Transformation of the Day: Karen lost 112 pounds. As a Registered Nurse, she wanted to live an authentically healthy lifestyle and overcome depression and emotional eating. She gave us the details of her two-year journey, which includes transitioning from low-carb/high-protein to Vegan and opening a Fitness & Cycle Studio.
My name is Karen Oliver. All my life, as far back as I can remember, I have always had a love/hate relationship with food. As a result, my weight would always fluctuate. I secretly battled emotional eating and binge eating for years. Whenever I felt stressed or depressed, my weight would increase. However, I love cardio-related exercise, so I could always manage to lose any excess weight.
This all changed in 2013 when my mother lost her 10-year battle with cancer. I was working as a Cancer/Oncology Nurse and felt lost and empty. I went into a deep depression for two years, and my emotional eating became out of control. My weight reached an all-time high, and my health reached an all-time low. I became pre-diabetic, developed high blood pressure, and had chronic knee pain. I knew it was time to make a change.
What was your motivation?
I never wanted to be a hypocrite. It was and still is so very important for me to be authentic. I did not want to continue living an unhealthy lifestyle and then at the same time work as a Registered Nurse…a Cancer nurse at that. It was my job to try to save lives, and I was slowly killing myself. I was literally disgusted with myself. I knew I had to make a change quick, fast, and in a hurry.
What inspired you to keep going, even when you wanted to give up?
When I found myself getting really down, I would watch motivational shows or listen to motivational speakers. I think I have watched and re-watched every episode of The Biggest Loser, Fat Chance, My 600 lb Life, and Extreme Weight Loss.
I loved to look at before and after photos of women who were just like me and successfully lost weight. I was so tired of taking before pictures. I wanted to take an after photo and be successful also. Also, I only associated with people that encouraged me to be the better version of myself.
How did you change your eating habits?
I learned to hate what is bad (as the scripture Amos 5:5 highlights). I gave up all the foods I overindulged in (the foods that led to my 100-pound weight gain). I hated what they did to me, and I didn’t touch them for close to 2 years.
I was a bariatric RN case manager at the time, so I also followed the same diet that I encouraged my patients to follow. (1-2 premier protein meal replacement shakes per day with a low-carb/high-protein meal for dinner).
I lost 100 pounds by following a low-carb/high-protein meal plan. I have maintained my weight loss for the last five years by following a Plant-based/whole food/Vegan lifestyle.
What did your workout routine consist of? How often did you work out?
I joined a female gym and had the opportunity to train with two incredible female trainers. They were a mother/daughter duo who specialized in High-Intensity Interval Training. They kicked my butt, literally. I attended class/therapy 3-4 times per week and fell in love with HIIT workouts. They also helped me re-establish my passion for running, and most importantly, I found my strength. I will forever be grateful to my trainers for their expertise and the personal interest they showed me when I needed it the most.
What was your starting weight? 254 pounds
What is your current weight? 142 pounds
What is your height? I’m 5’0″.
How long did your transformation take?
It took almost two years.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned so far?
I had dedicated my entire life to caring for others while slowly neglecting myself and my health. I have learned that I deserve the same love and consideration that I would give to others.
Once I began to see my value thru my own eyes, I was unstoppable. Five years later, I am still unstoppable. I stand ready and willing to do whatever it takes to present the best version of me at all times. I have also learned that when tragedy strikes, instead of GIVING UP as I did in the past, I have learned to GROW UP. Grown and mature people may experience pain, but they push thru. They let their experiences shape them, not break them.
What advice do you have for women who want to lose weight?
Do not be afraid to ask for help. Prayer is powerful. When I feel anxious or stressed, I pray instead of looking for food for comfort and relief. Surround yourself with people who have the same goals that you have and can give you the ultimate amount of support.
I am proud to say I have found my tribe/squad and we inspire and uplift each other regularly. We Ride or Die for each other physically and emotionally. We have the privilege of riding together every Monday and Wednesday morning at 5:15 am. Each class is like a party, so I never feel like I am teaching.
I have no regrets. My pain and my struggles have made me who I am today. Now, I am proud to stand before others as a Registered Nurse, a Certified Holistic Nutritionist, and a Certified Group Fitness/Kickboxing/Cycle instructor. My journey helped me become a small business owner, and I had the privilege of opening my own boutique: Knockout 100 Fitness & Cycle Studio.