting, one night I watched the Forks Over Knives documentary on Netflix.
The show was eye-opening and aligned with the deep down way that I always wanted to eat. I always wanted to, but never seriously considered it as it would have been too hard raising kids and Ed who would never give up meat.
As an empty nester – I no longer had to deal with feeding a family. I jumped in with both feet! One benefit of being older. :-)
I went fully Whole Food Plant-Based (WFPB)—with no added sugar, salt, or oil. It may seem extreme, but I have never felt better in my life.
I no longer have sweet cravings. Instead I crave lettuce and chickpeas! For real!!! How can this be?
I do enjoy a dairy free chocolate chip power ball from time to time, but it is rare. My blood cholesterol went down 60 points. :-)
Ed saw my success with intermittent fasting and eating a plant-based whole food diet with no oil or added sugar (only fruit) and little saturated fat in the way of nuts and seeds. He decided to give intermittent fasting a go and eat plant-based two days a week.
Between the two of us, we have lost almost 80 lbs. It is truly AMAZING to us!!! We are sold on the concept. It has become our way of life to eat this way.
How Hard Was It to Commit to a Plant-Based Diet?
It was not easy at first to commit to a plant-based diet. I had to rethink everything about the foods I was eating. The hardest part was the big change I had to make to my daily schedule to make time for food prep.
I was committed and kept at it. I had to learn to enjoy planning meals, prepping food and cooking it. I now batch cook for the week ahead.
Setting Up My Kitchen for Plant-Based Eating Success
Having an organized kitchen set up for plant-based meals helped me to successfully transition to eat plant-based.
A Well-Stocked Pantry – One key to effortless plant-based cooking was stocking my kitchen pantry with the right ingredients. This included the non-perishable ingredients on my pantry shelf (canned, dried, and bottled); the stash of prepared foods for my freezer, and the fresh veggies, fruits and other perishables in my fridge.
I learned a lot from a few websites, especially, Hello Nutritarian where I learned how to set up my Eat to Live Fridge.
Both the island and custom recipe box make it easier to stay on track. I have recipes handy and a permanent place where I can chop, chop, and chop some more to make all the foods I eat.
I have been making everything I eat from scratch. Soups, sourdough bread, sauces, casseroles, plant-based burgers, and more.
I don’t eat any vegan fake food like vegan meat, cheese or mayo. They have ingredients in them that make me sick, like guar gum. I strive to not eat anything processed.
It takes commitment and time to eat this way, but over the last year it has become a part of my existence and I like it. In fact…. I love it! I couldn’t imagine eating any other way now.
Ed and I have even started a kitchen garden so we have fresh veggies and herbs right out the door.
Plant-Based Weight Loss Cookbooks
I still have a lot to learn about preparing plant-based recipes. I read plant-based whole food cookbooks like they are novels and follow many plant-based web sites in search of new recipes to try. I can read a recipe now and successfully tweak or change out the ingredients to ones I like. I have learned to replace oil with veggie broth, applesauce or flax seed meal.
When I started eating plant-based, there was a lot of trial and error involved when using new to me ingredients and vegetables.
I threw a lot of food away and learned to read every label with a fine-tooth comb. No oil, salt or added sugar is what I strive for, but I am not perfect. For time prep sake, I do buy canned beans and rinse them well to remove 3/4’s of the added salt.
I frequent these sites a lot to find free recipes:
I have found my groove and now know I don’t like Swiss or rainbow chard – gag!
I also don’t like food with ginger and turmeric, but curry – bring it on!!! I also found I like Italian seasoning and lemon on everything!
Since eating WFPB – no oil, one of the frequent questions I get is,“What do you put on a salad?”
There are many dressings that I make with no oil that taste so much better than heavy oil-laden dressings. My favorite dressing so far I found on Hello Nutritirian. I will link to it at the end of the post.
How I Lost Weight
I know for a fact that what works for one person to lose weight might not work for another. I never feel like I am missing out. I even enjoy a glass of red wine with dinner every once in a while.
If I feel full, I will skip eating bread for a day or won’t use tahini in a dressing. I don’t eat a lot of pasta as I would rather have toasted bread. I experiment to see what works best.
I know I like veggies much better when they are finely chopped and soups made with turnips and parsnips.
I experiment to see what works best for me and simply just kept doing what was working.
Slow and steady progress is more important to me than hitting a certain goal on a specific date. Small changes can lead to radical improvements. Life and food are meant to be enjoyed.
The thing that surprised me the most was the diversity of food available to me. Even though I was not eating meat, processed foods, oil, or dairy, I still had so many options that I began to enjoy.
For the first time EVER, eating well became exciting to me. I found a love for cooking that I never knew I had. I started to enjoy coming up with new dishes and doing the prep work involved from shopping to even chopping. :-)
I Prioritized My Goals
I always kept focused on what I really wanted. I stopped trying to be all things to all people. I also lessened the time mindlessly spent on social media – which on some days amounted to hours.
With my newfound hours, I had time to research recipes, plan, prep and make healthy plant-based foods. It came down to priority.
What Do I Eat in a Day ?
A lot! :-)
- Chopped salad of mixed greens, veggies and crunchy sprouts with No Oil Walnut Vinaigrette dressing, a piece of sourdough bread and a cup of soup. Or toasted sourdough bread or an Ezekiel’s Sprouted Grain wrap with chickpea salad and chopped cabbage. Or last night’s dinner leftovers.
