Meet Kristen Kinney!

Hey everyone! I had the pleasure of interviewing Miss Kristen Kinney for next Grimmway Farms weight loss success story!!! And you guys will be blown away when you read her answers!!! Thanks for answering all of my questions, Kristen! You rock lady!

 

1)    When did you start your weight loss journey?

 

I started my journey on June 26, 2012. I have lost 144.2 pounds since then.

 

2)    What was the first step you took to begin? Do you remember the specific moment it clicked for you, or was it more of a gradual process?

I’ve tried to lose weight a thousand times before. Sometimes I would succeed, but I would always gain the weight back because I had only learned how to diet, not how to live a healthy life. It took me a very long time to “get it.” I truly believe that I had to get to the point where being obese was harder for me than losing the weight would be. Last June, having reached an all-time high of 328 lbs, I finally reached that point. It wasn’t any specific thing that triggered my change, but rather realizing just how much of my life obesity had stolen from me.   I was 27 years old, but my body felt more like 77 years old. I wasn’t living my life. I was merely existing. One day I just realized that I could not go on living that way. In that one moment, I decided that I had the power to change. That belief has made all the difference for me, and I have never looked back since.

3)    Did/do you have a personal trainer or did you do it on your own?

 

I do not have a personal trainer. I just did what I could in the gym at first, and then I took advantage of my gym offering to design a free personalized strength training program for members. That was really helpful since I was kind of clueless about the machines.

 

4)    How often did you work out when you were losing weight? How often do you work out now?

 

To be honest, when I first started, I mainly focused on my diet, and not working out. I did that because during my past weight loss attempts, I had tried to change everything in my life all at once. It was way too overwhelming! I knew I was just asking to fail if I tried to go from a completely sedentary fast food junkie to a health food-loving gym rat all at once. I tried to make small changes a little at a time so that I could actually maintain them. All those little changes add up to a very big change eventually if you are patient. For example, in the beginning I just tried to walk outside for half an hour around 4-5 days a week. Now I work out for an hour in the early morning and an hour later in the day, 6 days a week. Also, I usually try to squeeze in an extra-long workout of 3-4 hrs the day before I weigh in. It sounds like a lot, but once it becomes routine it is much easier. I have to make it a priority. At the beginning of the week, I look at my schedule and actually put my workouts in as appointments on my phone planner. It seems more like a commitment that way, and I am less likely to make excuses for missing a workout when I already have the time blocked out.

 

5)    Can you lay out what a day of workouts/activities might look like for you? Is what you do now similar to what you did to lose weight?

 

Well, sometimes my workout starts right as I wake up (at a soul-crushingly early hour) when I exert myself enough to throw my alarm clock into the wall. Well, not really, but I feel like it sometimes! I always try to get my metabolism going early with an hour of cardio in the morning, usually half an hour on the elliptical and half an hour on the treadmill. But now that I can actually run more than 30 seconds at a time, I like to run outside some mornings and watch the sun rise. Usually two mornings a week, I switch to swimming laps at the YWCA. Then for my later workouts, I do half an hour of cardio, and then half an hour of strength training. I switch up which muscle group I focus on every day so that each one has enough time to recover before I torture (oops, I meant exercise) them again. Now that I’m in decent shape I am looking to get into more sports and race activities too.

 

I still have around 55 pounds to go until my goal weight, so I am not at the maintenance point yet. When I do reach that stage, I think I will do pretty much the same thing except maybe not have 2 workouts a day quite so much. Right now, sometimes it is a struggle for me to not go to the gym too much and push myself too hard (never thought I would say that!). As I get smaller, it gets harder and harder for me to lose even a pound. I have a tendency to take things to the extreme, so when I see a low weight loss number, part of me is screaming to do “MORE! BETTER! FASTER!” But I try to remind myself that this is the way I am going to spend the rest of my life, and I can’t spend my whole life in the gym. It’s all about moderation for me.

 

6)    What types of food did you eat while losing weight? Are there one or two foods that are staples in your refrigerator?

 

I have gotten introduced to a whole lot of new foods while losing weight. My diet before this began could be summed up in two categories: “in a box” and “from a drive-thru.” I ate garbage, and so I felt like garbage. And when I tried to lose weight before, I would always eat “diet” food that was full of sodium and left me hungry. But now I try to eat mainly “real” food. I always have on hand grilled chicken, tons of fruits and vegetables, hard boiled eggs, Greek yogurt, whole grain bread, and steel-cut oatmeal. I have gotten pretty obsessed with using a crock-pot now too!

