Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Fat Girl Files. // Kelly K.

I remember the first time I realized I was fat. I was about 8 years old at summer Church camp where the counselors took our photo that was going to be used for an art project. When it was time to pick up our photo I couldn’t find mine because I didn’t recognize myself.

Needless to say I grew up the ‘fat girl’.

Here I am at 8 years old with a perm, buckteeth and peace sign shirt. Thanks mom.

From outward appearances I had a perfect childhood…loving and happily married parents, a brother that I was close to, a beautiful home and a good education. I was active in sports and played outside with the neighborhood kids all of the time. However, I grew up in a very social family that owned restaurants so food, good food at that, was always around and the center of all of our family gatherings. Every Sunday we would go to my Grammy’s house for breakfast where she made homemade pizza, linguisa and toast. With coke.

Food soon became my comfort and coping mechanism.

For various reasons that I don’t need to bore you with, my weight skyrocketed during high school. At my heaviest I am guessing I weighed close to 250 lbs. Being that large in high school was not easy and I ate my feelings. As the old saying goes “I eat because I am an unhappy and I am unhappy because I eat”. I was one of those people that would sneak fast food after school on my way home and throw the wrappers out of the window so no one would know and then proceed to eat a full dinner with my family. I wish I could get into that 17-year-old head of mine and smack some sense into it. But if I did that I wouldn’t be the person I am today nor know how to cope through Here I am in South Africa in 1998 which was the summer going into my senior year of high school at close to 250lbs (I am 5’8”).

So how did I get from the heaviest point in my life to where I am today? (I am currently hovering right around 165 and hope to get to 160 by the end of the year with an ultimate goal of 150lbs)

The weight started to come off during college when I came out of my shell…you could say I blossomed. I got down to around 180lbs and for the next 5 years or so after college I fluctuated between 180-200lbs.

In a nutshell, it has come off through hard work (and a few heartbreaks, but that is whole other blog post).
  • When I was in my mid 20s I discovered the combination of kickboxing classes and body pump weight classes at 24 Hour Fitness. An hour of cardio followed by an hour of weights did and still does wonders for me. It is about a 1,000-calorie workout for me and the $70/month I pay for a gym membership is well worth it. In my opinion you cannot put a price tag on being healthy and gym classes are what motivate me.
  • I know all of you love Jillian DVDs, but I just can’t jump on her train. I burn about 150 calories doing a 20-minute session of 30 Day Shred and that is no where near enough for me. I urge you to add in more sweat sessions if that is the only form of exercise you do and are really trying to shed the lbs. (but don’t quote me on that, I am not a doctor or a trainer; I just speak from experience)
  • I wear a heart rate monitor when I work out which keeps me accountable. If I don’t burn a certain amount of calories I don’t leave the gym.
  • I don’t eat foods like this on a consistent basis. I am laughing in this photo because of the ridiculousness of the size. At my heaviest this would have been a snack.

  • Living by myself gave me control over what food is in my house. I am a snacker and a grazer so I do not keep anything in my house that would tempt me other than produce. 100 Calorie packs aren’t effective at portion control for me when I eat 4 packs in a sitting and I don’t keep bread in my house because I will toast an entire loaf with butter. Don’t even get me started on the hot, fresh tortillas from HEB. In general my refrigerator and cupboards are pretty bare. I think right now all I have is beans, yogurt, apples and salad ingredients.
  • Lots of water. If you don’t have a water tumbler with a straw, go buy yourself one. I drink so much more water if there is a straw. I have this one because I was sick of dropping and breaking the cheaper ones from Target.
  • Most importantly, I finally decided I wanted to be HAPPY. There is nothing more attractive than a happy person. In my opinion, you will never reach your goals until being happy and all that comes along with it no longer scares you.

In looking through recent photos I don’t have many full body ones (left over fat girl problem) however I do not cringe at the ones I do have.

That’s me in the middle at the Eric Church concert here in Austin.

This is the most recent full-body photo I have with my brother on Thanksgiving (please excuse his “Movember” mustache). I have come along way from that unhappy girl in 1998, but still feel like I have a lot of work left to do (that is the inner fat girl in me talking again…we are good friends these days).

Deep down I will always be a “fat girl”. I recently bought my first pair of single digit sized jeans and thought, “no way…these must run big because there is no way am I this small.” I will always have that little self-doubt devil on my shoulder, but you know what? I accept that, embrace it and appreciate the struggle I have been through which has shaped me into the person I am today.

I moved from San Francisco to Austin the past summer where I am currently getting my Masters in Public Health at UT with the goal of working in childhood obesity intervention programs, specifically for girls. Without a doubt I know that the reason I made it through this struggle was to help others like me. (BTW, if anyone out there has an MPH, please let me know…I would love to pick your brain.)

To end, if I can leave you with any piece of advice, it would be that if you are a mother of an overweight daughter, please, please do everything in your power to get her healthier. Model good behavior (trust me, if you sneak a cookie in the car she will find the crumbs!), work out with her, get rid of the TV and computer in her room, don’t tempt her with junk food in the house, get her into counseling if that is what she needs. Even if she hates you for it, I’m sure you would rather her hate you for a short period of time compared to hating herself for a lifetime.

Feel free to come see me over at Life in The Klass Lane.

// Kelly K.


  1. I LOVE this post! I have always struggled with my weight and was severely picked on in school for it. I have an 8 month old daughter and she motivates me every day to be healthy for myself and her. I want to be the best example that I can be so that she will grow up healthy and strong. THANK YOU for such a touching post!

  2. This is awesome or as Martha says it's a good thing. You are such an inspiring and honest person. I'm touched that your journey has inspired you to help young girls. It's so hard growing up heavy and now with even more bullying going on in schools. Thank you for sharing your journey.

  3. Thanks for sharing. Your life reminds me alot of mine. I continue to struggle with my weight. I am also 5'8 and have at one point weighed 250. I have a one year old daughter and she motivates me to get healthier . I do not want anyone to call her fat like I was by adults growing up. If you have any more advice I welcome it! Thanks again for reminding me that I can reach my goal and be a great role model for my daughter.

  4. You are a true inspiration Kelly. This post speaks to me for many reasons. You look fabulous and very happy.

  5. Love this post! Well written, inspirational... heading over to your blog right now!

  6. This is a great story! What kind of heart rate monitor do you have?

    1. I wear the polar brand heart rate monitor. Not too fancy, I think it was around $70 on Amazon.

  7. Thank you for sharing you story. You are beautiful! I have a really hard time loving myself, whether I am 215 lbs or 165 lbs. Even at my lowest (165), it was so difficult to be happy because I still wasn't where I wanted to be. I guess that's just one of those things that I will have to work on! You go girl! You look great!!!

    1. Thank you! I don't think it will ever be emotionally easy, regardless of my size. Sometimes I just "fake it till I make it'!

  8. Thank you for sharing your story! Skinnymeg follower here!


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