Herbie of the Week: Sarah C (She's Lost Over 20lbs & Feels More Empowered Than Ever!)

Meet our Herbie of the Week: Sarah C!

Back when I had the 100,000 Herbies Giveaway, I received an email from Sarah that showed off her stunning transformation (which included a 24lb weight loss) thanks to a plant-based diet.

I knew right then she would be perfect for the Herbie of the Week series.

Here's Sarah's beautiful story in her own words...

Ever since college, I have struggled with my weight. I was obsessed with new fad diets such as calorie restriction, low-fat, low-carb, cabbage soup, Acai berry, the Zone, South Beach, and the Grapefruit, Lemonade, and Special K diets! I have fallen off the wagon and eaten pizza (many slices at one sitting) and ice cream. Whole tubs of it. Entire packages of pasta. And my personal weakness, Thai food. Lots of it. And I was a vegetarian, but I had no idea what I was doing... so I found myself eating white rice with butter when I got hungry. YUK!!!

A couple years into marriage, I experienced such hunger pangs during pregnancy that I ate on the hour, round the clock. After all, this was the proverbial time of life that one could simply eat and not be judged—a great excuse to enjoy food! Well, by the time my second child was born, I was the heaviest I'd ever been, but hey, I was a mom, right?

Nonetheless, I vowed to watch what I ate—that is, until the next hunger pang came along, and I didn't exactly feel like giving up the bagels and pasta! I thought about joining a gym, but already had an exercise bike at home, so why spend the money? So I got on it. But somehow, because I was “exercising,” I also allowed myself to eat more. So when the nice lady next door came over with some holiday treats, I had three pieces. Uh-oh... The next day, I hesitantly stepped on the scale. I knew then that I had a problem, a serious problem that wasn't getting better, but in fact was getting worse. Not only was I obsessed with losing weight and dieting, but I was failing, and gaining weight. This scared me!

I wanted to lose weight, but was constantly hungry. To put it bluntly, my body wasn't budging. My mother would say, "You have two young children, give yourself a break. That's how mommies look!" But I wasn’t sure that was the case entirely, as I would see other moms back to their skinny selves. I would wonder to myself if they were naturally thin, or if they were actually disciplined about their diet and exercise routines. Casually, I asked a few women how they did it. They'd tell me different things such as, "Just walk" or "Yeah, I just breast-fed, and I snapped right back!" Or it might be, "Well, I've always been thin, and I only gained 20 pounds when I was pregnant" or "If I want to lose a little weight, I just watch my carb intake for a few days and weight just falls off." I even went so far as to jokingly ask my super skinny, ribs-sticking-out, seven-year-old, gymnastics-loving daughter what her secrets were. She took my query quite seriously, and made a list that is displayed prominently on our refrigerator. It says, "How to Get Skinny, by Lara":

1. Don’t eat a lot of junk food.

2. Walk up and down the stairs lots of times.

3. Do exercise bike every day.

4. Run or walk or jog places.

5. Do grown-up gymnastics.

Very wise—diet and exercise! Of course! Why didn’t I think of that?! No matter what answers I got and from whom, I knew in my heart that there was more to it than that. I was indeed missing some important pieces to the puzzle. My husband kept saying, "You're a vegetarian. Why are you overweight?" I would answer, "I DON'T REALLY KNOW!!!"

All those skinny women out there... it couldn't all be just genetics. I thought to myself, “Well, why not go ahead and just ask these women for their insider secrets, and not just a little piece of advice they could pass off while waiting for the kids after school.” I would ask a LOT of women a LOT of questions. I would find out the real deal. I desperately wanted to be thin again! I even had a cartoon drawn of myself at my ideal weight. Having someone sketch you thin is a lot easier than diet and exercise—LOL! But I wondered how exactly to lose weight, and keep it off, for good.

I wanted to know precisely what people ate, how much, when, were they always thin, and if not, what they did about it. Did they drink a lot of water, use supplementation? What were their fitness routines, and did they include weight training? What attitudes and philosophies did they embody? And anything and everything else I could think of, I would ask them. I wanted to find out if their skinniness was a force of nature, luck of the draw, or a matter of discipline at work!

What I came to realize was that although there are many woman who are and have always been thin, many rely on exercise and healthy eating habits to maintain their weight. Even the women who said things like, "I've been thin my entire life. I'm just lucky, I guess," upon further investigation, came to find that they eat small meals throughout the day, avoid processed foods and sugar like the plague, rarely drink soda or eat after 8 p.m., drink lots of water, take nutritional supplements, do yoga, go to the gym, and do weight-bearing exercises come hell or high water because having a healthy body is a priority to them. And whatever their disciplines or habits are, it has become a way of life.

During this time, I was introduced to the Happy Herbivore way of eating. I had found my people! These were other vegetarians out there that had made the transition to an oil-free vegan way of eating. This pretty immediately reset my blood sugar and insulin regulation. As a result, I was not as hungry, ate less, and made MUCH healthier choices. So between beating the formerly impossible cravings, having the energy for daily exercise, and eating from the Happy Herbivore meal plans, I decided to commit to succeed in losing weight and keeping it off for good! I prayed for the strength to remain disciplined. I prayed for health and for my body to change shape, and visualized success.

And I am more empowered and successful than the thought of weight loss itself, because I feel better than ever before, understand what mistakes I was making, and know what I am now doing correctly. I am exercising regularly as well as putting good things into my body at the throughout the day. As a result, my life and body have completely taken on a new shape.

Thank you so much, Happy Herbivore!!!

Thank YOU Sarah for sharing your story with us!