Kimberly Magee is 5’7” (170cms) and currently weighs 70kg. In 2015, after a doctor told her she may lose her eyesight if she doesn’t lose weight, she was determined to live a healthier life. This is her weight loss story.
The Turning Point
I first remember my weight becoming an issue when I was in the 10th grade. I was always active as a child and played competitive sports, but during high school, I started to gain weight. All of a sudden, playing soccer became difficult and I would have to take more and more breaks. The same went for hockey. I started to get out of breath just by going up the stairs at our school. I remember pretending that I didn’t know I was gaining weight, even though I refused to look at pictures of myself that people had taken. I would look above the camera or below, never directly at myself.
The massive turning point was when I went to the eye doctors and discovered an abnormality in my eye exam. After numerous doctor appointments, meeting with neurologists and eye specialists and getting a number of tests done, such as an MRI and CT scan, I was diagnosed with Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension. A condition that can be brought on by excessive weight. I was told that if I didn’t make a change and start losing weight then I was going to eventually lose my eyesight from too much pressure being on the optic nerve.
A week or two after getting the diagnosis, I remember sitting in my kitchen with my mom (Tracy Magee) and cousin (Julia Harvey) and talking about how I wanted to lose weight, but I didn’t know how. I broke down and everything that I was feeling finally came out. I was tired of feeling horrible every day of my life, tired of pretending that it didn’t bother me, tired of constantly being self-conscious of everything — even how hard I was breathing. And the fact that my eyesight depended on my weight loss made it all more real. I knew I had to change my life and that I had to do it now.
The first step I took was looking at how I was making unhealthy choices and in what ways I could change. People close to me and who only wanted the best for me tried to show me how my lifestyle and habits were unhealthy, but I wouldn’t listen. I took comfort in food and to me, there was nothing wrong with that.
I knew that I couldn’t lose the weight by myself and luckily, I had the support of my entire family. I started to go to a personal trainer with my cousin and focused on high intensity and cardio-focused workouts. We never focused on weights but more so bodyweight exercises. We would work through circuits, doing exercises with agility ladders and medicine balls, and doing things like burpees, sprints, and walking lunges. We would work out two times a week with our trainer for an hour each session and throughout the week we would get out and try to stay active by rollerblading or jogging. I added in workouts through the Nike running app and the Nike training app because they would create a workout plan for you that you could do at home and at the time, I was too nervous to go to the gym by myself.
My diet was one of the biggest things that changed when I started my journey. I cut out all sugary drinks, all desserts, fast food, and all junk food. I wasn’t following a specific plan at the time but instead was counting my calories. I went down to 1500-1800 calories per day and was tracking it through my Fitbit app. I never counted my macronutrients.
When I first committed to changing my lifestyle, I thought it was going to be easy and that I wouldn’t have any problems sticking to my workout and eating regimen. However, it was difficult, and I struggled. I felt like I wasn’t making the progress I wanted to make and that I was missing out on things with friends and family. I wasn’t going out and eating like I used to, and I wasn’t getting junk food to binge on. I didn’t realize how food was such an integral part of creating memories, sharing stories and bringing people together. Throughout my journey, however, the one thing that kept me from giving up was knowing that if I didn’t change and stick to my plan than everything that I was used to and took for granted would be gone. I wouldn’t be able to see my family anymore or my dog, I wouldn’t see another sunset or sunrise, I wouldn’t be able to see.
My family was the thing that kept me motivated. They encouraged me at every step of my journey and did everything they could to ensure that I succeeded in my goals. My cousin, Julia, was integral in motivating me. We did everything together and when I didn’t think I could keep on going, she would be right there encouraging me, telling me that I could. Telling me that I was strong, that I was making a difference, and that I was worthy.
After losing the weight, physically I felt amazing. I no longer had headaches from extra pressure in my head, walking didn’t make me out of breath, and I had more energy to make it through the day. I didn’t need to take naps anymore.
Emotionally, however, it was still difficult. Losing weight will not make your life perfect and get rid of all your problems, you need to confront them and be real with yourself. After losing the weight, I still saw myself as bigger. It took a lot of time to see the changes that everyone else did but with that came confidence I never had. I was putting myself out there, putting myself into situations that would normally make me feel self-conscious. I knew that whatever I was faced with, I could do it. People in my life saw the change and saw how I wasn’t just going through the motions of life anymore but instead how I was welcoming challenges and going out living new experiences.
My exercise now is more balanced and regimented. I work out five days a week at LA Fitness — two days of those being with a trainer, Blake Sugar, who has pushed me and given me even more confidence. I focus more on weightlifting than cardio now but I still incorporate running and especially the stair master into my workouts.
My diet has also changed throughout the years and I now understand what my body needs to fuel itself. I no longer count calories but focus on a healthy diet. I eat a high protein, low carb diet. I focus on getting three healthy meals a day, whether that’s chicken with rice and broccoli, cauliflower and carrots, or an omelette in the morning. I also have snacks throughout the day including protein shakes, roasted chickpeas, and fruit. I’m still not perfect though and one of my biggest weaknesses is peanut butter. Anyone who knows me, knows that I cannot give up peanut butter. My favourite snack is a rice cake with peanut butter on it.
Going to the gym is one of the biggest habits that helps me to maintain my lifestyle. I have met a lot of people at the gym so going there no longer feels like a chore or like I’m forcing myself to go. Instead, it’s a community of encouraging people who only want you to accomplish your goals and it’s amazing.
Creating goals, whether big or small, has helped to keep me motivated. A lot of my goals revolve around the gym and being able to do exercises with more weight or being able to do more reps of one exercise. For me, having small goals that you know can be accomplished are better for motivation than big goals that you might not be able to reach. Seeing other people’s accomplishments and stories also helps to inspire and motivate me. There are a couple of athletes on YouTube and Instagram (Whitney Simmons, Natacha Oceane) that share workouts and tips on continuing to progress, not only physically but emotionally as well. Their insight and advice helps me to stay focused.
One of the biggest things I struggle with today is constantly worrying that if I’m not perfect in my diet or exercise then I will put back on the weight and put it on quickly. Working through this is hard but reminding myself that you don’t have to be perfect, in fact, people aren’t perfect, and that indulging once in a while with not ruin the progress I’ve made. By constantly being worried about gaining more weight, I’m missing out on events or new memories that I would have been able to take part in. Staying consistent is key in staying on track and helping me deal with my stress of gaining weight again.
One of the biggest mistakes I think people make is in their excitement, they throw themselves into a workout plan or diet without thinking about the sustainability of it and if they can succeed. By starting a program that is not best for yourself, you can feel overwhelmed and that you’re not making any progress which then gives you an easy out. Doing your research and finding something you enjoy and can succeed in will be more beneficial for you in the long run than any fad diet or workout trend.
Wellness Wins is an original Yahoo series that shares the inspiring stories of people who have shed kgs healthfully. It is authored by Andie Mitchell, who underwent a transformative, 60kg weight loss of her own.
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