 

7)    What keeps you motivated and accountable?

 

When I have tried to lose weight before, I always was pretty private about it. I was so ashamed, and I didn’t want people to see how much my weight hurt me, both physically and emotionally. But this time, I decided to put it all out there for the world to see. I’m not going to lie; it was incredibly scary to do that! I keep my Facebook friends updated regularly on how I am doing, good and bad. I weigh in every Wednesday, no matter what! I even took my scale with me while visiting relatives over Christmas. I also started a blog where I write about all the different parts of my journey. I didn’t know if people would care about what I was doing or what I had to say. But I couldn’t believe the response once I got started. Seeing all these people respond to me and being able to help some of them on their own journeys is definitely something that helps keep me motivated. I feel like as I have lost the weight, I have found my voice.

 

My family and friends have been very good at motivating me as well, sticking with me through sometimes questionable new recipes, going with me to the gym, and taking my progress pictures every month. I have never even met some of my friends though. At the very beginning of my journey, I joined a Facebook weight loss support group called “Destination Skinny.” We keep each other accountable by weighing in weekly, and keep each other motivated through all of our ups and downs. I can post anything on there, and I know they will understand because they are going through the same thing.

 

I have inspirational quotes all over my bedroom and bathroom. It may seem weird, but it works for me, and that’s what matters. I just tell people that they can’t argue with the results! Above all else, I strive to be honest with myself and stay accountable. I lied to myself for a long time before, and all that did was get me to over 300 pounds and miserable. So whenever I am tempted to not write down something in my food journal or to skip a workout, I remind myself that I am hurting no one but myself.

 

8)    What is your number one piece of advice for people out there who are just starting on their weight loss journeys?

Anyone who has been through this with me will tell you that the number one thing I preach is moderation. It has always been an all or nothing thing for me before now. I was either making a permanent butt indention in the couch shoveling ice cream in my mouth and watching TV (embarrassingly enough, sometimes while watching The Biggest Loser) or I was starving myself by eating only iceberg lettuce and canned crab (yes, weird true story) and running 15 miles a day. I had no sense of balance at all. But in order to succeed on this journey, you have to have some moderation. After all, this is something you should be trying to do for the rest of your life. I don’t know about you, but I can’t live the whole rest of my life without a cheeseburger every now and then. The key words are “every now and then.” It doesn’t have to be either “all the time” or “never.” If you can honestly tell yourself that you are making healthy choices most of the time, that is good enough. It’s not about being perfect. It’s about becoming better than you were the day before.

 

ANYTHING ELSE?

I would love for you to check out my blog! I don’t hold anything back there. I’ve got funny gym stories, thoughts on being overweight, news about what crazy recipes I’m trying, basically just everything related to this weight loss adventure of mine. The web address is www.thespaceinbetweenallornothing.blogspot.com

My weight loss has made such a huge impact in my life that now I just want to help everyone else to be able to do this too. Let me tell you, I’m not some kind of super human weight loss machine. I’m a normal, regular person. I have a normal, regular life. I know people say this all the time, but it is true: If I can do this, so can you! Most people think weight loss is primarily a physical thing, but I am here to say to that it is mainly a mental thing. Once you decide to believe that you can lose the weight, nothing can stop you!

Meet Kevin Riley! :)

