How This Nurse Lost 149 Pounds In 2 Years With Weight Loss Surgery
Hi! Tell us about yourself…why did you decide to start losing weight?
I was extremely unhappy. I put on a great show for everyone but I side I was hurting. I was depressed. I thought everything revolved around my size. Every time people would talk about me I thought it was in regards to my size. I wouldn’t hang out with friends, I most certainly wouldn’t date. I went on a blind date once and the guy said “I wouldn’t have agreed to this if I knew you were that big” he faked his mom having a stroke to end the date. That hurt. I knew as a nurse, I was constantly tired. My legs and feet would kill. I attributed it to the long 12 hour shifts I worked. Not the fact that my petite frame was holding about 140+ pounds that it didn’t need.
I didn’t have a specific turning point I just knew I was the only person who was going to make me happy, I was the only one who had that power. I talked with a few close friends and called the weight loss center to inquire about bariatric surgery. I was more terrified than ever. I was so worried people would judge me. I was right they did. I did learn, however, that those people who judged me were not my people. They didn’t help me along the way, they did however help me see clearly and who was there for me.
What was your workout routine? Can you give us what a typical week looked like for you working out?
My workouts range from what days I have off and what I want to do. I’m a nurse in an emergency department which is pretty busy. I walk anywhere from 5-8 miles in a shift. When it’s warm out, every morning on my days off I do a 5-mile circle walk around my neighborhood. It has a lot of hills so it’s a great workout. I pop on my favorite podcasts and throw on my Fanny pack and get moving.
2 days a week I go to my local planet fitness and hit some weights. I do the 30-minute circuit x2. I don’t pick the most I can lift, and not the lightest. I aim for the middle and try and focus on my form. When it’s not nice out to walk. 2 other days I hit the gym and do 30 minutes of an intense stair climber workout.
It’s amazing to see how many flights you used to be able to do vs now. I’ll do 30 minutes on the bike, and then wind down with 30/60 minutes on the treadmill. The 30 minutes is usually at a pretty steep incline. The 60 is barely any incline but I’m speed walking.
What was your nutrition like? Can you give us what a typical day of eating looked like?
I should start by saying I’ve struggled with binge eating and anorexia throughout my life. My relationship with food WAS not a healthy one. I didn’t follow a diet. I focused on protein. Protein keeps you fuller longer. When I first started counting calories and working out I didn’t know where I should aim calorie-wise. I still don’t.
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On days I’m working I eat more usually because I’m constantly on the move. My job is a workout most days so naturally, I’m going to be hungrier. My morning usually starts with some coffee. I’ve trained myself to drink it black just to save me some calories. I’ll make a breakfast sandwich or burrito for work to eat on the go, which usually starts with a low carb/high fiber muffin/tortilla. Then I put egg whites, some low-fat cheese, salsa, and maybe some meat, or refried beans on top. I’ll eat that on the go.
I’ll eat a snack a few hours later. Usually a protein bar and something with more carbs, so protein and fruit. Lunch is usually meal prepped from earlier in the week. It’s a high protein, usually, I stick to chicken breasts they’re cheap, easy, versatile and I love them. I’ll throw some rice or veggies with them, maybe some pepper and onions, and eat fajitas. If I’m feeling lazy, I make canned chicken and cottage cheese with salt and pepper for my go-to easy delicious meal.
I’ll eat another snack when I get home from work before dinner. This could be anything, veggies, a protein shake, beef sticks, cheese, and crackers. Dinner is anything. I try and focus on my protein and fewer carbs. If we’re having spaghetti or something carb-heavy I have other options I can make to drop the carbs. Carbs are not bad. We need them. I just know personally if I eat too many of them I get hungry very soon after. Plus they make me feel uncomfortably full.
I don’t drink juices or soda. I drink a lot of water. Minimally ½ gallon a day aiming toward a gallon. Black coffee; a low-calorie/sugar-free energy drink on the days I work.
Things I always have in my fridge/pantry. Canned chicken, cottage cheese, any cheese I can cut up and dip in mustard, rye chips, pumpkin seeds.
