From Size 18 To 8

by lydia on June 10, 2014

I love hearing real life health success stories. Several of my readers asked me to share more weight loss success stories. So, I got in touch with my friend Anna Lishman because she shares weight loss success stories regularly on her blog ‘Rules of Dieting‘. Today you are hearing from Anna via a shared success story
Here’s Anna….

I have another amazing weight loss success story for you. Kristie has done amazingly well and managed to keep the weight off for 5 years! Losing weight isn’t easy, but one key thing that helps is to remember who you are doing it for. Kristie had a lot of people cheering her on, but ultimately she wasn’t doing it for them, but for herself.

I love the quote she uses “ Love yourself for who you are in the moment and for who you want to become.

Size 18 To 8  

Tell us a little bit about yourself

My name is Kristie. I am 42 years young and in the best shape of my life. I’m from California and back now after leaving for 6 years traveling with my new love. I am the oldest of 3 children. Divorced but now with Mr. Right. No children yet but still holding out hope. I lost the weight and have kept it off for 5 years now. Hoping to use the knowledge I have learned on my journey to help others any way I can.

How much weight have you lost in what period of time?

When I started on my journey back in November of 2008, I weighed over 200 lbs and was toxic. Literally. I lost the first 50 lbs fairly quick. I would say within 7 months. The last of the weight would take a lot longer but I did eventually reach my goal weight of 135 lbs. I would put back on 20 lbs with my move back out to Cali but am working on turning that into muscle.

What was the “turning point” at which you decided that you had to change your lifestyle for better?

I had known in my heart that my lifestyle had to change when I met my love in 2006. I knew if I wanted to be a mom in my 30’s or 40’s old habits and bad choices had to stop. I had been a smoker since 8th grade, struggled with good body image since my early 20’s and had been heavily medicated for 6 years. My eating habits were very poor in my 20’s and 30’s. I had processed foods on a daily basis with little to no vegetables or fruits at all. Did the Slim Fast thing for a couple of years with no success. Two shakes during the day and a meal at night. It just didn’t work for me.

By 2007 I began the process of getting off toxic medications, cigarettes and caffeine but our diet was still pretty poor at the time. We were living in the land of buffet style eating of Mississippi. My favorite place to go to was Waffle House. Sweet tea and fried foods galore. The real “turning point” for losing weight though came on one memorable day in 2008. I was up on a stack of wood that had been drying out for a building’s construction in order to cover it with tarps from the impending rain. When I finished I was told to jump down and that he would catch me. When I did, I knocked both of us over. I was very embarrassed. Not long after that my fiancee did some research on the internet and found a diet that he thought would help both of us.

Thank God, because something had to change.

Kirstie's story2

What lifestyle changes have you adopted to help you with the weight loss?

Many! The first was drinking lots of water. It is recommended to drink at least half your bodyweight in ounces per day. I had grown up drinking anything but water. Tea, kool-aid, soda, you name it but not water. It was difficult at first. There was no taste. I missed the sugar. I had been severely dehydrated for many years. I had several warnings though. I would get to a point of passing out from lack of fluids a few times and still had not learned the importance of water to the body. I suffered terrible migraine headaches too. Just no clue as to why. If you are like I was and find it hard to drink water, try adding some fruit slices to your water for a
bit of flavor and vitamins. The silly water flavorings sold in stores are loaded with MSG and poisonous sugar substitutes. I also have a capful of Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar in one of my morning glasses of water daily followed 30 mins later by a TBS of chia seeds in another (My blog details why).

Next was portion control. In the past I would either starve myself or binge eat. Later buffet style eating had been introduced and watch out. We would pile up plate after plate to the point of over stuffing ourselves.Not good. I went to visit a nutritionist and found out that portion control would help me get on the right path for losing some weight. She told me that our stomach is the size of our fist. When I looked down at my fist and then thought of the size of a plate that I would have been filling with food it almost made me sick. Why was I never taught these things? We would buy 2 cup pyrex bowls (because they are glass and contain no harmful chemicals) for making our meals into, that would help make it easier. We eat 4 smaller meals a day with 2 snacks.

