I was born on January 5, 1981 weighing in at 7 lbs. 15 oz. at Yale New Haven Hospital in Connecticut. I was raised in a loving family with an older brother and younger sister. My mom got me involved in dancing when I was just 3 years old and I continued to dance competitively until I was 18.
Throughout High School I was involved in field hockey and track and field. I went on to join the SCSU track team in college. It was college where I found my love for lifting weights and would continue to be an avid gymgoer as the years passed. I then finished college and got my first teaching job as a physical education teacher in Branford Connecticut, where I currently teach.
If you told me this was my life path back when I was 11 years old, I would have said you were nuts, and not in a million years. I didn’t mind my dancing career, but I hated gym class and sports. I would do anything to get out of gym, fake injuries, forge notes from my mom, anything. I was uncomfortable in my body, always being the “bigger” girl. I hated swim class and getting in a bathing suit in front of my classmates, and the mile run, well, that was just a dreadfull time in my middle school career.
I couldn’t even finish the mile. I remember walking around the track and my teacher telling me we have run out of time and to start heading in. I was mortified. I did finish one year and my time was just under 16 minutes.
Then “IT” happened. Something in me fired up. I remembered back when I was eight years old and went on my first diet. I wanted to be skinny like my other dancing friends and not have those thick thighs that I was practically born with. I remember eating lots of oranges and skipping dessert at the restaurant Friendly’s. I lost 18 lbs. at eight years old, that as my first weight loss journey.
So I thought to myself, if I could do that, I could do it again, and run a mile. My mother took me to my own personal trainer and I learned a little bit about nutrition and weight training. I was 14 years old. That summer I spent my days running. Five days a week, three miles a day, NEVER missed a day. I remember there being a heat wave, I still ran and when I was done I called my mom hysterically crying saying how sick and hot I felt. She said, Kristin, you could have skipped today. I remember saying NO, I can’t miss any days. That fall was my first year of high school. I joined the field hockey team and ran my mile in 7 minutes and 33 seconds. I began to fall in love with my phys ed classes. I was falling in love with fitness.
I guess you could say I was pretty good at the working out thing, but never the nutrition part. I had NO CLUE what I was doing, so I would try fad diets or what my friends were doing, or just not eat. I went on to college and gained the freshman thirty. I got up to 215 lbs. I was the heaviest I’ve ever been. Mind you, I was still working out at the gym. Your standard 30-60 minutes of cardio and 3-4 days of lifting moderatly.
My Junior year I remember taking a nutrition class and the instructor was a bodybuilder. This was my first encounter with a person who did bodybuilding. I remember her taking her jacket off and her arms were jacked and I could see her veins. I was so intrigued. I asked for her help with my eating and she told me to journal what I ate for a week then hand it in. (Oh, lord that’s when the journaling started. I logged everything I ate for the next 6 years).
She gave me some pointers, but what I really took away from that class was that sugar was the enemy! So for almost two years I consumed everything sugar-free. After those two years I was in the dentist chair wondering why I had eight cavities all of a sudden and needed extensive dental work. Yes, diet soda is just as bad as regular!
So this cycle (since I was eight) of losing and gaining weight continued. I was the girl who watched what she ate, went to the gym religiously and was always bigger, never really changed unless I starved myself. I call those phases my starvation diet. I would maybe eat some dry Cheerios, a grapefruit and a salad for dinner. I didn’t drink much water for fear that would make the scale go up. And the scale obsession started. What ever the number on the scale was dictated my mood for the day and how much I ate.
Fast forward to 2008, the year I met my wonderful husband Derek. My view on weight training changed when I started working out with Derek and all for the better. I was lifting for a purpose and to gain muscle, not just “tone” like a lot of us girls say. I still struggled with my eating. I was afraid of certain foods and kept journaling my meals every single day. I still never achieved that body I always desired, the ones I saw in magazines and now on body building stages.
I went to my first Strongman show in 2008, the Arnold Classic. Little did I know what I was about to witness. It was amazing, and I was more amazed at all the fitness girls. They walked right by me back stage and I couldn’t believe what I saw. I said to myself, “I could NEVER look like that.” I believed that for about three years after that day. Until one day I said, “Why not me?”
