Labels are so huge in the fitness world. Look at the food side of things: Vegan/Vegetarian/Paleo/IIFYM/Clean Eating/Keto/Low Carb/Whole 30/Plant Based and many more.
Honestly a year or two ago I would have called many of those the same thing. I still honestly don't get the difference between keto and low carb but each side swears that it's different and I just go with it. I didn't know that Vegan was considered by many to be a lifestyle and a total cruelty free existence...not just a meal plan.
And like many things in life I felt I had to pick a side. Once I did the Ultimate Reset and found out that I actually really felt awesome eating vegan I figured vegetarian was a good compromise. And I did that for a while. Then I went back to meat occasionally. And I lived in this place where I would have vegan meals most of the time, some vegetarian, and occasionally fish or chicken maybe every other month if that? That seemed to be the happy place. I considered myself to be plant based if I had to label it. I ate mostly produce but spent some time in the other spaces. And I was happy.
Lately I have been eating more of a random diet. Mostly vegetarian, but here and there it's clean but chicken or fish or turkey more. I have been doing more weight lifting workouts and I am finding that my diet was leaving me STARVING and I was eating crap food at work when I was hungry. It wasn't necessarily the worst food but it wasn't clean and it was way too many calories. Cliff Z bars (yes the kids ones...way better tasting). Pita and hummus. Random soup du jour at work. And worst of all - the free food syndrome was kicking in bad. At work we have food at meetings a lot. Jimmy John's. Pizza. Dessert. Cookies. Scones. Fruit. The most ridiculous pita and hummus on earth (I mentioned this already...I know. It's that good). So on and so forth. And when you are honestly hungry...well sometimes you just start nibbling. And then I got sick. I have not been honestly sick in a long time this randomly. I don't know ANY sick people. Just me. Hmm.
Now, I'm not saying you can't eat a vegan diet and lift weights. I'm not saying it at all. I'm saying that the switch from cardio focus to strength focus for me was one that really threw me for a loop. Part of this is the fact that I don't like a lot of food that I should be eating on a vegan/vegetarian diet. I don't really like nuts, just nut butter. I don't really like avocado and sometimes it makes me feel ill when I eat it. I'm lactose intolerant. I do love olives at least, but as you can see my vegan fat levels are LOW. I don't like many veggies raw. I read 80/10/10 and was ready to fall in LOVE with the program but then I faced a dinner with that many raw vegetables and I wanted to cry. I can eat pretty much any veggie cooked. Especially stir fried. I even stir fry radishes...I'm a rebel. But raw...I have a limit and probably too much hummus or salad dressing. Also honestly - the amount of fruit I should eat in a day is way beyond my budget for that plan. I don't care for tofu. I can dig tempeh, but not enough to have it daily. And most veggie burgers, even the cleanest ones or the homemade ones are not very protein heavy. I do love a good sourdough pb and j though...does that count?
In essence - my calories are way too low and my macros in pretty much every place are too low and all my options to fix that were wildly unappealing to me. And since I didn't like the options I realized I was eating LESS because I didn't like the food. Yeah that wasn't working.
So I'm trying this. Seeing how it goes. I'm on day 2 of a concentrated effort to eat more of the foods I actually find delicious and I'm finding I'm NOT cheating on my plan or not finishing a meal. I'm satisfied and I feel a peace I have not had since I finished the reset.
Bottom line - I know many people who suffer through a meal plan they hate for results. And that's just not me. If I don't like the food I just can't eat it day in and day out. My body was telling me "Kim - hey um...I need something else right now" and I fought it. I fought myself. And I lost. I put on lbs. I got tired and finally sick. That sickness is what made me change this up for now.
I'm not saying this is forever. I really do in my heart want to eat more of a plant based diet. But at my caloric need (not helped by those extra lbs, eh?) and my activity level...I either have to eat food I don't want to eat or I have to do something else until something changes. So that's what I'll do. And I'll experiment. I need to find more foods I actually enjoy eating so I can make this permanent. I need to cook more foods and try more things to find the ones I love. And that's what this is going to be about. Welcome to this journey.