Weight Loss Stories – Crystal Estes Lost 102 Pounds and 14 Sizes

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Name: Crystal
Age: 41
Family Status: Married
Occupation: Senior Administrative Assistant
Location: Louisa, Virginia
Height: 5’2″
Waist: 33 1/2″
Starting Weight: 238 pounds
Current Weight: 136 pounds
Pounds or Inches Lost: I lost 102 pounds and went from a size 22 to size 8/10!success-stories-new-layout-crystal-estes

Crystal’s Weight Loss Story!

I want to share my journey because I believe every healthy transformation can serve as a true inspirational tool for those individuals that need to make positive changes for their health as well as for those individuals that have already taken the step to improve their health and well-being.

Though my story may be similar to others, it is also different and unique because it is about my personal journey. My journey began as a means “to get healthy” because I was trying to reel in my hubby to have the same hope and desire for his own health.

crystal-estes-weight-loss-story-1You see, my husband had an awful 9 MM kidney stone that was in the shape of a football and because of it’s size and shape the physicians told us it could not be passed in it’s current state; therefore, he had to undergo a procedure that would somehow crush the stone to smaller pieces so that it could naturally be passed. This procedure was scheduled to occur on a stormy, rainy morning of which my husband was instructed to take a little pill called “Cipro” because it was supposed to “calm” him down and prepare him for his procedure. However, as I drove him to the hospital for the scheduled procedure he was in quite a bit of pain, very uncomfortable and nervous. We were finally sitting at the last light before the hospital when I thought my husband was going to vomit. I handed him one of those fancy, unused, clean vomit bags from the hospital and to respect his privacy I turned my head to look out my window so that I would not be facing him. As I was waiting for the light to turn green, all of a sudden my husband violently slammed into me! Immediately I turned to him and said, “Ouch!!! What are you doing?” and to my surprise when I looked at him he was completely unconscious and all I could see were the whites of his eyes. In an instant I was a mess and yelling his name, “Tim, Tim”, but he didn’t respond. It was then that I feared the worst and reached for his neck to check his pulse and then all of a sudden he jumped up and said, “I’m fine. What is wrong with you?”

Needless to say I was overwhelmed with a mixture of emotions from complete shock and scared out of my mind, yet so thankful he was alive. I asked him what happened and he didn’t seem to know. He said all of a sudden everything was going black and then he didn’t remember anything after that. The crazy thing was that he was no longer in pain or uncomfortable and wasn’t even nervous any longer. In fact, he seemed to be completely fine, but I was scared sick. That day he didn’t end up having the procedure because once I told the doctors what had happened in the car they said, “His heart probably just stopped for a few minutes, but we need to check him out”.

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Well, as I sat there I began to tell my husband things like “You need to make changes”, “You need to get healthy”, “You need to stop eating this and that”. Well, something suddenly clicked in my head and I began to re-think some of that because I began facing the truth. At 238 pounds who am I to tell him he needs to get healthy? Then I thought to myself that as the mother and wife in my house I need to be willing to make the change first and then my family will join in.

Initially my journey was solely based on getting healthy. I was so scared of being unhealthy and loosing my husband so I wasn’t even thinking about getting skinnier or sexier. My focus was entirely on getting healthy. I really think going in with that mindset is what helped me because I was focused on eating more of the right foods so the weight loss just followed.

crystal-estes-weight-loss-story-3In the very beginning I joined Weight Watchers (Points System) for the 2nd time and my only source of exercise was the Wii Fit, which I really enjoyed. The first time I started Weight Watchers a year or so earlier it didn’t work and I always believed it was because they didn’t have a mobile app and because of system errors I couldn’t access the Weight Watchers website through my phone’s web browser while on the go so by the time I could log my points at home I was always way over my allowed points. The second time I joined the Weight Watchers I was able to use their mobile app on my phone and found I was able to FINALLY do their program on the go which was much easier. In the beginning, I would get frustrated though because I’d buy healthy frozen lunches, but they were 7, 8, or 9 points leaving me little points for breakfast and dinner. I discovered fruit and veggies are zero points and my journey took a different direction!