I took hold of my husbands motto “No Excuses” and decided to do it. I got married in June 2011 and after my honeymoon found a coach and said I want to compete in Figure. I started dieting in August 2011 and competed in my first Figure competition in August 2012. Talk about a journey. Never have I ever worked so hard for something in my life. It was all worth it, as they say, and I was never prouder of myself.
I never placed or won, but I didn’t care… my goal was to step on stage. I finally had those thin legs and flat tummy with abs! I was in a bikini on a stage, never mind a beach! I did two more shows nine weeks later and, unfortunately, really ran my body and metabolism down to the ground. I knew nothing about rebounding. My coach gave me a reverse diet, but I didn’t pay any attention to it. I ate and ate and ate. I ended up gaining almost 30 lbs. in four weeks. Talk about depressed.
My last show was the Cutler Classic in Boston in October 2012. November and December were the toughest months of my life. I didn’t go out anywhere. There are no pictures of me because I didn’t want my body documented. My marriage suffered and relationships with family and friends. Not only was my body on the outside messed up, but on the inside as well. I had some tests done in February 2013 because I hadn’t gotten my period in over a year. The tests came out bad, my hormones were all out of whack. I was asked if I ever wanted children. Well, of course, I said to my doctor. He then said I needed to see a fertility specialist. WHAT???? Me??? This was a shock.
I immediately stopped dieting and working out and began researching metabolic damage and became my own advocate for my body. I started eating food again. It was a big deal when I added carrots into my broccoli or asparagus mix. Yes, I said carrots. I was afraid of carrots because they contained sugar. I had been labeling food “good” and “bad” for years. I started seeing a therapist to talk about my relationship with food and why it was so toxic. This was a HUGE help and I recommend seeing someone, NO SHAME. I did a lot of self-searching and healing.
During this process I gained weight, a lot, but I knew it needed to happen. I was eating more calories then I ever have – about 2,200 versus 1,100 – and only walking for cardio when I wanted. I knew I had to do this for a while, as well as throw out the scale! The entire 2013 year was dedicated to repairing Kristin, physically and, most important, emotionally.
Well, it was holiday season now, my first holidays in a long time where I enjoyed them. I wasn’t eating chicken and asparagus out of my Tupperware on Thanksgiving night. So, of course I gained around 5-8 lbs., who doesn’t?!
I would say I was around 195 lbs. at this point. But still not ready to diet and exercise for weight loss. Then it happened. On January 1, 2014, I peed on the stick and saw a faint line. I was pregnant! And I didn’t even have to take any medications! My body had repaired itself through rest and good healthy eating!
My husband and I were on cloud 9! We have wanted this for so long but weren’t sure if it could happen without me taking meds or using alternative methods. Of course it was now time to go to the doctors and who could guess what I was DREADING. The scale! I had avoided the scale for almost a year! I didn’t want to see it now! But when I was five weeks pregnant I got on, shoes, sweatshirt and all, which is usually a big no-no!
I usually weigh myself first thing in the morning, after I pee, and buck naked. Well, I faced it and it said 198.6. I cried hysterically to Derek when the nurse left the room. I hadn’t been in the 190’s since college! I am usually 160-165 lbs. Well, the crying stopped the moment I saw the little growing baby on the ultra sound.
Getting pregnant has been a blessing in SO MANY ways. The obvious is that I am growing my first child, my daughter who is due September 13, 2014. Being pregnant has also forced me to accept my body that I have right now. It’s doing some amazing things, it’s creating a miracle. It took me a while to embrace my growing body. My weight stayed at 198 for a long time, until week 13 when I strated going up one pound a week, which is what is currently going on and completely healthy and normal.
At week 19 I am 206 lbs. and proud of each pound. I have all the time in the world to get my body back once my daughter is born. For now, I am eating to nurture my baby girl and me. I am walking whenever I get the chance and I enjoy it. I am doing prenatal yoga once a week and have even started weight lifting again. I was too nauseous and tired the first 12 weeks!
This journey is fascinating, one I never thought I would be so challenged by, but in a good way. I am learning how to work out as a mother-to-be. You really have to listen to your body. Well, I look at it this way, this is not my body right now. Its main purpose is to grow a miracle and I am doing everything in my power to help it. I am a firm believer that pregnancy is giving me a second chance. It has opened my eyes in many ways. My metabolism is already the best it has been in 10 years. I have a chance to do everything the right healthy way after my baby girl is born. And I can’t wait to share that part of my journey with you. For now I take on the unknown, and take things one day at a time.