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How Kim B. Lost 65 Pounds

Name: Kimberly B.

LIVESTRONG.COM Username: kimber2409
LIVESTRONG.COM Member since: July 2, 2014

Age: 45
Height: 55

Before Measurements
Weight: 230 pounds
Dress/Pant Size: 18

After Measurements
Weight: 165 pounds
Dress/Pant Size: 8

Image courtesy of Kim B. and Andrew Lee

1. What was your life like before joining LIVESTRONG.COM?
Before joining Livestrong.com I would comfort myself with food. Food was my best friend. As a single parent, life was a struggle and food was the only way I could feel any joy or relief from the hard times my family was going through. I refused to have any scales in my home or look in the mirror. I always joked and told my friends I was allergic to exercise. I would take three-hour naps on my days off because I was exhausted all the time. I couldn't even walk a block without having to sit down because I couldn't breathe. When the doctors started diagnosing me with problems relating to being obese, I felt like my life was about over.

Image courtesy of Andrew Lee

2. What inspired you to make a change?
When talking about the future with my boyfriend and listening to the fun things he suggested, I found myself refusing each and every one because I was obese. I wouldn't even try to plan ahead because I never thought I'd live that long. I dismissed every activity he suggested, and it weighed on my mind heavily. I would run to the bathroom and cry, and he never knew. It really hurt me the day I went to the store for new jeans and had to buy size 18. I could not believe what I had become.

On January 4 of this 2014, I laid down for my ritual Saturday nap, and that inner voice said to get up and go for a walk. I was astonished and tried to go to sleep, but it kept nagging until I got up. I went outside and walked two miles. I could not believe that my body allowed me to do that. It hurt, but I was so proud of myself. I felt so energized by that first walk that I repeated it every day after that. Eventually, I increased my walk to four miles. I set a goal for myself to lose 65 pounds. I signed up for every 5K in my hometown. I was becoming a new person.

3. How did LIVESTRONG.COM help you lose weight?
When I decided to make a change, I researched all of the apps out there and selected the LIVESTRONG.COM Calorie Tracker. My weight loss just took off to another level when I started tracking all of my foods. By using the LIVESTRONG.COM Calorie Tracker, I was able to track the calories I was eating and burning. I really loved seeing the progress I was making. I would read each and every article on LIVESTRONG.COM for advice. The experiences that other members shared on the community message boards just fueled me. I wouldn't eat anything without researching it first. After 10 months of healthy eating and exercising, I met my goal of a 65-pound weight loss. I had transformed myself into a totally new woman. For the first time in my life I've fallen in love with the person I see in the mirror.

Image courtesy of Andrew Lee

4. What was your support system like?
I had a wonderful support system. My boyfriend was always there encouraging me, and my family was as surprised as I was about the new me. I would post my weight loss online with pictures. My friends continually told me what a great job I was doing and would encourage me to keep it up. All of the comments from my friends and family just made me want to work harder.

5. What's your favorite way to work out?
My favorite way to work out is a fast-paced walk. There is no better feeling than the way your body feels after a long walk. In the beginning, my legs would hurt badly, but I kept telling myself to keep it up and one day my legs wouldn't hurt anymore. I repeated this daily until it actually happened. When the days got too cold, I purchased a stationary bike and felt my body changing in a different way. When I would reach a plateau in my weight loss, I added occasionally running a few blocks into my walks. I still prefer to walk, but when I want to get my heart rate up I incorporate running intervals. I try to be really careful with my 45-year-old body because I have never exercised in my life. Reading all of the articles on LIVESTRONG.COM helped me learn how to exercise safely. I listened to my body. If I felt a pull or a small ache, I slowed down or took a rest day. It is really important to pay attention to the different and new ways your body will feel when you start losing weight.

Image courtesy of Andrew Lee

6. What's your weekly exercise schedule?
In the beginning, I would not take a day off from walking. Seeing the results of my weight loss motivated me to want to walk faster and more often. I walked in my neighborhood every night after work. The days of sitting down and watching television were over; I wanted to be outside all of the time. After a month, I realized my body needed a day off from working out. So one day a week I began to rest. My day off from working out was usually a day I had to work late or had a nighttime function to attend, and it was only one day a week. 