Being a huge fan (in fact, I believe the biggest fan) of the Biggest Loser TV show, I began following some of the contestants and trainers on Twitter. I loved how Hannah Curlee, Olivia Ward, and Bob Harper tweeted about the foods they ate and I began to follow their examples. Then one night when I was watching my favorite show in the world (yes, the Biggest Loser), I had another major turning point in my journey, as it suddenly dawned on me, “Wow these contestants are putting it all out there!” Suddenly my journey took another swift turn and I began documenting my journey on the Facebook page that I share with my husband.

I would document goals met and missed, my actual weight and weigh-in’s, and my various workouts. At one point, my husband agreed to let me buy a Livestrong elliptical machine because our Wii Fit broke and I suddenly found the most challenging, but fun workout equipment I’d ever used. I began dedicating my workouts to various folks battling cancer and other terminal illnesses with a request that our Facebook friends would pray for those battling such terrible diseases. One of my favorite Facebook status updates was simply, “199” on December 3, 2011 because it represented my entry into the One hundredsville! I began to believe that if I document everything including all successes and failures it would help others. My original goal was to lose 76 pounds and get to 162 pounds and on October 20, 2012 (a big 484 days after my journey began I surpassed that goal hitting 161.6 pounds!

crystal-estes-weight-loss-story-4Over the course of another 449 days, I lost an additional 29.4 pounds weighing in at 136 pounds. My entire journey from start to 136 pounds has been a whopping 933 days, but quick or slow I would NOT change a thing about my journey or my transformation. I feel that every second and each step has been worth it entirely. My message to others is, “Yes, you CAN do it!” Trust me, we all have good days and bad days. A few suggestions and tips I would like to offer to other people who are on a weight loss journey are:

  • Drink enough water. If you have a smart phone, download an app called “Water Your Body”. It determines how much you need to drink based on your weight.
  • Forget about your journey being about “losing weight” and FOCUS on long-term health. I believe this makes it easier to accept fluctuating weight on the scale.
  • Get moving! Any way you can, any time you can.
  • Eat the right amount of lean protein. Bob Harper says to take your weight and divide it by 2 and that’s the amount of grams you need per day. Example: If you weigh 200 pounds then you should eat 100 grams of protein every day.
  • If you eat too much of something unhealthy then log it, deal with it, and MOVE ON. Decide to get back on track with the NEXT thing you eat and NOT the next day, the next week, and etc.
  • Eat fresh fruits and veggies. This will help ensure you get healthy nutrients and fiber your body needs.
  • Get enough sleep.

DON’T QUIT!
crystal-estes-weight-loss-story-5On Thanksgiving in 2013, I ran my first Turkey Trot 5K in 34:09 and on December 31, 2013, I ran another 5K in 36:14. (Notice: the time for my second 5K was slower, but the point is that I’m NOT giving up. It’s all a work in progress). In December 2013, I also finished my studies for an Associates Degree in Accounting with a GPA of 3.11. That was another huge feat for me because I never really enjoyed school when I was young, but I tackled this project, too.

Currently in my life, my health and fitness goals are to focus on maintenance combined with toning. I’m alternating my workouts to include a combination of the elliptical, running outdoors, weight training, circuit training, and aerobics. Some days it feels like there aren’t enough days to get these various workout activities in, but I still alternate different workouts because my body needs cardio, weight training, and strength training. I generally like to workout at least 30 minutes, 4 or 5 days a week.

