Crystal Purvis has been on a journey over the past year—one that has taken her a long, long way from where she started.
And it’s giving the 45-year-old Greenville resident a brand-new lease on life.
When you take a look at the “old” Crystal versus the “new” Crystal, you will see she’s literally a fraction of the woman she used to be, thanks to a loss of more than a third of her weight and over 50 inches lost from her starting measurements.
“When I weighed 300 pounds, I was being held prisoner in my flesh and enslaved by food,” she explained.
Weight issues affected almost every aspect of Purvis’s life.
“I could not even walk to our mailbox and back without pain in my back and knees. I couldn’t get out and be active with my kids,” she said.
And then there was the severe depression that felt overwhelming at times. While there were anti-depressant medications available by prescription, the myriad of side effects kept them from being a viable choice for Purvis.
“I was eating anything and everything without a thought or care of just what damage it was actually doing to me,” she explained.
The wife and mother found she was putting everyone else’s needs first, while her own physical, mental and emotional health deteriorated.
One day, Purvis realized that enough was enough.
“I was tired of being in this pit, of being imprisoned by my weight and having all these dark thoughts. I decided I had to climb out of it and become free of my food addiction,” Purvis said. “I needed to become the person that I wanted to be, and leave behind who I was trying to be for everybody else. I made up my mind that I was ready.”
And so she began her transformation, focusing on making healthier food choices and moving a lot more. It’s been one day at a time, day after day—focusing on what she can do to move forward in her goal to reclaim her health.
“I wake up each morning and have my coffee or green tea with matcha and I give that a good 30 minutes or so to really kick in. And I work out for 30-45 minutes a day at least five days a week. If I get more in, that’s a plus,” Purvis explained.
Variety is the spice of life, and Purvis enjoys mixing things up with her exercise sessions, conducted in her own home.
“I do cardio, HIIT, strength training, yoga, pilates, plyometrics . . . each day is a little different. Yes, there are some days I make up excuses in my head, but I usually am able to push these aside and get it done,” Purvis said.
“You put the ones you love first—and I have learned to love myself. I realize now that if I don’t put my own needs first, I can’t be the very best version of me for my husband and kids, for our family. And I realize now that I am worth the effort.”
Purvis practices Intermittent Fasting, meaning that she has a smaller window of time in which she can eat each day.
“Mine is usually 20 hours of fasting with a four-hour window for eating. Sometimes I do OMAD (One Meal a Day), and that is when I fast for 23 hours with a one-hour eating window,” she explained.
“I have done hours and hours of research on the best foods to eat, and those which should be avoided; how your digestive system responds and how foods affect your insulin levels. I try to make my food combinations work for me to get the best results.”
While Purvis says she leans toward “Keto-type meals,” she adds that she generally does not keep her fat grams as high as a typical Keto diet requires on a daily basis.
She had already lost more than 80 pounds when she discovered the FASTer Way to Fat Loss with Amy Bryan via Facebook.
“I had already been practicing Intermittent Fasting when I decided to join the program for six weeks. I had a lot of support that helped me better understand how Intermittent Fasting worked, as well to strategically time what kinds of exercise you are doing along with eating macros,” Purvis explained.
“The information was so helpful, and combined with the support I was given, it really helped me to keep moving forward in my journey. I’ve even been back a few times as a V.I.P. I definitely recommend the program for anyone wanting to learn and get started in Intermittent Fasting.”
Purvis says the decision she made to post daily about her exercise sessions and food choices on social media has also brought her considerable moral support, as friends have helped her celebrate each milestone met.
Of course, there have been stumbling blocks along the way.
“So many things we do in life seem to revolve around food. Birthdays, weddings, baby showers, outings with friends, funerals . . . people want to push food at you and even get upset if you don’t eat the birthday cake,” Purvis admitted. “Being pressured to eat food in settings outside my home has been my biggest challenge. It’s sort of like Bilbo Baggins in the Lord of the Rings when he sees the ring around Frodo’s neck—he just lunges for it with this scary, ravenous face. And then Bilbo feels terrible for his reaction and apologizes. Well, eating from being pressured into it leaves me feeling the same way.”
But there are so many rewards.
“I really enjoy life again. I don’t feel like a prisoner in my own flesh. I can look in the mirror and see a body I don’t loathe (except for the loose skin),” Purvis said.
“I can go on outings with family and friends and not hurt; walk down a sandy beach without feeling like I am going to pass out. This body will now do things I want and need it to do. And my family really enjoys the more vibrant me versus the darker, gloomier me.”
Purvis says she now feels as if she’s come out of her shell and discovered the woman she was always meant to be.
“I like me now. Being happier with myself just reflects in every aspect of my life. At 300 lbs., no matter how many compliments I received, I still hated myself. The kind words didn’t matter,” Purvis said.
“Now I can not only accept compliments, I can genuinely appreciate them.”
At an age when many begin to find themselves requiring prescription medication of one type or another, Purvis is proud to say she doesn’t take any prescribed drugs and says she hopes that remains the case for a long time to come.
“My goal hasn’t just been to get skinnier, slimmer—I wanted to be healthier. And that’s definitely happened.”
Purvis says she would love to see more people decide to do something to better their health.
“We all have just this one body for life and we need to look out for ourselves and pay attention to what we put into our bodies,” she said.
“Food manufacturers are not concerned about our health; we need to take matters into our own hands. Let’s love our bodies and nurture them. Do some research. Most of us have our phones in our hands anyway; put them to good use. There are plenty of apps out there to help you get on the right track to better health.”
Purvis offers these words of wisdom to those wanting to shape up and slim down.
“Please remember you cannot out-exercise a bad diet. Pills and potions may be OK to get you jump-started on your journey to good health, but ultimately, choosing the right foods and making time for regular exercise will sustain you better–and be kinder to your wallet,” she said.