Sheryl Yvette describes herself as “glamorous, compulsive, high maintenance, neurotic, stubborn and self-obsessed: But otherwise very average”.
Normally I wouldn’t argue with a woman as strong as her but I have to say, average is something that Sheryl most certainly is not. This undeniably beautiful, honest and inspiring author of the award winning blog *Bitch Cakes*: A Neurotic Glamour Girl’s Weight Watchers Experience and Fitness Adventures has a style and vulnerability in her writing that makes her readers feel like they have known her for a lifetime.
SV - I think the honesty and exposure in your blog posts comforts your fans and makes you more relate-able and easier to connect to. Do you find it challenging to stay accessible to your fans/readers without compromising your personal boundaries?
Sheryl – I don’t find it challenging, probably because I don’t write with the intention of being accessible. I just share whatever I feel like sharing at the moment – what I’m going through or thinking about. I’m often surprised by the reactions from the readers, and with how many people relate to what I write, but I think that’s great.
SV – Since my original decision to convert to vegetarianism and then later to a vegan, my reasons and motivations for doing so have changed.
How long have you been a vegan, what inspired you to do it and how (if) has your philosophy evolved since then?
Sheryl – I became a vegetarian when I was 12 when it occurred to me that eating meat was wrong and unnecessary. But it wasn’t until about a year and a half ago (at age 38) that I made the shift to vegan. I had occasionally considered it, but thought it would be too difficult. Of course it wasn’t. As far as my a-ha moment when I decided to do it – believe it or not, it was inspired by one tiny conversation I had with a vegan punk rocker that I saw on my way to my gym one night. I complimented him on his amazing jacket, which he let me photograph.
He told me he went vegetarian one day and then thought “Why only do this half way” and went vegan the next day. For some reason, that was all I needed to hear. And I started my transition immediately.
SV - What aspects of your life changed as a result of becoming a vegan?
Sheryl – Not many, actually. My weekly food shopping only changed slightly. And I didn’t eat out often, so that wasn’t much of an issue. If anything, I eat out more often now because I love supporting vegan establishments and finding vegan versions of things.
SV - It’s a common misconception that vegans are weak and unhealthy. You ride your bike, work out, participate in running events, are training for the 2012 NYC Marathon, and have plans to climb (for two excellent and very worthy causes) to the top of the Empire State Building and to top of the Rockefeller Tower!
Can you tell us how often you exercise and what your typical work-out entails?
Sheryl – It’s true, I’m actually incredibly strong and the healthiest I’ve ever been! I typically work out at least 40 minutes a day. In an average week, that includes pilates, a few runs, a stair workout, a weight strengthening class, other cardio equipment at the gym and when the weather is nice I bike every chance I get – over 100 miles a week. I also ride in all of the NYC Bike Tours and I do zumba & yoga occasionally.
SV - Your weight loss journey has really been amazing. Throughout all of your hard work and determination, has there been a particular motivation that kept you more inspired than others?
Sheryl – Yes, it is amazing! Sometimes I still can’t believe my 74 pound weight loss! But even more incredible, and what brought the weight loss, were the lifestyle choices and changes I made. When I started my journey, I had no idea I could do or achieve everything I have since then. I continue to surprise myself! My strongest motivation is my own mortality – knowing I won’t get another chance to live this life, this year, or this day. I wasted so much of my life being unhealthy and unhappy because I didn’t know it didn’t have to be that way. I didn’t know I could change. I didn’t know I could feel or look this amazing. And for the first time ever, I’m loving life, instead of waiting to die.
SV – What advice or words of encouragement would you give to people who are just embarking on or are curious about trying a vegan lifestyle?
Sheryl – For one thing, I want them to know that it’s much easier than they may think. And if they aren’t ready to jump right in 100%, that’s fine. I would suggest they start by knowing what they currently consume that contains animal products (this might involve checking a lot of labels for things that aren’t obvious). Then phase those items one at a time – maybe one item a week, or as your run out of that item in your home. They can either find a direct vegan replacement for those items or just eliminate them completely and find something else that fills whatever that void creates. And of course, there are so many vegan resources available online – recipes, nutritional recommendations, etc. that it’s probably easier than it has ever been to Go Vegan!
SV – What is one of your favorite vegan indulgences?
Sheryl – No question: Cookies! Or pretty much any baked goods. I have an enormous sweet tooth and the vegan cookies, scones, muffins, cinnamon rolls, cakes, etc are even better than the real thing. All of the taste and none of the moral dilemma!
SV - Can you recommend a good vegan-friendly restaurant in New York?
Sheryl – Sure! For food – Restaurant: Caravan of Dreams in Manhattan, Cafe: Boneshakers in Brooklyn. And for bakeries: Champs Family Bakery in Brooklyn & Babycakes in Manhattan.
SV - Is there a recipe you would like to share with our readers?
Sheryl – This is my current favorite dinner – Autumnal Beans & Macaroni with Pumpkin
Thank you so much Sheryl for taking the time to share a little piece of yourself with us. You’re a fabulous inspiration!
To donate to Sheryl’s climb to the top of The Rockefeller Tower click here:
The National MS Society will use funds not only support research for a cure tomorrow, but also to provide programs which address the needs of people living with MS today.
To donate to Sheryl’s climb to the top of the Empire State Building click here:
All proceeds fund the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation.