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