50 Pounds Down, Kristen Feels Good about Herself*

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Name: Kristen Webster (KRISTEN_SAYS)
Weight Lost: 50 pounds
Hometown: Oneonta, NY
Occupation: Sales associate at a local furniture store

What was life like before losing weight?
I was always overweight--all throughout my childhood, high school and into college. I grew up on mac & cheese, chicken nuggets and big, fat bagels. I steadily gained weight throughout high school and into my first three semesters of college. I was always extremely insecure about my appearance and how out of shape I was.
I dreaded going to classes that were on the third floor of the buildings. I refused to take the elevator because I didn't want other people to look at me and think that I couldn't make it up three flights of stairs because I was fat and out of shape. But by the time I got to the second landing, I was exhausted and by the time I got to my classroom, I could barely breathe, and I would try to hide it. It was embarrassing.

What was the main motivation behind your weight loss?
When I was 19, I was at my heaviest weight (160 pounds on a 5'1" frame; 30.2 BMI). My grandfather, who is very overweight himself, told me I was too heavy and that I had no excuse for it. He wasn't voicing his concern for my health; he was simply judging me on my appearance. My own grandfather! I was used to kids teasing me about my weight throughout my childhood and adolescence, but my own grandfather?

I was upset but finally, about a week later, it clicked. I was, in fact, too heavy. I let myself go, and I had to put a stop to it before I got any bigger. I finally realized that I was done being the fat girl.

Tell us a bit about your weight-loss journey.

I never attempted to lose weight before. I started my weight loss journey in early March 2010, a few weeks before my 20th birthday. I had no idea what I was doing at first, which was frustrating. I knew it was impossible to change my habits overnight, so I slowly started to incorporate some physical activity, which was mostly walking on the treadmill a few times a week.

I didn't do a complete overhaul of my eating habits (mostly because I had a difficult time giving up certain foods) and as a result, the weight loss was slow. But small changes in my diet helped me lose the first 10 pounds by late April 2010, and I steadily lost about five pounds per month after that. I incorporated more physical activity (mostly Jillian Michaels DVDs) into my routine and started to improve my diet even more with fruits and vegetables while practicing portion control and moderation. At first, I only wanted to lose 30 pounds. I reached that goal in August 2010, and I decided I wanted to keep going. By December 2010, I reached my second goal of losing 40 pounds, and even then I wanted to keep going. I set my ultimate goal to lose a total of 50 pounds, which put my weight at 110 pounds.  I met that goal in May 2012 and have maintained for one year!

What is your diet like now as compared to before your transformation?
My diet is so different! Before my transformation, my diet consisted of too much cheese and crackers, frozen veggie burgers, Nutty Bars for lunch and lots of processed junk. Now, most of diet consists of whole foods – tons of fruits and vegetables, minimal added sugar and processed food, and I try to make everything from scratch when I have the time. I love to try to new foods and new recipes.

What is your typical exercise routine like?
I love to run! I used to run almost every day but I scaled back a few months ago, and I try to run three days a week now, about 2.5 to 3 miles at a time. I joined a gym in early April (first gym membership ever!) and I go three to four times a week for full-body resistance training (with heavy weights--I finally realized that five-pound dumbbells weren’t doing anything for me).

What advice would you give to someone just beginning a weight-loss program?
Starting out is the hardest part. There’s so much contradictory information out there, and it’s confusing, overwhelming and frustrating. Realize that this is not a diet. You have to think of this as permanent lifestyle change. Diets imply quick fixes. They teach you nothing about healthy habits that are sustainable. You can’t change bad habits overnight. Changing too many things in your diet all at once is difficult, and chances are, you’ll become overwhelmed and you’re more likely to give up. The same goes with exercise. If you try to go from no exercise to exercising everyday, you’ll probably get burned out.

Make small changes here and there, and eventually those changes will seem like second nature. Counting calories is incredibly tedious but it’s so helpful, as is weighing and measuring your food. Lastly, weight loss supplements are so unnecessary. They’re not effective, they can be dangerous, they’re a waste of money and most of them tell you that you have to combine the supplement with a healthy diet and exercise for them to work. Guess what? You can do that without the supplement and save yourself some money.

How has your life changed since losing weight and improving your health?
I feel amazing! I’m happier, I’m much more confident and for once I feel good about myself. I’m so passionate about health and fitness now that I plan on taking classes to become a certified personal trainer someday.

Thanks for sharing your story, Kristen!

*Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.

Have you lost weight and kept it off using SparkPeople.com? We'd love to share your story. Email us: sparkpeoplesuccess (at) gmail (dot) com

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Awesome job! I have lost 37 pounds through SP. I have maintained since December 2014, and would like to lose another 10 pounds. You look fabulous. Keep up the great work! :D Report
Great job! Report
Inspiring... Thanks for sharing Report
Thanks for sharing your story Kristen and motivating us! Report
excellent Report
Awesome! Inspiring! Report
Awesome job! Report
Thanks for sharing your story. I gained my weight during my 4 pregnancies (although I've always been a little heavy) and have just now, at 28, have decided to do something about it. It helps for me to set a goal, say 30 minutes of exercise, everyday and not worry too much if I don't make it. You have to remember that you are human and you make mistakes, then pick yourself up and do something about it. If I complete my goal, I reward myself in some way (that's healthy of course...or a small indulgence) and make up for it the next day (by maybe adding an extra set to my workout or pushing to eat more servings of veggies the next day). Report
Thanks for sharing your story. I just signed on today and was so happy to find someone with a similar story and background to mine. It is true that starting out is the hardest part. There is so much misleading and contradicting information out there and it is frustrating. But I hope to learn more on this journey to a healthier lifestyle. I have been curious about heavy lifting too. Feel free to give me any pointers :) Congratulations on your success, it is truly inspiring.

