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Monday, June 20, 2011

Fitocracy Member Spotlight: Criss

For this edition of our Member Spotlight, lokkju interviews Criss to learn more about her incredible weight loss journey.  Read more below to check out her transformation and how she got there.

Current, and any ‘before’ photos? 
Just my current pictures, which will hopefully be replaced relatively soon! 

[Editor’s note: Holy moly, these before and after shots are out of this world!]

Age and Sex? 
24 and female. 

What sports or fitness activities are you involved in? Do you compete at any level? 
I enjoy running and have recently gotten into weightlifting. Besides those two, I also play a dancing game called In the Groove (youtube “ITG expert” if you care to see) as my “active hobby.” I’m looking for more hobbies that get me out and moving besides my daily gym trip. I’m thinking about even taking a martial arts class, although I’m still undecided on which. 

What’s your story? When, how and why did you get into your chosen sport or fitness plan? 
My story is hardly unique, and probably one that will resonate within the hearts of many formerly obese nerds that number these forums. 

I honestly don’t know how I ended up gaining so much weight. I was never a large child, and at one point in high school, I even suffered from an eating disorder, losing 50 pounds in 2 months and dropping to 90 pounds on a 5’3 frame. But at some point, my sedentary lifestyle and love of unhealthy foods caught up with me, and I graduated high school weighing about 150-160 pounds. 

After that, it only went downhill. Within five years, I found myself weighing about 200 pounds. I was a social shut-in, avoiding and abhorring all social contact, from family, to old childhood friends, to work, to even going to the grocery store. Being around people made me anxious and sometimes even physically sick. Despite the obvious signs, I was evasive about my size. I avoided admitting it to myself by wearing over-sized men’s clothing, never looking in the mirror, and not taking pictures of myself. I worked on weekends and literally spent the rest of my week reading fantasy books or playing World of Warcraft when I wasn’t sleeping or eating. I wasn’t exactly depressed, but I wasn’t living, either. I slept, ate, and existed. I had no real reason for living. I was just complacent and apathetic. 

About a year ago, my job required us to park on the top floor of the parking garage. When I realized how out of breath going up and down the stairs made me, only then did I actually realize how out of shape I was. Mortified, I thought, “Man, I’m sitting here trying to pretend I’m not out of breath in front of my co-workers, but who am I kidding? I’ve become the token Fat Girl." That day I went home and starting researching healthy weight loss. And I never looked back. 

As I write this, the 16th, today is my one year anniversary of weight loss. I’ve lost 64-65 pounds and shed the person I once was. Instead of hiding, I have embraced life. Going up the stairs and being active isn’t painful and punishment for being fat, it’s a delightful hobby that makes me feel validated person with a life worth living. I’m doing things I never thought I would have done. I am, in truth, an entirely different person. 

What are your current athletic or fitness-related goals? 
My goals are to continue my trend of fat loss and muscle gain, primarily. I DO like to set fitness goals for myself, but I typically set small, realistic benchmarks along the way. Eventually, I’d love to be that chick that can lift more than most guys, and I’d love to run in races, but for now, I’m just focusing on improving steadily instead of getting too overzealous, y’know? 

What is your workout or training regimen? 
Right now I’m following Something Awful’s modified Starting Strength plan, although I don’t typically follow the MWF format, and lift whenever the hell I feel like it.  

I’ll eventually add more to it or find a more advanced program, but it’s basic enough for someone just getting into lifting, so I have no complaints. 

I also dance 2-4 days a week hours before the gym for my cardio. I’d like to go to the track and run, but it’s 104 degrees outside right now, so yeah, I don’t think so. 

What does your diet look like? Do you take any supplements? 
My diet is one meant for rapid weight loss, not for muscle gain. I eat 1200-1500 calories a day, depending on my activity level. I usually try to keep a balanced macro-nutrient spread with about 35 grams of fiber. I drink A LOT of water (64-80 ounces, usually). As far as food specifics, I eat a lot of chicken, lean ground turkey, tuna, hummus, whole wheat wraps, beef jerky, vegetables, fruit, and goat cheese. I try to eat fewer over-processed items to cut back on sodium, but it’s hard to totally cut back on it. 

What have you achieved so far? What are your ‘numbers’ (times, weights, heights, etc)? 
Not.. much. As I said, I’m still a complete novice at fitness. I JUST started lifting and have been more focused on obtaining perfect form than I am increasing numbers. I’m a perfectionist, and while competitive by nature, like to do things as efficiently and perfectly as possible while excelling. Naturally. 

What is your competition and/or training philosophy? 
What challenges do you face?
The only competition and challenge I face is myself and my anxiety at trying new things. I tend to fear mistakes and not being perfect immediately, and so going straight into fitness without any history or foreknowledge on it was VERY daunting! Especially when I get stares every time I head to the weight section in my gym. It makes me self-conscious, wondering if they’re laughing at my form, and I am prone to leave early because of my imagined fears. 

How do you motivate yourself? 
I motivate myself with the internet, honestly. I like to lurk/post in a lot of fitness/weight loss sites, which keeps the subject on my mind. Keeping logs also helps keep me motivated because it makes me accountable for what I do and don’t do with myself. 

I also like following other female logs so get an idea of what I also am capable of. Missdeejers is essentially my hero. 

What advice do you take, and what do you ignore? 
I don’t usually take advice unless I specifically ask for constructive criticism. In my year of weight loss, I’ve found that everybody- from your mother to that bitchy know-it-all woman at work- is an “expert” on fitness and weight loss. I’ve been told a lot of shit advice (“Squatting will make your hips wider as a female;” “Lifting weights as a female will make your neck and stomach bulky like a guy;” “You should purge your system with liquid diets if you’ve plateaued in your weight loss.”), and I’ve just learned to nod and politely thank them. If something seems legitimate, I will research it on the internet and ask knowledgeable people in the fitness communities I frequent. If there’s one thing I have learned, I don’t EVER take fitness/weight loss advice at face value. 

What are some training or diet-related things you know are true but cannot prove? 
Nothing as of yet! I like to tell people that eating goat cheese daily has helped my weight loss solely because people are always like, “Yo, don’t eat cheese and bread” when they tell you how to lose weight, but that’s about it. 

What injuries have you dealt with? What are the injury risks that come with your athletic endeavors? 
I actually had a hand injury a few months ago at work that left me with some nerve damage. It makes lifting sometimes hard, but most of the time, I’ve learned how to deal with it by avoiding specific exercises that irritate it. 

I also have a poor knee due to a car wreck injury I never had checked out four years ago, but it’s mostly a dull ache. It means I can’t get on that one knee and put my body weight on it, but otherwise, it doesn’t affect any of my exercise. 

Any advice on how to deal with these injuries and risks? 
Mostly common sense. Learn the difference between being sore and an actual injury. Take rest days and listen to your body. If you are sore and tired, don’t push yourself, or you’re likely to hurt yourself and end up being out of commission much longer than a mere day. 

What are your favorite sports/fitness books/DVDs/websites? 
Something Awful’s W&W, Fitocracy, and
I browse all sorts of blogs and websites often, but those are the only three I like to frequent for information. 

Anything else you want to add? 
Lokkju is a giant poopface for making me do this. Quite frankly, I hardly feel qualified enough to do a member spotlight when I’m a novice, but he was very clear that I wasn’t able to deny him a second time. 


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