Breaking My Self Proclaimed Label

by Lauren on January 26, 2012

There are many things about 2012 that have changed my previous ways of once living or thinking.  I feel that every day, I continue to grow and learn but so far, this year is shaping up as more of a transforming year more than anything.

This morning, I got myself out of bed at the ungodly hour of 4am and made it to the gym by 4:30am to teach my RPM class.  As I was getting ready to teach, I noticed a few things…..

Since I’ve been teaching RPM, in the past 6 months, my legs have gotten noticeably large.  I’ve always had strong legs, which I believe comes from years of running, but never have my legs been as strong and defined as they are since I began biking.  No wonder my thighs are bursting out of my pants these days.

I got home and heated up some oats before heading out for the day.

Breakfast

Pumpkin Steel Cut Oats with Blackberries, Carrot Cake Granola, Sunflower Seed Butter 

I had some meetings this morning and then headed into the office before lunch.  A few of my lovely coworkers had planned a lunch date and invited me along.  I couldn’t turn it down.

Lunch

We went to Panera and unlike my last salad experience, this time, they truly delivered.

I ordered the Fugi Apple Chicken Salad which was excellent!

Those sweet apple chips were banging and I also found out that Panera uses all natural antibiotic free chicken which also made my quite pleased.

Speaking of chicken, that brings me to my next point…another change that I’ve endured this year is my vow to eat meat once again.  For the past 2 years, I had considered myself a pescitarian and turned up my nose at the thought of eating poultry.  I didn’t really have a personal objection to eating meat, I just convinced myself it wasn’t for me.  Truth be told, at first, I had a hard time digesting meat when my Cohron’s was at its worst so I eliminated it during that time.  However, most foods were hard for me to digest at the time but I eventually added them back in gradually.  Meat just never made it back into the mix.  Over time, I liked my identity of being a self proclaimed vegetarian and it became a part of who I was.

This year, things changed.  My priorities changed, my desires changed, my body changed and I knew that what it needed most was what it was lacking….animal protein.  So I began eating meat and I actually enjoyed it and no one, not one single person made a big deal about it.

The one meat that I had turned my back on for SO long was bacon.  I’m not sure what irked me so much about this food but even the smell was hard for me to take.  I never really saw myself craving bacon until this past week.  Courtney has been posting the most incredible photos of turkey bacon and I haven’t been able to get it off my mind.  So today, I headed to the health food store to find some Organic Turkey Bacon and did something I thought I’d never see myself do….

I ate it!

Honestly, I really don’t know why I was so afraid of the stuff.  After looking at the nutritional stats, it’s pretty incredible just how healthy it is.  30 calories per slice, 1 g of fat, 6 g of protein per slice….wow…in two slices that more protein that I would get in most of my meals.

I used the “baked” method to cook this and served it with a side of scrambled egg whites and roasted brussels sprouts.

Dinner

Egg whites on arugula with hummus, roasted sprouts, turkey bacon 

It was good.  It still might take some time to love it but I definitely didn’t hate it.

A common misconception that many people have is that not eating meat will make you loose weight.  This is so false.  When I stopped eating meat, I actually gained weight.  This wasn’t necessarily a bad thing because it was at a time when I needed to gain, but naturally, my body ate more and more carbs and lacked protein.  I know that they are so many wonderful protein options for vegetarians but I seemed to avert mainly to fruits, veggies and carbs.  Since including more protein, I’ve increased my muscle definition, energy, and overall physical strength.

So I guess what I’m saying is that I don’t regret this decision one bit. Do I miss labeling myself as a vegetarian?  Sure, some days I do.  But I must say, living my life without any kind of rule or label is much much more gratifying.  Besides, I’d rather who I am be more than what I eat or choose not to eat.  Meat or no meat, I’m still the same person, maybe just a little less self focused on what I think I should be rather than what I actually need to be.

GIVEAWAY time!  Want some granola?  Want some pancakes?  Head over to the NAG blog and enter to win both! 

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{ 34 comments }

RunEatRepeat January 26, 2012 at 8:36 pm

I always think it’s weird I became “un-vegetarian” as a sort of New Year’s resolution last year, but I feel healthier and more content for the time being.

