Jamie Morgan Reno struggled with obesity and other health issues her entire life before finding freedom with a plant-based diet. This is her journey to health and weight loss with a whole food diet in her own words.
By: Jamie Morgan Reno
Genetics and obesity
I have genetics that predispose me to obesity, and I grew up in an environment and an era that promoted it. I was told that these factors would doom me to weight-related illnesses and failed attempts at dieting for life. Others said I was lazy, weak-willed, and just not trying HARD enough. But in healing from morbid obesity, I found none of that to be true.
Processed food addiction
To finally be free of the weight and all the associated comorbidities, I had to acknowledge the role processed foods played in my life and how removing them from my diet would completely set me free from the prison of my lifelong struggles with excess weight, energy slumps, mood swings, anxiety, and depression.
My home life growing up was stressful so, in an effort to soothe and comfort myself, I started sneaking food at a very young age. Saturday morning cartoons were sugary-cereal fests. Weekly family dinners and birthday parties were filled with foods I loved to eat, and I often couldn’t regulate my eating.
As a child of the 70s and 80s, I was raised during the boon of processed and convenience food manufacturing. The more sugary, fatty, processed, and packaged foods I consumed, the more I wanted to eat. Obesity is a progressive disease and my weight climbed with each passing year, tipping the scales at well over 400 lbs and counting.
Using food for comfort
Even though I was a happy child, loved my family, and had friends, I was often judged and ostracized by adults and other children because of the way I looked. I used food to provide comfort, especially after my parents’ divorce in 1983, the loss of my grandparents in 1994, and my mother’s sudden death in 2004.
Drive-thru meals became my norm, often twice per day and my life was filled with junk-food snacks, calorie-dense restaurant meals, and multiple servings of sweets every day. Simply put, from infancy to adulthood, the drive to eat ruled my life, and the “food monkey” was fixed to my back permanently.
Finding success and freedom
I finally found freedom in 2017 when I began researching how the food industry engineers and produces food to hook us. This led me to understand the addictive response in our bodies and brains whenever we eat processed foods of any kind.
Over the next two years, I began exclusively eating plant-based whole foods and felt better than I could ever have imagined. The food monkey was finally off my back, my moods improved, my blood sugar spikes and crashes stabilized, my memory improved, and managing a healthy weight became effortless. I was finally free from the hold food had on me! By 2019, I was also free from anxiety and depression and couldn’t believe how positive, upbeat, and joyful I felt…for no reason at all!
Today, at 250 lbs down, without surgery or pills, I am a new person in every way. That’s why positioning my story as one about weight loss hardly begins to capture how my life changed since I began it. Today, I see how the integral pieces of the puzzle are falling into place and you may be surprised to hear that they have nothing to do with the number on the scale.
That’s why I’m so passionate about sharing the message of what whole, unprocessed foods can do to heal us. I’m convinced eating foods closest to the way nature intended them is the key to vitality and good health, and I’m very grateful my journey led me here to share them with you!
What Jamie eats in a day
As for my diet, it is 100% plant-exclusive and oil-free. All my meals are structured to include veggies, plant protein (like chickpeas, beans, lentils, or tofu), and whole-food starches. My days start with vegetables and legumes and a smoothie packed with greens. Lunch is beans and veggies and dinner is typically a veggie stir fry with brown rice or a Japanese sweet potato. I snack on fruit after each meal and find I’m full and satisfied every day.
Plant-based diet beginner guides
- WFPB Diet Beginner Guide
- Tips for Losing Weight from Dr. Neal Barnard, MD
- How to Start a Plant-Based Diet
- Plant-Based Grocery List
- 10 Super Easy Plant-Based Meals in Under 15-Minutes
More plant-based success stories
- My Plant-Based Diet Journey: Craig Milton
- Plant-Based Weight Loss & Healing: Angela Hardin
- Diet for Aging and Health: Bob & Fran German
Want more amazing encouragement? Check out these other Whole Food Plant-Based Diet (WFPB) Success Stories.
For those of you new to the whole food plant-based lifestyle, we’ve created a FREE 7-Day Plant-Based Menu Planner to help you get started!