Kimberly Dropped 100 Pounds and Took Control of Her Health by Making Small Changes


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
3/9/2014 12:00 AM   :  61 comments   :  31,262 Views

Name: Kimberly Pinney
Username: KIMBERLY0916
Amount of weight lost: 100 pounds
Hometown: Logan, OH
Occupation: Student
Age: 38
Kimberly Pinney transformed her life and her body by making one small healthy choice at a time until they turned into habits that helped her lose 100 pounds and take control of three serious medical conditions: bipolar disorder, IBS and fibromyalgia.

What was life like before your weight loss? As my weight increased, I became slower, sluggish, insecure, mentally instable and I had a lot of overall health issues. I became withdrawn and, at some point, I lost my personality; my identity. I lost interest in doing anything and wouldn't even have focus or motivation to do previously favorite activities.

What was your "light bulb moment" that made you get serious about losing the weight? I finally got sick of being sick and tired. I realized that no matter the long list of health diagnoses and medications, I wasn't going to get better or find solace or be saved by someone else; not even medical professionals.

Tell us a bit about your weight-loss journey: I'd been on for quite a while just spinning for daily points, occasionally reading random nutrition articles, and mostly lurking on some SparkTeams. I started trying to walk a quarter mile a couple of times a week. Yes, sometimes I'd call mom for a ride home because I was out of breath and exhausted, even at such short distances. Of course, it became easier and ultimately some hills I once thought ridiculously impossible became my warm up for long walks.

I've always been a water drinker but I started paying attention to how much I was drinking per day and logging it and food consumption on the SparkPeople trackers. I cut down and then cut out energy drinks. I'd stopped drinking most all soda as a college freshman 20 years ago because during a checkup the doctor explained the chemistry of how my body processed all the soda I drank.

I slowly made healthier food swaps. For example, I started comparing nutrition panels while grocery shopping and figured out there was a turkey variety of bologna instead of the regular stuff I'd always bought. Well, at first I bought one of each kind "just in case," as in "just in case" the healthier version is really gross. Well, it wasn't that bad and I figured everything was an acquired taste so why not give the healthier stuff a shot. Soon after, I only bought the turkey variety, then switched to a lower sodium version, then instead of a slice as a snack every hour I cut down to a slice every few days. Eventually, I stopped buying it altogether because I had added other snacks.

Did you encounter any obstacles during your journey and, if so, how did you deal with them? Even before I got serious about starting this journey I was taken off some of my medications because they weren't working. Slowly, I weaned off most all of my medications (with some professional oversight) which was not easy by any means. I believe because I was so heavy and unhealthy that the medicines couldn't work as intended.

I wanted off the "med roulette" as I called it because there was never evidence a medication was going to work or not. I feel taking some meds to counteract side effects of another med just became an unnecessary uphill battle.

Because I was no longer depending on medications for mental stability, I worked harder and was more diligent about learning and practicing new approaches to thinking. I really must thank my DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) leader and my caseworker for helping keep me sane, literally and figuratively. Where once I could turn to isolation or food for comfort, I was able to verbally vent my frustrations about life events while learning to find and focus on positives.

What did you find most helpful to keep you motivated?  I continue to read SparkPeople articles about nutrition, I add random exercises here and there and I maintain Team chatter including leading a SparkTeam. I can add a habit a lot easier than I can restrict myself. I have learned I have little to no willpower so if I think about a particular food or get a craving for something I'm better off having a small portion of it.
That's really the main thing I motivate myself with, I think. Nothing is off limits, nothing is restricted, but I don't need to overindulge in anything and a small portion of something is a lot better than nothing. That goes for unhealthy and healthy foods and activities; there needs to be a balance.

My driving motto for the longest time was "be kind to yourself" which could mean anything from get out there and walk a mile because it'll help strengthen my lungs and my legs to take it easy because you don't feel well  to I don't need to stress myself out just because I ate a brownie bite.

Did you ever slip up or hit a plateau? If so, how did you overcome it? Since I don't consider anything off limits, I don't really consider any behavior to be a slip up. Life is a journey and this is a lifestyle change, not a graded test. So I guess you could say that's how I move past plateaus or weight gains--I know I can immediately choose a healthier action than I was doing. Things are reversible and all the small healthier actions will snowball into healthier results; into a healthier me.

