After stepping on the scale in February 2012, I was shocked to see the number which proved that I had gained 30 lbs. since graduating high school seven years ago. I was appalled by this and knew I shouldn't really have been surprised. After years of terrible eating habits, stressful job situations, and a lack of exercise, I knew that something needed to change. The OBGYN that I had seen that day didn't really bat an eye at that and she whisked me away into a room. That night I watched Forks Over Knives for the second time and purged my pantry of all the processed foods and animal products.
I had gone vegan cold turkey and found the help of the Engine 2 Diet book. After struggling for a month or two, I knew I needed more help and found Dr. Carney after seeing an ad in a local magazine. I was impressed that she was a plant-based doctor, and was excited to see her. I excitedly wrote the office an email and scheduled an appointment. Armed with my test results from the previous year's bloodwork, I was curious to see how much my stats had changed.
By the time I met Dr. Carney, I had already lost about 10 lbs., but was eager to learn how to eat better and lose even more. After some bloodwork, I realized that I had dropped over 80 points in my cholesterol (from 219 to now 140!), and all of my stats improved. Even my liver, which was in trouble with a high ALT number of 89 was now only 17. I was astounded with the results, but credited much of this to Dr. Carney's expertise and superior guidance unlike that of any other doctor that I have ever seen.
During my first visit, Dr. Carney dedicated her full attention to me for nearly an hour and she explained some things I didn't understand, and offered help to resolve some other issues I had been facing. I was impressed with her level of knowledge and the fact that she was opening books and showing me research that she had studied. I left my first appointment with an armful of books and a renewed sense of trust and support.
Another reason that pushed me into this direction was my mom's type 2 diabetes diagnosis in January 2012. Once I heard that she had diabetes, I felt doomed and knew I would be next. Her mother had been diagnosed ten years before, and if the pattern continued, I wouldn't have much of a chance. Fortunately, I have used this as an inspiration to walk this path, and even though it has been difficult, I know feel more confident than ever before that I'm preventing the same fate.
Before seeing Dr. Carney, I faced a huge mountain of doubt and lack of support from several close family members and friends. I felt very much alone in my journey and was unsure of how to answer questions that I faced from my family. I've been happy with the amount of care and attention Dr. Carney and her staff have dedicated to me during my time in the office, as well as outside of her office. Her openness is welcoming and her staff is inviting.
Early on in my journey, and to give myself a little pat on the back, I had a piece of cheese at a company party. "It's just one piece of cheese," I thought, but that soon turned into many more slices of cheese until I practically gained back all that I had lost in the previous months. During my second visit with Dr. Carney, she explained to me how dairy was not an ideal product to consume and how it is linked to different cancers and chronic illnesses. I decided that very day that I wouldn't consume cheese anymore, and I've stayed strong since then. This has been an amazing feat, especially since I was called "Kelsey Rat" as a child!
It's been tough to stay strong, but the benefits were well worth it. Aside from the 30 lbs. that I lost over a six-month period, and lowering my cholesterol by 80 points, I've also seen a surge in my energy levels. It's also renewed my sense of self, and I really feel like I've finally found out who I really am. This change in my lifestyle has sparked a new passion within me, and as a writer, I've been documenting my journey on my personal blog, The Little Red Journal, where I share all of this information and more with my readers.
My husband also went plant-based when I did, and has lost nearly 35 lbs! Together, we have grown as a couple and I feel that we've also evolved into compassionate and caring beings. Although he isn't 100% plant-based, we strive to maintain a vegan lifestyle. His support, coupled with Dr. Carney's expertise, has given me the tools and faith that I have needed to get where we are today.
I've also shared this information with anyone who will listen and have impacted several people and their health. A few of my friends and colleagues have gone vegan, while others are vegetarian during the week. My family has accepted our veganism and is now accommodating our meal plans when we visit our hometown. It's great to see that others are now more aware of what they are eating, all because of what we've shown them we can do.