I had to share this recent Facebook post by my boyfriend Don. I am giddy madly in love with this guy and so proud of what he has achieved. Not in terms of weight loss but rather the personal moral satisfaction he has found by adopting a vegan diet. I’m not vegan. At least not fully. I can’t quite bring myself to give up eggs. And cheese. I love me some cheese! But in spite of the fact those things still exist in our refrigerator, he never falters and I know he never expected the added benefits he found with his lifestyle change …
For those of you who don’t know, I’ve struggled with weight … my entire life! When I was eight, I remember asking my dad what the extra skin on my belly was. Junior year of high school I joined NutriSystem and lost 60 pounds. My military career finalized in 1995 with a discharge, under honorable conditions, for failing required weigh-ins. In 1998 I tipped the scale at more than 400 pounds.
In 2005 I flew to Mexico for the “Swedish adjustable gastric band” weight loss surgery. Two years later I was starving to death as my body rejected the implant and blocked the passage of solids and most liquids. It allowed almost nothing to reach my stomach. I would vomit everything from soup to my own saliva. Since I was nutrient deficient and facing IV solutions to live, I had emergency surgery to remove the band. That operation nearly killed me and left my stomach with huge scars and punctures. Two years later, rapidly approaching 300 pounds again, I had my second weight-loss surgery. This time a gastric bypass. My weight mostly stabilized afterwards and I settled in between 235 and 250 pounds. As an ex-obese individual the scale was never my friend and rarely have I weighed myself since. I focused instead on how I felt and learned to like my self image.
Then about six months ago I made a shift and removed all animal products from my diet. No meat, fish or dairy. That choice was made, not for diet or health reasons, but due to the fact that roughly 95 percent of animal products we purchase in America come out of abhorrent factory farming conditions. I struggled every day with the “taste“ and “convenience“ of animal products being available in every aisle of the grocery stores and in nearly every item in most every restaurant. I made a decision to stop my dollars from supporting a terrible, cruel and completely unnecessary and environmentally destructive system.
This morning my girlfriend asked me if I had weighed myself lately. Of course, I had not. I remember crossing the 200 pound mark in junior high school and NEVER seeing anything under 200 pounds since. Even in my younger days of the military I was well over 200 pounds. When I was working out six and seven days a week and eating “healthy“ I was in the 215 pound range. Needless to say I’m shocked at the scale this morning. 198 pounds! I’m not on a “diet” and my veganism choice is a lifestyle! Personal goal achieved!