Meet the lovely Katrina, a Mother and a regular attendee at our Fitness Blastoff events, who we interviewed to find out more about her amazing weight loss transformation. She had been struggling with her weight for 30 years and in this interview she explains how she finally took control of her health and how she committed to a healthy lifestyle.
Tell me a bit about yourself and why you decided to make a change to your health? My weight had gone up to 300lbs. I had been struggling with yo-yo dieting and fitness for 30 years (from the age 8 to 38 years). I was suffering from high blood pressure, problems with my eye health, mobility and I was finding it difficult to care for my children, which is not ideal as a single parent. I knew something had to change the day my youngest son (aged 3 years at the time), got away from me and ran in to the road. My weight prevented me from getting to him on time. Fortunately, no cars turned on to the road whilst he was there.
What health and fitness goals have you achieved since starting your weight loss journey?
In the past year, I have lost 131.2lbs and I am just 26lbs away from a healthy normal BMI. I educated myself about nutrition and learned what foods would help me to lose weight and become healthier. I learned about the importance of eating wholefoods, how fermented foods were beneficial for gut health, the difference between healthy and unhealthy fats, simple and complex carbs. This also helped me curb my eating habits with regards to sugar. My initial focus was nutrition and weight loss and because my mobility was poor, initially I just walked. I underestimated the power of walking, because this really helped my weight loss and mobility. As I lost more weight, I naturally found I able to and wanted to move more. I was able to do fitness workouts, dance, use equipment, walk faster, I felt like I had super powers.
How did you achieve your goal?
On 11th August 2017, I had Gastric Sleeve surgery.
Did you face any challenges? If so, what challenges did you face and how did you overcome them?
The surgery helped to control my portions, but I still had to eat right or I risked putting weight on (not everyone has successful weight after the surgery). I found wholefoods helped me do this. I eat 90% wholefoods. I eat very little in the way of takeaways, bread, foods marked ‘low’, processed and sugary foods. I make sure to eat from small bowls and plates to keep from overeating and stop when I feel satisfied or full. If I buy packaged foods, I make sure the label reads like a shopping list and not like a lab report. I still enjoy food and drink on the odd occasions I go out socialising, but I make sure not to continue on the social eating and drinking in to my entire week. I found with exercise, that I could easily find it monotonous and get bored, but I knew I would have to get in to fitness eventually. I overcame this by finding alternative fitness. I tried trampolining, zip-lining, I would do 30 day fitness challenges and dance. So far dance has been my favourite, because it’s something I have naturally enjoyed throughout my life and while I was doing weight loss. Dating after weight loss has also been a challenge, because I’m still processing all the changes. But I joined an app where I can socialise with other people and they have to options of regular socialising events or events aimed at singles. This allows me to talk to people or do activities in a non-pressured environment. I’ve also found being part of a weight loss community, has helped me stay on track and keep accountable.
What activities do you do to stay active and why?
My main activity is walking whilst I’m focusing on the weight loss part of my journey. But as I’ve become mobile, I’ve naturally enjoyed other activities. I’ve done 30 day challenges, I find they’re perfect, because it gives me a goal to work towards. My favourite was my 30 back workout challenge. It was hard, but I learned I liked certain equipment. I love doing dance! I find it easy to move my body to the beat and even if it’s a class, it’s never strict, I don’t get ‘told off’ for getting it wrong and it’s so much fun. I try to branch out and find unusual or alternative activities, to keep myself interested in fitness. I feel fitness should be fun and shouldn’t feel like something you have to do, or something to squeeze in. I search for classes and activities, the scariest activity was the zip-lining. I had to be very fit to do it, as there were many steps to climb. I’m hoping to try ghyll scrambling, cave diving and much more. I’m on Instagram and I’ll often take pictures before and after fitness challenges, or when doing events, to help encourage others.
We've seen that you like to attend dance classes, What are your favourite dance fitness workouts and why?
I’ve attended a few Fitness Blastoff sessions now and love them, I’ll definitely be going back. My favourite was definitely the Afrobeats and the Reggaeton. I have a soft spot for Reggaeton music. But I’ve enjoyed all the dance sessions equally really. It’s like no other dance class I’ve been to and I’ve been to many other my lifetime for fun (Salsa, Street, Ballet etc). But the Fitness Blastoff sessions always feels like a big party in a nightclub and I just haven’t been able to find that anywhere else.
When it comes to weight loss, what are your top 3 recommendations?
Educate yourself about nutrition. Don’t undestimate the power of walking as an activity. Find others who are trying to lose weight, to help keep accountable.
Be sure to follow Katrina's weight loss journey on her Instagram channel at @vsgowluk.