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Monday, May 6, 2013

When It All Began

In 1996 I was a freshman in college at San Diego State University and I thought I was a vegetarian. Much to my surprise I was going about it all wrong as most young ill informed novice vegetarians do. I naturally assumed that all I was required to do was give up meat and BOOM I'd be a vegetarian. And so it began I was a completely unhealthy non-meat eater during my freshman year of college.

A year or so later I decided I would simply eliminate beef and pork from my diet and actually read the labels on the food I was consuming. As an African American woman raised on soul food, my family was certain I'd never maintain my goal of "poultry vegetarianism." So just to prove them wrong I spent the next 7 years maintaining my diet. And it took almost all of those 7 years to convince them that I was serious about my diet.

As time went on I realized I could still eat healthy if I reintroduced beef to my diet and so I did, but still no pork. Occasionally I would try to eat pork, but every time my system rejected it. I was able to eat ham but never bacon.

Eventually my fitness goals became rather extreme, to the point of mild starvation. I would eat one meal a day and workout for hours. And I was very satisfied with the appearance of my results. Yet very unsatisfied with my health. People would constantly tell me how great my body looked but also how bad it was for me to be eating only once a day.

Then I realized I could eat whatever I wanted so long as I worked out daily and so I did, but still no pork. Now I was actually studying the labels on my food and spending hours grocery shopping. Subsequently my dietary habits improved somewhat. I was mostly concerned with my caloric, salt and sugar intake, but still very uneducated about the actual ingredients in my food.

It wasn't until the winter of my first year in grad school at NYU that I took on the proverbial New Years Resolution of being a real vegetarian for 2009. Sadly I only made it 5 months before giving up. So the following year I gave up chicken and beef. I never again added pork to my diet. And that year I was successful. I ate mostly turkey, tofu, tofurkey, fish and fruits and vegetables. Still I wanted to be successful at being a vegetarian, so again I tried the following year. I struggled with satisfying meals due to a lack of variety in my recipes.

Finally two friends suggested I try being a pescetarian instead. I had never heard of pescetariansim before but once I realized I'd at least have one meat option I was on board. And again I was successful that year, but the very next year I went back to eating whatever I wanted and exercising regularly.

Consequently I gained 25+ pounds that year and was the heaviest I'd ever been in my life. The first time I'd ever seen 165lbs on the scale I screamed and in a matter of a month I was back down to what then was my normal 145lbs. Previously at 145lbs I was struggling to return to 140lbs and had resigned at 142lbs. I have always been obsessed with the numbers on the scale. And 135lbs haunted me regularly, the weight I was upon graduating from high school.

From 1996 to 2003 I remained 150lbs and finally I beat my body into submission and was 135lbs again. I maintained my weight of 135lbs from 2003 to 2006. After that my weight was up and down between 138lbs and 142lbs and I was fine with that. Until last year, the first time in 6 years that my weight was as high as it is now, 160+lbs. That's when I decided it was time for a lifestyle change and so it began. No more New Years Resolutions, this was it I was going to be a pescetarian and never look back.

On January 1st 2013 I started my new journey as a pescetarian. Then a few months ago I became obsessed with the Dr. Oz show and on Easter Sunday of this year I became a clean eater as well.

The last 4 months have really been no sweat as far as my diet goes. Exercise and weight loss have been a real feat. Just last week I'd finally dropped 10lbs and my scale read 160lbs exactly. Then over the weekend I wasn't as disciplined and gained back 4lbs. My body needs a disciplined diet and a disciplined workout routine in order to keep the weight off. And this is the first time in my life I've had to struggle this hard to keep my weight down.

My goal is to return to 140lb and stay there. That is until the wonderful day I become pregnant. And after that back to 140lb. So how do I achieve this 20lb weight loss goal and in what time frame?

At present I am relying on Jillian Michaels 30 day shred workout plan 5 days per week, a ballet class once a week and a minimum of 8-16mi of cycling per week. Consistency and motivation are my major struggles. But no later than the first day of summer (June 21) is when I expect to see my weight goal achieved.

Though the goal of this blog is not to keep track of my weight, I will occasionally post my progress but mainly report my journey as a pescetarian clean eater.

Bon Appetit!

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