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.  




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Comments (84)
  1. 1
    www.katherinesandoz.com May 28, 2014 at 6:07 am

    beautiful & inspiring story for anyone….on any front. you rock!

  2. 2
    Southern Spoon Belle @ Southern Spoon Blog May 28, 2014 at 6:36 am

    Power to you! What a refreshing read: a healthy approach to a healthier life.

  3. 3
    Liz May 28, 2014 at 7:06 am

    Gorgeous, inside and out. Amazing transformation; thanks for sharing, Kelly Jo!

  4. 4
    Donna Casey May 28, 2014 at 7:15 am

    You’re beautiful & such an inspiration! I have 95 lbs to lose right now and needed to see this to help remind me to stay positive, stop the self-shaming, and keep motivated. Keep up the work! 🙂

    • kelly krause July 13, 2014 at 6:21 pm

      Thanks Donna. I wish you the best of luck!

  5. 5
    jackie May 28, 2014 at 7:23 am

    Wow, that is a great story and I love how she’s doing it… one day at a time and no fad diets. Good for her, she looks beautiful!!!

    • kelly krause July 13, 2014 at 6:29 pm

      Thanks Jackie! One day at a time, indeed.

  6. 6
    Lisa Olson May 28, 2014 at 7:27 am

    WOW! She is so inspiring!!

  7. 7
    Barb Mather May 28, 2014 at 8:54 am

    Kelly i have always been so proud of you! much love and hugs sent.. ^i^

  8. 8
    Christina May 28, 2014 at 9:06 am

    Kelly, you inspire us all to be our best. Thank you so much for sharing your story, and especially for emphasizing the importance of being kind to yourself along the way. Wishing you much happiness!

    • kelly krause July 13, 2014 at 6:22 pm

      Thanks for saying that, Christina!

  9. 9
    Jenna May 28, 2014 at 9:11 am

    Thanks for sharing your inspiring story!

  10. 10
    Lily May 28, 2014 at 9:27 am

    This is an incredible story! Congrats, Kelly!

    x Lily

  11. 11
    D M Dunn May 28, 2014 at 9:50 am

    This is probably my favorite thing I’ve read on Camille Styles. Wonderfully inspiring and so filled with joy!

    • kelly krause July 13, 2014 at 6:23 pm

      Wow. What a compliment! Thank you so much.

  12. 12
    Audra May 28, 2014 at 10:00 am

    This is such a beautifully written story about your journey, Kel! I’m proud to call you a friend! These photos of you are absolutely beautiful and capture perfectly how truly happy you are. I love everything about this story! Cheers to conquering your next goal!!

    • Kelly Krause May 28, 2014 at 5:14 pm

      I’m so happy to have friends like you along for the journey!

  13. 13
    Amey May 28, 2014 at 10:22 am

    I was overcome with a deep feeling of inspiration when I read this. Thanks so much for such a beautifully heartfelt story.

    • Kelly Krause May 29, 2014 at 11:53 am

      That’s really neat to hear, Amey — thank you.

  14. 14
    Lauren S. May 28, 2014 at 11:23 am

    You are amazing! Congratulations on your hard work paying off! Cheers to you and your health and strength!

    • Kelly Krause May 28, 2014 at 5:15 pm

      That’s exactly it, Lauren — health & strength. Thank you!

  15. 15
    Kelly Krause May 28, 2014 at 11:54 am

    I’m so honored to be able to share my story with you all. Thank you for the kind words of celebration and encouragement — it’s inspiring to ME!

  16. 16
    Tricia May 28, 2014 at 12:27 pm

    Awesome…what more can I say, just awesome….and some great advice too.

  17. 17
    AprilBRuns May 28, 2014 at 12:28 pm

    Truly inspiring! Way to go on setting and achieving goals with such a positive outlook. Can’t wait to hear about the HIM and the marathon! One of my yoga teachers always says “the journey is the reward”. Enjoy every minute!

    • Kelly Krause May 28, 2014 at 5:03 pm

      “The journey is the reward” is a great philosophy to live by! Thanks, April.

  18. 18
    Anastasia May 28, 2014 at 2:40 pm

    You’re such an inspiration! I’d love to hit the trail with you sometime… it’s time for me to make a change too!

