Growing up, I was raised as a vegetarian by my parents, who had joint-custody over me. When I lived with my mom and my step-dad, I ate nutritious vegetarian food and was always involved in activities that kept me moving. When I lived with my dad, I ate vegan and raw foods because my dad was a vegan transitioning into raw foodism. I was rarely sick, and I was never overweight.
During the school year, when I lived with my dad, I longed to eat what the other kids were eating. I wanted nachos and pizza, ice cream and cheese. My dad explained to me again and again why we didn't eat those foods, but I was too young to understand or appreciate his school of thought. When I lived with my mom during summers and Christmas vacations, I was allowed to eat some of those things- pizza with veggies, grilled cheese sandwiches, and even poptarts! I associated my carefree summers with the types of food that weren't good for me, but that tasted so good.
Eventually, when I turned 13, I moved to Texas to live with my mom and step-dad for good. I was still a vegetarian and my mom cooked healthy food for our family to eat. It wasn't until I started high school that I started going overboard on eating junk food when I was home alone after school. I would eat half a bag of Milano cookies in one sitting and follow it with a can of coke and some Doritos... Luckily, I had the metabolism of a teenager and was also enrolled in a dance class and on the track team. Despite these unhealthy after-school eating habits, I still didn't gain weight.
When I turned 18 I moved to Lubbock to attend Texas Tech University. My eating habits and junk food binges followed me, but because I still worked out and would sometimes skip meals due to being too busy to make it to the dining hall, I still didn't gain weight.
You're probably wondering where I'm going with all of this...Don't worry! I promise I have a point with all of this!
I was active and healthy through my first two years of college. Eventually, when I turned 20- I made the decision to try eating meat for the very first time in my life. I'm not gonna lie- Texas barbecue smells really good- even to a vegetarian! I spent a few months sampling different types of meat (I liked bratwurst but I didn't like turkey!). I decided never to eat any meat from a fast food restaurant, and I have kept that promise to myself. I tapered off eating meat after I had tried the majority of the things I was curious about, and went back to being a vegetarian. Despite my foray into omnivorous behaviors, I remained the same size and shape, and life went on...
I went on road trips with friends,
(I'm on the far right)
I spent the summer working at a camp,
And I had a great time!
That's me and my boyfriend! in 2006!
My boyfriend and I started dating in October of 2006. As we spent more and more time together, I spent less and less time working out. I spent even less time grocery shopping and cooking for myself! The majority of our evenings were spent watching movies and ordering pizza...and all of those pizzas started adding up! I noticed that I had gained a little bit of weight, but I didn't mind much- I still fit into all of my clothes!
In December, we went to Las Vegas. It was at that point that some of my clothes started getting too tight. I hid under winter coats and vowed to work out once the new year started.
Then, the following January, I turned 21. My promises to myself about working out fell through and I started going out to bars and clubs with my friends far too often. My already mediocre eating habits deteriorated into late night snackfests and mid-morning buffets. I gained the weight slowly, but there was no denying that it was there, and that I wasn't doing a thing about it.
I tried hiding under baggy dresses:
But there was no denying that my body was filling out, along with my face:
Soon, I was avoiding taking pictures, and deleting most of the pictures I was in, along with de-tagging myself on Facebook. When I finally weighed myself, I found that I had gained thirty pounds.
I felt horrible about the way I looked. I hated my body and I was angry with myself for letting myself gain weight. I was insecure, depressed, and even jealous of every girl I saw who was thinner than me. And, I didn't know what to do about it. A few months later, my boyfriend and I were going home to Dallas to spend Christmas with my parents and sister. I was embarrassed to go home. I didn't want my family to see me this way.
This is my mom and I during that Christmas holiday, 2008.
After that visit with my family, I decided enough is enough. I decided to quit drinking for 30 days, start working out 4 times a week, and to start eating nourishing, healthy meals. That New Years Eve, my boyfriend and I were sipping sparkling apple cider out of champagne flutes! The following week, I started working out.
For an entire month, I worked out 4 times a week, ate a huge salad for dinner every weekday, and tried to stay positive. At the end of the month, I found that I had already lost 10 pounds!
This was the result that I so desperately needed to see. I felt so powerful- that I finally had control over my life again! I am also so grateful for my wonderful boyfriend who consistently told me how I beautiful I am to him, and told me how much he loves me. I don't think I would have had such great results without his support!
I continued working out 4 times a week, an I also starting reading blogs! Some of the first bloggers I read that were so inspirational to me were:
Carrots 'N' Cake
Chocolate Covered Katie
Eat, Live, Run
Healthy Tipping Point
Oh She Glows
Inner Workings of a College Graduate
I honestly think that without these amazing ladies, I would not have been so successful! Through February and March, I continued to lose weight and lost another 10 pounds. I also posted my first Operation Beautiful note!
Finally, by June, I was back to my previous weight. My body had changed a little bit as it matured, but I don't think I have ever looked better! I did a lot of things to celebrate...
I wore my first bikini in public:
I hung out with friends dressed as bears:
I went on grad school interviews:
And I spent time with my family:
My sister, my mom, and I.
I have maintained my weight loss for almost one year now, and I have learned so much about myself through this entire journey. I am now so much more interested in my health than I ever was, and I hope I can help you spark an interest in yours as well! I look forward to continuously bettering myself and becoming a better person as I continue this journey...
Of course, some things never change ;)