In 2005, Steve Robalino’s mother died within two weeks of being diagnosed with uterine cancer. “I suffered inwardly; I used food as comfort that was my way of coping,” he says. He remembers binging on fast food late at night and hardly ever exercised. (Search: The risks of late-night eating) Between 2005 and 2010 Steven went from 190 to 245 pounds.
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The Turning Point
Seeing photos of himself spurred Steven to act. “I saw an obvious change in my physical features,” he says. “At first, I didn't want to believe it, but I was fat. I had changed into someone I wasn’t pleased with.” In January 2011, Steven resolved to live a healthier life.
Steven’s weight loss plan happened in three distinct stages. First, he changed his diet. He eliminated soda and beer, drank more water, ate less red meat and began to look for healthy food swaps. Instead of white rice, he’d opt for brown. Fat free yogurt replaced bacon for breakfast. Right away he noticed changes in his body, such as an improved complexion.
Next Steven integrated exercise. He took a long distance hike nearly every day, sometimes covering as many as 15 to 30 miles. On his off days, he’d exercise at home, doing pushups, pull-ups, core strengthening and free-weight exercises. Eventually he set his sights on a Tough Mudder race, which he completed in November 2011. The combination of his reformed eating habits and increased activity level brought him down to 205 pounds. “The pounds were melting off,” Steven says.
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Then, motivated by a number of documentaries, such as Food Inc, Food Matters, and Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead, Steven made the biggest change to his lifestyle: he went raw vegan. He gave up animal products completely—so no meat, milk, cheese or eggs—and eats about 80 percent of his foods raw, which means his diet consists mainly off uncooked fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, sprouts and fresh juices. “I sacrificed all of the foods that I used to be addicted to. I said goodbye to fast food, meat, soda, processed foods, canned foods, frozen foods, you name it,” he says. He hasn’t looked back—“I’ve never felt better in my entire life.” These days his weight hovers around 170 pounds.
Steven hosts a series of YouTube videos and a web radio show helping people make the transition to raw vegan-hood, which helps him stay accountable. “I have an audience that keeps me on my toes now,” he says.
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“I feel so in tune with my body and surroundings,” he says. In addition to feeling better, Steven’s constantly barraged with people telling him how healthy he looks. “My friends and family all rave about how I look like I shaved off 10 years.” He’s also tapped into a group of supportive and like-minded people since he first became raw vegan. “The community embraced me,” he says.
You don’t need to live at the gym to exercise. As Steven discovered at-home moves, some walking and stretching can do the trick.
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