Hi everyone!! Another new week which means yet another amazing weight loss journey to share with you! Please meet my new friend Kevin!!! Kevin has SO many wonderful and insightful things to say and I am blessed to have had the opportunity to get to interview him! Thank you Grimmway Farms for introducing us!
KEVIN RILEY
1)  When did you start your weight loss journey?  
I started my weight loss journey in April of 2011.
2) What was the first step you took to begin? Do you remember the specific moment that it clicked for you, or was it more of a gradual process?
Let me paint a picture.   I was unemployed.  Around 560 pounds.   Depressed.   My life was going nowhere.   What was worse is that I was so big I could actually feel myself dying.   Everything hurt.   I was always out of breath.   If I stood up and/or walked for more than 10-12 feet, my back would be in excruciating pain.  Simple tasks were beyond me.   I had to take time out to catch my breath when taking a shower for crying out loud. Most concerning for me was my mental state.  I’ve always loved taking care of my niece and nephews.   Babysitting was one of the few joys in my life.  However, now my depression and poor health were making it so I could no longer care for them.  If anything went wrong, I would have a crazy anxiety attack.   As horrible as this was, it was the thing that saved my life.
My family was concerned for me and had planned an intervention.   Now I can be a stubborn fellow so this may not have gone over well.  I would have been defensive and probably would have fallen into a deeper depression.   My sister, Erin, was smart enough to realize this and went with Plan B.  She invited me out to dinner (let’s be honest, I was always down for a good meal).   At this meal, she told me how worried the family was and offered a suggestion.   She wanted me to meet Marty Wolff from Biggest Loser Season 3.   She had attended some bootcamps with him and thought he could help me.   That is what started me on the journey.   My dear sister gave me that little push to get started.
3) Did/do you have a personal trainer or did you do it on your own?
As mentioned above, I met Marty Wolff.  He is my trainer.  I have met trainers in the past and I have always hated that first meeting.  Because every trainer I met would look at me with either an expression of “oh lord, look how much work I have to do” or an expression of outright disgust.  So, I was not particularly looking forward to my meeting with Marty but I knew I needed help.  I was pleased to find out that Marty looked at my like a friend from the get-go.  He greeted me warmly and said that he saw strength in me.   He promised me that we could make this work if we met halfway.   We tried to walk as we talked, but I only made it half a block and then we sat on the curb and talked there.  He never made me feel bad for not being able to move.
Marty went above and beyond for me.  He was describing the nutrition plan and that a group of people were meeting to walk through a grocery store together and learn what was good to buy and what was bad.   He wanted me to attend but could see that I was upset and asked me why.  I told him that I couldn’t walk a grocery store.   My back would hurt too much.  His solution?   We drove to the grocery store where the event was planned to take place.  While I waited in the car, Marty went inside and a) found out that they had a motorized cart I could use to attend the walk-through and b) bought me some groceries to last me the three days until the walk though.  He wanted me to start right away.  That level of commitment was amazing to me.  And I can never repay that faith in me.
4) How often did you workout when you were losing weight? How often do you workout now?
When I started, I worked out for 60 minutes twice a week.   My initial workouts wore severely limited.  I would walk across the gym and sit down.  We would talk.  I would walk back and sit down again.   That was all I could do.   However, things improved fairly quickly.  For most of my journey, I would work out 4-5 times a week and sometimes more if I snuck in a hike or swim on the weekends.   I am still on my journey so the workout regimen is the same.   At times, I have fallen off the wagon and done less.  At times, I have done more where I work out twice a day multiple days of the week.   The goal is to try and keep moving forward.
5) Can you lay out what a day of workouts/activities might look for you? Is what you do now to maintain similar to what you did to lose weight?
At Square One Health Club (Marty’s new club exclusively for People of Size), most of our workouts are 45 minutes long and they take the form of games or bootcamps.   We do circuits and timed challenges.   Much of what we do is to build strength while still keeping ourselves moving for the cardio benefits.   Mini-competitions tend to push us to work harder as well.  Even though there is never a prize on the line, we push ourselves so our team can do the very best it can.   Surprisingly, no one is ever belittled, demeaned or saddened for poor performance.   We just chip in to make the difference.  It is a lot of fun.
6) What types of foods did you eat while losing weight? Are there one or two foods that are “staples” in your refrigerator?
The core of the nutrition plan is simply to fill yourself with nutrient dense foods.   We get a calorie level that is based off the amount of lean muscle mass we have.   After that, we try to use those calories to eat natural, non-processed foods.   As we go, we tweak the amount of protein we take in because that is what keeps us full for longer periods of time.  I was encouraged to drink lots of water and decrease (if not eliminate) the consumption of diet soda.
I don’t know if I have “staples” in the refrigerator.  However, greek yogurt, spaghetti squash, Kashi cereal and lots of berries and vegetables tend to be on hand most of the time.  Egg white quiche is a key for me.  It fills me up for most of the day.  So I will often have turkey sausage, egg whites, low-fat cheese, and a variety of vegetables (peppers, mushrooms, onion, etc) on hand to make quiche regularly.
7) What keeps you motivated and accountable?
Well, to be honest, I am having a low motivation period right now so this is hard to answer.  It happens from time to time.   This is a long journey.  Every time some skinny person tells me that I should just “eat less and exercise”, I want to point out that those are only tools.   Telling someone who is morbidly obese to just “eat less and exercise” is like telling someone to just “go run a marathon or two”.   Most people can eat less and exercise for a few weeks and drop the weight they want to lose.   Someone like me has to do it for YEARS.   Sorry, off my soapbox.
The community of people at Square One tend to keep me motivated and accountable.   We all look out for each other.  We rejoice in our victories, commiserate defeats, and can sympathize with each other’s difficulties.   This is 100% of what makes this place more successful than other programs.  We know that the weight loss journey is primarily a mental journey.  Support groups, friends, and trainers help us to stay on track and work the mental side of what we do.  I also keep a blog.  This helps me to stay motivated because it reminds me of where I came from and where I don’t want to return.   So, despite my low motivation period right now, I know that I will get it together because I want it, my friends and workout partners are looking out for me, and my trainers are there to help push me to greater success.
8) What is your number 1 piece of advice for people out there who are just starting on their weight loss journeys? 
Look.  It isn’t easy.  It is a long journey.  But here’s what I can promise you.   It will be easier than you think and the benefits are well worth the effort.   I used to look at the fact that it would take me years to lose the weight and that was my reason not to start.  It was too hard.   However, you don’t have to hit your goal weight to be successful.  You don’t have to wait until you are there to feel better.   That happens right away.  In my case, it took a very short time (just a few weeks) before I was reaping the rewards.   I felt better.  I could breathe better.   My depression was going away because I was doing something to change my circumstances.  In 4 months, I went from a guy who couldn’t walk a half a block to a guy who walked a 5k!  I couldn’t believe it.   And like rolling a snowball down a mountain, the benefits just kept getting bigger and better the longer I stayed on the journey.
You all are worth it!   Change your life.  Change your circumstances!   And most importantly, try to find some friends to do it with you.   Not that skinny friend who will order nachos while you are having a salad.   They are fine, but the ones you need for your journey are the people who will enjoy that salad with you, work out with you, and walk the path with you.   My Square One friends are a dear part of my life and a HUGE reason for my success.
 
