I am soooo excited to introduce this month’s spotlight. Krista is seriously awesome. She is a Pharmacist, which in and of itself is impressive, and has made huge lifestyle changes to improve her health. She has seen amazing results and is committed to a happy and healthy lifestyle. She is super busy with work, but has chosen to make her health a priority. She is an inspiration to me and many others. Not only is she a great example of health and wellness, but she is a great neighbor and a thoughtful friend. Thanks Krista…you are amazing!!!
Here’s Krista to tell you her story:)
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Hi, my name is Krista. I’m a Clinical Hospital Pharmacist and I live in Las Cruces, New Mexico. I am originally from a small town in Missouri. I grew up working and playing outside a lot and was pretty active in sports, band and many other things. Then I went to college to become a pharmacist. I had never exercised outside of sports and rarely ate fast food (our town was so small we didn’t have fast food places!). Pharmacy school was pretty stressful and I spent a lot of time studying and working, so I grabbed most of my meals on the run at a fast food place or mindlessly snacked on junk food as I studied. I went to the school gym a few times and even took an exercise class and nutrition classes. I had all the tools to be healthy, but I just didn’t do it. My bad habits became a lifestyle that stuck with me through grad school, residency and my first job. As a pharmacist I have counseled many people on weight loss, nutrition, and other lifestyle changes to help them manage diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol, but I never practiced what I taught. So by 27 I had packed on 100 lbs over 9 years!
When did you decide to make a lifestyle change, and what made you decide to change?
I decided to make a lifestyle change in May of 2013. I had just been to the doctor and had my yearly labs done and the report wasn’t good. I had pre-diabetes, moderately high blood pressure, and bad cholesterol – the trifecta also known as Metabolic Syndrome. I was also having to shop in Plus Size stores and buy my clothes in the “Women’s” section. I couldn’t go shopping with my girlfriends because regular stores didn’t carry my size. I had to watch where I sat on the airplane because my butt was bigger than the seat. I hadn’t realized how overweight I was and how out of control things were until all of these pieces fell together. I was pretty depressed but I knew what had to be done.
Have people motivated you or supported you along the way to keep going? If so, what has helped you the most?
My friends were very supportive from the beginning when I first started trying to eat healthier and count my calories and they have continued to be even now. I also started working out with a trainer, Rita Rae, who is an IFBB Pro and Physique competitor. She had been eating clean and exercising pretty much her whole life and felt lead to share her knowledge with others. She helped me transition to a clean, high protein diet and held me accountable for everything I did for the 6 months I was with her. I sent in weekly progress reports with my measurements and weight, along with my successes and struggles with diet and exercise every week. The feedback I got on overcoming my struggles and positive reinforcement when I didn’t make as much progress as I hoped kept me going. That feedback and coaching along with weekly accountability were definitely what lead to my success. Also, getting rid of my “fat clothes” was really awesome! The pile kept growing and growing! I couldn’t always see the changes in my mirror but I could definitely see the pile of clothes that didn’t fit anymore.
What have you changed?
I started my journey by changing my diet. I used the My Fitness Pal app on my phone and started counting calories. Then I started doing Herbalife for a while. After two months I had lost 20 lbs and people were noticing. The compliments from others and success I felt personally motivated me to hire a trainer. That’s when I started exercising. I did 60 minutes of cardio 5-6 days a week and pretty intense strength training 2-3 days a week. After 6 months, I changed gyms and started doing group training 5 days a week. My current trainers combine Crossfit, weight training and running to give us an hour workout each day. Now my training group motivates me to keep going. It’s been really fun working out and getting more fit with a group of people.
How do you feel now?
I feel amazing. I can sit on the floor comfortably, run, hike, climb a waterfall! I have so much more energy than I have in years. It really is incredible how different I feel. All of my health problems resolved. I have great blood pressure, my HgbA1c is totally normal and my cholesterol is at goal!
What has been the most challenging thing and also the most rewarding thing for you in your journey?
Doing cardio! My trainer says if you don’t hate every minute of it, you’re not doing your cardio right. (He’s a body builder, not a cardio guy!) I totally started with that mentality. I couldn’t run in the beginning so I used the elliptical. Getting through that 60 minutes was total torture. But now I can run again. I ran track in high school and really never thought I would run again. It’s so amazing to just put on tennis shoes and walk out the front door and run! I don’t have to drive to the gym, find my keys, or whatever else was my excuse for not going before. And running makes me feel great. I’m not fast and I can’t run that far yet, but I make progress all the time and hopefully I’ll feel comfortable doing a 5k soon!
With your busy schedule, how do you find time to exercise?
The best way for me was to find an exercise time that could be the same every day. I work rotating shifts at the hospital- some days start at 6:30am and some end at 10pm. My group training time is 4:30am. It’s crazy early but no matter what shift I work I can make it. Some days are harder than others, but the consistency has been key. I’m a morning person and nothing happens at 4:30 in the morning so no excuses about schedule conflicts at that time! The other big schedule crunch for me is my meal prep time. I eat 6 times a day so it takes some work to get that ready. I started prepping my meals 4-5 days at a time- usually Saturday or Monday depending on my work schedule. I weigh out and package my almonds, chicken, protein powder or whatever I’m doing that week and I buy some things pre-packaged for convenience like apples with 2 tbsp. peanut butter and 100 cal Wholly Guacamole cups.
December 2012 (about 6 months before I started dieting, but my heaviest weight) to May 2014