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My Vegetarian Weight Loss

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“There is no disease, bodily or mental, which adoption of vegetable diet, and pure water has not infallibly mitigated, wherever the experiment has been fairly tried.”
~ Percy Bysshe Shelley, English poet (1792-1822)

Vegetarian BMI Diet

I have been following a vegetarian/vegan diet for over one-and-a-half years now and the changes to my health, vitality and weight have been marked. Though they were dramatic in the beginning, the changes have fallen into a more sensible “steady shift” type of pattern and keep on coming.

Always very thin in my youth, college did a number on my weight and energy levels. By the time I left undergraduate school I had ballooned from my “skin-and-bones” weight of 120 pounds to a very porky 200 pounds.

I later lost that weight when I went to Europe for my graduate degree, but unfortunately gained it all right back upon hitting American soil a couple of years later. The easy abundance of cheesy, greasy, sugary pre-prepared goodies was just too much for my simple brain to handle, not to mention the unavoidable change from walkable communities to long drives in an automobile.

Though I had tried being a vegetarian during my idealistic high school days, it wasn’t until someone came into my life who didn’t just read and dream about vegetarianism, ethical consumerism and raw foods but actually lived those beliefs that I finally became motivated to follow through on my dreams of healthy living.

At first I just did a slow transition, eliminating and then reintroducing certain foods such as dairy, chicken, fish, until I came to understand how different foods effected my system. Then I settled into a longer term transition diet of lots of fresh foods, no chicken, pork, beef or other earth-bound creatures, and the occasional monthly piece of fish until I slowly transitioned to where I am today.

I presently eat no meat, fish or dairy with only the occasional indulgences in a fried egg or a sugary treat. I have substituted agave syrup for sweetener and am now aiming my sights on eliminating wheat in the next five or six months.

At the start, the beneficial change in my energy was almost immediate once I settled into a dairy-free, meat-free pattern. My sleep was less disturbed, my sinuses were less clogged and the excruciating pain in my knees became more of a nagging pain than a sharp torture. Several years of painful and irregular menstruation gave way to a virtually PMS-free, regular cycle.

When I first began the vegetarian transition, in late summer of 2007, I weighed 210 pounds (an awful lot for a woman who is only 5 feet tall) and couldn’t walk to the end of my own street without being winded and tired. By the summer of 2008 I was able to hike 8 miles before becoming too tired to push onward, which I’d say is a fair bit of improvement.

Today I have shed over 40 pounds and have no trouble keeping it off. The weight loss has been slow-but-steady and there has been no up-again, down-again roller coaster in the way that the weight has been shed. With very minimal attempt at exercise, I am half way toward my weight loss goal and am now sharing my success with all of you.

Am I proud that I went from the girl who everyone used to pick on for being too skinny, to the girl that everyone knows who became fat after high school? No, not particularly.

Am I proud that I have found my way to a balanced, nature-based lifestyle that is constantly improving the quality of my life and my health?

I am sharing my experience so that others may be inspired to adopt more balanced, healthy ways of living, and also because I would love encouragement and accountability form my readers on the next leg of my journey toward ultimate health.

    My hopes for the coming year are:

    1. To faithfully do my daily physical therapy exercises for the strengthening of my knees.

    2. To give at least 30 days over to a raw food diet.

    3. To eliminate obvious sources of wheat from my regular diet.

    4. To detox using sauna, colonics, acupuncture and herbal cleanses.

    5. To branch out from yoga and hiking to biking and jogging, knees permitting.

    6. To find the courage to faithfully implement a 6-12 month voyage on the anti-candida (Body Ecology) diet so that I may finally be rid of my limiting food allergies!

    7. To continue to develop more flavorful and fun recipes that make healthy eating more exciting.

So, I know that I can get most of these things done with the same dedicated, educated and gentle approach that I have used to introduce other big changes to my health. I also know that there will be physical and emotional challenges along the way and I hope that some of you will be supportive of me along the way.

Maybe you could even be inspired to join in!

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  • Nancy from Mass

    Isn’t it amazing how the weight falls off with a veg diet? In my early 20’s, I weighed 102 pounds and was a size 2 petite. I had to wear a belt or keep a shirt tucked in or my pants would fall down. Until last July, I had ballooned up to 176 pounds wearing a size 14 pant and 18 dress. I went veg on July 5th as a one month test to see if it would affect my weekly migraines…it did. by the end of month 1, I decided I would try 2, by the end of 2, I decided I wasn’t going to eat meat again. I had dropped 14 pounds by then and have since lost 8 more. I have only had 1 migraine in 11 months and feel more energized. I now wear a size 8 (sometimes 6) pant and 12 or 14 dress. (larger upper body) I now follow a vegetarian and almost vegan diet. My menstrual cramps have disappeared, my skin cleared up and I can also breathe freely due to my sinuses not being clogged up from dairy. I’d like to lose another 20 pounds. Congrats on your current weight loss and good luck on the further pounds.

  • Congratulations on such a healthy and successful weight loss programme! Very best wishes for the future!

