I finally did it.
I went to the gym this evening on my way home from work. For the first time this year.
And it was tough. I really felt it and wondered, for the umpteenth time, how the hell it is that I am still so fat?
I have been vegan now for 15 months and I haven't really lost any weight. Now, I should say up front that weight loss and health reasons are not why I went vegan. Not in the least. I made the change from my previously largely omni diet when I discovered the truth about the animals - how they live and how they die, and I could bear no further part of that.
However, whenever I catch myself thinking of 'vegans' in the abstract, perhaps of the stereotype, I think of slender willowy types with glossy shiny hair, perfect teeth and toned bodies.
I do not, in short, think of me.
OK, so I am rational. I am perectly able to see that it took 30+ years for me to get to this state and it's going to take a while to put things right. But I can't help but feel discouraged and disappointed because I have the impression - right or wrong - that the vegan diet is naturally healthier, lower in all of the bad things and higher in the good ones. Is more sustaining, nutrient-dense and calorie-poor and that a healthier body is an inevitable by-product of a healthier way of eating.
And no, it's not a case that I 'cheat' from time to time, secretly gorging on hot dogs and cheese pizza. Because I do not. I would as soon snack on a hot dog as I would on my own dog. To me, the hot dog is not food; it is the desperate remains of a once beautiful, intelligent, sensitive creature whose desire to live matched my own. The cheese on the pizza is little more to me than the product of a grief-stricken mother whose baby has been stolen from her. So, no, I do not 'cheat'; I have no interest in those things.
But the question persists: am I the only fat vegan out there? Am I the exception that proves the rule when it comes to plant-based nutrition? We are so bombarded by images of svelte gorgeous vegan women and I am beginning to question the underlying assumption that veganism = slenderness. (There are, after all, svelte and gorgeous meat-eaters out there, folks who wouldn't know a snowpea if they tripped over it on the way to the steakhouse.)
So, in tandem with committing *once again* (sigh) to regular stops at the gym on the way home, I am launching a study: where are the 'hefty herbivores'? the 'portly-plant eaters'? the 'vegans of size'? Am I in a club of one?? Or are there kindred souls out there, sheltering behind their autographed copies of Skinny Bitch?
Watch this (somewhat substantial) space...
...oh, and Stay Vegan, Friends.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009