I’ve been married for almost four years. For the first three years of our marriage, I ignored what people said about “marriage weight gain”. I thought I was the exception because I exercised regularly, ate a vegan diet, and looked pretty much the same as I did before I got married.
Then, I turned 30.
No joke. A few weeks after my thirtieth birthday, I woke up, looked in the mirror, and it was like I had grown a watermelon in my belly overnight.
All right, it might not have been as bad as an entire watermelon, but I was shocked by the huge change in my body. I had been busy with school and work, and although I was still eating a “vegan” diet, I was eating a lot of vegan junk. I must have weighed at least ten to fifteen pounds over my typical weight by that point. I knew that if nothing changed, I would continue to put on the pounds.
What did I do? Well before I tell you what I did, I will say that each person is different and that different thing works for different people. Don’t take this as the final word on weight loss, but simply as my journey to regaining health.
1. I eliminated refined and processed sugars
Sugar is sneaky! It’s in everything but disguised in so many forms that we don’t even know it. Fructose, sucrose, cane sugar, beet sugar, coconut sugar, maltodextrin, rice syrup, agave – and that’s only to name a few. What did I do to navigate this sticky situation? I didn’t eat any of it. I avoided all foods with labels and stuck to whole plant foods instead.
Now you might be asking, “Don’t we get energy from sugar?” Well, yes, but we can get all the energy we need from the natural source of sugar, i.e. plant foods, rather than in its refined forms. Although things like fruit have a considerable amount of “sugar”, they also include fiber that allows your body to release the sugar at a moderate and healthy rate.
2. I ate whole plant foods
I mentioned before that I’ve been on a vegan diet for a while but being a vegan doesn’t automatically qualify you as healthy. Did you know that Oreos, potato chips, and Ben and Jerry’s new dairy-free flavors are all vegan? Again, just because they’re vegan doesn’t mean they’re healthy. For me, unprocessed plant sources were the answer. I got back to eating food in its most natural form.
My daily menu was filled with things like fruits, nuts, veggies, beans, and whole grains. I had always been a theoretical believer in the whole food, plant-based diet, but now I was finally putting it into practice in my own life. I read Dr. Michael Greger’s book How Not to Die and was blown away by the science-backed argument for a plant-based diet. If you haven’t read it, you should.
3. I exercised
Everyone knows that they should exercise, but not everyone does it. I hadn’t been exercising as often or as intensely as I had in the past. Sure, I still golfed. I even walked eighteen holes on the golf course rather than riding in a cart but my growing belly made it obvious that what I was doing wasn’t working.
So instead, I started doing CrossFit three to five times a week. CrossFit is a group fitness gym model that does constantly varied, functional movements at a high intensity. I had done CrossFit before but it had been a year and a half since I had gone consistently. At first, it killed me but after about two weeks, I started to feel so much better! It was an incredible feeling. I was hooked on exercising – so much so that I go my CrossFit level 1 certificate three months later.
Where am I now? I’m currently in the best shape of my life. I lost those extra pounds, I’m faster, stronger, and eating healthier than ever. This is just a part of my journey over the past nine months and I hope that reading this has encouraged you to make a change or to continue on your path to a healthier you – with your partner.