Miss South Texas went from a taunted fat girl to a beauty queen after her 100-pound weight loss. Keli Kryfko, a 23-year-old who was recently crowned Miss South Texas, started shedding weight after incessant teasing began in high school when she was just 14. A decade later, the Houston beauty queen has been making her rounds and winning pageants left and right.
“I knew that that’s not what I wanted my definition to be anymore,” Kryfko said, according to NewsOxy on May 29. “I decided that I needed to make a change and I started by kicking out Dr. Pepper which I always say was my toughest break-up to date.”
Soda is a known contributor to obesity, especially in children and adolescents. According to consumer.healthyday.com, federal guidelines introduced in schools across the nation this year have sought to limit the availability of overly sugared drinks in cafeterias, colleges and vending machines. The average soda pop has 17 teaspoons of sugar – a whopping 250 calories. “At a time when 18 percent of children aged 12 to 19 are overweight, soda no longer seems quite so harmless,” reports HealthyDay.
Kryfko says that at the age of 14, she was already pushing 200 pounds, and her dress size was a 24. She remembers being called fat in gym class when she would fail at standardized fitness tests. She admits that she was fat however, and needed to overhaul her diet in order to do something about her growing weight. “I just used logic,” she recalled. “I thought, well I probably need to eat less fried foods and maybe I can eat the burger without the cheese.” Her body responded well, and she quickly shed close to 100 pounds. Since then, she hasn’t looked back.
With a newfound sense of confidence, Kryfko decided to explore the world of beauty pageants and witnessed quick success. Her biggest wins so far include Miss Allen 2012, Miss Limestone 2013 and Miss South Texas 2014. She is now vying for the title of Miss Texas, with the contest set to take place in July.
The NY Daily News, which carried before and after photos of Kryfko, says that it wasn’t any trendy diet plans that helped her get into shape. It was simply common sense eating, coupled with the unfortunate bullying that pushed the chubby teen into action. The Daily News reports:
She remembers feeling left out in middle school. It was hard to make close friends. At one point, she asked someone to a school dance and was rejected right away. She was also unable to do things other middle school kids dream about, like becoming a cheerleader or starring in the school musical.
Overweight kids in school are an easy target for bullies. According to a 2010 study published in the journal Pediatrics, children who are obese are 63 percent more likely to get taunted than those who are an average weight. Because of that, many kids that are an unhealthy weight also suffer from related anxieties like depression, loneliness and binge eating.
Speaking of sit-ups, push-ups or just running in gym class, Kryfko said: “I wasn't able to do any of it and it was so embarrassing. So I went back into the locker room hoping no one would notice and I overheard these girls saying, ‘Can you believe the fat girl couldn't do any of it?’ And I realized, oh my gosh, they're talking about me… I'm much more than those names that people are calling me.”