Three Years of Aiming for a Plant-Based Diet

It’s been a little over three years since I started the University of Kansas Weight Loss Program, which helped me lose 70 pounds in around 5 months. One of my goals at that time was to switch to a plant-based diet, which would help support my weight loss success, while providing me with a healthy diet. It’s also been a year and half since my last update on the maintenance phase and my progress towards various goals.

So where do things stand today with my weight loss. my health and the plant-based diet?

I’m happy to share that I’m still 60 pounds less than what I weighed when I started the program. I’m about 10-12 pounds above my least weight and I’m working towards getting back to that range and lower. But my weight level has remained steady, despite obstacles, less exercise and dietary issues. I am enjoying the health benefits of less weight, although I’ve struggled with health issues unrelated to weight and diet. More on those benefits shortly.

I’d like to revisit my goals and talk about the common and unique obstacles to plant-based eating and healthy lifestyles.

Unique Health Challenges

One of the main obstacles over the past year has been a set of health issues that affected my diet, changed my living situation, and led to much less exercise and daily movement. Around a year ago, I contracted a serious case of ITP, a blood disorder and immune system problem, which sent me to the hospital for two weeks. Hopefully, this was a one time illness, but recovery led to some medical restrictions on exercise. I also wasn’t strict about plant-based eating, although I told people that I was “trying to be vegan daily.” A change in residence led me to decrease my daily walking, as I no longer lived in an urban neighborhood where I walked everywhere to do daily stuff.

In the Spring of this year, I had two cataract surgeries, which went well, but I came down with a serious case of allergies which greatly impacted my eyes. These allergies kept me inside for a bit more than six weeks, so my exercise routine became even more minimal.

Quarantine Times

My household has stuck with a strict self-quarantine since early March, as there are three people who are at high risk. The quarantine lifestyle for me hasn’t been much different than my usual work-from-home freelancer routine. It has has weird effects on my diet and ability to maintain my weight (especially without the daily walking).

Even despite eating too many sweets and some junk food, I actually lost weight during the quarantine months. I think this was mostly because I was eating less between meals, not eating out, and not drinking as many nice coffees. Procuring healthy food has been a challenge and we primarily have groceries delivered. Since late spring, it has become easier to obtain fresh fruit and veggies, so I’ve actually been eating more plant-based than at any time in the last year and a half.

Revisiting Goals

Let’s revisit my various dietary and health goals from three years ago and from the update in December 2018.

Maintain Weight Loss – As I described above, my weight level has stayed mostly the same and is currently trending downwards.

Further Increase Weight Loss – My goal when I finished Phase 1 of the KU program was to maintain the loss, but also lose 10 or more pounds. Didn’t achieve that. I’m around 20 pounds from that goal, but I think I can get there by the end of 2020.

Adhere to a Plant-Based Diet – This was never really achieved like I wanted, but I’m more motivated right now to go for this goal. When you eat plant-based, you feel better. But there are obstacles, which I will explain in depth in future blog posts.

Get Off Daily Medications – This was accomplished. Went off pre-diabetes and hypertension drugs around two years ago. Went on a bunch of meds around a year ago for the serious illness, but was again off everything by the end of 2019. Right now, the only thing I’m temporarily taking is a nightly melotonin capsule.

More Aerobic and Heart Healthy Exercise – Never seriously attempted. Though in the past year, I’ve been hesitant to exercise outdoors given last year’s illness. But I have had some urges to start running.

Weight lifting and strength training at a gym on a regular basis – I’ve been doing more home exercise routines and plan to increase those. If I had a car and given a change in the pandemic, I could see myself going to an independent, community or university gym on a regular basis.

More cooking from recipes – This was actually my only New Year’s resolution in 2019, which wasn’t achieved. I’ve started using recipes lately and am building my cookbook collection.

All in all, I’d say that I’m pretty satisfied with my current weight and health situation. The big goal right now is to go more plant-based. I plan to post more personal updates. But look for more posts here about healthy eating, dealing with obstacles, more recipes, and reviews of cookbooks.

Leave a Comment