My name is Kassidy Reikens (@dilla7) and I’m from Cheyenne, Wyoming.
At 260 pounds, I decided it was time for a change. So I dove into meal prepping, hit the gym, and lost 190 pounds.
Before I got pregnant with my first daughter, I weighed 200 pounds. I was extremely unhealthy. And it didn’t get any better while I was pregnant. I remember looking in the mirror and feeling ashamed of myself, my body, and my choices.
I weighed about 260 pounds toward the end of my pregnancy, and my self-confidence was at an all-time low. That’s when I decided it was time for a change. Two weeks after my daughter was born, I told myself I would lose weight and do it for real this time. On May 22, 2015, I began my weight-loss journey and changed my life for good.
At first, I had no clue what I was doing.
The longest diet I had ever been on was eight weeks long—but I promised myself I’d try my hardest this go-around. Every time I encountered bumps in the road with my newfound healthy eating, I took them as a learning opportunity. At first, trying to lose weight was overwhelming, but I threw myself into it full force. I researched food, exercises, and everything else there was to know about creating a healthy lifestyle for yourself.
I began meal prepping weekly and scouring the internet for new recipes. I asked friends and family for help, made a journal, wrote down my measurements, made an inspirational collage, and I stepped out of my comfort zone. I was determined to succeed.
When it comes to healthy eating, I don’t count calories or macros. Instead, I eat intuitively.
I can mentally track how many carbs or fats are in the main foods I eat, so I meal prep according to that. I’ve also learned to get creative with my meal prep, so I don’t get bored. I love taking typically unhealthy meals (think: BBQ) and putting a healthy spin on them.
There are so many yummy, healthy recipes out there in the world. And I’ve finally learned that you really can’t out-exercise a bad diet. So if I can’t exercise that day, I really focus on my nutrition—and I still see results even when my exercise routine isn’t perfect.
A typical day of eating for me looks like this:
- Breakfast: Caramel Premier protein with coffee and a pumpkin spice English muffin with spray butter
- Snack: A post-workout drink with a branch chain amino acids (BCAAS) supplement
- Lunch: Tacos with low-carb tortillas, ground chicken, and veggies
- Snack: Rice cake with peanut butter and Redi-whip, or a protein shake with chocolate peanut butter protein, and unsweetened almond milk
- Dinner: Sugar-free BBQ chicken with pineapple and brown rice
I felt inspired and motivated when it came to my diet. My relationship with the gym was a bit more complicated, though.
When I was in high school, I dealt with issues related to over-exercising. I would work out for hours at a time, with the mindset that I just wanted to be skinny. And then from 2009 to 2015, I didn’t really exercise at all, making it a point to stay away from the gym at all costs. At both stages of life, I was making unhealthy choices.
This time, when I started working out again, I made a point to develop a new, healthy relationship with the gym—one that was focused on improving my strength rather than my numbers. I centered my workouts around exercises that would challenge me mentally. The three that I found to be most helpful were the StairMaster, weight lifting, and HIIT. Eventually these workouts helped me to lose 130 pounds.
In 2017, I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, which set me back. But I refused to give up.
The pain that I feel in my body on a regular basis is indescribable. Some days it is physically impossible for me to walk, let alone exercise. My joints are deteriorating every single day and there is nothing I can do about it. The medications that I am on cause weight gain, too.
But I found a way to push through. I became a personal trainer and built an online program (Kassthetics) so that I can help other women with their health and fitness goals. And being able to help others every day has also made it easier to stick to my own goals, even when I’m not feeling my best. It’s extremely motivating.
People always ask me how I stay motivated. My answer is, I don’t.
I am not motivated every day. Some days I have to force myself to eat chicken and broccoli or even show up to the gym. It’s not about motivation, it’s about willpower and building habits to a point where they are second nature, even on those unmotivated days.
While there are certain things that can be motivating (like seeing results or buying a cute new gym outfit!), success cannot be limited to motivation. We all have the drive inside of us, and I wish more people saw it in themselves! At first, changing your lifestyle might seem like a chore, but the more and more you do it, the more habitual it will be.
For instance, in June 2018, my second daughter was born. During that pregnancy, I gained 70 pounds. But this time, I knew what to do after I gave birth. The weight gain was extremely hard on my body, but I didn’t let it discourage me. I knew the baby weight wouldn’t just fall off, so even though I didn’t always feel motivated, I knew I’d have to work day in and day out in order to get back to a weight I felt good at. And I’ve lost 60 pounds so far post-second pregnancy, so I’ve lost a total of 190 pounds since starting my amazing journey.
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