A woman from Hickman’s Harbour, Random Island, is demonstrating how healthy living can transform a person’s life and their state of mind.
Kristina Hansford has achieved a 100-pound weight loss after committing herself to better food choices and regular exercise.
The journey for the 28-year-old began in 2016, after a softball championship in St. John’s.
“That’s what really got me to this point,” recalled Hansford “I went out to the provincials and I just didn’t play well.
“And mentally I was off, because the worse I played, the worse I felt. I’m very critical of myself anyway, but I just had a hard go.”
Hansford estimates she was about 270 pounds at the time. Although she was athletic, she was over-consuming unhealthy foods such as potato chips and soft drinks.
Past attempts to get healthy had failed, but Hansford admits she was never truly committed to the process.
“I had all the good excuses,” she recalled. “It’s the weekend. I’ll start Monday. I’m out of town, etc. But this time, things were going to be different.
“I began to tell myself, ‘Kristina, you’ve gotten to obesity — you can’t do this. Is it worth giving up everything you love?’”
From there she began to gradually change her diet, omitting things like fast food for 30-day periods. Her partner, Junior Saragaco, also got onboard and they began a routine of driving 40-minutes every evening to Clarenville to work out at the gym.
Hansford later began weightlifting. She can now bench press 200 pounds and has dead lifted 285 pounds.
“What worked for me was just not doing too much, too fast,” explained Hansford. “The way I looked at it, was that I didn’t need to lose ‘x’ amount of weight by a certain time. This was for the rest of my life, and I wanted to be healthier and happier. There’s no timeline on that.”
Consistency and support
Hansford says consistency has been key.
“When I started to see results, I thought, ‘Alright, this feels good. I’m going to keep pushing.’ But it hasn’t always been that easy,” she said. “There have been times where I gained weight, too. There could be many reasons for that and it doesn’t mean you’re doing something wrong. Weight loss is different for everybody.”
Another contributor to her success, she adds, is support.
“I feel like everybody else motivated me in a way, because even simple things like a nice comment would inspire me to keep going. It gives you a boost. If you notice something, just say it to them,” she stresses. “You don’t know how much it will make their day.”
Hansford says her whole life has improved, but the biggest change is in how she feels. She has been challenged with mental illness since her teens.
“Life is easier now,” she concluded. “Even something as simple as walking to my car has become effortless, and stairs are no problem. I can fit into the clothes I want and I’m more social. I am slowly becoming the athlete I strive to be.
“While I know mental illness will be something I’ll have with me the rest of my life, I’m coping with it much better now. I feel like I’m finally back to myself.”
Tips from Kristina
Regarding her success, Kristina Hansford says, “Everyone has their own reason. Everyone has their own story. I’m extremely humbled to have been asked to share mine.”
Here are five tips she would give to anyone else starting their own journey to health:
- Don’t worry about the numbers on the scale.
“People think it’s all about the scale. It’s not, although I found taking progress pictures was huge. It wasn’t just about losing weight for me — it was just being healthier.”
- Make gradual changes to your diet and activity levels.
“Just make small changes first. The reason I was successful was because I just dragged it out. I didn’t just want to eat super clean. I was getting some good, some bad and just improving a little bit over time. But now I’m starting to like healthier foods because when you eat healthy you feel different.”
- Don’t give up.
“Don’t get discouraged. I have gone several weeks where I’ve gained weight or just didn’t lose weight. You just have to tell yourself, ‘I will change. My body’s going to change.’”
- Try the gym and find what works for you.
“If you go there and try the treadmill for 10 minutes, you’re still doing more than you did yesterday. I didn’t start off being into weights. I used to go on the bike and just take my time. Sometimes you just got to learn on your own and enjoy it.”
- My Fitness Pal App.
Hansford and her partner have made use of My Fitness Pal apps for tracking what they eat. The app provides nutritional information on the foods they consume.