I’ve been wanting to write this entry for a long time.  I never, EVER dreamed that I would become a vegetarian, but I did — and the rewards have been phenomenal.  I never dreamed that I would lose weight this easily!

My whole life, I’ve been very skinny, and I grew up in a family of skinny people (as in those who say “I hope there’s food left” whenever a fat family leaves a restaurant).

Essentially, in my family, being fat is the ultimate sin.  Gay?  Awesome.  Dumb as rocks?  Okay.  Republican?  Forgivable.  But fat?  NO.  ABSOLUTELY NOT.

I was always pin-thin growing up, and even remained skinny after I got curvy in late high school and early college.  I never gained the “freshman 15” — I maintained my weight while everyone else gained extra pounds.

However, I gained a lot of weight during my junior year in college.  I studied abroad in Florence during fall of junior year, and that’s when the pounds got packed on.  In addition to enjoying the pasta, pizza, wine and fabulous steaks of Florence, I was also binge drinking to the point of blacking out and/or vomiting at least once a week.  It wasn’t healthy; in fact, it was quite dangerous.  That semester, I gained a LOT of weight.

(That’s when my sister and even my parents started calling me Heavy K.  Sarah drew a cartoon of Heavy K at home, complete with a “forgotten pie” trapped between the rolls in her stomach.  I was the fat one in the family.)

The weight came off a bit being home from Italy for a bit, but senior year, I gained even more, mostly due to drinking and discovering how much I liked to cook.

At any rate, I was the heaviest I had ever been when I graduated from college.  I was always the skinniest girl while growing up, but I ended college at 5’4″ and a weight of 142 pounds.  I had started college at the same height and 111 pounds.

Here I am at the end of college:

Fat Kate and roomie Kelly Anne at the Fairfield Senior Ball at Foxwoods

Fat Kate at the Fairfield Senior Ball at Foxwoods

Fat Kate with BFF Kara at the Family Dance at Fairfield

Fat Kate with her girls at the Levee at Fairfield the night of graduation

Six months after graduation, I moved to Boston and started walking at least two miles a day to and from work.  That helped a bit — about 10 pounds came off — but I was still much heavier than I wanted to be.

This winter, my friend Lisa got me the book Skinny Bitch, which is a bestseller in the U.S.  Basically, it’s a bitchy, no-nonsense diet book for girls — and once you start reading it, it actually tricks you into becoming a vegan.  A vegan, for the record, is one who eats NO animal products, including meat, fish, eggs or dairy.

Skinny Bitch is definitely worth reading — it really surprised me with the information it presented.  However, here are a few of the most interesting facts in the book:

  • No species other than the human race drinks milk past infancy — and we are the only ones who drink milk of a different species.
  • Most of the meat sold in this country, along with most of the dairy, is filled with hormones designed to make animals grow fat — which, in turn, makes you fat.
  • The atrocities that animals face in slaughterhouses are infuriating and heartbreaking, even to someone like me, who is ambivalent at best about most animals.

For the record, this book is not perfect.  But it can point you in the right direction.

I never thought I’d become a vegetarian.  I adore bacon more than anyone else I know, I have a soft spot for buffalo tenders, and I grew to adore the bloodiest steaks imaginable in Florence.

I always made fun of vegetarians and called PETA the “People for the Eating of Tasty Animals.” I considered myself the last person to become a vegetarian.

But after reading about the hormones and toxins in meat, I decided to stop eating meat, just to try it out.  And it was so easy!  Once I stopped, I had no reason to start again!  I didn’t even miss bacon!

For the past six months, I’ve been living a meat-free lifestyle. I acquired new staples to my diet like meat-free Quorn chik’n patties and chik’n nuggets, Morningstar black bean burgers and tomato basil burgers, and soy milk and yogurt.  (I still eat dairy, but much less than before, and if there’s a soy option available, I take it.)  I’ve added more vegetables, more hummus and more snacks like nuts and sunflower seeds.

And the result?

Without adding exercise, I lost another ten pounds without any effort.  That’s 8.5% of my weight.

Do I miss meat?  Nope.  Not at all.  I am SHOCKED — I thought I would at least miss it a little bit, but no!  Once you cut it out, you don’t miss it.  And being vegetarian often forces you to make smarter choices, like eating salads more often.

I will admit that I have fallen off the wagon a few times.  I once decided to try a McDonald’s cheeseburger to see what would happen after a few meat-free months.  The result?  It felt like a heavy weight in my stomach and my entire face broke out within a few hours.

That’s another thing.  My skin has been so much clearer since giving up meat.

But — let’s face it — losing weight is the most important part.

So, let’s take a look at the results!

Skinny Kate in Reading a few weeks ago

Skinny Kate with Joshua at a house party in Jamaica Plain three months ago

Skinny Kate with Holly at Kingston Station in Boston two months ago

Skinny Kate with Lisa in Vegas a month and a half ago

I’m not quite where I want to be in terms of weight.  I have another ten pounds to go before I get to my pre-college weight, but I’m pretty sure that’s unattainable, given the changes a girl’s body goes through between ages 18 and 20.

I’ll never be a size 0, at least not without looking like a freak, and I’ve come to terms with that.  Still, I’d love to lose another five or so.

Becoming a vegetarian has been so much more successful than I ever imagined. I can’t believe it was so easy to lose so much weight.

And now that I’m skinnier, I can wear clothes like this:

That’s me on my 24th birthday this past weekend with my mom and my sister.

And you know what?

They haven’t called me Heavy K in months.

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