First I want to say I am really glad I found this forum, there is awesome advice here.
I have always loved animals but somehow managed to not make the connection, I could eat almost raw steaks...then 5 years ago I started helping at a cat rescue association, and then various things happened.
First being so close to suffering animals, there's no much respect for cats or any other animals here, seeing how sensitive they are, how it affected them when they were abandoned neglected and badly treated, not just physically but emotionally, how they reacted to someone being kind to them after all the bad things, it became harder not to think of how other animals felt, or to keep thinking they are "just" animals sort of thing.
Also there were a few vegetarian/vegan people there and they would say the odd thing about where this or that came from and what was involved in certain things.
But funnily they final blow came from someone that is a bullfighting fan, when I tried to understand how on earth she could sit to enjoy and cheer the torture and death of a living being she said two things, one that that was not what she was seeing, and the other was that bulls have by a long way a better life than any consumption animal, which is actually true. Pro-bullfighting people are well versed on the atrocities of farm animals because that justifies their hobby, a little ironic.
I started realizing that I also hadn't wanted to see that the meat in my plate came from an animal that had suffered, lived a horrible life and died am awful death just for my pleasure, since I know plenty of vegan and very healthy people so I know it is not necessary . Then it became harder and harder to eat it until one day half way through my meal I had to put the plate away. That was about a year and a half ago.
Kept eating "free range" eggs and had some dairy and fish on occasion. But kept learning about the way animals are treated for milk and eggs and fish and then saw the talk by Gary Yourofsky and it just hit home.
It has been much harder to give up eggs and dairy, maybe because the connection is not so clear, a cupcake is not a piece of a dead animal on your plate and up until not long ago I still had the odd slip but as it happened with meat I felt really bad whilst eating it and afterwards.
It hasn't been easy, vegetarianism/veganism is not very extended here, our national ritual involves the carnage of an animal, and a lot of people seem to have this gut reaction to vegetarianism, almost as if by being a vegetarian you are blaming them for something and they enter into a passive aggressive mode. It bothers me less and less, I feel much better, now there isn't a constant mismatch between what I think I should do and what I do and I enjoy my food a lot more knowing I don't participate in the pain of innocent sentient beings.
Anyway sorry for the exclusively long intro and hope I can also share something useful