My name is Kimberly Parham (@kimberly.s.parham), and I am 37 years old. I live in Virginia, and I am a virtual health and wellness coach. When I cut out alcohol, I also cut out a lot of weight gain. And after committing to sobriety, I went plant-based and did at-home Beachbody workouts, ultimately losing over 100 pounds.
I was overweight for as long as I could remember. I struggled with binge eating to deal with school as well as the pressure I placed on myself to be a source of joy and pride for my parents. I was a cheerleader in high school, but when I went to college, I was no longer training five days a week, and my poor eating habits caught up with me. Over the course of four years, I gained about 60 pounds.
My husband and I got married right after I graduated, and while my eating habits improved a bit, my alcohol consumption increased. Marriage at 22 was heavy, difficult, and lonely. I followed my heart but I was missing out on being young. I had my daughters when I was 24 and 28. I gained 50 pounds with my first pregnancy, and 27 pounds with my second. By age 30, at 4’11”, I weighed 223 pounds. I was still binge eating and drinking about a bottle of wine a night. I was not only medically obese, but I also had prediabetes and hypertension.
Then, on New Year's Eve in 2013, my uncle passed away from a heart attack, and it sent me into a tailspin of depression. I was put on antidepressants and gained even more weight. I went to the doctor in August 2014 for blood work and realized I was headed down the same road. With a family history of heart attacks and diabetes, I knew I had to change.
I turned to plant-based eating, and I am currently fully plant-based.
I do consider having eggs again someday. But for now, this works for me. I also utilize an intuitive eating program through my nutrition coaching that has drastically helped me properly plate my food and have a healthy relationship both with food and the scale.
Here’s what I eat in a day:
Breakfast: Oatmeal with a mashed banana and cinnamon and steamed cabbage with nutritional yeast and hot sauce.
Lunch: Salad greens with beans or tempeh, half an air-fried potato (diced), banana peppers, tomatoes, Buffalo sauce (Sweet Baby Ray’s is my fave), and Everything But the Bagel (EBTB) seasoning.
Snacks: Shakeology blended with spinach, peanut butter, and frozen dark cherries; and multigrain rice cakes with Violife cream cheese and EBTB seasoning.
Dinner: Usually beans and greens—super simple. I pressure cook tons of beans at the beginning of the week and then eat them on top of zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower, squash, cabbage, carrots—really whatever veg I have on hand. I add potato or rice.
Dessert: Shakeology mug cake or hot tea and a Beachbar.
I cleaned up my nutrition for about a month, then started walking on the treadmill.
After I got comfortable with that, I added group fitness workouts (I loved Les Mills Bodypump and Zumba). The gym was really pricey (especially when factoring in the costs of childcare), so I signed up for the digital on-demand fitness and nutrition platform Beachbody and started doing at-home workouts. I’ve been streaming workouts from home since February 2015, and have gone from modifying the "modifier" moves to loving burpees and tuck jumps! Lifting heavy is my favorite, though.
Now I exercise at home five days a week by walking one to three miles on my treadmill or outside, and doing a 30-minute workout right from my Roku TV. I’m currently loving my boxing and lifting program.
These three changes also made a huge difference in my weight-loss results.
I learned to cook. Nutrition was and still is my biggest challenge and change. I love food and I love cooking. But I also love a challenge, so learning to cook my family’s favorites in a healthy way had become really fun for me.
I found fitness I actually loved. Falling in love with fitness was crucial. I used to hate walking to and from my own mailbox, and a flight of stairs would crush me. I knew I couldn’t do exercise that made me miserable. To this day, I still refuse to run. Find fitness you love!
I worked on my perfectionism. Consistency is everything. I was a serial strong starter and a professional quitter. You fail every time you quit, and win every time you keep going and get over the obstacles. I learned that I am my own worst critic, and perfection is impossible. Waking up and doing my personal best every day is what it takes to stay consistent.
I had an alcohol relapse in 2017 and gained a lot of weight back, and when I became sober in November 2018, I had to start fresh.
My relapse almost broke me and my marriage, but I got through it and ended up losing the majority of my weight between January and October of 2019. After maintaining this weight loss for a year, my husband and I decided I would benefit from the removal of my excess skin. I underwent an abdominoplasty with muscle repair and a medial thigh lift in October 2020. I have not lost any weight since surgery. I feel like a whole new me, and like all my hard work was finally uncovered!
I didn’t take my weight seriously until it was connected to serious health issues, the hindrance of my quality of life, and learning that my genetic predispositions would be passed to my little girls if I didn’t do something to flip the switch. I could have allowed "it runs in my family" to be my excuse to stay the same. Instead, I let it fuel my fire to prove everyone wrong. I decided to be the chain breaker and the legacy shifter. We all have that incredible power to decide we don’t want to live that way anymore and do something about it.
I’ve lost 103 pounds from February 2015 to October 2019.
I am happier and healthier at 37 years old than I was in all of my 20s. I love myself, and my husband joined me in changing the trajectory of our family’s story by also losing 100 pounds with fitness and nutrition. Our girls have healthy, present parents who are teaching them habits that will positively affect generations to come.
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