Karen Report
Great words of advice and inspiration! You're right about diets - if they worked it wouldn't be such a big industry. Report
Thats Awesome...Congrats and keep it up! Report
Thanks for your inspiring words! Report
My ultimate goal is to lose 50 pounds as well.... But I will be thrilled when I lose the first 10. Been years since I have been in the 100s. Slowly but surely.... Report
Me and my daughter just starting out and it is hard but I notice the more you do it the easier it gets. She was doing a little on her own and she has lost a lot of weight and she inspired me also to try harder at losing some weight. Report
Congratulations on your success! You look great! I too have 50 lbs. to loose. I have just started my weight loss journey and your story is really inspiring.
Erica Report
You really expired me a lot to maintain and keep pushing for my goal weight. I started at 248lbs but I'm down to 198lbs now. I'm want to get to 135.....I'm up for the challenge! Congrats on your accomplishment. Report
"You have to think of this as permanent lifestyle change. Diets imply quick fixes. They teach you nothing about healthy habits that are sustainable. You can’t change bad habits overnight." "Make small changes" ! Great advice - Thanks for sharing Report
Thank you for sharing your journey. I feel motivated because of reading it. Also, way to go!!! Report
You really are an inspiration!!!! I'm 19 and my heaviest was 310lbs at 5'4 and now I'm down to 230lbs and still shedding. Just like how you said your grandpa said you were 'too heavy' I went through the same thing, except it was my mom and my cousins and my aunts. Constantly they were telling me I was FAT and even went as far as to say I couldn't be in the delivery room of my little brother because I was a 'Beached whale' i cried for days and locked myself in my room for days.... I finally changed my look and started losing weight when my little brother asked me to play tag, not even 20 steps before i had to sit down and catch my breath. i'm healthier now and can actually play with him, now he's 7 and a handful Report
Kristen, your story is inspiring. I am 5'3, at my heaviest I was 185 I am now down to 174 (I have only been at this for 2 months).My goal is 120, reading your story helped me realize that even though it takes time to change eating habits and daily routines it is possible. Thank you for sharing your story!!! Report
Great job and quite inspiring ;u look fresh Report
Great job!!!! I am also 5'1 and started my weight loss at 160 lbs. I am trying to get to 110 lbs and I know I will get there! I ended up gaining all my extra weight from my 2 pregnancies and now that I am not a baby factory anymore I want to get back to my body that I am use to having. Thank you for your story!!! Because we are the same height and weight starting I was really able to connect with you! Report
Very inspiring! You look wonderful and you look like you feel wonderful too! Thank you for posting this. It gives us all such hope! Go Sparkpeople!!!!
Tigirl Report
Kristen...really amazing! You look great and it must feel so good to be you! Congrats!! Report
Congrats on your loss. Keep up the great work. Report
Congrats and keep up the good work Report
Hi Kirsten,
I am very impressed by your very sensible behaviour at such a young age - this is something you need to share with other young people as many of those I meet prefer to take on drastic measures. Well done! Report
Congratulations and thank you for sharing. You are a very impressive young lady.

Thanks for sharing your journey. You've done amazing!
Glad to see that you took control of your health now instead of waiting. Report
You have awe inspiring!! Thanks for the impetus to start again!!! Report
What a lovely girl. You look amazing and very healthy. What a glow to your skin and you have always had a beautiful smile by looking at your b & a pics. So glad you realized it early in life because now you have a brighter future ahead without the possibility of aches and pains due to carrying around some extra weight. It is surprising how just five pounds can make your knees ache and your heart work extra. Best to you always and enjoy all that YOU have made possible for your future. Report
congratulations!! I wanna be just like you...losing at least 50 lbs. and my goal of 110 lbs.! I hope i can do it. Report
Loved reading this story about reaching your goals with a healthy approach and a great attitude. Positively Inspiring ! Report
You go girl! Im so happy for u! It reading successful stories like your that keep me going on my weight loss journey! Thank you for sharing your story. Report
Congrats! I just passed my 50lbs mark too but still has about 75lbs to go but I know that I will get there eventually. Report
Thanks for sharing your story. You are a very pretty young girl and I know you will keep it off. I am always happy to see when young people "get it". And being 4 ft 9 I understand how you felt carrying that extra "baggage" around. I never had a weight problem till I got older and it is a bit harder to get off now. So kudos to you for doing so well!!! Report
Congrats on your weight loss..Thanks for sharing! Report
I love your story! It gives everyone hope and motivation! Thank you for helping me with my journey! Report
WOW - congrats Report
Kirsten, thank you so much for sharing your success story. You are an inspiration. Report
Thanks for your story! I love that you made little changes gradually to meet your goals. That is so encouraging to me! I can relate with so many things you wrote about. I am also "done being the fat girl." You look healthy and happy! Keep up the good work! Report
Congratulations!!!! You look AWESOME!!!! Report
Congrat. Keep the good work up. Looking good. Report
Congrats. You look fantastic! Report
Way to go, girl! Report
Wow, thanks sparkpeople! These inspiring stories keep me going! She looks great! Report
Love your grandfather! Bless him for having the nerve and courage to tell you like it was. And you, my dear...are so young...'you got it' before a whole lot of us...who are now senior citizens and just now 'gets it'. Congratulations!
I love your story and your determination, thanks for sharing it. Report
Congrats Kirsten, that is amazing journey.