Family Status: Married
Occupation: Legal Secretary
Location: Phoenix, Arizona
Starting Weight: 355 pounds
Current Weight: 190 pounds
Pounds or Inches Lost: I’ve lost 165 pounds and 20 pants sizes so far! I started at a pants plus size 32 and I’m now down to a 12!
Kristine’s Weight Loss Story!
When did you become unhappy with your weight?
I was always big-boned as a child and slightly overweight in high school, but it didn’t really balloon up until after I got out of high school and lived on my own. I ate fast food all the time along with lots of junk food and sodas, and I never ever exercised.
What made you decide to lose weight?
I was diagnosed with diabetes and a mild heart condition in October, 2013. I needed to have an angiogram done to determine if they needed to put a stent in my heart (thankfully, they did not). I decided right then and there that I didn’t want to spend my life living on pills and that I needed to make some major life changes. I realized I was still young enough and that now was the time to make those changes so that I could finally have a fulfilling and active life again. I was only 35 years old, and I decided I was not ready to die anytime soon.
What were the most important changes you made to lose weight?
I started keeping a food diary online of everything I ate and I tried to stick to around 1,300 to 1,400 calories a day. I also joined a local gym and began working out. I am fortunate that I have a retired nurse who specializes in diabetes who lives two doors down from me, and she taught me all about proper diabetic nutrition and how to read the nutrition labels on the boxes in the grocery store and what correct portion sizes are. She also taught me what foods to avoid and what foods to gravitate towards.
What was most challenging about losing weight?
I realized I’m an emotional eater and I would eat rather than deal with my feelings. As the weight started to come off, a lot of those feelings came back to the surface again. I had used my weight as a crutch to keep people away and so I didn’t have to deal with things. In the beginning, there were many nights I spent on the treadmill in near tears because the emotions of what I was trying to do were so overwhelming. But I also had to realize that I was worth it. And with many of the negative emotions that were surfacing, also came a tremendous amount of pride in myself as well for all that I was trying to accomplish.
How long did it take you to start to see results?
I lost 18 pounds the first month. I didn’t really start to notice results for probably 3 or 4 months, when my clothes started fitting looser. It wasn’t until about 6 months in that I really started noticing the major changes and I realized that I could no longer wear my clothes (even baggy) and I really started dropping in sizes.
How long did it take for you to reach your current weight?
It’s taken me 17 months to lose 165 pounds. I’m not at my goal weight yet, but I’m hoping to reach it in another six months or so if I keep working at it.
How long have you maintained your weight loss and how do you do it?
I’ve maintained my weight loss for 14 months now. I’ve maintained it by continuing to track everything I eat and working out at the gym consistently. I know many people say you should allow yourself cheat days occasionally, but I think just having a cheat meal works better for me. I tell everyone, I don’t deny myself anything to eat, I just make a conscious decision as to when I’m going to eat something that’s not as healthy and I save my cheat meals for things like special occasions like my birthday or my anniversary or the super bowl. I never tell myself, “you can’t have a donut”, I simply tell myself, “you can have a donut, you just don’t need one today”. When I have a cheat meal, I don’t consider it cheating, I just allow myself to enjoy whatever it is I decide to have at that time, and then I get right back on track the next morning or the next meal, depending upon the time of day. I tell everyone that losing weight and keeping it off is a constant conscious decision that you have to make over and over. Consistency is what keeps me on track. In addition to tracking everything I eat, I go to the gym 4 days a week and I go on extended walks and hikes every Saturday for 7+ miles.
What keeps you motivated to continue your weight loss success?
As of July 2014, my doctor said I am completely diabetes free and I have 100% reversed my diagnosis! My A1C levels are all well within normal range without medication and there are no indications that I have diabetes anymore. Additionally, I improved my heart function from about 35% to 59% which are also now within normal ranges, and I am no longer on heart medications as well. Most importantly, the sense of pride and accomplishment I feel is what keeps me motivated. Seeing the pride and joy in my family and friends faces when they see the “new” me is such a great feeling. Additionally, a very close friend of mine and I decided to make a goal to complete our first half marathon in January 2015, which we have been training and working on since May! Completing a half marathon was something I NEVER thought I would do in a million years, and I love the feeling that I can push myself to try new things and move out of my comfort zone.
