Dear Judith, Thank you for the encouragement.
I am now on a completely vegetarian diet - for almost 2 months now - and am doing very well.
Perhaps my weight loss success story, heart health, and the benefits I have experienced from a vegetarian diet might be helpful to some of your readers.
Two years ago I weighed at least 80 pounds more than I do now (I started avoiding the scales as my weight loss problems had me closing in on the 300 mark).
My blood pressure was dangerously high (210/125) in spite of being on heavy medication. Six months ago I had a heart arrhythmia that the doctor (confirmed by a specialist and EKG) was very concerned about (cardio-vascular problems are very common in my family).
As well, my blood pressure was stubbornly refusing to come down below 145/95 or 150/100 - in spite of eating only very moderate amounts of meat - although there was progress because the medication was gradually being reduced.
1. My blood pressure has dropped to 110/80 - excellent at any age but exciting for a guy who is almost 62. There has been no change in medication but I would expect to be able to get off medication totally - under the doctor's supervision - in the next year or less.
2. There is no evidence whatever of the arrhythmia
3. I have lost another 10 pounds and am within 20 pounds of normal weight.
I find it very surprising that the complete elimination of meat has made such a huge difference compared to the very limited meat diet I was on in the previous 2 years. I never thought that eliminating the last few ounces of meat each week from my diet and having a completly vegetarian diet would make such a huge difference.
Thank you again for your vegetarian reports and for the encouragement. It's all very much appreciated.
All the best, G.
This is wonderful news! And your letter will give lots of encouragement to people who are struggling with weight loss problems! May I ask you something though? Besides going completely vegetarian two months ago, can you describe any specific dietary changes that made your weight loss success story possible, like adding more veggies or whole grains or beans, dropping dairy, or anything like that? Are you lacto vegetarian, ovo-lacto vegetarian, vegan?
I guess you would say I'm lacto-ovo vegetarian, but I eat eggs only once in a very great while and eat a bit of cheese once in a while. I never drink milk - haven't done so for many years. Is there such a category as "quasi-vegan"?!
Two things that I have found tremendously helpful in the transition to and maintenance of a vegetarian diet:
1. Lots of fresh fruits in the morning which makes a great start to the day (a delicious weight loss suggestion from the "Fit For Life" books by Harvey Diamond)
2. Lots of fresh made juices, especially vegetable juices - my personal favourite is carrot, beet and apple. The juices are both delicious and highly nutritious (lots of minerals and enzymes as well as other nutrients the scientists are discovering) so I don't feel any inner hunger. It definitely does take time to buy the vegetables and make the juices and it's not always possible when a busy life crowds out everything else. However, I really notice the difference when I don't have juices for a few days. If I have any "secret" to share it's definitely the value of fresh juices - without them I am sure I would have found the transition to a vegetarian diet much more difficult.
Hope this helps. All the best, G.
Thanks again, G. You probably have no idea how much your writing can help others with weight loss problems - SV gets many letters from people who are desperate to lose weight and wonder if a vegetarian diet is the answer.
Of course I have to add my bit! Fresh veggie juices are excellent! So is fiber - it will make you full without lots of calories. So don't neglect raw and cooked whole fruit & veggies, lots of them, and whole grains like barley, quinoa, oats, bulgar wheat etc. (Carbs by themselves do not make you fat!) Sprouting is also a great way to bump the nutrients way up. FYI, Get the SV Vegetarian Nutrition Report and read the SV weight loss advice letters
Thanks Judith - I hope it does help others with a vegetarian diet. I have spent much of my life fighting - and, more often than not, giving up on - weight loss problems. My first big diet was at age 13 when I was 30% overweight (that diet was successful but it was very hard too). I don't know why vegetarian diet works so well but I'm thrilled that it does!