Success Story: 'It Was a Really Dark Place for Me'*

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Chrissy Kellems-Silvas (CHRISSY-50)
Weight Lost:  55 pounds
Hometown: Blaine, WA
Occupation: Human Resources/ Workforce Planning Specialist

How did you gain the weight?
I am an emotional eater. During my 30s, I lost my father to hepatitis C and got married to a person that was emotionally and physically abusive to both my daughter and me. My daughter subsequently got involved with drugs, dropped out of school and left home by the time she was 17. In 2008, I left all my possessions and my ex-husband behind and moved 2,000 miles across the country for a fresh start near my biological mother, who had also been diagnosed with Hepatitis C.

My daughter, who was 16 at the time, further rebelled once we moved and spiraled out of control. Subsequently, my biological mother ended our relationship.  In that stress-filled year, I put on at least 25 pounds. At my highest weight, everything felt uncomfortable, including my own skin. I had never weighed that much in my whole life. I hated myself and what I had become. It was really a dark place for me.

What was the main motivation behind your weight loss?
My biggest motivation to lose weight was to heal. I just wanted to be a happy, healthy person again.  I quit smoking, took a firm stand with my daughter and took responsibility for my actions.  I had a lot of guilt for what my daughter was going through because I allowed her to be exposed to someone as awful as my ex-husband. I hated myself for what she was doing to herself. I had to start loving myself again. I had to show her by my actions that a healthy, happy life is a choice, not some random thing. 

Tell us a bit about your weight loss journey:
I worked with my physician because I just couldn’t take the weight off on my own. I eliminated processed carbs and sugars. I also started riding a bike. I would spend hours riding and thinking and letting go of old hurts. I cried and sweated out 10 years’ worth of hurt and pain. I wrote about each weight loss milestone, what it symbolized and how I had made peace with it.  I saw my doctor about every 3 months. I was pre-diabetic with high cholesterol, but my levels improved with each pound I lost. It took about 16 months to reach my goal weight.

How did you find SparkPeople?
I found SparkPeople during an online search.  The more I read about its creator, Chris Downie, the more impressed I was by his spirit of "giving back." Accountability is the key role that SparkPeople has played and continues to play in my journey.  I knew at the end of each day exactly what I needed to adjust. I could take my iPhone in to the doctor’s office and pull up my reports and talk through my results.  I recently have started really recording every food again as I fight these last 10 pounds. Plus I have started to really get active in the community. It helps keep me grounded on what I need to do and why.

What is your favorite healthy food?
It’s a toss-up between Brussels sprouts and asparagus.

What is your typical exercise routine?
I try to work out 3 to 5 hours a week, but I no longer see it as "working out"--it's me time. I am worth dedicating that time to on a regular basis, and that also enables me to be there for my family. I bike, use the gym or use exercise videos--it just depends on the weather and time.

Do you have any personal fitness goals?
 I rode in my first century (100-mile bike ride) in 2011 and finished a 190 mile ride from Seattle, WA, to Vancouver, BC, last summer. At some point, I hope to ride from Seattle to Portland, OR. My nine-year-old stepson comes every summer and just learned to ride a bike this past year, so I am hoping that we can do the local 25-mile family ride together at the end of July.

What advice would you give to someone just beginning a weight loss program?
Do it for you, not another person or a big event--but just for you. Don't be afraid to ask for help and surround yourself with supportive people.

How has your life changed since losing weight and improving your health?
Since 2008, my life has dramatically changed and weight loss is just a part of it. I met the most incredible man who loved me at 180 pounds and stood by my side as I was dealing my family issues. This wonderful man would let me cry for hours and just support me. Even at 180 pounds, he treated me like a queen and told me I was beautiful inside and out. When I decided I needed help, he stood by my side.  He changed his diet and learned to cook different meals to help support a healthy lifestyle for both of us. We got married and purchased a home in 2010, and, best of all, I have my daughter back. She respects me for taking a firm stand with her and has told me that since I was able to be firm and rebuild she was been able to do so to. I only just learned that I had an athlete in me wanting to come out just over the past few years. I am calling the next 10 years my "Fab 40s"!

Congratulations, Chrissy!

*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 We'd love to share your story. Email us: sparkpeoplesuccess (at) gmail (dot) com

