Starting the vegetarian challenge seemed a million times easier this time (probably because I’d introduced so many fruits and vegetables in my diet beforehand, and really made a much more gradual change)…
Even still, I had some moments of weakness.
A lot of times after races (half marathons, marathons, etc.), I enjoyed going to get a huge, juicy hamburger. And I wondered what it would feel like after a race if I didn’t get to go get that hamburger fix!
I’ve done some races while on this challenge. After my first Spartan race, a little over my first month of trying life as a vegetarian, I passed a Five Guys on the way back to the hotel! There was definitely part of me that thought, “Forget it! I want that burger!”
But then I just thought, “Goodness. If I give up on this every time I do a race, I will never finish this challenge!”
So, I abstained.
There have still been moments where I’ve wanted a hamburger. Those moments are far fewer and in between now. In fact, I’d say that now, after 5 months, I don’t know that I ever crave a hamburger. Sometimes meat looks even sort of gross now. (It never looks so gross that I hassle anyone about it who eats it in front of me. People are more than welcome to eat what they want, of course… And actually sometimes it still looks good at random moments.) But, in general it just looks less appetizing, I guess.
Even still, even though I don’t actually crave meat, I have a hard time sometimes separating my craving for an actual food with the kind of memory that food brings up for me. (That’s probably unhealthy of me, huh?)
But, you know, if I ever do want a burger now, it’s because I associate my celebratory post-race meal with a burger. Or I associate Five Guys with fun memories of going there with my dad. (And yes, I know I could still go to Five Guys and have their delicious fries as a vegetarian.)
But, memories and people and things – they don’t go away just because you’re not eating meat anymore. I’m perfectly capable of having some delicious nut-based protein-full dish after a race, and enjoying it just as much, if not more than a burger. It doesn’t make my race finish any less triumphant. It’s just a different way to eat afterward. After all, it’s just eating!
Who cares what I’m actually eating when it comes to hang outs, or celebratory things? It’s more the people, the mood… that’s the kind of stuff that matters, not what you’re stuffing your face with.
And next time, I’ll get into some of the issues I had with the vegan part of my challenge.