How One Woman Lost 75 Pounds with Small Changes, Walking and a Support System

By: Lisa Valente, M.S., R.D.

After a health scare, Katie made small, sustainable changes and gained confidence. Here's how she did it.

Katie wanted to get healthy for the long haul, and she lost 75 pounds and has kept it off for more than a year. We sat down to ask her what motivated her, what she wished she knew when she got started, and what some of her favorite foods and meals are.

Q: How did you get started on your weight-loss journey?

Growing up, I was athletic and never worried about eating or exercising. When I turned 20, my boyfriend at the time passed away and I turned to eating to help cope. It took years to stop using food as a comfort. In the spring of 2017, I had just turned 25 and I was diagnosed with prediabetes—then it hit me. I didn't want to be put on medication or deal with the numerous health issues that came along with my being obese. My husband (then fiancé) and I wanted to start planning our wedding, and I knew I eventually wanted children. I realized I had to get my health on track; it wasn't an option anymore.

Q: How have you made your healthy habits stick and what keeps you motivated?

My support system! At first, I didn't want people knowing that I was trying to lose weight (because I thought 'What if I don't lose the weight?') but when I started telling people, it helped me hold myself accountable (and helped motivate some friends along the way).

Also, I have slowly but surely added small habits in—like drinking water instead of soda, ordering a side salad instead of fries. These small changes are sustainable for me. I never once felt deprived or that I couldn't join my friends at a restaurant because I was on a "diet." These were changes I knew I could stick with.

Q: What have been the biggest benefits to changing your lifestyle (beyond the scale)?

In August 2017, I got my wedding ring, a size 10, then just last week I had it resized to a size 7.5 (I didn't even know fingers could shrink that much!). But beyond the scale and size changes, I just feel so much more comfortable and confident in every situation. I'm no longer worried about the seat belt on the plane possibly not fitting or how close I can park to the mall (now I purposely park farther away to get more steps in).

Related: How One Woman Lost over 90 Pounds with Hard Work, Strength Training and Good Food

Katie Laine weight loss

Q: What are some of your favorite healthy meals?

Tonight we are cooking fajitas (a staple for me). I also love spaghetti squash and meatballs or a medium-rare steak with a Caesar salad! Yum!

Q: What are your favorite ways to stay active?

Honestly, I love walking! I will purposely park at the end of the parking lot just to track more steps. I don't spend a ton of time in the gym (that's on my to-do list but for now I'm too busy), so I get as many steps in where and when I can.

Q: What is your biggest challenge to maintaining your healthy lifestyle?

I don't think there are too many difficulties now. At first, sticking to the plan was hard, but once I started seeing and feeling the differences it was hard not to eat healthy. I still eat junk food here and there, but I recognize that it doesn't make me feel very good anymore, so it's easier to make healthier food choices.

Q: What's your biggest indulgence?

Halo Top. There are so many healthier versions of indulgent foods. Ice cream? Eat Halo Top! Chocolate? Eat dark chocolate. No foods are bad in moderation.

Q: What's something you wish you knew when you got started that you would tell people now?

1. Start today. Don't wait for tomorrow or Monday—there will never be a perfect time. Just start by ordering a water with dinner tonight. Order your coffee without sugar, get your burger without a bun. Start small, but start today.
2. Start small. You don't have to change everything overnight. Trust me: reading labels, tracking, meal prepping—it all seems overwhelming at first. Just start small (see No. 1).
3. Take "before" pictures. I know you may not love your body right now, but taking photos as you go will keep you motivated!