Today is the three week mark of the vegan challenge. I have been trying to take an honest look at how I am really feeling and what if anything has changed in the past three weeks. I have been on the look out for the miraculous transformations I have read about, chronicled by others on their vegan journey. Those transformations have not happened. I have not lost any weight, nor have I had a noticeable surge in energy or mental clarity. To my disappointment, I have not even become a better runner.
While thinking about writing this three week update, I began to feel kind of sad. I wondered, “How can I share with my new Exploits friends how deeply this experienced has changed me, if I have nothing quantifiable to show for it? How can I share with them that I have never felt better, stronger or more in balance with my body when it is not being reflected on the scale?” It wasn’t until I expressed these feelings and concerns with Sandy that I realized what I had been doing. I was measuring my life changing experience with the same yard stick I have used to measure my body image and my relationship with food. I was completely invalidating the amazing experiences I had been having because I had not experienced what others had. I wasn’t even paying attention to the fact that I was hurtling through my own life altering experiences on my own vegan journey.
Defining and nurturing entirely new feelings about yourself and your life is scary. Beating up on ourselves is easy, most of us are very practiced at that. Creating sustainable change in your life that is fulfilling, daring and that makes you feel spectacular, now that takes practice.
This recognition was such a meaningful and liberating paradigm shift. I was able to recognize that the past three weeks of the vegan experience have been the first time in my life that I have not shared every meal with my loyal dining companions, self loathing and fear. I never felt them get up and leave, but what I felt in their absence was the lightness you feel when you are doing something you love with people you adore. The lightness you feel in your heart when you are swimming in the ocean or riding your bike in flip flops. Eating has become an enjoyable, adventurous, soul satisfying experience.
Eating foods that have been nourished by rain and nurtured by the sun and wind has made me feel alive in a way I have never experienced. I never expected this. I never expected that three weeks in, I would feel as though I had altered the way I felt about myself and food for the rest of my life. I have carried the extra weight of shame and the fear of food in a backpack since I was old enough to put my arms through the straps. I have nurtured a damaged relationship with food and have allowed fear and self loathing to become a part of me like a birth mark. Because it was second nature, I didn’t realize where the holes were until they started to fill. I didn’t realize how heavy and burdensome that extra weight was until it began to lift.
So my thoughts after three weeks, I will take stunning life transformation and mind boggling mental breakthrough about food and body image over an ice cream cone or smoked Gouda any day of the week.
Change is as exciting as it is scary. We deserve to live and enjoy life as fully as we possibly can while we are here.
It is our journey to enjoy our way. Have a delicious day.