'Going vegan helped me lose 7st in weight,' says Exmouth woman
- Credit: Kate White
The vegan lifestyle is on the tip of everyone's tongue this month, as Veganuary gets into full swing.
The annual event sees thousands take up the challenge of removing all animal-derived foods from their diet for the month of January.
Everyone who takes part in Veganuary does so for their own reasons, but for Kate White, from Exmouth, the goal was simple: to improve her health and shed some of the excess 10st she had been carrying for around a decade.
"There was always meat and dairy in absolutely every meal," she said. "If meat wasn’t involved then I was convinced that the meal wouldn’t fill me up.
"I had a particular weakness for cheese and couldn’t stop at just one slice."
So Kate signed up for the vegan challenge in January last year, and within three weeks, she was already noticing a difference.
"I was getting out of bed easier," she said. "I just seemed to get up quicker and it felt easier to move my body. My digestion really improved, and I was starting to notice a surge in energy."
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Kate put that energy to good use, starting to take walks in the evenings with her partner and used her commute time to listen to science podcasts about behaviour change instead of 'vegging out' to music.
She came to realise that she wanted to go back to the sports she had loved before she had gained the weight.
That led to the Couch to 5k programme, which led to parkrun and then to her first 10k race. She even started paddle boarding again and came third in a local race, as well as joining a sea swimming group, has taken part in a sprint triathlon and is now gearing up for a full-length triathlon.
All in under a year.
"Veganuary has taught me to never write off an idea before having a go," she said.
"I honestly thought I’d do it for a month as another January effort to lose some weight. I had no idea that it would suit me so much."
By the end of Veganuary, Kate knew she would remain 100 per cent plant-based and says her health has improved 'astronomically'.
To date, she has lost seven stone in weight and feels 'absolutely fantastic'.
"Veganuary has taught me that my actions can inspire others, too," she added. "My partner has seen the positive changes in my life and has started making his own.
"He is now predominantly vegan, exercises more and is feeling healthier all the time.
"I’ve also started documenting my days with an Instagram account centred on my tiny positive actions (@mytinypositiveactions) as well as a blog www.mytinypositiveactions.com.
"This has really helped me appreciate how easily I can do something small and positive every day, and while I’m doing that, if others get inspired too, then that’s fantastic.
"Becoming vegan has been the best decision I have ever made. I never want to go back."
Toni Vernelli, international head of communications at Veganuary, said: "We are delighted that Kate has experienced such profound improvements in her health since taking part in Veganuary and that she has been inspired to make whole lifestyle changes. And what a transformation!
"We can’t promise that everyone who takes part will experience such huge benefits, but participants often tell us of their own very positive changes - from better skin, hair and digestion to sounder sleep and more energy.
"And for some, like Kate, the effects are truly life-changing. It’s free to take part so we’d encourage everyone to sign up and take part and find out what eating vegan could do for them."
For more details, including tips, inspiration, nutrition advice and recipes, visit Veganuary.com.