Courtesy of Isaac Solomon
A year ago, vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower and spinach were foreign to Isaac Solomon’s diet. A vegetable to him was mashed potatoes slathered in butter. The 39-year-old had been doing CrossFit for quite some time, and he knew he should be eating more vegetables, but it just wasn’t part of his lifestyle. But when his gym, CrossFit Reason in Arcadia, CA, launched a vegetable challenge in March 2020, Solomon decided it just might be the perfect opportunity to make the long overdue change.
- “I had always been consistent with my workouts and trained hard, but my nutrition was just out of control. I just ate whatever and didn’t think about the repercussions when it came to eating habits,” said Solomon. This way of eating led him to weigh 233 pounds at 5-foot-6.
The vegetable details: Last March, Solomon started eating two cups of vegetables each day. He started with Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower and peas, and before he knew it he was eating more than four cups of veggies a day and had “branched out” to spinach and various other leafy greens, he explained. Adding a large quantity of vegetables helped him be more satiated and ultimately ate less of the lower nutrient, high calorie foods he used to turn to, he explained.
- “My go to (dinner) now is to have a pretty lean meat, and always my veggies and then some sort of complex carb like a sweet potato or brown rice,” said Solomon, who works as an animator for a game developer.
Today: Since introducing vegetables to his diet, Solomon has lost 65 pounds. On November 23, he weighed in at a low of 165 pounds.
- “I think my metabolism has sped up, too. I’m still eating a lot of food. I eat a massive meal, but I’m just making sure I’m eating foods that are nutritionally dense, versus the empty, you know, high calorie foods, and I have been able to lose the weight and have kept off,” he said.
- He added: “I’m happier now, my relationships with my family and my kids are better, and just things I used to hate, like running, I now like.”
One big thing: Though COVID-19 added unwanted stress to his life, including forcing him to work from home, Solomon said it actually made committing to lifestyle change easier.
- “It kind of encouraged me to dedicate myself and just double down on my fitness and meal planning. And the benefit was I was at home, so I was able to cook everything from home and plan ahead a lot easier,” Solomon said.
- It also helped that he had a community of people from CrossFit Reason, who he reached out to on a regular basis when the gym was closed. He stayed in touch with friends from the gym and owner Eric Freedom via text and social media, sometimes sharing progress pictures. “That helped a lot with the habits I was trying to build,” he said.
The big picture: Because Solomon’s lifestyle change has been all about an inclusive, versus exclusive and restrictive approach to dieting — adding vegetables, as opposed to feeling deprived about what he’s not allowed to eat — Solomon is sure he’ll be able to sustain this lifestyle for the long term, as vegetables are now a habit.
- “I just feel like it’s instinct now,” he said. “And I definitely enjoy vegetables. I have my go to vegetables, a medley of carrots, broccoli and cauliflower, and I’ll steam them and eat them with whatever sides. I actually enjoy the flavor of them. Sometimes, I don’t even put salt on them,” he said.
- Solomon added: “A lot of people who want to lose weight will start going that completely stereotypical way and order a salad just to avoid the foods they’re being told to avoid. But it wasn’t like that for me. I’m planning on doing this for the rest of my life.”