My Vegetarianism

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Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay

Some people think that the terms, “vegan” and “vegetarian” are interchangeable. They’re not. Vegans don’t eat/use anything from an animal. For example, they don’t drink milk or eat eggs. And if you’re knitting a sweater for a vegan friend or family member, be sure to use yarn that isn’t wool.

Vegetarians, on the other hand, don’t eat meat, but do use animal products (cheese, leather). I’m guessing vegetarians give up meat because they feel that the farming industry treats their animals cruelly. Others do it for their health.

I chose to become a vegetarian 3 years ago, which doesn’t mean that all I ever eat are vegetables! Well, most of what I eat has vegetables, but it has things like pasta or brown rice, too.

Anyway, 3 years ago I was the heaviest I’d ever been. At 5’1″, I weighed 180 lbs. I don’t know what caused the weight gain, but my primary care physician mentioned that the gall bladder, which processes fat, could no longer do its job because it was surgically removed I think, the year before. So that could be one of many reasons for the weight gain.

Another is my craving for Peanut M&Ms. Every once in a while I’d have a craving for something sweet, and it would usually be Peanut M&Ms and I would end up binging on them. Also, I didn’t exercise. And to be honest I still don’t.

After I gave up meat, I lost 30 lbs. Then I lost another 10, and another 10, which is where I am now. I don’t know if all people lose weight if they become a vegetarian; this is just my experience.

To be perfectly honest, I do, sometimes, miss eating meat. Mostly I’ll have a taste for kabobs, ribs, maybe a nice steak, BBQ for sure. I’ve even approached my husband about having a cheat day, but he remains steadfast as far as his own vegetarianism goes. So I do, too.

Plus, also to be honest, I’m afraid of eating meat because now I’m afraid I’ll gain all that weight back. It wouldn’t be the end of the world, but still.


Are you a vegan or vegetarian? Or neither? Would you ever consider giving up meat?

Relationship with Food

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Photo on Visual hunt

This post is prompted by Working on Us, Week 5 on Beckie’s Mental Mess. (My answers to week 5 are here.)

My relationship with food is unhealthy. What I eat is dictated by my emotions. They decide what I’ll eat, how much I eat, when to eat, and why to eat. I eat when I’m bored, happy, sad. I’m so used to having something to soothe or reward me when I’m not feeling right or when I’m ecstatic. Now that I’m working on making my relationship with food healthy, I’m trying to keep emotions separate from food.

I don’t have an eating disorder, though I do occasionally binge (without purging), particularly when I’m having a craving for something sweet. (For me it’s all about sweets.) I can’t get enough; I can’t stop even if I want to, even though I’m full. I just keep shoving food down my throat. And then another emotion kicks in: guilt. A lot of times I continue to eat even more when I’m feeling guilty, and next thing I know, the entire package is devoured.

I’m working on not eating because of my emotions. If I’m bored, I might do something I like, like crocheting or reading to keep from feeling bored and wanting to eat. If I’m happy, I reward myself with something besides food, like new shoes — anything that has nothing to do with food. If I’m sad, I might use a bath bomb and simply soak.

Food is neither “good” nor “bad.” You can eat whatever you want, as long as you do it with moderation. I learned this from the weight-loss program I’m undertaking.

Exercise

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Photo credit: eccampbell on VisualHunt.com / CC BY-SA

So as I mentioned yesterday, my lifestyle change includes exercise, which I absolutely cannot stand. I know from experience that this helps lift depression, but it’s so hard for me to do; I have no incentive. At least not immediate, rewarding incentive (a slice of pie, anyone?).

Over 10 years ago, I played hockey and used to work out every day. I alternated cardio with mat pilates.

I felt great working out, both physically and mentally. My body was fit and trim, and the depression dwindled and I felt confident. I challenged myself to how long or how quickly I could run on the treadmill, which felt good. I even used to go to a gym, albeit in the late mornings when most people had already worked out and left for work.

What makes it so hard today? I honestly don’t know. For one thing, I’m not playing hockey, so it’s like, why bother? I want to lose weight, but I don’t want to do the physical work!

