My entire adult life had been a continuous battle of Bianca Vs The Scales. At one stage I hit my largest — 104kg (that’s 229lbs for my international friends). This was followed by a self destructive 4+ year war on my weight, where I ended up just as unhappy and unhealthy as ever.
If I’d known years ago what I know now, I would have saved myself a lot of heartache.
The destructive diets:
I’d had various levels of ‘success’ by counting calories and putting myself through punishing exercises (often followed by binge eating). I tried the usual diet shakes(blah) and restricting my carbs(double blah). It was an awful cycle and through that time I mentally and physically suffered. I had a terrible relationship with my body, and I never learned what it was to be healthy, what it was to love myself.
When I met my now husband I was at a much smaller weight, but I was still entirely unhappy with myself. I had worn my self-love down with restrictive eating and excessive exercise, and when I finally gave myself a break my weight ballooned — as it had always done.
The baby making:
We decided in December 2014 that we were ready to have a baby whenever it happened. Needless to say we thought after the first official ‘try’ that that was it, we would be pregnant.
What we didn’t expect was that it would take us 20 months to fall pregnant.
twenty. damn. months.
After 6 months of trying to conceive with no success we took a trip to the doctors for a pre-natal checkup.
That was when my doctor got me to step on the scales.
I remember the feeling of dread, of thinking ‘why had I eaten before going to the appointment?’ (as if that would make a difference)
‘Can I take my shoes off first?’ I asked with a ha-ha laugh.
My doctor looked at me blankly ‘Your shoes wont make a difference’.
I begrudgingly stepped on to the scales.
‘You need to lose weight.’ He said frankly.
I knew it was coming, but it still hurt. My BMI cemented me in the obese category.
‘Oh yeah but BMI, I do have giant boobs so like take 10kg off right there’ I joked to console myself.
‘They’re still ‘fat”. My doctor cut in.
My doctors advise? “Eat less and weigh yourself every day”
oh, if only he’d known the struggles i’d been through.
I now know that his ‘advice’ was the absolute WORST advice in the world.
But still uneducated, I once more attempted the destructive cycle that was calorie counting. In the following months the scales would drop and increase the same 2 kg periodically as I jumped on and off the wagon.
The false alarm:
In August 2015 we thought we were finally pregnant. My period had disappeared, but home pregnancy tests were giving me nothing. I was impatient. I was terrified I would be one of those women you hear about who don’t even know they’re pregnant until they’re giving birth.
So I went to visit my other (much nicer) ladydoctor.
My blood test results came back negative. I wasn’t pregnant. I was heartbroken, and after a pap test I was referred to a specialist for PCOS.
I was a mess. A mess who had a tendency to emotionally eat. I’m talking family size packets of chocolate, fast ‘food’, ice cream, the lot. I broke down and cried and Brad felt helpless. I was so angry and lost, I didn’t know how to move forward, to change my life for good.
The journey to self discovery:
At a children’s birthday party I was tasked with filling large bowls with chocolates and lollies. Some of them were my favorites, we were well acquainted after years of comfort eating. I inspected the packets quite honestly for the first time, I read the number of additives and food dyes and I started thinking about what I was really putting into my body. If I was pregnant would I eat that? Would I give that to my child?
I reviewed what kinds of foods I was eating every day, a diet heavy in animal-based and processed foods, and on the first of November I began eating a diet of plant based whole foods. In the following 4 months my body responded dramatically to the changes.
I want to make this clear that I was not calorie restricting, I was not even exercising. When I say ‘diet’ now, I mean what I’m eating, instead of what I’m restricting.
Whenever I was hungry, I would eat, it was just that everything I consumed had a high nutritional value. Though I was eating so much food, the weight melted off me. I had starved myself for so long of nutrients that it honestly felt like my body was resetting itself. For the first time in my life I had started to fuel my body with an abundance of plant based whole foods and it rewarded me, the result was incredible.
During this time I did further research on veganism and eating plant based and it started to make sense. I felt so much clarity. By my wedding day in February I was, without effort, 10kg lighter. On our first day as husband and wife I confessed to Brad that I was going to be Vegan, I had seen too much through my research, and reaped the health benefits, to ever go back.
As always, Brad was supportive, and though I never asked him to join me on this journey he only took about a month to start eating completely plant based and see the benefits for himself.
The big move:
In May we set up home on the Peninsula and chilled out about the whole baby making thing. Though we didn’t stop, we knew it would happen when it was the right time. We continued learning together about our new lifestyle, and by June I had lost another 5kg.
Since my plant based journey began in November I had lost 15kg in 8 months. More importantly I was happy, healthy, and had officially dropped out of the ‘obese’ category.
The big news:
It was an early sunny August morning and we were on a morning walk at the Sorrento back beach, we were both in a clucky mood and talking non stop about our future baby, making all kinds of future plans. We nicknamed this imaginary baby ‘chickpea’ right there and then.
It was a day of love, as all days are, but this one was a little more special.
We didn’t know it at the time, but we had finally conceived.
We went home for lunch and though my period wasn’t even due yet, I just felt like taking a test.
I always wondered how I would announce to Brad that he was going to be a father, I couldn’t count how many tests I had taken in the past 20 months, so I honestly wasn’t expecting it to be positive.
‘I think we made a chickpea’ I said, my mind not able to fathom that there was finally a faint second line on what felt like the 1000th test.
Brad and I stared at each other in disbelief. The following hour was a cycle of crying, hugging, and staring at the test.
20 months it had taken, and one life changing journey.