When Melbourne hairdresser Brooke Reffo hit 92kg on the scales — her confidence plummeted.
Due to the nature of her work, she constantly saw herself in the mirror, which only caused her to feel even worse about herself.
Brooke believes the strict lockdowns of 2020 and 2021 meant she was more sedentary than ever before and eating more than usual, and she says that is when her weight started steadily creeping up.
However, when her partner Daniel popped the question, she was determined to make some big changes to feel good on her wedding day.
“I’ve always been a little chubby, but slowly gained weight after moving out of home,” Brooke told news.com.au.
“I reached my heaviest weight a few lockdowns in. It was a hard time for everyone, and I think I used food as a way to cope with the stress of it all.
“With my job as a hairdresser, sometimes we don’t get the chance to stop and have a break to have lunch and get the fuel we need.
“I’d go hours on end without eating and then binge eat when I got home because I’d be so hungry.
“Being overweight definitely affected my confidence the most. At work, I would catch glimpses of myself in the mirror all day and feel disappointed.
“This was especially true when a client would sit in my chair, and I’d compare my size to them.
“I would also often feel embarrassed when shopping with my girlfriends, and I couldn’t fit into certain dresses and things like that.”
She now believes one thing, in particular, helped her transform her body just in time for her wedding: her diet, which included counting her calories every day to make sure she stayed in a deficit.
“I taught myself portion size. My weight loss came down to what I put in my mouth,” she explains.
“I counted calories using an app. I started low and added an extra 100 calories each week until I reached 1800 calories daily.
“That was the most sustainable number for me as a busy hairdresser on my feet, plus I was still in a deficit.”
She also began to incorporate exercise into her routine, starting simply by walking more and getting her daily step count up.
“I also began to ensure I was eating properly and fuelling my body so that I could avoid those binge episodes,” she adds.
“I keep high protein snacks at work that will help keep me satisfied until I get home.”
By Christmas, Brooke was already down 17kg; by the following year, she had reached a total loss of 27kg.
“I always told myself that I would begin a weight loss journey when my partner popped the question,” she explained.
“So I did exactly that! It was a huge motivation for me. The biggest change I made was my diet.”
Now Brooke is 27 kilograms lighter, three sizes smaller and looks back on her wedding day photographs with pride after putting in 15 months of hard work.
She said she also feels healthier, stronger and happier than ever in her new 65kg, size 10-12 frame.
The best part? Brooke could fit into the wedding dress of her dreams and walked down the aisle a happy and confident bride in November 2022.
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