I was 16 when my gallbladder was surgically removed. That was the beginning of the huge change in my diet and weight loss.
Growing up with stomach issues was really hard. One of the problems I was faced with were gallstones, which were not only painful, but contributed to my multiple episodes of nausea and vomiting.
After further testing, it would also turn out that, I was allergic to gluten and dairy.
Eliminating gluten from my diet was extremely hard. Dairy? Not so much, considering that it was the one thing that really made my stomach churn.
However, the true challenge came when I realized I had to grow up fast and make all these dietary changes on my own.
Initially, I received help from a nutritionist who gave me pamphlets and a list of foods to eat and avoid. So not only did I have to perform my own research, but I also had to instantly stop binge-eating my favourite foods and snacks.
I slipped up many times, but by the time I began college, I decided to be more disciplined and to focus on replacing my favourite foods with healthier alternatives.
MY DIET TODAY
I am a Vegetarian trying to transition to a Vegan lifestyle. In addition to that, I eat gluten- and dairy-free and practice intermittent fasting.
Basically, I eat all of my my meals in a 8-hour window, and do not consume any food for the following 16 hours. I chose to do this when I was 19, because I found that eating in the early morning hours made me feel nauseous. It also allowed me more time to drink at least a liter of water before my first meal.
Currently, I consume two meals a day, but love to snack throughout. I’m now trying to bump this up to three meals a day with less snacks. Here’s a list of my favourite meals:
- two or three eggs, toast w/hummus + cucumbers or carrots
- chocolate coconut granola w/ plain coconut yogurt
- peanut butter + banana pancakes
- apples w/peanut butter + cereal
- corn chips w/ salsa or guacamole
- baked veggie chips
- carrots or celery + hummus
- apples w/peanut butter
- protein bar
- hummus + crackers
- vegan pizza
- rice with fried veggies + tofu
- vegan tacos w/ soy protein + corn salad
- vegan burger w/ sweet potato fries
- veggie soup + toast
- vegetable quinoa stir fry
- lentil chili + toast
Typical treats/desserts: Gluten-free and Vegan mug cakes (because I get lazy) , GF cookies, cheerios, dark chocolate almond and sea salt bark, Vegan candy etc.
This is the true story of how I made the decision to stop eating meat:
One hot day in Summer 2016, my parents told me something that changed my life:
Them: We’re having a BBQ
*two days later*
Them: We’re having a BBQ
*16 hours later*
Them: We’re having a-
BBQs weren’t the problem. It was the frequency of these BBQs, plus the fact that I almost always helped my mom prepare huge boxes of chicken (butcher-style). I had enough of eating chicken. But the chicken kept piling in-
-until I got fed up and decided to quit eating it (and every other type of meat) right then and there!
Yes, that’s all it took.
I’d be lying if I said I never wanted or felt the pressure to lose weight as a child. I used to weigh myself a lot when I was a kid. I think one of my lowest points was when I was around 13 or 14 years old, and thought it would be a great idea to buy weight loss pills (which I never used). Additionally, I even kept a food diary where I made sure to encourage myself to eat less.
Nonetheless, my weight started going down in my second year of college. After updating my diet, I physically felt and looked a lot less bloated.
Then, I started sporadically working out again. The funny thing is, I didn’t lose much weight from exercise alone. I shed about 10 pounds and from what I remember, I stopped working out for over a year after that.
In high school, I learned to combine cardio with strength training to the ratio of 2/3 and 1/3. From there, I would combine simple cardio workouts like walking, jogging, dancing and skipping rope, followed by muscle building (i.e: targeting abs, thighs, glutes, back or arms).
Today, I have a weekly routine, working a different set of muscles every other day. I work out between 30 to 60 minutes a day, 4-5 days a week. On one of those days, I make sure to complete a full body workout.
When I’m lazy, but still want to burn calories, I do yoga or low intensity workouts. Otherwise, HIIT and PIIT workouts do the trick.
I usually workout at night, an hour or two after my last meal. I dislike exercising in the morning, but sometimes I do it just to get it out of the way or to change things up.
WHAT I LEARNED
After removing meat from my diet, and consuming a high carb low fat diet, I lost about 30 pounds. In late 2017, I started regularly working out again.
You really need to be disciplined and motivated to start and finish something. Confidence also goes a long way.
I remember being at my heaviest, and always trying to make myself look smaller by slouching my shoulders and wearing baggy clothes to hide my bloated stomach. Just by forcing myself to sit up taller, it made me feel more empowered.
In total, I lost between 45-50 pounds in the last 2-3 years. I’d like to point out that I don’t count calories because I’m fairly well educated on nutrition. I’m also aware of how many calories I burn while resting and how much I should eat to maintain my weight.
A few more lessons…
- calorie is a synonym for energy
- do your research or see a nutritionist to understand what calories are and what type of diet is best for you
- the largest portion of every meal should be vegetables + protein– your plate should always look colourful
- don’t weigh yourself too much – numbers need context
- set goals around exercise and eating habits rather than focusing on pounds lost
- added sugar is bad for you (and your teeth), consider using dates and other natural sugars as a sweetener
- chewing slowly goes a long way – enjoy each bite
- pinterest is your best friend for discovering new recipes
- the biggest change you will ever make is in your mindset
With this lifestyle change, I was desperately hoping to feel better and stop waking up in the morning feeling nauseous and unhappy. The goal was to have more energy, be happier and create a better relationship with food.
All in all, I’m really happy with my decision to change the way I eat and move, because not only did it introduce me to so many new ingredients and dishes, but it also allowed me to be more ethically and environmentally conscious.
If you have any more questions about my diet, let me know in the comments below!