Then came the first diet guidelines that we would follow. I use diet lightly, because it was more like a new way of eating really. I never went into this thinking it was just until I lost weight. Maybe that is why I was so successful. Anyways, the diet was called the Candida Diet. It was mainly for people with an overgrowth of fungus and or yeast (I had frequent yeast infections and powerful cravings for sweets) but was
also used for people sensitive to gluten. It is a low/no sugar, low gluten, no yeast, no MSG diet that was very simple to follow. I would later find the Candida Diet Cookbook at the local library that would make it a no brainer to prepare recipes too. I have since learned that a healthy fit body is made with 70% diet and 30% exercise, some even say 80-20.

Last but not least, exercise would be brought into my lifestyle as well. It was a real struggle in the beginning at over 200 lbs. Keep in mind that before all of these changes were taking place I could only do any physical exercise for 5 mins before my face would be beet red and I would be out of breath. It was something I had to overcome. So I would go to the gym at the local hospital (where we lived there were not many options) and walk on the treadmill for maybe 15-20 mins to start 3x a week. Slowly I would build up to 30 mins. Then I would try the elliptical machine. Boy was that tough. I could only do 5 mins at first. A little later I would try a kick boxing class too. Lots of fun.

When we moved I had to leave the gym behind but knew I wanted to continue to workout. I went to the local Walmart and bought some DVD’s. I upped my workouts to 5x a week for the next couple of years. I workout at home to this day. My fitness level peaked last year when I completed the P90X workout program where the workouts were an hour to an hour and a half 6x a week with a stretch day on the 7th day. I never even imagined that would be possible in the beginning of my journey.

Which habit do you think had the biggest impact on your weight loss?

Honestly, it was eating healthy. Really reading the labels and finding out that the less ingredients that are in a food the safer it is. The basic healthy non-processed foods don’t have ingredient labels. We continually adjusted the foods we were eating as we progressed, fine tuning for optimal health. It helps with any plateaus you may hit as well. We added more and more vegetables to our meals and also have tried to include at least 50% of them raw. Even lightly cooked vegetables lose some of the nutritional value. We would also include green drinks made in our blender that would aid in detoxifying the body naturally as well.

I stopped eating for pleasure and began to eat for nutrition and health. Not saying that our food doesn’t taste good, because it does. As your taste buds return over time, when you get off of additives and sugar, the more you taste real food. Allowing yourself to have cheats here and there and not attaching guilt or shame helps as well. As long as it is only here and there in limited amounts it won’t kill you and there is no reason to beat yourself up over it. Over time, for me, the food I was craving didn’t end up tasting as good as I thought after all.

There are times when we are with friends or family that want to eat out or invite us to join in a meal. We don’t alienate ourselves by declining. Instead, we try to do our best to make the best choices available and figure food that was prepared with good intention is okay. However, most know we follow a healthy lifestyle so it’s usually not a problem anymore. Don’t get me wrong, exercise played a huge part too. Let’s be honest, if
you continue to eat junk, you can exercise all you want and still not lose lots of weight or maintain a healthy weight after weight loss.

Did you experience any weight loss plateaus and lack of motivation to continue? How did you overcome them?

Sure. I think anyone on a serious weight loss journey does. Not to mention bouts of gaining a bit of weight back. There were also times where ailments or injuries would cause time out from exercise and the best thing to do for your body is to listen to it and give it the rest it needs to prevent further damage. The key for me is not giving up and staying positive. As soon as things are healed I go back at it.

Sometimes I had to adjust what I was eating, for example; what type of food I was eating for my meals through the day. Over the years I have changed several times. Going from cereals, to smoothies, then to eggs or cheese with veggies for breakfast. Or maybe I was not challenging myself with the exercise videos I was doing. Your muscles do have memory and can get used to them over time. Changing it up after a few months is helpful to shock them and challenge them to do new things.

