This Week's Q&A: Changing your life when it feels hopeless, How I got lean, Vegan living with (Unsupportive) Meat Eaters & Feeling lousy after the switch

Posted by:Lindsay S. Nixon Category: FAQ

You've got questions...

Q: Some of us, for whatever reason, cannot just up and change our life to do what we want. For many of us - it really is not possible - so we are left with trying to make our life matter outside of work. So I'm wondering if you can address a future blog post about this. Because when I ask myself the question - If this were the last day of my life, am I spending it the way I would want? - it just makes me cry. I know you have changed your life drastically at least once - but please understand and address those of us who just can't - for whatever reason.

A: Everyone can change their life. You may not be able to jump up right this second and do it the full 100%, but everyone can do *something* right now. A baby step in the right direction. There is no situation that can't be changed little by little. The first step is accepting that, as hard as it is.

I thought my situation was impossible and hopeless, and it wasn't. My situation was very dark, very hopeless, and I was extremely depressed on the verge of suicide.

(I've blogged about this in depth -- see past Minimalist posts, especially these two:

MM: How to Get What You Want (and My Battle with Depression)

MM: How to Figure Out What You Want (+My Big Confession. Light Does Come Out of Darkness.))

I said the same words you did about my situation, but eventually, found my work-arounds. Accepting possibility proved harder than many of my steps I later took.

What you're looking for is what I teach and talk about in Exit Strategy school :) Lots of free training and baby steps for how to make a change.

I believe some situations are tougher, and somefeelimpossible, but they just feel that way against you, there is no real impossible.

Q: I noticed that in recent months you are looking super lean. Please know that I think you looked amazing before, and I'm not at all inferring that you needed to lose weight because you certainly looked very fit and healthy. It's just that I've noticed that you've leaned out even more, and I'm wondering if you would consider writing up a blog post about what you did differently to get even leaner. I want to lose 15-20 pounds, but I'm really stuck.

A: Thanks for the compliments! I follow my meal plans :) After I "invented" them I started following them for ease and I leaned out along the way. I only lost about 5-10lbs total, but it can make a difference! I also buckled down and got really serious about making sure I had absolutely no oil in my diet after my Dad had a heart attack. Before I never used it at home, but I wasn't terribly diligent at restaurants. Now I avoid it as much as possible. I'm pretty militant now :) And bonus: Scott lost 15-20lbs with me thanks to the meal plans and our added diligence! I can't recommend the meal plans enough for weight-loss (or just if you want to feel your best and simplify your life). Stick as close to the plan as possible, choose the lower fat options if you hit a plateau, and be scrupulous to make sure the foods you buy (i.e. bread or condiments) are oil-free and vegan. It's that simple! If you're not losing weight on a vegan diet, see this post for help figuring out why.

Q: I love your cookbook and I know that a plant based diet would help me after reading about all your herbies of the week. My husband is a butcher and my children aren't interested. Do you have any posts or herbies that have faced this or have went plant based alone?

A: Many herbies go it alone, it's one of the reasonswe have an individual meal plan,for our clients who are the only herbie in the house. They often make all their meals ahead (it just takes a few hours) so they can reheat their food all week long while cooking for the family.

There are also a few posts on this blog with tips, too, like this one: How to Make it Work in a Mixed Diet household.

And this Facebook post.

I also find you start to "rub off" on people eventually -- leading by example is a very powerful thing! (I "rubbed off" on my husband, sister, parents, and at least a dozen friends that are all vegan or vegetarian now!)

Several of our past Herbie of the Week stories have also noted that they were inspired by their spouse, child or friend's success... but yes, sometimes you have to go it alone initially. Remember love and respect, it goes both ways!

Q: My roomie told me tonight if I am going Vegan I can move out! I was taken aback. I said "It's not about giving up or excluding. It's about embracing something new that's healthier." Well they said "Come on. Why can't you have a little chicken or fish on the weekends? Don't you ever want barbecue again? And if you are going to get religious on me about this.... forget it." I told him I don't understand why he's so un-supportive. He said because I preach this stuff and then breakdown and eat a hamburger. I am not perfect but it is a whole new lifestyle. Any advice or clarity on this matter?

A: I'm sorry to hear you're going through this. Two things --- First, while I'm all about progress not perfection (and respecting the journey), being inconsistent does you no favors. Quoting a fellow Herbie, "as long as you give in, compromise or do anything contrary to what you are saying you believe, you are just reinforcing the idea that you are not really serious about this and can be easily swayed or bullied into what they want you to do. Just be kind but firm do not budge one inch or you will never be taken seriously and the harassment will never stop."

Second, the problem is predominately your roommate, and his inner demons, not YOU or what you're doing. Check out these posts for more insight:

Dealing with Negativity

Response to Naysayers (How to Deal with Negativity About Your Diet)

And while moving out and finding a new living situation doesn't sound like the most fun, I would seriously consider it. Why live with someone who is trying to bully you, control you, or otherwise not respect your choices? You're respecting theirs. Perhaps it's time to find a "live and let live" roommate :)

Q: I read your post, How Long Does it Take to Feel Great on a Plant-Based Diet? (Beating the Failure to Thrive) and I'm at a total loss. Please any help is appreciated. I am on the sofa ready to cry I feel so sick.

A: Without seeing a detailed food journal, I can't give too much help why you might be feeling lousy (if it's the result of not eating properly, etc). but it sounds like you are probably going through a detox and withdrawal from food addictions (it'll pass, just hang in there). Cheese is the worst. It's as addictive as a drug and people often go through physical withdrawal without it (more info on how to give up cheese and dairy). You have to tough it out and break the cycle. Sugar can also have this effect on some people (more info on how to break the sugar addiction).

I can't recommend the 3-day reboot or 10-day cleanse immersion enough (the cleanse also comes with a 10-day education immersion (online) full of information).

Generally, make sure you're eating enough calories, you're eating lots of whole carbs like rice or potatoes, and you're drinking plenty of water.

Feel better!

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