08.30.11

FEELING BETTER ABOUT YOUR BODY


photo credit: foodopera

a little over three years ago i gained 30 pounds.

yep, and 30 pounds is a lot if you aren’t tall. one day i looked in the mirror and was like “um. what the hell happened here?” i didn’t even recognize myself! and the weird part about gaining a lot of weight, is that you don’t even seem to notice it until one day you DO notice. after a nasty breakup, going on birth control, and refusing to let go of my love for buttered noodles and red wine…i was unhappy with my body. but i couldn’t seem to break my unhealthy eating habits, and i definitely didn’t want to start running on a treadmill 3 times a week.

so what did I do? i took a picture of myself in the mirror. an unflattering nude one. every week i did this while i attempted to change my diet. take it in the same mirror, same angle. you will be shocked.

i cut out white bread, white rice (two of my very favorite things on the planet) and switched to wheat. and the pictures, well, got better. this might be too much information. but i really do recommend doing this if you go on any sort of diet. it keeps you motivated, and really shows you what a difference healthy eating can do in a short amount of time.

it took about a month to not crave cheesy pasta and fried rice. i started to incorporate a lot more vegetables, less dairy, more cooking at home and i cut soda and juice out and switched to water. not huuuuge changes. but definitely changes. if i wanted to eat eggs benedict with lotsa hollandaise for breakfast, I would just make veggies and brown rice for dinner. my rule was to always have at least ONE healthy meal a day.

i can’t do extreme diets. nope, not for me. i just break my own rules.

around that time, i got a new boyfriend, who was a vegetarian.(luckily, he’s still around) i found it much easier to break away from my fried food addiction and ridiculous salt cravings, considering he was across the table eating brussels sprouts and quinoa. a few weeks later, i wasn’t thinking about the junk food anymore, and broccoli was cool with me.

6 months later. 15 pounds down. and a few months after that I was back to what I weighed in high school and felt happy and healthy again.

the moral of the story is, we all like carbs. just eat less of them. don’t beat yourself up if you splurge and eat a bowl of cookie dough ice cream or a cheese fondue night. you deserve it. just try your best the next day to make healthy decisions. and take that naked picture every week, i’m tellin’ you! it works! and hey, going through a plump phase only makes ya stronger.

some really good healthy food blogs I like to look at: here and here.

and a really great post that inspired this one, right here.

105 COMMENTS

Add your own

    Anne says:

    Thank you for sharing this!! I’ve put on SO much weight since I went to grad school. I’d sacrifice my workout when I was feeling inspired by my work and didn’t want to lose my train of thought. I love exercise and love to eat right, but I ended up loving junk food and being unhealthy even more. I rejoined Weight Watchers and found a new gym. This post just makes it even more motivating. Thank you!

    Josie says:

    Ohh… this is making me think of the day we sat in the parking lot and ate raw cookie dough out of the tube and those disgusting Sprite remix things that tasted like Skittles.

    Very inspiring, though. No rice for me tonight!

    Hannah B. says:

    I don’t know if you believe in ‘God-Things,’ but you just said exactly what I needed to hear today. It’s amazing how 30 pounds can sneak up on you, but I am definitely ready for a change. The lack of Dr.Peppers and chocolate may kill, but what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger… or at least that’s what I hear.

    bri says:

    hannah! i used to wake up and want dr. pepper. gross right? i was totally addicted. but now i can’t even drink it, it’s so sweet. make the changes, you won’t be sorry!

    Krista says:

    Bri, thanks for sharing. That took real guts and your story gives hope that you don’t need some crazy diet or exercise plans but a few changes here and there and giving yourself enough time to adjust and be ok with the changes. Baby steps ya?

    bri says:

    yes yes. JUST BABY STEPS AND NAKED PICS πŸ™‚

    moo says:

    thanks for sharing your story! the same thing happened to me a couple of years ago…i looked in the mirror and didn’t recognize myself. the only thing i changed was eating and drinking more healthy…and i lost 30 pounds. the lifestyle change has also kept the weight off for 3 years. Eat your veggies people!! πŸ™‚

    Laura says:

    thanks for sharing this one. im quickly losing the “i just had a baby excuse” and really need to get back to my new normal…

    alex says:

    What a great post. Thanks for sharing your journey! I’ve recently gained 40 (FORTY) pounds. I need to check myself before I wreck myself.

