“My journey began almost 10 years ago when I was in my early 20s. I was in college and worked full time, all while battling depression. I’d always been a plus sized girl, but my weight really started to balloon when I was busy with school and work. After college, I decided to try to lose weight, but I quickly fell into the trap of binge eating, purging and emotional eating. I don’t think I could ever pinpoint an exact cause of my depression, but I had incredibly low self-worth from rejection in the past, and then I put on so much weight it only spiraled out of control. Triggers were anything that was super stressful (work, school, family issues). I was and will always be somewhat introverted and when one of my triggers comes about, I have to work extremely hard not to go inward on myself. Ironically, that’s something I am doing now dealing with a recent breakup.
I was a wreck, but I actually dropped tons of weight (I went from 300 pounds to 170 pounds in just over one year), but this weight loss was short lived because it was due to starving myself. My body was in total starvation mode. Once I started to see the rapid weight loss brought on by a restricted diet, I began to restrict more and more. At one point I was down to 500-600 calories a day and when I was around friends and family I just ‘wasn’t hungry’ or ‘had just eaten.’ I always ate something small like an apple in the morning, skipping lunch completely and doing something very light for dinner, like a smoothie or a small piece of chicken. All while maintaining frequent exercise. I felt weak and at one point I actually blacked out on a treadmill. That was my wake up call to open up about my struggles to my family. I was very young then, but those feelings and insecurities never go away and you have to battle those thoughts for quite some time. It’s a process, and I wish I could help all the people currently struggling with it.
With the help of my family and friends, I started to get healthy again. I started to see my own value and began to treat my body with the respect it deserved, but that did eventually lead to putting all the weight back on. At the time, exercise wasn’t something I was passionate about or willing to do, I’ll admit.
Fast forward several years to when I was 29. I was working a great job and had/have great family and friends, but I still weighed over 300 pounds and I knew I needed to change. I was nearing 30 and I wasn’t fully living my life, but due to my past and unhealthy relationship with emotional eating, I KNEW I needed to have a plan. It was and will always be a slippery slope for me and I’m not ashamed to admit that. I simply wasn’t confident enough to enjoy my life. Terrified to take photos with friends, scared to be seen ANYWHERE during summer in a bathing suit, scared to go to amusement parks because I didn’t fit on the rides, I was avoiding everything because of my weight.
Then, in January of 2017, I decided to make a change. I’d just gotten out of a bad relationship and decided to change not only my health and the way I treated my body, but also the negative people I surrounded myself with, due to lack of no confidence no doubt. After this is when I finally started working on myself and I continue to do so to this day, but I still make mistakes and question my self worth sometimes. BUT I am aware of it now and I work towards healthy coping. Work in progress!
Weight loss has really boosted my confidence, not just in my physical appearance, but more importantly in my ability to achieve goals. I started simple, meaning I started with what I knew. I cut out sodas and most sugars and simply began to eat healthier, maintaining around 1,700 calories a day to begin with. I started walking my dog for much longer periods of time and walked to and from work. I was so overweight that most exercises were impossible for me, and I simply wasn’t knowledgeable of the ones I could manage.
Later that year, in August, I joined a UFC gym here in Smyrna, Georgia, and that literally changed my life. By that point I’d really gotten my eating under control and knew how to balance my work and social lives with my diet, but I needed to find an activity I loved doing. That was kickboxing. I could wrap up my hands and stay in front of a bag for hours. It was fun AND the most intense workout I’d ever done. I simply LOVE it.
I also hired a personal trainer from the same gym and he really helped me realize all kinds of body weight exercises I could do. The most important part of sticking to a routine, I’ve learned, is not just having the willpower to do so, but finding something you love and finding people you love as well. I’ve made so many friends throughout my journey at my gym. I’ve also always been a huge nature fan and loved hiking, but I could never go too far or climb as high as I’d want, but I kept going and I kept climbing higher and higher with every pound that I lost. Eventually, I made it. Climbing a mountain solo and knowing you made it there alone – that’s my favorite feeling.
Earlier this summer I went to a local amusement park with friends and I felt overjoyed to be able to ride every single ride. (Like for real, I almost cried.) I know that sounds silly to most people, but I’m now able and have enough confidence to do the things I wasn’t able to do or was too scared to do before my weight loss. It hasn’t just changed my body, but also my entire outlook on life.
All in all, I went from 310 pounds in January of 2017, to 200 pounds now (I weighed in this morning and actually lost 5 pounds since my last weigh in at 205, yay). I turned 30 in June and I am overjoyed that I get to spend this time in a healthy place in my life. I can’t say this enough to people who are just starting their journeys: It’s going to be hard and you’re going to mess up more than you’d like, but KEEP GOING because it’s so worth it. I still mess up all the time, but I just keep going. That’s all you can do.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Kristin Hahlbohn, 30, of Marietta, Georgia. Do you have a compelling weight loss story? We’d love to hear your journey. Submit your story here, and subscribe to our best stories in our free newsletter here.
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