EDITOR’S NOTE: We are all big fans of the dynamic and all around ray of sunshine, Kelly Krause. Over the last year, we have watched her radically change her life to lose over 135 pounds. Through high intensity spinning classes at local indoor cycling studio, RIDE (Camille often peddling alongside her in class, witnessing her dedication first hand), running sessions, Bar Method, Pilates and Cross Fit and a drastic change to not only her nutrition plan, but her outlook on life, Kelly truly made a complete transformation. As we wind down our month of all things Wellness, we invited our friend and a true inspiration to share her story below — what was the breaking point that spurred her to start this journey, how did she stay motivated during moments of exhaustion and doubt and what’s next (could be an Ironman…and knowing this go getter, we think anything is possible)!
I had reached my breaking point. It was Easter Sunday of 2013 and I was sitting down to an indulgent dinner. Looking at the spread…I was disgusted. I had felt sluggish and tired for too long. I truly felt unhealthy…because I was. At the dinner table, I turned to my sister and said “Enough is enough! I am done with living this way. My new life starts tomorrow.” The following day happened to be a Monday and also the 1st of the month, which seemed like a fresh way to start. Coincidentally, it was also April Fools Day so I was apprehensive to share my desire for such a lofty lifestyle change fearing some may think it was an April Fools joke.
This time when I said I’ll start tomorrow, I really did. On April 1, 2013 I began the journey. In order to make this shift towards a healthy life successful, I had to figure out why past attempts didn’t work. Turns out there were common themes — big goals and unrealistic timelines, which ultimately led to fad and crash diets.
So, I promised myself two things:
1. I would never look back, only forward.
2. I had to live kindly. For me, living kindly meant moving away from self-shaming, celebrating all goals and milestones no matter how small and focusing on the positive in every situation. There would be no diet, no fads and no quick fixes.
(*two of kelly jo’s great loves—louboutins and her road bike)
Being overweight has its share of embarrassing moments and frustrations. At my starting point, I was winded walking up a flight of stairs, so I’d take the elevator every day at work. I hated flying because I couldn’t buckle the airplane seatbelt. A three-block walk to meet friends for lunch was daunting, knowing I’d be out of breath and probably not able to fit comfortably in a chair. It can be intimidating to try something new as a beginner. It’s even more intimidating trying something as an overweight beginner. But I had to remember in these situations to live kindly. Showing up to a spin class, even if I couldn’t stay on beat and was winded, was certainly better than sitting on the couch. Sometimes it’s the smallest steps that produce the biggest changes. I continue to approach every new workout and adventure with that in mind.
I started with indoor cycling and remembered a great class I took with David Garza when I first moved to Austin in 2010. When I heard he was teaching at RIDE Indoor Cycling, I had to pay him a visit. We met for coffee after class, and I asked him to coach and mentor me. Soon after, I met Maria Groten who quickly became a friend and mentor. She taught me to live each day of this journey to the fullest and approach it one day at a time. Before I knew it, one spin class a week turned into 4-5 per week. In the first month I lost 20 pounds, by month three, I lost 50 pounds and a full year later, I lost 135 pounds.
What kept me motivated in the beginning was seeing the number on the scale decrease while I became stronger. That paired with an unbeatable support system of friends and family, aptly named TEAM KRAUSE, helped push me along the way. Thankfully I’m a bit of a self-motivator, too. I think if you want something bad enough, you’ll do everything you can to get it. Every night before I go to bed, I make a list of goals to accomplish for the next day and week, and I think about three things I am thankful for that day. Both keep me focused and happy. As does the occasional workout top, massage or new lipgloss I buy to celebrate my hard work.
This past November I made a bet with David Garza that if I lost 100lbs, he had to do a theme ride around my favorite movie, Pitch Perfect. Aca’believe it, but that moment came and David and Maria co-taught the class filled with my closest friends and family. It was the perfect way to celebrate a major milestone. I’m aiming for another theme ride around the Pitch Perfect sequel to coincide with my 150 pound weight loss mark. While I’m still in weight loss mode, I like to focus more on training than I do on losing. I have a lot more fun conquering a hill climb on my road bike than I do losing 2 pounds.
I have fallen in love with outdoor cycling and am having fun trying a variety of workouts. I raced in my first triathalon and placed in the Top 10 for my age group. I did a marathon relay in September and the Austin Half Marathon in February. On a typical week, I take 2-3 classes at RIDE Indoor Cycling, 2 classes at The Bar Method, 2 classes at Pure Pilates and supplement cardio sessions with CrossFit or strength training. Saturdays are reserved for runs around Lady Bird Lake if I’m not on bike. I am finally getting better about taking a day off to rest my mind and body. While I feel so energized and happy after my workouts, even too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. It’s ok to rest.
My approach to nutrition is simple — the less processed, the better. I try to choose foods in their most pure form. Canned or packaged typically equates to added and unecessary sodium and sugar, which can mean cankles and headaches if I consume too much of either. Overall, I don’t follow a true diet or meal plan but I have loosely adopted Meatless Mondays and go raw a few meals a week, which always make me feel lighter. Once or twice a month, or when I travel and want to try something new, I indulge moderately. But I only indulge on really good things. Like, a slice of pizza in Italy, wine tasting in Napa Valley or a birthday dinner with friends. Be picky — it’s your body!
The best part about being on this journey is realizing that there is no end point. I will always be on it as I strive to be better and stronger than I was yesterday. In my experience, fresh goals and new challenges can lead to so much joy. I keep a running list of short-term and long-term goals as I’m very much a want-to-do-it-all type of person and this allows me the best of both worlds. My short-term goals? Run a steady 9-minute mile, reconnect with ballet, move from beginner to intermediate outdoor group rides and tackle “the pretzel” at The Bar Method (ouch!).
My long-term goals are to run the New York Marathon, race a Half-Ironman (potentially Spring 2015), conquer unassisted pull-ups, get into a headstand in yoga and be able to do the splits. As the story goes…any time my friends Maria and/or Payton hint that I should try something, I do it. Their latest recommendation? An Ironman. While that seems pretty unfathomable for someone who hasn’t even run a marathon, I’ve learned on this journey to never tell yourself you can’t. You have to know you can…it’s all a part of living kindly.
*photography by jenny hartgrove hancock and special thanks to kelly’s sister nicole who helped on the shoot.