    Jessica says:

    Thank you so much for posting this! I’ve put on 20 lbs since I got in awesome shape for my wedding two years ago. I was actually admiring you and Angela at Blogshop Chicago, and figured it was a skinny LA girl thing, glad to hear you’re a real person πŸ™‚ Now I’m motivated!

    I absolutely agree with you. Diets have never, ever worked for me. I’m currently in the market to shed a handful of pounds, and I’m doing just as you say. Additionally, if I have a craving, I’ll eat one square of dark chocolate instead of the whole bar. I will eat when I’m hungry (only) and stop as soon as I feel full. I know it’s making a difference! Moderation is key. Life is too short to completely cut out hollondaise and cheesy pasta and sometimes it’s necessary to splurge – just consider it a luxury! Great post. Thanks Bri!

    megan says:

    bri, this is so great. i’ve lost about 40 pounds over the past three years (i used to be the biggest milk drinker you’d ever meet–seriously, it was weird and clearly something psychological), and one day i cut out dairy milk and switched to almond. i felt better immediately, which made me want to start exercising. truly, listening to your body and how it feels when you make healthier changes is key. and not beating yourself up is so important, too. i’d like to lose 15-20 more pounds and i need to take a look at what i did in the beginning and get back to it — i think it’s time to do with carbs something similar to what i did with dairy. thank you for the inspiration!

    gia says:

    That is great your boyfriend motivates you too. I’m on the path to getting healthier, my ex drank too much and so I did too. So I am getting a handle on how much I drink and trying to fit in the gym or workout before work, so I can study after work… Eating broccoli and quinoa now! Thanks for sharing!

    Elese says:

    good for you!
    I love this site/blog. She’s a CN and her book is FANTASTIC as well. http://www.kimberlysnyder.net/ a lot of what she says really makes sense. πŸ™‚

    meesch says:

    such a great and inspiring post! Thank you for sharing = )

    -meesch
    http://www.aperfectkindofday.com

    Kate says:

    Thanks for that, Bri. I recently looked in the mirror and said the same thing to myself. And that sprout in quinoa dish looks amaaaaing. Hopefully I do as well as you did!

    Kate

    http://www.thrillofthechaise.com

    Amyc83 says:

    Love this post! Great advice and thanks for getting personal. I used to think you were naturally perfect and skinny, but now I can relate to you!

    Amy says:

    Bri, so brave and inspiring of you to share this story! I can totally relate, as I gained 20 lbs when I moved in with my BF. He’s fond of beer and all things fried. Of course it was fun trying to keep up with that, but the weight gain was not. I’m still working on getting that extra layer off! Thanks for the food blog recs…I love this one too! >> http://ohsheglows.com/ πŸ™‚

    Nicole says:

    I totally needed this! I am in the exact sitch as you once were and I am going down a bad path—bad break-up + birth control + bad eating habits. Thanks for the inspiration! I am going to try to break the cycle!

    go girl! thanks for your honesty bri. glad you’re in a great place and feeling healthy. cheers to the power and motivation of naked pictures!

    Amy says:

    Whoa! If I didn’t know better, I’d swear that I had written the first paragraph! As much as I hate the nude photo idea, I may have to do that so that I can lose these last 10 pounds that everyone else swears I don’t have. *sigh*

    Jenny says:

    WOW. Good for you! I’m in that same place, and this is great advice! When you look at yourself in the mirror, you never see the extra poundage you do from a photo. Great idea. (:

    Logan says:

    Ahh, this is so, so true and so great to read about. I grew up lean and athletic, and well, that has just NOT held true in my 20s and I’ve not done much about it. Slow, simple, yet consistent steps are the only way [exercise doesn’t hurt either].

    Never thought about taking naked pix! Don’t know if I’m brave enough! But to echo Jenny, it’s so true; pictures don’t lie Woof.