What is your typical exercise routine like? First let's throw the word typical out of the question; I like to have fun. I enjoy dancing even if it's just a random song playing and I get up and dance like a maniac for a few minutes. And now, as a student again, I regularly walk a mile to and from housing and classes; I can actually walk it faster than a vehicle can drive the distance because of the construction on the main intersection. I really want to add some strength training to my "routine" because I think that having stronger muscles, in addition to my stretching exercises, will really help me feel better on a regular basis and help regulate my sleep.

How would you describe your typical diet now as compared to before your weight loss? With the help of nutrition articles I learned there are certain foods I can eat to help with my IBS-C and bipolar disorder. I can also choose to cut out a lot of sodium from most foods just by rinsing them. I started trying new foods, too, even stuff I maybe once tried and didn't like. I now eat a larger variety of foods. Of course, I used to only eat frozen/fried foods so having an avocado in the fridge or a tri-bean blend and brown rice in the pantry is radically different. I often say I've never been a "veggies and salad" girl and I don't plan on being one even on this weight-loss journey. I am proof that it's possible to just eat healthier without being a health fanatic or even a veggie lover and still lose weight and gain strength and confidence.

What advice would you give to someone just beginning a weight-loss program? Let go of what people say you should do or eat and find what works for you. I tend to think as soon as I set a specific target goal that I'm setting myself up for failure. It's all psychological really, but like with most things, one must do what works for them. I've had great success with just seeing how far I can get (or lose) by doing something healthier; a healthier food or activity than I've previously chosen.

Did you experience any other benefits in addition to losing weight?  I am able to get out from behind the keyboard and be social and travel. My self-confidence has grown considerably. Instead of being a quiet bookworm, I have become the life of the party. I would rather look goofy and make new friends than quietly melt into the wallpaper. My high school friends didn't recognize me at our 20-year reunion because I certainly was more outgoing than I ever was back then.

I feel healthier and have more energy than ever before and I don't get sick nearly as often. I fight off small illnesses quicker than ever and I heal faster (bruises, cuts, scrapes, etc.), too.

I have far fewer regular doctor visits and required medications. I still have a few issues to deal with like IBS-C, fibromyalgia and bipolar 1 disorder but I feel better equipped to tackle issues with physical movement and nutrition rather than a pill. With my fibromyalgia, that was only diagnosed at my heaviest but I've probably had it for 20+ years. I've figured out that if I maintain healthy nutrition and stretch often and "keep the blood flowing" that I hurt a LOT LESS and I don't rely on muscle relaxers or pain pills to get thru the day.

How has your life changed since losing weight and improving your health? In 2013, I not only walked my first 5K (Electric Run) but I also kayaked for the first time (at Bioluminescent Bay in Fajardo, Puerto Rico). I am able to go on vacation and not worry about how much walking is needed. I also don't feel guilty if I indulge in some dessert or decadent dish.

I am able to attend concerts again and can dance for hours instead of just watching from a corner table as I'd done in the past. I am more mentally, physically emotionally, and financially stable than ever before.

I weigh about the same or less than I did in high school! (This one still amazes me.)
I feel more confident, not just with my looks or buying clothes (size 8, after once being a size 28) but with new circumstances and situations.
What a wonderful example of how small changes can make big differences!
Have you lost weight and kept it off using We'd love to share your story. Email us: sparkpeoplesuccess (at) gmail (dot) com

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  • 61
    Thank you for sharing your incredible story. You have such determination. Very inspiring. - 3/12/2015   10:55:49 PM
  • 60
    Great story and inspiring. I want to lost 25 lbs. by end of August and your story tells me I Can Do This. Congratulations! - 3/1/2015   1:47:21 PM
    Very inspiring!! - 2/20/2015   6:50:43 AM
    You are such an inspiration! I reposted this on facebook, I pray someone will read this and be inspired. - 1/26/2015   10:47:02 PM
  • 57
    I love the positive attitude regarding your journey! "Life is a journey and this is a lifestyle change, not a graded test." - Love it, and totally will be mentioning this phrase at my TOPS meeting tonight! :0) - 1/13/2015   5:50:58 PM
  • 56
    you are truly an inspiration. thank you for shareing - 12/26/2014   11:07:20 AM
    Thank you for sharing your story. I pray that I will someday be a success story to inspire someone else to just make a start. Thank you so much. Miss Fluffy - 11/26/2014   3:52:20 AM
    Great post you have made awesome changes in your entire life, something I am trying to do. Thanks for the motivation 🌉🌉🌉

