Today’s post is an interview with an online friend of mine. Kaseedee has lost over 100 pounds (and kept it off!) and has a hugely inspiring story.
One of my favorite things about social media is connecting with people that you might never have the opportunity to meet if not for the internet. In the past few months, I have continued to cross paths with Kaseedee (We are both Brand Ambassadors for Swirlgear & Strong Figure Athletes). I have caught snippets of her story and I am repeatedly impressed, awed and motivated every time I read it. I wanted to make sure that those of you who haven’t already had the chance to “meet” Kaseedee can now do so through my interview with her.
Before I begin with the questions I asked Kaseedee, I wanted to give her a chance to introduce herself to readers. Here is what she had to say:
When I was growing up we never really focused on eating right and getting exercise. We played sports and ran around all day, but it wasn’t until after I had my son that the real problems began for me. After my son was born I clocked in at over 250lbs and I’m only 5’2. I knew that for myself and my lil’ guy, I had to do something to change; I had to be able to play with him, carry him up the stairs and enjoy our time together. I showed up the first day at my gym with no idea what to do! I must have looked like I was going to cry because a woman came up to me (she worked at the gym) and asked if I needed help, and I burst into tears at that very moment. From that point on that woman became my trainer and helped me physically and emotionally break through my barriers–she is the reason that I now work in fitness and am on a mission to help women who are going through the same struggles I went through. I have learned so much along my journey. I have learned that I would rather be a strong woman than fit any “mold” out there. I want to be my FIT, not what someone tells me is fit. I have learned that skinny is not necessarily healthy, and you have to strive to be your healthiest, not a number on the scale. I have learned to push myself and try new things–when I was over 250lbs I NEVER in a million years would have thought I would complete obstacle races, marathons, jump boxes, climb walls–but I have and I WILL continue to set these goals and make myself stronger and bring along anyone who wants to join me!
S: Did you always struggle with your weight? If not, when did it become an issue for you?
K: Growing up I wouldn’t call myself overweight. I considered myself average. I was always a bit more “curvy” but I was okay with that. It was when I found out I was pregnant that my weight became an issue. I considered being pregnant a free pass to eat everything I wanted. I wasn’t active while pregnant and of course the weight piled on. After my son was born I was right around 273lbs and extremely unhappy.
S: Did you have one “defining moment” that made you decide this was it — you were losing the weight for good?
K: After my little guy was born I was extremely unhappy. I was tired all the time, grumpy, irritable, antisocial — the list could go on for days! There were days I would put my son in the swing and sit in a dark room alone, not wanting anyone to be around me, or talk to me. This came to a head one day while I was shopping with my sister for post baby clothes and I had to buy a XXXL sweat pant and that’s ALL that would fit me. From that day on my funk worsened until one day my husband brought home the paper with an ad for the local women’s gym and suggested I give it a try (we all know how that could have gone! LOL). I realized he was only trying to help and so I went and checked it out. I decided to give it a shot — what’s the worst that could happen, right? Well I went in the next day to do my first workout and actually broke down in tears in the middle of the gym my first day!!!!
S: You mention that your son was motivation to try to lose the weight. I love that you made a commitment to be able to keep up with your son and set a positive, healthy example. How do you feel that losing weight and being fit has helped you be a better mom?
K: If I had kept up my bad habits I don’t think that I honestly would be here today — my life and weight were spiraling out of control. That commitment to my son has kept me going on the toughest days, whenever I think of giving up I think of the things in my life that I love! Losing the weight has given me a life that I can be proud of, and a life where my son can be proud of me. We hold each other accountable by working out together and eating healthy as a family. We cook together, we shop together, we run together and we lift together. My philosophy is that I need to be that example for my son; he will not learn to make the right choices if I am not there to show him. My son sees the pictures of me when he was little and we often talk about what happens when you make poor choices. I am so thankful that I lost the weight; I can keep up with him without any struggles! He has a mom that will be around for a long time and one he can spend time doing what he loves with. I have changed from a sedentary mom to a mom that is active and outgoing and loves doing those things with her family!!
S: You are an amazing example of how “doing the right thing” can equal longterm weight loss success. Did you ever consider any “drastic” weight loss options? Crash diets? What made you decide to do it the “right” way once and for all?
