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How one mom is getting healthy for her son

Last February, Krystal Beel, a community justice worker and mother from Ste. Anne, Man., was 288 pounds. Now she's 248. The 24-year-old is one of the participants in APTN's Fit First, a TV series about four aboriginal women losing weight to improve their health.

When the reality show put Ms. Beel in the public eye, her body image proved less motivating than the power of herself. She didn't need to feel sexy or glow with confidence, but her workouts promise those rewards.

My goal

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"Maintaining my strength. My goal throughout the show wasn't weight loss, it was getting my mobility up, because I was working, sitting on the couch and watching TV and munching out, and then going to bed. I wanted to get active because diabetes runs in my family."

My workout

"Before my new routine started, I'd exercised periodically because I had no ambition. But now I can do 15 push-ups in a row.

"I work out three days a week, I do boot camp at 6:45 a.m. to 7:45 a.m. in the morning. Monday we do arms with weights in rounds at five stations with 30 seconds rest in between exercises, and I do it three times. Wednesday we box and do heavy bag punching and sparring in the ring — jab, jab, cross, I love it! Fridays is legs doing squats and lunges and balancing.

"Every week we add weight because we are building strength. My trainer doesn't want me to do more reps, but lift more weight each week."

My lifestyle

"Now I buy food for lunches every week and have yogurt, fruits and vegetables at work. I was having a hard time getting on a schedule.

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"I can walk past the chips aisle in the grocery store and say, 'Hey, I don't need that.' I know how many calories the whole bag is now and that motivates me to not eat the way I used to. Fruits and vegetables are awesome.

"I used order off the dollar menu at McDonald's for breakfast and lunch and I didn't realize how much of the stuff I ate was not giving me the proper nutrients and vitamins my body needs."

My motivation

"My son. He's always bouncing off the walls. We live on 14 acres of land and I want to be able to chase him around and push him on the swing for half and hour or actually go on the play set and not break it."

My anthem

" Sexy and I Know It by LMFAO."

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My challenge

"Ordering healthy [foods]when people are eating wings."


Sebastien Rahman, (bachelor of physical education) who has trained overweight clients with the goal of losing 100 pounds, offers these suggestions.

Eat broccoli

"I recommend Krystal eat one half-cup of raw broccoli daily. Broccoli is packed with vitamins and calcium, cancer-fighting antioxidants and fibre."

Add in leg press

"The leg press trains several large muscle groups simultaneously. Maximizing the recruitment of muscles means Krystal speeds up her basal [resting]and exercise metabolic rates, and burns more calories. For a beginner with weight issues, I recommend leg press twice a week doing 10 to 12 reps. She'll see strength results in two weeks.

"After four weeks she could be strong enough to develop her cardio system for the high heart rates of plyometrics [exercise designed to produce fast, powerful movements] developing her self-confidence and power she built."

This interview has been condensed and edited.

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