Why I chose to do my fitness journey as a vegan after so many years
When I look back on my fitness journey through the years (almost 16 and counting now), I can admit now that one of my biggest struggles was nutrition. I was definitely a “trying to outrun a bad diet” type of guy with marathon workouts, and believing I was young enough to eat garbage all day and still look good.
If I could go back and change one thing it would definitely be my eating habits sooner. It wasn’t until only about 2 years ago that I really started to treat my nutrition seriously. Both my actual strategy of how I ate, as well as what the content actually was.
When I look back now I am almost embarrassed to tell people what I would eat. I was so dedicated to my training that I wouldn’t miss a workout ever. I always hit the gym after work, had sports and trained 5-6 days per week. I would get my workout in over anything and take it extremely seriously. But, I just didn’t care what I ate for some reason. I probably spun my wheels like this for years. Looking back now no idea how I maintained that mentality for so long without changing especially considering the “results” I was getting. As in none.
People use all kinds of excuses for why they eat, what they eat, or why they eat poorly, and I did the same. Working too much, cooking takes too long, not knowing how to cook, kids, school, life, friends, family, you name it. But in the end, it’s just about priorities. Most people just have the wrong ones, or don’t even realize that their small choices are adding up to huge issues as time passes. If you have committed to your fitness journey and want results, you have to merge both sides of the coin. The workout and the nutrition. The sooner you realize it and start to work both towards your goals, the sooner you will get the results you are after.
For me it was just laziness and the ease of fast food. As I said above, I am almost embarrassed to talk about what I ate a couple years ago, but I’ll give you an idea just for entertainments sake.
In the morning, I would wake up and have an extra large triple triple coffee on the way to work. Gotta love Mcdonalds coffee. It wasn’t until I one day googled the calorie content of it that I finally gave it up. But drank them for years. I maybe even had 2 some days. Only 400 cals each! I loved my cream and sugar. 800 calories and it was only 8 am.
On my first break at work at about 9 am, I would wander over to the A&W or McDonalds, and grab my self a hearty break fast of deep fried hash browns, toast, egg sandwiches etc. Great empty calories – I was usually hungry within the hour! 12 noon would come, and it was time for lunch. I would go grab the typical fast food meal. Burger and fries and a pop. It was noon and I was probably pushing 2,500-3,000 calories. 2 pm break would come and I would grab a bagel with some butter and cream cheese. Work would end at 4, and I would be grabbing some other snack. Can’t even remember these days what that would be, but chocolate milk was a staple for me back in the day and a chocolate bar or something. Dinner would be a huge pizza (that was my fav for sure), and by the end of the night, I would be on the couch with some chips and salsa. Those were the day’s ha-ha. Unfortunately that does not bring you towards your fitness goals. Meanwhile I would train for an hour and a half at the gym for nothing.
This had been going on for awhile and one day I wanted to start a new program for my workouts that I asked my wife to take a typical “before” picture. I just wanted a new starting point. Well I looked at the picture and was blown away. All those bad choices had compounded into a physique I was not happy with. (See below)
Even though I worked out every day, it was hardly enough to make a difference with what I was putting into my body. I had zero will power for food. Due to years of bad habits I had a difficult time stopping eating junk. Diet strategies always failed as it was too easy to break. All it took was one craving and it was over. I have tried so many diets that just never stuck.
This is after hard solid training. But with what I would call poor genetics and a terrible diet my visual results where awful.
My wife had been a vegetarian for years, and suggested maybe I start more of a plant based diet. Her influence is what finally got me to start a better course. I found my why, and it was my wife. She was, of course, my biggest influence, if she suggests something I’m going to try it 😉 For whatever reason, my whys were not powerful enough to make me change before. Just wanting a good physique, or to be fit, just didn’t overpower my junk food addiction.
So I became a vegetarian. I had never really “loved” meat anyway so for me this was actually an easy change. This first change started me down my path to fixing my nutrition. It didn’t happen right away, it was just what I can trace back as my turning point. I was building my lifestyle strategy.
As the months progressed as a vegetarian, I was still able to eat junk. Still had pizza, donuts, cookies etc. so I still wasn’t quite making the results I wanted. Although I had improved slightly, I still had too much room for error.
I have always wanted to find that diet that became a life style for me. I have done so many that just didn’t seem to fit. It can’t be a diet. It has to become your lifestyle that you believe in. So, after a long hard process, I finally went vegan.
My why for going vegan had a number of angles, my wife (now vegan herself), had a chance to start cooking my own food as well as the requirements to do so because vegan cooking is not easy to eat out on. We found something we could do together and try lots of fun new things. And I would finally have to give up most junk and processed garbage as almost none of it was vegan. I couldn’t let my wife down now. I committed. In the past, that was my commitment to myself. Pffff who keeps those? But to my wife? I am all in. For me, finding a diet strategy I could build my life around was what I finally had. It would improve my relationship, health, well being and personal skills in cooking. It was a great decision.
I learned how to cook buying a few vegan cook books, I dedicated myself to enjoy tasty meals, and even some treats here and there vegan style. I learned how to be healthy and eat “clean”.
Today I love my diet and lifestyle which is funny because I really couldn’t say I loved it when I was eating nothing but garbage. I love what I eat every day. And I think that is the secret to making your diet part of your life style and not failing on it whatever path it may be. Find your why, your reason for doing something that’s powerful enough to get you through any how.
And no, I am not protein deficient.