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Striving for persistence, not perfection!

(Formerly BLONDIE510) Hi everyone! Thanks for checking out my Spark page. I'm Kristen, I'm 28 years old and I once weighed 300 lbs. Over the course of about 2 years I managed to lose 170 lbs (110 with Spark People! :-D) and got myself down to 128! My weight still fluctuates and I am currently working towards getting back to my healthy/happy weight of 140. So here's a little bit more about myself, where I've come from and how I got to where I am today!

I have struggled with my ...
(Formerly BLONDIE510) Hi everyone! Thanks for checking out my Spark page. I'm Kristen, I'm 28 years old and I once weighed 300 lbs. Over the course of about 2 years I managed to lose 170 lbs (110 with Spark People! :-D) and got myself down to 128! My weight still fluctuates and I am currently working towards getting back to my healthy/happy weight of 140. So here's a little bit more about myself, where I've come from and how I got to where I am today!

I have struggled with my weight for as long as I can remember. There was no single traumatic incident which led to my weight gain, no weight gain after a pregnancy, no thyroid or other medical conditions which contributed to my morbid obesity . I was just simply an overweight child whose weight steadily increased year by year until eventually I reached my all time high of 300 lbs when I was in my early 20's. Although I was a fairly active child, my eating patterns as well as choices in food were poor. By the time I reached my teenage years I was already becoming incredibly self-conscious and self-loathing because of my weight (a problem which only got worse as I got older) which led to a vicious cycle of feeling embarrassed and ashamed, "coping" with periods of compulsive overeating (my way of numbing certain emotions and completely zoning out) followed by even shorter periods of crash dieting. My early brief attempts with weight loss were always unsuccessful which left me feeling frustrated and hopeless so eventually I stoped trying. Once I reached the upper end of the 200's I had basically long given up on any hope of reaching a healthy weight. I had been overweight throughout most of my childhood and through ALL of my teenage and young adult years so it just didn't seem possible to get it together that late in the game. Being overweight was truly all I ever knew and I gave in to the belief that it was just my destiny to be unhappy and unhealthy.

All of that changed over the summer of 2007. I had a severe health scare which was enough to make me drag myself to two different emergency rooms in a few days time. I felt like something was wrong with my heart (huge list of unrelenting symptoms combined with my family's history of heart disease as well as being dangerously overweight had me convinced) I had extensive tests run and they all came back fine. I wasn't able to find comfort in my test results because I still felt "off." All I could think about was my dad who suffered a heart attack at 37 and then unexpectedly another at 42 which killed him. I was so afraid something was overlooked so I lived in fear for the following 2 months, just waiting for something bad to happen. I was afraid to leave my house, afraid to eat anything besides spinach and plain oatmeal, afraid to sleep without a phone by my side and afraid to exert myself in any way. I was completely paranoid and became depressed knowing I let my weight get so out of control and feeling like there was no way to turn it around. But there I was months after my hospital visits, still alive. I realized I had to snap myself out of it because I may actually have another shot of making things right this time. And that's exactly what I did.

I stopped worrying about setting time limits for my weight loss. I stopped obsessing over how much weight I had to lose (an admittedly daunting thought.) I stopped whining about all the foods I could no longer eat. I stopped making excuses about why I wasn't able to exercise. I changed my way of thinking immediately. It didn't matter how long it was going to take me to lose the weight and it didn't matter how much I had to lose. I simply had to make the effort every day and realized it would come off in it's own time. Those small numeric victories in the scale every week would eventually lead to the BIG number which once intimidated me so much. I started researching and learned over time I didn't have to deprive myself of anything at all. I was absolutely still "allowed" to eat all of the foods I loved. I just had to learn how to prepare them in different healthier ways and of course, had to teach myself what it meant to eat in moderation. I stopped telling myself I was "too fat" and out of shape to exercise. I finally learned to start off slow and do whatever little bit I felt comfortable doing at first and then gradually built up to more intense and longer duration workouts. I basically learned how important taking baby steps were and how to build myself up slowly rather than sprinting ahead full force in the very beginning. I finally understood I had to condition my body AND mind to learn and do new things, and it was a process (which is STILL ongoing) which was not going to happen overnight.

