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Luis Velasquez, LVN, Patient Services, Berthelsen Main Campus

When the calendar switched to a new year, Luis decided to switch to a new way of life. He was tired of his clothes feeling tight and not being in shape. Luis gave up meat and began following a plant-based diet. He also incorporated a regular exercise routine into his week. As a result, he’s lost over 50 pounds and has more energy to play with his daughter.

What prompted you to make adjustments to improve your health?

My clothes weren’t fitting me as well as they used to, and I started feeling out of shape. I decided that in January 2020 I would make a change.

What were your goals?

I wanted to be under 210 pounds. I’m 211 now – but came down from 263. I’m really close!

What changes did you make?

I switched to a plant-based diet. I also started working out five to six days a week. Prior to that, I was eating whatever I wanted, so adjusting was rough at first. It took a couple of weeks for my body to adjust to the changes. I didn’t slowly make the change to a plant-based diet – I jumped right into it.

What are some of the foods you now eat?

For breakfast, I typically eat an avocado sandwich or oatmeal. On Sundays, I meal prep my lunches and dinners. Those are all plant-based – I take my usual recipes but adjust them so they are plant-based. For example, I make a Thai basil chicken-type dish but replace the chicken with tofu. My dinners mainly consist of roasted vegetables. I try to keep each meal between 400 and 500 calories.

What is your favorite meal?

I still like to indulge in pasta – any pasta dish would be my favorite! I work out so carbs serve as my energy source. As a treat, well … I’m not a big sweets person, but I do love savory foods.

Tell me about your exercise routine.

Right now, I run through the streets or bike outside. I have some weights, a heavy bag, and resistance bands that I can use at home. I work out three to four times a week, two hours each time I work out.

What hurdles have you faced and how did you overcome them?

I’ve hit two weight loss plateaus so far. Each time I went two or three weeks without any weight loss. It just took a lot of mental strength to keep on my routine. I tried to change it up a little bit by cutting back on some carbs. That helped break through the plateaus.

What do you know now that you wish you knew at the beginning of this weight loss journey?

In the beginning, it seemed like getting healthier would be a really long journey. But making smaller goals to reach on the way to the overall goal helps. Now, I have more energy to play with my daughter. Enjoying time with her makes the whole process worth it!