    Aliza says:

    Thank you for sharing this inspiring post. I’m trying really hard to shed the “baby pounds”. Its really not easy especially since I never had to diet before. So I’m a little anxious about it and really appreciate the boost!

    taylor says:

    Bri, I really needed to read this. Thank you! I’m in the same spot: gained a bunch of weight (I’m avoiding the scale) broke up with ex and went on birth control. And the thing is, last fall I got down to my goal weight and have slowly gained it all back… and some. But after gaining the weight I came to terms with myself and my insecurities and, for the first time ever, was fine with how I looked. Now, I’m definitly going to loose the weight, cause, lets be honest, having a roll of fat hanging over your pants isn’t exactly fun. But it no longer sends me into a panic. And I feel like this time I’ll be able to loose the weight AND enjoy the process. Thanks for the motivation!

    mixette says:

    You are fast becoming my favorite blogger b/c you throw gems like this in one in a while along with all the great stuff. I was trying on (my own) fall stuff this weekend and was all…ummm…what happened here. Naked pics up next!

    Gaby says:

    this is awesome. i gained weight after college when i moved in with my (bottomless-pit for a stomach) boyfriend. i looked like shrek. i got into healthy living and lost 45 lbs. ever since then i have adopted much better eating habits and exercise. thanks so much for this post, you seem to have touched a lot of people. you have inspired me to be more open on my blog about my weight loss.

    xxoo
    http://www.paperplanesandmaryjanes.com

    nicole b. says:

    Thanks for sharing! You are a hottie, Ms. Bri! xo.

    addie says:

    Good post. Um, where do you put the pics so no one finds them?! That would be my concern. πŸ™‚ Another great food blog for good ideas, fun flavors and excellent photos/design is sproutedkitchen.com

    Thank you for sharing this! πŸ™‚ Your approach to loosing weight is really down to earth, I love it! When I had to loose weight after having my son, I taped icky pics of myself on my mirror and then one of myself looking my best. Like you I found photo shock therapy really works!

    Kaitlyn says:

    What a fantastic post. Thanks so much for sharing this! It is a huge deal to feel poorly about yourself, and not everyone is cut out for exercising. Haha.

    Leslie says:

    Thanks so much for sharing this! I feel like I’ve been on a downward health spiral for the past few weeks and this might be just the inspiration I need to get out of my rut!

    J'Ann says:

    Thank you for sharing this! Does make me feel better knowing others wake up and are one day freaked out by the extra poundage . Great tips btw.

    Maddie says:

    This is amazing and inspiring. Thank you so much for sharing. I definitely need to try the photo thing. Your notes about salt, buttered noodles and white rice sound just like me!!

    Jamie says:

    Thank you so much for taking the time to write this.Over the past 3 years I have gain about 30-35 lbs. I find it so difficult to lose weight and your post has inspired me to keep trying.

    Thank You!

    katie says:

    thank you so much for sharing this! i totally feel you on the waking up all the sudden and thinking what happened?! thanks for the inspiration to keep making better choices!

    Gaby says:

    Thanks for sharing those food blogs, being a vegetarian is great when I “find” a cool vegetarian blog!

    Angela says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this – I’ve been having mega tantrums this past week about how that little bit extra plump looks so bad on my small frame..but then eaten more biscuits πŸ˜‰ Great motivation.

    A x

    amanda pritchard says:

    Oh it’s so nice to know that you ARE human. You’re so petite and cute. I just thought you were naturally that way and that you could eat whatever you wanted and never gain weight so it’s nice to know that and I feel I can better relate to you. IT is possible. I am 6 ft tall and a size 16/18. I SO want to lose weight and I promise you I JUST ate a bowl of cookie dough ice cream. Help? Ha. I know this is no weight loss blog, but I definitely appreciate the confession. Hmm.. Maybe I’ll go take that naked picture now. Gasp.

