So, I love spotlighting the amazing instructors and nutritionists that come into my world and the world of the FJ readers, but we really want to start spotlighting you, the reader too. We have heard so many incredible success stories of amazing people turning to a healthier lifestyle and doing phenomenal things.
So, starting today, we are putting personal success stories in our spotlights as well.
Our first FJ reader success story is Crystal. I met Crystal about three months ago and we hit it off immediately. Since then, she has become an unbelievable friend and part of my #fitfam. Crystal is a shinning light who brings a force of happiness and positive energy to any room she enters. Her incredible determination and passion supersedes any fear of not obtaining every and any goal she sets her mind to. She is fearless in the name of fitness and she is a true supporter to anyone who is around her. I have been lucky enough to see her change her body in the few months I’ve known her, but she has lost over 50lbs since the beginning of the year and she has done it with nothing more than hard work, clean eating and a beautiful and positive attitude. I feel lucky to call her and a friend and even luckier to have her as one of my core FPC’s (Fitness Partner in Crime). So, it is BEYOND my pleasure to introduce you to the inspirational Crystal Carlin…
What was your turning point?
I had been trying, without success to lose weight for about three years. I had done everything from crash diets to counting points. Then I was walking to work one day and saw an ad for 3 kickboxing classes for $20 and figured what did I have to lose. When I walked out of my first class I felt proud of myself for the first time in a long time- and I knew I had to keep going. So, long story short, discovering that I could love exercise was my turning point.
Who inspired you to lose weight and get healthy?
There are many many people in my life who have inspired me over the last five months (and continue to inspire me today). That being said, there are three people who have truly kept me going every step of the way. First and foremost my Mom. Two years ago, she lost 70 pounds and she has been an incredible source of inspiration not only for weight-loss, but for maintenance. So many people gain the weight back, and she’s kept it off for two years. Second, my personal trainer turned close friend Lindsey. After my third kickboxing class, Lindsey showed me her before and after pictures and told me she knew where I was and how I was feeling. She also told me that we would be in this together- her transformation made me know that this was possible for me. And last but not least, one of my kickboxing instructors (also turned close friend) Sarah. She has inspired me by never settling. She is always looking for ways to be healthier (be it through food or exercise) and her drive has kept me driven throughout this whole process.
What did you change in your diet?
I think the better question is- what didn’t I change? I learned for the first time what it means to “eat clean.” Lindsey and I sat and talked about all of the things that I eat every day, and she basically said no to everything. Then we replaced those things with foods that have 10 ingredients or less. I cut back majorly on gluten, dairy, and salt (although I have never completely cut any food out of my diet- balance!!), added a lot of fruits and vegetables, and (this was the hardest part for me) stopped drinking diet soda.
What is your current nutrition plan?
Since I still have about 10 pounds to lose I’m sticking to my 1,200 calories a day, and I will stick to eating cleanly for the rest of my life. Although- on the weekend, I do give myself some flexibility when it comes to calories (never too much though!).
What is your favorite workout?
That depends on the day. There are three workouts that I do consistently every week and they each have incredible benefits. First, when I’ve had a really hard day at work- its kickboxing. There is nothing that relieves my stress the way an hour punching a bag does. Second, when I need to clear my head- its running. Running gives me the “me-time” that I don’t always get. And third when I’m looking for some great cardio, an amazing calorie burn, and a 45 minute escape- its Flywheel. There is something about a dark room, amazing music, and an equally amazing instructor that make spinning one of my favorite workouts.
Where are you in your weight loss journey?
I have about ten pounds to lose give or take. The reason I say give or take is because I know that I am consistently gaining muscle, and while I do have a “goal weight” it is possible that I may not need to reach that weight to have my “goal body.”
What were you most excited about when you lost/started losing weight?
The most exciting thing about losing weight has been life that I have gained. Before my life was so negative, now the friends that I have made through exercising have become a constant source of positivity for me. On top of that having more energy has allowed me to truly experience living in NYC. During the first five months of living here I experienced mostly my office and my apartment- now I’m barely home!
How do you avoid temptations to keep you from falling back into old unhealthy habits?
For me thats been simple: 99% of the time I surround myself with people who have the same goals and desires as me. If you surround yourself with people who want to be fit and healthy, it removes the temptation because everyone around you is looking to avoid the temptation as well.
What do you do in social situations (restaurants, parties) to make healthy decisions?
Portion control!!! I never want to go into a party and feel like I can’t enjoy it. So I think in advance about how much I want to eat and stick to it. If I’m not sure what a portion size is, I’ll Google it! And I always stick to this quote- “Never give up what you want most, for what you want now.”
What advice do you have for someone first starting out so they don’t get discouraged?
Like any other journey, there are ups and downs. But no matter what stick to it! And most importantly- surround yourself with people who support and motivate you, if you don’t have those people in your life now, this journey will help you find them!
What tools/motivations do you use to stay on track with your journey?
I have used a lot of different tools and motivations because I was continuously trying to find what works best for me. Fit Journey is definitely one of my favorite resources. I think it is one of the most real and straight forward health and fitness sites, and there is advice on just about everything. Myfitnesspal has been great for staying within my calorie count and also for keeping track of my exercise. I’ve also jumped on-board to any and all “Challenges” that have been thrown my way. I love a competition, so things like a squat challenge or a plank challenge really keep me going. Most recently, my gym had a 45 day transformation contest, which ends this week, and the prize is $5,000. Whether or not I win it has been a great way to refocus for the end of my weight-loss journey.
What is your final goal?
I know this sounds overdone- but I’d like to say that there is no final goal. I’d like to consistently challenge myself so that this is a lifetime change and not just a short term solution. In order to continue to stay motivated after the weight loss is done, I’ve already signed up for a 10K and a Triathlon Sprint!
What are the most helpful things your family and friends have done to keep you on track towards your goals?
My friends and family have been the greatest support system I could possibly ask for. My family has been great about understanding why I want to choose a healthier restaurant option for holidays, and the family that I doesn’t live near me is constantly sending me motivating thoughts on Facebook and via text.
My friends have been equally incredible. I have a core group of five friends who have kept me on track by being there with me every step of the way. They are each on their own fitness journeys, and because of that when we spend time together we choose to do things like Flywheel or Kickboxing rather than something unhealthy. This has made it much more simple to stay on track and reach my goals.