If you have ANYTHING else that you’d like to add, PLEASE feel free! I don’t want to leave anything out! :)
I would like to invite anyone who is interested to check out my blog.   It is long and I primarily do it for me.  However, I have shared it with others and some have found it helpful to them on their journeys.   I believe that if it helps or inspires one other person, then it is worth the effort of writing it down.   It begins in October of 2011 and starts by recounting the beginning of my journey and how bad I let it get before starting.
^You should DEFINITELY check out Kevin’s blog. He has so much great info on there and I know you will love it just as I did!
Also, don’t forget to sign up to potentially be chosen to win a trip to the Biggest Loser Resort for 2 on behalf of Grimmway Farms!!!! Check out all of the details here…. www.justcrunchem.com
GRIMMWAY BL RESORT

Meet Allison Jones! :)

Helloooooo again, everyone! It’s that time of week again! We have our fourth success story to feature…and let me tell you, this girl is BEAUTIFUL inside & out! She took the plunge into a healthy lifestyle fairly recently and she is looking FABULOUS! I love that she has taken this one choice at a time so far…and is well on her way to all of her health goals! It’s my honor to introduce you to the gorgeous Allison Jones!!
ALLISON WEIGHT LOSS
1) When did you start your weight loss journey? 
I began my journey, two months ago, on January 7th 2013. I have lost 32 pounds since that day.

2) What was the first step you took to begin? Do you remember the specific moment that it clicked for you, or was it more of a gradual process?
After two months of marriage, my husband was diagnosed with Lymphoma. I spent up to 10 hours in the hospital, by his side, while he received his chemotherapy. On January 7th, in the middle of the hospital, I decided it was time to change my life. My husband did not choose cancer,yet here I am committing slow suicide. I felt so selfish. That was my moment. I watched him fight for his life and it was time for him to watch me fight for me. From that point on I dove head first into my weight loss. I came home that day, emptied my cabinets, weighed myself, activated an online food journal and I haven’t looked back.

3) Did/do you have a personal trainer or did you do it on your own?
No trainer. I have done everything so far on my own.
4) How often did you workout when you were losing weight? How often do you workout now?
When I first began losing weight, I worked out 3-4 days a week for about an hour each day. Now, I workout 5-6 days a week for close to two hours each day. I still have about 100 pounds to lose so I know that I will have to keep up with this routine for some time to come. I am totally okay with that. Working out has actually become enjoyable for me! I am in LOVE!
 
5) Can you lay out what a day of workouts/activities might look for you? Is what you do now to maintain similar to what you did to lose weight?
My typical workout activities are the elliptical, jogging (never thought I would say that), and a class at my gym called body combat! To be honest I am a little obsessed with that class. I sometimes do that 3 or 4 times a week. I also do strength training 4 times a week. The type of exercises I do now are very similar to the type I did when I first began. I have,however, increased my length of time spent training and my intensity.

