Plant Based Diet for Weight Loss and Health

Also titled, “It’s all about the food!”

Like many people, I’ve struggled with my weight my entire life.  I was 12 when I went on my first “diet” in a YM magazine (who remembers that one?).  I remained at a reasonable weight through high school only to gain the “freshmen fifteen” in college.  All through my 20’s I bounced around a given 15 pounds depending on how much I was running and what I was eating.

Then I had Children

After the first, I dropped down to my normal “high” weight fairly easily considering I had gained 40 pounds while pregnant.  After the second, 16 months later, I worked hard and lost that fluctuating 15 and was thinner than I had been in years.  Then I had my third daughter and stayed 25  pounds up from that previously low weight.  Numbers five and six brought more of the same, and by the end, I had added another 15 pounds.

At this point, I gave up.  I had five daughters under the age of 8, and the last thing I wanted to worry about was finding time to exercise or counting calories.

Times Start a Changing

So three years go by, and I’m finally getting my head above water.  I’m also 38 and my blood pressure is going up, just like it has for every other female in my family.  I know this is not something I can ignore.  My grandmother had a major heart attack at 55, and I don’t want this to be me.

So one day I’m shopping at my favorite grocery store, Sprouts, and pick up a cookbook. Not sure what caught my eye,  but there was a recipe inside that I knew I would love, so I made an impulse purchase.

As I read the introduction, I became intrigued and wanted to know more. So I watched Forks Over Knives and Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead.  These were both amazing and life altering.  I knew cholesterol was an issue because even in my fit early 20’s when I ran miles a day I had high cholesterol.vegetables-752153_1280
So during the summer of 2013, I adopted a whole food, plant-based diet. I didn’t cut the oil since I loved tortilla chips and store-bought hummus, but I stopped eating meat and dairy.  I also started walking with my husband in the evenings.

This lasted about three months until we went on vacation, which gets me every time.

We came home, and I was also discouraged since I was the only person eating this way and my husband wouldn’t even try the things I made (and still rarely does).  So I threw in the towel and went to the doctor to get blood pressure medication.  He also checked my cholesterol, which at this point was at an all time high of 274.

As luck would have it, I realized I was pregnant with number six just a month or so after starting blood pressure medication.  We hadn’t even determined the needed dosage yet.  It was a rough few weeks, and then I pulled it together.  There was no way I was going to gain 40 pounds during this pregnancy like I had in the past.

Almost the Real Deal

So I jumped back on the plant-based wagon, and I didn’t care who joined me.
I gained about 5 pounds during that pregnancy and had my awesome little man in July 2014. After giving birth, I dropped 10 pounds fairly effortlessly, but it never seemed to fall any lower. Plus, I’ve always had an issue losing weight while nursing.

So this spring, my little guy weaned and I decided it was time to get serious.  I didn’t think I could do it and wasn’t even sure what my goal was, but I was going to try.

So near the end of April, I meant business.  I gave up tortilla chips since this is such a trigger food for me and I haven’t eaten one since.  More importantly, I gave up oil which meant no store bought hummus.  Also, I stopped the mindless munching.  This can still sneak up on me, so I have to be aware when it creeps in, it all counts.

Weight Loss & Health

Incredibly, at least to me, I’ve lost 40 pounds since May 2016 and 50 pounds from my highest.  This puts me at my low college weight.  I weigh less than at my wedding. It is unbelievable to me, but it is all about the food.

I recently went to my current doctor who I’ve seen for the past two and a half years. We ran a complete blood workup, and he was so impressed when he called to tell me my total cholesterol had dropped to 173!! That’s a 101 point drop. For the first time in my life, I feel in control of my weight and health.

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About Bethany Ishee

Bethany is the mom of six, always-homeschooled children, who one day realized she'd lost herself in the process, probably under a pile of laundry. Her eclectic style of homeschooling draws upon Classical to Unschooling and everything in between.  While homeschooling her children and writing about learning outside of school, she tries to find time to read a book, drink coffee, and pay the bills.

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