From a 5x to a Size 16 - it's all about the lifestyle.
My own personal journey where health and weight is concerned is long and sordid.
I started gaining weight when I was about 18 years of age, in fact, I was already weighing in over 220 pounds by the time I was 22 years old.
Through my trials in life; getting married early, being a young mother, divorcing soon after, bouncing into an unhealthy relationship and experiencing a lack of self-esteem during that time of my life, let’s say, it has all been a challenge.
I had been struggling with depression for many years which is one major contributing factor to all of the weight gain. Other causes for my weight gain were extremely bad food choices, eating habits and a serious lack of physical activity.
I know what it is like to struggle with weight, the ups and downs, this diet, that diet, that new product, the promises, the let downs, the self hatred, depression, anxiety and the myriad of health issues associated with being both heavy and also those that come with a typical SAD (Standard American Diet) diet.
I tried so many different things to rid myself of the weight, from diet fads, shakes, programs, groups, and pills. Some worked, for the duration of time I used the service or product, afterwards it all came back on and then some!
In the year 2000, I separated and filed for divorce again and I found myself being a very single mother with two young girls, depressed with a somewhat limited support group, over medicated and rapidly gaining weight. By 2005, I was tipping the scales at around 300 lbs., and by November of 2007, I was around 360 lbs., and wearing a size 5x in clothing. I also moved to a new home at this time and due to financial reasons I stopped buying all the fast food and started eating more at home.
By May of 2008, by simply eating more at home and not eating fast food, I had lost 50 lbs. and weighed in at around 300 lbs.
In May of 2008, my list of medical issues was getting longer; I had serious depression & anxiety, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, bad triglyceride levels, fibromyalgia, mysterious aches & pains, arthritis, absolutely no energy, IBS (Irritable Bowl Syndrome), no hope, no belief in myself, and was on so much medication, it could have choked a dinosaur!!!
It was then that I had the “straw that broke the camels back” event. I suffered a medication induced “seizure like” episode when driving my van. I had my daughter in the front seat, she was 10 at the time. I drove off the road, into someone’s unfenced back yard, and hit a 30’ pine tree with the vehicle. I wrote off the van, I killed the tree, and thankfully nothing else was hurt. My daughter was seriously shaken up. I have no memory of this event. However, when I eventually regained my memory in a couple of weeks I made the decision then to take control of my health.
I started doing my research into “chemicals” in the body, and that led me to learning about what hazardous things are in the food that we were consuming. That in turn led me to learn about factory farming, and seeing such videos as Meet Your Meat. Upon seeing this, we became ovo lacto vegetarians, and also made changes to the types of cleaners we were using too. That decision came about in June 2008.
By December 2009 I was down to 260 – 250lbs just by choosing to not eat meat/fish anymore. Then I noticed a friend’s Facebook post that she had competed in an amateur body building competition. She used to be the same size I was at that time so I asked her how she did it. She told me her method and I set a start date of January 2, 2010, to undertake to do what she did and get down to a healthy 170lbs.
So, I started doing basic math: Calories in VS Calories out combined with moderate levels of physical activity, a.k.a. exercise!
More importantly, all those health problems I had, including the need for medications, the depression, blood pressure issues and all the rest are simply gone. I am healthier now, as a mostly raw whole food vegan, than I have ever been in my entire life! Some other added benefits I noticed to eating this way are costs, it’s so much cheaper to eat vegan, there is never an issue really with having enough fiber, and protein is found in everything, so no shortage there either, as well as a serious decline in the amount of garbage & recycling I generate which is good for the planet.
I went completely vegan in May of 2011 after watching Earthlings and A Delicate Balance. When you see and acknowledge the facts in such documentaries like Forks Over Knives and the aforementioned ones, you soon realize that omitting all animal products and by products from your life and diet just makes sense. Honestly, it makes such an amazing difference in my life, that it truly is the only logical way to go.
The impact that going vegan has had on my life, and that of my family are too important for us to ever go back.
I also noticed that the plateau I had reached broke when I stopped eating the animal byproducts, and again shifted when I chose to eat mostly raw and juice many of my fruits and veggies as well.
It truly does amaze me, that for 20 years I missed out on so much due to my ill health and weight. I love that I have a life that is now more active and fulfilling than ever before, an active member of a local Lions Club and singing in the Rotary Club Choir, I am out and about, I dance, I garden, I go hiking, and really enjoy life. In fact, this incredible health journey I am on even inspired me to create my own company, which is based on my personal experiences and journey with all of this. I have never done these things before.
I can honestly say that I am proud of who I am now, it’s now November 20, 2011 and I am 183 lbs. I have 13 lbs left go to until I reach my initial goal weight of 170 lbs.
I now weigh less at 42 years old than I did at 22 years old.
UPDATE: It's now May 26 2017, I am 48 yrs old this year and weigh 185 lbs! 8 years later and I am the same weight as when I wrote this originally.
FULL BODY IMAGES OF MY TRANSFORMATION
Head shots and Hiking!
Reverend Julie Savoy