Monday, August 13, 2012

Where I Started...

I was feeling discouraged about what to have for dinner tonight and just generally tired and a little cranky. If I can't decide what to eat, I could always blog about eating, I thought. People are always asking me why I'm vegetarian. To cram it all into one post would be a disaster. It would be unorganized and scatter brained, so I'm going to do a series of posts describing how my eating habits of today came to be. This series can grow with me, as my philosophy continues to develop.

It started December 28th, 2011. I turned twenty-four years old and it hit me, I'm in my mid-twenties. I knew I would be thirty with the blink of an eye! So I decided that I needed to grow up a little bit and take care of my body. I was literally living off of fast food. Burgers, chicken sandwiches, fries, bacon and egg biscuits, the usual from the most conveniently located fast food joints. I typically ate two large, fast food meals a day- both of them on the run. I would get tired easily through the day, but correct it by drinking a soda or a Red Bull. I would get a headache and pop Excedrine. In fact, I was getting headaches often. One of my professors was telling me how taking OTC medication too often can cause even more problems, especially in the realm of headaches. I began to think that maybe my lifestyle needed to change.

When I was in high school, I spent an entire summer waking up at 6 AM to meet a few friends to work out together in preparation for volleyball season. I was active year round. Now I was looking down at the scale that, while not climbing too much, was fifteen pounds over what I was in high school. This wasn't a drastic amount, considering that I had been out of high school for five and a half years, but I knew that it wasn't getting any better and I felt more unhealthy than ever.

My birthday gift to myself on December 28th, 2011 was running. I started with Budd Coates' running program and my favorite beginner's running book ever, Running For Women. This book actually has the linked running program in it, so all of you ladies should buy it! As you can see, during week one I was running for simple two minute intervals. It was kind of tough though, especially by the last one! I realized just how poor of shape I was in that week. To help maintain motivation, I would buy Runner's World magazines each month. One month I was reading about Scott Jurek, ultra marathoner and vegan aficionado. I found this article at a point in my running where it was getting really tough and my legs felt like lead. I believed that my terrible diet (that was still based on eating out two meals a day) was probably a big contributor to how awful I felt.

In just a couple of weeks after reading this article, I had a vacation to Florida coming up. I'd already lost about eight pounds in about five months just from running and was feeling pretty good about that, but hanging out on the beach will make anyone want to work on themselves! Scott Jurek's book wasn't available yet, but I knew I was going to need something to read on this long drive to Florida and the vacation that ultimately, would be my last hurrah before changing my life. I ended up settling for the Engine 2 Diet book after finding it through looking for other vegan/vegetarian stories, since Jurek's book wasn't out yet. It came highly recommended by its readers, so I ordered it and had it rush delivered so I could read it on the way to Florida.

And read it I did! I was hooked and ready to (somewhat regrettably) take a stab at living at the very least, meat free. While in Florida I ate enough meat and amazing food to carry me over for awhile and even make me sick of eating out to an extent. I was ready to cozy in at home and start a new lifestyle.

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