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
More From SparkPeople