Monday, 3 October 2016

My vegan journey. One month's progress + my eating disorder.


Hello, my lovelies! Today's post is going to be different and very personal - something I don't do often. Some of you may have noticed my recent tweets, where I've talked about changing my lifestyle and switching to a vegan diet. This was a very drastic change for me, and today, I'd like to talk a little more about it and share my progress with you all. As a disclaimer, this post is not going to be some kind of vegan propaganda where I try and convince you to switch to this lifestyle. We all make our own choices, and I think it's great that we live in a society where we actually have the freedom to do so. This post is more about sharing my own experience with veganism, and also my eating disorder - something that's extremely personal and difficult to talk about, but also a big part of my life. I hope that perhaps some of you may relate to this in some way, or find it helpful if you're thinking about switching to a vegan diet. Hope you enjoy!


MY EATING DISORDER
It's strange how a basic activity like eating can cause so much stress and anxiety. I have always struggled with my weight and maintaining healthy eating habits. I think I'm one of those people who just can't have anything in moderation, including - or especially, food. For instance, I could never just have handful of crisps - I would have an entire share size packet, followed by more and more food. I would eat until I feel sick, and then I'd eat even more. With binge eating, there is no real thought process behind it. It's like you're completely disconnected from any sort of rational thinking, with your mind focused only on one thing - food. And once you get yourself into that state, it's incredibly difficult to snap out of it.

For the longest time, I felt like I had no control over my own eating. In my own head, yet I felt like I was just sitting in the passenger seat, and someone else was driving. I felt helpless, desperate and completely out of control. I could not understand the force that drove me to binge eating, nor could I tame it. This helplessness lead me to trying a lot of weird diets, calorie restriction and even weight loss pills. All of these things worked on some level, but only temporarily. It would take nothing for me to get back into the old habits, and I couldn't maintain any progress I have made long-term.


GOING VEGAN
I saw a lot of hope in veganism. Rather than trying to discipline myself into portion control, I've decided to cut out certain food groups entirely. I figured it'd be easier to just give up cheese and chocolate, rather than only allow myself to have a little bit. Calorie restriction never worked for me long-term, so I've decided to change the source of calories instead. It's so much easier to eat healthy when you're on a vegan diet, mostly because you automatically cut out the most fattening foods. Of course, you still have access to some junk foods, but it's much more limited. Cutting out meat was easy for me, but dairy is where things got difficult. I've had a few slip ups, but I'm happy to say that I've still managed to maintain a vegan diet for the most part. Honestly, I was surprised by the variety of vegan foods available. I always imagined a vegan diet to be quite bland, but there are still so many delicious foods that you can have - fruit smoothies, potato dishes, pasta, nuts, almond milk, and even Pringles!

HAS IT WORKED?
After switching to a vegan diet, I've started to feel better almost instantly. The first thing I noticed was how much more energy I've had - getting up in the morning was no longer a complete chore, and I haven't been feeling as tired during the day. My metabolism has really sped up, and I've been feeling a lot 'lighter' and healthier in general. I've also lost about five pounds in the first three weeks, but I don't want weight loss to be the focus of this post. Most importantly, the vegan diet has helped me to regain control over my eating, which is just the most amazing feeling. I still eat a lot and don't count the calories, but my diet is so much cleaner and healthier than it's ever been. Honestly, I do miss certain dairy foods and I still get the cravings, but there are ways to satisfy them - at least partially.

At this point in time, I think that I would like to try and stick to my vegan diet long term. It's been challenging, yes, but it's worked well for me so far and I love how healthy and 'in control' it makes me feel. I am still finding my way around it and I've had a few slip ups, but I feel like I'm on the right path. To any vegan friends out there, I'd love to hear your tips on how to stay motivated and satisfy dairy cravings. I will update you again on my progress in a month, but if you have any questions or would like to see more posts like this, let me know!

What are your thoughts on a vegan diet? 

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