Thursday, January 27, 2011

Now Vegan- and Loving It!

A few weeks ago, I finally made the decision to return to veganism.  I pretty much always knew I'd make the switch back eventually; just like with my weight loss, it was a matter of being ready to commit to and accept a healthy lifestyle.

Now it seems that veganism is becoming all the rage.  I've been reading about 'power vegans'-  Yikes! who would have thought there would be talk of power vegans!   Yup- hamburger inhaling Bill Clinton has joined the vegan club, as have Steve Wynn, Mort Zuckerman, and - Mike Tyson!  (Hmm.. I'm not sure how I feel about being a member of their club...)

Bestselling books are pushing veganism.   Little did I know when I picked up "Skinny Bitch" that the authors' agenda was to push a vegan diet.  There I was, laughing my head off for the first half of the book, when all of sudden-  Bam! -  the book turned into a serious manifesto of why veganism is the only sane diet to follow.

I've got another best seller, "The China Study," sitting at my elbow.  I haven't started reading it yet, but with endorsements by two authors (Dean Ornish, and John Robbins) whose books, years ago, originally led me to become a vegan, I'm pretty sure I'll find it a good read.

It was neither the desire to be a member of a power club, nor the need to be trendy, that led me to return to veganism.   As I wrote in my previous post, my return seemed like a natural extension of my decision to lead a healthy lifestyle.   At first I thought I'd eat vegan 2 or 3 days a week, but at the end of the second week I realized that I hadn't eaten any dairy or eggs, and I hadn't even noticed.   What I did notice was I was sleeping better and feeling more energetic.  I'd have been foolish not to make the switch.

Now, three weeks later, people are commenting on the rosy glow in my cheeks, I'm noticing the bounce in my step, and the weight keeps rolling off.   I'm eight months into my diet, and it looks like I'll lose 10 pounds this month.   Pretty darn good, especially since I've been eating about a grocery bag full of food each day:  a quart of strawberries, 2 or 3 persimmons, several peppers, bread, apples, a bowl or two of soup...

I'm not a fanatic- you won't find me freaking out if something I eat turns out to have a touch of egg or dairy.  But I'm really enjoying my new appreciation for how good fresh fruits and vegetables taste (I absolutely crave them), and I'm amazed at how great I feel. 

A year ago, I never would have believed that I would voluntarily give up eating my beloved hard, sharp cheese and deep, dark chocolate.  Now, I openly and honestly say that not only do I not miss them, but I can easily imagine living the rest of my life without eating them again.

(Note: Vegans do eat chocolate.  I've eliminated it from my diet for weight loss and other reasons.)

Sunday, January 2, 2011

New Year, New Me!

I've lost so much weight that I don't recognize myself in the mirror!

Wow- what a way to start the new year!

Seven months ago, something clicked, and I started focusing on a healthy lifestyle.  I cut out sugar, most additives, excess fat, and began to move around- not enough to say I was exercising, but a heck of a lot more than I was doing.

I'm not going to say I don't deserve a big pat on the back, but the truth is,  making this lifestyle change hasn't been that difficult.  My craving for sugar disappeared fairy quickly, and the weight has been all but rolling off.

Some stats:

Start date:    June 1, 2010
Starting weight:  242 lbs              Present weight:  158 lbs        Goal weight:     120 lbs
Starting size:      22-24W  (3X)     Present size:   ~ 10  (S-M)     Goal size:      4-6  (XS-S)

As to what exactly I'm doing to take off the weight: 

- I keep a daily log of what I eat, and what/how I exercise. 

- I limit my fat intake to 10% of my daily diet.

- Basically, my diet consists of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, with a touch of low fat dairy.

{I've been a vegetarian for 30 years, with occasional bouts of veganism, and I'm starting to feel a strong pull back toward veganism; I've started 'eating vegan' 3 days a week, and when I look to the future, I have a feeling it will be only rarely that I'll be choosing non-vegan foods.}

 - I'm not being fanatical about exercise- only about 1/2 hour a day, with a mix of walking and some light weight training; I do the weight work at home, and the walking is done mainly around my neighborhood (although I really enjoy finding new places to walk).

- I've been focusing more and more on the 'time after'-  my life once I've reached my goal weight.   My food and exercise choices are done with easy lifetime maintenance in mind, which is why I'm limiting my exercise time.   My thinking is that 1/2 hour of daily exercise will pretty much be always easy to do; more than that might become a chore.   I also eat out a few times a month- I order carefully, but I do make sure to order foods that I'll enjoy and consider a treat.

- I smile a lot :-)

- I weigh myself everyday, but I accept the weight that I am.  I don't freak out about not having lost weight; I know that if I'm eating 'right' the weight will come off.  

- I go through my closets at least twice a month.   There's nothing like baggy pants for encouragement!

- I have a wonderful network of supporting, encouranging, and loving friends and close ones- starting with my husband, Stu, whose enthusiasm for the new me is infectious!

- I start every day with gratitude and with a slap on the ass, telling myself that at my age I should be smart enough to know how to get my act together.

- I look for articles, books, and films that will be inspiring.   I recently read 'Skinny Bitch' and loved it; 'Eat Pray Love' is a favorite, and the film 'Super Size Me' had me nodding (and shaking) my head.

- I meditate.  Not as often as I'd like to (but that's one of my New Year's resolutions).

- I always look forward.  (I'm already perusing eBay for size 8 and size 6 pants!)

And that's all there is to it!  

There have been some weird bumps along the road (my heart threw me a couple of loops over the summer, but I'm dealing with it), but all in all, it's been pretty easy.   The weight loss has slowed down, but I knew that would happen, so it's not an issue.  With the arrival of the new year, I've renewed my committment to taking- and keeping- the weight off, and am looking forward to new ways of toning and smiling at my body.  

I'm amazed at the increase in my stamina.. Heck- I'm thrilled that I can see my toes!

Writing this post is my public 'coming out'.  I'm actually not sure what's prompted me to go public with my 'before' stats, but if it helps or inspires anyone, then I'm glad I went public.

I guess some 'before; pics are due, so here you go, along with my wishes for a happy, healthy, and content year, filled with hopes and dreams realized and fulfilled, and at least an inkling of glee every day.

Nov, 2009:

Dec 2010: