Katie Dye shocked herself and her family when she took charge of her health for good after gaining 50 pounds her freshman year of college.

Lauren Wicks
January 03, 2020
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Katie Dye

Like many of us, Katie Dye gained some weight during her freshman year of college. After dealing with some family and personal struggles, Dye found herself 50 pounds heavier at the end of the school year. Dye says she was turning to food—especially sweets and fast food—to cope with her pain, then going out with friends at night and consuming even more calories.

Fast-forward several years later to 2018, and Dye was still continuing her same habits as she was studying to get her master's degree in mental health counseling. Dye says her training helped her realize just how much her bingeing and self-image issues were impacting her ability to fulfill her professional duties. These struggles were also affecting her marriage and her confidence. On New Year's Eve, Dye decided she finally needed to make a change.

"The person I was before I started this journey was so negative towards myself, my husband, my career and the world around me," Dye said. "I knew I wanted to be a counselor, but not in this state. I was going through school to get a counseling degree and help my clients get better, but I needed and wanted to do that for myself first. As small as it seemed, my weight was literally weighing me down in every way."

Dye made a New Year's resolution to lose weight and get healthier in 2019, but the first few months were pretty difficult. She says she felt like she was putting in the effort to exercise regularly and eat healthier, but her lack of portion control kept her from progressing.

Dye began using measuring cups to portion out her favorite foods like cereal, which taught her she was often eating three times more than the serving size. After a few months of training her brain to understand what a healthy portion looks like for a variety of foods, she was able to give up measuring out her meals and see some progress.

Dye says that establishing a daily routine was one of the most important parts of her weight-loss journey. Each morning, she set her alarm for 5 a.m. (except for a weekly rest day) to ensure she wouldn't get too busy for a workout. Then, she would enjoy a small cup of coffee before exercising for 45 minutes to an hour, go to class all day and come home to cook a healthy dinner with her husband. She also made sure to minimize screen time before bed, so she could fall asleep at a reasonable hour and wake up early for her workout the next day.

For over a year, Dye has maintained this daily routine and partly credits it to going to bed and waking up at the same time every day. "Sure there are some days I don't want to do it, but I give myself a break on Fridays and during the holidays. It's what works for me," she says.

Now 60 pounds down, Dye has found success through not adhering to a specific eating plan. She says she's not on a diet; she's just learned how to eat healthy and listen to her body, which means enjoying all foods in moderation and stopping when she's full. Dye says she makes room to fuel her sweet tooth with Ocho candy bars or some fruit with nut butter. She also says she's grown to love healthy foods she didn't grow up eating. She often starts her day with a smoothie, but listens to her body's needs (which could mean honoring her cravings with waffles or bacon).

Dye works out five days a week and has found great success with the Beachbody workouts. While she says she has no interest in being a coach, this system taught her how to exercise again, and there is always a workout to fit her schedule or needs. She also credits these workouts to making her a more disciplined person, which she says is her key to success. Consistency is always going to be better than restrictive diets and crazy exercise regimens.

"In college, it was really intimidating going to the rec center as a hefty girl, and I didn't even know what to do, so I just never went back," Dye says. "Having a program like this to guide you just makes you feel better. These workouts changed my life."

Dye started sharing her weight-loss journey on Instagram, under the handle @kalemekatie_, where she found an incredible support system of people all over the country who were on their own health journeys. Now she has grown to over 2,000 followers, many of whom she didn't know beforehand but were inspired by her journey and openness.

"I have a lot of people reach out to me on Instagram ask how they can get to where I am and how to even start—I also get a lot of questions about what diet pills I'm taking, and I'm like, 'no!'" Dye says. "I always try to put motivational quotes in my posts to let people know that everyone has a starting point and that it's going to take time to get to where you want to be. None of this happens overnight. I wish it could, but it doesn't."

Dye began her health journey just over a year ago and says she hopes to maintain her progress in 2020. She says the person she has become throughout this whole process has been the most unexpected and wonderful part of this journey.

"I've gained so much confidence since I first started this, and when you wake up and you work out and feel like you have a sense of purpose throughout your day, you just feel so much better," Dye says. "It gives you a positive outlook so you can have the ability to go help other people. You just look at the world differently, and if you are negative towards yourself you will be towards others. Everything has changed in my life, and I'm so grateful for it."