Vegan fitness diet makeover
BECOMING a vegan changed this young girl’s career... and life.
DAYNA YOUNG, 22, went vegan two years ago, not for environmental reasons, but as a quick fix to lose weight, having never stuck to any diet or fitness regimen or change in the past for longer than a month. Growing up, Dayna was never particularly sporty, but after working at a gym she would poke fun at girls who trained for bikini competitions; her colleague told her she only joked about them because she was jealous and would never be able to achieve the same results herself.
The next week she found herself a coach and committed her time to proving her colleague wrong. Dayna stopped binging on anything she could find in the house, which would see her eat too much, and she swapped this for five small meals a day and began training five to six times a week.
Dayna went from 54.4kg to 44.9kg for her first competition in March this year, and now sits at around 50.8kg for competitions.
“I used to think of myself as a quitter and sort of a bandwagoner. I never stuck with anything for long, no diet, workout programme, or healthy life change,” she shares. “I would start with the best intentions and be over it before the month ended.”
She adds, “Originally my decision to go vegan had nothing to do with animals or the environment. I started because I heard that you could lose weight really fast on a vegan diet. Although this is true, my initial weight loss had a lot more to do with the fact that I didn’t know what I was allowed to eat other than vegetables. I’m very glad I decided to educate myself, so that I could continue the lifestyle in a healthy way. It’s been over two years and I have no plans to stop.”
Dayna admits, “I used to be a binger; I wouldn’t eat all day and then I’d get home and just shove anything I could find into my mouth. A lot of the time I ended up eating way too much. Now I eat smaller meals throughout the day so that I’m never starving, and I know exactly how much is in each meal at each time.”
She adds, “In terms of exercise, I definitely pay more attention to my body. Instead of going to the gym seven days a week and doing lame workouts because I’m so tired, I take rest days so that when I get to the gym I can push and actually make progress.”
Since going vegan Dayna has found that she has better digestion, a lower grocery bill, clearer skin and a motivation to help the environment. She is proud of herself for sticking to her regimen, but she says that she gets mixed reactions from those around her.
“I’m very proud of myself for finding something that I’m able to stick with and that I can be so passionate about. Being vegan isn’t a diet, it’s a lifestyle and I get to be a part of something that can make a change,” she says. “I get a lot of mixed reviews. I think this has to do with the fact that I’ve never been crazy overweight. I was always just a little chunky. People tell me, ‘Oh, you looked good before too,’ and ‘You went too extreme’. I understand where they’re coming from, but they can only see the physical effects of it, they can’t see how much better I feel about myself and how much healthier I am. Most people are really supportive and happy for me though.”
Her advice to others who would like to follow in her footsteps is, “Find a good coach. Do interviews, read reviews, talk to people who’ve worked with them. Look at the kind of things they say and talk about on their personal Facebook and Instagram pages.” She adds,
“Do your research. Your coach makes all the difference in this sport.”
Before Before Now Now