Vegan FAIL.

As I mentioned yesterday, today was Katy and Michelle’s Vegan 4 A Day challenge, and I decided I was up for the challenge.

I was a successful vegan for about 18 hours.  Whoops.

When the clock struck midnight last night, I developed an insatiable craving for a giant bacon cheeseburger.  And an omelet.  And coffee with skim milk.  Basically, I wanted absolutely everything I couldn’t have because I was going vegan for the day.  It was more than a little frustrating.  I wound up having a great vegan breakfast (pics to come later) — old-fashioned oats cooked in water with some brown sugar — and started the day feeling good, but by lunchtime I was hungry and a little bit angry.

As someone with plenty of experience dieting, I know that one of the ways to guarantee weight loss failure is to eliminate certain foods from your diet.  Especially foods that you love.  For me, deprivation always leads to intense cravings (which are FAR worse than any normal craving you had for the food when you were “allowed” to eat it!), then a binge, then guilt, then deprivation again.  It’s an endless negative feedback loop.

On the other hand, I think it is beneficial to not bring certain foods into your home that you know you will likely binge on, so long as you still give yourself permission to have the food sometimes.  For me, cookies are a HUGE trigger food for a binge, so I do my best not to buy any when I’m at the grocery store.  I’ll happily have a cookie or two for dessert at a restaurant or a party, though, and I will do my best to savor it, not hoover it down — everything in moderation.

So, anyway, back to vegan for a day.  I was pretty frustrated after lunch; not only was my meal not that tasty or filling, but I really, really wanted something non-vegan to eat, and no amount of snacking on fruits or veggies was going to cut it.  It was totally the diet deprivation frustration talking, but I couldn’t hear anything else.

On my walk home I needed to stop at the grocery store for a few things, and had an epic internal battle on the 5-block walk there (note: non-italic Kara is the voice of reason and yes, I do talk to myself a lot — I’m an only child):

Man, I really want some meat for dinner.  Actually, I want a giant plate of ribs and sweet potato fries and ice cream and all sorts of goodness.  Ooh — there’s the pizza place!  Now I want pizza!

But Kara, is your self-control really that terrible that you can’t avoid animal products for 24 hours?  Come on!  Also, you know you want to binge just because you feel deprived.

Well, that’s true, but ribs and fries and ice cream are awesome!

Sure, but do you need them all at once?  Is there anything that would satisfy your cravings without going totally overboard?

Well, maybe, but shouldn’t I really go whole hog (ooh, good pun!) if I decide to abandon the Vegan 4 A Day challenge?

Why?  Why not just have what you want for dinner, vegan-friendly or not?  Not finishing the challenge doesn’t make you a failure.

Hmmm…

I wound up getting a rotisserie chicken — a Free Bird, which looks pretty good, ethical eating-wise — and some peanut butter Lindt truffles at the supermarket, among a few other things.  All in all, not the best trip and not the worst.  More on my non-vegan dinner later, once I actually make it!

I’m pretty sure that the vegan lifestyle isn’t for me, but I might give it the old college try some other time.  I think my best strategy for going temporarily vegan will be to remove things from my diet gradually; start out going vegetarian for a few days, then phase out cheese, eggs, milk and other animal products over the course of a few days.  I think the gradual approach will leave me feeling less deprived and less like I’m on a diet.

Going vegan cold turkey (or “cold tofurkey”, as it were) did not work out as well as I hoped, but I’m happy I gave it a try.  I’m actually extra-motivated to try something drastic: going vegetarian for Thanksgiving Day!  Think I can do it? 🙂

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2 Responses

  1. You won just by giving Vegan Week a shot — I’m so glad it’s helped all of us that took part think about our food in a new light. I probably won’t stick with a strict vegan diet but I really loved how much it helped me eat ethically and intuitively.

    THANK YOU for the support!

  2. lol going vegan cold turkey… You are a rockstar for giving it a try. I could probably do vegetarian but I heart cheese too much to go vegan. It’s always good to try new things as you will just grow from the experience. Goof for you!

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