Transformation of the Day: Kathy lost 190 pounds. She beat the vicious cycle of yo-yo dieting. She beat low self-esteem, emotional eating and binge eating. By rejoining Weight Watchers, joining a local running group and joining a gym, she found the support she needed. Now, her life is transformed and she wants to help people reach their health and fitness goals. Check out her story.
Starting weight: 467 pounds
Current weight: 277 pounds
Height: 5’6 1/2″
Prior to June 24, 2014, I was in a vicious cycle of getting motivated, starting to lose weight and then stopping. I would lose interest, or would simply talk myself out of working out and eating healthy. I would always tell myself “Oh, I’ll start tomorrow”. Well, tomorrow would come and go. Before I knew it, I weighed well over 467 pounds and I knew that I was morbidly obese. However, my situation did not hit me hard enough to make me take control and start living a healthier lifestyle. Honestly, I really didn’t care back then.
The challenges with my weight were both mental and physical. I was an emotional eater. My self-esteem was extremely low. I didn’t want to be seen in public for any longer than I had to, which was normally long enough to go to work. I didn’t want to be around my family or friends, so I wouldn’t travel home to visit. I would make my grocery store trips when the store opened, because nobody was there to stare at me and see what I was purchasing. I was spiraling out of control… fast! Also, during this time, I was a huge fan of the show “The Biggest Loser”. Yes, that show is motivating and encouraging. When I watched the show, it made me want to get up right then and start working out. Instead, I would sit there with enough food to feed a family of 3 or 4, topping of things off with dessert. I would sit and eat an entire pie or cake, ice cream, a box of donuts or family size bags of potato chips. I was killing myself slowly. Deep down inside, I knew I needed to take control. I knew needed to make lifestyle changes, but I wasn’t strong enough to do so.
One morning, while I was preparing to go to work, I had my “ah ha” moment. I could barely move and my knees ached from severe. I held on to my bed, the walls, the table – whatever I could find that would provide some type of support for help me. I was in so much pain that I had to find the closest parking space at work. Even though I parked close to the building, I struggled to get to the door. By the time I got to the door, I was literally drenched in sweat and on the verge of tears from the pain. Much to my surprise, on this particular day of all days, the elevator was out of service, That meant I had to climb stairs to get to the 2nd floor where I work. I kept saying to myself, “If I can just make it to the door and get to my desk.” Once on the 2nd floor, I had to hold on to the wall just to get to my desk, and to walk to the ladies’ room. On that day, June 24, 2014, I made the decision to get myself together and take control of my health. If I had not made that decision, I’m not sure I would still be here today to tell you my story.
Deciding to take control of my health was one of the BEST decisions I have ever made in my life. Sure, I could have had the gastric bypass (and I do not speak negatively upon those who have), but this is about me. Deep down inside I knew that I could do it without weight loss surgery.
I joined Weight Watchers… again. However, this time was the last and final time. I followed their plan and gradually made other subtle changes, such as increasing my water intake, and parking a little further away at work (even though it was still painful).
Before I knew it, I started losing weight! Seeing that number on the scale decrease weekly motivated me. I also received support from the Weight Watchers group, and I couldn’t wait to go back each week to weigh-in again and see how much I’d lost. This is how my journey started.
I changed my eating habits by taking fried foods completely out of the equation. I focused on eating clean, sticking with turkey, fish, shrimp and chicken. I love fresh fruit, so I eat a lot of blueberries, blackberries and lots of watermelon when in season. I also limited my carb intake. I eat lots of green veggies (cabbages and collards are my favorite). I also have a new found love for kale. I stopped eating red meat and beef. I stay away from white rice, fruit juices, ice cream, and sodas. I have not had a soda in over 3.5 years now. I drink primarily water (with lemon), and from time to time I will have PowerAde.
During my first year, I lost over 80 pounds on my own by eating healthier and getting active. I was in a better place mentally and physically, although I was still severely overweight. I decided to take my fitness to another level and do something that I had never done before – I joined a local running group. I was so embarrassed! I was the largest and the slowest person out there. However, I met ladies who made me feel welcome and encouraged me to keep going. Eventually, I participated in my first 5k. I was amongst the last people to cross the finish line, but I did it nevertheless!
The next step I made was joining a fitness facility. Walking in there was tough because, I thought everyone was watching me and laughing at me. To my surprise, after about a month of consistently going, those same strangers I thought were laughing at me became some of my biggest cheerleaders! They noticed me losing weight and noticed my determination, so they encouraged me to keep going. They also provided fitness tips, introduced me to fitness classes and even worked out with me on occasion. For that, I’m forever grateful.
Sometimes I take classes such as Mixxed Fit or Zumba. About 98% of the time, my workouts consist of an hour of cardio, working out on the elliptical machine. I found the elliptical machine gives me an awesome workout and serious calorie burn, without the stress on my joints. I also do strength training at a minimum of 3 days per week. I love weights! I workout 4 to 5 days per week. My rest days are Fridays and Sundays. On Sundays, I reset and prepare for the upcoming week.
It has been 3 years now. I thank God every morning I can wake up, have the ability to open my eyes, to breathe, to talk and to move things. These are things that we often take for granted. This is one battle I had to fight, and I had to fight alone because nobody could do this for me. I had to want this!
Has it been hard? Yes! Does it get easier with time? Absolutely! When you start seeing results, such as inches dropping, your clothes getting bigger, your body transforming, and you are consciously making better food choices… you know you have taken yet another step in the right direction.
Thinking back to where I was then and reflecting on where I am today is my motivation! Today, I’m happy. I walk with my head held high and shoulders back. I have pep in my step. I smile and my confidence is high. I feel good and I look good! I said goodbye to the old me, and hello to the new me! I have evolved into a woman that fully loves and embraces her new self!
I know all too well the struggles of obesity. This process will not happen overnight. It will take time, patience, daily encouragement and motivation – within yourself! You must see the big picture, a healthier you! Know that you can do it! Commit to a healthier lifestyle. Replace the negative thoughts and habits you have formed with positives thoughts. Get rid of the baggage. Stop having your pity party. Stop wishing for it and get out there and do it! Forgive those who have put you down and talked bad about you. Most importantly, forgive yourself! Take control of your life!
Now that I have lost over 200 pounds, I have decided that I want to take my journey even further. I want to help others who are going through the same issues I’ve faced. I want them to know that they can be successful. I’m living proof. I am currently studying to become a certified personal trainer. There is no education better than life’s experience in this situation. As I continue my own personal journey, I’m educating myself and working with others to help them reach their goals (as I continue to reach mine).
I proudly embrace the new me and the new lifestyle that I now lead. I’m still here for a reason and I thank God for strength on a daily basis. This is only the beginning, and I’m excited about what’s to come. I’m not where I want to be yet, but I’m also not where I used to be. Why am I being so transparent? Because someone, somewhere, needs to hear this. I want them to know that you can do it!
In conclusion, as I reflect on my journey, I have learned so much about myself. I have learned that I am a very strong and determined woman! Although I have made mistakes in my life, those same mistakes are what has made me who I am today. No, my journey is not over. There is still work to be done. I no longer accept that physical state of numbness. I am looking forward to taking my health and fitness to the next level! Want to know where I come from? Ask me. Let me tell you my story. Then, you decide. Are you ready? Can you do it?