A year ago on May 14th 2017, I started on a health journey.
I started off with a ketogenic diet program, Health Pointe. I liked the way it was very structured, gave me food lists, with macro-nutrient information and a go to journal to complete every day. At this point I was not cooking a lot of my own food, I ate out a lot and had a happy hour cocktail or two quite regularly and for sure ordered pizza or Indian on a Friday night. I didn’t exercise a lot, but did try a few exercise programs now and then with no results. (More on that in a future post) This program only required you to count your steps and keep moving. It encouraged a daily step-total of 10 000 plus steps. I decided on 14 000 steps, and tried to make that the least amount to reach every day. (Treadmill, garden walks, dance parties in my living room at night if I still needed a few more steps and the gym was closed, luckily I also have a very active job that keeps me on my feet for most of the day)
When I decided to do the Health Pointe Program, I decided to commit 100%. I was so tired of being overweight and not feeling myself anymore, and really wanted this to work, and get moving and active and start looking like I felt on the inside.
The program was 6 weeks long and I dove in all the way. I bought a watch to count my steps, bought a food scale, a weighing scale, and vowed to cut out alcohol for the full 6 weeks, and eat exactly as the plan required.
I had a slow start and seemed to not lose any weight. I cut down my carb and fat intake even lower, (still having all the greens and proteins) and slowly started losing weight. As my body was in ketosis most of the time, it was burning the fat I had, thus I started losing weigh slowly but surely. I did everything by the book and was very meticulous.
As Health Pointe is a ketogenic program that requires a low carb and low fat intake, it was the easiest to eat a lot of animal based proteins to fit into my daily allocated macros. (Tuna, chicken, eggs, fish)
Although I was losing weight, my digestion was not doing that well. I was recommended to cut out dairy from my diet, (cheese, yogurt and cottage cheese) this helped a bit, but not a lot. I would have a rock in my stomach for days, and had to start taking over the counter medicine and herbs just to go to the toilet every few days.
During the 6 week program I lost 6 kg! I was so so happy and excited and am so grateful for this program as it made me aware of what I’m putting in my body, and how much food I need, and gave my body a big kick-start in losing weight. After the 6 weeks I continued to eat more or less the same, still portion controlling and weighing my food, with a little higher carb and fat intake.
During this time, I was so drawn to eating more whole foods. I was craving fruit bowls, big smoothies, sweet potatoes and beans. I was also trying to figure out how to get my digestion on track and get rid of the constant rock in my stomach.
Eating a high animal protein diet for a while also makes you really think where your food comes from, and what you’re putting in your body. (Where was this chicken before I ate it, how long has this tuna been in a can, where did these eggs come from, and where did these poor little cows roam before they ended up in the store in Thailand. )
I had this huge need and calling to stop putting animals and animal products in my body. I just wanted to eat colourful, tasty, nutritious plant -based food. I wanted to start eating compassionately and wholesome and clean.
This was a bit of a struggle for me at this point as it was the total opposite of what I was busy doing. Looking at it from macros point of view, it was the total contrast from the low carb, low fat diet I was busy following and still losing some weight on. Not wanting to pick up all the weight I had lost, I started to educate myself on a plant-based diet.
I slowly started to cut out meat and eggs from my diet. (I already had cut out all dairy) I started eating tofu, lentils, chickpeas and heaps of greens and finally smoothies galore! It was about a month transition and in September I was totally plant-based! By this point my digestion problem was totally gone, and I have not had a problem for a single day since going plant-based!
I still continued to lose weight, and from finishing the Health Pointe program in June, and losing 6kg, I lost another 6kg up until going plant-based. Since going plant-based I lost a further 5 kg and stabilized my weight around December. (I also joined the gym around September and increased my exercise.) Overall from May to December I lost a total of 17kg!
I have never felt healthier, more active and more passionate about what I eat.
This has for sure been a journey and I am so happy it led me to a whole food plant-based diet! I cook 95% of my own meals at home, make hummus, dips, nut butters and muffins from scratch and enjoy every moment of it.
I could not have done this without the help of Kelly, who helped me cook, prepare and learn to love food. Also my family back in South Africa for supporting me across oceans, always being encouraging and excited and proud when I reached my goals.
I am so grateful for every step of the way, every learning curve and every lesson learnt. My journey is far from over and I have new goals that I can’t wait to achieve!