Deviant Eater

Musings on becoming vegan and the changing perspectives it brings.

Friday, August 04, 2006

How I gave up meat and lost 40 pounds in a year

This is the first of three articles discussing how I changed my lifestyle and will cover a lot of the background and environment from before I stopped eating animal products. The next article will discuss the actual changes made to my lifestyle, and the last article will talk about how I continue to live this lifestyle from day-to-day.

It has been almost a year since I discovered my belief that animal products are more poison than food, and the changes that discovery has wrought on my body, mental well-being, and general health have been astonishing. I'm not a doctor, nutritionist, or any other type of authority on food - nor can I promise that anyone would have the results that I have had this year. But I still want to share the changes that I made and the results that I've seen so that others might consider alternatives to their current lifestyle.

Before I made these changes, I knew that I wasn't eating well - my body was telling me, my growing weight problem was telling me, and my father and his father were telling me (albeit indirectly). But I like food, I like big portions, and no serious attempt at dieting had ever lasted for long. It took a serious look at my lifestyle to discover that other options existed, and the discovery of some books and articles that opened my eyes to the problems with what I chose to eat.

My body and diet

First, let me describe where I started from. In September of 2005 I weighed around 237 pounds. I had been adding between two to five pounds a year for six years, with the better years coming during a period of increased physical activity. I had a fondness for steak, cheese, wine and beer, and was typically inactive. Steak and potatoes were a common meal, and eating out for most lunches and many dinners was the usual state of affairs. From the age of twenty-two to thirty-six, outside of one eighteen month stretch where I worked out on an almost daily basis, I was sedentary.

From there, almost anything I did could be an improvement. Changing my diet, getting more active, cutting back on the worst of the foods I typically ate - even just reducing portion sizes. Any of those changes could have helped. But therein lies the rub - any one of them had little significant impact by itself, and every one of them carried a cost that I seemed unwilling to bear. Trying to "cut back" or "get active" were changes to lifestyle that I seemed incapable of making stick. As much as I could consider the benefits of any change, and desire the results of the change, I would quickly regress to my normal habits, and would continue to observe the same results - increasing weight, decreasing energy, and a growing frustration with myself.

And this is where I was the day I decided to give up meat, eggs, cheese, milk, etc. It seems like a drastic change on the face of it, but it turned out to be easier than I ever would have thought possible, with the hard parts being much different than what I expected going in.

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