We have a fold-up treadmill here at home, but it’s a pain to use. I have to lower the part I “tread” on every time, and lift it back to position when I’m done. It probably takes longer to set up than it does to use it! So I started using the treadmill again, erratically. I started walking for 10 minutes at 2.3 miles per hour, and will increase both the length of time and the speed as I go.

My “treadmilling” increased when I came across a 30-day workout challenge on Pinterest that has nothing to do with walking. It seemed to me that it would be good to warm up on the treadmill before doing the exercises specified in the challenge: push-ups, squats, crunches, and lunges. Each day the number of these exercises increases and by the end of the month, I’ll be rocking out. Lol! I’m on day 6. I’ve also heard that it takes about 30 days to establish a new habit. My new normal. Wish me luck!


Do you exercise regularly? Would you do a 30-day challenge?

Diet

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Photo on Visual hunt

I joined a weight-loss program in February. It’s called Noom (this is not an ad!). Since I began, I’ve lost all of 4 or 5 lbs. It doesn’t seem like a lot, but my fellow Noomies on the Noom Facebook group assure me that slow and steady wins the race. I also suspect that the lithium is hindering my weight loss because of its side effects of weight gain.

This is the first program I’ve participated in. Noomies have said that on other programs, people would lose a bunch of weight in the first 4 weeks or so and then gain it all back and more. Noom supposedly helps you maintain your goal weight by use of psychology.

Every day, there’s a “lesson” in the Noom app that explains a concept, such as reasons why we choose to eat the foods that we do. Or what type of eater you are. I’m an emotional eater, but I already knew that! Still, being reminded makes me really consider the reasons why I eat when I do. For example, if I feel bored, I eat. If I’m either upset or happy, I’ll eat. I can’t remember what the other types of eaters are, but I do know that I also fall into the group that will eat something just because it’s there.

Noom uses psychological tactics to combat these. For example, it helps if you put your snacks in the cabinet because out of sight, out of mind. If you reward  yourself with food, they suggest that you instead reward yourself with things that have nothing to do with food: a  new pair of shoes, a day at the beach. Basically, they change the way you think–to come up with a “new normal.”

My new normal includes exercise (yuck! I’ll cover that tomorrow). And making the healthier choice when it comes to food. I actually ordered a salad instead of something heavier at a restaurant! It was difficult to make that decision, but it has become easier.

I do eat whatever I want to, but foods are classified green, yellow, and red; red is the least healthy. As long as you stay within the calorie limit (that Noom sets based on your height and age) for red foods, you can eat it! They really stress portion control by stopping eating when you’re full and/or eating when you’re hungry, neither of which had ever occurred to me.

The weight loss will come. I just have to believe and be patient and not compare myself to other Noomies. That, so far, has been the hardest thing to do.

Me vs. Extra Weight

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Photo on Visualhunt

So I gained a few pounds, probably from a combination of Christmas treats and my meds (specifically the lithium), but I’m slowly starting to work it off. I haven’t been overeating, I’m eating only until I feel full, I’m trying to make the healthier choice when it comes to food, I’m trying to actually exercise.

I’m taking it slow, changing my habits. For example, I eat off of a smaller plate rather than a dinner plate so I have the illusion that I’m eating more than I really am. I’m eating better snacks, like frozen fruit bars, which are lower in calories than chocolate. I still eat chocolate, but in moderation. I also don’t beat myself up if I fail one day and eat more than my calorie allotment. I’m reminded that, because there’s a tomorrow, I can always try again the next day.

Of course I couldn’t do all this without any help. I joined a weight-loss program about 10 weeks ago. I’ve lost 5 lbs., which doesn’t seem like a lot, but slow and steady wins the race, is what the weight-loss people say because not only do they want you to lose the weight, they want you to keep it off for good.

I’m trying to learn to love my body, and I’ll be honest. It seems that I can’t accept it until it’s slimmer. I am embarrassed by the size of my belly. I even bought shapewear–something like SPANX–to compress the fat. It doesn’t work as well as they showed on Instagram (duh!), but it works. It’s also a pain in the ass to wear. It doesn’t roll down, but because I’m 5’1″ the waist goes practically to my armpits! I definitely don’t wear it every day. When I am finally slim, I still may not love my body, but that’s another battle.


If you feel that you need or want to lose weight, would you participate in a weight-loss program?