Rob and I like a good challenge of the health craze variety. Together we challenged ourselves to go basically two months without drinking. Rob challenges himself to only eat sweets every two weeks, and I challenge myself to work out at least three times a week. Our friends will tell you that if there is some new healthy trend out there, we have probably tried it or are trying it. One of these health trends that we turned into a challenge and then into more of a lifestyle was being Vegan Before 6 or VB6. Mark Bittman wrote VB6: Eat Vegan Before 6:00 to Lose Weight and Restore Your Health...for Good. Rob read it a few months before our wedding and latched onto the idea.
The idea is that from the time you wake up until 6pm (or whenever you would normally eat dinner) you eat a purely vegan diet that includes not eating processed foods or foods with added sugar. After 6pm you are free to eat whatever you want, within reason. Eating healthy all day and then binging on a burger, fries and milkshake every night is not the idea. The goal is to continue to eat healthy past six, but the options open up a bit and you can splurge if you want to. If you have been craving a piece of chocolate, you don’t have to wait until a cheat day (which is common in a lot of diets these days) to have it. You only have to make it until 6pm. And if you have plans to go out to dinner with friends that night, you don’t have to feel too guilty if you eat that third slice of pizza, because you ate very healthy for a large portion of the day. We found that after a couple of days, it got easier to continue to eat healthy past six. Because we had done such a great job all day, we wanted to keep that momentum up!
While it might sound like we were both on board with this idea from the beginning, that isn’t true. Rob jumped on the VB6 bandwagon early and quickly lost weight. I was a bit more skeptical because I love breakfast and breakfast foods. The substitutions I researched online and in Mark Bittman’s VB6 Cookbook, didn’t instill much confidence in me that I could do this. But after seeing Rob start dropping pounds, I decided it couldn’t hurt to try it in the last few months before our wedding. I didn’t drop pounds the way Rob did, but I definitely could feel a difference after just a few days. I felt lighter, less bloated, and I had more energy.
I was most drawn to the idea that I only had to “diet” until 6pm. I am a person who thrives with small attainable goals, so knowing that I only had to wait 8 or 9 hours before I could have chocolate if I was craving it, was a huge perk. Rob felt that he had a harder time eating healthy when he was out with friends. So for him the biggest draw was that if he ate healthy all day, he could splurge a bit at night and not feel bad. It was a tough adjustment but when we were both doing it together it made it a lot easier.
We did VB6 consistently for the last few months leading up to our wedding. Specifically Rob for six months and me for almost four. After the wedding Rob kept it up, but I had a harder time now that the fear of not fitting into my wedding dress wasn’t looming over me. In the year and a half since, we have both been on and off it, with Rob staying on it more consistently and for longer. We’ve both modified it a bit, Rob will eat chicken if he feels like it and I’ve adopted the eat healthy before 6 way of life. My breakfasts vary but will usually contain egg whites and/or milk along with a green smoothie. The rest of the day I eat mostly vegan. I snack on fruit, veggies and nuts and enjoy a loaded salad for lunch unless we have leftovers from the night before.
If you are looking for a diet that is sustainable I would definitely give VB6 a try. And if eating vegan really isn’t up your alley, use the same idea behind VB6, try to eat as healthy as possible before 6- mainly fruits, veggies, and whole unprocessed foods. You’d be surprised at how easy it becomes to keep up this way of life when you only have to do it until 6pm!