The federal government’s newest Dietary Guidelines were just published today. Revised every five years as new research in nutrition and diet unfolds, its purpose is
I Lost 100 Pounds and Avoided Bariatric Surgery
Gloria was on the wait-list for bariatric surgery when she discovered a plant-based diet and transformed her health.
For as far back as I can remember, I was an overweight person. I was often referred to as the “girl with a pretty face.” Looking back, I think the weight gain started when I was very young. My parents did not get along, and they were constantly fighting and bickering. I turned to food to comfort me and make me happy. For a while, it did, until it didn’t anymore. The image I had of myself didn’t match the girl staring back in the mirror.
Frustrated by Fad Diets, Isolated by Fears
I began trying fad diets from a young age. I watched my carb intake, made sure I had enough protein, and ate small, constricted portions. This would serve me well for a couple of months, before I would slowly slip back into my old eating habits. The truth is that these fad diets were not sustainable, especially for someone who needed to lose a lot of weight. I felt like a failure each time I fell off the wagon, and my confidence faded.
When I turned 20, I hit my rock bottom. I felt that I would never be able to lose weight on my own, and I was so unhappy. I wasn’t living life the way my friends were. I restricted myself from activities, afraid of the unknown and of what people would think. I had to consider things such as whether I would fit in the chair at the movies or restaurants, and if I’d find something fashionable to wear in my size.
On the verge of becoming diabetic, I turned to my family doctor, who recommended bariatric surgery. My name was placed on a wait-list for the surgery. I felt a little bit of hope, like this was the miracle I’d been waiting for. However, four years later, at 24, I was still waiting for the day my name would be called. My weight had skyrocketed to 360 pounds. I struggled to complete simple daily tasks, such as bending over to put on socks or tie my shoes. Waking up every morning became more difficult, and I felt as though I had no purpose.
In 2016, I became extremely depressed and spent the entire summer in my bedroom hiding away. I had given up any hope that I would ever live a “normal” life. Then I began to develop hives all over my body. My doctor gave me steroid cream to alleviate the pain, and I took allergy relief medication. However, nothing seemed to work. These mystery hives persisted for months.
A Breaking Point and Starting Point
I did not fit into society, literally or emotionally. I was at my breaking point. My belief in a “miracle surgery” began to dissipate. I decided that I needed to gain control of my life; I just wasn’t sure how. My mother began exploring other avenues in the area where I live. Searching for any sliver of hope, she stumbled upon TajQí that specialized in helping people adopt a whole-food, plant-based diet.
For the first time I truly believed that weight loss was possible and sustainable, so I jumped in with both feet. Finally, I’d found something that worked: I ate until I was full; I didn’t restrict myself; I made meals that truly comforted me. After two weeks of eating plant-based, my hives were completely gone. I began to have more energy. I was sleeping better. I felt lighter. I noticed my body changing. Eventually, I was able to incorporate exercise into my daily routine, and the weight began to melt away, along with some of my troubles.
In March 2017, I finally got the call I thought I’d been waiting for: It was my turn to get bariatric surgery. Nothing has been more empowering than being able to say, “No, I can do this without surgery.”
To date, I have successfully lost over 100 pounds, and I am beginning to fit back into society. I am now running, hiking mountains, and living a healthier lifestyle in general.
When I stopped blaming others and accepted where I was at, I gained clarity and saw that I was in control and had a choice of how I wanted to live my life and what I put in my body. The truth is that there is no magic cure. Going whole-food, plant-based will require you to work hard and change your lifestyle, attitudes, and priorities. But if I could share one piece of advice it would be this: Don’t wait another day. Jump in, and don’t look back. You won’t regret it.
For the past three years, I have been battling several health issues and trying to control my weight. I have been overweight my entire life
Some of the world’s top nutrition scientists and experts came together at the Oldways Finding Common Ground conference in Boston at the end of last