You probably know her best as Penelope Garcia, the whip-smart and sassy technical analyst in Jeff Davis’ Criminal Minds, an American police procedural crime drama TV series.
In her role, Kirsten Vangsness is part of an elite team in the F.B.I. Behavioral Analysis Unit, which the bespectacled-brainiac-tech-kitten accepted over serving jail time after her arrest by the FBI following an investigation into criminal activities that implicated her.
She’s also acted in the series’ spin-off Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior, but she’s had a long and varied career way before she joined the cast of the CBS hit drama.
One of the most searched for questions is how Vangsness lost all the weight she had before joining the Criminal Minds cast. We’ll delve into her early life, career and what led her to
shed off the excess baggage to become the bombshell she is today.
Who Is Kirsten Vangsness?
Kirsten Vangsness is an American actress cum writer, who has been a hot topic in Hollywood for most of the time because of her relationships, first with Melanie Goldstein, her ex-fiancée, and then with Keith Hanson, her current fiancé.
The Pasadena-born blonde is daughter to Errol Leroy Vangsness and Barbara Mary Vangsness, though she’s not an only child.
As a kid, she was “painfully shy” and had a lisp, though she underwent speech therapy to correct her impediment.
However, to deal with her timidity, young Vangsness began acting in plays, often opting to play ensemble characters to gradually come out of her shell, instead of going for leading roles.
Vangsness told CBS she started acting because she was shy and that her mom kind of pushed her into acting, or she would have to take shop.
Vangsness didn’t want to build anything, so she opted to act instead.
At the time, her dad and sister were natural performers, but Vangsness took to acting as an outlet that helped her forget the bullying she went through in her younger years, which she described herself as a “weird-looking” person.
Since she started acting back then, Vangsness discovered an outlet for her “big imagination” and made several improvements on her school grades, plus she wanted to be better at it more than anything else.
She went to Cerritos High School in Los Angeles and later attended college in Cypress, Northern Orange County, before graduating in 1995 from California State University, Fullerton.
Her first acting experience was in her junior high school, but she also worked as a substitute teacher, grant writer, restaurant hostess, and dinner-theater performer as she searched for acting roles.
However, her first paying acting job came through a soft-drink commercial, and her passion for acting blossomed into a career in 1998, when she got a role in Sometimes Santa’s Gotta Get Whacked, a short film.
She later became a distinguishing character in her roles in famous films including A-List Blue, Scream of the Bikini Interior Decorator, The Chicago 8 Sketch Artist, Kill Me, and Deadly Mona Livingston, among many others.
She’s also a writer, with several articles published in the Los Angeles Times. She also loves reading, making soup, writing in her journal, and when she gets the chance, she loves a good dance party.
Her favorite side project is the Blinking Owl Distillery, which she co-owns with two of her dearest friends.
She goes there a lot on weekends to wash dishes, bus tables, and hang out while taking in everyone having a good time.
Her favorite things include musicians Amanda Palmer and Duran Duran, favorite TV series Empire and Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, and eating mac and cheese, cupcakes, and arugula.
Being a cat person, Vangsness naturally loves kittens, and her favorite place is Long Beach.
Kirsten Vangsness Weight And Body
Kirsten Vangsness is a plus-size woman but currently weighs about 150 pounds, or 75 kgs.
The blonde of Norwegian, Bergen, Gol and Oslo descent spots a mole on her right cheek, and measures 5 feet and 7 inches in height.
Currently, she’s a size 16 or 46 (EU) dress size and wears a size 36E bra cup size, plus a shoe size of 8.5 (US) or 39 (EU).
As a child, she was chubbier than most kids, and grew to become a plus-size woman.
Over time, she made the decision to shed some of the weight she’d carried for a long time, and now weighs about 75 kilograms thanks to a weight loss regimen she follows.
Many of her fans and other followers are curious to know how she did it, even making it to the cover of Curve magazine.
Vangsness is over the moon about her weight loss and maintains that she listened to a free podcast by Renee Stephens, which she even tweeted about, urging her fans and followers to check it out and educate themselves.
Today, she wears a 36E bra size and does breathing sessions coupled with the usual spiritual journey she’s been following after making the major change in her life.
She also wears a positive attitude and understands things from a perceptive mind, all of which have helped turn her life upside down.
Different reports claim that Vangsness used an all-natural weight loss supplement, which helped her drop more than 50 pounds.
However, some of these just mention A-list celebrities in a bid to sell their own products.
The said the supplement works by boosting metabolism, suppressing appetite, and giving the user more energy in a bid to help him or her achieve the body of their dreams.
However, Vangsness has never attributed her weight loss to the exclusive formula, nor has there been evidence to the effect that she used or even advocated for its use.
This doesn’t mean that it was a miraculous event because she does acknowledge that her weight loss is as a result of using Renee Stephens’ weight loss program for six weeks.
