I feel like eating habits are becoming a taboo subject these days. It really saddens me, because I believe that part of what makes a person intelligent is their ability to constantly question and readjust their own beliefs. I don’t think everything I currently do is so perfect that it can’t be improved, because it’s not. I actually enjoy finding issues in what I do and coming up with different solutions or plans to make it better!
But well, enough of the philosophical talk. Before getting into the details of my journey, I just want to give you a little background story – I decided to combine weight loss with veganism because they kind of go hand in hand in my case.
BEFORE GOING VEGAN
I grew up eating a standard American diet. For as long as I can remember, I have always struggled with my weight. I recall being as young as about 7 years old and finding that I was too fat to wear certain shirts in my wardrobe. From then, all the way to the beginning of college, I was extremely self conscious. I did try to lose weight a few times by restricting my calories (that’s a no-no!), but obviously all the weight came back on afterwards and I never really got as thin as I wanted anyways. When I graduated high school, I weighed 145 pounds (I’m 5’1″).
My diet was not that bad, I mean I was consuming animal products, but I did not eat red meat or cheese that much because I didn’t really like the taste. The main problem was that I was binge eating constantly.
When I got into college, I met the guy who is now my boyfriend. As I started hanging out with him, I had already lost a bit of weight from exercising and changing my diet, but he was the motivation I needed to really reach my goal this time. I just wanted to feel healthier and more confident around him! I started doing yoga, I ate more veggies, I restricted my carbs a lot (another no-no!) and in about 5 months, I lost 30 pounds.
I was 17 at the time. I managed to lose another 5 pounds after that, which left me at 110 pounds, more or less. I was super happy with that weight, I felt like I was finally myself! I maintained it for a good 2 years and a half, I would say. I was still binge eating now and then, because I was restricting my calories and carbs so much, but I did not think much of it. I thought anyone on a diet needed cheat days.
After college, I went on a 4-month trip to Australia, where I got even skinnier (105ish pounds). I know some people my height weigh 100 pounds and that’s their normal weight, but I have quite big bones for my height, so 105 pounds is the skinniest I could be before getting way too thin! Again, I was restricting my calories and running every day.
Mid-way through the trip, my body just had enough of me restricting my food! So, I started binge eating every single day. Obviously, I gained some weight back, very slowly over the course of another 2 years, and I hit 130 pounds a few weeks before my 21st birthday. That’s when I found veganism.
HOW I WENT VEGAN
Just like many people, I discovered veganism through Freelee the Banana Girl on Youtube. I thought ‘Wow, I can eat that many calories and be skinny? Sign me up!’. The first mistake I made was not doing enough research on the topic. I started eating a lot of smoothies packed with 4 to 5 bananas, so many potatoes that I had to force myself to finish them (because I was scared of not eating enough and making my body hold on to fat), etc. I was definitely eating a lot more than what my body needed, and so, I gained more weight.
The problem I had was also that I was not educated enough about the meat and dairy industry and what horrible things it implied. That’s why I kind of drifted away from veganism a couple times during the first few months of my journey. I did also have a couple vegetarian meals at family gatherings later on, because it was easier, but I can say that I have been 100% vegan for 6 or 7 months now – and I’m never going back.
Needless to day, finding the type of vegan diet that works for me, not only for weight loss, but also for my health and well-being, has been a huge struggle (it still kind of is). I tried many different things, from cutting all fats out of my diet to eating raw till 4 to upping my vegetable intake.
I kept doing a lot of research to find out what the BEST way to eat vegan was. Truth is, there is not perfect way to eat, but anyone can find their perfect way to eat by trial and error (without hurting animals, though).
HOW I’M EATING NOW
I have only recently started losing weight again (the healthy way this time!). I think I have pretty much found the ideal way I like to eat to lose weight and be happy. I stick to plant-based foods only (unprocessed foods) : I stay away from pasta or breads for now, but I still have some from time to time, and I will have more once I reach my goal weight!
For now, I eat rice, potatoes, lentils, chickpeas, beans, oats, fruits, vegetables, spices and that’s pretty much it. I do also have some peanut butter, but I never cook with oil or have oily salad dressings. I keep it simple! My diet is about 75% carbs, 15% fats and 10% proteins. It will most likely change again as I educate myself even more about vegan diets, but, for now, I am extremely happy. I feel like being vegan is the most logical way to live my life and I know I’m also the healthiest I’ve ever been thanks to it. My relationship with food has become so much healthier; I see the world very differently now that I don’t restrict my calories anymore. I used to be obsessing about food all day, but I’ve finally realized that food is fuel (and animals are friends 😉 )!