I just started an extreme change in diet, and am looking towards weight loss. I’m 165 lbs, and have a 39.5 inch waist. I had started a juice diet back in the beginning of February, but when my cat got really sick, I became stressed, and started eating junk at work again, cheese, pastries, cookies, lots of bread.* When I went to the doctor and stepped on the scale, I had gained everything back that I lost over the few weeks I was juicing.
Don’t be fooled. Juicing is a lot of work. Cutting raw vegetables isn’t. For every meal I have to juice carrots and apples. I have to clean and chop the vegetables I am going to eat. I have to think about the process of putting together the food. I have to plan my juice menu for work, and take it with me, so my hands don’t get stuck in the wrong food. And here’s the best part, I need to keep a food log of what I eat. That includes the junk food.
We all know that it is better to eat organic, but there is not 100% proof that the veggies and fruits I am eating are organic. There is a debate on whether organic farming is less or more harmful than conventional farming. I find it hard to justify purchasing the more expensive organic produce when I can’t be sure of the farming techniques involved.
The household budget has been such that I can’t afford the organic produce. We are working on changing that. But for the next few months it will still be tight. Yes, I get to the farmers markets when I can, and their prices are reasonable in my neck of the woods, but frequently I work during the hours they operate, so I miss that weekly trip.
I am working on becoming a conscientious eater. I have to think about what I am putting into my body. Sometimes at work, I don’t do this, and my hand gets stuck in the cheese, and the cheese goes in my mouth. There’s a pastry cart, and the fattening sugar and egg filled concoction goes into my mouth. And then I torture myself for eating these things. 1) they are not vegan, 2) they are so very bad for me, 3) that is why I have weight gain.
Changing the way we eat is hard. As a species we like comfort food, and we are wired with a vicious sweet tooth. There is a feeling of entitlement to the foods we eat in the United States. The meats, the pre-packaged foods, all the produce that is chopped and sliced for us sitting on the market shelf. Getting food is easy, we don’t have to work at it. So of course, we don’t think about what goes into the body, just that I can have THAT if I want.
This is what I have noticed on day 3 of changing my eating habits. Eating raw veggies gives me energy and makes me feel good. When I eat pastries, I get the boost from the sugar, but then start feeling sluggish a half hour later. I’m finding that processed white flour is not good for my body, not any more. So, when I go to put something in my mouth at work, it needs to be veggies. Raw veggies. Stuff that makes me feel good, and doesn’t cause guilt later on.
Becoming a conscientious eater is like learning to walk again. Think, then eat. Be grateful for the food. Find the joy in what you are eating. Don’t just slam down the big mac and fries and call it a day. Look at what is really going into your body, and if you want to make a change, make it, slowly. Give yourself time, and if you slip, like I did, go back to the beginning. I am guilty of sitting around the house devouring a bag of potato chips, and not even thinking about it. So, I know I need to change.
These are the first few steps for me, hopefully I can stay on this path, and really change my habits.
*Please don’t let it surprise you that I am not 100% Vegan. I am a working chef in a large resort. My goal is to be 100% vegan in the next year.