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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You are AMAZING . WTG for all your achievements not just the weight loss. You are a true inspiration. TY. Report
impressive journey you should be proud of your accomplishments Report
AWESOME and thanks Report
Thanks for sharing & congrats on your accomplishments! Report
This great story has given me hope!
No matter what crap life throws my way, this story teaches me to be positive and confident in taking care of myself. As you stated, it's not "workout time," it's "ME time!" Report
How inspirational. I am happy for you and the positive change you have made in your life. God bless you. Report
I also would like to echo the many 'thank you SO much for sharing your journey' and a very heart felt 'Congrats!' on your huge accomplishments, both for yourself and your family! Enjoy every moment of your 'new' YOU! Report
Kudos to you! The Spirit is with you and will continue to be with you on your journey! Thanks for the inspiration! Report
Congratulations What a wonderful ending & a start to a new beginning. Report
That's really "making a difference" in not only your life, but your daughter's, your husband's, and countless others who will learn from your courage and accomplishments. The ability to turn your life around is no small thing. It's huge! I'm happy for you and proud of you for doing it the "right" way with medical intervention and support and lots of sweat equity. You have earned your Sparkling life! WooHoo!!! Report
CONGRATULATIONS on all your accomplishments!!!! Report
Congratulations on finding your way to your happy place and for sharing your incredible story!!! Thank you!!! Report
Thanks so much for sharing your journey - God bless you as you go forward! Report
Congratulations and I really enjoyed reading your story. Thank you for sharing. Report
Congrats on your success. You are an inspiration. Report
Thank you for sharing this. I have been through something very similar, and I suspect a lot of us have been. You will likely inspire others!

You have done a great job! Report
Congratulations! Very happy for you! Report
congratulations and best for the future Report
Congratulations, what an inspiring story. Report
This is awe inspiring. Thank you and congratulations on all events! Report
what a wonderful inspiration...I hope that I can follow through on the motivation that you've provided.
thanks for being so candid and congrats for finding you again!!! Report
wow your story is sooooo......i dont know the word but it rang home
mostly am glad you and daughter are back together!...and of cause you found someone who is your friend!....and you look hot! #awesomeness Report
This was impressive, what you did, despite your difficult life. I feel touched because I see similarities. THANK YOU FOR SHARING WITH US.
Best wishes for the last pounds :)
That is so wonderful to hear! Congratulations and keep up the excellent work and confidence in yourself! Report
I just started today with SparkPeople... reading your story was the first thing that I did. I was very motivated in reading your story. I hope to one day accomplish my goal - I am at 315 now sadly... at age 31. Thanks for sharing your story. Report
Congratulations!!! You have done so much good for your Life and have accomplish so much too. Your Husband is a God sent that is a very good Help Mate for you.This is an Awesome Story. Keep Moving Forward. This is The WTG!!! God Blessings to You and Everyone. Have a Wonderful Week. Take Care. Hugs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
!!!!!!!! Report
You are fantastic! Report
I enjoyed reading your story. Report
Way to go!! Report
Congratulations! Report
Amazing! Remember, our daughters are always watching. They see our choices! Allowing a man to abuse you teaches our daughters that abuse is okay. Make good life choices, Sparkers! Report
Good for you Chrissy! I am so proud of you. Thank you for sharing. May God continue to bless you.
Muriel Report
Having been through very similar experiences, I cry for the parts "unsaid" - how can you put all of what you have overcome in a blog. But, amazed at how you have pulled your family out of a terrible situation and shown them a better way. Be blessed! Report
You should be most proud of yourself. And what gifts having your daughter back and a wonderful new man in your life are. To have someone love you "above all" is an awesome thing. Report
Congratulations on changing your and your's daughter's lives! Also for finding such a wonderful man! Report
Chrissy, I am a binge eater who's also had a lot to deal with & have tried to cover up the emotions with food, but it only made me feel worse in the long run.
Thank you for sharing your story! I am SO glad to hear of the satisfaction you are experiencing in your life now.
Congratulations ! Keep Sparking ! Report
You are an inspiration! Thank you, Chrissie. Report
thank you so much for sharing...i will use your story to help me GET AT IT...i need to and WANT to...and i am so glad you have loving people in your life that appreciate you...continued success Report
Thank you so much for sharing your story. It is just the extra motivation I needed today. I wish you continued success in your life. Report
Love that the first comment is from your supportive husband. You have worked so hard to create the life that you deserve. Enjoy it and thank you for the honesty to share your truth. I'm sure it will inspire others. Report
Congratulations on your successes and accomplishments--both on and off the scale! Report
Your story is inspiring. Thanks. You touched some important issues I have. Report
Thanks so much for sharing your very inspirational story. All the best to you!!! Report
this is so inspirational, I am just learning about , you are so courageous, you prove it is so true that you first have to love and take care of yourself before you have the same to give !!!! good luck in your future, it sounds so bright !!!! Report
Congratulations. You are indeed an inspiration! Report
Such a motivational story. Congratulations! Report
Wow. You are amazing. I'm so happy for you that was some turn around and you did it. Pat on the back to you. Report
your story is inspirational. You have made it happen which is awesome. Report
You are amazing. I congratulate you on your total lifestyle change. You are truly an inspiration. Report
What an awesome story! It's real life hard time stuff, but, you pressed through, you hung in there and you made it happen. Kudos to you! I am sooo happy that you have your beloved daughter back and also that you have a wonderful loving man in your life that is going the distance with you.

Keeping on keeping on my fellow Sparker! Report
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