This woman transformed her life and lost 90 pounds—without giving up her favorite foods.
Kate DeSantis before and after photo
Credit: Kate DeSantis

In August 2017, 27-year-old Kate DeSantis weighed 250 pounds—until a health concern inspired her to make a change. And just two years later, she has embraced a healthy lifestyle, gained a love for running and lost a total of 90 pounds.

How exactly did she do it? For DeSantis, her fitness journey began with a visit to the doctor's office for heart palpitations. And although the palpitations turned out to be unrelated to her weight, it was exactly the wake-up call she needed. DeSantis realized that if she continued on the path she was on, sooner than later she'd be back at the doctor's office for health-related issues that were easily preventable through a healthy lifestyle—so, she decided to make a change for the better.

At first, DeSantis started out small by cutting out fast food. Then she added more health-conscious lifestyle habits to her daily routine. She bought a Fitbit, and started logging food and balancing macronutrients to ensure she was eating a well-balanced diet.

After making those changes, DeSantis started going to the gym. But she didn't find the gym that exciting—the machines were boring and running on the treadmill wasn't exactly her favorite thing to do—so, she started running outside.

For her, setting a goal was the key to staying active. By the time she ran her first 5K, she was able to finish it without stopping and was so inspired that she signed up for more events, looking to improve her time.

Eventually, DeSantis entered to run her longest race yet—the Broad Street Run, a 10-miler in Philadelphia. Unfortunately, she wasn't selected by the raffle process and found herself really upset by the news. That's when she realized how much she enjoyed running, so much so that she ended up using the race's transfer system to buy an entry from someone else so she could still participate. Since then, she has run multiple half-marathons and continues to push herself as she trains on a regular basis with weights, cardio and kickboxing.

before and after photos on social media

And aside from her own personal journey, DeSantis has had a partner to encourage her through it all. From the start, her boyfriend was always very supportive of her weight-loss goals, and even began his own weight-loss journey—he has lost about 100 pounds already. Whether they're going to the gym together or incorporating a healthy activity into date night—such as walking to and from a restaurant—they have altered their lifestyle from one of overindulging to one of moderation.

"A piece of cake and a beer is not going to make you gain that weight back," says DeSantis. "Finding balance and using intuitive eating is the key."

As for finding that balance, DeSantis has a few go-to tips she relies on to stay healthy that you can follow too if you're trying to lose weight or simply maintain a healthy lifestyle. When going to a get-together, offer to bring a dish that is healthier and satisfying in case there is nothing else there that you can feel good about eating. And when it comes to eating a healthy diet on a day-to-day basis, opt for whole foods and only buy packaged goods with ingredients you can pronounce. DeSantis usually snacks on just one healthier packaged-food item a day, such as a Siggi's yogurt or SkinnyPop popcorn, and tries to fill the rest with whole foods like fruits, vegetables, lean protein and healthy whole grains. But don't refrain from enjoying that bowl of ice cream from time to time, or skip going to a food festival in fear of throwing off your balance. At the end of the day, it's about promoting a healthy lifestyle, which means developing habits that support a healthy mind, body and spirit (and sometimes that bowl of ice cream is exactly what you need to lift up those spirits!).

The Bottom Line

DeSantis made her weight-loss goals feasible through finding a physical activity that she enjoys and a balance that works well for her. She says everyone is different and has to find what works best for them—and we couldn't agree more. Nobody is the same, which means different things can work for different people. Just find what works best for you so you can stick to it for a happier, healthier you!