As a bride-to-be, I was particularly inspired by my friend Kaleen’s amazing weight loss journey before her wedding! When she told me about how she made fitness -and by extension her happiness- a priority, I knew that I HAD to interview her for the blog and share her story with you! Read on to hear Kaleen’s impressive journey and learn about how she achieved a total body transformation! -CFC
1. Tell us about yourself!
I am a professional, Caribbean-American woman who just 6 months ago, married my best friend and THE love of my life! I also recently turned the big 3-0, which I had been dreading since I turned 20, however, I am finally learning to embrace the aging process, LOL! So far, I must admit that marriage and my 30s have been good to me because I am truly happy! At 30, I am in the absolute BEST shape of my life and I owe it all to my fitness lifestyle, which includes a reasonable diet and daily gym regimen. I am a true gym rat…and proud of it!
2. Have you always been a fit person or did you commit to fitness later on in life?
For most of my life, I have always tried to maintain some type of exercise regimen, but it wasn’t until two and a half years ago, that I decided to enhance my workout schedule and completely eliminate my bad eating habits.
3. What were your eating/health habits before your weight loss?
My weight gain was slow and gradual throughout most of my 20s. I always believed that I was conscious of my eating habits, but truthfully, nothing was ever off limits. First off, I never ate breakfast, which would cause me to over-eat throughout the day, and at night. I did not portion my meals and I snacked constantly on things like potato chips, cookies, etc… I also ate inordinate amounts of candy everyday. Between the snacks and the larger portions, once I was able to cut those things down (and incorporate additional exercise) my weight loss came naturally.
4. What motivated you to lose the weight?
For my husband’s (then boyfriend’s) 30th birthday, I decided to surprise him with a trip to Mexico. I had purchased the trip package in mid-June and I was determined to be beach ready by September of that same year. On July 1, 2010, I committed myself to a complete diet and exercise overhaul. By late September, I had dropped 20 pounds! I was so proud of myself because not only did I feel lighter and more youthful, but I was way more confident about my appearance.
5. In total you’ve actually lost 40 lbs through diet and exercise!! That’s a lot of weight to lose- did you set out to lose that much? How did you do it (eg. small steps, big steps, goal setting, drastic measures, etc.)?
In the beginning, I had not set any specific weight loss goals for myself. I just knew that I was unhappy at my current size and needed to lose weight- period. I was very strict about what I ate and I completely cut out sweets and other unnecessary indulgences. I portioned all of my food and I drank a TON of water. I started working out 5 days a week, instead of 3 and my workouts solely consisted of cardio: 30 minutes of high intensity running and twenty minutes on the stepper. In that sense, I was very extreme, but it was something that I was ready to endure because I was sick of feeling the way I did. I was unhappy.
6. Did you change your diet/exercise regimen to get ready for the your wedding day? If so, in what ways?
A year before our wedding, I was down 30 pounds. I wasn’t pressed to lose any additional weight, but I definitely wanted to tone specific areas of my body. In the months before our wedding, I started incorporating sit-ups to my fitness regimen and I also began eating small meals every two hours. By the time of my wedding, I had lost an additional 10 pounds (unintentionally), totaling my weight loss to around 40 pounds.
7. How did friends and family influence your journey towards being healthier & losing weight? Were there any people who were supportive/un-supportive?
All of my friends and family have been extremely supportive during my weight loss journey. One of my closest friends decided to lose weight with me. Everyday, we would discuss our eating habits, daily fitness progress and gym routines. We lost the weight together and even today, we continue to obsess over fitness!
8. Yay for fitness friends! So what do you do now to continue to stay fit and healthy?
Today, I continue to maintain a 5-day-a-week workout schedule: 40 minutes of high intensity running (about 4.6 miles/day), 20 minutes on the elliptical and 10 minutes of abs. While I am not nearly as strict with my eating habits, I only indulge in sweets and other junk food on the weekends and during Friday date nights with my husband. During the week, I still continue to eat small meals every 2 hours.
9. What’s the BEST thing about being 40 lbs lighter?!!
The BEST thing, by far, is being able to feel good in my clothing! I never feel bloated or too fat to wear anything! Now, I wear clothes that I would NEVER have considered wearing 40 pounds ago.
10. What advice do you have for someone who is reading this and trying to lose weight?
I encourage everyone to keep realistic goals for yourself and to also stay determined and dedicated to your fitness goals.
11. Anything else you want to add?
I LOVE everything fitness! Thank you for lending me the opportunity to share my weight loss journey.