Vegetarianism, Rules, and Me

IMG_1295Two years ago, I decided to do a lifestyle change. I was having a lot of problems with my stomach, and I was opposed to medication that would mask, but not fix my problem. My doctor told me to read The Spectrum, by Dean Ornish, and I learned that I have a lot of unhealthy attitudes toward food.

I’ve been overweight as long as I can remember. I have a picture of me on my 7th birthday, standing beside my slim and neat best friend. I’m pudgy and pigtailed. I knew what the word “diet” was before I knew what calories were, and I’ve struggled with my weight my whole life.
There’s probably a mix of genetic and lifestyle reasons for my weight struggles. As much as I struggled with my weight as a teenager, on a perpetual “diet,” I look back at pictures and realize I was gorgeous. As much as I’m “obese” now, I realize that how I look isn’t as bad as I sometimes think. I have good days and bad days with that.

I ate the way I was taught, and thought it was the way you were “supposed to.” I never really liked meat, not as an every day thing. But I ate it, along with my potato or rice and my vegetable, because that’s how you’re “supposed to” eat. I was so programmed, and never thought to explore different ways. I was never into fad diets, but if I worked at dieting, I was always hungry. I never “went vegetarian” because I didn’t think I could stick to it forever and ever, never eating meat again.

After I read The Spectrum, I realized the rules I thought I knew were all just BS, and they weren’t right for me. I never liked meat, but I ate it because I wasn’t “a vegetarian.”

These days, I primarily try to avoid processed foods. I eat fish once or twice a month. I’ve eaten other types of meat 3 times in the past year. Twice, I had literally two bites of something to try it. I ate a steak on my birthday. The vegetarian police didnt come to get me. I haven’t lost any weight, but my stomach problems went away, and I have more energy.

I may have to resign myself to the fact that unless I want to be hungry all the time or spend a half hour a day in the gym, I’m going to be way overweight. I have more energy than most of my average weight friends and I never stop moving. I eat healthier than anyone else I know. I’ve (mostly) stopped using weight as a yardstick of health. It’s hard sometimes. I want to have flat abs and thighs that don’t jiggle, but I don’t think it’s ever going to happen. And I’m trying to be okay with that.

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