 

 
6) What types of foods did you eat while losing weight? Are there one or two foods that are “staples” in your refrigerator?
When I first began losing weight, I was completely clueless. I read into a few of Jillian Michaels’ books and I began to grasp the concept of clean eating. I limited my foods based off of the rule, ” If it has a mom or came from the ground it is okay to eat.”. Another rule I used was, “If it has a commercial on T.V., it doesn’t go near my mouth.” That seemed to give me a pretty good guide of what and what not to eat. I also began counting calories like it was my job. I had no idea how many calories I was consuming until I put it all in front of me. When that was made a reality, I was able to see how much I needed to cut back! Right now, the food that ALWAYS makes an appearance in my refrigerator are eggs! They are my go to for breakfast, lunch, or dinner! I have found so many new healthy recipes to use them in! Absolutely my favorite right now.

7) What keeps you motivated and accountable?
My husband and my little boy, of course. Also, since starting my journey I have been very public about it. I posted it on my facebook and my instagram. I have so many supportive people that make it a point to check in on my progress.A few people have messaged me saying that I have inspired them to make changes themselves.I would hate to let them down. They help me stay on track and focused on days I feel like quitting. I think being very open about my journey was one of the best decisions I have made.
 
8) What is your number 1 piece of advice for people out there who are just starting on their weight loss journeys?Oh goodness. Just one? Haha. There is so much I would love to say. However, the most important would be to not give up. EVER. The best part about losing weight is that there is no such thing as an ultimate failure. You have the choice, with every breath you take to say “This is NOT how I am going to live.” If you mess up, which you will, you will have another opportunity around the corner to be successful. It is a beautiful thing to finally realize that you can not fail until you stop trying. Ask the people who love you most to support you, encourage you, and be honest with you when you need it. Crawl,walk, run, fly…whatever you need to do. Just do NOT give up!
I LOVE everything Alison has said here!! She is so right…NEVER, EVER, EVER GIVE UP!!! That can’t be in your vocabulary when you decide to take the plunge into a healthy lifestyle! It’s for LIFE, even with the ups and downs! Also, Allison…please know that we are ALL praying for you, your husband, and your families in all of the ups and downs that life brings. We are proud of you for being a fighter! Just know you are always in my thoughts and prayers!
allison weight loss 2
Remember, if YOU want to be featured as one of our weight loss success stories, please check out Grimmway Farms website and submit your application! It can be any type of loss…5 to 500 pounds! We are all in this together! :)
Until next time…
xoxoxo
Courtney

Meet Michelle Jud! :)

I’ve been so blessed with the opportunity to interview some wonderful people who have been on the same journey as I have for a while now! Our next story is an AMAZING woman who lives and breathes a healthy lifestyle! Please take a look at the question she’s kindly answered and maybe you, too, can be inspired by her! Please meet my new friend, Michelle Jud, everyone! :)
MICHELLEJUD
1) When did you start your weight loss journey?
I started my journey in the summer of 2010.

