Back in April I announced my decision to switch to a vegan diet. Since then, I am happy to say I am still vegan and the transition has recently switched from moderately difficult to mostly enjoyable. I have also been pleasantly surprised by some of the results I am seeing in turn.
As I mentioned in the beginning, weight loss was a not a goal, or a reason for my switching to a vegan diet. My decision had mostly to do with moral issues (regarding widespread unethical farming practices and what goes into most of our our meat and dairy supply) and health concerns.
After a couple weeks of being hungry a lot of the time, and really low on energy, it quickly became clear to me that I was going to have to start eating larger quantities of the foods I normally tried to eat in moderation.
Foods like nuts, grains, healthy oils, avocado, beans, and fruit, have all been staples of my diet in the past but they are also foods I have always been careful to eat in extreme moderation because of their bad rap. However, they also happen to be some of my most favorite foods.
Read most books about weight loss and you will hear these words of advice. (In the past, this has also been advice I followed and recommended to others)
- Eat a variety of nuts in moderation and small portion sizes because even though they are good for you and contain healthy fats, they are also extremely high in calories. (The same is said for olive oil, and avocado)
- Whole grains (starches) such as brown rice, breads, steel cut oats, and lentils are great carbohydrate sources but stick to no more than two servings a day. Instead, eat more protein sources and “non-starchy” veggies for better fat burning.
- Beans are a great protein source but also higher in calories per protein amount than meats such as chicken, turkey, lean beef, and pork.
- While fruit is good for you, it is also high in sugars (although natural) so stick to no more than two servings a day, and when trying to really lose weight (lean out), don’t eat any at all.
I am slightly oversimplifying the rules and explanations given above, but these are the basic explanations.
So, the irony is, what am I now eating a lot of? All of the foods listed above! Why? Because I need to get my proteins from somewhere without meat or dairy and I need to eat something!
“But Jeannine, what about the rules?”
Here is the thing. I have lost inches. Yes. Lost inches. While the number on my scale hasn’t changed much, my clothes are fitting noticeably different. This past weekend I tried on a dress which was uncomfortably snug on me last summer. Guess what? I wore it out on Saturday because it now fits like a glove and a very comfortable one, at that.
Now, it is also possible that my leaner frame is connected with my fitness training plan that I have been following. I have been working really hard and making lots of physical gains in the gym.
Another thing I will say. I have not been eating a whole lot of junk food or consuming a lot of empty calories. Maybe twice a week I will have something sweet or a beer or glass of wine, but that is it. And aside from my morning coffee, my daily beverage choice is water.
Whatever the reason, my point in telling my story is simply this.
Eat healthy foods. Eat a wide variety of healthy foods. Get lots of healthy fats, grains, fruits, and vegetables in your diet daily. If you want to eat meat, that is a personal choice, but eat less of it. And keep empty calories to a minimum.
Obsess less and use your common sense more. Stop worrying about this diet and that. Stop worrying about all of these rules that people have created that have simply made you afraid to eat foods that are good for you!
Our bodies like real food. Food that has not been overly processed, manipulated, loaded with chemicals, pumped with antibodies, and/or messed with in any way. Eat meals made with simple, real ingredients.
And enjoy food! I so enjoy trying new things, prepping my meals, and eating all these great foods because I know I am nourishing my body fully, and with nutrients that my body really needs and will utilize fully. And I also know that my new vegan diet is helping to create a positive impact, even if it is in a small way.
We will be looking at some easy, healthy meal ideas this summer and pairing them with some outdoor exercises too.
Today on my Real [Fit] Life page I am showing a dumbbell row exercise, talking about the basic how-to’s, and some common mistakes I see people make when performing this standard exercise. So hop on over to Real [Fit] Life and check it out!
Let’s welcome summer and let’s make it a really healthy one.
Now get out there!