Kat is amazing! Most people in her situation would say there are “too busy” to be healthy and fit. She is one of the busiest people I know! She didn’t let that stop her.
She climbed out of rock bottom, and now she’s paying it forward. She started by helping her mom get healthy and fit, and has continued to help others. Check out her incredible story below!
What motivated you to lose weight/begin an exercise program?
I was depressed, I was basically hitting “rock bottom” when I should have been at the top of my game in school and life. I didn’t want to graduate from pharmacy school more overweight and unhealthier than I was when I started. I didn’t want to be the hypocritical obese healthcare worker telling their patients they just need to eat healthier and exercise. I found out I had arthritis in my back that had already severely progressed and I couldn’t sleep for more than 4 hours without waking up in pain. I couldn’t touch my toes without crying. I felt like a prisoner in my own body. I felt severely limited. I also became jealous of others and watched my own insecurities grow. I wanted to stop hiding from cameras, from friends, and from the life I wanted to live.
Did you have any health problems or physical constraints because of your weight? What were they?
I had always been against exercising, never thought I would have to do it, and even took extra classes in high school just to get out of gym. I was always picked last in gym class when I was little, and as I grew older my avoidance of exercising grew too, so I was never really “in shape”. I was first diagnosed with hypothyroidism (slow metabolism) in high school, but I had never had a real problem with my weight, I had never thought too hard about what I ate or what I weighed, and even avoided gaining the dreaded “freshman 15” when I started my undergraduate work. When I started pharmacy school my boyfriend started culinary school (specializing in pastries) and I also started a new medication that could cause some weight gain (I gained about 20lbs) and increased appetite. I was also officially diagnosed with arthritis in my back in my second year of pharmacy school. I always had some back pain, and told myself I just “carried my stress in my back” and the stress of finals was taking a toll on me. Finals ended and the pain got more intense. I had an MRI done and was told there were places in my back where the vertebrae were already “bone on bone”. I knew one thing I could do was to lose weight to lessen the physical burden on my back, and to strengthen the opposing muscle groups. I didn’t realize at the time that my nutritional status was also compromised, and that I was on my way to developing cervical cancer. After a few months of clean eating and shakeology, I was told that I was safe again and free of cancer cells.
What activities, if any, did your weight prevent you from doing?
My weight prevented me from doing pretty much everything I used to enjoy, and even things I didn’t enjoy, but needed to get done as part of life. If it wasn’t the actual weight that prevented me from doing something, it was the emotional burden and insecurity and depression because of my weight that prevented me from going out and dancing, meeting new people, taking pictures, and being the social creature I enjoyed being. But aside from the social aspect, I couldn’t perform many regular activities of daily life without assistance or modification at 21 years old. I couldn’t carry much of anything by myself, even my school books, because of my severe back pain. I’ve always carried in my own groceries in one trip, but had to take multiple trips and ask for help because the pain was too much. Even getting up off of the couch was a chore. I was asking my parents to make simple trips up and down stairs for me, and I realized it should be other way around. I had basically reduced myself to a couch potato; I only went back and forth from my apartment to my classes (1.5 block walk/bike ride) and stayed in one spot on the couch studying or watching TV the rest of the time.
What activities can you do now that you were able to pick back up or even begin anew?
I can dance again! And I’ve got some new moves thanks to Turbo Fire and Hip Hop Abs! I can carry in all of my groceries in one trip by myself. I can do a real pushup! I don’t dread the stairs anymore, I actually look forward to them because every trip is like conquering my disease and fears and depression all over again. I can sleep for more than 4 hours without waking up in pain. I don’t have to take daily pain medication anymore. I can touch my toes without crying. I look forward to doing things that challenge me physically and emotionally. I run and jog sometimes, just because I can. I care about what I eat now, and I practice healthy and informed consumerism. Health, fitness, and personal improvement have become new hobbies for me, and it has become my favorite thing to do. It makes me a more positive person, it’s very noticeable by others, and I can see they appreciate it and it rubs off on them.
Was Turbo Fire the primary program you used for your transformation? If no, what other programs did you use?
No, I started my transformation with shakeology, and then added in Brazil Butt Lift. I did one month of just Brazil Butt Lift, then added in Hip Hop Abs and did 2 months of Brazil Butt Lift/Hip Hop Abs combination. My goal was to complete insanity, which I had originally attempted (and failed miserably) in my first year of pharmacy school. So after 3 months of preparation and training, I completed insanity in summer 2012. I started doing another round of Insanity, but noticed my calorie burns were drastically decreasing (darn muscle memory!) and I needed something different. Although turbo fire wasn’t the program I used to lose the majority of my weight, it was the program that resulted in the biggest life transformation for me. Turbo fire definitely burned fat and toned my body, but more importantly re-trained my mind and my way of thinking that has made me a more positive, productive, energetic, determined, and capable strong woman. Turbo Fire dragged me out of a depression and re-empowered me to be the strong, sexy, fierce woman I was before.
How did you hear about Turbo Fire?