As far as motivation goes, for me it is mostly internal. How I feel and look in the mirror as I have made each change in my lifestyle. Looking at before pictures and realizing how much different I looked. My journey went from wanting to lose weight to be thin, to being thin and wanting to be fit. Each leg of my journey has required motivation that mainly came from me. I had people rooting for me and that was nice but I wasn’t doing it for them, I was doing it for me. I really learned to stop the negative talk that went on in my head for most of my life. I was and still am my worst critic. Love yourself for who you are in the moment and for who you want to become.

I went to a reunion that I had planned for my family with 150+ people attending and was able to share my story with them. It made me realize that I wanted to help other people. The motivation was then renewed and I went home with the idea to start my own Facebook page called Size 18 to 8 which would help to motivate others out there. Initially it was started in hopes of reaching family and friends. However, over time I began to notice there were others out there worldwide that could benefit from what I had learned.

Through my page I have found a tremendous community of like minded people that are into health and fitness. Some are just starting their journey’s and others have been on this path for a long time. Their pages motivate and inspire me to continue on my journey. I was asked several times what I did to lose the weight and keep it off and because there was no quick answer for my story I began a blog at  and wrote in detail what I did and what has continued to work for me. Now after a couple of years of keeping the page going I am being asked to do interviews like this one to share with an even wider audience. The motivation just continues even more.

What were your top 3 dieting rules that helped you through your journey?

  1. Weening off things that were addicting made it much easier to give up. Sugar for example was cut down before being cut out.
  2. Sticking with the portion control and eating small meals through the day helped raise my metabolism back up.
  3. Drinking water at least 20-30 mins before eating so as not to dilute stomach juices, never during a meal and not sooner than an hour afterwards to avoid upsetting digestion.

What types of food did you end up removing from your diet and which ones did you introduce?

All processed foods, anything not Organic, and anything containing MSG (of any form; see my blog for more info on this). Eating out is hard but not impossible from time to time, we just watch where we go and limit how often. I also have a sensitive digestion system and have found that following the Blood Type Diet by Dr. D’Adamo has been helpful over the past year. It eliminated problem foods for me, like pork and cabbage for an example. As far as introducing, wide variety of vegetables, low glycemic fruits and berries, Organic and non GMO produce, dairy (now on goat dairy, recommended by a doctor of oriental medicine), meats, etc. As well as high quality supplements with no magnesium stearate.

What would be one message of encouragement and motivation to others who want to start a healthier lifestyle?

Anyone can do this. It’s like Kris Carr said in the movie Food Matters, “it’s all about what you eat, drink and think.” The information is out there on how to eat healthy, there are tons of free exercise videos on the Internet and it really doesn’t take any more time or money to have a better, longer, healthier life. What you spend on health foods you save on trips to the doctors and medications. Once you make the mental switch from I want it but can’t have it to I can have it but don’t want it, you’re there. What helped clinch that for me was realizing that the fast food industry is not here for our convenience or betterment they are there to make money and get you addicted to their food. I highly recommend watching Food Matters, Hungry for Change and Super Size Me. Don’t wait until next Monday, don’t wait until you find out you have a health problem, just take that leap and start today.

Kirstie's story3

What A Story!

As Kristie said, when it comes to healthy eating, make that mental switch from “ I want it but can’t have it to I can have it but don’t want it.” I use the same logic too, and it is amazing how much this helps when I go 1460994_220915581449802_329718623_n shopping and see sugary and process food. I simply choose not to buy them as I know how bad they are for your health!

I hope you all enjoyed Kristie’s story. If you want to contact Kristie directly and/or follow her amazing journey, you can do so via her Facebook page Size 18 to 8

I look forward to writing and sharing many more weight loss success stories. If you know of someone whose story should be heard, please do get in touch with me. ~ Anna Lishman, Rules of Dieting. Find Anna at Rules of Dieting on Facebook.




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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Jeanette June 11, 2014 at 9:25 am

I appreciated Kristie’s story! For anyone who is committed to becoming healthier and possibly losing weight I highly recommend watching the video “Fat, Sick, & Nearly Dead” and looking into the “The Whole 30” program. I am not affiliated with either one but I have benefited greatly from the information in both of these programs.
Thanks for sharing Kristie’s story with us and of course, your own ongoing journey.


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