  19. 19
    Alba May 28, 2014 at 2:52 pm

    You’re the perfect example of overcoming. I really admire you and I’m going to tell to my friends how wonderfull is your story, I’m sure they”l love it like I love it. Congratulations from Spain 🙂

    • kelly krause July 13, 2014 at 6:26 pm

      Thank you Alba! So nice of you to say and share with your friends.

  20. 20
    Amanda McPherson May 28, 2014 at 3:29 pm

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful story. “Live kindly” is an amazing motto that many of us can learn from. Being kind to yourself is a hard thing to learn but so worth it!

    • Kelly Krause May 28, 2014 at 5:17 pm

      One day at a time works well for me! Thanks for your sweet words, Amanda.

  21. 21
    Amy May 28, 2014 at 3:41 pm

    Way to go Kelly! You’re a real-life inspiration 🙂

  22. 22
    Steph May 28, 2014 at 7:01 pm

    So beautiful. You’re an inspiration to all.


    • kelly krause July 13, 2014 at 6:36 pm

      Thanks so much, Steph!

  23. 23
    Ginny May 28, 2014 at 7:09 pm

    Great motivation! Thank you.

  24. 24
    Jill May 28, 2014 at 8:52 pm

    Love my KellBell! So proud of you!

    • kelly krause July 13, 2014 at 6:28 pm

      Thanks Jill!! xoxo

  25. 25
    celine @aquahaus May 28, 2014 at 9:23 pm

    One of my favorite features ever. So inspiring. Thank you so much for sharing.

    • kelly krause July 13, 2014 at 6:36 pm

      Celine, so kind of you to say. Thank you!

  26. 26
    Angela May 29, 2014 at 12:29 am

    What an inspiring story! Thank you so much for sharing – it is amazing to see that making changes and being committed to being healthy and happy really does work!

    • kelly krause July 13, 2014 at 6:35 pm

      Thanks, Angela!

  27. 27
    KATERINA May 29, 2014 at 3:56 am


  28. 28
    Kim - The TomKat Studio May 29, 2014 at 11:40 am

    So inspiring!! What a wonderful story for you to share!

  29. 29
    Tim Hurst May 29, 2014 at 4:28 pm

    My second cousin did a amazing job losing weight. I know its hard. been there done that. Congrats Kelly!
    Tim Hurst Scottsbluff, NE.

  30. 30
    Christina May 30, 2014 at 12:46 pm

    I pray for the same type of inspiration. I know I’m getting close to my breaking point. Best wishes to you and thank you for sharing your story.

    • kelly krause July 13, 2014 at 6:38 pm

      Thank you Christina. I’ve learned it definitely comes from within. Just know that there’s no better time to start than today. I wish you the best.

  31. 31
    Mary Beth May 30, 2014 at 3:27 pm

    You are truly a role model for the healthy lifestyle…particularly regarding how good choices naturally lead to healthy outcomes. Bravo to your continued self-motivation, and I love the thought of living kindly. You look simply lovely 🙂

    • Kelly Krause June 2, 2014 at 12:42 pm

      Thank you, Mary Beth. I appreciate the nice words.

  32. 32
    Vicki May 31, 2014 at 7:01 am

    I needed to hear this, and see this! I am at the point you were at one year ago. I’ve been here before. I’ve been in a good place and know what good health and a great body feels like. It’s a daily struggle to make the RIGHT decisions. Thank you for sharing your very inspiring story.

    • Kelly Krause June 2, 2014 at 12:42 pm

      Thanks for your note, Vicki! It is hard — I have to remind myself that not all days will be perfect and embrace even the slightest of victories in decisions I make.

  33. 33
    meganmarie013 May 31, 2014 at 12:56 pm

    This is incredibly inspiring. I love how you focused on not looking back and living kindly. Total transformation is phenomenal. 🙂

    • kelly krause July 13, 2014 at 6:37 pm

      Thank you, Megan!

  34. 34
    It Is What It Is May 31, 2014 at 1:53 pm

    I am 48, perimenopausal, hypothyroid. I’ve worked out all my life. After having two kids in my 40s and gaining weight through the IVF process over a decade, I am now endeavoring to find my fittest self. Yours is a very inspiring story and it is my approach, too. Be kind to myself, kick myself in the butt, eat as close to the earth as possible, nothing is off-limits, focus on one day at a time and it is within my power to say no. It is MUCH harder to do at this age and I’ve been at a plateau since February! Time to change things up and your post has inspired me to do so. They are opening a Soul Cycle in my city and I’m going to give it a go. I have more pounds to lose and would like to by the time I’m 50!

