Many people my age moan about the disappearing years of their lives and try to come to terms with all of the hopes and dreams that never left the planning stages. Boo-hoo, I didn’t become an astronaut. Sniff-sniffle, I didn’t become president. Waaa, I never got accepted to Hogwarts.
They find fault with the years that have passed and lose some of their ability to dream about the years still to come. I give those dark thoughts their due- maybe a few minutes a week of critical introspection- before returning to my standard emotional state, which is shocked and impressed with myself.
This is not a new development. You might be thinking that my vegan superpowers have given me the ability to control my mind. They don’t. I can control the minds of others around me, but not always my own. I felt pretty sure of myself as a carnivore too.
I am shocked and impressed with my 40 years on Earth and how they have allowed me to collect a vast storehouse of experience and understanding. I can remember periods of my childhood when I was faced with questions beyond my maturity level. I would wisely shrug and accept that I would need to be older to tackle such issues.
Now that I have reached this level of understanding I find that I am very comfortable with where I am on the planet. There are still plenty of questions that don’t have answers, but I have such a solid foundation of experience that I can handle not knowing the answers.
Today I am celebrating three months of vegan living. You might think after three months of something as drastic and life altering as veganism, I would be ready to pat myself on the back for a job well done and return to normal by heading to the nearest bar-b-q joint. No way. 21 day kick starts have come and gone since I started. Month long cleanses have been lapped twice in that time. 60 day plant infusions were left in the dust.
I feel like the wisdom and experience that my three vegan months has granted me are similar to the general wisdom that age and experience has offered. I finally feel grounded in this new life- like I’ve answered all the big questions and located all the grey areas.
Today I feel like Chuck Yeagar breaking the sound barrier. There are hundreds of milestones and firsts that came after he managed to travel faster than sound itself, but it was the initial sound barrier that had to be shattered before any of the other records could be claimed. I have broken the Vegan Barrier. Breaking this record means I am now able to claim all of the other prizes and titles that come afterwards.
Chuck Yeagar and I have another thing in common. We’re both prepared for the inevitable stall.
When piloting super sonic jets at deafening speeds Chuck had to be prepared to handle a stall. When the angle of something or other reached a maximum thing-a-ma-bob (see Wikipedia for details) he had to be prepared to regain control of the aircraft or be able to bail out before he became pilot puree flambe.
When I changed the way I ate in an effort to shed unhealthy fat I learned to be prepared to handle a stall. When the effort going into a diet didn’t seem to equal the pounds being lost (see Stick of Butter post for details) I had to be able to maintain what I knew to be working or risk giving up and eating lots of horrible food for weeks out of despair… becoming dieter puree flambe.
I’ve lost weight on a lot of diets and whether it is low fat or low carb, Fit For Life or South Beach, the dreaded stall seems to be part of the cycle. Weight drops off at a good clip for a while and then suddenly levels out. The quarter pound per week loss is slow and tedious, but I have found that if you stick with it, the stall is almost always followed by accelerated weight loss for a period of time. I have seen this on several iterations of the Atkin’s diet and a few other miscellaneous diets that I had mild success with.
However, many people would question a diet’s effectiveness when the weight loss drops from five pounds a week to a half pound a week. If that continues for three and four weeks, they might even begin to wonder if the the diet finally failed. This, of course, can lead to apple fritters and fried chicken very quickly. I’ve seen it happen.
That is why it is such a huge relief to not be dieting anymore. Plant based living is not a diet. It is a way of life. Being a dietary and ethical vegan isn’t a fad you use for a span and then toss away when your pants aren’t getting loose as fast as they were. I was in a three week stall, losing a quarter to half pound a week, and never once questioned my decision to give up dairy and meat. I never once thought ground beef might somehow save the day.
Now at 256 pounds, I am giving a celebratory fist pump because a three pound loss this week means that my stall has ended and the momentum is building again. Living an animal free life is rich enough without weight loss perks, but I’d be a big fat liar pants if I tried to tell you that pulling out of a stall isn’t a thrill that Chuck and I both find exhilarating.