    - 9/25/2014   3:13:57 PM
  • 53
    You are such an inspiration! - 9/7/2014   9:21:01 PM
    Kimberley, you look awesome and you probably feel even better. Thanks for the honest answers you gave. Your story is inspiring to me! - 8/22/2014   2:19:35 AM
  • 51
    I too suffer from multiple illnesses, including bipolar disorder. I kind of always knew that becoming healthier would help, but I wasn't a true believer. You are proof that a pill does not have to be your only way out, and I thank you helping me realize that. - 8/20/2014   6:25:01 PM
  • 50
    So proud of you and for you! I just started my journey again here. You give me inspiration. Thank You!!!! - 8/15/2014   8:49:45 PM
  • 49
    You go girl!! Just started (or re-started) my journey about 3 weeks ago, makes me look forward to what the future WILL bring, opposed to "might" bring... I love how your message conveyed to pretty much embrace your own journey, and not what others will try to tell you... thanks for sharing!! - 8/2/2014   12:57:55 PM
  • CAPS326
    i love the way you said you don't notice plateaus, because it is now a lifestyle journey.
    Also that nothing is off limits--a bite of a brownie is fine.
    I found that one gumdrop a day helps me with the taste I crave and I don't need to eat a handful and get a stomach ache.
    The last thing that came out at me that you wrote is don't go by what people say you should do, but do what works for yourself. Thanks so much for sharing this wonderful journey of yours. - 7/24/2014   10:54:12 PM
  • 47
    Congratulations on your success. I like the way you just intertwined the new healthy into your life. - 7/10/2014   2:03:51 PM
  • 46
    Thank you for sharing! What a wonderful inspiration! - 6/29/2014   1:04:09 PM
  • 45
    Thank you for sharing your story...I've been inspired! :) - 6/21/2014   2:27:30 PM
  • 44
    Great Story! You are an inspiration! - 6/19/2014   8:27:40 AM
    Congratulations and I loved reading about your journey! - 6/9/2014   3:28:14 PM
  • WANDA561
    Thanks for sharing! It's really amazing to realize that the little things really do add up (like walking the extra 10 minutes from class -- or anywhere -- rather than catching a ride) and can make a difference in the end! - 6/5/2014   11:22:16 PM
  • 41
    You look amazing! Your story sounds so similar to what I am going through health wise. I hope to one day break free and be able to say I did it. Thanks for the encouragement and I wish you continued joy and health.
    - 6/2/2014   3:35:03 PM
  • 40
    Way to go Kimberly! I have Neuropathy, Plantar Fasciitis, Tennis Elbow & a pinched nerve. I am currently in physical therapy so I can defenitely relate to having multiple health issues. You r my inspiration! - 5/30/2014   12:34:52 PM
    Thank you for your honesty and congratulations on your success! - 5/30/2014   8:43:02 AM
  • 38
    awesome story I am eating healthy my self and counting calories and exerciseing 5 days a week walking 2 miles a day I have health issues to wtg on your weight loss awesome job gbu - 5/16/2014   3:17:58 PM
  • 37
    Congratulations...I really needed some inspiration today! You are amazing! - 5/14/2014   1:00:40 PM
  • 36
    Kimberly your story really resonates with me. I am in the same situation you started out with. You will be my hero and my inspiration. - 5/11/2014   3:44:37 PM
  • 35
    Wonderful! And congratulations on your success! I love your explanation of the plateau and this being a journey. We all make mistakes, but every one is a learning moment.... or a time when we just accept that we will indulge, rest up, etc. Thanks for sharing your story! - 5/9/2014   8:22:55 AM
    I wanted to cry when I read your story...I too am on a lot of medications and I am sick of it. I am a mom of 3 young kids and it hurts me that I get so winded when trying to play tag or other games that I avoid trying to go outside with them. I signed up this morning because I am ready for this change...I need this change for my health and my family. Thank for you for sharing your are my inspiration!!!! - 5/8/2014   8:54:54 AM