How Kirsten Vangsness Lost Weight
Vangsness credits her weight loss to Stephens’ Full-Filled weight-loss program, an inside-out plan that’s delivered in a series of podcasts.
The plan seeks to change the user’s relationship with food and life, following a spiritual way of losing weight.
The program’s author, Renee Stephens also struggled with being overweight like Vangsness and learned how to lose it by being more active and eating healthy. Plus, she doesn’t stress about when the next meal will come.
Despite her stellar performances, Vangsness was considered overweight on the Criminal Minds show, as she kept adding more pounds and damaging her body with time.
Over the years, Vangsness, who struggled with her weight too, being chubby from childhood, managed to drastically cut down from 200 pounds to 150 pounds.
Fans and followers have celebrated the change, and say she looks really great, though she hasn’t mentioned much about her actual daily diet.
She maintains a perceptive mind and peaceful approach to weight loss, despite being vegetarian, which means she doesn’t do protein shakes, meat, or chicken, but eats natural and clean food instead.
However, she says she must have three beverages every time while she works, all within an arm’s length: one caffeinated, one non-caffeinated, and water.
She’s inspired many people who have thanked her for showing the world the possibilities of losing weight without despairing.
Her massive transformation shocked the world; possibly even those who knew her as a timid, chubby girl were surprised by how she moved from flab to fab.
Her first role in Phil of the Future, a TV series, and LAX, where she acted in several roles propelled her to a stage that was crucial for her career.
In 2004 and 2005, she was recruited as part of the cast in Criminal Minds, and suddenly she was thrust into the limelight to become a famous actress in Hollywood.
At the time, she shared about her relationship with Melanie Goldstein, and was also overweight, which she maintained for many years. After exiting her love life, the next thing that came as a surprise to many of her fans and followers was her transformation.
Her weight loss story is one of the many plus-size celebrity slimming miracles that’ll be recorded in the history of such transformations.
She looks pretty good after shedding lots of pounds, which means her current weight loss technique seems very effective.
Kirsten Vangsness’ Approach To Weight Loss
Unlike other celebrities, Vangsness didn’t follow the bulletproof diet menu though, which starts with a special coffee in the morning, plus replaces fruits high in sugar with low-sugar fruits and veggies.
It focuses on picking the right kind of fats like avocado oil, coconut or olive oil, and butter because human hormones are built with saturated fats, which make the system stable.
Vangsness urges people to accept themselves and forget the media or other disciplines because she was once overweight and also learned how to lose it by eating healthy and being more active.
She’s been able to keep the weight off, though she won’t share much about her actual meal plan.
Her approach is far from other diet plans though, some of which involve consuming more calories with intensive workout plans.
Using a peaceful approach to weight loss, Vangsness followed the Full-Filled program, without resorting to weight pills or surgery, like many people and other celebrities have done out of pressure to look their best or embrace a certain image or acting role.
Some have used strange diets that have left them with chronic diseases and food deprivation just to attain a specific image or weight, but Vangsness is among the few that embraced the spiritual path to attaining her current weight.
She also works out and feels more satisfied and self-content without using pills or surgery – just natural and simple programs.
Her daily routine at work also got some changes.
Typically, her workspace is mobile, but she carries a backpack filled with things she needs to get her work done, and her emotional state is dependent on whether she has a good workflow or not.
She writes songs, story ideas, and uses voice memos a lot, but she also journals, something she says she can’t live without.
Her favorite hack is borrowed from Gay Hendrick’s book, The Big Leap, in which he talks about the zone of genius.
Vangsness says she takes a lot of time completing tasks that others would ordinarily do in a shorter time and do it better, so she delegates such tasks and customizes projects to fit her needs and her own voice.
She got an assistant who helps her brain dump whatever she’s going on, publicists who keep her on a timeline, and a manager to keep her in check for everyday issues of life, otherwise, she’d probably be a wreck.
Renee Stephens: The Genius Behind Kirsten Vangsness’ Weight Loss Program
Renee Stephens is an author and host of Inside Out Weight Loss, the iTunes top weight loss podcast, and has consulted with Weight Watchers International.
As a former food addict, Renee, who holds an MBA and is certified as a Hypnotherapist and Life Coach, has helped countless people free themselves from the shackles of emotional eating in order to achieve the life and body of their dreams.
Her podcasts have been downloaded over three million times, and today, she shares breakthrough lessons through her first book: Full-Filled: The 6-Week Weight-Loss Plan for Changing Your Relationship with Food—and Your Life—from the Inside Out.
This is a step-by-step program containing lessons of Renee’s popular work and promises people freedom from dieting as they use some of the most advanced mind and behavior-changing techniques in the world.
The weight loss program dubbed Full-Filled is easy and intuitive and opens the doors to bigger life transformations besides losing weight.
It also helps people get to the root of why they eat, plus they get to lose spiritual weight, by finding out why they eat as they do, and getting better ways to satisfy their true hunger, besides eating.