When I started joining challenge groups, it seemed like everyone was going bonkers about Turbo Fire, but I was too focused on getting ready for Insanity to consider anything else. When I was looking for something to do after I completed insanity, my beachbody coach recommended turbo fire.
Why did you think that Turbo Fire was the program that would work for you?
I missed dancing, and it seemed like Turbo Fire was set to energetic music that would be fun to let loose to. Coming out of Insanity I knew I wanted something that was still high-intensity and incorporated HIIT because I was still a student low and always low on time. I also really enjoyed the few boxing moves from Insanity and missed the martial arts training I used to do as a child, so I thought a high-intensity cardio kickboxing workout would be the perfect answer!
Which Turbo Fire workout is your favorite? Why?
Fire 45 is my all-time favorite. The moves are so much fun it feels much more like dancing than working out. I can lose myself in that workout. I look forward to it as my “private sexy dance party”. The moves are very feminine and accentuate the beauty of a strong female figure, which is empowering itself. It’s not just a fun dance party though, the moves are challenging and it incorporates HIIT and cardio endurance training. Fire 60 and HIIT 30 are my other favorites for the same reasons. Fun and favorite dance tracks, challenging moves, but fun and sexy at the same time. My favorites always leave me panting, gasping for air, drenched in sweat and with the HUGEST calorie burns!! I consistently burn over 600 calories with Fire 60, and I LOVE IT!
What do you like most about Turbo Fire?
It’s a total transformation system. It transforms your body, mind, and spirit. It doesn’t just focus on one part of the body like abs or lower body. It uses every part of your body so every part of your body changes and improves. It also doesn’t just focus on cardio or burning fat. I noticed when doing Insanity my body did change and I did lose a lot of weight, but I ended up looking skinny and almost emaciated. I didn’t have any muscle to give my body shape or a defined figure. Turbo Fire incorporates many different strength training exercises to build muscle in all different areas, which means it confuses all of your muscles, your entire body gets toned and a beautiful figure emerges without hitting any plateaus (which I am prone to due to my slow metabolism). Turbo fire also incorporates strength, cardio, and HIIT in all of the right proportions that have been scientifically proven to produce the most significant results (without risking injury or extreme fatigue) if you follow the schedule. Turbo Fire changes your mindset, too, Chalene is constantly motivating and supportive and encouraging in her videos. It has definitely rubbed off on me, and it comes out in many different areas of my life. The determination, strength, and perseverance I have discovered within myself during the workouts make everything else in my daily life seem easy.
Have you reached your weight loss/fitness goal? If yes, did you do anything to celebrate that goal?
Yes! I surpassed my goal, and I bought the Bowflex Selecctech 552 weights (as a reward) to accompany my next routine, Chalean Extreme.
How did you feel about yourself when you were overweight/out of shape?
I felt like a prisoner in my own body. I felt helpless because I couldn’t do normal activities like carry in my own groceries by myself. I felt like everyone else was better than I was because I saw them as more capable than I was. I felt lazy because even getting off of the couch to go to the kitchen seemed like a big decision. I didn’t realize it then, but I was incredibly depressed. I had isolated myself from my friends, did not go out to meet new people or celebrate with friends. I didn’t allow any pictures of myself for years. I felt like I was hiding, like my real personality was in hibernation while I went through the awful period of pharmacy school. I felt disgusting. I disliked going out and seeing my boyfriend check out other girls. Before I gained the weight it didn’t bother me because I knew I looked better, but I became insecure and jealous. With that, came anger. I kind of gave up for a while. I only wore sweatshirts and sweatpants for months, even to school. I hoped if I just put myself on autopilot until graduation, I could put it all behind me, start to get my life back and start doing the things I wanted to again. Then I realized I didn’t want to start that process after graduation, and that I wanted to start taking control and responsibility for my life now. I didn’t want to leave pharmacy school (a place for health, healing, and learning) worse than when I entered.
How do you feel about yourself now?
I feel like the best version of myself I have ever been. I have never been this physically or mentally fit. I have never had such a positive attitude about challenges or goals. I’ve finally started making goals for myself, as opposed to fulfilling the goals other people (parents, boyfriend, friends, etc.) have for me. I feel like a woman warrior. I feel like I have the mental determination to follow through with whatever goal I set for myself, and the physical ability to do whatever I need to do or would like to try. I have re-discovered my own worth and abilities. I refuse to let negative thoughts and feelings (especially those of others) impact my own beliefs and actions. I feel like I’m headed in the right direction. I’ve finally found something that makes me the happy, healthy, strong woman I’ve always wanted to be, and I know exactly what I need to do to keep it going.
Did friends or family comment on your weight loss? What has their reaction been?
