Happy Herbivore Blog

Beneath every body is an untold story.

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: AdvicePopular

My image is not my complete story: Beneath every body is an untold story.

For those who are unfamiliar with my personal history, I have lost weight, and am maintaining that loss. I weighed about 30 to 40 pounds more than I do now. The pounds on the scale have never really been a quantifier for me, so I prefer to describe my loss in terms of size. I wore a 10/12/14 and now I wear a 0/2/4. I'm 5'8".

I struggled with my weight, both losses and gains, and I let both affect my self-esteem for years.

Anyway, I had an interesting conversation with three friends recently about their body (and people's perceptions about them) that I realized this was a great topic -- that deserves a little exploration.

The takeaway here is just as you can't judge a book by it's cover, you can't judge a body by how it looks.

The first friend of mine, we'll call her Elizabeth, has lost over 45lbs -- she was beautiful before -- but she looks even more fabulous now and is much more comfortable with her new body. Recently, Liz went at a social gathering where most of the people didn't know her, 45 pounds ago. At this party, a woman grabbed her waist and said loudly, in front of everyone, "Gosh I wish I was naturally skinny like you!"

This deeply upset Liz -- as though the woman's comment negated or belittled all her hard work and effort. Of course, I'm sure the other woman meant nothing by it, but that's just it, you don't know the story behind someones body.

You could look at Liz, and at first glance think she is naturally, effortless thin and slender... There is no sign on her back that says "I lost 45lbs!" 

Truthfully, I do have friends who could eat tubs of ice cream and thanks to genetics -- still be stick-thin the next day. But that's not my body, or my friend's. (and there's no telling what's going on with their insides. Thinness is not always an indicator of health! Healthy comes in all shapes and sizes).

I find people are often quick to size me up too. I get comments on my blog, and even Twitter and Facebook along the lines of "we can't all be naturally svelte like you!" or "I wish I was naturally thin like you!" But I'm not "naturally" this size. If I stop eating right, the weight creeps back on. That's how the weight got there in the first place! (If you're wondering, yes, I follow my own meal plans!)

On the total opposite end of the spectrum is another friend of mine, who is still overweight, but she has made remarkable progress. There isn't a sign on her back that says she's lost over 100 lbs and is still losing. Someone might look at her body and think she is lazy or doesn't eat right, but she eats healthier than me and swims every day. (We'll call this friend Shelley).

When I was recounting Liz and Shelley's stories to another friend via email she told me she'd just had her own similar experience recently. I asked her if I could repost it here: 

"Someone recently said to me, "But you are skinny." Her comment was in response to a business card I handed her, for a community blog that encourages finding happiness beyond the scale. I knew I would probably get that comment eventually. She looked at me and made an assumption.

Several years ago, I found myself with some extra weight for the first time in my adult life (I wasn't "naturally" skinny before--I was a smoker and, err, enjoyed the nightlife, lets say. So partying replaced many a meal). I went on a diet (The South Beach Diet, because it had a vegetarian plan) and lost a lot of weight. I was down to a size 2. All without any form of exercise. I decided to quit smoking and was concerned that I would undo my weight loss so I bought some running shoes. Thus began several years of constant racing-- running races and triathlons.

Sounds great, right? One problem. I still had to "diet" during all of that training to keep my weight down to my "happy" weight.

Eventually I decided that I was sick of the yo-yo dieting. If at the end of every year I was up 10 - 12 pounds, maybe that weight was my true happy weight? So I bought bigger clothes.

You may look at me and think I'm skinny. I'm not. I know what I look like when I'm skinny. I look gaunt. I'm pale. My face looks older. Today I look healthy, rounder in my size. For me, it's not about the number on the scale or the size on the label. It's that I'm no longer chasing an image of what I should look like...or be. I'm chasing health and healthy, for me, is rounder. It's curvier. It's happiness, finally found.

When you look at me and think I have no business writing about my quest to stop chasing skinny, please remember that you don't know me. You don't know my journey. Try to remember that whenever you want to pass judgment on an overweight or skinny stranger. You don't know their journey."

Have you had a story like this?

RiceSelect Giveaway

Posted by: Andrea Dermos |


Hi Herbies! 

While Lindsay is in Europe, we thought it might be fun to do a giveaway. RiceSelect contacted us about giving away some of their new, whole grain products.

If you aren’t familiar with RiceSelect, you can find their products all across the country sold in most super market chains. RiceSelect supports sustainable agriculture by developing high yielding rice varieties that require less pesticides, fungicides and water resources as well as organic foods by developing new organic products, securing markets and expanding consumer demand. RiceSelect’s production facilities operate pollution free and use only minimal processes to mill and package nutritious, high quality, all natural food products. RiceSelect’s PET jars are re-usable and recyclable and BPA free.

We're giving away two packages including a tote bag and a chance to try their new product; Jasmati rice which is an US-grown jasmine rice and Texmati rice which is an US-grown basmati rice. Both are vegan and gluten-free!

Guest Post from a Family of 5

Posted by: Andrea Dermos |

Category: Guests

Today's guest post is written by Lisa, a mother of 3, whose family has transitioned to veganism! Lisa was a tester for my new cookbook and I think her family tested nearly every recipe!

I found HH by pure accident...literately stumbled upon it. My dest daughter Chanelle (almost 16) watched the movie Food.Inc in one of her classes at school. After viewing that movie she literately turned into a Vegetarian overnight....(I believe this happened last fall) As a mother, it scared me and I had a lot of concerns. I needed to learn how to feed her with proper nutrition. We are a family of 5 and supper time at the table is important to us, I wanted Chanelle to be able to enjoy a hot meatless meal, so I did some research and joined a group called Meatless Monday on Facebook. They happened to feature a HH recipe one day so I followed the HH link and soaked up all the information and the warmth from the group. We started with the Blueberry Breakfast Cake and were blown away by the recipe! I was sold, and instantly became a huge fan.

I have been eating low fat for years. We all cut out beef about 5 years ago, and we quit eating pork last summer. We were still eating a diet high in fish, poultry, and dairy.We had NO intention of becoming Vegetarian let alone Vegan. I thought it couldn't be done living in Northern Manitoba...we live in a remote location with a limited selection of foods. I was wrong on so many levels, it absolutely can easily be done!! 

We have been following HH recipes faithfully, all of us, for most meals and snacks. Over the past few months, myself and 2 of my children have been strict Vegans. My husband has been a strict Vegan for about a month. Chanelle for the most part is Vegan, but when having a few meals with her boyfriends family she remains Vegetarian. Being a Vegan family fell naturally into place for us, and with the HH cookbook I didn't have to do any thinking, plus everything was easy to make, inexpensive and full of flavor. Being a Vegan family is unbelievably rewarding in so many ways! A huge thank you to Lindsay for her time, recipes and for being such a positive help to our family!

We also noticed lots of changes! First and foremost we spent a lot more family time together cooking and talking about how to be more healthy.I have lost 12 pounds since January, and my husband has lost around 30 pounds. I used to be obsessed with working out twice a day, I now only exercise once a day and I am at a lower weight. I have increased my intake of food, work out less and weight lighter!! That is an awesome feeling!! My husband is completely off of his medication he had been taking for 6 years!! I have been suffering from thinning hair for 18 years and I have tried every shampoo, and hair product on the market...nothing seemed to work. Since becoming Vegan my hair is starting to get a bit thicker, I can't even express in words what that means to me!! 

Lisa, thank you for being a guest blogger here, and for being such a dedicated Herbie!