The Secrets to My Success

Would you like to know how a Photographer and Mom lost 80 pounds in 8 months? My name is Kimberly and I’m a Newborn Photographer in East Rochester, NY. I’m also a single Mom with three small children. This is the story of how I found a formula that works perfectly for me and has allowed me to lose 80 pounds in 8 months and to maintain my dream weight. I didn’t just lose my pregnancy weight, in fact, I didn’t even factor that in (I was 278 pounds when I was pregnant with my third)! I’m going to share with you how I blew my pre-pregnancy weight out of the water and finally achieved the body I’ve wanted my whole life.

Photographer loses 80 pounds in 8 months

Before and after losing 80 pounds in 8 months.

Worst Hula-Hooper Ever

When I first started, I wasn’t even trying to lose weight. In the fall of 2014 I went to one hooping class and bought my first hula-hoop. It’s probably safe to say that I was the worst hooper that ever existed. I would give the hoop a push, it would spin once (if I was lucky) then fall down. There was definitely more bending than hooping going on. But I didn’t give up. The teacher had said that it takes 100 revolutions to strengthen the muscles needed to keep the hoop up. Throughout the winter I kept trying with very little improvement. It wasn’t until Spring of 2015 that I picked up the hoop and began trying every single day. Little by little I was able to keep the hoop up for longer periods of time. The confidence that I gained from persevering through the discouragement was what propelled me into a weight loss journey. I thought, “If I can be good at this, then I can do anything.

Running and Diet Changes

I began taking my kids with me to the outdoor track 2-3 times a week. They played in the “sand box” (long jump pit) while I ran a mile each time. At this point I hadn’t done anything to change my eating habits but I was inspired to begin making small changes there too. We had already made the switch to Gluten-Free when my daughter was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. I started to very slowly eliminate foods from my diet and replace them with healthy raw and whole foods. The first thing that I cut out was carbs (breads and pastas, not fruits). I allowed myself to eat as many fresh fruits and vegetables as I wanted. Almonds and avocados became a staple in my diet. Without carbs, I had no more cravings for sweet things. If I chose to sweeten something I used raw honey or pure maple syrup.

When I started running the track as my kids played in the big "sand box"

When I started running the track as my kids played in the big “sand box”

Going to the track was working well for me. I had a good routine and the kids were having fun. I began running 2 miles every time I went. Then one day as I was walking the kids to school I saw caution tape blocking the entrance to the track. When I asked the crossing guard about it he informed me that the track would be closed for the entire summer while they tore it up and replaced the track and field. I almost felt like giving up, but I had come so far. I needed to find a new routine. Something that would fit into my life as a single mother with 3 small kids. Going to the gym sounded appealing, but wasn’t a possibility. So I found a used treadmill on Craigslist and put it right in my living room.

My diet continued to evolve. The next thing to go was dairy. Originally I gave it up to try and help with seasonal allergies. I never thought I’d be able to give up cheese for good, but pretty soon those cravings stopped too and I just kept going. The final change was the switch to a vegan diet. I stopped eating all meats and eggs. I’m not 100% strict and I’ll occasionally eat wild-caught Cod or Salmon.

My Workout Routine

I was in a great place with my diet and I had a steady workout routine. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings I ran 2 miles on the treadmill (alternating every quarter mile between 5 and 6.5 mph) then hula-hooped for 800 revolutions. Sundays I ran 3.1 miles. In October of 2015 I ran my first 5K race and I came in under 30 minutes! In November I finally reached my dream weight of 155 pounds.

Woman runs 5K after losing 80 pounds

Ready to run my first 5K race!

Living the Dream

Not only did I lose 80 pounds in 8 months, but I’ve been able to maintain that weight loss steadily. I’ve added arms with a resistance band and a standing ab workout to my routine, but nothing else has changed. When I was running the track where I used to do cheerleading as a young girl, I imagined my younger self cheering me on. I used to hate running more than anything. I knew that if younger me could see grown-up me I would have been so proud because I was finally doing it. When I was younger there was nothing I wanted more than being thin. Now I’m living the dream, and it’s a very good one.