I Can’t Believe I’m Telling You This

By Kimmy G.

Reasons not to write this: 5,173,174,545,478,190,364

Reasons to share my story: 1

Reason: I’m not the first person to lose 100lbs – especially not today with everything out there. But my situation is mine and if, by sharing it, I can help even one other person look at food or exercise or their general health and well-being differently, then it’s worth the embarrassment of my before pictures.

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LEFT: June 2012. RIGHT: October 2013 (Photo by Hudson Handel)


Like anyone who struggles with anything, I had tried everything to lose weight.  Well, I thought about trying everything – I certainly BOUGHT everything. And nothing ever clicked for me (except for a brief affair with Weight Watchers in the summer of 2003).   I found out about “eating paleo” by online stalking Crossfit (wait, did I lose you there? I said the “C” word!) after I saw the games on tv a long time ago.  I figured, what the hell. What’s another $15 handed over to for the Paleo Diet book in the name of “this has to work”?


I knew I was going to be turning my life upside down on September 15, 2012 when I moved from the suburbs into the city for a new job.  New city. New start. New life.  I hoped.  But something was different.   This time I did more than hope.  I made a choice.  But first, I acknowledged that I actually HAD a choice.  It was very easy for me to play the victim in my own life for a long time.  That I was helpless and powerless.  That I had resigned to settling for the mediocre and that was no way to live.



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Left: AUGUST 2012, Walking around Philly with my dad playing tourist. Right: NOVEMBER 2013, CrossFit Center City’s Total, when I pulled my first 300lb deadlift.


The day I moved to the city, I went 100% Paleo, cold turkey (and chicken and pork and beef and fish).  I told myself I was going to eat this way for TWO YEARS.  No more bullshitting myself.  A two year commitment set the tone that this was a LIFESTYLE change.  And that was the only way this was going to have a shot in hell of working.  My butt didn’t get that big overnight; it wasn’t going to get any smaller overnight either.  That afternoon, after unpacking I met friends at a bar to watch the Penn State game (love ya Lions!) and I ordered a side salad with a piece of grilled chicken and a beer.  They got burgers and fries and beers.

Hurdle one down.  And over the next few months they kept piling up.

And those hurdles had turned into milestones.

Over the next month I wanted to kill everyone and eat everything.  The cravings were barely manageable and it also scared me how addicted my body was to all that crap.  But I stayed the course.  After that initial reset, choosing to eat pork chops and asparagus for breakfast became routine.  As did packing food with me for tailgates, conferences, and social events.

And for the first time in my LIFE, I wasn’t STARVING all the time.  Crazy idea that you don’t want to eat all the crap when you’re filling up on all the good.  I was giving my body what it wanted instead of feeding it what my brain thought it wanted.  And it was WORKING.  The weight started falling off.  It didn’t feel like it at the time, but it was consistent enough to keep me motivated.   I never felt deprived and I never really “cheated”.  Because I was choosing to eat what I was eating.  By NO means do I want that to seem like an easy, nonchalant thing to do.  But, because I had the choice, I also had the power to decide what went down the hatch and what didn’t.

And whoever “they” is that figured out that it’s 70% nutrition and 30% exercise, that is DEAD on.  Way to go, smart person. I love you.

Bottom line:  I eat real food. I eat a ton of lean protein. I’ve eaten more veggies in the last year that I have in my entire life.  Spices and flavored olive oils are your friend.   Lean on your foodie friends and beg for lessons (and do the dishes afterwards!).




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SEPTEMBER 2012: An accidental selfie in my new apartment. One of the only pictures of me that entire year.

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NOVEMBER 2013: CrossFit Center City’s “‘Stache Showdown,” with a 100lb axel bar over my head. Very significant for me.


BUT – losing weight that fast barely gave my skin a chance to keep up.  So I knew I was going to need to do my best to fill it back up with muscle.  I tooled around on the elliptical for a while, and then got the courage to start jogging again.

At that time, I had two best friends in different cities both start Crossfit within the last year.   They said I would love it. They said I wouldn’t look stupid. They said it was fun.  And hard. Really hard. But that they “scaled” things that they couldn’t do yet to do it in a way that they could.  They said to just try.

I thought I should be in better shape to start CrossFit. Which was as crazy as it sounds.

So I tried.  One year ago today, on December 19, 2012, I walked into Crossfit Center City for the first time. Terrified.  And huge.  I’d lost about 40lbs at that point and was proud to quietly mention that, but looking around, NOBODY looked like me.  And there wasn’t an elliptical or treadmill in sight.

I was embarrassed. I was slow. I was irrationally sweaty in the warm ups.  I had to scale ALL the things.  But one of the biggest reasons that I kept coming was that everyone was so busy doing their own work that they paid no attention to me doing ring rows instead of pull-ups or step ups instead of box jumps.  They sometimes noticed how LONG everything took me to do; they either cheered me on (to my embarrassment/appreciation) or were gassed out on the floor themselves and didn’t care.

