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How Kristen D. Lost 85 Pounds and Dealt With Grief

By Kali Acerra ; Updated May 07, 2018

LIVESTRONG.COM Username: witness2fitness

LIVESTRONG.COM Member since: March 21, 2015

Age: 30 | Height: 5'9"

BEFORE Weight: 268 pounds Pant size: 24

AFTER Weight: 183 pounds Pant size: 12

LIVESTRONG.COM: What was your life like before joining LIVESTRONG.COM?

Before joining LIVESTRONG.COM I was very unhealthy and unhappy with my life, especially with my appearance. I used to eat a lot of sugary and deep-fried foods. I could eat a family-size bag of chips myself without any trouble. I didn’t exercise at all, and although I was always given a clean bill of health, I felt fatigued and lazy all the time

I’ve lost two brothers and a sister in my life. When my eldest brother, David, died of suicide in 2008, I went down a very self-destructive path. I drank a lot, even though I’d made a public declaration that I’d stop. I used to wish something bad would happen to me. I didn’t want to live.

LIVESTRONG.COM: What was your inspiration for making a change?

In November 2012, I watched my brother Kevin slowly pass away from liver failure. Seeing him try so hard to fight for his life made me realize that I needed to make changes and live my life in a better way. These two experiences highlight how much our older siblings can influence us. When my brother David passed away, I became self-destructive. When I lost Kevin, I was inspired to be stronger.

LIVESTRONG.COM: How did LIVESTRONG.COM help you lose weight?

When I finally came across LIVESTRONG.COM, I had already started to try to make changes, but I had no idea what I was doing. I quickly subscribed to the weekly email newsletter. Before this, I used to think I could eat whatever I wanted as long as I worked out. This led me to become frustrated early on and even give up a few times. All the tips, advice and other people making changes inspired me, educated me and encouraged me to keep going.

LIVESTRONG.COM: What was your support system like?

I seek support from the community on LIVESTRONG.COM, a couple of Facebook groups that highlight fitness and a few fit people in my community.

LIVESTRONG.COM: What’s your favorite way to work out?

I love to walk everywhere I go, and I enjoy dancing. I am slowly but surely gaining the endurance needed to go on runs!

LIVESTRONG.COM: What’s your weekly exercise schedule?

I work out about 20 to 40 minutes a day, four to five times a week. I work as a gardener, so it all adds up, and I live a very active lifestyle.

LIVESTRONG.COM: What’s a typical day of meals and snacks for you? Any food tips?

For breakfast I usually have oatmeal or scrambled eggs with chicken. Lunch is salads and soups. I snack on apples, bananas, blueberries or raspberries. For dinner I’ll have chicken or just veggies and dip. It varies, but I find these are my staples. I also take a multivitamin most mornings.

LIVESTRONG.COM: What’s the range of calories you eat on a typical day?

I have 1,000 to 1,500, depending on whether I’ve indulged in a treat or something deep-fried. I still enjoy those types of foods as well and don’t believe in depriving myself.

LIVESTRONG.COM: What are the healthy stapes that are always in your kitchen?

Oatmeal, bananas, apples, carrots, hummus, nut butter, granola bars, boiled eggs and cheese.

LIVESTRONG.COM: What’s the biggest challenge you faced?

I had a lot of self-doubt and made bad choices with food. Sometimes I don’t have the motivation or the will to work out and eat right. To be honest, I would have been more fit and farther along in my journey if I had been consistent and more self-assured.

LIVESTRONG.COM: What advice or tips can you share with those trying to make a positive change in their health?

If I could give anyone advice, I would say get out of your own way! There is nothing I can do about all the little failures. I just simply choose to focus on and celebrate all the small successes along the way — they all add up.

It helped me to drink green tea and water and to limit the cream and sugar in my coffee. I walk everywhere and listen to music as I work out. I love finding live versions of songs, and when I hear the crowd cheering, I pretend they’re cheering for me!

LIVESTRONG.COM: What is your life like now?

I feel so much better about how I present myself to the world. I feel good when people tell me they’ve been inspired by me. I love to work out and eat good food now, although I still love my bad foods. I won’t be able to ever completely resist them. Food addiction is just like any other addiction, you can only take it one day at a time. Be kind and gentle to yourself throughout the process.

I will never be where I was once, I can guarantee that. I will respect and love my body. It is the only one I have, and I can’t wait to see what it is capable of!

What Do YOU Think?

Do you have an inspiring Success Story to share? Did you use LIVESTRONG.COM to get healthy? Email us at for details on how to share! To get started on your fitness journey, join us today on LIVESTRONG.COM or by downloading the MyPlate app.

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