Lauren January 26, 2012 at 8:44 pm

Haha, me too gir!

kathleen @ the daily crumb January 26, 2012 at 8:38 pm

i have to agree about my legs! when i switched from primarily running to yoga, i gained some major leg strength (and tighter pants!)

i have confidence you’ll come around on bacon :) i consider myself a fairly healthy eater, but that is one splurge i just cannot turn down! the smell is heaven to me.

chelsey @ clean eating chelsey January 26, 2012 at 8:42 pm

My legs get huge when I run and they decrease in size with anything else!!

Lauren January 26, 2012 at 8:44 pm

I think it was a combo of the running + biking that gave me some huge thighs. :) Proud of them though.

Molly from LifesLemonsbyMolly January 28, 2012 at 3:17 pm

I would LOVE to try a fitness experiment by stopping spin and running to see if my thighs shrink but I think that I would go crazy. My legs are tone but big/muscular. Other than swimming and jump rope is there any other intense cardio workout you can think of that would give me a good sweat but go easy on the legs?

Lauren January 28, 2012 at 5:04 pm

I would think any kind of upper body cardio such as boxing or swimming but the legs are your biggest muscle group so they will burn the most calories. Try to focus on exercises that encompass the entire lower body and not just the thighs such as squats, lunges, ect. There are a ton of at-home bootcamp style workouts that can work all different muscle groups in a short amount of time.

Stephanie @ On the Road to RD January 26, 2012 at 9:08 pm

Loved this post. It’s such a good feeling to give those self-imposed labels the boot. Rather empowering, I’d say– Kind of like shouting, “you don’t own me!” :)

Erica @ For the Sake of Cake January 26, 2012 at 9:15 pm

My legs/hips have always been the largest part of me! I think I’ve finally just learned to live with it because they’re not going anywhere.

Is Audi wearing leopard tights?!?! SO CUTE!

Lauren January 26, 2012 at 9:26 pm

Haha yes she is! She is the queen of cute tights. :)

*Andrea* January 26, 2012 at 9:16 pm

looks delicious!!!

i’m totally suspicious of professorial people in terms of diet. being vegetarian doesn’t make one “better” or “more perfect” than a meat-eater. someone who eats what their body craves is a healthy eater :)

Lauren January 26, 2012 at 9:26 pm

So well put!

Clare @ Fitting It All In January 26, 2012 at 9:26 pm

I agree with this entire post 100%. Changes are scary, but SO wonderful:)

Emily @LivingLongfellow January 26, 2012 at 9:30 pm

I agree that living without a food label is much better than calling yourself a vegetarian and not liking it. Glad you’re happy with your new food choices :)

Courtney @ Sweet Tooth, Sweet Life January 26, 2012 at 10:26 pm

YAY for turkey bacon! ;)
It’s so nice to hear how you’re adjusting so well to your new changes. Keep it up, girl!

Allegra January 27, 2012 at 3:28 am

Ahhh that salad looks phenomenal! I agree 100% with everything you said about dietary labels & feeding your body what it needs. I am so happy I decided to switch back to eating meat — my family is phenomenal about it (not questioning when I choose to eat vegetarian over a meat-focused meal) but sometimes my friends can be a bit pushy :( Have a marvellous Friday!

Erica January 27, 2012 at 4:46 am

You know I think its so fabulous that you’re making all of these changes :) Oh, and I’m up at 4 AM to go teach pump right now! Bacon is one of those foods I really wish I liked. The brussels from dinner looks awesome. Totally picking some up at TJs today

Lauren @ What Lauren Likes January 27, 2012 at 9:37 am

That salad does look great! Hmmm I’ve never tried turkey bacon before!

Jordan@almondjay January 27, 2012 at 11:25 am

That salad looks delicious. I will have to recreate this at home :) I don’t eat red meat and I hate having to explain myself to people and label myself as something. Just let me eat hehe!

Melissa @TryingtoHeal January 27, 2012 at 7:04 pm

I think it’s great, the choices you’re making for your body! I’ve flirted with the idea of going back to meat as a protein source but I have too many ethical and environmental issues swimming around to get me there.