- Homemade applesauce with chia seeds.
- No oil air popped popcorn with a spritz of Braggs Liquid Aminos and nutritional yeast.
- Banana Oatmeal Cookies
- Roasted Chick Peas
- Crunchy Sprouts
- A handful of raw or dry roasted nuts
- Fresh veggies either steamed, grilled or roasted with veggie broth. Potatoes of all kinds. Casseroles made with veggies, millet, whole wheat pasta. Plant-based burgers made with beans, oatmeal, quinoa and other veggies, grains and seeds.
- 1/3 – 1/2 cup of red wine
- Oatmeal granola
- Banana/ berry whip
- Fresh fruit
My Go-To Plant-Based Favorite No Oil Recipes
- Love and Lemons – Chickpea Salad Sandwich
- Applesauce – no recipe needed. Chop up apples and place in a covered dutch oven with about a 1/4 cup of water. Add a sprinkle of allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon or all three. Stir to mix. Cover the pot and heat on medium. Stir every 5 minutes until the apples are soft. For smoother applesauce, use an immersion blender to get the desired texture. Store in fridge for up to a week.
- Hello Nutritarian – Walnut Vinaigrette Dressing – I use apple cider vinegar instead of balsamic.
- Soup – I make many, but this one from Straight Up Food is my fave – Smoky White Bean & Tomato Soup
- Roasted Chickpeas – I also add curry to the seasoning mix.
If you would like to know more details about what I eat and how I go about organizing my kitchen to make eating plant-based easier, please let me know in the comments.
I started a new category here on the blog specifically for anyone that wants to know more about eating plant-based and intermittent fasting, along with my favorite books and recipes. I will be adding to it on an ongoing basis. It can be found under the Lifestyle heading in my blog’s navigation bar.
The Takeaway: Healthy Eating is a Personal Journey
This way of eating, plant-based with intermittent fasting has been life changing for Ed and I, but know that just like I always say when decorating, the best way is to do it in your own style.
You have to find what works for you and this is the best advice I can give you when it comes to losing weight.
I believe in personalized nutrition, which is a “science-researched” way of saying that everyone is unique. And everybody — your spouse, friend, co-worker, and parent— has unique dietary needs.
Just because your friend feels like a million bucks now that she’s living the keto lifestyle does not mean keto is right for you.
I can eat a high carb meal of corn on the cob and beans for dinner and the scale goes down. This is not so for Ed.
Each of us is different and we have to realize what works for one, may not for another. You have to experiment to find which foods will make you feel amazing (and which ones don’t), so you can develop your own path to healthy eating and living to your own weight loss success story.
What Plant Based Kitchen Tools Do I Really Use?
Having these items in my kitchen has made my transition to eating plant-based much easier. I didn’t purchase all of these items. I already had many of them and only bought others when I realized having them would make cooking and prep work easier.
- You can find all the items (below) in one place. Head over to my SHOP: In My Own Style Plant-Based Kitchen Shop
- Bag dryer – I reuse heavy duty gallon size freezer bags. After washing, this makes drying them easy. I keep it on top of my fridge where it is handy, but out of the way.
2. Sprouting lids – I found I really like crunchy sprouts and learned how easy it is to sprout them myself. Having these lids that fit on wide mouth Mason jars makes the sprouting process easy.
3. Berry Colander – I eat a lot of berries, this makes cleaning them a breeze.
4. Baking mats – No oil needed when I bake anything on them from veggies to healthy cookies.
5. Glass microwave steamer – For fast steaming of veggies and potatoes.
6. Enameled Dutch Oven – Perfect for making healthy soup.
7. Heavy wood cutting board – This is the most important item in my plant-based kitchen. It is large and heavy which makes it very stable when cutting.
8. Good knives – With so much cutting, having a good chef’s knife is necessary. Just be careful so you don’t cut a finger tip off, like I did. :-) (It is all better now.) One reader mentioned getting this knife glove to protect my fingers when using my knife.
- Immersion Blender – Makes it easy to blend chunky soups and sauces into smooth ones.
2. Yonanas Banana Whip Maker – Makes a healthy version of ice cream – using frozen bananas or berries. You will think you are eating ice cream.
3. Food Processor – If you have a lot of chopping and prep work, having a food processor makes the task fast.
5. Electric Knife – Makes cutting tough crusted sourdough bread easier.
1, 5, & 6. Wide Mouth Mason jars of various sizes with plastic lids | 8 ounce – I use these to organize everything I prepare in advance from chickpeas, salad dressing, soups, sprouts, cut veggies, applesuace and more.
2. Fridge bins – I use one long one to hold washed, ready and bagged greens so I can easily grab the bin and bring everything out to my kitchen island in one motion to fix a salad.
3. Salad Sling – Easier and faster than a salad spinner to dry washed lettuce and leafy greens.
4. Souper Cube – After making soup, I fill this up to freeze 4 – 1-cup servings of soup. It freezes the soup into blocks that you push out and then store in sandwich size freezer bags.
Now that you have read my plant-based weight loss success story, let me know if you have any questions. I would also love to hear about the ways you live the best way you can with diet, exercise, meditation, whatever makes you feel great. :-)
Bottom line, I would love to know what works for you.