My name is Kassandra Denisse Olvera (mrs_olvera). I’m a 25-year-old office coordinator at Christus Spohn Cancer Center in Corpus Christi, Texas. After a scary doctor’s visit about a year ago, I was motivated to lose 150 pounds.
I tried several times to go on diets throughout my life, given that I was always overweight. But I would always stop after a couple of weeks or a month at the most. I remember when I was in school, I would use summer break to crash diet, and I’d end up gaining all the weight back quickly once school began.
My biggest issue was that I thought of my attempts at weight loss as exactly that: diets. I didn’t view weight loss as a lifestyle change. I would restrict too many foods, which was not sustainable long-term. I wouldn’t eat enough and would burn myself out before seeing any real progress.
Around mid-December 2018, I began having severe headaches and sharp shoulder pain and went to the doctor.
I ignored it as much as I could, but I developed a respiratory infection that forced me to go to the local urgent care. When I stepped on the scale, I discovered I was at my highest weight of 320 pounds. I would’ve cried had I been alone in the room. Then the nurse checked my vital signs, and my blood pressure was extremely high, which explained the headaches and sharp shoulder pains I was having. I remember telling the nurse practitioner I had just drank coffee, that maybe it was the caffeine causing it to be elevated. But who was I kidding? That was not caffeine causing my blood pressure to be that elevated—it was me being severely overweight.
The nurse sat down next to me and told me that I needed to begin seeing a doctor regularly to manage my BP and begin taking medication. I left the urgent care that evening overwhelmed. I knew I needed to lose weight, but I didn’t feel ready to do that.
But on January 3, 2019, I was sitting at the table with my husband, telling him I was tired of being overweight and not feeling well.
He told me the change had to come from me. So I dug deep emotionally that evening and prepared myself mentally for this lifestyle change because I wanted to be the healthy wife, mom, daughter, and sister that my entire family needed me to be.
The following day, I told my husband that I was ready to begin my journey, and he supported me 100 percent. He researched different recipes to make for lunch and dinners (he makes amazing food, and I tell him he should be a chef) and made our weekly menu as I began my journey.
When I first began my journey, I was had such bad eating habits that I knew I needed to start off slowly. So I took it one meal at a time and didn’t commit to a specific eating plan.
Old me used to get out of work and pick up fast food almost daily. But I started off by eliminating sodas completely and focusing on portion control. Doing that alone helped me lose weight. About one month into my journey, though, I transitioned into doing the keto diet because it was simple enough for me to incorporate into my busy lifestyle. I am a fan of eggs, cheese, veggies and meat—which are all foods you can have on the keto diet.
I have recently begun adding healthy carbs into my meals, because I run a lot and lift light weights on the days I’m not running. So technically, my eating has developed into a modified keto diet. My husband has poured his heart and soul into cooking all my meals and meal prepping all my lunches. He is always exploring new recipes to change it up for me.
Here’s what I typically eat in a day:
- Breakfast: Low-carb wrap, two eggs, and breakfast sausage
- Lunch: Low-carb meatloaf, broccoli, and mashed cauliflower
- Snacks: Flavored Greek yogurt and blueberries, topped with granola
- Dinner: Steak strips, grilled asparagus, and carrots
- Dessert: Granny Smith apple with a tablespoon of peanut butter
My relationship with food is totally different now. I don’t stress eat, or eat for fun, or because I’m bored. I eat to fuel my body.
I did not begin exercising until I was about two months into my journey.
I was out of shape when I started out. But now, I exercise an average of five to six days per week. I started off on the treadmill, just jogging. I remember feeling great after I pushed myself to jog and I slowly began increasing the speed and time I spent on the treadmill. Although it was challenging, I fell in love with outdoor running and found a running buddy in my friend Taylor.
Today, I run three to four times a week and typically clock 25 miles per week. I’ll do five- to six-mile runs on a given day during the week, and on Saturdays I take advantage of the extra time and run eight to nine miles. When I’m not running, I am in the gym doing weight training to help build muscle.
There were (and still are) days throughout my journey that I am *not* motivated to work out, especially on cold, rainy days. But when I’m not feeling motivated, I remind myself that I’m dedicated and committed to the whole journey, and that I will never regret a workout (or a healthy food choice). I also don’t see working out as a chore; I view it as my time to push and work on myself.
I also set short-term and long-term goals for myself.
When I first began losing weight, I wrote down my starting weight, which was 320 pounds. Then I wrote down a goal weight of 199 pounds. Then I wrote out all the months for the year, and wrote my goal weight for each month. This helped me see my journey on a month-to-month basis, and not as, oh my goodness—I have over 100 pounds to lose.
On average, my goal was to lose 10 pounds a month, and I surpassed my goal. (I lost an extra 30 pounds by the end of 2019!) I hung my weight-loss chart on my cork board next to my bed so I could see it every day and keep myself accountable. I have kept the paper to see how far I have come.
I created a new chart for 2020, but my goals are a little different this year. I emphasized how many miles I would like to run weekly, and I set a goal to run two half marathons and a full marathon this year.
I also don’t weigh myself anymore on a scale. I can’t tell you how many times I anxiously awaited weigh-in day to see how much I had lost the past week, and how disappointed I would be if I saw it stayed the same or even increased slightly, even though I was on track completely with my meals and exercise. Water weight and muscle really do affect the scale number. So now I have a different perspective on measuring progress. As much as I love to see the scale move, I really just tune into how my clothes fit these days.
I’ve lost a total of 150 pounds—and it took me approximately one year to get here.
I used to be a size-24 pant and a 3X shirt. Today, my size-10 jeans are a little baggy, and a medium-size shirt is even a little loose. My weight-loss journey has been one of the best investments. I can’t even imagine where my health would be had I not made the lifestyle change. Yes, I did want to change my physical appearance, but what I was really focused on was wanting my husband and daughter to have a healthy wife and mom around for many more years.
My weight-loss journey has changed my life in so many ways. I wake up with a different kind of energy. I used to just roll out of bed and always felt so blah. Now I have my week planned, my workout schedule set, and my gym bag is packed the night before. I ran my first half marathon a couple weeks ago, came home and showered, and then went out to run errands for the rest of the day.