Lauren January 28, 2012 at 1:41 pm

Definitely do only what you think is right. I don’t have any personal beliefs against eating it (mine were purely dietary) but I totally respect those that do!! It’s because of you that makes the over-meat eaters not as bad.

Shelby January 28, 2012 at 11:52 am

Wow, I have to say that I relate with what you said so much- around November I went back to eating lean meat and dairy after being strictly Vegan for 8 months. I had started the diet to see if my body would feel better and really just to see if this diet would work for me. What I found was that I was eating more and more carbohydrates (like you said you were) and felt like I was having a hard time staying at the weight I wanted to! Being really into working out and exercise, this was frustrating to me because I could never get full- I was always hungry and all of the carbohydrates were simply making me irritated and lacking in energy. I decided I wanted to go back to eating meat and dairy (simply because I was never solely vegetarians, just went from carnivore to vegan). It was the best decision I’ve ever made. I feel SO much better! I’m glad you are feeling a lot better since you made the switch! Hope you have a great day and I really enjoy your blog!
-Shelby

Lauren January 28, 2012 at 1:40 pm

Thanks so much Shelby for sharing this! It sounds like we have so much in common. :)

Katrina (gluten free gidget) January 28, 2012 at 12:58 pm

Awesome post! I am currently going through a similar thing. For years, I convinced myself I didn’t like red meat or “normal” foods. I subsisted on tofu, miso, and all sorts of “unusual” foods. While I do, genuinely, like these unusual foods. I started craving red meat and normal foods, too. I decided if my body is asking for it, I must need it. Sometimes, a burger and sweet potato fries can be yummy. The last thing we should do is judge ourselves!

Lauren January 28, 2012 at 1:39 pm

Amen girl!!

fitpeanut January 28, 2012 at 1:31 pm

I used to be vegetarian (and it makes me gain weight too) then added fish and seafood in my diet and felt really good (I lost the weight i gained), was leaner than before… I miss the “vegetarian label” too …
And two month ago, I added meat (poultry) in my diet ! No beef, pork, lamb … no mammals because it gross me out

Lauren January 28, 2012 at 1:39 pm

I am the exact same way and couldn’t feel better!

Alexia @ NamasteYoga January 28, 2012 at 6:50 pm

wow you are slowly going on the meat eating band wagon again. great that it makes you feel so good and that you have found the best nourishment for your body. I do eat fish and still don really crave meat, however, before getting restless and not being able to do this for the rest of my life I would surely opt for a steak. I dont like labelling myself and its most important to find your own way and not follow any label of any kind! wonderful post lauren!

Karen January 28, 2012 at 9:27 pm

Great post! Your breakfast with the pumpkin granola looks incredible :)

Amy January 29, 2012 at 7:50 am

Thank you Lauren once again for a thought inspiring post. My Mum and I were discussing this today actually. I always labelled myself as a “non-athlete” and “bad at sports” because those were tags that I heard about myself from others. For many years I never realised the joy of physical activity until I decided to just give it a go as I wanted to lose weight. Now, I derive so much pleasure from running or walking or yoga that I am sorry I missed out on it for so long because I allowed myself to have such a narrow view of what I was capable of. Don’t allow any definitions, the human spirit lies beyond categorisation.

Emily January 29, 2012 at 10:06 am

Hey Lauren! I’ve been thinking of you so much! We will have to give each other an update. That turkey bacon looks really really good. I’ll have to hunt for it at whole foods. Love you dear! xoxo

Marian January 29, 2012 at 6:07 pm

I just love this post in so many ways:) 2012 has shaped up to be a very liberating and life changing year already as well.
I can relate to changing my diet for specific goals I have in mind, Mainly to be a mom, but it was so hard not to identify being Vegan anymore, but at the end of the day I have to do what’s best for me and my future/health. Funny how labels can be so hard to let go of. Anyway, Beautiful post:)

Lauren January 29, 2012 at 9:29 pm

Thanks girl!

Sharon January 30, 2012 at 2:57 pm

I LOVE the new Passion Fruit Fvor but HATE the seeds. What is the thinking on this? Do you think it is more authentic to add the seeds? Please get rid of those seeds…it’s enough of a hassle to stop buying it. Other than that, love it.

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