By Nicolas Fernandes
An obese mom who was overweight for TWO DECADES is now a personal trainer after her father’s heart problems inspired her to lose more than 11 stone (162lb).
Crystal Turk, 32, from San Diego, California, USA, lost nearly half her bodyweight thanks to the changes she made shortly before her father’s fourth heart complication.
She was determined not to follow in the footsteps of her dad Robert Hollis, 60, whose unhealthy lifestyle led him to suffer a heart attack at the age of 41 and three atrial fibrillations.
The fear of suffering similar problems motivated her to lead a healthier lifestyle and become a better role model for her sons Brendan and Zachary.
She embarked on the ‘21-day fix’ in October 2014, which consisted of eating whole foods in small portions and doing a 30-minute workout every day.
She also wrote down everything she ate to ensure that she didn’t consume too many calories.
Despite struggling with the daily exercise, she never gave up and eventually the routine became second nature to her.
This tactic led Crystal to achieve losing more than seven stone (100lb) in nine months and the full 11st (158lb) after two years.
Now a 158-pound personal trainer, Crystal said: “Watching my dad live an unhealthy lifestyle pushed me to change my life for myself and for my family.
“I feared for my dad’s life then and I still do today. I try to guide him in the right direction, but I know change is very hard, especially when we get older.”
“I was hoping that if my family could see that change was possible, they would begin to change their unhealthy habits also.
“I also wanted to teach my boys how to live a healthy and active life.
“Doing the workouts was very difficult when I was more than 300 pounds.
“It was also difficultly mentally getting into the habit of doing them every day. I had to force myself at times.
“The first three weeks was difficult, but after that I was on overdrive and I didn’t look back.
“For me personally, I was very focused because I got into the mindset that there was no going back.
“I wrote down every single thing that I ate, and it just became normal for me to document every meal and every snack I was eating each day.
“Something just ticked in me, I told myself that if I didn’t truly want this, I wouldn’t have been doing it.
“That’s what motivated me to not quit, it’s mind over matter and you have to truly want something in order to have that drive.”
Not only did the weight loss benefit herself, but it has led her children to be very cautious of what they eat.
Documenting her weight loss journey on Instagram, Crystal caught the attention of many users on who have found inspiration from her accomplishment.
Crystal decided to become a certified personal trainer to help others achieve their goals too.
She said: “I’ve really inspired my kids to be more aware of nutrition.
“Now they look at the nutrition facts before eating something and often times they will say ‘no, this has too much sugar in it’ or ‘this has too much fat.’
“Because of my love of fitness that started to grow, I became a certified personal trainer.
“Once I started losing weight, I quickly pushed myself into the fitness community, especially with my social media posts.
“I soon realized that I was motivating a lot of people who followed me.
“I thought if I became a personal trainer and actually helped them through their journey of dieting and exercise, I would be able to motivate them even more.”
Now half her bodyweight, Crystal has noticed several improvements since choosing to change her life.
A major one is that she has an increased energy level and is able to have more fun with her kids.
In addition, Crystal is now a keen runner, previously she struggled due to her size – in high school, it would take her 16 minutes to run a mile compared to nine minutes now.
But to her the most valuable change, is being able to love herself.
Crystal said: “My energy levels with keeping up with my kids have been incredible.
“I love running now because I’m a better runner in my 30’s than when I was a teenager.
“Having self-love for myself is one of the best benefits – I’m able to look at myself in the mirror and know that I love myself and have pride in myself.”
While Crystal has benefits immensely since losing nearly half her body weight, she has been left with mounds of excess skin that makes it difficult for her to do certain workouts.
She is hoping for skin removal surgery she can finally be 100 percent content with the way she looks and feels.
A GoFundMe page has been set-up by Crystal’s friend to raise $15,000 to help cover the medical costs.
Crystal said: “My excess skin causes pain when I do specific workouts.
“I experience pain whenever I do push-ups or plank position workouts or anything that involves plyometrics such as jumping and running.
“Even though I am very proud of the weigh I’ve lost, I go through a mental battle every day seeing all the excess skin on my body.”
Crystal’s Meals Before Weight Loss:
Breakfast: about 2.5 cups of sugary cereal with milk
Snack: 1/2 pack of crackers (ritz) with cream cheese spread
Lunch: ham and cheese sandwich with mayo, bag of chips, cookies (or some other sweet treat)
Snack: 1-3 cups fruit
Snack: eat individual packs of desserts from grocery stores and bags of chips
Dinner: typically fast food: taco shop (full size carne asada fries with rolled tacos). Jack in the box (ultimate bacon cheeseburger meal with large fries and soda)
Dessert: cake or ice cream or cookies
Crystal’s Meals During and After Weight Loss
Breakfast: 1/3 c steel cut oats with flax meal and 1 c fresh berries (no sweetener), 2 whole eggs with 2 egg whites scrambled
Snack: protein bar
Lunch: 2 c spring mix salad with chicken breast, onion, bell pepper, and light dressing. 1 Small apple
Snack: 1/2 red bell pepper sliced, baby carrots with hummus
Dinner: 4 ounces of protein, 2 cups veggies (zucchini/broccoli/baked carrots), 1/2 to 1 cups of complex carbs (sweet potato/brown rice/quinoa)
Snack: 1/2 cups of berries or frozen fruit