Shape magazine posted this article from POPSUGAR Fitness. How I Gained Weight as a Vegan: Don’t Let It Happen to You! Check it out. And it’s so true. Everything she says is hella true. I was that girl.
And by the end of school, beginning of graduate school I’d gotten to here.
A good, 40ish or so pound difference.
Now look. I know, I’m not delusional. I recognize that I’m no ‘Biggest Loser’ Contestant, but I had to take off some lbs. It wasn’t going a good way.
And it wasn’t completely about the way I looked, either. I felt tired and sluggish all the time. But I won’t front. I totally wasn’t confident in the way I looked, in particular, I hated my stomach, but I think that more had to do with the fact that I never worked out, and I generally felt crappy. That crappy feeling, from eating crappy food, will spill over and cloud your view of yourself, so it was just a nasty cycle.
I transitioned to a veg/pescatarian lifestyle my sophomore year when I was living with this girl. The food at Elon at the time wasn’t my fave, and truthfully, I’d never really been a beef person. Chicken was my friend (let’s perpetuate the stereotype, Cheri), and that was the one thing I’d have trouble giving up. I’d switch back and forth between Pescatarianism (eating no animal products but fish) and Vegetarianism, and despite the fact that I wasn’t chowing down on Big Macs, I packed on a little bit of pudge without even really noticing until swimsuit season snuck up on me. And that was always traumatic.
But the main reasons why my veg-ish lifestyle packed on a little pudge?
- I worked out sporadically, at best. Once a week here. A few weeks off. Once there. Off. And I never gained a sense of why and how exercising was important to maintaining a healthy weight. Plus, when you exercise more, you don’t necessarily want to eat all the crappy stuff that’s gonna make a workout miserable. Now, I’ve changed it by doing something every day, with about one day off a week. I run, run, run, cycle, yoga, and then I teach class on the side.
- I didn’t realize how important diet was in how your body looked. I literally remember one of the Real Housewives of Orange County, Alexis Bellino, saying how diet was like 80% of how your body looked, and feeling horrified in the knowledge that if I were ever to lose the bottom part of my belly that I didn’t like, that I’d have to stop drinking Cokes to stay awake in class. Which brings me to this…
- I drank my calories. I had no sense of what percentage of my calories were liquid. I drank Cokes to stay awake in class. I drank fruity alcoholic beverages with whipped cream on top. I just was doing too much. I’ve since switched to waters, sparkling waters, Kombucha, and nonfat lattés with skim. Obviously, I’ll treat myself, to a Gatorade or a fancy drink from Starbucks, but definitely, it’s more far and few between than it was.
- I didn’t know how to read a label/what a calories was. I had this abstract sense of labels and calories, but not really how it applied to me and what I was eating. It really wasn’t until I consulted with a nutritionist at Camp Pocono Trails, where I was working, that it made sense. And I kept track of everything that I put into my mouth until I had a firm grasp of what I was eating.
- I was still eating fast food. I can’t even…okay. I ate at the most disgusting places. All vegetarian mind you, but all disgusting. One of which included the Filet-o-Fish from McDonalds with the nasty piece of cheese and a glob of tartar sauce on top (who puts cheese on a piece of cod?!) and the Sampler Platter from Applebees, which included mozzarella sticks, spinach and artichoke dip, and cheese quesadillas. All of these items were fried in some way, shape, or form. I am so kind of ashamed when I tell people that.
- I didn’t eat any “whole” foods. I didn’t eat salads. I didn’t read labels to see what ingredients (ingrediences, right Teresa Guidice?) foods included. And I never packed my own lunch. How can you maintain a healthy weight when you don’t even know who’s making your food, right?
So if you’re contemplating vegetarianism or veganism, bravo! However, if you’re doing it for weight loss, you’re barking up the wrong tree. You can just as well fall into a nasty trap and gain a ton. Balance is absolutely key and without all the pieces of a healthy lifestyle, it’s just not gonna work.