    MaeMae says:

    i remember you hinting at this story during your new year’s post and was so inspired. i have world’s biggest appetite for a girl (i eat more than my husband) and after college swim team ended and the real world started i didn’t understand why i was gaining so much weight. once i got help with work this year i was able to spend time working out and amending my diet. i still eat more than most dudes, but i am eating VEGGIES and get comments from people at the gym all the time about how hard i am working there! PRAISE FOR CHANGES!! and for your inspirational example. xx

    Misty says:

    TFS, Bri(remember that one? Hello, valley girl!)! Sometimes when looking at blogs, I find myself thinking “Goddamn skinny, adorable, perfectly quirkily dressed blogger babes with their “I want one just like that!” boyfriends and amazing apartments! If I didn’t love ’em, I’d hate ’em!”. Only sometimes, I said! Ha!
    But, seriously, it’s always nice to know that while you guys are the new arbiters of style and taste and your lives can seem perfect, while the rest of ours decidedly less so, you’re still just regular ladies like the rest of us! I’m glad you decided to get healthy an am trying to take a page from that play book myself! Keep up the amazing work and I’ll keep stalking you daily! <3

    Kimberly says:

    NIcely done! It took me 15 months to lose the 60 pounds I gained during my pregnancy (despite exercising till the day I gave birth and eating healthy the entire 9 months, I gained a TON of weight!). It’s difficult to make the changes needed to really lose weight at first, but you’re so right…once you start SEEING the changes, it’s totally worth it. And pictures definitely work better than the mirror sometimes – at least for me they did.

    amber says:

    This happened to me, too. Last year I had a nasty breakup, a job loss, moved cities, and was taking some nasty medication. I gained about 12 kilos, which I think is about 20 or so pounds (I’m Australian — I am unsure about imperial measures, sorry!).

    I know exactly what you mean about not realising how much your body has changed until one day… WHOA.

    The biggest thing that helped me to lose the weight once I stopped taking that particular medication was to ask myself, “Am I really hungry right now?”

    It helped me to reevaluate exactly how much I was eating and why. While I was taking the Avanza, eating had become very compulsive.

    I also switched off white everything — bread, sugar, rice, pasta. I use wholegrain instead because it’s more nutritious and fills you up more quickly and for longer.

    I still have a couple of kilos to budge, so I am going to try your photo trick.

    Thanks for sharing this personal post.

    A x

    z says:

    I adore this blog for its keen sense of style, gracious humor and constant inspiration. But posts like this make me love it, even a little bit more (if that were possible)!

    can i add that vintage scarves should be purchased for a little extra encouragement? the money i used to spend on food treats now goes to fashion treats : )

    Kacie says:

    Thanks for sharing this. I have never really had weight issues but eating healthy is for all of us…. in moderation of course.

    Kacie
    http://www.acollectionofpassions.com/

    adele says:

    Great story Bri! I’m so into healthy eating, it should be a way of life for everyone. Excercise is also key xoxo
    http://www.intotheblonde.com/

    Kecia Spears says:

    Thank you so much for sharing! It’s so easy to read some blogs and just idealize that person’s life. I appreciate when bloggers share truths, truths that many of us struggle with. I too put on 30 pounds and am in the middle of trying to get it off. I have hit a plateau and thus a wall. It’s inspiring to read a post about a struggle I’m currently dealing with. I loved the links you provided as well! Thank you so much!

    nata says:

    You = amazing and I love your take on “dieting” – this is honestly the EXACT way I lost weight a few years ago. I was 224 lbs and even at 5’9″ that’s a lot of lovin’. Now I’m currently 130 (never thought I’d be a size 2/4)…it’s been a loooooooong road and sometimes it gets hard to stay motivated so it’s always inspiring to hear other’s stories. I really appreciate the food blogs too…this is a life long struggle for me so it’s always awesome to find new healthy options. Thank you for posting this!

    This is just what I needed to hear. I gained 25 pounds and like you said I didn’t really notice it as I was gaining but noticed it one day when I stepped on the scale and was 25 pounds heavier. I’m petite too at 5’2″ so I can really notice. I’m struggling getting the motivation to lose some weight even though I’m beyond disgusted with myself (nothing fits and for a girl that has more clothes than I can handle, this proves to be quite a problem). Anyways this was just the motivation I needed. It’s so nice to know that you went through the same thing. Thanks for sharing Bri! xoxo

    Lauren says:

    ok but seriously…good timing. I am not overweight but I weigh more as a junior in college than I did as a freshman and I have a scale in my room which probably isn’t the best because I stand on it multiple times a day. Picture idea is way better than the scale!! Numbers don’t compare to how you feel when you look in the mirror. It is nice to hear (even though we know it is not just us) that other people love the same food we do and splurge quite often. Thanks for sharing!! Totally doing this.

