Karen Hauserman lost 260 pounds and healed heart disease by switching to a vegan diet. Now Karen has shared her story with the world on Forks Over Knives to help inspire others seeking a permanent, safe, and healthy weight loss solution.
“I never had a boyfriend as a teenager and didn’t get invited to my prom. While my friends meant well, I was tired of hearing ‘but you have such a pretty face.’ I desperately wanted to lose weight and keep it off. I tried every diet imaginable and usually did lose weight, but I would soon gain it all back, plus some more. Then, in my early 20s, I lost 50 pounds. I was so excited, and soon afterwards met the man who would become my husband. I got pregnant right away and then gained the 50 pounds back, plus about 100 more. I was devastated, but figured since I had a husband and a new baby, it didn’t matter what I looked like. That’s when I really let myself go.”
After three children Karen found herself nearly 200 pounds overweight. She recalls feeling miserable and trying diet and after diet only to regain the weight again and again. At one point she was prepared to take a drastic measure and undergo gastric bypass surgery, an operation that effectively shrinks the stomach’s carrying capacity with potentially harmful repercussions. Karen made it as far as the operating table when the surgeon canceled her surgery because she was still smoking cigarettes, and thus considered high-risk. Karen recalls feeling “disappointed” and “hopeless” after this experience. These feelings drove her deeper into her bad habits of smoking and eating the wrong foods. She blamed the surgeon then for being insensitive, but now she credits him for saving her life. Yet she would fail to realize this for another decade. She writes,
“For the next decade, I tortured myself and my body with the standard American diet. I didn’t care for myself, my looks, or my health. Instead of focusing on my weight and health, I put all my energy into improving my career.”
The Wake-Up Call Came
Neglecting her health added up on the scale. She weighed in at over 400 pounds several years after being denied a bypass. She recalls being in chronic and constant pain writing,
“I couldn’t walk across the room without being out of breath. My knees and joints ached non-stop.”
Then on Black Friday in 2010 Karen was at work when she experienced sharp shooting pains that floored her. Her coworker wanted to call her an ambulance, but Karen refused and soon got up and drove home. She recalls,
“[I was] hunched over in pain in my van, I knew I was having a heart attack. I drove home, took a couple aspirin, and went right to bed without saying a word to anyone.”
When she woke up the next morning Karen was glad to be alive. She vowed to lose the weight and get healthy. She writes that she was, “sick and tired of being sick and tired.” She visited the doctor who confirmed she had experienced a heart attack. The doctor also confirmed what she says she already knew — she was morbidly obese, pre-diabetic, and had high blood pressure. She was at very high risk of having another heart attack or a stroke.
Beginning a New Life of Wellness
On the first day of the new year Karen kicked her resolution into gear by joining a gym and starting to focus more on eating healthy. She joined Weight Watchers, stopped eating processed foods, and started experimenting with smoothies. Gradually she began to shed excess pounds. By the end of that year Karen had lost over 80 pounds. She writes,
“I felt great and looked even better. In 2012, after watching Forks Over Knives, I decided to go meat-free. I went pescatarian and then gradually went vegetarian and then whole-food vegan. This is when I lost the most weight in the shortest amount of time.”
Weight Loss Success With an All-Plants Diet
By the end of the second year Karen had shed 260 pounds! She had empowered herself with nutrition know-how that dramatically improved her health, energy levels, and self esteem. And, she healed herself at home without surgery or drugs. She writes,
Karen has successfully kept the weight off for over three years, shed another eight pounds on her whole food plant-based diet, and successfully quit smoking. She’s committed to her new plant-based lifestyle writing,
“I also reversed my high blood pressure and heart disease, stopped my prediabetes in its tracks, eliminated my constant joint pain, and even improved my eyesight. I felt simply amazing, and had more energy than my kids who were in their teens and early 20s! I was, for the first time in over 25 years, able to shop off the rack. I wore jeans for the first time since I was a teenager. Oh what a feeling! But what really blew my mind was stepping my entire body into one leg of my old elastic-waist knit pants. Yes, that’s right…one leg! I cried and cried! They were happy tears. I was healthy and thin, and for the first time in my entire life, I felt beautiful.”
“Even though I do have some loose skin, you couldn’t pay me enough to go back to my old self. I’m healthy, happy, and love the new me! At 49 years young, I feel like I’ve reversed the aging process.”
Healing With Plants is empowering people to heal themselves at home, with plants. Explore more nutrition facts, healing whole foods plant-based recipes, and inspiring stories that testify for the amazing healing power of plants.
Sources: 1. Hauserman, Karen, "How I Lost 260 Pounds, Heart Disease, Constant Joint Pain and Gained My Life Back," Forks Over Knives. 2. Houserman, Karen, "Losing With Organic Vegan Eats," Facebook Page.