I completed my first 10K which was with the Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10k presented by MARTIN’S in Richmond, Virginia on March 29, 2014. I also completed the Marine Corps Historic 10K on May 18, 2014 and the Color Run 5K on September 13, 2014 in Richmond, Virginia. In addition, since I’m so fascinated and passionate about health and fitness I would like to get my personal trainer certification sometime this year.

crystal-estes-weight-loss-story-9One of the most exciting parts that I didn’t mention earlier is that in 2010 I was diagnosed with Disc Degenerative Disease at the L5-S1 area. My life has dramatically changed for the better and I am so thankful for the wake-up call that I got because I’m healthier and stronger than I’ve ever been. Despite the physical limitations I may have with the Disc Degenerative Disease, I’ve succeeded and with every passing day I am still doing it. I love being healthy and strong and I thoroughly enjoy living a healthier life every single day. It’s definitely a lifestyle change.

So, I always tell people that everyone has their own journey and their own story. What motivated me and continues to motivate me may be entirely different from what gets you moving, but essentially that is what makes everyone’s journey so special. For me, fear brought me to this point and habit keeps me here. I jokingly say, “If only my hubby had passed out sooner”, but in reality everything happens in His timing and He knows what is best. I’m thankful for the wake up call God gave us before it was too late!

Crystal’s Weight Loss Interview!

When did you become unhappy with your weight?
I’ve never been skinny, but became obese as an adult.

What made you decide to lose weight?
Fear! My husband had a medical scare which prompted me to make a change.

What were the most important changes you made to lose weight?
What I ate, plus I began to exercise. I started eating fresh fruits and veggies along with lean protein and fell in love with the elliptical machine.

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What was most challenging about losing weight?
Coming up with a plan that I could live with for the remainder of my life. I chose the Weight Watchers Points System.

How long did it take you to start to see results?
I probably first started seeing results in 1 1/2 months to 2 months. I first noticed my attitude changed. My clothes also became looser.

How long did it take for you to reach your current weight?
933 days.

How long have you maintained your weight loss and how do you do it?
crystal-estes-weight-loss-story-7For several months now. I workout almost every day (usually 5 days a week). I alternate my workouts with things like running, elliptical, weight training, kettlebells, yoga, etc.

What keeps you motivated to continue your weight loss success?
Gratitude. I’m so grateful for my health. I refuse to take my health for granted.

How has your life changed now that you’ve lost weight?
I feel amazing! I may not be the fastest or the greatest, but I will always give it my best shot. I’m not afraid of taking chances.

Do you have any advice for others who are trying to lose weight?
Stay positive, make sure you drink plenty of water and get moving any way you can. It’s important to pick activities you enjoy so that you’ll stick with it.

How did ShapeFit help you reach your weight loss goals?
ShapeFit’s weight loss stories are very inspiring.

Crystal’s Weight Loss Tips!

Weight loss tip #1:
crystal-estes-weight-loss-story-8Focus on long-term health.

Weight loss tip #2:
Drink plenty of water. There are apps available for your phone to remind you to drink your water.

Weight loss tip #3:
Stay active.

Weight loss tip #4:
Eat fresh fruits and veggies.

Weight loss tip #5:
When you mess up, deal with it and log it, but KEEP going.

Crystal’s Weight Loss Eating Plan!

Breakfast:
crystal-estes-weight-loss-story-11Greek yogurt with fruit. I sometimes use honey in place of fruit.

Lunch:
Chicken breast and some fruit. Once in a while I will add a serving of unsalted almonds or sunflower seeds to my fruit and enjoy a hard-boiled egg or scrambled eggs with my meal.

Dinner:
A typical dinner is either 4 ounces of chicken breast or salmon, with green beans or a salad and a baked potato.

Snacks or Mini Meals:
My snacks vary. Sometimes I’ll snack on almonds or sunflower seeds. I also treat myself to dark chocolate kisses on occasion.

Nutritional Supplements:
I take fish oil and glucosamine.

Crystal’s Weight Loss Workouts!

Weight Training:
Squats, kettlebells, planks, PiYo, and occasionally I dabble with the Total Gym. I really enjoy doing workouts that use my own body weight when weight training.

Cardiovascular:
I alternate between the following: elliptical, running, Biggest Loser DVD, Mike Donavanik’s Extreme Burn Ripped DVD, Jillian Michaels Kettlebell workout, PiYo.

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