Q?How long did it take you to lose 142lbs?

It came off FAST in the beginning. I lost my first 100lbs in only 10 months. It took me another 14 months to lose the last 40. In the first year, I focused solely on weight loss. In the second year I was focusing a lot more on definition and building muscle. I have been maintaining since December 2013.

Q?Have you always been big?

Yes. To put it simply, what I weigh now is what I weighed in the 4th grade.

Q?How do you stay motivated?

Keeping yourself motivated is one of the hardest things to do! I keep myself motivated by constantly looking at my before pictures (for some people looking at their old skinny pics might help, but I was never skinny so I don’t have those loL). I also make commitments that require me to stay in shape, like registering for a race. If you do not want to have a miserable race its imperative to have trained and eaten correctly. Having an upcoming race on the schedule helps me to stay focused. I also spend hours looking at fitness and weight loss posts on Pinterest and Instagram. In the beginning, I got Netflix for the sole purpose of watching every episode of every season of the Biggest Loser, ever.

Q?Have you always been vegan?

No. I was raised eating a normal American diet, although I always hated red meat. When I was 12 my mom stopped forcing me to eat red meat. I wasn’t a big fish or pork person so it was chicken every single meal. I was 19 and made a joke “I’m so sick of eating chicken, I should go vegetarian” so a co-worker who overheard bought me the book Skinny Bitch for my birthday. I ate vegan for a year after reading it but didn’t have a strong enough WHY or enough education and eventually started eating vegetarian again and eventually pescetarian (eats fish, eggs, milk, etc. I started eating vegan again in December of 2012.

Q?Did you “go vegan” to lose weight?

Absolutely not. Vegan is an eating style, not a weight loss plan. Oreos are vegan. Tortilla and potato chips are vegan. Fried dough (in many cases) is vegan. You can be vegan and be very fat and unhealthy(I was an almost 300lbs vegan at one time). Vegan food does not = healthy food. Vegan simply means “no animal products or by products”. Nothing to do with grease, fat, and sugar.

I decided to take on veganism for the second and final time in an attempt to cure an ‘incurable’ ulcer I had in my eye. I had done so much research and seen so many documentaries that suggested a plant based diet is the healer of many ailments so I gave it a go. I decided I would eat as vegan and organic as I could for 6 months and if at the end of 6 months my eye was not any better, I’d go back to vegetarianism. Within 3 months of removing all animal products from my diet all the symptoms of my ulcer were gone. Earlier this year (just over a year of vegan eating) I was told by my doctor that my ulcer is completely inactive.

It’s not an eating style that works for everyone, but it absolutely works for me.

Q?Does other people eating meat make you mad?

Not at all. I am a realist. It’s not realistic to expect the world to take on veganism in my lifetime. I encourage a clean, mostly organic, diet whether you eat animals or not. I also encourage a plant strong diet whether you eat animals or not. Just because you eat chicken doesn’t mean you cannot benefit from all the nutrients packed into fruits and vegetables. I share recipes so simple and delicious that any meat eater could make and enjoy them. This is not to discourage them from eating meat, but more show to encourage eating more nutrients and to show the world vegan food can delicious and hearty (it’s not all “rabbit food”). I will never mock or lecture you for eating meat as long as you’re not mocking or lecturing me for choosing not to.

One issue I DO have with some meat eaters is their desire to be ignorant to facts. Occasionally I will share a video about the long term effects of eating meat on the body or the abuse animals endure in order to end up on the plate. The purpose of this is to share information. Sometimes I wish I had known what I know now, a long time ago, so I share information. I get a lot of people who comment “omg! I don’t want to see/know that!” That DOES annoy me. Turning a blind eye to these issues does not mean they do not exist or make you immune to them. I have more respect for someone who is educated and knows what they’re contributing to and the risks they’re potentially exposing their body to and chooses to eat meat over someone who chooses to be blind.

Q?Isn’t eating vegan and organic a little extreme?

I have become the crazy hippy person I used to make fun of, so I totally understand where this question is coming from. My response to this FAQ is “Don’t you think torture, murder, and consuming antibiotics and poison is a little extreme?”

Q?Isn’t eating healthy expensive?

No. I am not rich, never have been. I’m middle class now but have lived in poverty, and was living in poverty when I began my weight loss journey. Here’s my tips for keeping it on the low end of the budget.
-Shop at farmers markets and little shops on the side of the road if you have them. A local farmer is generally cheaper than a big chain who has a lot of people to pay before they see a profit.
-Eat according to the sales flyer. If organic or healthy food is on sale that week I plan my menu for the week around the sales flyer.
– Get coupons. I’m a big fan of OrganicDeals.com
– Practice will make better at this, but eat what spoils fastest, first. The best way to blow money on health food is by letting it rot.
– Fresh is always cheaper (and healthier) than canned or frozen. One exception is when frozen vegetable are on sale BOGO. In that case I stock up on frozen vegetables so they’re in the freezer for weeks where money is tight.

The last and most important piece of advice on this topic- if you believe that organic and healthy food are “too expensive” I have to assume that you have not priced the cost of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Health food is cheaper every time.

Q?What was your heaviest weight?

My heaviest measured weight is 284lbs. However, I believe I was a little bigger the year before and had lost a few pounds crawling out of a major depression. Judging by how much larger I was the year before I started losing weight, I’m willing to be I was in the 290s or hitting 300 at some point. Unfortunately, I didn’t weigh myself from 2009 until I started my journey in December of 2011.