Vegan Has a Bad Rep

If you’re wondering if I gained all the weight that I lost last summer… yes, yes I did. (I know, tragic. *sigh*)

How in the world did I gain all 20+ pounds back you ask? “I thought your IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros) worked for you?” Well ,yes, it did/does work for me, but I was very strict with counting my macros during the summer (2016). Once school started back up, however, counting the macros in everything I ate proved to be a challenge. My school year went from me counting my macros to the gram, to loosely tracking my macros, to only counting my breakfast, to not counting my macros at all. As my eating habits started to spiral down, so did my workouts. I started skipping my workouts at the gym when academics demanded more and more of my time. Like I previously mentioned, I had a workout split; which meant on Sunday & Wednesday, I would workout my legs (glutes & hamstrings one day and glutes & quads the other), Monday & Thursday I would workout Back & Biceps, and on Tuesday and Friday I would workout Chest & Triceps, but as I started to skip days, I found myself struggling to stick with my workout split and I was just working out the same body parts. I became less and less rigid with my split and there came a point when I would only go to the gym twice a week and try to do full body workouts. At this point, I just felt unmotivated, lost, and frustrated. In my head, I kept telling myself, “Whatevz. This isn’t that important, anyways. I have other things to worry about.” But the truth of the matter is, while my physical appearance isn’t the most important thing in my life, it is something that I take pride in and keeping it in tip-top shape feeds my self-esteem and hunger for self-improvement. Plus, eating well and working out makes me feel confident in myself and I believe that self-confidence is crucial to my success in other aspects of my life.

In my last post, I said, “after one day of tracking my macros, I was sold.” Let me clarify exactly what I meant. At that point in my weight loss journey, I was at a plateau with my body weight. (I think our bodies have that comfy weight where it kinda just says, “that’s all”) Mine happens to be right around 119-121. Last summer, I hit a plateau at 119 pounds (about 54 kilos) and for a full 2 weeks I stayed at this weight. After limiting my salt intake,  I started to lose one stubborn pound after stubborn pound.

I just want to quickly explain what IIFYM diet is because some girls that read my blog last year asked me what tracking your macros was and how I did it. It’s basically tracking how many grams macronutrients (fat, protein, & carbohydrates) you’re consuming daily.

For example, at the beginning of my macro counting journey I was 119 pounds. That meant I would eat 119 grams of protein. For fat, you would multiply your total body weight by .40 and that would be how many grams of fat you would consume (which for me was 47.6 so 48). With carbs, you just wing it. You can adjust your carbs to your liking. (I put 2 YouTube videos at the bottom of this post that explains how to track your macros. Irish online coach/physique competitor/YouTuber, Rob Lipsett *not vegan* does a fantastic job at explaining this.) I practiced carb cycling. I had “refeed” days (in which I would up my carb intake); hoping the extra calories would go straight to the body part that I’m working out that day (in this case, it was my bootay). Like I said, this diet works and I know good and well how efficient it is. But it’s hard to count macros (even loosely) when you get super busy. I wanted to consume food, not let food consume me. My eating became all about numbers. I know for a lot of people, this diet works, but I started to question its sustainability. Not only for me, but for the environment. If you want to try this, make it freaking sustainable. That was my problem last year. I thought I would always have time to drive down the hill to buy groceries every weekend, when in reality, I was only able to go 3 times.

Toward the end of this school year, I was feeling sluggish due to all the weight I managed to put on. I started to reminisce about the time I felt energized, thought clearly, and felt and looked amazing (and wasn’t so obsessed with food/counting calories). The only time I could think of was the summer of 2013 when I went on a strict vegan diet for 4 months. I followed this diet simply for the health benefits it provided. So of course, when the social pressures settled in, I caved.

Since the beginning of this year, I had been wanting to go vegan but didn’t know exactly when to start. I knew that once I committed to a sustainable diet, I would actually stick to it long-term. like, (fo life kinda deal) because I was sick and tired of diets. I returned to following a vegan diet the first week of summer and instantly felt my energy level increase and I noticed the fog in my brain cleared.

I lowkey wish I was lactose intolerant because then I’d have a good and socially-acceptable excuse to abstain from dairy products. When I politely decline a cheesecake or frozen yogurt, people give me horrified looks and demand to know what is wrong with me. I don’t get it, why are we(vegans) ostracized for not eating dairy? I think that making/eating food from the milk of a different species is more outrageous. (BTW we are the only species on earth that drinks milk from another species.) But, that’s just me.

