Crystal Luke's new birthday suit

Body transformation stories to inspire you

By CANDIECE KNIGHT

Monday, September 23, 2019

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TOMORROW Crystal Luke will be celebrating her 30th birthday in a much healthier and slimmer body than the one she has been living in for the last seven years.

As a teen Luke was always petite. She would linger between 115 to 120 pounds for her five and a half foot frame into early adulthood. But her lifestyle changed drastically when she started university, and she started gaining weight rapidly. Within a span of six months she had gained over 40 pounds. She also learned that she had developed polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), which can contribute to rapid weight gain.

“At my heaviest I was about 172 pounds and that was when I had a wake-up call that this could not continue,” she told All Woman. “I couldn't just allow my life, my health, and my body to deteriorate and become someone I didn't recognise anymore.”

She had the will and was committed to seeing results; however, she could not bring herself to become a member of a gym. Just the thought of working out in that setting gave her anxiety.

“So I started with my diet at first. I reduced the amount of dairy and sugar in my diet significantly and focused on moderating the amount of food that I ate, and I began to see improvement,” she recalled.

It also helped that her partner also decided to go on the weight-loss journey with her, and he helped to keep her motivated. Though she still did not use a gym, she tried to maintain consistent physical activity, even if it meant just doing cardio exercises at home.

But she soon plateaued. After getting the excess fat off, Luke's weight lingered between 140 and 150 pounds. She stayed in this limbo for several years — not as heavy as she had become in college, but still not as light as she wanted to be.

“It wasn't until earlier this year that I was introduced to Alexander Carrington, who is the fitness coach behind Level Up Athletic Training. He started to train with me at my home. He didn't make training difficult; and he didn't put me on any strict diets or use any complex terms,” Luke shared.

Focused on her form and flexibility, Luke worked with Carrington. Within a few weeks she was stunned at the drastic results she was seeing, even though she did not feel as if she was training very hard. It became easy for her to exercise and maintain a balanced diet.

But while she was celebrating her results in March, Luke was engaged to be married in June. In the stress-inducing weeks of wedding preparations, and the honeymoon bliss afterwards, the newly-wed felt herself packing on the pounds she had worked so hard to shed.

“I gained back a little weight,” she snickered guiltily. “But I still tried to exercise, so it wasn't uncontrollable. It had just gotten a bit hectic after the wedding, and I fell out of my routine. But I recently started training with Alex again, because I wanted to approach my 30th birthday in a positive way. It was an early birthday gift to myself.”

Having been a yo-yo fitness enthusiast herself for a few years, Luke understands how difficult it is to stay on track with a healthy lifestyle. She says what is most important is just to keep going, and do everything in moderation — a piece of advice that she has been constantly given by her fitness trainer.

“You also have to own what you have, and don't make changes because of what you think you should look like, or what you see on social media,” she encourages women who might be struggling to manage weight.

“You want to be in a position where you look in the mirror and you love what you see. We are women and we are diverse. All of us will never look the same, so you don't want to look like somebody else. You might see someone whose lifestyle inspires you, but you should never beat yourself up too much about where you are. Give yourself time. It's not going to happen overnight. Consistency is what is key.”


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