Two quotes really helped me through those first few months of CrossFit, and still do to this day.


“Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.”


“If you’re tired of starting over, stop giving up.”


So I kept coming.

Now, a full YEAR later, my gym is just as much a home to me as my parents’ floor in front of their fireplace.  I have made amazing friendships (that can be based on non-gym talk, who knew?!) and have grown so much as a person because of the friends I see as role models.  I’ve gone there to celebrate awesome things (like losing 100lbs) and after super craptasic things (like getting laid off after 5 months of said new job {don’t worry, I got an even better one that I love not long after that}) and on days I want to and days I don’t.

I am NOT saying CrossFit is for everyone.  It works for ME.  What I AM saying is find something that works.  Whatever that is.  FOR YOU.  And if you haven’t found IT yet, keep looking. Keep learning.  Keep moving. Keep trying.  And if you want to try CrossFit, find one that will TEACH you as much as they train you.



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LEFT: April 2011. RIGHT: August 2013.


I choose to have only people in my life who want to be in it as much as I want them in it, and that is one of the best choices I’ve ever made (NYE 2008-2009 resolution!). I have been so blessed to have an amazing circle of friends and family who have been cheering me on since the first “I lost 5lbs” mass text went out over a year ago.

My friends and family tolerate me talking about what I am eating, doing, lifting, feeling, thinking, struggling with, celebrating, and everything in between.  They give me cooking tips when I send pictures of random meat I bought and had no idea what to do with. They politely ignore the smell of roasted cauliflower at 9am.  They made a big deal that I was starting to look different.  They refused to drink the CrossFit kool-aid when I tried to shove it down their throats and loved me through it all.  They never make me feel bad or different or weird for eating like a cave person.

I also can’t imagine my life without the relationships I’ve made at CFCC.  Erin and her team have become so important to me and I literally, trust them with my life.  I want to make them proud and am so thankful for every cue, every laugh, and for being nothing but encouraging.  The community aspect is a real thing and I am so happy to be a part of it and look forward to dragging my ass out of bed every day at 5:30am to go see my people and keep trying to get it right, get it tight.

This has been a team effort and I am so grateful for every single person who’s played a role in my story, whether they know it or not.  And if you’re still reading this long-winded story, you’re a part of it too.



(no picture necessary because this part should stand alone in its importance)

And as much as this has been a team effort, the most important part I want people who are thinking about making a lifestyle change in any way to realize, is that this has been a monumental amount of work and commitment.  I prep food for hours on weekends.  I look at restaurant menus before I go so I know what I’m able to eat (usually for a swapping out “upcharge”).  I pack food with me when there are only non-paleo options to eat where I am going.  I have left my sweat and DNA (and prom dress sequins) all OVER the floor at our gym. And Crossfit FBO.  And Crossfit Big Fish.  And on the river trail. And the peninsula in Erie and the boardwalk of Bradley beach and everywhere in-between.  And at my favorite bar, Milkboy, when I stop in after a run for a water and a high five (and maybe a bacon bowl).

It’s become routine, which I am insanely grateful for.  But it hasn’t become less effort.  It’s a lifestyle I have to choose every minute of every day.  Starting at 5:15am when my first of many alarms go off.  And now I sleep better than I ever have.  I have more energy than I’ve ever had. My skin is the clearest it’s been since I was a pre-teen (Paleo>Proactiv).  I drink so much water I sometimes feel like I’m drowning.  I said I would eat this way for two years, but I’ve never felt better so I’ll probably eat this way (in some form) for the rest of my life.

 Very early into this journey, it drastically and quickly shifted from wanting to just lose weight to wanting to see what my amazing machine of a body is capable of.  I want to be healthy and strong. I want to be able to throw my niece as high in the air as I can just to hear her laugh like a maniac.  I want to zip that dress that’s been hanging in my closet with the tags on it.  I want to beat my Broad Street Run time from last year.  Actually, I’d like to crush it.

I have more self-confidence, which is weird to talk about, but is important to share.  I’ve always been super outgoing and funny (self-proclaimed, of course), but I actually feel confident in my own (often bruised and battered) skin.  It’s crazy what a little self-esteem does for the soul.  Dating post-weight loss is bizarre and fun and a constant internal battle of what I think and feel versus what is actually possible or actually happening.   I have to choose to be present. And deal with just the information that’s in front of me.  And choose to listen to the rational side of my brain instead of the super self-conscious side.  And I have to choose it over and over again all the time. (Side note: Doing 100 burpees is the most efficient way to get over a breakup.  Keep that fun fact in your back pocket.)

I choose better for me.  And I hope this inspires someone to choose better, too.

I’m excited to see what this life, this body, and sharing this experience brings next.


So cheers to the next chapter.


Love and booty shorts,



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LEFT: January 2013, my “Before” pictures for my first Body Composition Change Challenge at CFCC (I’d already lost 40  pounds at this point). RIGHT: September 15, 2013 at the Philadelphia Half Marathon – my 1 year anniversary of Paleo and Flipadelphia



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