2) What was the first step you took to begin? Do you remember the specific moment that it clicked for you, or was it more of a gradual process?
Looking back now, I think it was a little bit of both.  I remember being sick of myself and finally fed up with not being able to do anything.  My twins were 5 at the time, and I remember being sad at the kind of mother I had been up to that point.  I was a horrible example, completely inactive, and I could barely get up and down off the floor to play with them. 
When I found out that The Biggest Loser was holding auditions here in Omaha, something inside me said “This is your chance!”.  I felt that my life was about to change, although I had no idea what that really meant yet at that time.
3) Did/do you have a personal trainer or did you do it on your own?
I did it with the help of an amazing trainer and an awesome, supportive community of people just like me! 
In line at the audition, I met former Biggest Loser contestant, Marty Wolff.  He was offering a “beginner bootcamp” for people with 100 pounds or more to lose.  Since I didn’t get a call back from the show, I remember thinking that I was still going to do something about my weight.  I made my cousin come with me to the info session for the bootcamp. After hearing Marty’s story, I thought that if he could do it, I could do it too!  I joined the beginner bootcamp and became good friends with many of the others there who were also bigger like me.  After the beginner bootcamp was done, I joined up with Marty’s regular ongoing bootcamp and I have been doing the same thing ever since!
4) How often did you workout when you were losing weight? How often do you workout now?
When I first started, I usually worked out 3 times a week.  I also spent the first year of my journey doing races just to prove that I could.  Now that Marty has opened Square One  (a health club specifically for people of size), I have more opportunities to work out and usually try to hit 5 or more workouts per week.  I still enjoy doing races.  Just 2 weeks ago I did Trek Up The Tower (a race up 40 flights of stairs) for the 3rd year in a row and managed to beat my best time by almost 3 minutes!
5) Can you lay out what a day of workouts/activities might look for you? Is what you do now to maintain similar to what you did to lose weight?
I just try to stay really busy which helps me control my eating.  In the morning I go to one of my jobs, and in the afternoon I go to work at Square One.  I usually work out in the evenings, either doing a single class or back to back classes. 
Even though I am not yet in the maintainence phase, what I do now is nearly the same thing as I did in the beginning, bootcamp style classes and trying to get in lots of cardio.
6) What types of foods did you eat while losing weight? Are there one or two foods that are “staples” in your refrigerator?
I really just focused on keeping in my calorie range with as many nutrient-dense, real foods as possible.  In the beginning it was a lot of “eat this, not that”, just making small changes and substitutions so as not to be overwhelmed. Instead of pasta, I would have spaghetti squash.  Instead of using regular milk, I would use almond milk. 
Most recently, we have made a huge change in the way we eat in my family.  We are converting over to a clean eating lifestyle, and so far it has made a huge difference!  It is definitely not an easy process, but I have started a blog and a Facebook page so that I can continue to learn, and hopefully help others as well.  If you are interested in checking it out, it is called Grownup Spinach.
7) What keeps you motivated and accountable?
These days, it is helping others on their journey. 
I still weigh in weekly, and I am actually not done losing weight just yet, but what really keeps me going is encouraging people and helping them see that they are stronger than they think they are!
8) What is your number 1 piece of advice for people out there who are just starting on their weight loss journeys?
It is not a diet but a lifestyle change.  However thinking of it that way can be overwhelming.  If you start out with small changes it is easily sustainable and will eventually snowball into bigger changes. 
The other thing is that you just really have to believe you can do it.  I know it sounds cheesy to say “If I did it, anyone can do it”, but I truly believe that. 
Finally, I would say, find a source of inspiration and don’t forget to celebrate the small victories.  Winning the small battles makes it easier to see that you can win the war.
If you have ANYTHING else that you’d like to add, PLEASE feel free! I don’t want to leave anything out! :)
I just want to thank Grimmway Farms & Cal-Organic Farms and also you, Courtney, for giving me the chance to tell my story. If anyone is interested in any of my other ramblings, my facebook page is
and my blog is
^Check out her blog!!! You guys will LOVE it!! :) Doesn’t this lady, ROCK?! I love what Michelle said about this being a lifestyle change & NOT a diet. I think almost anyone who has had success with weight loss preaches the same thing. I’m glad we’re on the same page, girl!
Also…another huge thanks to Grimmway Farms for introducing Michelle and myself. The things this company are AMAZING and they make a difference!!! If you haven’t signed up for a chance to win a trip to the Biggest Loser Resort thanks to Grimmway, click HERE now! :)
GRIMMWAY BL RESORT

Meet Carl Passante! :)

