2 Years & 3,000 Instagram Posts: How Kim Lost 170 Pounds

Jonah Freedman
by Jonah Freedman
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2 Years & 3,000 Instagram Posts: How Kim Lost 170 Pounds

Meet Kim Carter Martinez. By day, she works for a labor union in San Francisco. On weekends, you’ll often find her participating in runs or bike rides. Kim stays fit, eats well and makes healthy choices, including everything in moderation. What isn’t immediately obvious from this description is that she is literally half the woman she used to be. Here she is in a recent photo:

Kim has lost nearly 170 pounds over two years by making big changes to her lifestyle that have led to, she hopes, long-term healthy habits. And over the past three years, she’s chronicled every step of her journey through thousands of Instagram posts.

This is Kim in 2013. To hear her tell it, she has struggled with weight her whole life. She was also diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, which her mother eventually died from when Kim was still in high school. “I just kind of used food as a comfort,” she says. At her heaviest, Kim weighed 344 pounds.

#diabetes #diabetic #ada #cure

A photo posted by Kim Carter Martinez (@sugarfreeoreo) on

Kim was also diagnosed with arthritis in her knee, which required total knee replacement surgery. Because of her weight at the time, her doctor refused to perform the procedure unless she lost at least 50 pounds. “That was the turning point,” she explains. “That’s when I knew I had to make a change.”

Next Monday the 12th is World Arthritis Day. I didn’t know about it until I saw it online. As you know, along with diabetes I live with arthritis. For many, it is a debilitating disease. For me, it is an obstacle, but one I fight like hell to overcome on a daily basis. This is a picture of my left knee. Because of my arthritis, my cartilage wore completely away in my left knee and I had to have a total knee replacement. That was one of if not the hardest things I’ve gone through in my life. Pretty soon I will have to do the same thing with my right knee. For all of my followers who have arthritis, October 12 is our day to spread awareness of our disease and to celebrate all of the accomplishments we have in spite of it. I’m going to try to do more education about arthritis, an often invisible illness through my posts. On October 12th tag your pictures #wadhigh5 to show your care for those of us with arthritis. #arthritis #chronicillness #spoonie #totalkneereplacement #ad #warrior #fighter @elilillyco

A photo posted by Kim Carter Martinez (@sugarfreeoreo) on

Kim wasn’t necessarily looking for MyFitnessPal, but she did notice that some of her connections in the diabetes community were hashtagging the app on their Instagram posts. It seemed like a good tool for her to carefully track and manage food intake and exercise. She didn’t yet have the confidence to join a gym, but she did follow along with Richard Simmons videos in her garage.

Action shot of me working out in the living room. Cardio and core. Tonight I definitely didn’t want to workout because I had a rough day at work and I wasn’t feeling it. I know myself though and I know I would have felt worse about myself if I didn’t do it so I sucked it up and did it. And I feel sweaty but much better. They do say exercise is a mood enhancer. I’m making it a goal to be under 200 pounds by my birthday which is January 9th. I really want to achieve it and am pushing myself to stick to my plan. It’s harder for me to stick to my food plan than it is for me to exercise. I’ll exercise any time of day just to get it in. And the Fitbit is a godsend because I would hate to disappoint it and not hit all my goals everyday. But food is a different story. Our society pushes food down our throats, and unhealthy food at that. Everyday in my office there is Chinese, sandwiches, donuts, junk galore! have to keep working on making the healthiest choices I can when in social settings. Even my husband tempts me with food and I am learning to just say no. Tonight he wanted to go out to dinner and I said no, I’m going to stick with my meal prep. And my coworkers and I went for a drink after our hard day at work and I stuck to sparkling water. I’m really good at not drinking but I have given into food when out before. Reaching 199 by 1/9 is really important to me, so I guess I’ll keep on keeping on and do the work to hopefully get there. #fitness #fit #weightloss #weightlossjourney #weightlossmotivation #diabetes #arthritis #130poundsdown #199byjanuary9 #thoughtsbecomethings

A photo posted by Kim Carter Martinez (@sugarfreeoreo) on

She did the hardest work with her diet. “I gave up Starbucks,” she says. “That was like an extra 300-400 calories per day. I gave up snacking. I started cooking my own food and stopped eating out three meals a day. I taught myself how to meal prep. Now I have it down to a 45-minute science.”

