Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

She ain't heavy, 'cuz of her brother

Thick and tired Winnipeg woman took matters into her own hands after diabetic sibling's death, dropping 115 pounds and a lot of bad habits

  • Print

Kelly Zelinsky hated being 33.

More than just another sign of time passing by, it was a sad reminder of her brother, Jon. The young man with Type 2 diabetes had died of a massive heart attack -- at the very same age -- just a few years before.

Turning 33 also reminded Zelinsky about the dangers of her own lifestyle -- a cycle of yo-yo dieting, inactivity and an addiction to junk food that led her to obesity.

"(My brother) didn't make good choices. He had McDonald's all the time and he drank those Slurpees. That's exactly what I was doing," says the mother of three during a phone interview from her Transcona home.

"I didn't want to go down that road anymore."

So in February 2013 -- just three months after she gave birth to her youngest child -- she decided it was time to change her life drastically.

She weighed 274 pounds and wore a size 22.

Although Zelinsky had struggled with her weight for most of her life, it was two nearly back-to-back pregnancies that put her weight over the edge. Fast food and a sedentary existence didn't help matters.

"I was just tired of being so thick. I couldn't even walk half a block. My legs were aching and I would lose my breath.

"I was just not healthy at all and I was just tired of it."

Today it's hard to believe Zelinsky, 35, is the same person in her "before" photos.

She's lost 115 pounds and counting.

Weighing 159 pounds, the home daycare owner and part-time receptionist fits into a size 8, sometimes even a size 6.

Getting there wasn't easy.

While many experts advise it's best to set up small, incremental weight-loss goals, Zelinsky decided to go big; she aimed to lose 100 pounds from the start.

"I knew I had to. There was no question in my mind. I had to. And I did it," she says, noting the lifestyle changes that led her to her lofty goal were slow and steady.

It all started with a visit to the gym. Her sister accompanied her for added support.

It was a place Zelinsky hadn't been in years.

"You don't know where to start. And once you do start, you can't really do anything because you just don't feel good and you're just so big. But you just keep going," says Zelinsky, who lasted for 15 minutes on the elliptical machine before heading home and trying it again in a few days.

"It was uncomfortable. You are kind of upset with yourself because the reason that you are feeling those feelings is because you let yourself get like that."

Nevertheless, she proceeded with her game plan to exercise three times a week "and see how things went from there."

After a month, the pounds started disappearing and she had more energy. By that time, she started eating more nutritious fare.

Instead of hiring a trainer, she found her inspiration on the Internet -- mostly by following fitness pages on Instagram.

In the spring, Zelinsky and her husband, Glen, took up running with the help of a mobile app called Couch-to-5K. The program taught them how to work up to running five kilometres. "It trains you to run a 5K. It tells you when to walk, when to run. It's amazing."

Soon, the gym was a minor part in her exercise routine; she preferred running and fitness DVDs.

During the extreme cold, Zelinsky opts to run on a treadmill.

But running in the elements is something she can't live without; she and her husband often run along the trail by their home when the weather allows.

"Running outside, it's just amazing. I don't know. I crank the music and I just go. I can't even describe the feeling. I love it. I absolutely love it. And people think I'm crazy. They ask me, 'Why do you do it? Who wants to run?' I love it."

Nutritionally-dense food has also played a major role in her new life. Water is her beverage of choice over sugar-laden concoctions.

Her favourite lunch consists of a green smoothie she makes with vegetables, frozen fruit and almond milk.

Rather than count calories, she uses her common sense about portion sizes.

"I just eat healthier. If I am hungry, I will eat something, but I will make it a smart choice. The snack that I had yesterday was fat-free cottage cheese and some pineapple. It's delicious and it's sweet and it's perfect," says Zelinski, whose kids Kassidy, 13, Lexan, 3 and Briella, 1, love the healthful food choices their mother feeds them.

"I like to snack on snow peas, snap peas. They are so delicious and they are sweet. It kind of takes away a sweet craving if you have one," says Zelinsky.

Her success has garnered numerous inquires from strangers following her on Instagram. She loves to answer their questions and gets a confidence-boost whenever she can help someone.

She says her sense of self-worth has skyrocketed during her health journey -- a change just as dramatic as her 115-pound weight loss.

"We would go (out) and I never ever, ever really wanted to because I didn't want people to see me. I didn't want people to talk about me.

"And now I can't wait to be invited somewhere because... I want people to see me," says Zelinsky, who constantly thinks about her late brother as she meets new milestones in her life.

"Maybe he's even helping me get through it. I don't know."

 

Have an interesting story idea you'd like Shamona to write about? Contact her at shamona.harnett@freepress.mb.ca.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 20, 2014 D1

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Jaws of life used to free two people after two-car collision

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Perfect Day- Paul Buteux walks  his dog Cassie Tuesday on the Sagimay Trail in Assiniboine Forest enjoying a almost perfect  fall day in Winnipeg- Standup photo – September 27, 2011   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • A young goose   reaches for long strands of grass Friday night near McGillvary Blvd-See Bryksa 30 Day goose challenge- Day 19 - May 23, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Should the city grant mosquito buffer zones for medical reasons only?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google