A Fit Chica Tells Her Story v.3

It's been awhile since I have featured any "fit chicas" but today, I bring you Karina Valencia. Karina is a good friend of mine. She's a mother, a wife, a friend and an amazing cook!

Learn more about her story below:

FFC: Tell us a little about your journey towards a becoming a healthier you.
KV: At a very young age, I ended up pregnant.  During the pregnancy I didn't take care of myself at all.  I was lazy, Fit chica beforesleeping most of the time and I literally "ate for two". The morning I went into labor, I weighed 186 pounds.  I had gained 50 pounds and the damage had been done to my body with stretch marks and excess fat.   That was in 1995.  Shortly thereafter, I believe I had lost about 40 pounds.  After getting married in 2000, the number on the scale gradually increased.  No need for alarm or concern; I was comfortable and married after all! lol  Before I knew it, it was 2006 and I had tipped the scale at 195-200 pounds! (pic included).  I didn't see it or feel it.  Through the next four years, I gradually lost weight, gained, lost, gained...  By August 2010, I had dropped to 161.  The winter months came and I gained about 7 pounds.

My wake up call finally hit in January 2011 during an annual check-up.  I was dealing with high blood pressure that wouldn't go down.  My doctor suggested I control it with proper dieting and exercise.  I had a month and a half to prove her I could do it, but I failed miserably.  In my follow up visit, my doctor suggested medication, but I thought "why pay for medication when all it takes is the proper diet and exercise?"  I started working out at the gym during my lunch hour and decided to try the South Beach Diet for a month.  In April/2011, I had lost 10 pounds in a month.  Today I weigh 156 pounds and my blood pressure is 110/70.  Although, I'm no longer on the diet, I've utilized some of South Beach Diet tips and manage to keep the weight off with exercise.  In addition to exercising at the gym, I've starting jogging and find that I love it!


FFC: What gave you the motivation to take working out and fitness seriously?  Was there a catalyst?


KV: I'm surrounded by motivation!  My girlfriends, my husband, the women at the gym, inspiring shows such as The Biggest Loser etc... My life changing experience was my latest routine check-up at the doctor's office.  My blood pressure was marked as 138/99!  High blood pressure runs in the family including diabetes which was another reason to be concerned.  Thankfully my test results showed no sign of diabetes and my cholesterol was good.  However, my triglycerides was high and my weight was quite high for my age and height, per the BMI




FFC: Have you changed your eating habits? If so, what's different?


KV: I've limited my fried foods and carbs, incorporated more greens, vegetables, fruits, chicken and fish.  I've limited the fast foods.  When we order out, I no longer order my own plate.  I pick off my husband's plate and make it a point to use a bowl or a salad plate, not a big plate.


FFC: Have you incorporated healthier meals at the family dinner table?


KV: I try, but when you have children that are picky eaters, it's hard.  I try to do my best to cook something healthy that the kids may like.  Most of the time I cook something different for them and something a little healthier for myself.


FFC: How supportive are your husband and children?


KV: My husband has been great and on board!  We've gained weight together and have lost it together.  It's amazing how one's bad habits affects the other.  Now more than ever we're motivated to continue to live healthier and lose weight.  It's easier when you have support at home.  Our kids have noticed our active healthy lifestyle and see it has rubbed off.  They've recently requested a gym membership of their own!




FFC: How do you feel fitness has changed your life? Any tips for someone who may feel overwhelmed by the idea of changing one's lifestyle


KV: I feel great now!  I'm full of energy and have a positive attitude.  I can run 2.5 to 3 miles now and I'm working on adding more miles.  I'm not feeling the shortness of breath anymore. I feel more confident when shopping for clothes.  I feel I look younger.  I'm not at my goal weight just yet, but eventually will be. I don't beat myself over not seeing a smaller number on the scale.  I've learned being fit is not just about losing weight, but about changing or getting rid of bad habits one by one.  The best advice that I can offer is, surround yourself with positive friends that are on the same journey and have patience!  Good things don't happen overnight.  We all tend to fall off, so don't beat yourself up.  Simply dust yourself off and get back on track.


FFC: Currently, what's your favorite workout? Why?


KV: My favorite workout is the cardio step with strengthening classes.  It's a high impact cardio workout for about 30 minutes followed by 15 minutes of weights and then some ab workout.  I love it because I feel it working me out!  I burn the most calories with this class, the music gets me hyped and I leave the class drenched in sweat.  The next day, I'm sore in areas I didn't think I was working out.




FFC: How do you incorporate fitness in your everyday life?


KV: If I can't get to the gym or go out for a jog, I simply throw in a fitness DVD on at home.  I also incorporate fitness by doing the little things.  For example, I take the long route from one end of my office to the other for added steps (we have a big office lol).  I've made it a point to park on the second or higher floor of a parking lot and use the stairs instead of the elevator.  There have been days that I'll walk up 7 or 8 flights!  One time, after a fire drill at work, I walked up 13 floors.  We try to set up volley ball games after work.  It's the little things that count and make the difference.


FFC: Anything else you'd like to share with our readers?


KV: Like I said, it doesn't happen overnight.  It takes time, dedication and a positive outlook. You can do it!!!


If you are or know of a "fit chica" that should be recognized for her awesomeness, hit me up at funfitchicblog {at} gmail.com