Today I’m excited to share with you another incredible weight loss inspiration story. I found Catherine’s blog a few weeks ago and I’ve been obsessed with it ever since! She and I have actually messaged back and forth recently about our individual weight loss stories and I’m so excited to get to know her better through the magical powers of the internet! I wanted to post her weight loss story here on Team Freedom because not only did Catherine lose an amazing amount of weight, she gained so much helpful knowledge and info about deciding to live an natural, healthy lifestyle, which is something to be admired for. You can see Catherine’s super cute site by clicking: Rabbit Food for my Bunny Teeth.
I love all the talk about BUNNIES. I’ve called each of our daughters Bunny since they were born! So sweet. Read Catherine’s story and follow her blog! Let’s all be healthy little bunnies together!
A Baby Bunny
I will start off by saying that my first stuffed animal was a rabbit, my mom calls me Bun Bun (short for bunny) and that I have big front teeth that some may call, bunny teeth. My obsession with the cute cuddly creatures wasn’t the only factor that came to play when naming this blog. Ever since I can remember I have been overweight, or should I say… a chubby bunny. I am not one of those naturally thin girls who gained the freshman 15, or gained weight after having children. During elementary school and high school, I was teased and bullied because of my weight. They engraved in my mind that I was fat, so I believed that was all I ever would be. I didn’t understand why my mom and sister were so petite and I was so big. What made me so much bigger than my big sister? I remember crying to myself asking “Why am I like this? Why did I have to be placed into this body? This isn’t fair, why me?” I used to wish upon shooting stars that I would have an eating disorder so I could be skinny.
Bun Bun and a bun!
I had always been interested in fashion, but being 5’4 and 162lbs as a teenager, there are not a lot of stylish options out there. I remember searching for a Winter Formal dress and not being able to fit into anything. I cried in the dressing room of every store and my mom assured me that we were going to find the perfect dress. I hated shopping with friends because they always wanted to see how everything looked on me, but most of the time it would not even fit so I wouldn’t come out of the dressing room. I hated being fat, but chalked it up as “baby fat” that I would one day grow out of. I continued eating like a teenager, never thinking about what I was really putting into my body, and although the food that I ate wasn’t always unhealthy, it was just too much.
I have the most amazing parents in the entire world and they are a constant source of inspiration. My Dad is one of the most selfless, generous, hard working people I know, and has provided a safe, stable, and loving home for my family. My mom is a renaissance woman. On top of managing a household, volunteering for 5 different nonprofit organizations, and being a loving wife and outstanding mother, my mom always cooked homemade meals for us, consisting of a healthy balance and variety of foods. My parents never criticized me for my weight, what I ate, how I dressed, and always supported my insane ideas. Even when my weight started to creep up, they never acknowledged it or pressured me to lose weight. I am so lucky to have this amazing family, filled with so much love and support. Because of my parents, I truly believe that weight loss will happen when the time is right. No one can push you. You must decide to get healthy for yourself, which is exactly what I did.
Me at my junior prom in 2006 at 162lbs.
Hopping along in a new direction
After coming home from a weekend trip to San Francisco with my best friend, I was sorting through photos from our adventure and posting them online. It wasn’t until I got half way through the photos that I noticed how big I had become. I was shocked and disgusted by myself and couldn’t believe that I actually looked that way. At this point, I was at my heaviest weight of 192lbs. Later that night, I was hanging out with my family, watching some awesomely terrible reality TV, when my dad said “I think I’m going to try Nutrisystem, my buddy did it and dropped a ton of weight and has kept it off.” I looked at him in that very moment and said “I’ll do it with you!” and my dad’s reply, “Ok, but you actually have to do it and follow the plan if we order it. No cheating!” The timing was perfect. Just hours after looking at photos of my chubby self and being so unhappy with my own body and not strong enough to confront it alone, this window of opportunity opened up. My sister even chimed in “not fair, I don’t want to cook!” referring to all of the Nutrisystem meals being prepared and delivered to your door. She is so positive and loving. You will never meet anyone as kind or as happy as my sister. I love my family and their support was key to my success. I can’t say it enough.
Halloween weekend in San Francisco 2010 at my heaviest of 192lbs. Yes I was a loofah!
Our orders arrived a week later and I was excited to change my body and leave my old habits of snacking and overeating behind. I immediately went through my pantry and fridge in my apartment and threw everything out. I replaced the midnight macaroni, gummy bears, and unhealthy snacks with my month’s worth of NS meals and “approved snacks” i.e. veggies, nonfat yogurt, and hard-boiled eggs. My dad and I would email each other about our progress or… lack there of in his case! Each day on the program was new and exciting, and I was going strong learning all about portion control, the right carbs and seeing fantastic results. After sticking with the program for some time, I began to feel sluggish, tired, and weak. I was sticking to my program and getting tons of sleep, which lead me to think that something else was wrong. I went to my doctor, who ran a panel of blood tests for autoimmune diseases and test my blood sugar. All of my tests came back normal, which was great to hear, but did not tell me why I was so mentally and physically drained all the time. I decided to end the overly processed and preservative rich Nutrisystem diet. The Nutrisystem program was the perfect kick start to my weight loss and healthy eating, but it was time to continue on my own. It was a terrifying decision, to leave the program cold turkey because I would have to start making decisions about what I ate all by myself, but I had learned proper portion control and eating habits and always had Nutrisystem to fall back on if worse came to worst.
