7 Things Keeping People From Going Vegan (Successfully)
Unfortunately, ya girl knows what it feels like to talk a big talk and then not follow through--don't we all?
I've set goals over the years, in terms of my fitness and health and life in general. And in many cases, watched the weeks and months sail past me, until I found myself on December 31, again, setting that same old goal for the next year - again. And it sucks.
I remember I wrote the goal to "get a six pack" over and over, year after year, for most of high school and all of college in a black and white speckled composition notebook. I got excited and fired up on December 31st, I felt this new momentum, I thought I was committed, and yet my goals didn't come true, for a very long time.
Luckily, by the time I made the goal to go vegan, I'd learned some things about goal-setting, and planning and executing them, or I'm quite sure "going vegan" would have become one of those yearly-repeated goals I said but never achieved.
Going vegan is becoming a more and more common goal, which is an amazing thing! However for every enthusiastic starter vegan with big goals and great intentions, I see another would-be, could-be vegan "falling off the wagon" and going back to omnivore life, for one of these seven reasons, often.
As a vegan coach, it is my #1 passion and purpose to help you go vegan and stay vegan, and to do that, I want to help you not just kick off your veganism, buzzing with fresh motivation after watching a documentary, but help you stick to it.
Just like in the dating world, where it's important to know what you don't want in a partner, as much as what you do want...same goes here. As much as I love providing solutions and Dos for going vegan, we also gotta know our Don'ts....the things that will trip you up, if you let them.
So without further adieu, here are seven common landmines to be avoided...some common sticking points and hurdles that I see trip people up. Know what to avoid, what to plan for, and what to not do, and you're at least halfway there!
1. Thinking it has to be all or nothing
This is such a common one. The best way I can sum this up is, don't think of your veganism as a religion. Think of it as minimizing harm. while increasing good. Meal by meal, bite by bite, choice by choice, moving the needle, however gradually, in a positive direction for your health, the earth,and animals. I'm proud of you for giving up creamer for almond creamer. For choosing Meatless Monday just 1 x a week. All of it counts. If you encounter a vegan who tells you your efforts don't count unless you're a staunch, strict 100% plant based vegan...don't listen to them (and send them to me please.)
2. Going vegan without a plan
As a former professional corner-cutter, I know what it's like to think you can DIY your way through life and scrimp on making investments in yourself. I get it. But when making a big change, the time you will spend in time trying to cobble together a plan and make sense of gazillions of podcasts, articles, etc, is just simply not worth it. I see SO many questions about macros or specific caloric needs, micro-nutrients needs, etc, and all of them are solved by making a one-time investment in a meal plan that gets you started right, with professional guidance (if you're interested in mine, apply to work with me here)
3. Not having a stacked why (or doing it for the wrong reasons)
This is a point I go into in depth in my course, "No I Don't Miss Bacon," because it's so critical. I debated making it #1. It could be argued this reason exists at the heart and root of all the other six on this list. Having a why is everything - and it has to be strong and stacked. Examples? It's not enough to go vegan because Beyonce is. Or because you want to lose weight. Or even because you want to help the planet. Your why needs to be multi-layered, or stacked, as I call it. What would happen if Beyonce quit? Or you actually gained a little weight at first? Or if you were able to distance yourself and stick your head in the sand about the environment (because people are good at this!) A stacked why looks like, to take mine as an example, I'm vegan for my own health, and because I don't want to contribute to animal suffering, and because it's essential to curb climate change. If one of those reasons were to become distant or somehow fail me, I'd have two others to fall back on, so I'm never quitting. I'm not even tempted to.
4. Overeating and becoming a junk food vegan
See point #2. Having a meal plan will prevent this, in most cases, or at least tell you what you should do. A common mistake I see would-be vegans make is to load up on everything vegan ice cream, chicken nuggets, Oreos, etc. It's a double edged sword...in many ways it's a beautiful thing that it's become so easy to treat yourself and eat junk as a vegan. It shows how mainstream it's become, that you can hit up a drive thru or get any ice cream flavor you want,. It also makes it really easy to become a junk food vegan, gain a lot of weight, and quit, because "your vegan diet made you fat." Yes, but because you're doing it wrong...
5. Undereating and becoming a side salad veganNot to sound like a broken record, but again, see point #2. Just as it's easy to go ham on the junk as a vegan, it's also easy to swing the opposite way and asume that vegan = kale salads and juice. I see many would-be vegans quit because this is the approach they take, and overnight, they are suddenly trying to exist on far less calories than they ate on their old diets, probably very little carbs or protein or fat, or much at all other than greens and fruit juice, and shocker, they're hangry! No diet is a good if you won't stick to it, and who can stick to kale salads for life? No one. That's not how sustainable vegans do it.
6. Not having a support system
It's really hard to make a change without support - I don't care who you are. Impossible? No. But if you're living with a significant other or family who isn't vegan it's one thing, but if they're also just not supportive, that's tough. Best case scenario is of course if your loved ones will take the plunge with you, or at least partially (a few days or meals a week,) or at least respect your choices. If they won't change and aren't supportive, it's not a deal-breaker...but you better have that why super stacked and strong, and better be ready to stick to your goals no matter what others around you say/do. Also, definitely virtually surround yourself by way of Facebook groups (join my free vegan community here!), listening to vegan podcasts, seeing if any vegan groups exist in your town, whatever you can do to realize you're not alone!
7. Doing what that chick on Instagram does
Human bodies are all so different in so many ways, so I urge you not to base your whole nutritional approach on what someone else on Instagram or a Youtube video does. While "what I eat in a day" videos and posts are helpful for inspiration--heck, I've shared them--they're meant as inspiration only, not gospel. I see many well-intended people online leading others astray from comments in Facebook groups and such, sharing their exact calories, meals, or macros, and others basing their entire approach off of that. Again, everyone is different...and if you're following someone else's approach and expecting it to work for you, that's like putting on someone else's glasses Rx in your lenses and hoping you can see clearly. It won't work the way you want it to.
Those are my top seven!Did I leave any out that you've seen trip people up, or maybe that you've even been tripped up by?Did this list alert you to things to avoid, or ways you can course correct now? Stay tuned for a future post, or a few, that address each of these hurdles and tips for overcoming each - or, DM me anytime at all!As always, I'm here for you, and your biggest vegan cheerleader. Leave me a comment - I love hearing from you!
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