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GEORGE815 2/17/2018
Good to know. Report
REDROBIN47 12/9/2017
Such an amazing story. It makes me realize how much we can overcome to be what we want to be. Congratulations Report
Thank you Chrissy!!! Way to Go Report
Congratulation Chrissy and thanks for the inspiration! I'm wishing you the best always! Report
Wow, you have been through hell and back and landed on your feet with your dignity intact. You are truly an inspiration and I needed to read your story. Thank you. Report
Congrats - you looks awesome ! What an inspiration you are to many and your daughter!! Report
Congratulations on all of the wonderful and positive changes you have made in your life for you and your daughter. I hope things only get better for you from here on out. You sound like a strong and inspirational person and I am sure your daughter will follow in your footsteps and make a difference. Report
Congratulations on all of the wonderful and positive changes you have made in your life for you and your daughter. I hope things only get better for you from here on out. You sound like a strong and inspirational person and I am sure your daughter will follow in your footsteps and make a difference. Report
What an incredible story! U have touche my heart! I am so happy for you & your family! Report
Beautiful and honest story, really touched me. Thank you for being so willing to share and help others! Congratulations! Report
Congratulations, Chrissy!
Best wishes thru your "Fab 40's"! :-) Report
I'm glad I read your story. Thanks for sharing. Report
Congratulations Christy. I commend you for facing the deep emotional pain that lead to your unhealthy physical state. Your life and transition to emotional and physical health is inspirational. Your strength and accomplishment will forever inspire and touch not only YOUR family but the lives of many others. Thank you for sharing. Report
I think we all have been to a dark place with lack of self esteem and motivation. Great article Report
What a wonderful example of determination and fortitude.
You have no doubt blessed many by sharing.
All the best to you! Report
Thank you for sharing your inspiring story. You are courageous and blessed. My favorite line in your story is "I wanted to lose weight to begin to heal." (Not to attract a man, wear cute clothes, etc.) Having a sister who is now beginning a journey of her own healing and having gone through similar new beginnings I am so happy to read about someone who is not only surviving but thriving! Report
Thank you Chrissy for sharing! Your story not only brought tears to my eyes but, has definately inspired me. I just joined this week starting at 180 lbs and if I could get down to 125...well, that would just be so awesome!!!! Report
Thank you for that really inspiring article. I am so happy you found a wonderful caring man to share it all with. Keep up the good work, you are an inspiration! Report
Thank you for sharing! Congratulations on turning your life around for the better! Mother/Daughter relationship!! Fantastic!! Enjoy the Fruits of your labor!! Report
A very powerful testimony! Taking control of a life that is spiraling out of control was very brave....but so worth it! Congratulations on your new life.
Thanks for sharing and congrats! Report
Thank you for sharing your story. It is very inspirational. You are a strong woman and deserve happiness. Congratulations! Report
good for you ! thanks for sharing your story it really inspired me ! keep it up ! Report
Awesome! Great story! Report
Thank you for sharing your story. You are truly an inspiration. God bless you! Report
This is probably the most inspiring weight loss story I have ever read. It's not just about the weight, it's about finding yourself and loving yourself. Thank you so much for sharing. Report
thank you for sharing your great story, my god bless you all the time , when the sparagus season come im going to invite you to eat sparagus in my home brave lady, greetings from tijuana mexico Report
Starting my journey today! Love your story! Puyallup Wa! Report
What an inspiration you are to me! I joined Spark last night, and you ROCK!! Thanks so much for sharing, and keep it up! Report
I am so proud of you. What a struggle and what a beautiful ending and new beginning. You're an inspiration to so many and most important to your daughter. Snugs 'n hugs, Norrie
Your story made me puddle-up, Chrissy. Is determination your middle name? It should be. Report
So inspirational! Definitely motivates me! Thanks for sharing. Report
This is such an inspirational story. Congratulations on what you'e accomplished! Report
Thank you for sharing your story. It is inspirational to me.
Congratulations!! This was very inspiring and it touched me; I'm incredibly happy for you -- thank you for sharing your story, you are a truly brave and perfect example of not giving up and loving yourself. Thanks again. Best of luck to the new chapter of your life; God Bless! Report
I am at 186 I am weighing this much due to my abusive and physical relationship. I want to lose weight. I am changing stuff. I am eating salads; fruits and vegggies and watching my portions. I walk I ride a bike. I workout with taebo; yoga. Report
Thank you for the inspiration!! God bless! Report
What an incredible journey - your story will help so many others find healing and happiness! Report
What a wonderful story. I know you have helped many more people besides just me with your honesty and candor. Wishing you a wonderful rest of your life, and thanks so much! Report
I've been checking Sparkpeople daily for inspiration. With your story, I got more than I bargained for. Your story stirs me deeply, reminding me of my dark places, guilt and fear when I feel like I'm letting my children down. I don't know why it is that women in hard marriages often worry more about their kids than themselves, but somehow that's easier to see, my protective mother bear instincts run stronger than self-preservation. I am so thrilled for you and your refreshed relationship with your daughter. I know the feelings of guilt when I let myself or my children down. How eating can seem alternately like a (false) comfort and refuge from distress, or a socially acceptable, relatively benign form of self-abuse when I'm mad at myself (at least I'm not hurting anyone else...).

Your initial weight is similar to my current weight (175), my goal is around 125. My eldest just graduated from high school, a terrific ambitious young woman with my bad health habits. I hope my renewed dedication to a routine of moderate exercise and eating will help her too, plus my younger kids. Certainly, being healthier and happier with myself will improve my attitude and energy for all of them. Report
awesomeeeeeeeeeeeee Report
What an inspirational story. Thank you for sharing. Congratulations and good luck reaching your goal. Report
Such an interesting story! Kudos to you for your great success!!! Report
You did it, you changed your life around and those around you for the better.
I got the feeling that many others we going to be impacted by it. Report
Awesome! Congratulations and Thanks for sharing your story! Report
Good for you, incredible journey you have had! Report
Congratulations and Thank you for sharing.... Report
I so loved this blog. Report
CONGRATULATIONS!! Truly inspirational. Report
So happy that you turned your life around. Thousands of girls grow up with abusive step-fathers since their mothers won't leave those men, so what you DD did was her own choice. Many such girls go on to make a strong life for themselves by going to college and working, as I've read the blogs here on Sparks over and over. So, you did well to "get fough" and work on yourself. Report
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