Renee works with both men and women who have struggled over the years to break free from weight issues and take back control of their lives.
Her book, Full-Filled turns spiritual insights into practical steps in a program that promises to change how people think and behave around food.
The program also helps people identify and heal their underlying issues with food, and offer specific tools for them to create new habits that’ll make them healthier and slim for a lifetime.
Renee doesn’t tell you what to eat or not to eat, though she shares some favorite recipes for faster and easier weight loss.
However, you’ll find personal success stories from people who’ve done the program, plus tips and tricks that’ll transform your life, and set you up for significant weight loss.
Was Surgery Part of Kirsten Vangsness’ Weight Loss Program?
While we may be tempted to assume that such a sudden and drastic weight loss as that of Vangsness would definitely involve surgery, she didn’t go through any of that.
Vangsness is still maintaining her current size and weight, three years after her weight loss, with all the credit going to Renee of the Full-Filled program for her success.
She credits Renee for showing her how to live healthier and be more self-aware, plus igniting her interest in meditation and having a spiritual connection.
In an interview, Vangsness said she wakes up and the first thing she does is sing and feed her cats, she walks as well, and at night around 9 pm, she eats and before going to bed, she does something that brings a smile on her face.
Many of her fans and followers, the media included, would love to get a hold of the exact diet she’s following, but she’s never disclosed to anyone, or even the public what’s in her diet.
She hasn’t even spoken about how she practices whatever diet it is that she follows, which so many people are yearning to find out.
Over the past few years though, lots of followers and fans have complimented her on the successful weight loss and transformation, many trying to find as much as a shred of paper with anything about her diet, but they’ve all failed.
There are others who made assumptions that her vegetarian lifestyle coupled with meditation and spirituality are probably what made her lose weight like she did, with lots of fruits and veggies in her diet.
Either way, it’s important to eat healthy and burn extra fat and weight by exercising, which Vangsness does.
If you’re looking to shed some weight like Vangsness, try healthy eating and workouts like raises, push-ups, crunches, burpees, and other practices repeating them every day.
These are also good for maintaining your weight, but there are several lifestyle changes you need to make including cutting out alcohol, smoking, increasing water intake, and getting proper sleep.
Did Kirsten Vangsness’ Relationships Affect Her Weight?
Vangsness identifies as bisexual and has had relationships with both sexes. Her first relationship lasted about seven years, engaged to girlfriend Melanie Goldstein, a film editor.
Vangsness struggled with being overweight but later had to cut down for the sake of the Criminal Minds show, around the time she was with Goldstein.
However, that didn’t last, and in 2013 they called it quits, and she moved on to date Keith Hanson, a Hollywood actor after lots of rumors and controversies over her sexuality and love life.
Suddenly, there was a lot of buzz about her body transformation during and on the red carpet in 2014, as she had drastically reduced her weight.
Since then, fans have been asking what she did to look that good, hoping she’d share a few tips with them.
In 2015, E! Online reported that Vangsness was engaged to Hanson and ready to walk down the aisle after she exchanged rings with her new boyfriend.
They’re not married yet, but rumor has it that they expect to do a grand wedding, which explains the delay.
There were rumors that she was in a relationship with Shemar Moore, her co-star in Criminal Minds, after a photo of the two sharing a kiss went viral, leading to speculation by her followers that the two were dating.
However, Vangsness denied the rumors saying that they’re just good friends, working together.
In fact, she says Shemar helped her discover her sexuality, but that didn’t affect her weight; she maintained her new figure.
Her engagement to Hanson, a fellow writer and actor, came after he popped the question at the Redbury Hotel in Hollywood, before some of their closest and dearest friends. Hanson gave her an emerald ring bedecked with diamonds, and she says he’s the perfect partner for her.
Their wedding is yet to be announced, but as Vangsness says, all she knows is she wants to “spray paint dinosaurs gold and use them as table markers”, she told People magazine.
She also said she wants a plaid dress so cool that she could wear it elsewhere, like to her first big award nomination.
Although Criminal Minds is coming to an end, with its 15th and final season premiering January 2020, fans and followers alike will definitely continue following Vangsness for her vibrant personality and quirky style.
Her weight loss story and transformation is still a fan and media favorite as many continue watching whether she’ll maintain her current weight, or lose even more in the coming years.
We’re also looking forward to seeing her walk down the aisle with her current fiance, Keith Hanson, especially to see how she’ll look in her wedding gown.
What we do know is she looks really great, and anyone struggling with weight would definitely want in on her little kept secret diet.
However, you could still try the Renee Stephens Full-Filled weight loss program as Vangsness advises, and see whether it’ll work for you too.
Besides, there’s no surgery or pills involved, so it’s worth a try.
Diana Paul is a certified nutritionist who writes for leading health blogs. She is a master herbalist, yoga teacher, forager, and wild-crafting writer She is focused on helping people transform life blocks to opportunities. Based in NYC, she often holds health seminars and lectures.