The first step: diet. Not in the I want to lose weight sense but in the I want to make better choices for the health of both my body and the environment sense.
Shannon touched on this topic, albeit from a different view point, in this post, if you haven't read it yet you really need to go check it out! I have too often let the improbability of something cloud my judgement, and stop me entertaining it as a possibility. I have known for a very long time that less meat, and mostly vegan was the way to go. The advantage of doing a research degree? The answer is access to all the scientific journals. You can bypass all the politicized fluff and get to the meaty goodness of cold hard facts. And I knew the facts pointed to a reduced meat future. But it didn't just seem improbable that a girl who knowingly once ate a formerly beloved pet chicken, and comes from a family where "vegetarian" is a dirty word would ever give up meat, it seemed down right impossible. Also lets face it, meat is yummy.
So the first step of me "getting my act together" (which will from now on be referred to as GMAT) was a simple challenge to myself to try veganism for a week. It took a few tries before I actually managed it for a straight week, but I got there. And with that came the knowledge, that whilst it was improbable it wasn't impossible. At the time I was still living with my aunt and door knocking so being 100% vegan all the time wasn't very practical, but I was 90% vegan 90% of the time. Then when I came home I committed to it on a more full time basis with the exception of fish (I choose sustainable sourced fish of varieties I know aren't endangered) and quorn products (a protein rich meat substitute which contains a small amount of egg white).
Part b) was the focus on a more whole foods diet. Part b proved slightly tougher, I thought I ate mostly whole foods before, and I did, but you'd be surprised how many added chemicals are lurking in "whole foods". I'm now a very selective shopper. It took me ages to find a muslei brand with no added sugar or preservatives. And I've become quite fussy with pasta, in fact often I'll opt for brown rice just because its an easier choice. Now the processed food I eat is limited to bread, dark chocolate and my beloved quorn products (and even those I try to limit to once or twice a week).
My biggest failure continues to be diet caffeine free coke. The aspartame is bad for you. They are basically little cans of carcinogenic chemicals and flavourings and yet I can't give them up! I have managed to cut down to 1 can a day. The next step is a complete cut. 1 step at a time though.
I bet you're finding this all terribly interesting aren't you :p.