Starting in November 2014, I decided to adopt a high carb/low fat vegan diet. Why? Well, because I had a history of eating disorders, drug abuse, alcohol abuse and weight problems. I thought this was going to free me of my food demons and “toxins.”
I vowed to stick to the program for (at least) one full year. I told my boyfriend, my friends, and I even wrote it on my 2015 List of Goals. I was dedicated to the diet and everything was going great until the beginning of the fifth month — I hit a wall.
I couldn’t go out and enjoy foods with my boyfriend and friends, I couldn’t lose weight because of all the extra calories I needed to eat in order to feel full and I hadn’t received any notable, positive physical or mental returns in exchange for sticking to this restrictive plan.
I wasn’t happy and I started to question the diet and why I was even doing this. I talked it out with people I trusted and who’s opinions I valued. I read information from both sides hoping I would get some clarity as to what I should do. I knew I wanted it to end but something was holding me back.
After many hours of deep thought and consideration I was able to identify the main reasons why I was reluctant to throw in the towel early:
1. I thought people would think I was a failure if I went off of it:
I had told my family and friends about my plan to stick to this diet for a full year. What would they think of me if I gave it up?
2. This new eating plan was restricting the types of food I could eat and it was easier to say no:
When people were eating pizza or cake, I didn’t have to use my own willpower to turn them down because it wasn’t part of my diet.
3. I would have to adapt to a whole new way of living:
Where do I even start? I’ve been following this diet for so long now and it’s part of who I am. I’ll have to stop watching all my favorite vegan YouTubers and find new people to relate to, I’ll have to change my grocery shopping list and I’ll have to start over and pick a new diet.
After I made these identifications I realized that I had been through something like this before. I had these same feelings and went through this same process when I was making the choice to leave religion and become an atheist.
Just like when I decided to give up religion, I knew I didn’t want the diet to end because I failed to stick to the rules or because I had fucked up and was ashamed of myself. I wanted it to end because I knew the reality I was living in wasn’t the reality that was best for me physically and mentally.
So, after much thought and consideration, I went to a sushi restaurant with my boyfriend last night and I ate a few salmon rolls. It tasted great. I have no regrets and my world didn’t end.
Throughout this whole process, I’ve come to learn two valuable things:
I’ve gained a whole new appreciation for animal protein because unlike the fictitious son of the fictitious man who lives in the sky, the animals we eat are real and they actually do die for us.
And always give 110% to any goal you set for yourself, but know when it’s time to move on. Don’t stick with something just because you made a vow or promise. You will respect yourself a lot more for seeking a better way or finding a higher truth then you would for failing to give up on something just because you’re scared of what people will think.