Plant-based weight loss

I Lost 100 Pounds in Two Years on a Plant-Based Diet

By Allyson Reilly,

  • 5

Allyson was on the wait-list for bariatric surgery when she discovered a plant-based diet and transformed her health.

For as far back as I can remember, I was an overweight person. I was often referred to as the “girl with a pretty face.” Looking back, I think the weight gain started when I was very young. My parents did not get along, and they were constantly fighting and bickering. I turned to food to comfort me and make me happy. For a while, it did, until it didn't anymore. The image I had of myself didn’t match the girl staring back in the mirror.

Frustrated by Fad Diets, Isolated by Fears
I began trying fad diets from a young age. I watched my carb intake, made sure I had enough protein, and ate small, constricted portions. This would serve me well for a couple of months, before I would slowly slip back into my old eating habits. The truth is that these fad diets were not sustainable, especially for someone who needed to lose a lot of weight. I felt like a failure each time I fell off the wagon, and my confidence faded.

When I turned 20, I hit my rock bottom. I felt that I would never be able to lose weight on my own, and I was so unhappy. I wasn’t living life the way my friends were. I restricted myself from activities, afraid of the unknown and of what people would think. I had to consider things such as whether I would fit in the chair at the movies or restaurants, and if I'd find something fashionable to wear in my size.

On the verge of becoming diabetic, I turned to my family doctor, who recommended bariatric surgery. My name was placed on a wait-list for the surgery. I felt a little bit of hope, like this was the miracle I’d been waiting for. However, four years later, at 24, I was still waiting for the day my name would be called. My weight had skyrocketed to 360 pounds. I struggled to complete simple daily tasks, such as bending over to put on socks or tie my shoes. Waking up every morning became more difficult, and I felt as though I had no purpose.

In 2016, I became extremely depressed and spent the entire summer in my bedroom hiding away. I had given up any hope that I would ever live a “normal” life. Then I began to develop hives all over my body. My doctor gave me steroid cream to alleviate the pain, and I took allergy relief medication. However, nothing seemed to work. These mystery hives persisted for months.

A Breaking Point and Starting Point
I did not fit into society, literally or emotionally. I was at my breaking point. My belief in a “miracle surgery” began to dissipate. I decided that I needed to gain control of my life; I just wasn’t sure how. My mother began exploring other avenues in the area where I live. Searching for any sliver of hope, she stumbled upon a health coaching company that specialized in helping people adopt a whole-food, plant-based diet. I agreed to meet with them, even though I had no idea what a “plant-based diet” looked like.

In October 2016, I met with the coaches. For the first time I truly believed that weight loss was possible and sustainable, so I jumped in with both feet. I started one-on-one sessions, learning how to cook plant-based. Finally, I’d found something that worked: I ate until I was full; I didn’t restrict myself; I made meals that truly comforted me. After two weeks of eating plant-based, my hives were completely gone. I began to have more energy. I was sleeping better. I felt lighter. I noticed my body changing. Eventually, I was able to incorporate exercise into my daily routine, and the weight began to melt away, along with some of my troubles.

Making Strides
In March 2017, I finally got the call I thought I’d been waiting for: It was my turn to get bariatric surgery. Nothing has been more empowering than being able to say, “No, I can do this without surgery.”

To date, I have successfully lost over 100 pounds, and I am beginning to fit back into society. I am now running, hiking mountains, and living a healthier lifestyle in general.

When I stopped blaming others and accepted where I was at, I gained clarity and saw that I was in control and had a choice of how I wanted to live my life and what I put in my body. The truth is that there is no magic cure. Going whole-food, plant-based will require you to work hard and change your lifestyle, attitudes, and priorities. But if I could share one piece of advice it would be this: Don’t wait another day. Jump in, and don’t look back. You won’t regret it.

Ready to get started? Check out Forks Meal Planner, FOK’s easy weekly meal-planning tool to keep you on a healthy plant-based path.

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

We would love to hear about it!


Free Download

Free 5-day meal plan!

Get a taste for healthy, fuss-free meal planning with this free five-day meal plan from Forks Meal Planner!

By providing your email address, you consent to receive newsletter emails from Forks Over Knives. We value your privacy and will keep your email address safe. You may unsubscribe from our emails at any time.

Placeholder image

Join our mailing list

Get free recipes and the latest info on living a happy, healthy plant-based lifestyle.

By providing your email address, you consent to receive newsletter emails from Forks Over Knives. We value your privacy and will keep your email address safe. You may unsubscribe from our emails at any time.