Discovering rabbit food
To keep myself inspired to lose weight, I started buying magazines such as Shape, Fitness, and Women’s Health. While reading these monthly magazines, I was inspired by certain nutritionists and dietitians and would take detailed notes about their healthy eating tips. I started finding that articles I was tearing out or dog-earring were by the same writers. I started a list of my favorite contributors and recipes (many by vegan whole foods chef, Chef AJ) and wanted to learn more about them. After researching these amazing health and fitness experts, I learned tons of information and new ideas for healthy eating. I compiled a gigantic grocery list to help me get started cooking my own healthy meals. I knew that if I had a house stocked with everything I needed for healthy meals, there would be no temptation to stray and grab something unhealthy for a quick fix. I broke my grocery list into sections of protein, produce, whole grains, and plant based fats. My mom agreed to go to Whole Foods with me to gather all of my essentials that I needed to start a healthy kitchen of my own. We probably spent 2 hours in Whole Foods roaming the aisles as I tried to located things like chia seeds, and tempeh. My mom is so patient! I started creating recipes that consisted of one serving from each food group. For breakfast and a snack, I would have a fruit for my produce, and for lunch and dinner I would use vegetables to get a nice balance. It was fun coming up with different recipes using these 4 food groups, and the possibilities were endless. I had lost 60lbs at that point, which brought me down to 132lbs. I had much more energy and I credit that to the fresh unprocessed whole foods that I had been eating. People were really starting to notice my weight loss and I was becoming happier and more confident each and every day.
At my 22nd birthday party in 2011 at 132lbs.
Falling down the rabbit hole
My 22nd birthday was just around the corner and I couldn’t wait to wear an adorable new dress and show off my new figure. The night of my birthday party, I was so nervous to eat or drink anything in fear of gaining weight, so I just pushed everything around on my plate and only sipped on water. At the time I was so happy with how I looked and what I had accomplished that not eating at my own birthday party didn’t matter to me. Now when I look back, I am sad that I couldn’t allow myself to even celebrate my own day.
Cooking for myself and eating healthy seemed to be working out, until one day that I remember very clearly. After I ate a balanced healthy lunch, I still wanted something else to eat, so I reached for an apple. I knew I wasn’t hungry and didn’t give my body sufficient time to feel full from my meal and caved into my cravings for more. After eating lunch and an apple I felt so guilty that I wanted to throw up. I felt as if that one extra apple was going to cause me to gain all 60lbs back. It was a measly apple, but I was so used to staying so perfectly on plan and measuring everything out precisely with a food scale, that I truly believed that I had ruined my weight loss path. To compensate for that apple, I decided to not eat dinner in fear of seeing the number on the scale go up in the morning. The next day, I still felt guilty and angry with myself for “overeating.” I was acting like I had become a complete failure. I became so obsessed with trying to lose more weight and have a perfect body that I started severely restricting my calories. I cut meals in half and cut out carbs completely. Eating the smallest single serving cup of yogurt, or more than half of my meal made me question myself. At this point I was probably eating around 800 calories a day and I still felt guilty. I would go on 3 mile runs everyday to burn off my microscopic breakfast and lunch and would usually skip dinner. I became so obsessed with dieting and losing weight that it was all I thought about, day and night. My eating had become so restrictive that I wouldn’t eat when I went out to restaurants with friends and could no longer enjoy food. My restrictive lifestyle soon turned into a vicious cycle of starving all day followed by uncontrollable binge eating. I was at my lowest weight of 112lbs and it wasn’t until I noticed my ribcage strangely poking out of my chest and that sitting on hard surfaces became so uncomfortable on my sharp tailbone that I realized what I was doing was wrong.
At my smallest of 112lbs in fall 2011.
I turned to the internet in search of some sort of help and advice to turn things around. I stumbled upon numerous blogs by young women who had similar stories after losing a substantial amount of weight and were willing to share with the world. So many stories hit so close to home, and it was calming to know that I wasn’t the only one. I became so inspired by the women who were brave enough to confront their problems and blog about their story, journey, and recovery to optimal health. I started following a number of healthy living/eating blogs and turned to them for support every day. I fell in love with the support and devotion of the blogging community and feel like it has contributed so much to my new outlook on food, exercise, and health.
Getting back on my rabbit feet
As dumb and obvious as it sounds, I have learned that eating an extra apple one day will not cause me to gain weight. It may seem silly, but it took me a long time to come out of that “all or nothing” restrictive mindset and learn that food is not the enemy. I have been cooking my healthy rabbit food and have learned to respect my body. I know that food and body image will always be somewhat of a struggle for me, but I have come so far and become so strong that I know I can certainly maintain my new healthy lifestyle. After being an avid blog reader, I felt that it was my time to share my story with the world. I want to tell my story to help others who may have stumbled over the same hurdles, to inspire, and to have fun with food and exercise. Now it’s time to make some rabbit food!
Now that you have survived this monster of a bio, you can read some more fun things about me here, yay!