    JenLynn says:

    Great post. My sweet tooth would get in the way of any diet so I always try to balance it out or work extra hard at the gym.

    Alyssa P says:

    Just read French Women Don’t Get Fat and her approach is similar to your philosophy (and Garance’s too!). In my third week of “living a healthier lifestyle”, I’m starting to see results and just…feel better. Thanks for always being so inspiring.

    Lacretia says:

    Bri – for one, thanks for putting this out there. It’s so nice to hear the REAL version of how others deal with body image and changing diets and stress, and I will definitely start taking naked photos for inspiration. πŸ™‚

    I’m interested in hearing more about how you deal with your boyfriend being a vegetarian. I’m seeing a guy who is vegetarian, and I’m having a hard time with it. It’s kind of intimidating, to be honest. Are you vegetarian now too? I’m just not sure I could survive without steaks and burgers and chicken. Not to mention cooking! I’d love to hear more about how you make it work.

    P.S. Are you bringing Blogshop to Seattle anytime soon? We’d show you a good time! Promise!

    Christina says:

    Bri. Are you like… psychic? I just started dieting 5 days ago. It is the first time I am ever trying to lose weight by changing my diet. I am almost done with my shift at work and I am ravenously hungry. All I can think about it eating something. Anything. But reading this post made me stop and think and remember what I’m trying to accomplish. Thank you SO MUCH. Seriously.

    Stacy says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this Bri! Your honesty and vulnerability is inspiring. Weight is a concern that hangs over the head of so many women, so providing practical steps makes it seem like hills, rather than mountains. Thanks again!

    bri says:

    so glad you all are getting inspired! that’s so awesome! you just have to get over that INITIAL hump of bad cravings, and then you will crave healthy food!

    i don’t really have a sweet tooth, so that DOES help. but salty fatty cheesy food isn’t easy to kiss goodbye either.

    best of luck to everyone jumping on the healthy train!
    bri

    great post – so honest and inspiring πŸ™‚

    Bukola says:

    Thanks so much for this inspiring post Bri. I am past the 30 year bday now and i am finding it hard to justify being overweight and not taking care of myself. I unfortunately have the weird problem of never feeling hungry except maybe twice a day and then because i am up late working, i sometimes eat mindlessly. I am hoping to do a better job of questioning my level of hunger before i eat. πŸ™‚

    The naked picture idea sounds like a great tactic to keep track, but what do you do with the picture after you take it? Does it not worry you in this day and age that you could get hacked or lose a camera and disaster strikes? Sorry if that’s a stupid question, but it just made me nervous. Do you take the picture just so see for the day and then delete it or what do you suggest? Thanks

    bri says:

    i put them in a very very very hidden folder and hope for the best! ha

    Annie says:

    Hello Bri!
    I have been a quiet reader for quite some time, but this post demanded a comment. I am absolutely moved by your honesty and ability to have a sense of humor about the subject of weight (even though it doesn’t seem funny when it’s happening). Not only do I find it inspiring, but I think what you have said speaks volumes about how many of us have been in this situation and have sought a solution–so thank you! Thank you for being honest, open, and thoughtful towards your readers.

    gingermandy says:

    I feel like I read this at just the right time… two weekends ago I cut out pretty much all sugar and carbs (the bad ones) from my diet and have actually intentionally lost weight for the first time in my life. Stepping on the scale each morning and seeing the number drop a tad is my motivation, but I keep thinking about how I should take pictures to SEE the difference.

    And you’re right, I keep telling myself that the “chubby phase” I’ve reached will make me appreciate my body more when I reach my fitness, weight loss and dieting goals. πŸ™‚

    victoria says:

    okay, i’m inspired. thank you.

    I’m a little late commenting, but I love this post! I gained 30 lbs right after I got married and your advice is spot on. I lost almost all of the weight when I stopped eating out so often and started cooking at home. And then I became vegetarian, which makes eating healthy a lot easier. Now I try to limit my carb intake to one meal a day and am mindful of what I eat during the week so I can splurge a little on the weekends. Oh, but I cannot, will not give up my glass of red wine a night!

