Your Best Body in Your 30s, 40s, 50s
Look Your Best: Your 50s
After years of overeating, Kim Hulswit finally got serious about slimming down -- and it all started with a kiss.
Hometown: North Versailles, Pennsylvania
Starting Weight: 172
Current Weight: 112
Pounds Lost: 60
At 5'2" and 172 pounds, Kim Hulswit knew she had to lose weight, but her low self-esteem paralyzed her. She'd been heavy since her teen years, when other kids mocked her size. Her marriage, at age 26, was rocky, and Hulswit's already-poor eating habits got worse when she began overeating to cope. And when her second child was diagnosed with autism, she turned to junk food for comfort. Her marriage ended 23 years later, but her insecurity and bad eating habits remained.
It ultimately took a kiss from a crush three years ago to help Hulswit see that she needed to treat herself better. She loved the attention the man gave her but she was too ashamed of her body to take the relationship further. "I realized that in order to find love I had to love and take care of myself first."
She began by replacing processed foods with fruit, salad, and lean proteins like grilled chicken, turkey, and eggs -- advice she gleaned from The South Beach Diet. The change sent her energy level soaring, which made Hulswit even more determined to drop weight. "I decided I wanted my 50s to be the best years of my life," she says.
When it came to exercise Hulswit got help in the motivation department from an Oprah episode on weight loss. "A doctor told an audience member that even if she was in the middle of a hurricane she should still get on that treadmill and work out!" Hulswit began walking every morning, gradually pushing herself until she worked up to an hour. To prevent boredom she added strength training, Pilates, and dance DVDs to her regimen. "I don't love exercise, but I trick my self by saying, 'Just do 10 minutes,' and I last much longer."
Now 112 pounds and a size 2, Hulswit feels confident about her appearance -- and her future. "I really owed it to my family to lose the weight," she says. "I need to be healthy to be here to take care of my son."
And although her crush is no longer in her life, she still treasures that kiss and the transformation it inspired. "I look and feel so great that I'm more likely to meet someone."
Originally published in Ladies' Home Journal, July 2009.