-poor eating habits
-2.5 years high raw vegan
-casual long distance running
-no weight lifting
-always felt like I needed to lose me weight because my stomach would never tighten (needed strength training)
-now consuming enough calories for my body to grow
168lbs Nov 2014
-still working out and dieting hard but weight is creeping back on
-starting to get sleeping issues
-becoming depressed; eating so well and working out consistently 6x a week but my body seems to continue changing in a negative way
August 187-185lbs 2015 (I know this picture is closer so I realize I look bigger here then I am)
THIS IS WHAT I LOOK LIKE, DAY 1 OF EATING VEGAN AGAIN
- I sometimes I workout 2x a day
- I hardly have cheat days, when I have a cheat meal I binge on 4-5 slices of pizza rather then 2 because I feel deprived
-I am almost the same weight here as I am in the first pic! Muscle makes the body tighter but I am carrying a lot of body fat I can't seem to keep off
Sometimes life redirects you back into a direction that would have worked for you had you done it correctly. I was a horrible vegan. I ate way too little, did not make sure I got the nutrition I needed to maintain a long term healthy body and looked to vegan idols who did not have the same physical goals in mind as I did.
Almost every person who I have met or have listened to turns to veganisim because they stumbled upon a documentary that changed how they looked at their food or environment. I was no different.
It's a week day, I just got home from work, there is nothing good on tv and I am feeling like eating ice cream and watching something. Then I remember a DVD a friend lent to me and decide I have nothing better to do and should give it a watch.
I spend the next 90 minutes in hysterical tears unable to turn the program off and yet so disgusted that I feel like getting sick. I am watching Earthlings, the movie that single handedly changed my life. In short, this is the best program I have seen to date that goes into the animal cruelty side of the animal product industry (the food we consume, the fashion we wear and the puppy mills we get our loved family pets from.) There are other great documentaries which show how these processes damage our earth.
Through my tears I tear apart my cupboards while my then long time boyfriend stares at me wide eyed. Everything that looks like it could have animal in it goes directly in the trash. From then on, for the next 2.5 years of my life I was an avid high raw vegan.
A very picky vegan, however. I did not get routine blood work done, supplement in the areas that are needed or eat nearly enough to keep my body nourished. I have long suffered from iron deficiency, even while growing up with a father who was a professional hunter and eating loads of the best wild game. My body simply had a hard time absorbing the iron it was receiving. Fast forward two years into being a vegan without any supplements and the high energy I am used to, rapidly plummets. Within a few weeks I can hardly get out of bed. My iron levels are dangerously low - the only thing that kept them from dramatically effecting me to begin with was that I had had animal in my previous way of eating.
Iron storages are a funny thing; what you do have (and like I said I was very low before going vegan) lasts in a storage system in your body for roughly seven months before your body starts to really notice that it can not pull from its backup as there is nothing left. Without me replenishing those storages or building them back up, eventually I was a horribly tired mess. This would not have been an issue as a vegan has I been eating enough to maintain and build on my storages, but like I said, I was a horrible vegan.
In addition, I was not supplementing B-12, which is only found in bacteria, that bacteria is only found in animal proteins because it is PUT there by humans. The lack of B-12 has very similar symptoms as lack of iron so my situation was double-trouble. In short, humans are also supplementing B-12 through the dead flesh they eat. This does not mean I needed to take a pill as us vegans have a beautiful product called nutritional yeast which can be used as a B-12 supplement in place of a pill. Furthermore, many vegans take no supplements what so ever and have no negative side effects. Everyone is built very different.
As I got into the field of nutrition through my fascination with self experimenting (before going vegan) and finishing school for both that and personal training, my life took a very different direction. I was now 65lbs lighter, just left a toxic 7 year relationship and starting a new job as a personal training in the Downtown core. Everyone in my gym is super fit and getting ready for fitness competitions, which was something that I quickly decided I wanted to participate in.
