How Becoming a Vegetarian Helped Me Realize That EVERYONE Needs Accountability Partners

 

Image via Boston.com
Sadly, this was one of the most attractive pictures of a Turducken offered on Google Images.

It is 12:01 a.m. on Friday, August 31stand I’m indulging in a Turducken dipped in lobster bisque and shrimp au jus, with a side of scallops and salmon-stuffed crab cakes. The meal was prepared especially for this monumental occasion—to celebrate the successful completion of 30 days of vegetarianism. I couldn’t think of a better way to do this than to totally cancel out these last 30 days. My journey began at 12:00 a.m. on Wednesday, August 1st and ended just now. During this time, I’ve learned valuable transferable life lessons such as the importance of continuous self-examination and thorough research and preparation before embarking on any major lifestyle change. I’ve also learned the necessity of having accountability partners. Below are some lessons learned during my short stint as a vegetarian. Hopefully you will find them helpful; I believe they are widely applicable.

Try to ascertain exactly WHY you are becoming a vegetarian. I initially talked myself into believing that the reason that I was becoming a vegetarian was to lose weight. After some serious self-examination, I realized that becoming a vegetarian allowed me to not deal with my real issue…craving sugar.  It’s the carbs and sweets that are causing my weight issues, NOT meat. Approximately eight years ago, I stopped eating pork. And I did it cold turkey. I literally woke up one day and said, “I’m not going to eat pork anymore.” And I didn’t.  About six years ago, I was driving down the street one day and said, “I’m not going to eat red meat anymore.” And I didn’t. You know why? Because meat isn’t and never was my “problem”…SUGAR is. The opportunity to participate in a 3-week sugar detox program has recently presented itself. I’m in the process of doing my research on the program. And speaking of research…

Do some research on exactly what vegetarianism entails. Did you know that part of what makes rice taste so much better in restaurants than in your own house is probably that they boil it in chicken or beef broth rather than water? I didn’t. But now I do. It can take A LOT of practice to get the food you cook at home to taste like (or better than) the dishes you’re accustomed to in restaurants…usually longer than 30 days. And if you’re eating rice boiled in meat juice then that takes part of the vegetarianism aspect away, right? In addition to doing your research…

Image via Marg (CaymanDesigns) at Food.com

Keep an open mind…try things that you thought you never would.And challenge yourself to determine WHY you thought you’d never try those things. Did you know that black beans are good? As a matter of fact, they are the bomb.com. I’d never given them a shot before, because they reminded me of beetles. Little creepy, crawly black beetles. But what I quickly learned on day 2 of 30 is that when you cut a significant portion of your diet out, you resort to desperate measures. Those beetles started looking quite good! Because I didn’t properly plan or do sufficient research, I didn’t fully identify meat alternatives the way I should have. But thanks to a persistent server at Chili’s, I tried their black beans and instantly fell in love! Now, even though I’ve surpassed the 30 days, I’m sure I’ll order the black beans whenever I return to that restaurant. Those beans tossed in the smoky gravy and topped with chopped onions and tomatoes are simply divine! Next lesson…

Have realistic expectations so that you don’t set yourself up for disappointment. Did you know that you might not lose ANY weight? In fact, if you haven’t fully researched things and aren’t prepared for this drastic lifestyle change, you might actually gain weight. I didn’t lose any weight. Not NONE! The first week I gained a pound. Which I lost half of the following week and the other half the week after that. By that point, I was happy to break even and I stopped weighing myself. Okay, time to talk about accountability

Tell other people that you are becoming a vegetarian so that they can help hold you accountable. One of the first things I did when I decided to become a vegetarian for 30 days was to take to Twitter and Facebook to announce it. There is nothing like publicly declaring something to make you feel guilty about not staying true to it. This helped me understand why being a vegetarian was easier in the day than it was at night. Shall I say it again? Accountability! People see you in the day. When you’re at home at night inside your house, nobody sees you. Nobody can pass judgment. Nobody can call you out. Also, telling other people about your endeavors is key if you’re memory-challenged like me. Honestly, one of the hardest things about being a vegetarian was REMEMBERING that I was a vegetarian. I considered myself to be fairly dedicated to the cause, but because it was so out of the ordinary for me, I had to catch myself a couple of times. Not out of sheer disregard for the rules that I’d set for myself, but because I completely forgot. Which leads me to my last point…

If you need help, it’s okay to ask for help! How many times have you made the statement that “before I seek assistance, I want to see if I can do it on my own first…”? You know what? YOU CAN’T! Because if you could, you would have already. This statement is transferable across many situations and is just an excuse to delay the inevitable. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that you literally can’t, because of course you can! It’s just that you don’t. And you won’t. Because talking about it and procrastinating until that exact “right” moment (which may never come) is easier than just doing it. Once again, it all goes back to accountability. It helps when somebody other than YOU is responsible for YOU. Get that trainer. Join the diet program. IT IS WORTH THE INVESTMENT.

As I’ve stated several times already, my lessons learned from 30 days of vegetarianism are transferable ones. As a result of this experience, I’ve decided to establish several groups to serve as my accountability partners. In life, EVERYONE has something that they need to be held accountable for. Whether its diet, exercise, drafting a business plan, revamping your out-of-date résumé, cleaning out the garage, or putting those cigarettes down once and for all, EVERYBODY needs someone to help hold them accountable.

Accountability partners can also be unknowing participants. Whenever I exercise inside my house, I open the blinds and the front door. This turns my neighbors into accountability partners, whether they realize it or not. Generally speaking, just the thought of somebody watching you will probably make you want to do the right thing. On the flip side of that, gawking neighbors could also be totally creepy. But for the sake of making a point, let’s pretend it’s not.

Have you had similar revelations? Do you already have accountability partners or do you need to establish some? Let’s support each other! Share with me in the comments section.

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