In this post I will tell you about my experience with food and nutrition, how I became healthy and what I recommend you guys to do for a sustainable healthy diet. After following different diets in recent years, I have now reached the point where I feel at my best. I learned how to feed my body with the right nutrients, I have high and constant energy levels and can see how my workout routine pays off on body.
This post is broken down into the “diets” I followed in the last 2-3 years. The images show my body transformation along with my health journey. In the left picture I am following a bodybuilding diet, the middle pictures is me transitioning into a plant-based diet, the right picture is my current physique following a Pescetarian Diet (after Vegan).
About 2 1/2 years ago I started going to the gym and lifting heavy weights, this is when I started to change my diet for the first time. I would follow the typical bodybuilding diet and tracked my macronutrientsts (carbs, protein, fat). I ate a very high protein diet with a lot of animal protein and a lot of dairy. My goal was to reach a specific amount of protein every day without caring too much about the food sources they came from. The result was that after 1 year I had built quite a bit of muscle, however I experienced many negative side effects. Including high stress level (panic attacks), the diet was hard to maintain on a daily basis by always having to track the foods I ate. I also had low energy levels, sugar cravings and always felt unsatisfied (even though I ate more than enough).
Transitioning to a Plant-Based Diet
I noticed that I had to change something as I became more conscious of my health and wanted to have a more easily sustainable diet for the long term. As a result, I started eating less animal meat and incorporated more whole foods. I also educated myself and learned what exact nutrients my body needs and how much protein is actually necessary for my body to build muscle. I continued eating this relatively balanced diet consisting of small amounts of animal meat (mostly from fish), more vegetables, and dairy for a couple of months and it felt quite good. However, I still felt like I could improve my diet and wanted to get rid of bloating, water weight and improve my skin. So I educated myself and came across the Vegan diet.
As I educated myself more and more I became aware of all the benefits of a Vegan diet for your health and for the environment. So I decided to try it out, I became a Vegan in October 2016 and sticked to this diet until the end of December 2016, so for roughly 3 months. I loved eating Vegan and it was very easy for me to transition because I was so over eating animal meat. I felt great because I was treating my body with the right nutrients and helped support the environment. However, the side effects were that I had lost a lot of weight. As I carried on with my normal weight-lifting routine I noticed I lost a lot of muscle and had to lower the weights. This was very hard for me especially because my ultimate goal was still to build muscle and I did not want to loose any more weight. In December was also when other people noticed a change, the people closest to me became aware of the weight I lost and started worrying. I also started to feel uncomfortable in my body and wanted change. The doctor recommended me to implement some more animal products into my diet to gain back some weight.
From January 2017 until now I am eating a “Pescetarian Diet” which includes animal protein from fish and eggs and the rest from plant-based foods. After going Vegan and learning the negative effects of animal meat on the environment and the animal cruelty involved, I did not want to implement meat back into my diet. I also do no eat any dairy as I learned the negative effects of dairy on the body and skin. I personally learned to love all plant foods and do not crave dairy or meat at all, this is mainly due to the knowledge I have gained about health and nutrition. Following this diet has been the best for me so far, I have amazing energy and can see how my body slowly builds my muscles back (in an all natural way).
My TOP TIP
What truly made me stick to a healthy diet was the knowledge I gained about food and nutrition through my personal experience and by doing a lot of research to educate myself. MY NUMBER ONE TIP for a long-term sustainable and healthy diet is to EDUCATE yourself! The more educated you are, the more you become aware of the different impacts different foods have on your body which will ultimately change your mindset. So for all of you who have a hard time sticking to a healthy diet and eating those vegetables, educate yourself and you will not want to eat anything unhealthy anymore! It takes time to build new habits and this is why you need to have a strong incentive that will ultimately change the way you look at food. Give yourself time and make small adjustments here and there, after some time they will add up and make a huge difference, trust me!
A great way to start to educate yourself is to watch documentaries, this is how I started! These are some of my favourite documentaries that will surely change the way you look at food and might be just the trigger to change your lifestyle.
1. Food Matters
2. Forks over Knives
3. Hungry for Change
I hope you liked this post, in the next post I will go more into what exact foods land on my plate.