Many of us have memories of gaining weight when we were in college. But Kristen Calfee, a 20-year-old junior marketing major, has done quite the opposite. Her incredible weight-loss story proves that anyone can take control of their health and their life — and it all begins with the simplest of choices. It started when Kristen noticed some stretch marks on her “love handles” that caused her concern, and she decided from there to make some changes. Since then she’s lost 75 pounds, significantly improved her fitness, and will soon be a personal trainer. Read more for her inspiring story.
POPSUGAR: When did you start your weight-loss journey? What made you decide to do it?
Kristen Calfee: I started my weight-loss journey in January of 2016 as a New Year’s Resolution. I honestly started to lose weight because I was developing these red-purple stretch marks on my love handles that looked painful (even though they didn’t hurt). I was so shocked! I never cared about my health until that superficial moment of panic. I didn’t understand calories, macros, or how the body gained or lost fat, so I spent all of November and December of 2015 researching different methods to lose weight on YouTube so that I’d be prepared to take on the challenge.
PS: What was your starting weight?
KC: 210 pounds
PS: How much weight have you lost so far?
KC: I’ve lost 75 pounds so far.
PS: How did you do it? Did you follow a specific diet?
KC: I counted my calories using the MyFitnessPal to stay in a calorie deficit. I didn’t restrict certain macronutrients (I ate loads of carbs) and ate whenever I was legitimately hungry (if it was 3 a.m. and I was hungry, I ate), and I still lost the weight with ease. Eventually, after losing about 60 pounds, I stopped using the app and changed my diet to be more plant-based and practiced intuitive eating. I’ve lost the last 15 pounds without calorie counting.
PS: Did you do a specific workout type or schedule?
KC: I focused on HIIT cardio, by doing sprints on the treadmill, and strength training. I [work] out only four days of the week, since I’m in college and have to work as a waitress on the weekends. My usual week went:
Monday: Legs and 30-minute sprints
Tuesday: Push (training all the muscles that push: chest, shoulder, and triceps) and 30-minute sprints
Wednesday: Pull (training all the muscles that pull: back and biceps) and 30-minute sprints
Thursday: Legs and 30-minute sprints
And then I’d rest Friday through Sunday. I love lifting heavy weights, and I honestly owe my physique transformation to it. I think my body composition would not look as aesthetic if I had solely done the sprints on the treadmill.
PS: What are some nonscale victories you’ve experienced?
KC: Having to buy an entirely new wardrobe in the sizes of small and medium instead of large and XL feels amazing. I didn’t think I’d be one of those girls that liked to dress up to go to the gym, but here I am trying to find a sports bra that matches my leggings, just in case it peaks out of my crop top.
Also, my college has these bike racks placed in front of the entrance of our student union that people walk through as a shortcut to get to the door. Well, I couldn’t fit through the opening because I was so wide, so I always had to walk around to get to the door. But guess what, honey, not anymore! Now, I slip right on through. #nsv
PS: How do you stay motivated?
KC: I love using my own transformation photos as inspiration to keep pushing forward. I still can’t believe I’ve come so far, but seeing those pictures constantly blows my mind. I think about how I felt when I was living the way I was living. Also, when I’m lifting or running, I envision myself in my dream physique performing the lift or running the treadmill. That helps me a lot because I know if I remain consistent, eventually I won’t have to pretend I have my dream body; I’ll just have it already.
PS: What does a typical day of eating look like for you?
KC: I’m a junior marketing major in college and involved in a lot of organizations on campus, so I truly don’t have a typical day of eating, but I usually find myself eating a lot of oatmeal and bananas, soy milk chai lattes, veggie delights with BBQ sauce from Subway, garden pitas from Pita Pit, peanut butter Clif Bars, fresh fruit, and definitely a lot of potatoes. I try to avoid as many animal products as I possibly can when choosing what I’m going to eat.
PS: Any advice or tips for people on their own journey?
KC: My advice to women on their fitness journeys is that you’ll find consistency once you’ve become absolutely fed up and uncomfortable with the way you’re choosing to live your life. There’s no “one way” to becoming a healthy person, so do a lot of research and tweak your routines until you are happy with your results. And take as many pictures as you can at your starting weight as reference points along your journey!
PS: Anything else you want to share?
KC: I’ll be getting my personal trainer certification soon, so I’m superexcited to finally be able to help others trying to build the bodies and lifestyles they’ve always wanted.
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