Several weeks ago I did a guest post on JL Fields’ blog JL Goes Vegan, so I asked if she would do a post for me as well. Since JL has a second website called Stop Chasing Skinny, I wanted to get her take on the new notion that going vegan will lead to getting skinny. Here’s what she had to say:
I am not a skinny vegan.
I began following a plant-based diet over two years ago – after being vegetarian for eight years – and it changed my relationship with food. After years of trying to fight my way down to a weight that required dieting and excessive exercising to maintain, I decided to get comfortable with the weight my body seemed to naturally bounce back to every year. I decided to simply enjoy food as nourishment and fuel for my body. I decided to be compassionate to me.
I bought bigger clothes.
Don’t blame plant-based foods for my larger size. Every January I would find myself at the exact same weight from the previous year. I would diet – restricting carbs and fats – and I would train like crazy. For marathons, half-marathons and triathlons. It was the first January after going vegan that I stopped the cycle. I had been eating vegan for a year, enjoying what I know to be a healthy, diverse plant-based diet that included beans, greens, fruits, grains, healthy fats (and some unhealthy!), healthy treats, raw foods, cooked foods, and green juices and smoothies. Along with the occasional vegan marshmallow sandwich, a crazy Macnocheeto or other “junk” food. The January diet would mean restricting this beautiful nourishing regime of wholesome, nutritious plants that I had come to love. No way.
I think it is a big mistake to “sell” veganism with the promise of “skinny.” It turns it into a fad diet –making it much easier to abandon when the assurance of thinness is unfulfilled. It is far more difficult to turn away from veganism when the motivation is to eliminate the suffering of animals. The bonus is that good health is a terrific side effect of choosing to live one’s live from a place of compassion.
I am not a skinny vegan but I am a happy and healthy one.
JL Fields is a certified vegan lifestyle coach and educator. JL shares plant-based education, recipes and cooking techniques, as well as animal rights information and resources, on the blog JL goes Vegan and in her weekly online column “I Eat Plants” for the Life Style section of The Journal News (Westchester, NY). She is the editor of the community blog Stop Chasing Skinny. She serves on the board of directors of the Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary and the advisory board of Our Hen House. Follow JL on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Google+.