Transformation of the Day: Katrina lost 136 pounds. This UK mom found the motivation to change her life when her mobility issues became a potential safefy issue when it came to keeping up with her kids. She opted for Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy surgery while making a commitment to eating nutrient-rich whole food. Check out her journey.
What was your motivation? What inspired you to keep going when you wanted to give up?
My biggest motivation was my children and my health. My blood pressure was high. I had started to have issues with my eyes that required me to go to A&E for an emergency CT Scan. The doctors were concerned that I could develop problems with my eyesight. This was all weight-related.
The final push and motivation to lose weight, came when it no longer affected just me, but my children too. My mobility was poor, and I wasn’t able to play with them in a way I felt I should be able to. Because of the weight, I always had hip and knee pain. At one point, I was using a walking stick indoors.
My youngest son (3 years old at the time) ran off and out into the road. Because of my weight, I could not get to him in time. Thankfully, no cars turned on to the road at the time, but I knew I had to make a change. A situation like that couldn’t happen again.
How did you change your eating habits?
I struggled for 30 years to try to lose weight. From the age of 8 to 38, I had tried many diets and exercise routines. I would get very good at losing two or more stones, and then I’d gain that weight back…and more. On 11th August 2017, I had a Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy (VSG aka Gastric Sleeve weight loss surgery). This reduced my stomach size, which helped with portion control. I had to change the foods I ate so that I would not only lose weight but also to keep it off.
I started eating mostly whole foods, i.e., foods in their natural form. I gave up a lot of processed foods and takeaways. I stopped keeping temptation foods into my home. Instead, if I felt like having those foods, I would have to go out and get them. I switched starchy and simple carbohydrates for complex carbohydrates. I stopped eating foods marked ‘low fat’ or ‘low’ anything. I ate healthy fats and natural sources of protein.
The biggest turn around was educating myself on food, how the body processes different foods and letting go of the dieting mentality. Rather than counting calories and grams, I would look at the sources of those calories and grams, and think about how those sources would benefit me nutritionally. I started reading food labels, making sure they read like a shopping list and not a lab report. I would look out for added sugars and avoid artificial sweeteners where ever possible.
What did your workout routine look like?
I realized that for me, it was essential to focus on my nutrition and mobility. Throughout most of my process, I have walked for exercise. Every day, I make an effort to work out. I’ll take the stairs instead of the lift, or I’ll walk a little bit extra. There’s always something I can do to push myself.
Naturally, as time goes on, I find that I enjoy alternative activities. I will go trampolining or zip lining. I’ll do dance workouts to Reggaeton and Hip Hop, or take Twerk classes. I also like charity shop shopping and street location photography. I recognize that I will need to incorporate exercises to tone eventually, but I really enjoy that exercise doesn’t have to be in a gym environment. It can be ironing, playing with the kids, or painting a wall. Every now and again, I’ll do a 30-day challenge. Challenges allow me to experiment and see what I enjoy. I found that I really like HIIT and band workouts.
What was your starting weight? What is your current weight?
My highest weight was 317 pounds (22.6 stone). My start weight was 296.7 pounds (21.19 stone). My current weight is 160.6 pounds (11.47 stone). My height is 5’4”.
When did you start your journey? How long did your transformation take?
I started on August 11th, 2017. I’m 20lbs away from my goal, but it’s been just over a year now (14 months) to get to this stage.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned?
I’ve learned that it’s okay to ask for help. I’ve also learned that research and self-education are key.
What advice do you have for others who want to lose weight?
Start with nutrition and fuel your body right. Educate yourself about nutrition, or get support from a Dietitian.