When I was in my early twenties, living in Seattle, I was an avid Raw Foodist. It was the healthiest I have ever been in my entire life. I felt amazing, looked amazing and took great pride in the person I had become. Over the years, my life changed and I have taken a massive detour from the path that I was on back then. My boyfriend (at the time) and I had pitched in together on a dehydrator, a juicer and a good quality blender so we were all set in the appliance area. We had a constant rotation of flax-seed crackers, buckwheat crust and variety of raw dips such as humus and guacamole. After we got in to the rhythm of the raw food lifestyle our only challenge was balancing our social events and making sure not to consume too much alcohol. When you are eating strictly raw organic foods, one glass of wine can have the effect of several. Not to mention the after effects it has on your body…talk about a hang-over! Ideally we should not have been drinking at all, but we were young and very social so that was just not going to happen.
When we separated in the Spring of 2008, he took possession of the kitchen accessories, which made it a bit of a challenge for me to keep up the lifestyle. Besides the fact that after moving back to the Midwest we had already ‘fallen off the wagon’ in reference to eating healthy anyway. We slowly started consuming cooked food because it was easier and less expensive. Our drinking also increased after the passing of my grandfather and our eventual break up. We remained vegetarian for quite some time after that, but both of us eventually jumped back on the meat wagon too. In the last few years, I have been living on a steady diet of cheese, beef and beer. After all it is the Wisconsin way!
When I moved to Denver, I was the heaviest I have ever been in my life. No more size 5 jeans for me! I had been in the double digits for several years and I was not happy with myself. I knew I needed to do something.
I pulled out all of my material on Raw, Vegan, Vegetarian, and Low-carb food. I knew I would need to make a slow transition and most importantly I knew I needed to be realistic when setting my goals. I am in my thirties now and it is not reasonable to think that I will ever be at the weight I was when I was twenty-two. My body has changed too much. Believe it or not there is a great deal of muscle hiding under all this fat 🙂
At this point in my life I don’t think I will ever go back to being a diehard Raw Vegan, but if I can get myself to being at least 80% Raw Vegan consistantly I will be a happy camper. Although, I remember transitioning before and it becomes much easier the further along you are in the process, so that may change down the road. To start, my main focus was to start eliminating all my unhealthy habits. For example, the amount of soda I would consume was beyond embarrassing. This was the first to go! In place of the soda, I would drink water, something I rarely do. I don’t have much of a sweet tooth and I am not a big fan of bread, so these were easy things to let go of.
Once I jumped those hurdles, I started researching the many other diets out there to determine their commonalities and took these in to account when planning for my transition back to a mostly raw food diet. Some of the commonalities I have found are:
1. Don’t eat anything at least 3 hours before going to bed.
2. Increase your water intake to help with bloating due to dehydration.
3. Cut out soda and sugary drinks completely
4. Walk or run for a minimum of 30 minutes per day. 15-30 minutes twice a day is the best.
5. Watch your carbohydrate intake.
6. Eat a healthy filling breakfast.
These all seemed easy enough for me not only remember, but to actually execute. I also decided not to jump on the scale every morning. If you do not see what you want to see, this can ruin your entire day! Instead, I decided to weigh myself monthly instead. As women, we can fluctuate between 1-3 pounds daily according to my old nutritionist, so weighing yourself daily doesn’t really give you an accurate account of your progress. I knew I would start to see it in the way that my clothes fit anyway.
I still have my morning cup of coffee, but instead of 3-4 tablespoons of sugar (naughty!) and creamer, I have it with Stevia and rice milk. I make sure to always eat breakfast. This is something that I have never been good about and it is very, very important. I usually can’t get down more than a banana, but I try to sneak in some yogurt or an additional piece of fruit if I have time. Ideally I should be having a much larger breakfast, but I physically cannot eat more than this or I feel sick.
I have almost eliminated the amount of meat and high level carbohydrate foods that I consume. A typical day for me looks something like this:
Breakfast – Banana, 1 cup of coffee, and maybe an additional piece of fruit or yogurt.
Snack – A handful of raw nuts (I prefer walnuts or almonds) or maybe a small bag of pretzels if I am really feeling munchie.
Lunch – Humus and raw veggies. Once a week I will allow myself a sandwich from the deli or a prepared salad & soup
Snack – Most of the time I skip this snack and just have a flavored water, but if I am still hungry after lunch, this is usually where I will sneak in a piece of cheese or some beef jerky once or twice a week. If you know me once or twice a week is a huge improvement. I have a very strong addiction to beef and cheese 🙂
Dinner – A huge salad or a small salad with a piece of Salmon or Tilapia
On the days when I have a large lunch, I will have a small dinner and skip the afternoon snack. That way I don’t consume too many calories in one day. There are still days when I splurge and have some fries or something like that, but not very often. I walk to and from work every day, which is 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes in the evening, but I have also decided to introduce another challenge in to my routine. I live on the 12th floor of my building and our elevators are really slow. As I was standing there waiting the other day, I thought to myself about the prospect of taking the stairs.
Over the weekend, I made my first attempt. I needed to take the recycling down and I always hate doing that in the elevator anyway. I always feel silly standing there with everyone else holding a large garbage bag filled with recyclables, so I figured this was a better time than any to make my attempt. The way down was easy. The way up as you can imagine was not so easy, but I did it. by the time I reached the 6th floor I was completely out of breath and ready to exit the stairwell and hop on the elevator. I didn’t though. Instead, I walked up two more flights, stopped to catch my breath and then continued the journey up. By the time I reached the 12th floor, I was exhausted, but I was so damn proud of myself!
The next day, my calves were killing me, but I pushed myself to take the steps down one more time. I took the elevator up, because I didn’t want to push myself too much and tear something. I am still feeling it in my calves a little today, but I think by tomorrow I will be ready to try again. I keep reminding myself how great I will feel when I can make both trips without feeling the intense burn I am feeling now; it keeps me motivated.
Since March 1st, I have been following the same routine. I have lost 3-4 lbs as of March 31st. This doesn’t seem like a lot, but what is significant is my pants size! When I started, I was a size 16. Today, I am comfortably wearing a size 12 and have been for several weeks. In my opinion that is an amazing change in such a short period of time. If I continue on this rate, I may be waving goodbye to the double digits in another month or so! I know I will reach a plateau at some point, but hopefully it will be when I reach size 9 🙂
My temp job will be ending on 4/20 and I will be off until June working on marketing the book and adding inventory to my Etsy shop. I have decided this would be a great time to also challenge myself by doing the 28 day Raw Foods on a Budget Bootcamp offered by Brandi Rollins. I will have the free time to really jump back in to it and I am extremely excited. She provides you with everything you need to plan out your method of attack and keeps it as inexpensive as possible. My roomie and I will both be doing it, so we will have one another to lean on, which is great because it really helps to have someone’s support. Between the two of us, we have all the tools we need to be successful. The excitement is building already. I cannot wait to feel healthy again, it has been a very long time 🙂
Cheers to Raw Food!