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January 20, 2011

A lot to smile about: Kia with her husband and son

Kia Taylor, a 34-year-old mother of a toddler son, didn’t let 80 extra pounds from pregnancy stand in her way. This Atlanta software engineer (@keyalus on Twitter) had run a marathon pre-baby, and thanks to a personalized eating plan, CrossFit, running, and dedication, Kia dropped the weight–and just rocked a half-marathon.

Best recent run: Museum of Aviation Half Marathon last Saturday. My best half ever was a 1:53 at the Georgia Half back in 2007 (pre-pregnancy). I ran two other half marathons this past fall but was thwarted from my time goal of 2:05 by illness, then a combo of warm temperatures and too many hills. Last weekend, I felt great during the race. The course was flat, and the temperature was perfect (low 20s). I’m also about 10 pounds lighter than I was at my last race. It all combined to help me finish in 1:55–way faster than my goal! It was the perfect race.

Back to square one: I started running in spring 2007 as a complete non-athlete and completed a marathon in fall 2008. I got pregnant shortly after that. I stayed active during pregnancy, but my appetite came alive! As my weight grew, running became more difficult and I gave it up altogether in my fifth month for walking, the elliptical, and weight training. I exercised up until the week I gave birth, but I also ate a lot. At my final doctor’s appointment before giving birth, I weighed 235 pounds. I’m only 5’ 3” so this was not good at all. I had gained 80 pounds during pregnancy, and I had to start all over after having a baby with a totally different body. After getting my doctor’s clearance at six weeks post-partum, I got started immediately. I weighed 215 pounds at that point and couldn’t even walk up stairs without getting winded. I started with Couch To 5K, completing the program in January 2010 and running my first post-pregnancy 5K in 37 minutes. My prior (pre-baby) 5K best was around 24 minutes so I was still a long way from home.

Sounds tastier than Lean Cuisine: I realized if I could allow myself to gain 80 pounds during pregnancy, then maybe my eating habits weren’t so good after all. The Lean Eating program guides you through a solid nutrition and weight-lifting program. You get a coach for personal guidance, a private women’s only support group forum, a daily exercise routine, and lessons on nutrition daily for six months (now 12 months). It breaks down the overwhelming task of fat loss into small habits that build upon one another and lead to success. I learned a lot about nutrition and exercise–and about my body and mind–during the program. There’s that saying (paraphrasing here), “Give a man a fish, and he’ll eat for a week. Teach a man to fish, and he’ll eat for a lifetime”. Lean Eating taught me how to fish.

Water, baby: I can easily drink 64 ounces or more of water at the office during the week, but I suck at drinking water on the weekends. I’m basically lazy. If I’m upstairs playing with my son, it feels like a real hassle to drag both of us downstairs just to get some water. I vowed to drink more water on Saturday and Sunday, and so far it’s going well. I make a point to drink a full 16 ounces with breakfast, then take another bottle upstairs with me. I do the same at lunch. I stash a case of bottled water in my car and chug while on the road. I don’t feel any different yet, but I’m sure my Sunday long runs will go a lot better since I won’t be going into them dehydrated.

Get your chin up: I’m probably the odd runner in that I am equally (if not more) fanatical about weight-lifting. I’ve been doing CrossFit for about 2.5 years now–I even did CrossFit Moms workouts all through my pregnancy! CrossFit is a high-intensity strength and conditioning program. It is also a community where women with big strong muscles are celebrated. The pull-up is prominently featured in a lot of CrossFit workouts. There are modifications you can do to make it easier, but at some point you’ve got to stop modifying. Last year, I set a goal for myself to be able to do two unassisted pull-ups, and I exceeded that goal. I can do 3 chin-ups in a row now. For 2011, I figured I should up the ante to 10.

Fanatical: I just officially became Half-Fanatic #769! Half Fanatics is a sister group to the Marathon Maniacs. (If you’ve ever seen people at marathons wearing a bright yellow T-Shirt featuring a crazed-looking runner, that’s a Marathon Maniac.) Once I learned about the group, I wanted to get in and was pleased to see they had a group for half-marathon runners. The half is truly my favorite distance to run and what a fun way to honor it! To gain entry, you have to run a certain number of half-marathons in a certain amount of days. The most sane way to get in is to run three halfs in 90 days and that is exactly what I did. Now, I’m eager to get to higher levels by completing more races. It is a challenge and a cool way to connect with other runners.

Follow this mother at: http://www.determinedtobefit.com/

We admit it: We love "before" and "after" pics--especially ones this impressive

37 Comments leave one →
  1. Amanda permalink
    January 20, 2011 5:43 am

    3 Chin ups in a row? That’s impressive. Those are crazy hard!

    • January 20, 2011 1:03 pm

      Thanks! It took a looong time for me to be able to do it. Assisted pullups with a thick band were my friend for a while. Then one day my chin just went over!

  2. January 20, 2011 6:42 am

    Way to lose the weight! That’s no easy task.

  3. Lisa permalink
    January 20, 2011 7:21 am

    Those are some REALLY impressive before and after pictures! Good for her!

  4. January 20, 2011 7:28 am

    Kia, you never stop amazing me! I’ve honestly never felt so inspired by another woman in my life. My biggest goal is to see you at the finish line of one of these Atlanta halfs.

  5. January 20, 2011 7:41 am

    Great read!! She is very inspiring!! 🙂

  6. Kim permalink
    January 20, 2011 8:00 am

    Amazing! I’m just starting C25K and you are truly an inspiration. Your before and after pics totally reflect your determination and grit. What an example for your family!

