On a Plant-Based Diet, I’ve Overcome Sleep Apnea and Dropped 100 Pounds

I started gradually picking up weight in my 20s and 30s, reaching around 250 pounds by the time I was 35. At five-foot-eight, this put my BMI in the “obese” range. I tried different diets, favoring low-carb ones that allowed me to eat steak. My weight continued fluctuating through my 40s, peaking at 270 pounds.

First Discovering a WFPB Diet

Eight years ago, when I was 50 years old, I came across the Forks Over Knives documentary. The film covered many health problems my family members struggled with. My father died from Type 2 diabetes when he was 52. I realized that if I wanted to live a long life, I needed to get my diet on track. I decided to try a whole-food, plant-based (WFPB) diet and lost 50 pounds. But I drifted away from it, and the weight came back.

Illness Encroaching from Every Angle

In October 2019, again nearing 270 pounds, I was put on medication to bring down my blood pressure (which was 200/100 at the time) and high cholesterol. I also had chronic kidney disease (stage 3), sleep apnea, low testosterone, arthritis, and bone spurs in my knees and hips. It felt like illness was encroaching upon me from every angle.

I knew that a WFPB diet could help with all sorts of ailments, but I wasn’t ready to go all in. So I went vegan and did my best to minimize oil and highly processed foods. Within a few months, my blood pressure got so low that my doctor took me off the medication. My cholesterol normalized, as well, and I lost weight easily. I followed a vegan diet for the next two years, reaching 175 pounds.

Fully Committing to a WFPB, Oil-Free Lifestyle

In November 2022, I finally decided to commit to cutting out oil and ultra-processed foods. What really helped was finding healthy travel-friendly foods, such as PLANTSTRONG chili packets. After going from vegan to WFPB, I lost an additional 20 pounds.

Today I’m 153 pounds—no longer overweight! I reversed my chronic kidney disease from stage 3 to stage 1. In 2020, I was diagnosed with autoimmune hepatitis; I’m now in remission. My testosterone is normal, and I have eliminated all symptoms of sleep apnea. Although I still battle arthritis, I’m feeling good overall. I think I’ve added quite a few years to my life because of this diet.

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. To learn more about a whole-food, plant-based diet, visit our Plant-Based Primer.

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