I take a multitude of vitamins because of pre-weight loss. I was deficient because I ate what I wanted and had no care about my health. I take iron, biotin, fish oil, calcium, magnesium, b12, multivitamin.
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How did you stay motivated to lose weight? Did you ever slip up?
I think if anyone tells you changing your life is easy they’re full of crap. From the start I had people telling me I took the easy way out because I had bariatric surgery. It’s not easy. I had to change my entire life. It may have removed ¾ of my stomach but it didn’t help my mental awareness of food. It didn’t help that relationship.
I had to learn that not everyone understands why I did what I did, it’s okay. I didn’t do it for them. I did it for myself. I had one of my best friends Nicole always tell me that. She always reminded me. “You did this for you, you did this for no one else. You did this to make yourself healthy which is going to make you happy. Forget what they think” everyone needs their own Nicole. She always reminded me why I was doing what I was doing even when I wanted to give up.
You need to find at least one person you can confide in. One person with who you can make yourself accountable. Who you know will call you out when your lying, who will be there for you and give you good advice. Now I have a few of those people in my life. However, going through this process. I know if I didn’t have my tried and true family/ friends rooting for me I never would have made it. I would have let the fear get to me and keep me unhappy.
It’s okay to want to give up. We have bad days. The thing to remember is, why you started. You have a goal. Push yourself to get there. We all have bad days. Don’t throw the journey away because you tripped and fell. Get back up and be aware that there are rocks along the way.
When did you start to notice progress?
I think after the first two months I started really noticing a difference. My clothes were baggy, I wasn’t out of breath doing simple tasks. Then other people started to notice. I would hear people tell me I lost weight in my face most often.
I look back on pictures and you can completely see the change in my face shape. It used to be round. Now? It’s not round at all. My cheekbones are high and you can clearly see them. I have a jaw now. It’s like a new person.
Did you use any sort of trackers/apps/scales to track your progress?
I used a food scale I bought on Amazon and MyFitnessPal to track everything I ate. I found it the most user-friendly. I used the Renpho scale which connects to an app on my phone to log my weights. It was super easy.
I’m very technology challenged so I needed easy things and these were super easy! For my workouts. I have an Apple Watch and I used that to log my workouts when I was at the gym.
Are there any other fitness products that you used frequently?
I would be lying if I didn’t say my Apple Watch – it is always with me! Closing the rings because of a high so to speak. It would make me so happy to see them all close at the end of the day. If I didn’t close them, I’d find myself trying anything and everything to get them closed. It was a game I played and enjoyed it. Looking back at the month of all closed rings/mostly closed was an awesome feeling. A much different feeling from the couch potato life I lived before!
Do you have any weight loss “hacks” or “secrets” that helped you succeed?
WATER. If I could tell everyone one thing it would be to drink your water. I’m not kidding. It helps with hunger, skin, and makes you feel better. It also gets your steps in by going to the bathroom all the time.
I also found that when I was thought I was hungry, I wasn’t hungry, my mouth was just bored. I’d chew some gum and suck down water and if I was still hungry I’d actually eat.
What is your best advice to beginners who are looking to lose weight?
Take baby steps. If you try and jump in and change everything all at once you’ll fail. It’s a terrible pattern. Try a walk after dinner or lunch. Swap soda/juices for water. Take a few weeks for those swaps to become habits. Then add another. I found that jumping in all at once would make me anxious, and I wouldn’t be able to handle it. So baby steps!
Baby steps are progress and anything is better than where you started. Looking back on the person you have become is a feeling I can’t describe. It brings me to tears to see how genuinely happy I am. I have self-confidence now. I never had that before. I love myself, I love others, my bubbly happy personality shines.
Where can we find more about you?
You can always find me on Instagram! It’s definitely my number one used app @Miss.Kalynn.K
I share weight loss, my life, my super cute dog, things I love and don’t love. It’s not just a weight loss account. Plus sometimes I share funny stories on there from being a nurse 🙂
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