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.
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!