By May of 2014, Kim had lost the 50 pounds her doctor had asked for, and she got the knee replacement surgery. But she wasn’t done at 280. Far from it: “I wanted to continue losing weight and get healthier.”

I’m ready. Bye bye old new, hello bionic one. #arthritis #surgery #kneereplacement #scared

A photo posted by Kim Carter Martinez (@sugarfreeoreo) on

At her heaviest, Kim couldn’t fathom joining a gym. But by now, she felt much more inspired. “A lot of it was the confidence in thinking I couldn’t do it, then trying it and surprising myself,” she says. Here she is at her local crossfit gym, dominating a kettle bell.

Kim stuck with her meal-planning, too. To date, she eats the same meal almost every day: Greek yogurt for breakfast; ground turkey and broccoli for lunch; chicken breast, green beans and squash or sweet potato for dinner. For dessert, she enjoys with powdered peanut butter mixed with frozen blueberries. When she goes out to eat, she makes smart decisions, too.

Gradually, Kim’s hard work paid off and she found she could accomplish things she had only dreamed of. She’s biked 35-mile competitive rides. She’s run a handful of foot races, including San Francisco’s famed Bay to Breakers. “For years, I couldn’t go for a walk in my neighborhood,” she says. “I can’t even describe the sense of accomplishment I have in doing these things that I couldn’t do for [the first] 38 years of my life.”

Today, Kim weighs 175 and is trying to maintain what she calls her “happy” size. “The changes I’ve made have saved my life,” she says. “They’re tools I know I’ll use for the rest of my life.” Here she is last year at her 40th birthday, compared with her 35th.

Transformation Tuesday. The left was my birthday a few years ago, maybe my 35th. The right was my birthday last week- I turned 40. I am the healthiest and fittest I have ever been since I was a kid. I started gaining weight in my teens after my dad died at the age of 12. When my mom died when I was 17, food was the only thing that could comfort my sadness. I ate and ate and binged and binged for 20 years until I hit that moment of enough is enough about two years ago. I’ve now lost 138 pounds and don’t use food to fill the void anymore. I’m at peace with their deaths now and find much joy in my new lifestyle. #transformationtuesday #fitness #weightloss #weightlossjourney #weightlosstransformation #diabetes #arthritis #135poundsdown #thoughtsbecomethings

A photo posted by Kim Carter Martinez (@sugarfreeoreo) on

Kim hopes that by being so open on Instagram and documenting her journey every step of the way, she’ll inspire others who are struggling with their weight and perhaps encourage them to be brave and open in the same way she has been. “I’d be open about my journey again,” she explains. “The support and love I’ve gotten along the way have really helped me.”

Do you or a loved one have a personal Success Story you’d like to share? Let us know on our Facebook page, hit us up on Twitter or tag #MyFitnessPal on your Instagram posts. We’d love to feature it in a future blog post!

About the Author

Jonah Freedman
Jonah Freedman

Jonah has worked for multiple publications including Sports Illustrated, Fortune, Money, Rolling Stone and Details. In his spare time he enjoys running, working out, a nice glass of whiskey (neat) and far, far too much soccer on TV. Follow him on Twitter @jonahfreedman.


26 responses to “2 Years & 3,000 Instagram Posts: How Kim Lost 170 Pounds”

  1. Avatar Virginia Menzie says:

    Congratulations Kim! I am so impressed by the hard work you have done to overcome your challenges. Your dedication inspires me. You look fabulous.

  2. Avatar MostlyLucid says:

    Great Job, I shared your story with my facebook friends.

