Three months ago, I started on a vegan diet. It wasn’t because of a love for animals – while I abhor cruelty to animals in any form, I’m not going to pretend I don’t have a leather purse and shoes. It wasn’t a desire to have a more natural, organic lifestyle – because my Diet Coke intake stays strong. The real reason I started eating vegan was so I could win a bet.
Every once in a while, some buddies and I engage in a weight loss competition. When we all feel a bit chunky and need a kick in the butt to get healthy again, we have “Hunger Games“. The entry fee is $20, and whoever loses the highest percentage of weight in 6 weeks wins the pot. Last time, the winner was my bud’s husband, Justin. Like many men, he had an almost supernatural ability to lose weight when he applied a little bit of willpower, while many of the Games’ female participants struggled to lose even a pound or two. This time, I was determined to win.
Text sent to Justin during this year’s Hunger Games: “I swear to God, if I have to go vegan and run a marathon, I will beat you.”
Six weeks is not enough time to train for and run a marathon, even if I did have the time for it (I don’t). But when simply cutting calories and fat did not help me lose weight, I decided to see how long I could “go vegan”. I figured it would last a few days. To date (with some cheating here and there), it’s been three months.
After six weeks, I DID win Hunger Games. I used the winnings to buy some new clothes, as the 20 pounds I dropped (over 13% of my weight) made me drop two sizes. After six weeks of veggies, rice, almond milk, peanut butter and so much more, I really did not want to stop. Eating vegan started as a way to win a bet, but it has continued for many more reasons. My blood pressure, previously in the chronic hypertension range, is now completely normal (without the need of the high blood pressure medicine I was on). My energy is up, and I have not gained back any of the weight I lost during Hunger Games. Anytime that I “cheat” now and eat something animal-based, my body screams at me to stop.
I’m not sharing this to convince anyone to eat vegan. It can definitely be rough – especially when eating out. It works for me, but would not work for everyone. But eating vegan is one of those things I thought I could NEVER do.. then it became something that I wondered if I could do… now it’s just something I do, every day. And I’m proud of myself for that.