MESQUITE (CBSDFW.COM) – Keli Kryfko has come a long way in life. A painful moment in her past was all the push she needed to go from size 24 to competing in the Miss Texas pageant. Now, the Mesquite woman is hoping that her story can inspire others.

Kryfko struggled with her weight in middle school. “I was over 200 pounds,” she recalled. But, at just 14 years old, she made an adult decision to change her life forever. “I had to take a fitness test in P.E. class, where I not only failed it, but I ended up getting a zero on it. I went to the locker room and, hoping on one would notice, I heard some girls saying, ‘Can you believe the fat girl couldn’t do any of it?'”

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That comment was the motivation that Kryfko needed. “I knew that that’s not what I wanted my definition to be anymore,” she said.

The very first thing she did was to swap Dr Pepper drinks for real peppers. “I started making some incremental changes,” Kryfko stated, “adding more water, adding in fruits and veggies, less fried foods.” And, with those small changes and the determination to keep going, she shed around 70 pounds in a year and a half, and more than 100 pounds total — all without any medical procedures.

Kryfko went on to win the Miss South Texas pageant and is now looking even further down the road.

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Justin Murphy with Uptown Energy Fitness is training Kryfko to get in shape for the Miss Texas contest in Richardson this July. Weight loss, he said, is 80 percent diet and 20 percent exercise. “You want to lose one pound a week, that’s a healthy range,” Murphy added. “Shoot for six small meals a day. Focus on getting protein in every meal.”

“I often tell people, your abs are going to be made in your kitchen, not in your gym,” Kryfko said.

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