Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Day 1--Why Vegan?

Today was the first official day of the "new me." It was a rollercoaster, to be sure.  I started okay, forcing myself to eat breakfast before leaving the house, even though I usually skip breakfast. I got all of my morning errands out of the way, came home and made lunch as soon as possible, because I knew I only had a limited amount of time before I hit a wall.  And whe I hit that wall, I wanted to die.

I chose a vegan diet based on everything I've read, watched, and learned over the past few weeks, and based on basic nutrition principles that I've known for years.  I should be clear, I'm very aware that vegan does not always equal healthy.  Technically, my favorite potato chips are vegan.  This is about  more than cutting out meat, dairy, et cetera--this is an extreme back-to-basics move for me, to get me away from processed food and back to a diet mainly consisting of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.  So with this diet, I've cut out more than just animal products.

Which brings me back to the "wall."  For as long as I've had a driver's license, I've had a pretty strong caffiene addiction. Every time I go without it for twelve hours or so (usually by accident), I get a warning headache.  If I don't recognize what is happening and get caffienated, the headache grows, my eyes hurt, I get nauseous.  At that pont, nothing helps.  No Tylenol, no aspirin, no caffiene--but I always make a mental note to not let that happen again. But I've always known it was false energy.  So I broke the cycle of dependency, no coffee in the morning, and no more soda in the afternoon.

Withdrawals knocked me out for the better part of the afternoon and evening, but I forced myself to eat (Asian veggie stir fry) and I'm finally coming around.  I guess that's the good thing about caffiene addiction--the physical part of it only lasts for 48 hours, max.  Tomorrow I'll be so happy to have this part behind me!

All together, it was a decent first day.  I knew what to expect, for the most part, and I'm glad I made "Day 1" a day off from work.  But tomorrow, I'm back i the full swing.  I'm feeling unprepared, not exactly sure what I'm going to take for lunch yet.  But I'm sure it swill work itself out.  After all, the soda machine in the breakroom has been out of Mountain Dew for weeks!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Where I'm Coming From

I highly doubt any of us end up becoming the exact person we thought we would be in high school.  When we're young, we're idealistic and na├»ve, no matter how much we would have hated to hear that at the time.  Everyone at my high school, for example was going to change the world. Or become famous.  Or use their fame to change the world, you get the picture.

My ten year high school reunion is coming up next year, and the Facebook group dedicated to it will not let me forget it.  As is to be expected, there's a fair amount of reminiscing going on,  as well as a lot of catching up.  What has everyone been up to in the past ten years?  I actually started to fill this out, and then stopped. I couldn't finish it, because I wasn't writing to my classmates, I was writing to my eighteen-year-old self.

Eighteen-year-old me had freaking sky-high expectations for twenty-seven-year-old me.  I like to think I'm doing all right in life, but compared to what high-school-Valerie wanted?  She was in the "change the world" camp.  Okay, so not everyone gets to do that.  She was so mad she was  juust barely too young to vote in the 2000 presidential election.  What would she think of the fact that I haven't voted since 2008?  That I don't even know where my local polling place is?  That I've sacrified my ideal environmental ethics for convenience?  That I drive from work to home, eat, watch TV/play on the Internet, fall asleep, wake up and go to work?

Who I've always wanted to be hasn't changed.  I still think about all those things.  They run through my mind every day, and it has always been "Oh, I'll get there someday."  But get there how?  I've never really made any effort to change who I am.  I hate excuses, but I'm not perfect and I use them.  The one that fits this is as whiny as it sounds: "I don't have the energy!"  It's not entirely an excuse.  I am one of those people that needs (and has always needed, even in college) a full eight hours of sleep to be functional.  Modern life isn't always so conducive to that.  So I constantly fight the battle between the sleep (I think) I need, and the stuff I want to get done.

In the back of my mind, I've always known that how I eat, and what I eat, has as much of an effect on my energy levels as my sleep.  But changing what you eat is very much harder than going to bed an hour early.  Changing your diet requires time, something I've been saying I don't have.  It's an excuse.  It's a lie. 

I'm making the time.  I'm going after what I've always wanted--a healthy life and a balanced mind.  A life I run, instead of allowing it to run me.   For me, the first step is changing what I put into my body.  If my main excuse for everything else, is that I don't have the energy, it makes sense to actively change my energy level.

I'm starting by wholly committing to a 60-day vegan plan.  Nothing like jumping in the deep end, right?  For me, going all-or-nothing is essential, due to my ability to rationalize myself into believing that I deserve things that are bad for me (more on that later).  And, while I've never tried this before, it is one of those things I've been thinking about for, well, close to ten years now.  I'm only limiting it to 60 days to give myself an endzone to look at--if this is successful, I may make it a permanent lifestyle change.  Or I may land somewhere in between there and where I am now.  But food is only the beginning of what I'm looking to do here.  It's the first step of a total lifestyle change.

I started this blog to track my progress, and to hold myself accountable.  To show my high-school self that I remember what she wanted for me (us?).  I don't have and end date to the whole project yet.  But I have a start.