Thursday, March 15, 2012

Vegan Volition

Volition: (n): [voh-lish-uhn, vuh-]
the act of willing, choosing, or resolving; exercise of willing: She left of her own volition.
a choice or decision made by the will.

In one of my earlier posts I was talking about how having a title for my posts is really important to
me. And if you're kinda-sort of perceptive you'll also notice I have a think for alliteration and using words that start with the same those people who have 7 kids and all of their names start with the same letter--Brian, Ben, Becky, Beth...who does that?! haha. So for this title I couldn't think of anything that started with "v" and I ended up googling "v-words". What should come up but a slue of words that start with "V". How I love the internet :)

But I couldn't have just any "V" word, Volition...I've never heard this word before and my vocabulary is not that diverse, BUT it's basically a fancy way of saying that someone has the will to make decisions and exercises that ability. Well as I'm sure you've gathered this post is going to be about my attempts at being a vegan HOWEVER! Upon reading the definition of this word I googled picture results for decision making and found this picture above, which made me think of my kids at the high school I'm interning with. Of course I'm thinking about school and my work while on spring break....what's up with that? haha. So every morning two of the students do the morning announcements and at the end of it all, after the pledge, one of them will say, "Make it a good day or not, the choice is yours". After hearing it day in and day out it kind of just sticks in your head...which is probably the point to saying it, so you remember it. Ok so it's kind of corny by totally true right? From the moment we wake up everyday we are making decisions all day long. I have to laugh though because there are times when I'm completely indecisive--where do you want to go for dinner, "I don't care". The reality of that is I do care, but the magnitude of choices are so many that it's overwhelming, or maybe I'm just being too passive. As one of my very good friends would say--"Make a decision, ONE TIME!" Well alright then this one is for you :)

About three weeks ago now I decided that I wanted to try and become a vegan. Now before I get into this let me explain the difference between a Vegan and a Vegetarian: A vegetarian does not eat meat (there is also something called a pescetarian which is an individual who does not eat meat but will eat fish...honestly I never understood how fish could be considered "not meat" but that's just me). Ok so a vegan then does not eat meat or animal products--no dairy. So that means no cheese, no yogurt, no milk, and no ice cream. Sounds painful right? Well I already don't drink milk and I had no problem switching over to soy yogurt but the cheese, oh the cheese! One of my friends told me that the reason diary is bad for us is because it slows down our digestion process and screws up the enzymes in our stomach. As gross as this may sound we should actually be pooping something like 3 times a day!!! Isn't that crazy!?

I set a goal to not eat diary for a week--7 days. So I went to the grocery store and stocked up on a ton of fruits, veggies and soy yogurt. Now this was the week before I was starting my iron man training, which is why I only set it for a week, I didn't want to screw with my diet too much before getting into more intensive workouts. The first few days, i.e. Monday through Thursday were easy enough b
ecause I had really structured days where lunches had to be made the night before and I could put thought into what I was eating. The only challenge during that time frame was my family dinner night with Mara and Alivia, who wanted to go to Cold Stone. Well that didn't go over well so I ended up going to Chipolte to get a burrito with basically nothing in it. So I sat at cold stone with the girls eating a burrito, now that's classy! But even more challenging was the fact that I LOVE ice cream! It's like one of my vices, so to sit there and watch them eat it was beyond difficult. But I made it through.

But then I hit a wall. Friday afternoon, I got off of work and went to the gym. When I got home I realized I hadn't thought out dinner at all and was so hungry! But not only was I hungry I was CRAVING cheese!!! Honestly I don't remember what I ate but I do recall that it didn't have diary in it because I felt accomplished when I woke up the next morning from not giving in.....until Saturday. There was defining moment, after I got home from work and my workout that I just was so frustrated with having to ask myself, "Can I eat this?" That I heated up some water and made cheese ravioli....It was delicious! :) So I only made it 5 days, oh well. I came to realize a few things though: 1) I am strong enough and persistent enough to attempt things that would otherwise be unthinkable. 2) I don't have to cut everything out of my diet right away, slow and steady wins the race.