7. What's a typical day of meals and snacks?
I eat six small meals a day. I eat breakfast at 7:00 a.m., snack at 10:30 a.m., lunch at 12:00 p.m., snack at 3:30 p.m., dinner at 6:00 p.m. and my last snack at 8:00 p.m. I always eat oatmeal for breakfast with 100-percent fruit juice. (Low-sugar apple and cinnamon oatmeal has been a lifelong favorite.) My snacks always consist of a dairy product, such as yogurt or a low-calorie cheese stick, with fresh fruit or nuts. My last snack of the day is always frozen yogurt. For lunch, I eat either a low-calorie frozen meal (there are some delicious ones to choose from) or a Caesar salad. Dinner would be any of the following: broccoli, sweet potato, asparagus, beans, peas, fish and/or pork made sensibly.

My food advice would be to try different things. Research what foods are good and bad for you. Switch up your menu. You really do not have to sacrifice taste to lose weight. It's really not that hard. And don't forget -- water, water and more water.

Image courtesy of Andrew Lee

8. What's the range of calories you eat per day?
Every day I strive to eat between 1,200 and 1,500 calories, depending on how many calories I burn.

9. What are the healthy staples that are always in your kitchen
The healthy staples that you will find in my home are  low-sugar oatmeal, 100-calorie snack packs of nuts, lite mozzarella cheese sticks, a variety of fresh fruit, 100-percent fruit juice, lactose-free, low-carb milk, yogurt, lettuce, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, broccoli, fish, ground turkey and -- my favorite -- frozen yogurt. 

Image courtesy of Andrew Lee

10. How do you strategize for meals?
I make a menu of all the meals for the week ahead and shop once on the weekend. I take my meals with me to work every day in the cute lunch bag I bought myself. 

11. What was the biggest challenge you faced?
My biggest challenge was to give up sweets. I craved sugar all the time. My family always wanted junk food in the house. I tried to teach them what I was learning, but I was the only person in my home that needed to lose weight. When someone else was eating something unhealthy, I left the room or took my dog for a walk. We all cooked our own meals. I knew my healthy eating would eventually become a new way of life for them as well, but it just wasn't as important to them. It didn't take long for my cravings for sugar to stop.

Image courtesy of Andrew Lee

12. What's your biggest secret(s) to success that you want to share with others?
I believe my biggest secret to success was to repeat the words "never give up" each and every day. I even ordered one of the rubber bracelets with "never give up" written on it. If you have a bad day, start fresh the next day. Every day is a new day.

When I first started, I made a promise that if I worked out and ate correctly for 30 days, I would reward myself with something I really wanted. I did just that -- whether it was a new pair of tennis shoes or a night out at my favorite restaurant. I never broke my promise. I would even encourage myself by walking the parking lot at my favorite department store, knowing at the end of 30 days I could buy myself a new outfit. These rewards do not have to be expensive. A few times, all I chose was a cupcake, and that was rewarding enough. You really do not have to give up your favorite foods. You just have to teach yourself how to eat them.

My advice to anyone ready to make a positive change is to put yourself first above everything and everyone else. Get selfish. Take care of yourself first so that you can better take care of the other areas of your life. Look at yourself in the mirror and say, "I am important enough to create a new and better life for myself and my family." For those who say they do not have the time, I say: What is an hour out of your day? Turn off the television and the computer for an hour and go walk. It's just that simple.


Image courtesy of Andrew Lee

13. Can you describe what your life is like now?
The week that I reached my goal I was out walking and listening to my music as usual. A stranger in a car stopped me and asked what I had been doing to lose weight because she had been watching me all year. She told me that she could not believe the change I had made in my body. That stranger put a smile on my face that I still can't wipe off. At that moment I knew I did this. I changed my life.

I love the new me. I have so much confidence in myself. I am wearing clothes that I have never been able to wear. I feel beautiful for the first time in my life. I still visit LIVESTRONG.COM regularly and read each and every article. Knowledge is truly power. I wouldn't call the way I eat now a diet because nothing has changed. I didn't learn how to diet; I learned how to eat properly. That knowledge will never leave me. Now that I've met my goal, I'm working to maintain. I still walk every other day, and it feels better than ever. The physical health problems that my doctor diagnosed me with this time last year have all gone away, and I love the new, healthier me.

 Ann Rusnak is LIVESTRONG's Sr. Community Manager. Her quest to lose the "baby weight" before the "baby" finished elementary school sparked an interest in health and fitness that continues to be a passion to this day. She loves hiking and yoga, and thinks the best exercise is one you can do with a good friend. Over the years Ann's desire to fit into a certain size has evolved into what she feels is the more important goal of feeling good and having energy to live life to its fullest.

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