When I was vegan in 2013, I was also a cardio bunny. I ran 6 miles everyday after school. Looking back at my diet, it probably wasn’t the healthiest. Actually, it was HORRIBLE. I was the definition of a “bad” vegan. I ate vegan grill cheese, quesadillas, doing a line of oreos (there are 3 columns in each oreo packaging. get with the lingo) any ways, I looked fabulously skinny but was overall unhealthy. The only veggies I would eat were carrots and celery for snacks. I was stick skinny.

Before transitioning back to a vegan diet, I had to ask myself some hard questions, why do I really want to go vegan? What steps would I take to stick to it this time around? The biggest reason why I quit last time was because of social pressures and giving too many F’s about others’ opinions.

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You might be wondering if I watched a vegan documentary that made me want to transition back into this lifestyle, and the short answer is: no. Towards the middle of my journey back to a vegan diet, I did watch Cowspiracy and What the Health for the first time this summer and if anything, all they did was solidify my decision on going on a plant-based diet.

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I did my own freaking research (contact me for a list of peer-reviewed research articles) and I read books about different kinds of diets–a good one is “What The Fork Are You Eating?” written by Stefanie Sacks MS, CNS, CDN, a woman who had tried it all -raw, gluten free, vegan, organic, etc. You name it, she tried it.

I’m not even going to lie, I had to find beautiful influencers on instagram and youtubers to see how they do it and of course I use them as my vegan inspirations.

⁃ Nimai Delgado (IFBB Pro)

The only guy in the fitness industry that can honestly say that he has NEVEReaten meat before. (At first it was hard for me to believe this) How is that even possible? Nimai’s mom and dad are both vegetarian chefs which means they educated him about plant based food at a very young age and they obviously had a passion for wholesome food so you could imagine the impact they had on him.

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⁃ Mischa Janiec (Natural Pro Athlete)

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⁃ Brett Cap (Model/PT)

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Knowing that these guys care about something more than just their personal #gains and place value in something much bigger than themselves is refreshinglyattractive.

⁃ Carli Bybel (makeup artist)

Suffering from eczema, Carli decided to go vegan once she realized that whenever she would consume meat and dairy her skin would flare up. Her boyfriend Brett Cap (pictured above) transitioned to a vegan diet to support her. (Ahhh I know ladies. Swoon)

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⁃ Sofia Mia Cacova (model)

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⁃ Sjana (yogi) I can’t think of someone else that radiates positivity and happiness like Sjana does.

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They don’t talk down to meat eaters, they don’t poke fun at people that aren’t living the same lifestyle as them. All they do is shed light on cleaner options and spread positivity. This is what I find MOST appealing and what I practice. Too often, people turn away from veganism because they’ve encountered someone who was vegan and tried to force their beliefs down their throats. When people are this aggressive, whether it be with their political or religious beliefs, it only repels the people they are trying to convince.

Here’s the Before & After pic after going vegan for a week. I took these at the beginning of the summer. I wish I could say I was sticking out my gut but… um, I wasn’t. You can see that I lost a couple of inches off my waist and hips (that is something you can’t suck in even if you try super hard). I know there is no stark difference with these two pictures but what you can’t see or measure in this Before & After picture that I am most proud of was the amount of energy I gained. I took this on the My Fitness Pal app which requires me to take a pic on the app and not upload anything from my camera roll so there is no way I could have photoshopped this. Also this is the most unflattering angle so you know that I wasn’t trying to out angle myself. LOL.

I have been vegan for 1 month and 1 week now and I have lost a total of 11 pounds. That might sound like a lot but you need to understand, I was stuffing my face during my vacation to the Philippines which made me gain weight! I still have several pounds to lose to get back to my normal weight (the weight I feel most comfortable in). I’m grateful for having some knowledge with tracking my macros/calories because I am much more aware of the amount of calories in (what I consume) and calories out (workout/energy I use up).

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“Inch by inch, millimeter by millimeter, whether it’s the next day or the next week and NOT beating yourself up about it. If you fail… if for an entire week, for an entire month, just get up and sorta just brush the dirt off and get back to it. It’s not a straight line. It’s a very jagged, intimidating, sometimes exhausting experience.” – Tim Ferriss

Calculating Macros / Calorie Requirements

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