  • Hello housewife,

    I just stumbled on your blog via yoga searches. I love the yoga mat tote from August! Your blog looks very interesting and I will check it out again soon. Blessings.

  • shakey

    Your page/blog looks so shmick, its a pleasure to check out.
    Couple things, your link to Prana Flow goes somewhere weird (, but the actual Prana site is fine going thru google.

    Also would you like to share what you feed your cats? I’ve always loved the idea of a pet but have been hesitant as a vegetarian to start keeping meat in the fridge or a can for a pet.. any thoughts?

  • VVS-hedestoker

    Really enjoyed reading your article which I found very inspiring. Good luck for the future …

  • martin

    Hi ,I have to say give the raw diet a go. I’ve been on it since xmas and its been easy, eat as much as you like and no weight gain. I even lost a few pounds, body toned up a lot and have a lot more energy etc.. Its well worth a go. Food genuinely never tasted as good.

  • Hi Marty. Good to hear from you again. :-)

    I have indeed given the raw food diet a go. For me it is best used for short-term detoxing as opposed to a long-term lifestyle change.

    In the future I will be trying raw foodism out again for health reasons, but I prefer to simply up my intake of raw fruits and vegetables while still keeping whole grains and some cooked products, like jam and healthy pastas, in my diet.

    Balance is everything. ;-)

    Do email and tell me how you are doing, by the way.


    Housewife (Vera)

  • This post (and “Junk Food Vegetarianism vs. Healthy Vegetarianism”) are both very inspirational to me. I definitely fall into the Junk Food Vegetarian category. I’ve gained 25 pounds since becoming a vegetarian 18 months ago.

    I’m sure that a lot of it has to do with a change in lifestyle (I graduated college and became a stay-at-home-mom). My hectic school schedule had conditioned me to eat at any opportunity, and being at home suddenly gave me A LOT of opportunities to eat. I started snacking whenever I fed my toddler, as well as whenever he was busy. I think it made me feel like I was doing something productive.

    I put myself on a diet 2 weeks ago. It wasn’t until I started using to track my meals that I realized how poorly I had been eating. And, such big portions! Sure, I was eating vegetables, and I did almost all my own cooking, but I was relying heavily on pasta, potatoes, and bread based things.

    Most of my meals (since starting the diet) have been based around beans, spinach, tomatoes, and squash. I’ve only been having white carbs (flour) once a week. I feel great, I already have more energy, I’ve lost 6 pounds, and I feel like my mind has cleared.

    What are your favorite meals right now? Also, congratulations on all the weight you have lost :-)

  • nike

    hi i just became a vegetarian three months agon and i have lost 2.5 stones and 6pounds

  • jules

    have been vego for 30 plus years but my downfall is chocs and desserts, any quick healthier ideas?

  • Jules,

    Try vegan chocolate chips and also using egg replacer instead of eggs. I find that anything using organic coconut oil instead of butter will taste sweeter, without using so much honey or sugar.

    As always, moderation is key. I myself have a vicious sweet tooth, but if I limit myself to just one or two baked goods on occasion (instead of the whole cake or whole batch of cookies) then it doesn’t effect the weigh too much at all. ;-)


  • Good article, very inspiring, i’ll let my wife give it a read, it looks like this is the type of things she needs to be reading :)

  • iyonnajohnson

    i likee food that i can lose weight from

  • Sarah

    Found this entry when I was searching weight loss and vegetarianism. Been noticing how my body reacts to certain foods (ballooning and feeling sick, particularly when consuming meats) and have thought about giving vegetarianism a try. I already have bodily issues with dairy and like you, I was quite thin growing up until I went to college. The more I read about the chemicals in our food products (especially meats) and realizing how much we’re supposed to eat in terms of non meat products anyway, the more I’ve been leaning towards vegetarianism. Did a month in college and loved it (noticed changes in my energy levels as well) and I think I’m going to do it for the long haul. Thanks for the inspiration. :)

    p.s. did you do acupuncture yet? How did it feel? If you’ve ever gotten a tattoo, would you say it feels better or worse (although that can be kinda subjective)?

  • Rachel


    I’ve been a vegetarian since I was 11 years old. Ten years later, I can’t imagine any other way of living. I’ve always had clear skin and I’m in excellent health. I became a vegetarian at an age where I refused to eat vegetables or anything else that looked healthy, I ended up gaining a good deal of weight through my Middle and early High school years. In two years I lost 50 lbs and have maintained a healthy weight for three years simply by cutting out processed foods, increasing my vegetable/fruit intake, and exercising three times a week.

    Yes, while someone can lose a great deal of weight on a vegetarian diet, it does still require some awareness of portion size and caloric intake. Now maintaining my weight is effortless, I eat as much as I want and I’m never hungry. If you can be happy and fulfilled on a vegetarian diet, I highly recommend it. A few days ago, one of my heavier friends was complaining about his body and, despite my encouragement, he said that someone who was naturally beautiful like myself could never understand what it was like to be overweight. Well, I showed him a few old pictures that I shudder to look at and I think he has found some new motivation.

    Good luck!

    – Rach