Hi guys! Hope you are all doing well! :)
Grimmway Farms and I had the opportunity to interview yet ANOTHER awesome guy who has made a complete life change and lost some MAJOR weight!! And let me tell you…he GETS it! Read his story & see if any of his struggles and triumphs are things you can relate to! Carl…you are AWESOME!!!! :)
CARL PASANTE
Courtney: When did you start your weight loss journey?
Carl:  I yo-yo dieted for my entire teen years.  I would lose weight, gain all of it plus more back over and over.  When it finally clicked, it was April 3rd, 2012.  I’ve been going for nearly 11 months strong, and never looked back.
Courtney: What was the first step you took to begin? Do you remember the specific moment that it clicked for you, or was it more of a gradual process?
Carl: When I realized I had a serious problem I knew I needed to surround myself with support.  I was living three hours away from home and knew it would be best to move back home with my parents to push me when I needed it.  I moved home April and from that point on I kind of just hit the ground running.  It definitely clicked fast because I just knew in my head and heart that I had to do this no matter what.  I gained more and more momentum as time went on, but I always remained focused.
Courtney: Did/do you have a personal trainer or did you do it on your own?
Carl: From April 2012 – November 2012 I did it on my own and was down about 105 pounds.  I knew I had to eventually get a trainer to really sculpt and tone my body how I wanted it because I was clueless when it came to strength training/toning.  I got a trainer mid-November and since then she has helped me lose 15 more pounds and more then 25 inches from my body!  A trainer is great for accountability and support.
Courtney: How often did you workout when you were losing weight? How often do you workout now?
Carl: When I was losing I would workout six days a week for about two hours.  It was all cardio because I wanted to get the majority of fat off me before I started strength training and such.  These days I work out five days a week.  Three days a week with my trainer working with me with strength/toning, and my other two days are strictly running because I’m training for a marathon in June, 2013!  Very excited about that and was always a goal for me.
Courtney: Can you lay out what a day of workouts/activities might look for you? Is what you do now to maintain similar to what you did to lose weight?
Carl: When I was losing weight it was a gradual incline of movements/exercises.  I initially started out just by walking one hour a day.  Once I lost about 30 pounds I started running everyday (from 1 mile – 3 miles) and did mostly cardio.  By the time I lost 100 pounds I was able to run a half marathon, it felt amazing!  To maintain I do a lot of work with TRX and kettlebells for strength/toning/core work, and lots and lots of miles of running for cardio and marathon training.  I like to merge the two styles of exercise together for a total body workout and to keep the heart rate up as long as possible.
Courtney: What types of foods did you eat while losing weight? Are there one or two foods that are “staples” in your refrigerator?
Carl: This is where I changed the most!  I always tell people you lose weight in the kitchen, not the gym.  I cut out a lot of things completely (mostly red meat, soda, and fast food) I switched to ground turkey for my meat, a lot of chicken, and I tried to make the typical “unhealthy” foods into a “healthy” version.  I researched recipes for healthy pizza, tacos, Italian food, etc. so that way I didn’t feel like I was depriving myself too much.  A few staples would be lean ground turkey always, hummus, and dark chocolate covered blue berries (they’re good for you I promise!) just for when I needed something sweet.
Courtney: What keeps you motivated and accountable?
Carl: Several things keep me motivated.  I put my before and after picture next to my bed on my wall so I wake up to it every day.  That’s a great reminder to never go back.  I also made my journey very public with my blog/facebook so all of my friends and family know about my journey that way if I ever slip they can be there to catch me.  I also always make physical goals for myself of some sort so I have something to train for that way it stays in the back of my head.  Whether it’s a 5k, a tough mudder, or the marathon I’ll be running in 4 months.  It’s just a good way to get to that gym and workout.
Courtney: What is your number 1 piece of advice for people out there who are just starting on their weight loss journeys? 
Carl: This is so hard because I feel like I could literally write a book on weight loss advice, there’s just so much!  The best piece of advice is this:
Don’t ever be afraid to ask for help.  It might seem weak but it is honestly very brave and will keep you accountable and motivated to achieve all of your weight loss goals, or any goal you have in life.
Courtney: Anything else you’d like to add?
Carl: I had a lot to say in the best piece of advice question, so I’ll say the other pieces of advice here since there is so much to say.
Weight loss is nearly 100% mental.  Anybody can count calories, and go to a gym and lose weight.  The reason why so many people struggle with their weight is they’re not figuring out why they’re over weight in the first place.  Once you really get to know yourself and mentally tell yourself you’re able to do this, that is when the “weight loss magic” starts happening.  You need to love yourself at your highest weight, in order to love yourself at your lowest weight; and just because you’re now down to your goal weight does not mean the journey is over.
One last thing, weight loss is also a lot about balance.  You must balance your life inside and outside of your weight loss.  It can’t completely dictate your life, but you also can’t completely forget about it either.  Just know that you’re worth the life you’ve always wanted to live and never give up on yourself.  You’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish when you try.
I must say, I LOVE Carl’s lookout on this whole journey! It IS 100% mental and it IS all about balance! These are things that I talk about every single day to people I encounter who are trying to start! All of Carl’s words are so right on point…and I am SO very proud of him! 
Carl, thank you for taking control of your own life and thank you for sharing it with all of us!!! I am inspired and motivated by YOU!
If you would like to submit a weight loss success story…whether that’s 5 pounds or 300 pounds…PLEASE visit www.justcrunchem.com for all of the details on how to submit your story!!! :)
xoxo,
Courtney

Say hello to Clayton Mulford!

Hi everyone!

Grimmway Farms & myself have teamed up to find some AMAZING weight loss success stories! Whether that is a 5 pound loss or a 200 pound loss…we want to hear your stories!

This week, our FIRST week, we have had the pleasure of talking to Clayton Mulford! He is an INCREDIBLE inspiration & has lost his weight & maintained it for a long time! Thank you so much for talking to me, Clayton! Hope you all enjoy the interview :) We can all learn a lot from this guy!

CLAYTON

Courtney: When did you start your weight loss journey?

