After decades of medical issues, emotional eating, and yo-yo dieting, Carissa Moore finally found answers and got control of her health and life with a whole food plant-based (WFPB) diet.
By: Carissa Moore
Table of contents
Health issues began early for me
My early adulthood was spent in excruciating pain from scoliosis. The muscle spasms were bad. One day, my classmates in high school had to carry me out to my mom’s car because I was frozen in position at my desk and couldn’t move. Eventually, I developed arthritis, lumbar stenosis, and herniated discs.
In my early 30’s, I developed fibromyalgia. I had random sudden pains like I was being bitten or stung. The brain fog and memory issues were so bad, I would walk into a room and cry when I had no idea why I was there. This happened daily, and I often had a hard time forming words.
Permanent weight-loss attempts were unsuccessful
My yo-yo dieting helped me lose and gain weight repeatedly. I eventually hit 210 pounds on my 5’1” frame– 3 times!
Each new diet attempt yielded rapid weight loss but, when I went back to my usual eating habits afterward, I gained it all back.
Eventually, my weight issues created abnormal blood pressure, high cholesterol, high triglycerides, and pre-diabetes.
In 2011, I discovered a book called Eat to Live by Dr. Joel Fuhrman. The premise of the book made perfect sense and resonated with me. It was a nutrient-dense, plant-rich plan that allowed me to eat 90% on plan and 10% off-plan and sounded doable to me.
I jumped in and lost weight effortlessly, but I would plan my week around that 10% deviation. And, after a few months, one off-plan meal would lead to 2 and, before I knew it, I was back to my old ways.
This happened repeatedly, and I would find myself saying “Oh well, you’ve already messed up, what’s one more bad meal?” But it would take me weeks to get back on track, sometimes even months.
Emotional eating added flames to the fire
In 2014, I had my third child at the age of 43 and my mom was diagnosed with cancer. When I had a chance to eat in between taking care of the newborn, driving to and sitting at the nursing home or hospice, and trying to sleep, I just ate whatever there was. I was depressed for 2-1/2 years after my mom passed, and I didn’t focus on taking care of myself.
My inability to stay on plan long-term became apparent, and I realized there was some truth to the emotional eating and food addiction talk I kept hearing about. There really was no other explanation for me to not be able to stay on plan even when it was a sensible long-term plan such as Dr. Fuhrman’s Nutritarian plant-based diet.
I finally accepted that going all-in was the only answer and that I hadn’t been giving my taste buds long enough to reset before having SAD foods again with all the 90%/10% off-plan eating with my previous attempt.
Finding answers and weight-loss success
Finally, I let go of the anxiety of never having a favorite food again. I changed my thinking and realized that, if I messed up, the key was to jump right back in and not dwell on it or beat myself up.
As I write this, I am on day 89 of being 100% compliant. I am down 60 pounds and still losing. I have successfully navigated my first Halloween, birthday, and Thanksgiving without the standard American diet (SAD) food or animal products. I have normal cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure. My fibromyalgia and back pain are essentially gone, and I feel better than ever!
I recently drove with my plant-based buddy to attend the taping of Dr. Fuhrman’s new PBS special. We were both given an opportunity to shout out our success stories and thank him for changing our lives, and I was so happy to have the opportunity.
A few key things that helped me along the way
- Always hold on to something no matter what. I always ate a compliant breakfast. Even if I ate something bad for dinner, the next morning I had my go-to breakfast, so I was never completely off plan.
- Bombard yourself with success stories, books, interviews with plant-based docs, documentaries, and Facebook groups. Every single story and teacher has helpful nuggets.
- Find a buddy! Especially if you have family members at home that are not joining this journey with you. I could not have done this alone!
- Never give up!
Other Plant-Based Diet Success Stories:
- I Was Going to Die, and I Don’t Know if I Really Cared
- From Diabetes & Stroke to Healthy & Medication-Free
- Living in a Way That Honors My Son’s Memory
- Plant-Based Nanette Rodgers, 81-Years Young and Still Running Races
- From Obese Junk Food Vegetarian to Healthy Fit Vegan