By Staying in a Calorie Deficit and Doing HIIT Workouts and Kickboxing, I Lost 85 Pounds

Curated by Claudia Shannon / Research Scientist / ishonest

I’m Kiona Reese (@lovealwayskdr), and I am 27 years old. I’m from Chattanooga, Tennessee, and I work as an actor and certified personal trainer. The pandemic made realize I needed to overhaul my lifestyle and prioritize my health. By staying in a calorie deficit and lifting weights, I revamped my diet and lost 85 pounds.

My whole life I’ve trained to make my dream come true: to perform across the world as a musical theater artist. I’ve been so blessed to have the opportunity to touch the lives of many through art. Then, when COVID-19 took over the world, I was performing on cruise ships and found myself stuck at sea.

ishonest No.232 - Pigmentation & Blemishes

Recommended
No.232 - Pigmentation & Blemishes

Before I was approved to go out to sea on my last contract, my doctor told me that at the rate I was going, my blood pressure would eventually end my life extremely early. I was almost not cleared to perform.

So, when the pandemic came, I was absolutely petrified at the state of my own health and the looming uncertainties surrounding the virus.

I was 26, medically overweight, unhealthy, and, most importantly, unhappy in my skin. I was miserable. I was self-sabotaging by binge eating and drinking uncontrollably, and day by day I knew that I was shortening my own life span.

A post shared by K I O N A (@lovealwayskdr)

A post shared by K I O N A (@lovealwayskdr)

Dealing with my own mindset and relationship with food was my number one priority. With that, I also figured out that I needed to stay in a caloric deficit.

It is never too late to improve your skin elasticity

Learn more

You can easily estimate your calorie deficit for weight loss with the help of a nutritionist or using a free online calculator. With this information, I also learned very quickly that no matter how hard I was working out, I couldn’t outwork a poor diet.

I started by being more intentional about what I was putting into my body. I also started cutting out added sugars, limiting alcohol, eating more fruits and vegetables, increasing my protein, and drinking at least a gallon of water a day.

A post shared by K I O N A (@lovealwayskdr)

Before I developed this new lifestyle, I was eating fast food and having a bottle of wine every day. Once I learned the value of whole foods and protein, I knew there was no going back.

ishonest No.501 - Frizzy Hair

Recommended
No.501 - Frizzy Hair

I love sharing my nutrition journey, but it’s important to understand that just because one person eats a certain way, that doesn’t mean you’ll have the same outcomes if you eat the same way. The really cool thing about wellness is that it's totally personal and up to you to figure out what works best for you!

A post shared by K I O N A (@lovealwayskdr)

Here’s what I eat in a day now.

A post shared by K I O N A (@lovealwayskdr)

When I first got started, I was very into HIIT training.

It quickly helped me lose fat. However, I wasn’t building the muscle I wanted to. So, I began strength training. Ultimately, strength training is what changed my body, regulated my hormones, and made the largest impact on my fitness journey.

Anti-Aging treatment everyone is talking about

Learn more

Learn more

Currently, I train six days a week. I lift during the day, and then I kick-box at night three to four days out of the week.

A post shared by K I O N A (@lovealwayskdr)

These three changes have led to my weight loss success.

ishonest No.163 - Uneven Skin Tone

Recommended
No.163 - Uneven Skin Tone

A post shared by K I O N A (@lovealwayskdr)

  1. I incorporated a portion of protein and greens at every meal. Cleaning up my diet and actually fueling my body with nutrient-dense foods was the way to kick- start better eating habits. I didn’t do an elimination diet. Instead, I added protein and more color to my plates.
  2. I started walking 10,000 steps a day. When I started this journey, COVID-19 was in full force, and gyms were either closed or in the first phase of reopening. So, I started this whole thing at home! Increasing your daily steps not only gets your body up and moving, but it also greatly improves your cardiovascular health.
  3. I started drinking a gallon of water a day. Water keeps you full, aids in digestion, supports the daily functioning of your organs, and so much more. Put down the soda and give me 10 chugs of water!

A post shared by K I O N A (@lovealwayskdr)

In about a year, I lost 85 pounds.

I want other women to know how possible it is to take your power back from diet culture and the toxic body lies we’ve believed for years. It’s not about becoming the smallest version of yourself, but the most confident, strongest, and healthiest version of yourself. Getting your health on track is a slow process. It’s hard, and it can be draining. But the hard days are worth it, and they’ll be quickly outshone by the wins.

A post shared by K I O N A (@lovealwayskdr)

Read more on: womenshealthmag, training


Learn about unknown needs of your skin for free