I was debating whether to write this post or not, whether I want to put my insecurities out in the world, whether I want you to see me in a different light after you read this. But then I thought about why I started this blog: to have a platform to share my thoughts and tips, my life in all its glory. And most importantly, I want to stay true to my personality, the same personality that made me do this in the first place. To tell the truth, even though it’s not always easy. So here it is: I used to be overweight.
Overweight. According to my BMI. To put it into perspective, I am 173cm (ca. 5 feet 7 inches) tall with a current weight of 66kg (ca. 145lbs). This, however, wasn’t always the case. I was always bigger, even when I was a child. The whole situation got even worse when I moved to the current city I live in. I gained a lot of weight really quickly. In the two months of my first summer holiday after moving, I gained 10kg (ca. 22lbs). Yepp. But I got even bigger.
The thing is, you see yourself every day. You don’t see the change right away so I was oblivious to what was happening. I was eating salads and veggies but topped with cheese, ham and tuna. A lot of tuna. And a lot of ham. And even more cheese. I started to notice myself getting bigger and bigger, my clothes didn’t fit, I needed bigger sizes to a point where my jeans were the size EU 46-48 (US 16-18/ UK 18-20). To be fair, I was used to low-rise jeans and my muffin top is my widest, so of course, smaller sizes didn’t fit. I was wearing shape-wear every day. Naturally, my breasts got bigger, they hurt. Occasionally, I had to wear two bras to keep them in place. I got stretch marks and I felt freaking sick and tired of that situation.
I weighed 90kg (ca. 198lb) at my heaviest.
I know this number because I dreaded stepping on the scale but when I did, it literally changed my life. Not to be too dramatic, but I let out a few tears and sobs and the sight of that number. It was time to change.
Step 1: Going Pescetarian (April 2012-February 2013)
For me, step one was to figure out the way out of my misery by cutting out food-groups that were making me sick. I started with meat. I still kept eating fish, eggs and dairy. At first, I wasn’t doing exercise, nor was I weighing myself. But I felt so much better. Then I added daily runs at night in the summer. I weighed myself in autumn 2012, panicking at the thought of what number will pop up on the scale. To my relief, I lost ca. 12kg (26,5lbs) in the first couple of months of me being a pescetarian. At this point, I weighed about 78kg (172lbs).
Step 2: Going Vegetarian (February 2013 – July 2013)
Seeing results was a motivation. But most importantly, feeling so much better was an even bigger push for me. I used to be sick all the time, needing to lay down after a meal or throwing up because I couldn’t handle the food I was eating. I cut out fish as well, though I kept eating eggs and dairy. I lost some more weight, getting down to 74,5kg (ca. 162lbs). Keep in mind, I still wasn’t really doing any exercise, just eating better.
Step 3: Going fully Plant-Based (July 2013 – now)
This step was the most important one for me. I knew dairy made me ill and I had rashes on my arms after consuming dairy, yet I kept eating it because cheese was an alternative to meat for me. But somehow, in July 2013 after watching 20 minutes of Earthlings, something clicked and I cried in my bed, deciding not to consume anything from animals ever again. And I kept my promise. I stopped eating dairy, eggs, meat, fish and everything that isn’t plant-based. I know everyone says this but honestly, I felt so much better. My only regret is not starting sooner.
Also, eating fully plant-based helps with snacking as you can’t eat half of the things you would be tempted to if you were eating anything you’d want. But don’t worry, there are other yummy vegan treats that will make you forget about the unhealthy temptations 😉
Step 4: Excercise
TIP: As cliché as it sounds, find an exercise or a class that will be fun for you to go to. That will make you sweat and question your abilities but at the same time make you feel accomplished after finishing an exercise you thought you would never be able to finish. That is my motivation to get better at what I do and I do see the progress and it makes me excited to go to the next class. Also, if you don’t have the money to pay for a class or membership in a gym, there are tons of YouTube videos online to help you work out at home.
In the summer of 2013, I started working out. I’ve completed Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred without any exceptions. I even went for a run on some nights after the workout because I was so energised, I needed to put my energy to use. I started looking more into nutrition and detox, overall looking out for what I ate. I didn’t want to be the junk food eating vegan. I’ve got a juicer from my mom, I ate a lot of veggies and overall home-cooked food. Keep in mind, I was working while studying, hence why I could go grocery shopping for myself and that is way easier than bothering others to buy you food they wouldn’t normally buy.
TIP: If you’re thinking about shopping for yourself and preparing your own food but you don’t have your money to do so, try to talk to your parents or legal guardians to give you money every week for you to go grocery-shopping. Or go shopping with them and choose the food you need.
After completing the 30 Day Shred, I still weighted 74kg (163lbs), but you develop muscles which burn fat even after you’ve worked out, so in the couple of weeks after the programme, I lost 6kg (13lbs).
In autumn 2013, I weighed 68kg (150lbs).
In 2014, I moved out and started working more hours, cooking for myself, working out and thinking about my weight to a point it started to get obsessive. I was down to about 62kg (ca. 137lbs) in a really unhealthy way. I wasn’t properly eating, drinking juices and smoothies instead of food but then smashing a whole pizza at night. You could say I had a slight eating disorder. But I got over it pretty quickly.
Now I am healthy. Not thin, but not overweight either. I work out regularly, take boxing classes and eat as healthy as I can with an occasional snack to keep me sane. My goal now is to work on my physique and my muscles, to tone my body rather than lose weight.
At this point, I want to congratulate myself for my results but most importantly, for finally realising that those before-and-after Instagram posts of others shouldn’t be seen as #goals because actually, I AM one of those girls who lost 24kg (53lbs) and I don’t give myself enough credit. So here it is: well done Petra, good job!
I guess what I’m trying to say is, the only obstacle is you. It all starts and ends with you. It doesn’t matter how many people tell you to lose or gain weight until YOU decide to do it, it won’t matter. It might be unpleasant at first when people keep telling you how good you look or how you’ve lost weight. It’s the same as telling a skinny person that they look good because they finally put on some weight. It just keeps reminding you that they have an image of you being heavier in their heads. It keeps reminding you of all your mistakes, doesn’t it? But at the end of the day, you keep thinking about those comments and it makes you smile, it makes you proud. It keeps you motivated.
My own battle with my mind telling me I’m big, is still ongoing. For example, today, before writing this, I was looking in the mirror, already running late to class yet I couldn’t bring myself to get out of the flat because I wasn’t feeling good about how I looked. But what I learned along the way is that these days will come and they will go. Some days I will feel good, some days I won’t. The only thing I can do is work on my mind as well as my body even though the days I feel like I’ve had a set-back. Because if you can remember, you see yourself every day. You don’t see the change right away so you might be oblivious to what is happening to your body. It might take weeks for you to notice a change. But then, it will all be worth it :).
Disclaimer: This is not supposed to be a vegan propaganda, nor is it talking about everything I did while losing weight. I will gladly write about that if anyone should be interested. Also, if you feel good in your own skin, no matter the size, that’s great! But I didn’t feel good. If you have further questions and want that conversation to stay private, head over to the “Get In Touch” tab and send me a message 🙂