Why Did I Switch to a Plant-Based Diet After Losing 150 Pounds?

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Why Did I Switch to a Plant-Based Diet After Losing 150 Pounds?

Up until about six years ago, I was morbidly obese, over 350 pounds. The unhealthy eating had taken its toll and I was not exercising enough. When I finally went to the doctor, they told me I was pre-hypertensive and advised me to take medication. That was my wake-up call. My parents relied on several medications due to high blood pressure, constant illnesses, and chronic pain. Now I was heading down that road, and I needed to find a better path. That’s when I began to make some serious changes for a better lifestyle.

I started by changing my diet: I gave up all fast food, soda, aspartame, and red meat, and I started looking at ingredients. I became obsessed with whatever foods lowered blood pressure. And it worked! I had lost most of the weight (120 of the 150 pounds) during the first year! I also successfully reduced my blood pressure to normal.

There was one downside to the lost weight though, that of loose skin. I’d never had any kind of surgery before, and I worried about the risks of anesthesia. After consulting with different doctors about skin surgery, I decided it wasn’t for me.

I was left with one choice: I would try to tighten my loose skin by replacing the lost fat with muscle through strength training. So for about three years, I worked hard, hitting the weights four times a week. I did what I thought was right at the time, listening to my trainer who said I needed 200 grams of protein a day. Can you imagine? It’s a miracle I didn’t get sick from the extra protein. The only thing I’m grateful for during that time period is that I had the common sense to have plant protein powder as opposed to animal based proteins.

I wasn’t getting the results I wanted and felt the hard work wasn’t paying off. I kept the weight off no problem, but still, I wasn’t building muscle the way I should have been.

Then I stumbled upon the world of vegan bodybuilders in August of 2016. These bodybuilders can build muscle without the need for extra protein; many of them were just eating whole plant foods. I thought maybe I should give it a try, so I bought a copy of Shred It!, Robert Cheeke’s guide to vegan bodybuilding. I planned to do the vegan diet and bodybuilding routine for 13 weeks.

On September 6th, 2016, I began my plant-based journey, and I’ve never regretted it. I’m building muscle like I never built it before, and I feel great. My arms have tightened considerably and I’m so happy with them. I still have a way to go with my abs, but I feel with clean eating and hard work, I’ll get there.

My cholesterol is the best my doctor’s ever seen, with a total cholesterol of 136. My blood pressure reads at 110 over 70. My iron levels, which were never a problem anyway, actually went up a little (in the normal range). Since going plant-based, I’ve never wanted to go back to eating animal products.

Along the way, I read books like The China Study by Drs. T. Colin and Thomas M. Campbell and How Not to Die by Dr. Greger. Dr. Fuhrman was also a big influence on me as well. I had actually been following his advice on eating “GBOMBS”—greens, beans, onions, mushrooms, berries and seeds—for about three years before going plant-based. I still eat the GBOMBS everyday.

I did eat healthy prior to going plant-based, but it wasn’t enough. Occasional poultry and yogurt weren’t going to help with my muscle building goals. Also, I want to stay healthy. I don’t want to rely on meds the rest of my life. I want to feel good and have lots of energy. Whole plant-based foods are the best medicine to keep healthy, and I am so happy to have made the switch.

Richard Hubbard has traveled a long road to achieve a healthy lifestyle in Torrington, CT. Rich was obese hitting over 350 pounds. He doesn’t know how heavy he got after that because he stopped weighing himself. At the same time, his sister was suffering from a severe case of anorexia nervosa, which eventually claimed her life. Rich wanted to avoid the obesity related illnesses that ran in his family. He has lost over 150 pounds and maintains a healthy plant-based lifestyle. You can read more about Rich's plant-based journey in his blog for Healthy Living CT.
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