Weight loss and veganism is a link I have always disliked
for a number of reasons, but I have to confess to being
a) a vegan and b) losing weight. At five foot three
and just under eight stone, I am now considered by some
friends, family, and even people I barely know to be
too thin. According to them I am borderline anorexic,
too restrictive, and weird (purely based on eating habits,
I assure you!). Doctors like to connect "restrictive"
diets with anorexia, and although there are vegans who
are anorexic, there are anorexic omnivores as well.
I don't restrict what I eat in a desire to consume
fewer calories; I do it out of compassion and a desire
to be no part of barbarism. Weight loss simply occurred
as a by -product of this. As a teenager, I was plump,
unfit, and lazy. I became a vegetarian at the age of
fourteen, but eating my way through mountains of dairy
products did nothing to help. At sixteen I started my
vegan journey. Over the years I learned to love vegetables,
not to fry everything, and to vary what I eat - but
the weight didn't just drop off. I lost a little in
the first few years of being vegan, but what really
did it was being active. Simply being on the move all
the time and working in physically demanding jobs will
do it every time -- although healthy eating helps. Thin
I may be, but weak and lacking in energy I am not.
To me veganism has nothing to do with weight loss,
because being vegan is not just about food. It makes
me who I am and it affects the choices I make daily.
It is the best decision I have ever made in my life,
and even though the lack of understanding by many can
wear me down, I wouldn't change the life I lead now
for the one I had before. Veganism has given me clarity,
strength, and belief. If you lose weight as part of
your journey (and are happy about that), then add it
to the list. Otherwise, enjoy being vegan for the way
it makes you look at -- and guide you through -- life.
e x t e s s a y -
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