Please welcome my wife, Katy, as she relates her experience with losing weight and learning to maintain a healthy lifestyle. She offers great advice for those struggling with maintaining a healthy lifestyle. I find her words encouraging and inspirational. I also find it a little bit humorous when people ask her how she lost so much weight and then become discouraged finding out it was through hard work and exercise. They always respond, “I was hoping you’d recommend a magic pill or offer surgery advice.”
by Katherine Callor
For as long as I can remember I have been “chubby”. I was never the super skinny girl and many took the opportunity to remind me of that. I was teased, called names, and looked over by boys. It was truly devastating for me. For a short time in college I was able to shed pounds and be healthy, but then life changes occurred; marriage, babies, work, and soon my weight got out of control.
Four years ago our family decided to take a vacation to California. On our way out-of-town we had to make an unexpected trip to the doctor. As I sat in the office of a new physician, she came in to chat with me. This visit was one that would forever change the course of my life. “I don’t want to hurt your feelings,” she started with, “But do you know you have a weight problem?” I almost laughed out loud. I was 5 feet 2 inches tall and weighed 220 lbs. I wore woman’s size 20 pants. Did she really think I didn’t know that I was overweight? Truth is, I DID know, but I felt helpless to do anything about it.
Fate had sent me a letter in the mail highlighting programs available to me through my health insurance. Utah state employees have access to some wonderful programs for health. The first is Healthy Utah, a program designed to help encourage employees to be healthy, that rewards them for active lifestyles and being in healthy weight ranges. They also offer a program called “Waist A-Weigh”. To qualify for this program a participant needs to be over 30% BMI and committed to losing the weight. It is a rigorous program, but the rewards are wonderful. I had been carrying around the paperwork to enroll in Waist A-weigh for 6 months, but was embarrassed to get a doctor’s permission to enroll. Here was my chance!
I asked the Dr. to help me by signing the paperwork. She agreed, but only if I lost 4 pounds in 4 weeks. The follow-up appointment was made and my journey began. That month I worked hard to adjust my eating habits, work out (which was very hard) and tried to take that off 4 pounds. My hard work paid off and when I returned to the doctor I had lost 8 pounds! She signed my papers and I began the journey of a life time.
To stay enrolled in the Waist A-Weigh program I had to commit to losing 1% BMI every 60 days. I had to check in with a life coach every 30 days. I could choose a weight loss program of my choice and be reimbursed up to $100 every month if I made my goal. I had tried programs like Weight Watchers, Deal-a-meal, etc. and found that they didn’t really work for me. I opted to go with a personal trainer.
I started working out once a week with my trainer and she would give me plans to do 3 more times each week. As I look back at those first few meetings, I remember going home and hurting for days afterwards. I could barely move. I remember the first time that I was able to make it for 20 straight minutes on the elliptical! It was a party day! I had successes and I had struggles. There were times that I didn’t meet my goals. It was frustrating. I had to change the way I looked at food. My trainer helped me to better understand nutrition and portions. I learned to eat more protein, especially on days when I lifted weights. I also learned that cardio is good, but you need to work in weight training to create muscle.
My progress was slow. Others would comment on how great I was looking and wanted to know how I was doing it. When I said that it was diet and exercise they would scoff and say “that’s too hard, I just want a magic pill.” I occasionally mention that I had tried the “magic pills” in college and seen results, but the results were temporary and the side effects extremely dangerous. Unfortunately there isn’t a magic pill! You have to work hard every day at it.
There are lots of stories about how personal trainers start out as your friend and soon become your worst enemy. They push you, make things hard and switch things up all the time. I count my trainer as one of my best friends. She has changed my life and the way that I look at working out and eating. We now work-out together as friends, and hang-out outside the gym. She still encourages me and provides me with helpful little reminders.
Two years after starting Waist A-Weigh, I graduated from the program. I lost 85 pounds and got my BMI down below 25%. It’s been 2 years since I graduated and I have kept the weight off. I still have to work hard every day, constantly watch what I eat and always keep it at the front of my thoughts. I feel great when I exercise and now I can maintain long periods of high intensity. I have never been a runner in my life, yet now I can go 3 miles without dying. I still have to worry about my BMI ~ I am after all not that tall! According to my BMI I am still overweight! My body fat % is down lower than it has ever been and for me that is what matters most. For the first time in my life, I can see light between my legs! Amazing! I have muscles in my arms and shoulders. I can do full push-ups, not the girly ones. I have the energy to run and play with my children. We have all made healthy life changes.
Through all this, my self-image has been the hardest to change. I still gravitate to the plus-size clothes before realizing that I now wear size small. I still compare myself to every person that I see, and I have to remember that even if I gain a few pounds, I am nowhere near where I was 4 years ago. I am working to learn to love my body and where it is. Does that mean that I’m done losing weight? Absolutely not! I am willing to take on the challenge! Will I ever be called “Rolly Polly” again? Never!
My advice to those of you who are struggling with weight, keep going! It may seem hard, it may seem as though your goals are never going to be reached, but you can do it! It is hard, it does take a long time, but I know that the benefits of getting healthy will far outweigh the challenge it is to get there! Find a friend, make it fun and keep going!
- I AM the Biggest Loser (brandcall.wordpress.com)
- Stop Using BMI As A Wellness Metric (the21stcenturyworkplace.wordpress.com)
- Weighing Me Down : Weight Gain After 40 (fabfortyplus.com)
- Morbid Obesity (brandcall.wordpress.com)