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From Weight Loss to Weightlifter: Christina’s Postpartum Transformation

by Kim Westerman
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From Weight Loss to Weightlifter: Christina’s Postpartum Transformation

Christina Baird knew she had gotten over a big hurdle when a total stranger recently came up to her at the southeastern Iowa clothing store where she works, and asked her for weight loss advice. The woman simply admired Baird’s physique.

“What, me?” Baird thought? “She’s asking me for advice?” And then she looked in the mirror. She had been overweight for so long that her mental image of herself hadn’t yet caught up with the fit, healthy person she’s become.

In fact, since she joined her local YMCA and began using MyFitnessPal in October 2015, Baird is down 112 pounds and in the best shape of her life. It’s a far cry from when she started at age 30 when, after four pregnancies, she weighed 262 pounds and could no longer reach down and tie her shoes.

Her weight had bounced around since the birth of her fourth child, but it remained firmly in the realm of morbid obesity: between 220 and 262 pounds. That’s a lot to carry on a petite 5-foot-2 frame. Luckily, Baird had always been interested in health and fitness, which gave her a jump-start when she decided to get serious about pursuing her wellness dream of losing weight and reclaiming her health.


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“I come from a long line of morbidly obese family members,” she explains. “Most of them died before age 70, and I simply wanted to break that cycle for myself and my kids.” When Baird’s doctor recommended MyFitnessPal a few years before, she had downloaded the app and played around with it, but it wasn’t until the fall of 2015 that something clicked. That’s when she immersed herself in the community and began to become encouraged by her small successes.

One of her favorite parts is seeing her weight estimate in five weeks if she stays on track, and she deeply appreciates the support of her fellow app users cheering her on. “I love being able to see how my macros line up,” she says, “and I’ve met some of my closest friends there.”

The other game-changer for Baird, in addition to tracking her calories and exercise, was becoming a serious weightlifter. “There is something so empowering about lifting heavy weights, being able to walk into a gym and know what all the machines do,” she adds.

As she began to shed pounds, Baird’s earliest boosts to her self-image were being able to shop the “skinny” sizes in the store, easily reaching down to tie her shoes and lifting heavier weights each week. Before she knew it, she had exceeded her goal of achieving a normal weight and had turned into a bonafide bodybuilder and someone who made her health a top priority every day.

There were challenges along the way, of course. She tried Weight Watchers, several calorie-counting apps and different programs, but the community aspect of MFP, as well as Instagram, gives her strength in the form of a support network cheering her on.

Baird admits she has plateaued at several points along the way and, at one juncture, she had to “break up with my scale.” “I realized,” she continues, “that I had been giving and pushing and the scale just wouldn’t budge, so it had to go! Now, I don’t worry so much about those numbers, but more about the numbers at the end of my barbell.”

Next up for Baird is skin removal and training for her first 10K. “I’m doing things today I never would have imagined possible,” she says, “and the best part is when my kids tell me how proud they are of me. I love knowing that my choices today are shaping not only my future, but the future of kids and grandkids as well.”

Kim Westerman is a freelance travel, food, coffee and wine writer and a longtime writing teacher with an interest in mindfulness and contemplative studies. She lives with her wife and two young children in Berkeley, California.

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  • Gina

    Christina looks amazing! U deserve to be told what a great job you have done putting yourself first!

  • Tara Skelly Byrd

    Christina…WOW….do you think you would be able to share your food diary? I would love to know what you ate during the day i’m having a hell of a time trying to change my eating habits.

  • Jill S.

    I honestly just thought I was reading about myself!! I am 5’2″ and VERY overweight. I LOVE seeing what my weight “may be” in 5 weeks as well. I just REstarted my journey again after many tries at different diets, systems, trackers, etc as well. This time I want it to be for good!

    This is TRULY inspirational to me! Thank you for sharing.

  • Barbara Morgan

    To all Weight Loss Wannabe-gurus who show before and after photos and then segue to a commercial product: Get a life!

  • Max Roberts

    Congratulations Christina!

    Shedding the weight had to be hard. Keeping it off should take a lot of awareness. Awareness seems the latest buzzword, but very consciously eating safe foods in reasonable amounts has got to work. Better to eat after exercise too.

    How often, when I could eat anything and stay thin, did I go to a movie and stuff popcorn into my mouth automatically, or eat a whole Mexican meal then not remember what I ate? The whole process was to make food disappear into my mouth.

    Now in my 70s, I can no longer get by with such behavior. In my 50s, I have eaten a whole box of Oreos, then wondered ‘How on Earth did I do that?’. The temptation to mindlessly snack is there when fixing a meal too. Maybe half a meal during its fixing, then a whole one when all was ready.

    Best thing os not to snack between meals (as we were reminded as kids), to sit down with others to eat, then eat consciously (chew well and think how the food tastes to jack up your satisfaction), and talk with others between mouthfuls. You will rise from the table feeling quite full on relatively little food.

    The snacking movement was promoted by bread companies, cracker companies, jelly companies, and p’nut butter companies. During the 50s and beyond, these pushed snacking as a healthy thing after kids school and before dinner to keep them from pacing about like restless cats. That was okay if the kids went out and played, climbed trees, etc.

    But they likelier sat and watched TV or indulged in other sedentary pursuits. Now it’s computer games.

    The best thing is to get sb. into activities requiring conscious effort–like playing cards, checkers, chess, painting, drawing, playing an instrument. Those tend to allay hunger pangs.

    A game I play is to focus on the hunger and to imagine building a massive structure of pangs, to where I convince myself that I enjoy the experience. I do. It is like balancing on a slack-line.

    After that the trap to avoid is to take it easy at the next meal rather than to down it fast like a dog or other wolf-relative that can consume up to 20% of its body weight when enough food is at hand.