My journey going 100% vegan for 6 months. November 1, 2009 - May 1, 2010 (And my new life now)
Friday, April 30, 2010
And now, the end is near; And so I face the final curtain
Friends, Carnivores, Omnivores, and vegans, lend me your ears; I come to bury Fat Terry, not to praise him.
Over-indulgence, and gluttony pushed me to 300 lbs, with a cholesterol number to match.
Mike Wallace once asked Jackie Gleason in a solemn and serious tone on 60 Minutes why he drinks so much. Jackie's answer? "Because it's fun."
And that is my answer to that. For most of my adult life I ate food that I thoroughly enjoyed, and drank to excess because it was fun. Oh, during these introspective months of veganism I spelunked all around my mind looking for the why. Why did I allow myself to become so unhealthy? After careful self-analysis, self-shrinking of my head, and retracing my steps and thoughts going back to 1972, I came to the conclusion that I did it all because it was fun.
Too much fun is not a good thing, however, and we all know that.
I was grossly over-weight, my knees felt like bags of broken glass, and my general daily disposition could best be summed up as, "tired." On good days I saw Brad Pitt in the mirror, on bad days, John Candy. But I was always the same obese person. Delusion is a wonderful repellent to abject depression.
Six months ago today I woke up, went to the gym to weigh myself, "Oh, look 302 lbs, how delightful," and walked into the cool November air. I walked past thousands of people running up 1st Avenue competing in the New York Marathon. I watched the athletes, I looked at the thousands cheering them on outside of bars, and eating what they wanted and drinking like it was New Year's. I was nibbling an apple and wondering what the hell have I gotten myself into? What would become of me? All this sacrifice to lose some weight?
The thoughts of an uneducated man.
Throughout these past 6 months of going 100% vegan, and following the dietary playbook of Dr. Joel Fuhrman's Eat to Live there has been a seismic shift in me. No, not in my weight, because even though I have lost about 60 lbs I now have a higher goal. My size? Nope, because even though I have gone down two full sizes in clothing it was not the seismic event I speak of. Surely, it must be your physical size? True, I have reduce the space I take up on this planet -- actually, on Nov. 1st I measured around my rotund belly and write the number on my wall next to the fridge, 51 1/2 inches. Today it is 43 1/2 and shrinking. All great things, but the real seismic shift took place in that space of 5 inches between your ears.
I will never look at what I put in my body the same way again. Food can be delicious! Food can be inspiring! Food can be mood altering! Food can be pleasure inducing! But, in the end it is just fuel for your body. The shift in my thinking is unbelievable - it is shocking to me because all along I thought to myself, "OK, I'll do the vegan thing, I'll lay off the hooch, I'll drop the pounds, and at the end of 6 months I'll be on that train looking lean and mean and living it up with Gleason and crew. But a funny thing happened on the way to the bar and buffet car, I realized the lunacy of gorging yourself to a unfulfilled life. Oh, there will be steak dinners, and Scotch-a-thons in my life to be sure. But, they will be so few and far between as to make them a rare treat, and not a habitual daily tradition.
In the end, I know how to eat healthfully now. And I don't view high-fat, great tasting foods as anything other than a potentially dangerous pleasure principal that most be strictly monitored.
Lastly, I have to admit that I am pretty proud of myself. It wasn't easy, but it was by no means miserable. But I did it. 6 months without chicken stir-fry, chicken wings, kung po chicken, General Tso's chicken, chicken parmesan, porterhouse steak, filet mignon, flank steak, Sushi: shrimp, tuna, salmon, yellow tail, eel, dragon rolls, volcano rolls, California rolls, or spicy scallop rolls, clam sauce on my linguini, hard boiled eggs, soft boiled eggs, scrambled eggs, or over easy eggs, shrimp fried rice, pork dumplings, crabmeat dumplings, wonton soup, egg drop soup, clam chowder, lobster, crab, clams, oysters, cheeseburger, bacon cheeseburger, slice of pizza, slice of pizza with pepperoni, slice with sausage, cheese, muenster cheese, gouda cheese, cheddar cheese, mozzarella cheese, Monterey Jack cheese, cottage cheese, blue cheese, milk, milk shake, bacon, bacon bits, or water chestnuts wrapped in bacon....Oh, and no beer, liquor, or wine.
But the results are irrefutable, and I am damn thrilled.