Most new transitions or habits begin with a bit of a honeymoon phase. You're really into it in the beginning, but it's only a matter of time before you get a clear picture on what a future in this lifestyle would really be like.
Full of new discoveries, the first month of any habit shift is exciting! You're learning new things, starting to get the hang of it, and feeling pretty good about yourself, right?
Month one on my plant-based path left plenty of room for improvement, let me make that clear from the start. Cake scraps and leftover restaurant bits or late night chicken egg rolls and flatbreads were not sitting well. But at the time, that's what I had access to.
I was grateful for any meal that was put in front of me, but at some point, I had to start making a better choice. I stopped sinking into the bad habits that I knew were harming me, and favored those that were health promoting. Choosing berries over cake scraps and guacamole over fried foods became a new game that I played, and one that I liked to challenge myself with. I knew the only way to begin making any kind of progress was to start where I was at, and to be ruthlessly honest with myself from the beginning.
After having a clear picture of my exact GPS location and zeroing in on my destination (fully vegan), I was able to plot the checkpoints and rest stops that I knew were critical to acknowledge if I were really committed to pursuing a plant-based path.
Even though I was still very much tied to two demanding jobs, and wasn't on a normal meal schedule, I found ways to make it work in the beginning. Smoothies became my superfood because I could sip them while keeping up with my work in either job. Fresh fruit was a great pick me up, and hummus became a food group.
I also began drinking far more water than I ever had because I was severely dehydrated but also because I noticed how much better I felt when I kept up with it. My skin, digestion, energy, everything improved when I was well hydrated.
I started to avoid red meat, because it was the category that was my easy win to start out. I didn't buy any at the market, and I didn't order it if I was out. Once I was happy with where I was at with this first category, and was no longer thinking about it or "missing" it, I knew I was ready to begin traveling to the next checkpoint - poultry and other meat.
It was critical in this first month to remember why I cared to start this journey in the first place. Why did this matter to me? What was I gaining by changing my lifestyle? What else was important to me? What were my core values?
All of the answers to these questions helped to keep me on track with each meal that I chose. Nothing was off limits, but there were choices that I knew I wanted to make. It wasn't that I "couldn't" eat that thing, it was that I proactively chose not to.
This shift alone made for a completely empowering transition in the next few months that followed. It's one I love to help others make too, because in this thought change, we become truly in control of our lifestyles.