Friday, December 2, 2005

go vegan!

So I’ve decided to go vegan. I’ve been considering it for a little while but made the final decision while at Costco where I picked up a few (ahem) things, later leavened by a few more essentials at Whole Foods.

I’m switching gears in a weight-loss diet program that I have been fairly faithful to for about two years – 90% compliance I would estimate, with periods of a few days to few weeks of “bad” behavior, usually around holidays, birthdays, the occasional night out, that sort of thing.

I have been an Atkins adherent, and that approach has been very good to me: I lost 60 pounds (about 18% BW) and have kept it mostly off. During my most recent slacker period, though, I put back on 20 pounds and have been chipping away at that.

But it has been slower going and I think this is for at least a couple of reasons: while I still exercise regularly and frequently (running, cycling, yoga, strength) I’m doing somewhat less than when I commuted by bicycle to work every day (45 miles round trip). Using the liberal end of the running vs. cycling conversion rule of thumb, I’d have to run more than 50 miles a week to equal that in cardio, and I don’t -- 20-25 miles is my average.

My other theory is that there are diminished returns for a diet like Atkins. You just can’t do it for very long (health concerns notwithstanding) and have a consistently rapid weight loss – or so it would seem. Or maybe it was just too many beers (even though they tend to be Michelob Ultras).

So I am going to the other end of the spectrum, and I am very excited about it: low-fat vegan cuts out all meat and dairy and the latter, I think, is going to make a huge difference in weight loss and body shape. The fact is that most of the foods I really like I could not consume on Atkins. While I like meat and fish I don’t live for it really, and alternatively feel very deprived if I cannot have bread and pasta and rice and potatoes – all the high-carb-content foods Atkins forbids.

Another benefit of this is that carbs are what I really need most for workouts, so I’ll be paying close attention to any differences to my endurance as I introduce what could be large quantities of carbs. I’ll have to have doppio espressos instead of breve cappuccinos, but I can handle that. But I can have fruit with abandon again and vegetables I could not previously have, like corn and peas.