A bride has revealed how she lost nearly 30kg so she could feel her best on her wedding day – and why compliments on her new figure do more harm than good.
Brooke Reffo was 92 kg at her heaviest, so she wanted to lose 10 kg to tie the knot with her partner Daniel, but once she reached her goal, she decided to keep going.
15 months after getting engaged, she was 27 kg lighter, more energetic, more confident and fit comfortably in clothes that were three sizes smaller.
The Melbourne hairdresser was overwhelmed by comments about her changing appearance and, while complimentary, the attention caused her to develop extreme anxiety around her work and social events.
Now that the comments have subsided, Brooke has learned to love her new lifestyle and what she sees in the mirror as she shares her weight loss secrets and what her average day on a plate looks like.
Before and after: Brooke Reffo (pictured) weighed 92kg at her heaviest before embarking on a weight loss journey to drop three dress sizes and feel confident on her wedding day
Brooke has wanted to lose weight and improve her health for as long as she can remember.
“I had always indulged in binge eating and always said, ‘I’ll get this under control when I get engaged, so I’ll look great for my wedding day,'” she told FEMAIL.
“Daniel and I were engaged on July 14, 2021 and my weight loss journey began on July 15.”
Melbourne was plunged into its final and second longest lockdown just days later so Brooke had time to focus on coming up with a new diet plan and not being on her feet all day for work, she could eat a low calorie intake on.
“I spent every day counting calories and walking around the neighborhood. I researched healthy, low-calorie recipes and documented everything I consumed on the MyFitnessPal app to keep myself accountable,” she said.
Brooke wanted to lose weight and improve her health for as long as she could remember. “I used to give in to binge eating and say, ‘I’ll get this under control when I’m engaged,'” she said
The day after her partner Daniel proposed to her, Brooke began her weight loss journey by coming up with a new diet plan that included low-calorie yet delicious meals.
“I started on 1,200 calories a day, which is very low, but I was stuck at home in lockdown and didn’t have much energy.”
Brooke combined her new clean diet with regular exercise, walking or jogging up to 10 km a day.
After the lockdown ended, she dropped back to 4km-6km because she was on her feet all day and tried to hit the gym more often, but attributed her body transformation to a calorie deficit.
“I used to occasionally do a gym class with friends, but I don’t really enjoy the gym,” she said.
“I taught myself portion size and I wholeheartedly admit that my weight loss was due to what I put in my mouth.”
Burning more and exerting more energy at work, Brooke increased her calories to 1,800 a day to support her and keep the pounds off.
By the time she reached her goal weight of 10 kg, she was confident she could take it one step further, so she continued with the new regimen.
As she burned more and exerted more energy at work, Brooke also increased her calories to 1,800 a day to support her and keep the pounds off
Brooke’s typical day on a plate to maintain her 27 kg weight loss
- Weet-bix with apple, cinnamon and coconut yogurt or
- No fat bacon and a fried egg in a whole wheat English muffin
- Chobani protein yogurt with a teaspoon of Mayvers peanut butter or
- A hard-boiled egg with salt and pepper
- Taco bowl with minced turkey or pork with the taco seasoning bag, lettuce, tomato, corn, bell pepper, light sour cream, hot sauce and crumbled corn chips
- Salmon with garlic broccolini and Spudlite potatoes cooked in the airfryer or puree
While she was excited about her progress, customer comments about her appearance caused a lot of stress.
Regular clients who came back for a haircut every six to eight weeks noticed that Brooke was getting smaller with every appointment.
‘I had to get used to the consistent comments about my appearance. I had comments like “You look so much better,” which was a tough pill to swallow,” she said.
“Eventually I developed anxiety and had panic attacks when I got ready or arrived at a social event. It took me a long time to get used to the ‘all eyes on me’ and comments about my appearance.’
Brooke said she would much rather have people ask how she felt in her new body than inadvertently offend her old self by talking about how much “better” she looked.
“I appreciated the comments or questions ‘Are you feeling well?’ much more. Then it changed to ‘Stop losing weight now, you look too thin,'” she said.
Brooke said she’d much rather people ask how she felt in her new body rather than inadvertently offend her old self by gushing about how much “better” she looked
At her wedding last November, Brooke had reached her health goal and weighed 60 lbs (27 kg) and was three dress sizes smaller
“People have stopped commenting now because my weight has stabilized, so it’s old news.”
At her wedding last November, Brooke had reached her health goal and weighed 60 lbs (27 kg) and was three dress sizes smaller.
Brooke said the key to weight loss is consistency, but she’s happy to relax her restrictions to enjoy special occasions like Christmas.
One of Brooke’s favorite breakfasts was a mix of Weet-Bix and apple.
She mixes apple chunks, cinnamon, honey, and crushed Weet-Bix in a bowl, then zaps it in the microwave to heat it up and bring out the juices in the apple.
Brooke then adds a splash of milk and a dollop of coconut-vanilla yogurt on top.
RECIPE: Brooke’s Favorite Healthy McDonald Apple Pie Breakfast
Brooke shared her go-to healthy breakfast that she says tastes like a guilt-free McDonald’s hot apple pie
- An Apple
- 2 x Weet-Bix
- Milk of your choice
- Cocobella coconut vanilla yogurt
- Cut the apple into bite-sized pieces and place in a bowl.
- Sprinkle some cinnamon on top and drizzle with honey as desired and place in the microwave for one minute and 30 seconds.
- Crush two Weet-Bix, add a splash of milk and place in the microwave again for a minute and a half.
- Top with two generous dollops of coconut yogurt and enjoy.
Another breakfast favorite is bacon and egg muffins, which she eats with a whole-wheat English muffin, barbecue sauce, and no cooking oil or butter.
For lunch, she snacks on protein yogurt with a teaspoon of peanut butter or a hard-boiled egg with salt and pepper.
Brooke usually has leftovers for lunch, but often eats a taco bowl with seasoned ground turkey or pork, lettuce, tomato, corn, bell pepper, light sour cream, hot sauce, and crushed corn chips for extra crunch.
For dinner, she eats salmon with garlic broccoli and potatoes cooked in air fryer or mashed potatoes. She avoids cheese and cooks with as little oil as possible.
While she now loves what she sees in the mirror, she said taking control of her health had made her feel better about herself, not just physically.
“My mental health, energy level, and sense of style really excelled once I lost weight,” she said.
“Being able to go into a store and know a size 10/12 would fit and look great is the best feeling.”