My name is Kelly Gibson and I am a Vegan Entrepreneur. I’ve been living a vegan lifestyle for 3 ½ years (going on infinity.) I am one of the most passionate vegans in the world, but I have my own way of showing it. When I first started my transition to a plant-based diet, I had no idea what went on in factory farms or slaughterhouses; I was simply looking for a way to lose weight without relying on restrictive diets or diet pills. I wanted to be healthy for once, and not starve myself or follow a restrictive diet. A few months into learning about nutrition, I realized that there was a lot more to food than just calories, carbs, proteins, and fat. I realized that there were lives at stake. Being the curious girl that I am, I wanted to know how food was made from animals and packaged foods so that I could decide what was healthy and what was junk (it’s not as obvious as it may seem). Foods that grow in the ground like fruits & vegetables were no-brainers for me (I knew I should eat them) but all the marketing schemes on food labels confused me! Finally, I decided to find out for myself what it takes to be healthy and fit.
I watched many many videos on how the egg, dairy, poultry, and meat industries are run in order to turn animals into food. When you buy something from the supermarket or order a meal at a restaurant, you don’t see what was done to your meal before it became “food.” When I was a kid I was told that meat is essential for the human diet and I accepted that belief until age 24. I was 200 pounds and was sick of being addicted to junk food. I was ready for change, and I was ready to give up unhealthy foods. After watching countless videos on how animals are raised, treated, and killed for food, I decided that animals are not our “food.” Animals are marketed as healthy & necessary, yet animals are forced to be tortured, killed, and then chemically processed to look and taste like food! These days, you can find just about anything on the internet, but you can’t unsee animal slaughter and abuse. I’m not a “dog person” or “animal lover” but I do believe that it’s wrong to cause harm to others, and I can respect an animal’s right to live. I no longer desire to eat animal-based foods; I don’t miss it and I don’t crave it. In fact, I make a conscious decision every day to intentionally avoid it. I won’t criticize you if you’re not vegan, but I do encourage you to learn how your food is made. Watch food processing or factory farm videos, and you might make the same choice I did. My path led me to veganism. I chose to become aware. I chose to be compassionate. That is what makes me vegan.
Now I spend every day of my life helping others get healthy, lose weight, and go vegan. For the past 3 ½ years, I have been on a 100% plant-based diet to nourish my body, to reduce harm to animals, and to stay fit. I even choose cruelty-free products such as purses, supplements, and skincare. I lost 75 pounds my first year as a vegan; I’ve kept the weight off and have been building muscle since. I have improved my vision, cured my asthma, and overall became a happier person since going vegan. I mentioned that I am a Vegan Entrepreneur and that I am passionate about veganism. I became a Personal Trainer, Plant-Based Nutrition Coach, Insanity® Instructor, and Corrective Exercise Specialist during the past 3 years. Best of all, I run & operate my own vegan business (Kelly Athletics LLC) so that I can focus my energy on sharing my knowledge and helping others get healthy like I did. I am passionate about teaching people how to eat plant-based and how to exercise for weight loss. I’m passionate about helping veganism go mainstream, and I’ve been heard by millions of people through magazines and online articles. I am passionate about donating time and money to the vegan movement.
If you are trying to lose weight, the first thing you should do is take a vacation from the treadmill and elliptical. While you can lose weight and be healthy with a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) program, cardio is simply not enough to sustain long-term weight loss. Here’s my advice:
Fitness Tip #1: Get comfortable lifting free weights (dumbbells, kettlebells, barbells, cables) with the help of a Personal Trainer or experienced gym-goer, and spend more time doing calisthenics (bodyweight exercises) if you want long-lasting results.
Fitness Tip #2: Don’t expect results overnight. Instead of weighing yourself every morning, work hard for 2 weeks then weigh in at the end of your 2 weeks. Also track your body fat percentage and take circumference measurements on your arms, legs, chest, waist, and hips every 2 weeks. Thanks to water weight, you will find that your weight on the scale might not be the best representation of your actual size.
Fitness Tip #3: Change up your routine every 4 weeks. If you keep repeating the same workout plan, your body will get used to it after awhile and may stagnate. Something I do is change up the intensity every month. I might do light weight high repetition exercises one month, followed by heavier weights lower reps with supersets the next month. Don’t overcomplicate fitness, just try to keep it interesting.
As far as nutrition goes, a lot of people ask me about how I can be vegan and not crave other foods. My answer: “You know there is such a thing as vegan chocolate, right? And vegan meat? And vegan cheese? And just about vegan everything?” It’s 2015 and vegan is made easy especially if you have access to a health food store or the internet. I’m spoiled with a dozen restaurants I can choose from that offer vegan options, plus a Whole Foods Market & Sprouts Farmer’s Market. Almost every grocery store in the area is selling vegan certified packaged foods now; you just have to look for it! I recommend starting with the basics – fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and legumes. Pre-packaged vegan foods are never as healthy as whole, unprocessed plant-based foods but it is definitely a good starting point for the transitioning vegan. (You don’t necessarily have to give up all processed foods to get fit, but I recommend taking one step at a time toward going fully plant-based.) I had to read 100 food labels before I found 1 vegan product my first few times grocery shopping as a vegan. If you don’t have that much free time on your hands, I definitely recommend learning from someone who is an experienced vegan instead of trying to figure it out yourself. Invest in a highly rated vegan cookbook or meal plan. Then start with 3 days’ worth of recipes, write up a grocery list, and you’ll be well on your way. You will learn that healthy food spoils quickly, so hit up the grocery store every 3-4 days with a new grocery list. If you’re not ready for making recipes every meal, go back to the basics and eat plants in their natural form (diced watermelon, baked asparagus, plain black beans with rice, etc.) Don’t stress too much, take it a day at a time, and enjoy the journey.
Kelly Gibson, Chandler, AZ