Monday, 11 August 2014

22 lbs down: my vegan / weight loss journey


Last week I shared the photo above on my Facebook page and got such an overwhelming response I thought I'd talk about it here in case it can help any of you (not that I'm claiming to be any kind of expert, this is just my opinion & what's worked for me, like the rest of this here blog).

The photograph in the top left corner is me five years ago at my friend's birthday party. I remember drinking that blue monstrosity all night (blue Taboo & lemonade, kids, anything that neon is not good for the insides) and having veggie barbecue food before going to the Chinese about two hours later for a take away.

The bottom left is me after my graduation ceremony four years ago. I drank a lot of prosecco and in this picture had just ordered a veggie burger and chips.

The photo on the right is me about a week ago, having transitioned from obese to 'healthy' on the BMI scale, and having lost 1 stone 8 (22 lbs / 10 kgs) in the past four months alone, which is when I plucked up the courage to step on the scales. I still have a way to go, but when the first two photos popped up on my Timehop recently, I thought it was a good opportunity to reflect on how far I've come.

I know some vegans will be upset with me for 'lumping' my vegan journey in with my weight loss journey because veganism is NOT a diet, and they're right. Veganism takes commitment and heart, it takes more than wanting to lose a couple of pounds. It is a lifestyle overhaul, a conscious, ethical decision to live in harmony with all other Earthlings without draping yourself in hemp and wearing open-toed shoes (unless, of course, that's what you're into).

But my personal transition from 12-year vegetarian to new vegan has been intrinsically linked with my weight loss, so here they are: veganism & weight loss together, in the most sincere way possible.

Veganism requires willpower; it requires control. It's about not eating that Cheesestring or that whole bar of Dairy Milk because you know it has implications on your waistline and the hundreds of dairy cows that are abused in factory farms every year. If you can control your mind (and your mouth) enough to know that you don't 'need' that Cheesestring, you can control it enough to know you don't 'need' that packet of Party Rings (tempting though they are). 

Since transitioning to vegan I've lost weight, I have more energy, I have better skin, my hayfever (from which I suffered so badly I had to take two 'one a day' antihistamines every single day) has completely disappeared, and I haven't had a single headache. On top of that, I've met some brilliant fellow vegans, discovered new foods and wonderful vegan restaurants, and saved around 100 animals, according to PETA. Veganism has literally changed my whole life.

But I should stress, not all vegan foods are healthy. For me, veganism has worked because it's helped me exercise control and become more aware of the foods I'm eating and how they affect my body and my mood. It's helped me cut out cheese, milk chocolate and milk, which were probably the three 'worst' foods I used to eat, but it's also seen me switch from egg noodles to soba, and from white to wheat in both breads and pastas. It's helped me discover the wonders of quinoa and bulgar wheat, and it's actually changed my taste buds so I no longer 'need' two sugars in my cup of tea. Chips are vegan. Crisps are vegan. Oreos are vegan. If I wanted to eat nothing but peanut butter, I could, veganly speaking, but none of those things would make my body particularly healthy. I guess I should say I have adopted a 'plant based' lifestyle, because my rule (99% of the time) is, "if it didn't come from the ground, it doesn't belong on my plate."

Alongside this, I have developed a passion for exercise, and I honestly cannot believe that's just come out of the tips of my fingers. I was one of those girls that 'failed' at PE, that joined the school newspaper instead of the netball team, and here I am spending money on workout clothes instead of nail polish and actually looking forward to working out! For this, I must thank Ms Cassey Ho and her wonderful website Blogilates.com. I am on week three of the Blogilates beginners calendar and I can't get enough. Blogilates is free and FUN so you literally have no excuse for giving it a try. Before discovering Blogilates I did the Fitness Blender 8-week Fat Loss Program for Busy People which was also wonderful. Between those two programmes I have slimmed down, toned up, dropped two dress sizes and gained a whole load of confidence. This has taken hard work and commitment and no more than an hour a day, 5-6 days a week (which you definitely do have). It's also been one of the reasons my blog has taken a back seat, I had to commit to do this for myself and I'm already reaping the benefits and become better at multitasking (currently blogging and watching TV at the same time, I am nothing short of Wonder Woman).

There are many other websites that will tell you about the multitude of other arguments - ethical and otherwise - for adopting a vegan lifestyle, and they'll do it much better than me, but if anyone would like any advice I'll try my best to answer you in the comments below (again I'm not an expert! But I have learned a lot in the past few months so I'll do my best to answer you based on personal experience.)

I hope this post has helped if you're thinking of adopting or just trying out a vegan lifestyle, please remember my blog (and this post) are places of positivity and I'm not trying to trivialise veganism or make it seem like a 'fad diet' with this post, so peace and love ONLY over here, thanks.

P.S. The "I heart Kale" PJs are from Forever 21 here and they're SO COMFY.
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33 comments

  1. Wow congratulations, you look amazing! I went from morbidly obese to healthy a few years ago so I know how hard it can be ... well done you for making a change.

    Chloe x
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    1. Chloe, I cannot believe you lost nine stone, you put me to shame! Bowing down to you girl, incredible! x

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