I grew up in a physically active family. I was a two sport athlete through high school (soccer and track) and a Division I Track & Field athlete in college. Because I was always so active, I never really thought much about what I was eating.
When I graduated from college, I commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Army and went to Georgia for training. The day before I reported for training, I received a phone call from my physician that said I needed to receive medical treatment immediately because I had a severely overactive thyroid. At that point in my life, I had no idea what a thyroid was. But I heeded my doctor's warning (and my mom's who is a nurse) and went in for more tests/examinations. I was told I have Graves Disease. I experienced some frightening changes in my body--my resting heart rate was 123 (yes, you read that correctly), I lost 20 pounds (not in a healthy way--it was all muscle), I was extremely tired & was very anxious. I was the kid who NEVER missed a day of school from kindergarten thru 12th grade (and received an award for it graduation day, haha). Being physically unable to do a jumping jack was foreign to me. As a former Division I shot putter/hammer thrower, I never thought I'd have to relearn how to do 1 push-up...but I did. Slowly but surely I regained my strength and stamina, but I still didn't completely grasp the concept of eating well.
Fast forward a few years from 2006 to 2009 when I received an email from my sister and brother-in-law asking me (and other family members) if we'd be interested in doing a family P90X challenge. I'm a VERY competitive person (I come by it honestly in the family I grew up in) so there was NO WAY I was going to pass up on the challenge. They sent out the grocery list ahead of time so we'd be able to prepare properly. A year prior to this I began to understand more and more about the importance of eating well because I experienced some horrible side effects of not eating well (headaches, nausea, etc...). I was finally ready to make the connection between eating well and exercising. And so my love for P90x grew more and more over time. Soon, I was eating clean and running road races (5Ks, 10Ks, Half Marathons, and Full Marathons). I tailored my P90x sessions around my training runs. I even used P90X & P90X2 to get in shape for my wedding! I continued to use P90x in conjunction with running after I got married and really focused on eating well. My Graves Disease went into remission and I attribute that to a well-balanced and healthy lifestyle.
A couple of years later, I got pregnant. Here's a simple equation to explain what happened while I was pregnant: pregnancy + moving to another state + a late honeymoon (trip to Europe/cruise) + not working out consistently + eating whatever I wanted = I gained quite a bit of weight. I put on close to 80lbs while I was pregnant with my son. After I had him, I experienced another devastating physical challenge: pulmonary embolism (I had large blood clots in my lungs). Along with that, my Graves Disease was back and I dealt with another host of medical issues. It still gives me goosebumps to think that I almost died the day after giving birth to my son. And it still gives me joy to think of everything I'm able to experience now because God spared my life. So there I was, sitting in the ICU, with all of these medical issues I couldn't see leaving again and a ton of weight to lose before I'd look like the Kirsten I was before.
Slowly and surely I got back at it. I set short-term and long-term goals for myself. It started with walking slowly for just a few minutes, working on squat challenges, [modified] burpee challenges, [push-up] challenges. All the while, I was going in for weekly doctors appointments to ensure my health was improving--and, thankfully, it was! I stay committed and got all of the weight off + 10 additional pounds. I have a passion for helping others reach their goals too! Let's get started!
Hi there! I'm a portrait photographer currently based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. I specialize in family & professional portraits. Thank you so much for coming to visit me here!