How has your life changed now that you’ve lost weight?
I love going clothes shopping now and I can actually shop in regular size clothing stores and not plus size specialty stores anymore! I also love that I can be more active with my family and I feel like I’m participating in life rather than watching it go by me. I feel younger, healthier and happier than I did when I was a teenager. I also have found my food tastes have changed. There were many veggies that I refused to eat and never ever liked (onions and peppers), and now I love them and incorporate them in to many of the dishes I prepare. I also find while I still get cravings occasionally, they are much more infrequent and not as strong as they once were.
Do you have any advice for others who are trying to lose weight?
I know it’s so cliche, but If I can do it, truly ANYONE can do it. My aunt (who is an avid runner) loves to remind me how I used to tell her all the time “I ABSOLUTELY HATE walking and I hate exercise. Hate. Hate. Hate!” And now, even though it’s not a love affair, I do actually enjoy it and I miss it when I haven’t exercised for several days. And remember, it’s a journey. There are going to be ups and downs, not only in your weight, but also in your emotions as well. The true key to success is to keep pushing through. I had many times where I would plateau for several weeks and as frustrating as it would be, I kept on pushing and eventually the scale did start moving again. I kept telling myself from the beginning that’s it’s about being healthier and not about a weight number. And yes, it’s tough to resist the junk food in the beginning but you CAN do it. Keep fresh veggies and fruit in the house and plan ahead with your meals for the day so you know what you’re eating and when you’re eating it.
How did ShapeFit help you reach your weight loss goals?
ShapeFit’s weight loss success stories are very inspirational.
Kristine’s Weight Loss Tips!
Weight loss tip #1:
Learn what correct portion sizes are. Sometimes you can be eating healthy but if you’re still eating too much, it’s not going to help you as much.
Weight loss tip #2:
Track your food intake. Seeing what actually goes into your body and having it documented makes a big difference.
Weight loss tip #3:
Surround yourself with a good support system. Whether that’s friends or family or a good counselor or trainer. Have someone there for you who understands what you’re going through and can be there for you to help you overcome the low moments, because there will be some low moments. The key is not to give up when they come.
Weight loss tip #4:
Remind yourself daily that YOU ARE WORTH IT!
Weight loss tip #5:
Take one day at a time. I never focus on the idea of “never”, and I get overwhelmed when I try to think of things in “long term”. In the beginning I took it day by day. I told myself “I don’t know what I’m going to do or eat tomorrow, but for today I’m choosing to eat healthy.”
Kristine’s Weight Loss Eating Plan!
1 cup of Fiber One chocolate cereal with 10 ounces of skim milk and 4 diced strawberries.
Egg salad sandwich consisting of 1 hard boiled egg, 1 teaspoon of canola oil mayonnaise and 1/2 teaspoon mustard on Sarah Lee 45 calorie wheat bread with spring mix lettuce and a sliced tomato along with a handful of baby carrots and 15 red seedless grapes.
3 ounces of grilled chicken breast on a bed of spring mix salad, 2 tablespoons chopped shallots, 10 grape tomatoes, 1 tablespoon of feta cheese and 1.5 tablespoon of plain balsamic vinegar (not vinaigrette), with 8 ounces of milk.
Snacks or Mini Meals:
A piece of low-fat string cheese or a banana in the mornings and in the afternoon a handful of pretzels or a half of a Cliff Bar, depending upon the day. Sometimes it’s 1 ounce of beef jerky along with 12-15 dry almonds.
I only took a daily multivitamin.
Kristine’s Weight Loss Workouts!
I didn’t start weight training until I lost 100 pounds but now I use a personal trainer 3 days a week for my weight training workouts.
I started off doing 1/2 hour at a slow pace on the treadmill 3 times a week. Now I run 3 to 3.5 miles 4-5 days a week! On Saturdays, I do an extended walk or hike with a friend for 7-8 miles.