Losing my weight was done through running casually and how I was eating, but very little weight lifting. Which left me with a much smaller body, however still undefined and soft. I wanted the athletic builds I saw around me. I hired a trainer and after two months of solid effort, my desire to put on lean muscle and being the only vegan I knew, I made the decision to go back to animal proteins.
Some would say it worked for me, and back then I agreed. However now I am not sure. I had fantastic results - I lost 2 more sizes and put on 20lbs and was much tighter and athletic looking. Most people would then determine, "So you're admitting you got close to your desired physique by eating animals then?" No, that is not what I am saying at all. What I am saying is I believe had I been consistent and nourished my body more with food (I was now eating at least 800 more calories a day) and supplements while lifting heavy weights, I honestly believe I would have achieved that look anyways. But we are a society of gimmie-it-nowwwwww and I want it yesterday and I was no different.
Fast forward two years, I have met the love of my life, I am a step mommy to an amazing little boy, just bought a house, moved an hour away and starting a new profession. My eating habits get lax but nothing extreme. Certainly not lazy enough to justify my weight jumping up to 192lbs. I am looking down at the scale mortified - yes I have been more relaxed with my eating, but I am still eating very well and I have gone to the gym six times a week consistently. How did I get here?
I hire a new trainer, she ups my calories and carbs and I see great results. I drop from 30.6% body fat and 192lbs to 25.4% body fat and 185lbs in 7 weeks. I am having very little cheats, working out so hard I am cripplingly sore the next day and staying active when not working out. But my body fat and weight stay the same for 2 months.
I am suffering from insomnia, have strange digestive gas, I am a bit foggy and always tired. I chalk it up to my body using a lot of energy to digest the high amounts of carbs and insane amount of protein I am eating.
Weeks go by. My hormones are out of whack; I cry at everything, get angry and offended easily, can't seem to feel rejuvenated even after ten hours of sleep. I decide on my own to start eating vegetarian. As I have studied health and nutrition I know I have a leg up on some things, but honestly what they teach you is shit. Complete bullshit. So I am lost and angry. I am a personal trainer and studied sports nutrition, why can't I get a handle on this?
Then one night when my insomnia hits I have an epiphany. Nothing really occurs to me right then and there, but when I finally wake up the next morning, I have decided I want to be a vegan again. I wake with a deep longing to return to my old ways of eating but learn from my past mistakes and do it differently.
The three biggest changes this time to make sure I am not in the same position I was last time with my low energy levels will be as such:
-suppliment where I know I need it and go for routine blood work to track it
-keep weight lifting during this process
-eat a lot more calories so that I have energy and my body does not pull from my muscle or bones
There is something magical about documenting a journey. It is therapeutic and I hope that someone curious about this life style can learn from my mistakes so when and if they make this life change, they do not suffer for their decisions.
That is why I have decided to journal and YouTube this experience this time around. Everything from what I eat to what activity levels I do, how many calories I have consumed (plus carbs, fat, protein) and my thoughts and feelings along the way, as well as photos, to fully document the highs and lows of my life decision.
Ultimatly I would love a lean athletic body, have loads of energy and get my body fat to a healthy range on this lifestyle so that I can feel comfortable trying for a baby with my fiance`. But mostly I want to feel like I am helping the planet and protecting defenceless animals from further harm. Those are the three things that will keep me on this path when the process gets a little difficult. Having been a vegan before I feel I have a little advantage, however I am in the process of unlearning everything I have been thought in school and my mind is having an inner battle with me.
At first I was hesitant to do videos or write blogs because people want advice from someone who has gone through the process already and achieved what they have set out to do. I know that is mostly what I look for, but please keep in mind I have conquered this area of my life in the past, felt amazing but made some mistakes that sent me in a direction I have been trying to recover from for the last few years. Except having low iron, while vegan I was never sick, my mood was stable, I felt happy with my food choices and good deeds towards the animals and planet. It was only when I left this life style that sleeping problems, weight gain and hormonal imbalances occurred. This is my journey, so if you're a normal american diet eater, vegetarian or vegan, I hope you read because you're curious about this life style and are open minded enough to view my process with an open heart.
xo Tannis Skye