whole food

How a Whole-Food, Plant-Based Diet Transformed This Fitness Pro’s life

By James Cuilty,

  • 7

Back in 2013, I was in my early 40s and owned a high-intensity bootcamp business with my wife. As fitness pros, we both were very disciplined and followed all the standard guidelines that are taught in the fitness industry. We included some kind of lean animal protein at every meal, we ate five to six small meals each day, and we ate every two to three hours, supposedly to keep our metabolism from slowing down.

It was at this time, however, that I started noticing my body fat creeping up. Even though I was doing all of the "right" things, I wasn't staying as lean as before. My energy was very low, I was getting sick more than usual, and my workout performance was suffering. To make matters worse, I was coaching my clients on proper nutrition, yet as a fitness pro I wasn't getting results following my own advice.

One afternoon my wife and I watched the Forks Over Knives documentary, and it totally blew us away. To me, the information seemed crazy because it contradicted so much of what I'd been taught about nutrition, performance, and optimal health.

Another month went by, and I'd finally had enough of not feeling and looking my best. I talked to my wife about what we had seen in the film. I said, "We owe it to ourselves and to our clients to find out if this information is the real deal or just another scam." So we made the decision to test the Forks Over Knives whole-food, plant-based nutrition principles.

I wish I could say we went all in, but the truth is I was still a little skeptical. As a fitness professional, I was taught that animal protein is the only way to build muscle, and if you cut it out your body will eat away your muscle and you will become small and weak. This was a huge concern because I was in front of clients every day, and if I started to look weak our business would suffer.

We slowly transitioned over the next few months, first cutting out chicken and turkey and then all dairy products, including whey protein powder. Next we cut out fish, and finally eggs. I had stopped eating beef years earlier, so that wasn't a problem. The first thing that I noticed during this transition period was I no longer craved animal protein and I actually started to dislike the smell of cooked meat, which I had never experienced before in my life. Some of the other amazing changes included  healthier, younger-looking skin and not feeling hungry all the time. We switched from eating every two to three hours to a simple breakfast, lunch, and dinner plan, which was awesome because we didn't have to eat all day long.

Meal prep was simple and less time-consuming than our previous routine. More importantly, we didn't have to be those weird trainers who carried their food cooler all over the place. For the first time since 1998, when I first started my fitness journey, I felt true freedom.

Most people think a whole food, plant-based diet means you're stuck eating lettuce and broccoli for the rest of your life, but the opposite is true. We get to eat more, and we have a huge variety of better-tasting meals to choose from.

Since changing to a whole food, plant-based lifestyle, I have gone from 16 percent body fat to 8 percent body fat, put on 8 pounds of lean muscle and increased my energy 100-fold—all at the age of 46. My performance in the gym has improved, and I now run circles around a lot of the younger 20- and 30-year-olds who eat meat. My wife initially went from a size eight to a size two within two months; she has been able to maintain that weight loss even after giving birth to two 9-pound babies.

Our results have been life-changing, but even more incredible are the results we've seen in our clients. We started a simple, seven-day challenge to introduce them to the Forks Over Knives way of eating, and the average weight loss was five to seven pounds in just seven days. Some clients even lost 10 to 12 pounds. They were blown away by the immediate increase in energy, the ease and taste of the meals, the decrease in their ailments, and the weight loss. Since that time, we have incorporated whole-food, plant-based nutrition principles into all of our programs to help our clients look, feel, and perform better.

Following a WFPB lifestyle is a game changer, and it wouldn't be possible without the hard work and dedication of everyone at Forks Over Knives. This community has provided everything needed to radically change your health and body.

Thank you so much, Forks Over Knives!

Has a whole-food, plant-based diet impacted your life?

We would love to hear about it!


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