Katie Lowe may seem like your typical 25-year-old girl living in the London and loving life, but one look at her journey and you’ll quickly realize she has quite a unique story. Katie had always been heavy, struggling with her weight even as a child. But after an accident at the age of 19 left her unable to walk for two years, the weight piled on.
At her heaviest Katie weighed 290 pounds and she grew quite desperate. But after making health a priority and changing the way she approached diet and fitness, the pounds began to fall off.
After getting off track in late 2011, Katie turned around and created her blog, Fat Girl, PhD, in 2012 as a resolution of sorts – to hold herself accountable to the healthy lifestyle changes she sought to make.
Today Katie is a trim 160 pounds, just 15 pounds shy of her goal weight and a completely changed person. We had the pleasure of speaking with Katie recently about her incredible journey. Here’s what she had to say.
What specific changes did you make to your diet to lose weight?
I tried to cut out processed foods wherever I could, switching sugary snacks and drinks for healthy, nutritious meals. I also had to learn to eat the right amount – because when you’re eating the right things, you have to eat more of them than you think! Losing weight doesn’t mean starving yourself – it means eating well and enjoying real food.
What fitness methods did you employ during your weight loss journey?
The program I followed was the one featured on my blog, which was designed by the health and well-being consultant Matt Peacock. It involves lots of walking and resistance training, combined with a good, healthy and well-balanced diet. In short, it involves a warm-up, followed by weight training (in a certain order, to make it most effective) and a 60-90 minute stint of low-intensity cardio, with your heart rate between 115-130 bpm.
I’m a strong believer in the fact that you have to deal with the psychological side of your weight gain, as well as the physical – so I found that being aware of the things that made me overeat, and find comfort in food, were just as important as exercising right and eating properly. It’s an all-round wellbeing process, rather than just a case of losing weight.
Who/what was your support system during your weight loss journey?
Matt, who designed the program, was obviously a big source of support for me. But my family and friends surpassed all expectations in the way they completely supported me, every step of the way. Having a good support network is really important, whether in real life, or online – and I’m constantly amazed by the way the readers of my blog are so amazing in their support, too!
What did you struggle with most when trying to lose weight?
Definitely the psychological side. Realizing that I was turning to food when I was miserable, or just for comfort, or even boredom, was a big step for me. Overcoming that was a long, slow process, and one which required me to be really honest with myself in admitting my weaknesses, and facing up to them – but I’m considerably stronger for it now, and when I feel myself slipping towards old habits, I can bounce back and carry on!
What was your ‘ah ha’ moment when it came to weight loss? That moment when things ‘clicked’?
It was definitely earlier this year. I’d lost quite a lot of weight the year before, but having moved around and changed jobs, I’d noticed the scales slowly creeping back up again. I was still eating processed foods, and fatty, high sugar foods were appearing ever more often in my diet.
No big deal, you might think – but I’d noticed the longer that went on, the more miserable I was feeling. I felt like I’d lost control of my eating habits, and my self-esteem was taking the hit. I realized that I’d been much happier when I was in control of my food, enjoying exercise, and so… Enough was enough. Since then, I’ve lost another 70 pounds, and discovered how much more delicious healthy, real food can be!
What are your goals for the future, be it achieving a specific weight, traveling more or running a race?
I’d really love to reach 145 pounds, because that would be half of my original weight and it’s also absolutely where I ought to be on the BMI scale. I’d also like to jog or run the Race for Life 5k – I walked it this year and adored the atmosphere, so next year I’d like to beat my time and hopefully enjoy my new-found fitness even more!
What advice would you offer someone who is struggling with their weight?
Be kind to yourself, seriously. Stop beating yourself up and don’t give up if you have the occasional treat – remember that you’re changing your life, rather than just going on a diet. It’s okay to fail from time to time, as long as you make the right decisions more often than not. At the end of the day, you deserve to be happy no matter what size you are, and giving yourself the opportunity to really be happy is more important than anything else. So enjoy your body, and enjoy your transformation!