    Amy says:

    Thanks so much for this, Bri. It’s like you reached right in my head and wrote exactly what I needed to hear. I hope I remember this post everyday so that I can stay as inspired and encouraged as I am right this second.

    georgie says:

    I am about to hit print and cherish these precious words! I fully share this head space – THANK YOU! x

    Jodi says:

    Reading all your heartfelt posts was just the inspiration I needed after having one of those challenging days. Thank you all for being so honest. How refreshing. Now I have a whole new outlook for tomorrow. xo

    Erica says:

    I put on my bikini for the first time in six months last week and it was a pretty upsetting experience. I took out the stress of finishing grad school and looking for work out on my body. I am not used to my body openly protesting my lifestyle. I needed this post. Thanks.

    Pingback: Healthy
    Donnie says:

    Definitely experienced a similar path before college (yes, BEFORE) so I was prepared to handle the freshman 15! Kudos to you for being brave enough to talk about it here!!

    Caitlin says:

    bri, i love that you are writing more. it feels so nice to get a better sense of who you are – it really makes me look at your blog deeper; not just to admire ALL the pretty pictures (which are awesome!). thanks for the really thoughtful blog post. i actually just started doing that with my weight pictures a few months ago – it sure as heck keeps me in check!

    J. says:

    Wow! Awesome job! My boyfriend recently cut most carbs and sugar out of his diet (which of course affects me when we eat together,) he only works out once a week and he’s looking amazing! He doesn’t do the pictures…good idea though, but he does a good hard look in the mirror everyday. It’s a hard challenge, but he’s determined! I’m proud of him and you!

    adrienne says:

    Bri, that’s awesome! Thanks for sharing your story and also giving me a shout out πŸ™‚ (Sorry for the late response, I’ve been out of town.)

    Crystal says:

    I’m a little surprised that you titled this post “Feeling better about your body”. With a title like that it would seem that you’d write about body positivity and loving your body, not being disgusted by it and trying to change it in such a non positive way. Stephanie of One Sleepless Night does a much better job writing about body positivity as opposed to dieting: http://onesleeplessnight.blogspot.com/2011/09/you-are-not-just-ornament.html

    And although there is nothing wrong with wanting to lose weight or be thin (though it should be kept in mind that we don’t live in a vacuum and that societal pressures tell us the only kind of body worth having is a thin one ), there is also absolutely nothing wrong with being a larger size either and that one can be healthy AND large at the same time.

    Crystal says:

    Excuse me, that should be we DO live in a vacuum!

    Star says:

    ohh…I am so about to cry. I didn’t know anyone else struggled with changing their cravings…I am in that process at the moment. Very inspiring. Exactly how I feel.

    Chelsea B. says:

    I just discovered your blog (love it!) so I’m year late with this comment…but this post found me at juuuuust the right time! I’ve been struggling with my weight for a couple of years now and seems that no matter what I did, I just want losing anything. So I basically gave up. I’ve been eating whatever I want and exercising less than I used to. I haven’t gained anything back, but I feel like CRAP. I finally decided to rededicate myself to healthy eating and more regular exercising, even if it just makes me feel good and I’m not able to actually lose any weight. I needed a last little push and some inspiration, and you’ve provided it. Thank you!!

    I am going through the phase right now discovering how much weight I have gained (after having two kids, but still…) and losing myself along the way. a week in Paris, alone with my girlfriends has got me set up to lose all the extra weight.
    I will definitely take that weekly photo, it sounds really good to me!
    Not much to change diet wise as I am already quite good with choosing food. A lot more exercise every week will certainly help out too πŸ™‚
    Thanks for sharing that up with us, I admire your style (and body) so much, I would had never thought you could face weight issues.

    Jenny says:

    I adore this blog. I adore your words, I adore your style, and I absolutely adore your personality! I’ve just discovered designlovefest and can’t seem to go a day without reading. I find true design inspiration here and lovely photographs I can only dream about. But then you go and talk about weight gain over life circumstance and I relate to you on a personal level. So thank you for your inspiration and thank you for your openness and vulnerability!

    Rocio says:

    These sound like really good tips. Not so complicated. πŸ™‚ Thank you for sharing

    Such a good idea – Taking pictures naked each week.. Now that is one way to motivate! I got to try that!

    Sarah says:

    I still go back to this post when I need a little inspiration πŸ™‚

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