  3. You definitely made me want to try harder! Could you share your tips for preparing your foods and the recipes you used? It’d be much appreciated 🙂

  4. Avatar Tamika Hinton says:

    I have just started my weight loss journey Saturday 12/10/2016. I went to the doctor and stepped on the scale and it was my worst nightmare. The scale said 213.8lbs. The heaviest I have ever been. So the day I left the doctors office I said now is the time to do something for me. So here I go again but this time means more to be because I want more out of life. I have 2 wonder children one is graduating from college and my youngest is graduating from high school and now it’s my time to shine. I wish everyone the best of luck with this journey.

    • Avatar Coach says:

      Tamika getting on that scale was the best thing for you, it was a reality check. Some people hate the scale but it holds me accountable every week. Now that your kids are older take time and do something for yourself. Try a few classes at a local community center. I like to mix it up and keep it fresh. Happy Holidays to you and your family.

    • Avatar Florence Hughes says:

      It is my time 2. I’m so proud of Kim. Ive lost 111 and kept it off 3 yrs now Im gaining back.But this time Im anle t o realize what Triggers me.
      With stories and others being transparent about them selfs as kim has done let me see and say if they can keep on going though all this. I will NOT Give Up. I want you to continue to shine and enjoy life also.Please we will not listen to rhose that say negative things to doubt our

      • Avatar Florence Hughes says:

        Pulled muscles in left foot. No. I have Not exercised 4 four months and eating everything in site. No timing jus straight 2 my

    • Avatar Javier Rodriguez says:

      It happened to me this past May, cholesterol, sugar, and weight, all the metric were off. Less than six months later it’s all fixed. You can do it, the first three weeks are the difficult ones, after that it becomes a lifestyle.

    • Avatar Florence Hughes says:

      I think what you doing is great taking time for you to shine I too am working on that to stay healthy daily to move and eat healthy for myself I just wanted to say hang in there please keep the block coming I will follow you we are starting together mine’s was December 14th 2016 and I started this Journey a new hooray hooray for each and every day

  5. Avatar Coach says:

    I am a teacher and basketball coach and my weight has always been my biggest challenge. I have decided that over the Christmas break i will exercise at least 3 or 4 days a week to help keep my weight down during the holidays. Keep up the good work. You look great!

  6. Avatar Theresa Henderson says:

    such an inspiration. keep up the good hard work

  7. Avatar Renee says:

    This is an amazing, inspiring story. I have been working at being more fit and eating healthier. Reading your blog has given me the motivation to keep plugging away! Thank you for sharing. You look amazing.

  8. Avatar Vicki Kechekian says:

    omg THIS is inspiration. I’m glad I clicked through to read this article. To Kim, you are awesome.

  9. Avatar JichaelMackson says:


  10. Avatar EllBee Wright says:

    You inspire me!

  11. Avatar clj810 says:

    Congrats!!! Your story is my motivation!!! WooHoo!!

  12. Avatar Yvette says:

    What a great job Kim and a great accomplishment!!. You inspire me to do the right thing and to work hard to achieve my own weight loss goal. You go girl !!

  13. Avatar Lynne R. says:

    Awesome job Kim! You are an inspiration. I am beginning my weight loss journey and will use your tips to make it happen!

  14. Avatar Charlene Lynette McLaughlin Bi says:

    You are beautiful inside and out Lady!! I love your determination and spirit. Congratulations on your accomplishment! I am facing a similar weight loss and keep coaching myself to take it one day, sometimes one moment at a time. God Bless!!

  15. Avatar Joseph says:


  16. Avatar Deborah says:

    What an inspiration!!! Thank you for sharing your journey with us!

  17. Avatar Lyndon Johnson says:

    Great job Kim.

  18. Avatar Vartooka says:


  19. Avatar sierra says:

    Wow! You look amazing and your journey is so inspiring. You rock!

  20. Avatar bazinga says:

    Just followed you on Instagram. Can’t wait to see your posts.

  21. Avatar Flor De Abril Gregg says:

    This is amazing! We need positive stories like this! If she can do it so can I!

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