This Mom Was Inspired By Her Daughter To Lose More Than 100 Pounds
When Kassidy Linde of Cheyenne, Wyoming gave birth to her daughter, Harley, she knew she wanted her lifestyle to change. The now 25-year-old was tired, unhealthy, and uncomfortable in her own skin. She wanted to set a more positive example for her new little girl. Before her pregnancy, Linde ate mostly unhealthy foods, smoked, and drank often. “I obviously knew what I was eating was unhealthy, but I didn’t have the will to change,” Linde told People. Linde weighed 200 pounds during her pregnancy with Harley, and gained another 60 while pregnant.
“After having my daughter, I knew I had to take back control of my life,” Linde tells SELF. “I wanted to be the best possible mom I could be. I was tired of making excuses and I wanted to get healthy for her!” This time around, Linde took a different approach to her health than in the past: She steered clear of any weight loss fads, and she didn’t classify her new routine as a diet. Instead, she viewed healthy eating as a lifelong habit. “I looked at it like a lifestyle,” Linde says. “When you focus on healthy living as a diet, you’re going to fail. Use food to fuel your body, not destroy it.”
Linde started drinking more water, researching nutrition and fitness, and doing cardio three to five times per week. She also began meal prepping each Sunday night, which can make a big difference in overall health. “[When meal prepping], you can control the amount of fats and tailor your meals to meet your caloric needs versus restaurant prepared food, in which they are looking to tailor to your tastes,” Holly Lofton, M.D., assistant professor of medicine and director of the weight management program at New York University Langone Medical Center, tells SELF. “By preparing your meals you have more control over what you put in your body.”
As Linde’s body, health, and energy levels began to change, she shared updates about her journey on Instagram. A year and a half after beginning her road to health, Linde has lost 130 pounds—and gained more than 8,000 Instagram followers who support her every step of the way. What helped her stick to her new habits was learning to view her fitness routine as a non-negotiable part of her daily life. “When I wake up, I brush my teeth,” Linde explains. “I’ve programmed my mind that brushing my teeth is part of my routine and I can’t leave the house without doing it. It’s the same with working out. I have programmed my mind to include working out into my routine so it becomes a necessity, not a chore.”
Kassidy Linde / Instagram
The positive changes she’s experienced since embracing a healthier lifestyle also keep her motivated. Linde has become stronger, more confident, and full of much more energy to play with her daughter. “You look back at where you started and see how far you’ve come and it all makes sense,” Linde says. “You can either give up or keep going. If you choose to give up, you have a strong possibility of gaining back the weight and becoming unhealthy again. If you choose to keep going, you have no other choice but to be better.” Sticking to her path is what helped her realize what she is capable of. “Pushing yourself on the most difficult days is what gets you results. It’s what takes you from ordinary to extraordinary.”
Of course, Linde’s road to success wasn’t without its hurdles. Linde suffers from rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune condition that causes inflammation of the joints and that can lead to erosion of cartilage and bone. This can cause redness, swelling, and severe pain on the joints, which makes it tough to make it to the gym some days.
“People with arthritis have joint pain, swelling, and stiffening that make it difficult to exercise,” Nieca Goldberg, M.D., medical director of the Joan H. Tisch Center for Women’s Health at the New York University Langone Medical Center, tells SELF. “Common joints affected are the knees, hips and hands. This make it difficult to walk and do common household activities such as cooking or making their bed.”
Linde has shared with her Instagram followers that she struggles with body dysmorphia, which is characterized by intrusive thoughts about one’s perceived flaws. “You think after losing a significant amount of weight, you would love what you see,” Linde tells SELF. “Wrong. Me, like many others [with body dysmorphia], see what we want to see. I look into the mirror and I see ‘fat.’ It’s an obsessive focus on a perceived flaw. No matter what you do, you can’t seem to get rid of it. I think it’s an extreme insecurity that no one notices except you.” As a result, what Linde sees when she looks in the mirror is vastly different from what others see when they look at her.
Still, whenever possible, Linde prefers to focus on how powerful her body is, and how much it has been through. “I was very under weight in high school,” Linde says. “I have lived on both ends of the scale spectrum. I understand what it’s like to under eat, I understand what it’s like to overeat, and I understand what it’s like to eat just right. My body has really been through a lot, and that’s why I am so proud of it, imperfections and all.”
Kassidy Linde / Instagram
If you’re looking to dive into a healthier lifestyle like Linde, aim to adapt your new routine to fit your preferences and schedule. “For cardio, find something that you like to do,” Lofton tells SELF. “It doesn’t have to be what your friends are doing.” While beginning a new routine may take extra effort upfront, it can become an instinctive habit as time goes on. “For meal prep, it’s good to initially use measuring cups and scales but that is probably not feasible in the long run,” Lofton explains. “Measure at least the first few times and then eyeball it. You can also use your hand for portion sizes—your entire hand is a good size for proteins, whereas just your palm is good size for any carbohydrates, including fruits and beans.”
For anyone who has a history of disordered eating, even if you’re in recovery, you should speak with a doctor before you start any new meal plan or pursue a weight loss goal. And even if you don’t have a history of disordered eating, it’s really important to have realistic expectations, as well as to make sure you’re pursuing weight loss in a healthy way. Results can be incredibly difficult to come by, and can take a very long time to achieve. They’re also really hard to maintain. And everyone’s experience losing weight is very different. While exercising and eating healthier foods are important, your sleep habits, stress levels, genetics, and other health factors all play into the weight-loss equation, too, making it a very unique experience for every person.
While Linde’s journey has transformed her body, it’s also impacted how she sees the world. “The biggest lesson I have learned [from this experience] is not to compare your journey with someone else,” she says. “You don’t know what people struggle with on a daily basis. You don’t know where people started. I have rheumatoid arthritis and I struggle every day with unimaginable pain. You don’t know how hard some people have worked or what obstacles they have overcome.”
She hopes that women know that no matter the obstacles, they can reach their goals. “If you focus on your goals and where you want to be, I promise, one day you will be there.” Congrats to Linde on her journey.