Dan Caracciolo is passionate about whole food plant-based (WFPB) nutrition because, after losing 155 pounds, he was able to break down barriers and regain his health and life. This is the story of his WFPB journey.
By: Dan Caracciolo
Growing up heavy
It was tough growing up as a heavy kid.
Picture this. An 8-year-old boy, unable to play on the same team as his friends because he is too heavy for his age group. Instead, he’s asked to play with the 10-year-old team because the weight requirement is higher.
Now imagine that young boy being told on game day that he can’t play with the 10-year-old team because he is over the 10-year-old weight limit.
That was me.
And every single evening before a game I cried myself to sleep because I didn’t want to be told I was too heavy to play again.
Growing up, I was teased and bullied due to my weight. And, over time, I turned into an overweight teen, adult, husband, and father. I felt stuck in this fat body that was destined to breathe heavily and be made fun of for life.
I had accepted it though. I literally have a tattoo on my chest that says “Big Daddy” because that was my nickname in high school.
Debating bariatric surgery
Fast forward to December 2017 when I was debating stomach surgery and had a consultation with a bariatric surgeon. I had numb fingers and was wearing 3XL shirts and size 46 pants. That’s when I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
That’s about the time my mom introduced me to Dr. Neal Barnard and his plant-based diet and how it has helped type 2 diabetics. I began studying his teachings and started following his blog to learn more.
The defining moment
But, it was about three months later, in March 2018, when I had a near diabetic coma episode with blood sugar in the 500s that I finally made up my mind that I could do this.
At first, I just googled recipes endlessly. Then, I joined all the plant-based Facebook groups I could find and quietly observed others and their successes.
Finally, I decided to start and just jump in headfirst with a starting weight of 350 pounds.
That was almost 20 months ago, and now I am down 155 pounds. My type 2 diabetes is absent for over a year and, this past January, I came off my CPAP machine.
Bringing in a fitness routine
The fitness part of my journey started after I lost the first 40 pounds and joined a gym. Today, I train with an ex-CrossFit games competitor. I just want to be the best version of myself.
I still often feel fat and worry about what will happen if I don’t work out, and I wonder if I could possibly wake up fat again. But I am working on that too and am finally talking to someone about it.
Helping others break down barriers
I eat very nutritious whole foods and try my best to stay away from oils and highly processed vegan food. I just want to help folks transition now, especially fellow males.
I feel there is a real disconnect between men and a plant-based diet. I love to follow fellow barrier-breaking vegan males and learn from them too.
The only advice I can give someone who is struggling like I was is to keep at it. I was lost for so long when it came to fitness and diet. I didn’t know where to start, but now I am positive I’ll never stop.
Reminder: you don’t have to be extreme, just consistent.
More information about WFPB
For more weight loss success stories this page, Whole Food Plant-Based Success Stories, will be useful.
For more information on how to get started with a plant-based diet, these articles can help.
- Plant-Based Guide for Beginners
- What is a Plant-Based Whole Food
- Plant-Based Meal Planning 101
- Jeff Novick’s 10 Simple Recipes in Less than 20-Minutes
- What’s in My Plant-Based Medicine Cabinet? I Mean Pantry!
- Beginners Guide to Plant-Based Grocery Shopping
- Guide to Dining Out on a Plant-Based Diet
- Fresh Plant-Based Meal Delivery Service: MamaSezz
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!