“This one took me a long-time to post and I am still slightly afraid to reveal it. However, this was such a monumental point in my life and I believe that without telling it, I am hiding a part of myself. I always want to be 100% honest with everyone, so here it goes…
Standard American Diet
Low-Fat, Low-Carb, High-Protein
Raw Till 4
Low-Fat Raw Vegan
There are so many “diets” in our society it is baffling. I have to admit, I went through them all in my life. Coming out of high-school, I was over-weight (230lbs) as a result of my habits. I was the friend who would finish off the rest of those fries and drink the rest of your shake (I took pride in not wasting food). I was also the friend that could drink you under the table. A case of beer every other night (sometimes each night) was pretty much standard for me. We would get together, drink a ton, and then go and eat a horseshoe at Kitten’s (kitten’s was the 24hr diner we went to; horseshoes were a huge, greasy beef patty on-top of a thick slice of butter-toasted white bread with a huge pile of french fries, slathered in cheese-sauce and then drizzled with ketchup). As you can see, I had NO problem consuming mass quantities of calories (or so I thought). I came to realize the problem when I tried running with my mom one evening. I couldn’t make it 3 blocks without feeling like I would pass out. Shamefully, I walked back home and took a look in the mirror. I finally realized what I had done to myself.
(Senior Year Basketball)
During my high-school years, I was always extremely active. Though still eating the Standard American Diet, I stayed pretty fit (hovering around 190-200lbs). Hours doing sprints down the court followed by hours in the weigh-room had kept me from showing the detrimental effects of my dietary habits. We always told ourselves that we needed to eat a ton to keep up with our sports. Shortly after high-school the over-eating and drinking finally started to creep up on me. I quickly went from 190 to 230lbs 🙁
(Summer after Senior Year)
Once I finally realized this terrible change, I knew that I needed to do something about it. What do young guys do to get “in-shape”? We look towards lifting of course. I started going to the gym each day with a couple of my buddies. After several weeks I only saw a very small change. Hitting the weights hard, I expected to see big muscles gains and also fat loss. This, unfortunately, was not the case. Any muscle gains I got were hidden under my layers of fat. Numbers on the scale did not change. Needless to say, I was not happy. I failed to look at my diet until this point. Maybe I should cut calories? That way I could lose fat, right? I decided then to cut out cheeseburgers for good.
(Autumn after Senior Year)
Apparently this was not enough, though. Then I stopped fast-food/fried-foods all together. I slowly started to see weight-loss, which made me so happy! Finally I was doing something that is showing results. I continued to lift weights, and started to incorporate some cardio work. Treadmills and spinning were not the most fun thing in the world (to say the least) but if you want to lose weight, you have to torture yourself with tons of cardio, right?
I hit a plateau while doing this and was consistently weighing around 190 again. This was great progress, but I wanted more. I continued my workout plan, but stayed at 190lbs. I needed to do something. What worked in the past? Cutting out more calories seemed to work, so lets try that out again. I stopped eating excess carbs, cut out meat except for poultry, and focused on getting mostly protein. “This is how those ripped body-builders eat” I then also cut back on my drinking. It was at this point that I made a huge dive in my weight. “Great, I am finally getting skinny!” With a surge of happiness, I looked at what else I could do to make progress. How about cutting out all animal products and stopping drinking all together. This seemed like a great idea. All the information I read stated that a vegan diet is the healthiest way to eat. I made the final decision after a vacation to New Orleans. My final non-vegan meal was a dozen raw oysters on July 23, 2013.
(Before I realized the issue-skinny/orange lips)
“Now I will be super healthy!” I made one HUGE mistake, though, that took me a very long time to realize. I was eating a ton of vegetables, which was awesome, but had already stopped eating most carbohydrates. Now that I took out meat and alcohol, my calorie count tanked. I dropped down to a tiny 130lbs… I was pale, irritable, and had lost all of my muscle. My hands, lips, and armpits were bright-orange. My breath smelled like acetone. I was becoming a social recluse. Worst of all, I thought that I was healthy. I looked at old photos and thought, “look how much weight I have lost. I did great”
I thought that I was much healthier that before, and was in complete denial of my problem. Thankfully, I have extremely loving people in my life that forced me to recognize my problem. I had gotten so obsessed with the scale that I blocked out all other health indicators. I was fixated on being skinny and having the absolute perfect diet. I would only eat organic raw vegetables. The rare occasions that I would go out with my family, it would be a huge ordeal ordering food. I would get super-stressed out at the restaurants and even chose against eating many of the times because “this place doesn’t have anything for me to eat”. I was extremely stressed when going out and was causing my family unneeded stress so I usually chose not to go out with them. My loving mother sat me down one evening and finally got me to realize and admit my problem. I was anorexic/orthorexic.
(I still thought I looked “healthy”—I was wrong)
I was such a perfectionist/control-freak that it was hard to change my ways. It is hard for me to understand how a person that needs to have control over everything allowed themselves to lose absolute control. I was in such control over my diet that I lost complete control over my health.
I made strives for the better, but easily fell back into the orthorexic mindset. I began to add in some more carbohydrates. Eating beans and rice became a staple. I was still fixated on sugars and fat though. It took me a very long time to start eating some fats, but eventually started to eat nuts, seeds, and avocados. Changing my eating from all vegetables to a whole-food/plant-based vegan diet helped me out tremendously. I began to gain more energy and finally started looking healthier. Athletics became a part of my life again, and I was finally finding joy in something. Joy… I hadn’t felt joy in such a long time. Thanks to my mom I am finally feeling joy 🙂
(Forever in recovery)
It has been many months since my realization and I continue to make changes in my life for the better. I am now a much more loving and compassionate individual than ever before.
Unfortunately anorexia/orthorexia dominated my life for so long that the habits are engrained deeply into my brain. I believe I will deal with this disorder for the rest of my life.”
(The Redheaded Triathlete)
The story above was written entirely by Christian Shopinski and was reproduced for the Vegan Fierce website with his express and direct permission. This may be shared on other affiliated and/or related websites owned by the webmaster. Only minor grammatical, punctuation, etc. has been altered, but the content has been kept entirely intact. The webmaster wrote the title and introduction at the very top of the article.