  7. January 20, 2011 8:11 am

    Wow! I love it! And I *totally* get the water thing. Thanks for sharing!

  8. January 20, 2011 8:15 am

    Kia is awesome!

  9. sundaze permalink
    January 20, 2011 8:43 am

    Way to go! You look fantastic!!

  10. Tryna permalink
    January 20, 2011 8:44 am

    Very inspirational, and I’m with you on the water, but am going to get through it this weekend and will think of you. Also, thanks for the link to Half Fanatics. I love stuff like that.

  11. January 20, 2011 9:28 am

    Another great mama to check out, and the second time this week CrossFit came up, I think it’s the sign I need to actually look into it!! Thanks!

  12. Sarah permalink
    January 20, 2011 10:02 am

    Stopped mid-reading of this post just to say I was at the Museum of Aviation race(s) this past weekend! I ran the 5K, though (my best yet). Just got really excited to see a fellow GA Mom on here. 🙂

    • Sarah permalink
      January 20, 2011 10:08 am

      Ok, back after finishing! Kia, you look amazing! I started out with about 80 lbs to lose after having my son (baby #2) in Nov. ’09, but am only a little past halfway there. What an inspiration!

      • January 20, 2011 11:20 am

        Small world huh! I had my son in Sept 09 and I didn’t finish losing the baby weight until Jan 10. I still want to lose some more because things have shifted but oh well. It will seem like it takes forever but keep on pushing!

  13. January 20, 2011 10:17 am

    You look amazing! That’s quite an inspirational picture for the rest of us (well for me at least!). I am a GA mama too and am going to look into the Half Fanatics as I’m pretty sure I am one. Hope to see ya at a race around here sometime.

    • January 20, 2011 11:34 am

      Thanks! I’ve got a long list of local halfs on my calendar this year so say hi if you see me!

  14. Teresa permalink
    January 20, 2011 1:02 pm

    What an inspiring mother! Keep up the good work, Kia!

    Oh, and as I type this, I’m reminded that I need to go downstairs to get some water! Thanks 🙂

  15. January 20, 2011 1:17 pm

    Hey Kia: Dimity here. I don’t know the moms that Sarah picks out, and I am very impressed, especially with the 3 pull-ups. I can barely do a full real push-up. I’ve been contemplating CrossFit, and may have to take the plunge…keep up the great work, friend.

    • January 20, 2011 3:28 pm

      Thanks! CrossFit is such a great workout! You will be forced to do more pullups and pushps than you ever wanted to do. The good thing is that upper body strength is supposed to help improve your running form!

  16. January 20, 2011 1:35 pm

    Fantastic article! Very motivational! Keep up the great work.

  17. January 20, 2011 2:03 pm

    So much hard work pays off. You look amazing. Well done!

  18. GatorGirl permalink
    January 20, 2011 2:24 pm

    Great job Kia!!! You look fabulous!!! Can’t wait to see you and the lil’ man soon 🙂

  19. January 21, 2011 2:06 am

    This article and the commitment to fitness is portrays is very inspiring.

  20. spelman98 permalink
    January 21, 2011 10:44 am

    Wow, great pics of your transformation and evidence of all your hard work. You are truly my role model for getting rid of pregnancy weight. I’m right behind you 🙂

  21. January 21, 2011 11:21 am

    Kia,

    I read your blog regularly and enjoy your Twitter updates. You’re such a great inspiration to me and I am thrilled to read your story here as well. Keep up the great work! I can’t wait to see you set new PRs in 2011! You rock lady!!

  22. Krissy permalink
    January 21, 2011 1:01 pm

    Kia looks amazing. She’s an inspiration. I love reading her blog. I don’t know her personally but it makes me proud of her. Keep up the awesome work!

  23. January 21, 2011 1:57 pm

    Amazing! I feel a kindred spirit to you because I am 5’2″ and gained about 70 lbs with this last pregnancy and have lost it all as well! Keep it up wonder woman~

  24. Megan permalink
    January 21, 2011 4:43 pm

    Great job girl! You look awesome! I had my son August 29 of 09, and am just now feeling really fit again. You know what they say…9 months on, 16 months off…right?????? 🙂

  25. Beth permalink
    January 22, 2011 2:17 pm

    Thank you!! Kia you are awesome and inspiring. Am logging off the computer after this message and heading to the treadmill! 🙂

  26. Raunda permalink
    January 22, 2011 6:15 pm

    you are an inspiration! Great job!

  27. Ann permalink
    January 23, 2011 8:07 am

    I think you are amazing. I love your honesty – you have inspired me to get my butt off the couch and start running….

  28. Deljah permalink
    January 23, 2011 9:03 pm

    A picture is worth 1,000 miles! 🙂 Your hard work has paid off visually – just imagine the health and longevity benefits that can’t be seen with the naked eye! Keep up the great work and keep inspiring others (me) to love themselves and invest in their well-being!

  29. Kate permalink
    January 24, 2011 3:35 pm

    You look fantastic!!! Good for you, you should be really proud of yourself.

  30. January 26, 2011 11:20 am

    Hi five to you Kia.. you look awesome.. I follow your training so I know how hard it’s been.. but you my friend are a true inspiration!

  31. January 28, 2011 4:25 pm

    Wow! Awesome job! I just watched a CrossFit video on youtube.com and I was amazed at the women. I would love to be able to do those things. Nice work!

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