Real Life with Katie – Our Inspiration
Before May 2011, I was close to 300 pounds, wearing sized 20-22 clothes and was seriously lacking movement.
In this previous lifetime, I was okay with being heavy and eating horribly. In high school, doctors were categorizing me as “morbidly obese”. Teenage years were awkward enough, so I would always make the excuse that I would have endless amounts of time to get the extra weight off when I was an adult, and I continued to make up excuses (as well as believing them) because I thought there was always another day for me to decide to start being active.
I began needing bigger clothes when I was in sixth grade. Before there were stores to cater to plus-sized women, I was stuck in some sort of horrible, flower-patterned, adult clothing nightmare. Trying to blend in during school was horribly embarrassing. As an adult, I began searching out plus-sized stores for my clothing, with limited excitement. I was happy to finally see stores where the clothing sizes were larger and kind of attempted to be semi-fashionable. The clothing lacked shaping, was expensive, and things didn’t seem to last as long. I came to the realization that I was paying for the extra material the clothing required, and remaining plus-sized would mean that I would continue to need larger clothes, while paying the penalty if I gained more weight.
I was very uncomfortable in my own skin. The baggier and more bland the clothing, the more it invaded my wardrobe. I probably owned more black and grey than most people I knew. Physically, I could never move as fast or as much as I wanted to. For me, the more I could hide, the better. I thought I was the “comedy relief”, if I could turn anything into a joke, people would laugh, like me, and ignore the fact that I was huge. I would hide any pain I felt with food. I was an emotional eater.
May 2011 found me fed up with myself. I was close to 300 pounds, my daughter was 15 months old, I continued to gain weight and the recent diagnosis of diabetes meant I had to do something to fix my body. No one would have ever known that I was a mom, as I was too embarrassed to have pictures taken. My life changed when I met Cindy Butt.
The first Zumba class with Cindy was hard…harder than hard. I felt so out of place, so uncoordinated. I paid for classes ahead of time, so that I was forced to get out of the house and move, take time for myself, and I knew that by paying, I would have to go so I wouldn’t waste the money. Eventually, it became something I looked forward to, instead of something I had to do. From this point, the hardest thing for me to do was to stop saying “I can’t” and just move. Changing my habits and reasons for eating came much later, but first I had to learn how my body craved movement and to embrace it. After attending Zumba religiously, I added the rest of Cindy’s classes (Butt Blaster and Hooping). I complain while I do the movements, but that’s my process. I have noticed I complain less when the movements become more fluid for me. Now, I can’t stop moving. I’m always dancing, moving, taking the stairs….challenging myself physically because I never would have before.
My main goal for losing weight (aside from the health benefits) was clothing, saying that I wanted to be able to wear size 14 jeans. Eventually the “want” of wearing size 14 turned into I “will” wear size 14. I wanted to be able to wear clothes that could be found in non plus-sized stores…to know the feeling of putting on something that had shape and celebrate my accomplishments. The first time I fit into a pair of size 16 jeans, I understood why I had been working so hard. I won’t lie, I cried. There is nothing in the world to compare to trying on clothing after working so hard and seeing the amazing results. I’ve given away many bags of clothing to fellow FoF cohorts, knowing that one day they will be passing their larger clothes to someone else. Every time I dance, lift weights, run up stairs, plank, I think of how hard starting out is. When I see women starting out, I know how hard it is. I’ve been there. Don’t listen to your excuses, start moving and dancing; start eating better; start living.
Now, I am close to 200 pounds. I wear size 14 jeans. I move not because I have to, but because I love it. I teach Zumba, run stairs, plank, lift weights, chase toddlers and lift them over my head. My body feels alive for the first time in my life.
Don’t make excuses…just start your journey.