Unexpected Outlaw Vegan Responses...
So, for coming up on three months now I have been back at my old vegan ways. Well, not exactly as I am actually eating lots of vegetables, which was not the case in my 20s. LOL.
I am finding some interesting things are going on with me and they are unexpected in terms of, well, I didn't expect them and wasn't trying to make them so. First, I have leaned out a bit. Meaning that some of what I used to deem everyday "bloat" has now disappeared. When I checked it I found that indeed I am four to five pounds leaner according to my once often used and now mostly stuck in the bottom of the sink cabinet bathroom scales. As far as activity levels, formal training has actually been cut back. I have been doing shorter workouts, lots of yoga and very little cardio since winter has me pretty much snowed in. It isn't loss of muscle either. In terms of muscle tone I look exactly the same.
More importantly, my cravings have lessened. I have been a long sufferer of sugar cravings. I would crave sweets during the day at work and often cave to the never-empty candy dish in the main office. I would crave them after a meal or before bed I would "need" a little sweet snack. These things weren't BIG - like I wasn't eating a whole bag of candy but I don't like the feeling of "OMG I NEED CHOCOLATE" ruling my brain. For the first time in years I actually have made the comment that something is "too sweet" in relation to a dessert. Further, I used to be a hot cocoa fanatic. It was how I would feed my cravings in the evenings. Worse, I would drink the sugar free kind to save on calories and then load it with artificial sweeteners. I was worried about giving this up so I bought some vegan hot cocoa but I've only had maybe two cups this winter. I used an artificial sweetener in something the other day, took one drink and poured it down the drain. It had this awful, bitter aftertaste that I never noticed when I was living life as a crazed sweet-oholic.
Not only sweets but other cravings in general have mostly stopped. The snacking craving, the thinking about food constantly (which will happen anytime you have spent years focusing on food, calories, blah, blah, blah), all but gone. I generally have been eating a mid morning snack (I am not a breakfast eater) then lunch and dinner. I'm hungry at mealtimes. I actually feel like it is OK to stop eating when the meal is over (something else that has been a struggle for my entire life). The key thing to me with all of this is that I didn't force any of it, actively pursue it, plan for it. It all seems to have just naturally happened by taking the focus OFF of some things that had been part of my life for decades. So I guess what I DID actively pursue was letting go.
See, when I went back onto this path I told myself that I would not see NOT eating things as a punishment. I did not want this to be like a "diet" or like self imposed "clean eating" because those things have always made me feel out of control due to over control and downright resentful of my own decisions. I was simply going to eat things I liked that didn't involve animal products. So, that included lots of vegetables, fruit, plain white rice and a little of the Tofurkey type stuff but really wanted to try and eat as much fresh food as possible. At the same time, I decided I would not deny myself snacks like tortilla chips and salsa because this wasn't about a diet...
I really wanted to get away from that mindset. As a matter of a fact I felt like I had to purge that mindset from my life and I took pretty extreme measures to do so. I started engaging in positive conversations with myself, I stuck those scales under the sink, I refused to talk about training and instead went to yoga or meditated, I ditched memberships and unsubscribed to email notices involving training, unsubscribed to training podcasts or anything else to do with "fitness", deleted all fitness and food tracking apps from my phone, turned the mirror in the bedroom around, (leaving Sam grumbling when he went to put on his tie), because for Hades-sake if your pants still fit they look fine why are you checking to see if your butt looks big? I stopped wearing make-up.... Yes, I stopped wearing make-up. I never have been a big make-up person anyway but even the small amount I did apply I just stopped. This has nothing to do with being vegan per say it was just another way for me to take the focus away from appearance and put it on other things.
I started cooking because I had to. I didn't want my going back to vegan to mean that Sam and I couldn't sit down and eat a meal together or that he had to cook two things and I didn't want to be a junk food vegan. I gave us both permission to screw up and not get my panties in a twitch. Just because I am in the restroom and Sam orders my salad and forgets to ask for no cheese doesn't mean I'm a bad vegan. It just means there is cheese in my salad. LOL.
So what I have experienced in my return to veganism has been a path of relinquishing constant control, (and worries about control and whether I would lose control), and struggle with my mind and body. Maybe that is the best unexpected benefit of all.