Last night I mentioned becoming an unhealthy vegetarian…Its really amazing how easy that was to do.
Two and a half years ago Tina and I decided we would eat vegan, avoid processed foods and not eat sugar. We agreed to do it for 6 weeks. We ended up following this diet for 4 months. We both felt great, healthy, energetic and of course lost weight. At no point did we plan to remain vegan. we thought it would be a good kick start to healthy living.
During that 4 month period I was able to give up my multiple pots a day coffee habit and Tina quit drinking sodas. We convinced ourselves we had the bad habits of unhealthy eating conquered.
I did know I wanted to remain vegetarian and Tina (with the exception of Thanksgiving turkey) agreed she would remain vegetarian too. We slowly started adding foods back into our diet. We intended to keep it under control…we really did. We started justifying foods we had done so well without for 4 months.
Needless to say we did not keep it under control. Fried foods snuck back into our diet, sugars took control of our taste buds and the convenience of processed foods made it hard to say no.
We realized we had made a mistake and both agreed we wanted to return to the diet we were on for those 4 months.
It had been so easy to give all the unhealthy stuff up…doing it again should be a piece of cake (I really couldn’t resist throwing the cake reference in!)
But it wasn’t…no matter how much we talked about it. No matter how determined we were…we couldn’t seem to find our way back.
Finally…the stars aligned, and on May 25, 2017 (2 years and 4 months after we started adding foods back into our diet) we returned to a vega diet. Once again we stopped eating sugar and processed foods. We both realize the mistakes we made 2 years ago and we are policing ourselves to make sure we avoid the same mistakes this time.
No matter how good something is for us…we seem to migrate back to the unhealthy.
OK…I’m speaking for myself here. I know there are people in this world that manage to eat “right” and live healthy lifestyles without falling off the health train. I am not one of those people. Over the years I have allowed my own rationalization, other people and (to be honest) convenience to lead me astray.
However, there are some unhealthy habits I have never returned to in the last 10 years. For example, I’ve never picked up another cigarette. I haven’t drank a soda in 9 years and for the most part I’ve stayed away from red-meat.
The first couple years of changing my diet I remained faithful to not eating hamburgers, especially fast food. But, if I found myself at a luncheon and the only dish available had beef in it…well I would eat it. I created a theory, If I have good intentions yet the waiter makes a mistake and serves me the “negative” food item…well the calories don’t count! Right?
It is amazing how I can rationalize eating things that I know are not “good for me.” I can decide that one donut couldn’t possibly have that many calories. I mean look at it…it’s so little and innocent. If I eat veggie pizza it will certainly be better for me than meat pizza…I didn’t even get extra cheese.
There are times that knowing I’ve eaten better today than I did in the past will simply have to do. Sometimes that is the best I can do.
When I walk into work and someone dropped donuts off in the kitchen for all to enjoy…I consider it a huge win if I walk on by and don’t give it another thought. So many times I’ve given myself permission to just eat one. Do you know what happens when I “just eat one?” Its a lie…I go back and eat 2, 3, maybe even 4!
I have also faced my challenges with exercise. I love to exercise. I enjoy the energy and the overall positive self image that comes with exercise. But I’ve experienced times that negative self talk tries to convince me to stay on the couch. I’ve also experienced old age. After running for several years I started to develop arthritis in my knees. After a couple minor surgeries on my knees my Orthopedic doctor highly suggested I give up running and look into cycling. I really struggled with that idea. I didn’t think cycling would be challenging enough (by the way it is plenty challenging). I honestly believed the only way I could get a decent workout was through the cardio I experienced when running.
I tried bootcamps, you still have to run. Even though the instructor told me I could do other exercises while my classmates ran, my competitive nature would not agree. So I would run, then I’d be in pain, then I would get depressed and want to give up on all exercise.
This search for a healthy life has certainly been a roller coaster ride. Over the last two years I’ve learned it is possible to be an unhealthy vegetarian…Its true. There are still plenty of “comfort foods” a person can eat as a vegetarian. Trust me, I found them all. It is so much easier to tell myself that big ol’ bowl of broccoli and cheese soup is fine because I’m not eating meat. Well needless to say, with that line of thinking my roller coaster car flew off the tracks.