Clayton: I started my journey in May of 2010….. I was laying in bed one on night and I never watch the fox news at 9 but that night I did and that is where I saw the advertisement for the contest wealth for my health. I knew I needed to sign up that night! And so I did.

Courtney: What was the first step you took to begin? Do you remember the specific moment that it clicked for you, or was it more of a gradual process?

Clayton: It really set in when I submitted my application to be on the contest. Once I got the approval it was very exciting. I remember the opening night and getting paired with Marty Wolff, the first work out with him I knew this was going to be a very long journey but one that I needed to do for myself.

Courtney: Did/do you have a personal trainer or did you do it on your own?

Clayton: During the contest I met with Marty once a week. Once I started loosing more weight and realized that I could loose more than my goal of 35 lbs I started working out with Marty 4-6 times a week with him. Sometimes I would go in the morning and then go back at night. It was never one on one training but yet a group of us, sometimes a larger group of 20 or so and then other times it would be our pals group of just 4 of us. Once I started feeling comfortable I started going to my own gym and working out on my own as well. Now that I have lost the weight, I work out with Marty once a week and hit the gym myself 2-3 times a week.

Courtney: Can you lay out what a day of workouts/activities might look for you? Is what you do now to maintain similar to what you did to lose weight?

Clayton: To lose the weight it was a lot of cardio and just movement, some running laps, pulling marty around with a rope, flipping a big tire, lots of squats, push ups, sit ups, crunches and running. Marty just wanted us to stay moving and keep the heart rate up. Now that I have lost the weight I do still a lot of cardio but more of the stair stepper and bike, vs running and I do still my cardiovascular, sit ups, push ups, crunches and all that. I also do some weight classes to help tone up a little and keep fit as well. I still believe it just a matter of getting your heart rate up, so that is what I accomplish when I work out.

Courtney: What types of foods did you eat while losing weight? Are there one or two foods that are “staples” in your refrigerator?

Clayton: HMMMMM well I LOVE my veggies, must have a veggie with each supper! And I would say that fish and chicken are right up there as well. Those seemed to be the most of the foods that I would use to help loose the weight, and yogurt, it’s a great with some fresh blueberries and low fat vanilla yogurt.

Courtney: What keeps you motivated and accountable? 

Clayton: Just the fact that I have put soooooo much work into this that I can not let myself go back. I have made this journey so public that I would not want to let my friends and family down by gaining the weight back . They all supported me while I was doing this and now I need to prove to all of them that I can keep it. I do still struggle with the feeling that I am “fat” so I just have to remind myself where I came from and remember to keep food journaling and to not waste my calories. Yes I do still food journal……  That and measuring my food to make sure I have correct portions are two of the biggest things I recommend!

Here are a few more things that Clayton let me know about his journey! I felt as though these things HAD to be added here :)

How do you handle stress and emotions without turning to food?

Clayton: If I don’t buy it, it’s not there. I don’t allow myself any impulse buys. When it comes to grocery
shopping, I make a list and stick to it. Be prepared. I can still abuse the healthy stuff (protein bars, etc.)
so I still have to make a conscience effort to stop myself. If I am hungry at night, I allow myself one
healthy snack. If I am still hungry, I make myself wait 20 minutes to allow my body to register the food
I just ate. If I don’t buy it, I can’t abuse it. I pay at the pump and don’t enter convenience stores – too
many temptations. I have gotten in the habit of avoiding temptation; it’s hard to give into temptation
when it doesn’t present itself!

What has helped you sustain your healthy lifestyle?

Clayton: The fact that I made my journey public. I shouted from the rooftops (of Facebook) that I was

starting this journey. I didn’t want to let anyone down. Now, I am continuously pushing for more and
encouraging other people to join this journey with me. There became a day where I was pushing my
trainer to try new activities and was competing with him. I have found my internal drive to NEVER settle.
I am always pushing myself, reaching for more.

What is the biggest thing you’ve learned along this journey?

Clayton: I learned that if you want something bad enough, it’s ultimately up to YOU to go after it.
Dedicate yourself completely and you can have anything you want. But be careful, you can also
sabotage yourself right out of success. I have been able to apply this to other areas of my life as well.
I wanted to obtain my real estate license. Nobody could do it for me… I had to do it. I set a goal, I
followed through and now I am a licensed real estate agent!

 

I LOVE Clayton’s last answer!! It IS ultimately up to you! Take self-responsibility and start TODAY! Thank you so much for your time, Clayton! We appreciate you so very much and on behalf of myself & Grimmway Farms, we are SO proud of you!

If you’d like to be featured as one of our weight loss success stories, please click here!