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Damian Lillard ends vegan diet because he lost ‘a little bit too much weight’

Lillard lost over 17 pounds while vegan.

NBA: Portland Trail Blazers at Minnesota Timberwolves Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Damian Lillard was one of the first players to publicly disclose his choice to go vegan during the offseason. But in an appearance on a recent podcast, the Trail Blazers guard said he called it quits after five months because he got much lighter than he intended.

“I did it to lose some weight, be easier on my feet and my knees and ankles and stuff. I had a few injuries,” Lillard said on ESPN’s The Hoop Collective Podcast with Chris Haynes and Marc Spears. “And also just get healthier, put better stuff in my body and it helped a lot as far as my energy and how I felt. But I started to lose a little bit too much weight with all the games and practices and all that.

“I had to balance it out, so now I’ve been mixing it up a little bit more, having vegan meals, still mixing it up with other stuff.”

Lillard announced he went vegan on Instagram on Sept. 5 with the goal of getting back to his rookie weight of 190 pounds. He also said in an interview with OregonLive that he wanted to eat cleaner and be lighter on his joints.

“Getting older and you don’t want to let that age sneak up on you where you just get in the habit of eating whatever you want to eat because I know I’m gonna burn it off when it’s time to play,” he said on Sept. 25. “So just creating better habits.”

In Lillard’s five months as a vegan, though, he lost 17 pounds, far more than he anticipated. Now, he has incorporated beef and chicken back into his diet, according to The Undefeated, though he still eats vegan meals regularly.

Lillard was one of several higher-profile NBA players to adopt a vegan lifestyle, including Kyrie Irving, Jahlil Okafor, JaVale McGee and Wilson Chandler. Al Jefferson is a vegetarian, and Michael Porter Jr., a projected top-five pick in the upcoming NBA draft, is also vegetarian.

Lillard, though, appears to be the first of those players to abandon ship.

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