I really enjoyed the feeling I got from not being weighed down by diary, in fact one of my runs I went on, I felt like I was flying! Afterwards I went to talk to one of my coworkers who is a vegan and she gave me a ton of resources to supplement my vegan journey. There are just some things though that I am not ready to give up, for example, I mixed a soy protein shake the other day and as soon as it hit my mouth I spit it out! Disgusting! Whey is the way to go! Not to mention, I was talking it over with a friend and we decided in order to be a vegan you have to really know you're stuff. There is diary in EVERYTHING. And I just can't/don't have the time to analyze everything I put in my mouth. PLUS I found this picture (above) and couldn't stop laughing. I did a "Ohh, I didn't know that was in that!" But to some extent it's right. Besides I get enough crap for being a vegetarian. That awkward moment when you go out to eat with someone or make plans to do and you drop the V-bomb..."Oh yea, by the way, I'm a vegetarian" and the response, "Ohhh. why!?" haha Honestly I've heard it all, one of my favorites though definitely has to be, "I'm sorry". Why are you apologizing to me, this is my choice--(that's right D, I made a decision!!) and I have stuck with it since '09. I love being a vegetarian, yes, I get enough protein, no I won't consider going back, and I decided to do it for me and because I love animals. Those are usually the main questions I get. More so, I think it takes a lot of time and effort to change anything, especially a diet. The first year was really hard and I think I gained weight. But as I situated into it I learned what the good veg-head foods are and how to incorporate them into working out and a healthy lifestyle. I don't push my veg-head beliefs on anyone, to each their own. But if you ever mention to me that you are interested I will definitely jump on the advocacy train and tell you it's amazing. I love how light and clean my body feels, I'm more in tune with my body and what goes into it. But that's just my take on it. So to all of my carnivorous friends, I love you dearly, but I will always ask you to clean your spatula when you flip your cow burgers before you flip my veggie burgers :)

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Transformation is a Present Activity

"Most people don't show up in their own lives. They go through life every single day without being focused and bringing their A game. Transformation is not a future event, it is a present activity. That is why you must bring everything you h ave to give in every moment."

The first time I heard these words was last Saturday, when I started doing Jillian Michael's 'Ripped in 30' I hear it everyday, for at least the next week since the program is 4 workouts, 1 for each week. Any who, I find it to be really empowering actually. I have reached a point now where I'm not sure what's hard enough, good enough, fast enough, etc. I just keep pushing until I feel like I could literally lay down and not get back up....tapped out! But when you put this thought into perspective you think to yourself, how many people do what you do everyday? Have I simply become desensitized to people calling me crazy that I just associate my work and workout ethic to the norm? It seems that way. I guess that's why it's important to have variety within the routine. Doing the same thing over and over again--Monday: lift chest, run 5, swim 30 minutes, Tuesday: Lift back, elliptical 60 minutes, gets boring and the challenge becomes upping the amount of weight from before or going faster than your last time. Don't get me wrong those things are enticing: waking up so sore you need that extra 5 minutes just to sit up, or pushing so hard in those last few seconds just to get a PR....those are the moments, those are the challenges I try to meet.

But get this, I met with my Iron Man coach for the first time two Thursdays ago. She was awesome about explaining everything, but one of the first things she says to me is, "I've always been a big proponent of core workouts". At that point I just knew this training program was gonna be stellar :) Then things got real, as we were discussing my current workouts Steph used the phrase, "Yea I was a little worried at first...." Worried? I work out 6-7 days a week, what did I sign myself up for if you are worried? So she draws me this triangle and explains that training is going to be focused on the three sides: Base, Intensity, and Volume. See I have a base and I can do volume but intensity, well we can just say I am more of an endurance sport person. The hard truth that I have discovered is that you can't just run for 2 hours or swim 2 miles and expect to perform have to incorporate intensity within the workout. This means more sprint workouts and timed intervals in the pool....YUCK! It doesn't sound appealing to me at this point, but I think once I get going and accomplish some of the beginning workouts I'll be set.

So all of that happened within the last few weeks but more recently I just received my first months training plan this morning. I was more than excited but at the same time I realized that I need to get my butt in gear and get a bike, like this week! Since I'm on spring break from classes I opted to use my "class time" to get a new pair of shoes since it's been about 6 months since the last time I went and it's been on my ever-growing To Do list. Needless to say I walked in and said to the sales associate, "I'm looking for these shoes (points down to shoes on feet) in a size 10.5" She starred at me for a moment and was like well alright then. This will be my 3rd generation of the Nike brand I started running in almost a year ago now and I couldn't be happier with them. Not to mention when you flip them upside down you can tell that my stride is well supported and that I land centered. The highlight in all of this though had to of been the fact that the shoes had purple in them. Now this is funny because when I first started running I picked shoes by the color, well for anyone who has been running for a while you know that it doesn't work like that....AT ALL! So part of me feels mature that I know that and thankful because it probably saved me an injury or two.

Being a warm, sunny and 70 degree day outside today I decided first and foremost that I would definitely make time to go for a run on the lake path, especially since I had shoes that needed to be worn in. But the run itself was super challenging because the wind was beyond intense and was throwing off my stride. At one point I was running up a hill and the wind was hitting me so furiously that I literally lost my balance and threw my hands out because there was a possibility that, had I not caught myself, I would have rolled right back to the bottom of that hill! So I fought my 6 miles but felt extremely accomplished by the end of it and decided to celebrate with some weights ;)

I'm really looking forward to starting my training plan next week Monday, but at the same time have a bit of work to do before then to find a good, yet cheap road bike. We'll see how it goes. On top of that, and school, and internship AND applying for jobs, I'm hoping the weather stays warm so I can get a few more runs in before my first OFFICIAL race of the season: the Shamrock Shuffle!