My name is Kristen Whitney (@kirstenwhitneyy), and I am 29 years old. I live in Los Angeles and I am a bartender. After hitting my heaviest weight of 215 pounds, I decided to make small, lasting habit changes, like packing my lunch for work and taking walks. Later, I switched to the Beachbody portion control meal plan and workouts.
I started having body image issues at around age 12 or 13 when puberty hit. I had a lot of smaller-bodied friends and remember comparing myself to them in my bigger body. At the time, I didn't feel like I fit in. But these comparisons led to years and years of yo-yo dieting, over-exercising, obsessing over the scale, binging, depression, anxiety, and feelings of insecurity.
I would restrict myself, count calories, and try all the different fad diets, which would last a couple weeks and then I'd go back to binging and not caring at all for weeks at a time. I had a super unhealthy relationship with food and my body. By the time I left college, I was the heaviest I had ever been at about 215 pounds (I'm 5'7"). I remember seeing that number and being so shocked. I didn't recognize myself anymore. I had completely let myself go because I didn't have the right mindset about myself and my body. I was super unhealthy physically, but also mentally.
The summer after I graduated from college in 2015, I went on a road trip from Seattle, Washington, all the way to Tennessee where we were only eating fast food. I was at my heaviest weight, and I felt worse than I'd ever felt. My depression and anxiety were at an all-time high, and I had no energy. I didn't want to do anything, ever.
I remember having a light-bulb moment sitting in the back seat of the car.
We had picked up fast-food burgers on the trip. I just remember thinking, I can't do this anymore. I didn't want to feel so bad all the time. I didn't even care about the scale anymore—I just felt horrible.
So as soon as we got back from that road trip, I came up with a plan. I knew if I was going to make an entire lifestyle change, I was going to have to start small and not just go all in and try to change everything at once. That had failed me so many times before. I knew I needed a new approach.
I was working a 9-to-5 job at the time, so I started by simply packing my lunches for work instead of eating out and taking walks after work.
Once I mastered those habits, I would add new habits like drinking more water and jogging a little on my walks. A year and a half later, I was down 30 pounds and feeling so much better overall.
I focused on adding more veggies and fruits to my diet, getting my protein, and making a point to start with a healthy breakfast every morning and not eat so much processed foods.
A few years later, I joined Beachbody and started using their 21-Day Fix, which is a portion control plan.
I had hit a plateau and felt ready to dial it in. I actually learned how much of each food group my body needed, and I realized I had still been overeating. A friend from high school had been following it and looked amazing. Plus, she had so much energy! So I tried it, and after my first three weeks of following that plan, I was down another 10 pounds. I felt better than ever and actually felt like I had learned a lot about food!
Here’s what I eat in a day.
Breakfast: Two slices of turkey bacon, two scrambled eggs, and a slice of whole-wheat avocado toast with everything but the bagel seasoning (or make this into a breakfast sandwich!)
Lunch: Chicken, rice, and veggie bowl
Snacks: Protein powder (I use Shakeology) smoothie with spinach, a banana, and almond milk
Dinner: Salmon and asparagus
Dessert: Dark chocolate
I started exercising right away, but I took it slow at first just going on walks and slowly building up to jogging more.
About a year after I started doing this, I joined a gym. I still didn't really feel like I knew what I was doing in the gym, though, or if I had worked out enough or done the right things, and it left me feeling frustrated and motivated. I did my best to show up anyway, but I didn't have any structure to my fitness–and I really needed it.
When I started doing the 21-Day Fix, I also signed up for the Beachbody workouts.
I was excited to work out in the comfort of my own home and to have a trainer show up on the screen with me every day to just tell me what to do. I also loved that the workouts were only around 30 minutes, so it didn't take up a huge chunk of time like the gym had for me. I finally had a structure and plan to follow that was designed to give me results and it took away all the stress around fitness for me!
I'm always following a fitness calendar and I get to challenge my body in different ways because of the variety in the type of workouts they offer. I exercise for around 20 to 45 minutes about five to six times a week, and I love it! It has completely changed my strength and endurance to the point where I will also add in running once in a while. I never used to be a runner! But I am so obsessed with feeling my best now and love that I have the tools to make exercise fun and simple and non-time consuming.
These three changes have made my weight loss journey successful.
I started small. I realized trying to change everything all at once wasn't working anymore, so I started with changing one thing at a time. Once I mastered one good habit, I would add another until I got myself to a place where I felt really good and felt like I could still allow myself to indulge once in a while!
I started reading and listening to personal development content. I also started to read and/or listen to a personal development podcast for at least 10-15 minutes every single day. Working on my mindset is what has kept me going. It has improved my relationship with myself, given me a better outlook on life, and kept me going on the harder days. Your body is capable of exercising and wants to eat healthy–it's your mind that you have to really train! I have also retrained my mind to focus on how I feel rather than how I look.
I stopped weighing myself and looking for overnight results. I stayed consistent and just kept doing the things that made me feel good. My focus shifted to how I felt each day and wanting to be proud of myself for sticking to it and doing healthy things for myself, rather than focusing on if the scale went up or down every single morning.
I have lost 50 pounds over four years.
The number on the scale wasn't my focus, and I was willing for it to take a long time so that my new healthy lifestyle would stick. Stop comparing yourself to other women, and stop focusing on numbers like your weight or pant size. We are all designed uniquely, and there is no point in comparing yourself.
When you pour all your time, energy, and focus into feeling your absolute best, the weight tends to take care of itself, and you fall in love with your body and yourself in the process—no matter where your weight is at. Your confidence increases, and you start to love that you're unique, which completely changes the way you think about food, exercise, and just showing up for yourself in general!
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