To summarize what I did and what I would recommend to anyone starting out..
**1) Believe in your ability to do this and be patient! Losing weight is above all mostly mental. You have to set realistic goals and truly believe you can accomplish them. You are going to learn all kinds of things about yourself throughout this process. You're going to realize you have so many more strengths inside of you than you ever could have possibly known, and you're also probably going to stumble upon a few triggers and struggles. But working WITH them rather than against them will only add to your strength and will enable you to cope with life's many stresses in healthier, even more productive ways. You have to accept your imperfections and be patient with the necessary changes to this new lifestyle.
**2)Knowledge is power! It's so important to research as much as you can and gain as much understanding as possible about "dieting" and what the healthiest ways of doing it are. For me, this meant subscribing to a few nutrition based magazines and picking up a few books which taught me the basic principals of overall healthy living, reading articles online and gaining some insight on internet message boards, and basically teaching myself how to cook and experimenting in the kitchen with different techniques and new foods. I always knew it would be best to get as involved in my own weight loss process as possible by having my own hands on experiences and gaining true understanding about health and nutrition. I didn't want to rely on specific rigid meal plans or programs, particularly the ones which provided nearly all of the food/snacks for you. Whether or not those programs would have been effective for weight loss I found them to be too restrictive, not to mention unrealistic for long term living. Through trial and error, and researching, I have learned (and continue to learn) so much! There can be a lot of conflicting information out there which can make it confusing, but there are a few basics bits of logical advice that everyone should know. Eat more real (ie: WHOLE) foods, read (and understand) the labels on everything you buy, limit your portions, and be more active in your daily life in whatever ways you can!
**3)Baby steps, baby steps BABY STEPS! Instead of trying to change everything at once, commit to smaller changes in the beginning. The more gradual your approach, the more likely you will be able to stick to your new lifestyle. I understand the desire to rush to that finish line as quickly as possible, but you HAVE to pace yourself. If you take on too much at first you will burn yourself out before you're able to reach your true potential!
4)Just say NO to fad diets! I know how appealing it can be if some company promises you can lose 15 lbs in one week by taking their magic powder supplement, or a pill which will melt all the fat away (no exercise required!..riiiiiight! lol) or how your favorite celebrity lost a ton of weight on the grapefuit/cabbage diet. Crash diets may work for a while, but they are not sustainable healthy approaches and you WILL gain the weight right back, and possibly more. Basically, stop looking for quick fixes. You can't solve a long term problem with a short term solution.
**5)Accountability is key! Not everyone is fond of the idea of calorie counting or food journaling but it is what worked for me so it's what I always recommend! It's not difficult to do, it just requires a certain level of commitment and dedication. Even if you choose to pursue another plan to lose weight, food journaling for the first few weeks will be so beneficial. It will give you a better understanding about what your starting point actually is and will give you a solid idea of what you have to work on. It was very enlightening to see exactly what I ate and how much I ate day to day once it was written down right in front of my face -- no hiding from the truth anymore! ;-) So many things can easily slip under your mental radar so be honest with yourself and keep track! And to make sure you're accurately tracking those calories, make sure you're weighing/measuring your food too! I know, I know it doesnt sound like fun does it? Honestly, it's not bad! And more importantly it WORKS! It's really hard to "eyeball" or estimate proper portions because in general our idea of what a healthy portion is, is completely skewed. At least commit to weighing and measuring in the beginning so one day you will be able to trust your serving size judgement a little better. Believe me, that extra tablespoon of olive oil, or additional cup of pasta, or extra handful of chips really DO add up in a big way by the end of the day.
**6)Don't get run over by that wagon when you fall off! The truth is you're going to encounter numerous setbacks and you're going to have periods where you get off track. And that is perfectly normal AND should be expected! A lot of times we feel like if we're going to commit to something and we make up our minds about seeing something through, that means we have to get it right from the start and we somehow make ourselves believe there is no room for error. That just isn't the case! You're not a failure for going through a few rough patches. It's not about being perfect, but rather finding a healthy balance. The important thing is that you learn from your mistakes and try a little harder each and every day to improve in some way.

After a lifetime of mental-berating and feeling useless and hopeless, I have finally started changing how I feel about myself and how I deal with daily struggles. Throughout my own weight loss, I've started to realize a little more every day that I AM worth the effort and I do deserve happiness. And it's not because my physical appearance has changed. It's really because I've started taking control of my life, have improved my health on my own and have proved to myself that I CAN accomplish things once I give myself a chance to and am willing to put the effort in. I've done things I was always so sure I would never be able to, and just by challenging myself and overcoming one obstacle at a time, I'm letting go of a lot of the negativity that has plagued me nearly my whole life.

Losing weight won't change who you are as a person, but it can change how you start viewing yourself and will help you to see all the great things you can be and can accomplish. Start believing in yourself now, start loving yourself now because you ARE worth something right now exactly as you are!
Read More About BORN2BLOSSOM (Updated March 13)




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Member Since: 1/12/2008

SparkPoints: 20,637

Fitness Minutes: 18,362

My Goals:
*Weight related goals I've met*

6/8/08- Lost 100 lbs AND officially out of the 200's!

11/25/08- Weighed in at160 lbs which was my first Spark goal! (82 lbs in total with Spark at this point, and couple of weeks before schedule!)

1/1/09- Tried on and zipped up my first pair of single digit jeans!

1/8/09- 150lbs lost! (half my original size!)

2/17/09- Weighed in at 145lbs, FINALLY entering a healthy weight range! First time I've been a healthy weight for my age/height probably since I was in the 1st grade!

Reached the 130's by my birthday in May '09

*New/Current Goals*

*Continue to work on maintaining a healthy weight (even when it fluctuates)

*Find ways to stay active in my daily life

*Continue to work on building my self esteem and confidence

*Learn to accept myself for who I am, flaws and all!

*Stop obsessing over numbers! (that includes calories, weight, pant size)

My Program:
Cardio 3-5x a week and Strength training 2x a week (I need to start cracking down on these for real!)

Trying a new maintenance range of around 1500-1900 calories a day. (Yay! More food! lol) Continuing to weigh/measure and track everything I eat (just as I did for weight loss)

Eating natural organic whole foods, or minimally processed foods as often as possible. Making better choices when it comes to processed foods. Keeping junk food to a minimum.

Never depriving myself! Eating healthier variations of all of my favorite foods. Everything can be enjoyed in moderation!

Personal Information:
Height: 5'5""
Starting Weight: 300 lbs
Lowest Weight: 128 lbs
Current Weight: 155 lbs
Current Goal Weight: 140 lbs

Starting BMI: 51.3
Lowest BMI: 21.6
Current BMI: 25.8


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