K: Long term success is truly a challenge that I have to work on EVERYDAY!!! I have learned with struggles and setbacks that in order to attain long term success you have to work every day. You can’t put in the work short term and expect it to last. OMG, I considered EVERY quick fix out there!! I bought pills, potions, lotions — I think I tried it ALL!!! After watching my family struggle with weight and try all the “quick fixes” I saw that they didn’t work. Yeah they lost a lot of weight (and quickly) but it always came back with some extra. I knew at that point things like that wouldn’t be my solution. I was going to take as much time as my body needed to reach it’s goal — my health was my priority not just losing weight!
S: I love that you are not only a weight loss success story, but also a strong fitness role model. At what point did you actually start to like working out?
K: Wow, a fitness role model, that’s quite an honor!!! I actually fell in love with it early on. I hired an amazing trainer that kept me motivated and kept me trying new things so I never got bored!! I love the way I feel after a kick butt workout!!! Whether it is lifting, running, Pilates, bootcamp — there is nothing like it!! To be completely honest I don’t always love the thought of going to the gym or the workout when I do it, but it’s all worth it in the end!!! I always look forward to trying new things in fitness as well — gotta mix it up! I actually fell so in love with fitness that I quit my corporate job to work in fitness and help others find their health and fitness!
S: I’m guessing that losing over 100 pounds did great things for your self-esteem and confidence! What part do you feel that fitness played in this?
K: Honestly it did!! I am doing things I never dreamed of doing while I was overweight, I love pushing myself to try new things and pushing myself. I was not comfortable trying things I wasn’t sure of or even being in front of people — well that has greatly changed!!! I was always afraid that people were looking at me because I was the “fat” girl in the room, judging me, scrutinizing why I was there, why can’t she take care of herself, etc. I now love being out there, talking to people, teaching classes, doing group talks. Fitness has helped me get past the feeling of insecurity; I now know that I am strong and I am able to do things that others can and in some cases more!!! Sometimes I do forget that I lost the weight, I know it sounds silly but going from 273 lbs to 150 can cause a body dysmorphic disorder of sorts. I catch myself saying “I can’t do that” or “I weigh too much for that” and have to check myself! (LOL)
S: What does your “perfect” workout day look like?
K: My perfect workout day is one where I don’t have to wake up early or stay up late to get it done! (lol) But seriously, I feel like my workout is perfect when I get to workout!!! Not everyone is able to do the stuff I do so I am thankful my body allows me to do my workouts daily, no matter what I decide to do!!!! I love to keep it new and exciting as well as include my son.
S: What is your proudest fitness moment?
K: I have so many proud moments!!! A few of my proudest moments were crossing the finish line of my first half marathon, hitting the 100lbs lost mark, competing in my first obstacle race, and my favorite moments are the ones where I get to help my clients!!! I am more proud of their successes than my own!
S: Anything on your fitness “bucket list?”
K: My fitness bucket list, wow I love this question!!! My husband and I were just talking about this. I have a list of 10 things and each time I accomplish one I add a new one, so it’s a rotating list. (LOL) My big ones right now are to run the NYC Marathon, run a race in every state and run the New Year’s Eve race in NYC. I also want to compete in a kettlebell competition and compete in a duathalon or triathalon!!
S: What are you currently training for that you are most excited about?
K: I am currently training for the NJ Marathon in the Jersey Shore!!! My first full marathon!!!!! What I am most excited about is that I am running to raise money and awareness for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society through Team In Training!!!! This is a charity close to my heart. As a cancer survivor, I know how important research and support for these groups is….if you are interested in helping the cause, please go to my page here.
S: What would you say to someone out there that has 50 or even 100 pounds to lose and finds it completely overwhelming?
K: My best advice is start small and keep it fun!!! Set yourself small goals, don’t go in saying I’m going to lose 100lbs…you will just get overwhelmed more and will quickly fall off the wagon!! Set a goal of this week I will exercise 3 times or I will eat more veggies. Keep having fun while you work out. If it gets boring you won’t go back! Switch it up, try new things — plus by trying new things you will find the workout(s) that you get really excited to do. I HATE spinning but I LOVE boxing, so why would I go to spinning classes? Last bit of advice — find someone to support you!!!!! Find a friend, family member, someone you follow on Facebook or even if you have to hire someone like a trainer…..support is key.