    Thank you for sharing your story. - 5/7/2014   10:36:51 PM
    Thank you for sharing - 5/5/2014   8:05:00 PM
  • DCGAL9
    Thanks for sharing. I recognized myself in a lot of what you wrote. It has inspired me to get moving. Thank you! - 4/28/2014   11:02:48 AM
  • 30
    Inspiring, Kimberly. You have such a great attitude towards life. Your statement that you went from quiet in high school to a "life of the party" really reflects your new-found confidence. Way to go! - 4/11/2014   12:35:09 PM
  • 29
    Your story is the first motivational story that I have read via Spark and thoroughly enjoyed it. I do not have things like bipolar or fibromyalgia however I do suffer from clusters of cysts in my breast and I feel that getting on the fitness wagon may help or eliminate this problem. I wish I could have the motivation and enthusiasm I once had to dance as if no one is looking once again. - 4/8/2014   11:52:28 AM
    What a great success story to get me motivated as I start my journey! - 4/6/2014   1:13:27 AM
  • 27
    Hi there. I really enjoyed your story. I suffer from bipolar and work on DBT with a group. - 4/5/2014   12:10:42 PM
  • TA1954
    Congratulations! You are doing a great job and have learned so much about yourself. - 3/31/2014   4:09:19 PM
  • 25
    Very inspiring! Congratulations on your weight loss. That is such a phenomenal achievement. Thanks so much for sharing your story! - 3/28/2014   12:47:07 PM
  • BTEA164
    congratulations! very inspiring ! i just join spark people, yours is the first sucess story i read, and i have been blessed by what you shared. God bless you . - 3/24/2014   10:24:20 AM
  • 23
    Congratulations on your weight loss. I too suffer from various illnesses including Fibromyalgia. I'm at the beginning of my weight loss journey, and your story has given me hope. I'm looking forward to a healthier life and less pain! - 3/19/2014   11:24:56 PM
  • CALVIN1993
    Kim you are really an inspiration. Mental health issues really can make any journey harder. Despite this and other chronic pain issues you took things a step at a time and accomplished a huge goal. I have ADHD and really have some issues with focus.and low self esteem.You set a great example- take things one step at a time, progress not perfection. Although I fell "off the wagon" for the 1000th time your story inspires me and I will go forward. Thanks for sharing! - 3/19/2014   10:48:24 AM
  • 21
    AWESOME! Way to go...thanks so much for posting this! - 3/18/2014   9:45:00 PM
    I'm so happy for you and love your new look! Favorite thing you said: "I can add a habit a lot easier than I can restrict myself." I also like your idea of finding what works for you. There's a lot of self-honesty and kind of re-getting to know oneself. Congratulations on your accomplishments! - 3/14/2014   1:51:14 PM
  • 19
    Wonderful! I enjoyed reading about your progress along your journey, and I have a particular interest in your remarks about fitness/diet in regards to your diagnoses. Reading this has given me hope. - 3/13/2014   7:49:59 AM
    Thank you for sharing your story of losing 100 lbs. which in turn transformed your life and helped to manage medications. ~Susan - 3/11/2014   12:52:14 PM
  • 17
    Way to go! - 3/11/2014   12:36:13 PM
  • 16
    HUGS - 3/10/2014   9:51:39 PM
  • 15
    thanks all :-)

    i didn't start out this thing.. this journey .. trying to be an inspiration .. but it feels really great to be one :-) - 3/10/2014   9:11:44 PM
    What a story! Congratulations on all the changes you have made. - 3/10/2014   1:35:09 PM
  • 13
    Kimberly,congratulations on your success! I am so impressed with you and your journey! You are a shining example to all who suffer with fibromyalgia, IBS-C and bipolar 1 disorder! Keep up the wonderful journey! Woo Hoo to you! - 3/10/2014   1:03:25 PM
    What an inspirational story! - 3/10/2014   11:37:55 AM

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