    • Kelly Krause June 2, 2014 at 12:39 pm

      I hope you enjoy Soul Cycle! I try and go whenever I’m in NYC, LA and San Francisco to help keep me on track & energized. I wish you the best with your journey. Taking it one day at a time really works for me — it’s not as overwhelming and truly, small changes make the biggest difference. xo

  35. 35
    Megan // F Yeah! June 1, 2014 at 11:06 am

    First and foremost, congrats to Kelly! She set a goal, stuck with it and looks amazing! You go, girl!

    Second, thanks for sharing. Since getting married in ’10, I’ve gained 25 pounds. Every time I try to lose it, I get discouraged that the results aren’t quick enough or I feel deprived of my favorite foods. This time, I’m going to take Kelly’s approach…be kind to myself. I hope 1 year from now, I’m a similar success story.

    • Kelly Krause June 2, 2014 at 12:46 pm

      I hear ya, Megan. When you put in all that hard work, you want to see the results immediately! In that case, I just focus on how great everything else makes me feel — a hard spin class or a well-balanced meal. Those results are immediately satisfying.

  36. 36
    Amy K June 4, 2014 at 3:45 pm

    thanks for sharing your story. it’s an inspiring read and so refreshing! love your Pitch Perfect themed work out idea — what a hoot!

    • kelly krause July 13, 2014 at 6:39 pm

      Thanks Amy! It was a hoot! Can’t wait for the sequel 😉

  37. 37
    Jamie June 4, 2014 at 4:03 pm

    This is amazing! Congratulations! Literally tears, great read 🙂



  38. 38
    tara June 4, 2014 at 4:27 pm

    You look amazing! Congratulations on your success and thanks for inspiring me to go for a bike ride!

  39. 39
    Cat June 4, 2014 at 5:39 pm

    LOVE This! GO KELLY!

  40. 40
    Kate June 4, 2014 at 5:51 pm

    Great story! Congrats on your success. Keep it up!

  41. 41
    Lis June 4, 2014 at 9:28 pm

    AMAZING. She’s such an inspiration, wow.

  42. 42
    Sorcha (@BrightFieldNote) June 5, 2014 at 4:19 am

    Absolutely incredible story (and progress!) I love the mantra “live kindly”. It’s just what I need to adopt in terms of my own weight loss/search for health and strength.

  43. 43
    listaland June 5, 2014 at 12:27 pm

    Wow! What I liked most about your story is that you were the one who empowered yourself! A total illustration of how powerful each and everyone of us truly is. Congrats Kelly…You GO GIRL!

  44. 44
    missnicoleo June 5, 2014 at 1:09 pm

    I love that there is no before weight, no after weight, just healthy living! You’ve inspired me to really, really start my healthy living goal.

  45. 45
    Caleigh June 5, 2014 at 4:17 pm

    What a lovely story! I just wrote some thoughts about giving up unhealthy habits and your motto ‘live kindly’ is wonderful! I think I’ll adopt that. Heck, I think everyone should!

  46. 46
    Katelyn Knowles June 5, 2014 at 5:13 pm

    Amazing! I have recently started a journey of getting healthy myself. While the weight loss is encouraging, feeling better is even more important to me! Keep going! You’re doing wonderful!

  47. 47
    Melissa June 5, 2014 at 7:23 pm

    What an amazing and inspiring story! I love that you did it with the decision to change your life not just a temporary fad diet.

    • kelly krause July 13, 2014 at 6:24 pm

      Thank you, Melissa!

  48. 48
    Emma June 5, 2014 at 7:41 pm

    You are incredible. Truly an inspiration…keep looking forward.

  49. 49
    Amanda Elizabeth June 6, 2014 at 11:49 am

    Girl this gave me chills!!! As a Barre instructor and Nurse Practitioner who is constantly trying to help people lose weight and change their lifestyles…..I can’t even begin to tell you how inspired I was reading this!

    • kelly krause July 13, 2014 at 6:20 pm

      Thank you so much!

  50. 50
    Tre June 6, 2014 at 5:31 pm

    Oh wow! Wonderful! Congratulations!

    • kelly krause July 13, 2014 at 6:20 pm

      thanks, tre!

  51. 51
    lyv October 14, 2014 at 8:40 pm

    wow, congratulations! you are an inspiration.

  52. 52
    lisakmc8711 October 27, 2014 at 7:44 pm

    What an inspiring story.