Absolutely! My mom used to comment on my weight loss when she saw me on the weekends, decided she wanted to try to lose weight again and has lost over 70lbs so far within the past year. My entire family has become more health-conscious and active. The determination and consistency I showed with my daily workouts impressed my parents and inspired them to take charge of their own lives as well. I have friends that call me “skinny girl” and comment on how much weight I’ve lost, I have friends that call me “coach” because I’m always willing to share tips and secrets to losing weight or eating healthier. However, my weight loss has caused problems in my relationship with my boyfriend, who started out being very supportive, but the more I progressed the less supportive he became. It was very difficult dealing with this issue, being pulled between my own happiness, confidence, and health and the apparent trade-off it had with my relationship, but I decided to persevere and do what is best for me, regardless of anyone else. My boyfriend has started using shakeology and is eating cleaner, and also enjoys doing Les Mills Combat with me now. I believe my sudden commitment/dedication and drastic change/transformation made him uncomfortable, but we have continued to work through the changes together to find our new “baseline”- at a lower weight for both of us!
Most reactions have been positive, however I do not let those people or comments that are not supportive derail me from my new lifestyle. I know what is best for me, and I will not let the judgments or insecurities of others impact how I lead my life. I know what will make me feel the best and what will allow me to live the longest and happiest life I want to live. I know those people are only trying to justify their own lifestyle choices or insecurities, so I don’t take it personally or seriously. I will offer them help when they’re ready to make a change of their own.
Please use as much space below to tell us your story. Feel free to cut and paste from any other documentation you may have already sent to us.
I was never in shape, but I was never overweight or obese so I had no reason to think I ever needed to exercise. Obesity runs in the family, so I thought I’d just need to watch what I ate to prevent that from happening to me too. I avoided the freshman 15, but I gained a freshman 40 when I started pharmacy school. I started a medication that caused weight gain and increased appetite. I have hypothyroidism (a slow metabolism) and arthritis in my lower back. My boyfriend was in culinary school, specializing in baking and pastries, and he showed love through food (just like my immediate family). I was a smoker, I drank to excess, and there were days I would only eat fast food. I let it get to the point where I was only wearing sweatpants and sweatshirts every day, I didn’t let anyone take pictures of me. I isolated myself from family, friends, and didn’t engage the real world any more than I absolutely had to. I felt helpless and hopeless. I had even tried diet pills to lose weight but nothing worked.
In winter 2011 my mom bought brazil butt lift, and shortly after broke her leg. I saw how much difficulty she was having and it was even more motivation for me to get serious. I started using shakeology and brazil butt lift daily and started seeing results. The first day I noticed reduced cravings with shakeology. My usual breakfast (instant oatmeal or an English muffin with butter, peanut butter, and a glass of milk) would only keep me full for a couple hours or so (despite the huge amount of calories), and then I would be absolutely starving! The first time I tried shakeology I was full for at least 6 hours before food even crossed my mind, then I drank some water and my craving went away. After that, I was a believer, and I knew I could do it. In my spare time I researched health and fitness tips, watched forums and message boards, but never really engaged them or participated in the discussion.
Finally I responded to my beachbody coach and joined her facebook challenge group and settled into my new fitness community, which exponentially accelerated my results. I felt more comfortable with a steady group of people I could get to know and turn to, which made me feel comfortable sticking with it. We were in it together, all learning together, all trying to help each other out. Even though I was doing workouts alone and have still never met any of these people, we were bonded through our common journey, and grew very close together because of it. I felt comfortable turning to them once I started having problems with my boyfriend, because he was becoming very unsupportive with regard to my transformation. When we started dating, I was 145, which I considered to be my baseline. He liked to “spoil” me with fast food, and then when he started culinary school he brought me trays full of pastries daily (his homework and class assignments), and paired with the stress I was already under in school and my prior conditions, I gained weight like it was my job. I was up to 170. I didn’t want to be intimate or even be touched because I was disgusted with myself. Our relationship was suffering because of my weight and the way it was affecting me mentally and physically.
At first he was very supportive when I decided to lose weight, giving me compliments and helping me create healthy meals and activities, but somewhere along the line he started being judgmental, criticized my dedication and commitment as obsessive, and threatened our relationship and intimacy would suffer if I continued on my journey. This caused me a lot of internal strife, because I was realizing exercising made me happy, helped my pain immensely, and I wanted it to be a part of my life forever. My own self-improvement was becoming my new hobby and it was not appreciated by my boyfriend. He would tell me to “watch out and be careful” because “I don’t like how you’re changing” and that our relationship would suffer because of my choices. He said many times (and still does say), “If I wanted to be with someone with muscles I’d just be gay”. I turned to my facebook support group and found out I was not the only one who had dealt with this issue, and I felt supported in my decision to continue my journey and transformation because I knew it was the best thing I could do for myself. My boyfriend has started using shakeology and eating cleaner, and has also started exercising. He enjoys doing Les Mills Combat with me when we have time together. It has been a process of re-adjustment, but he realizes that I will continue my journey for life (if for no other reason because it helps to control my pain) and has made a huge improvement regarding hurtful comments and judgments. I realize he may never fully accept my dedication and life choice regarding my exercise habits, but I will continue to use beachbody programs and follow the class schedules to improve myself.
When I moved back home in May 2011, I had been using Shakeology and beachbody programs for ~5 months and lost ~30lbs. I had completed brazil butt lift and hip hop abs and was in the middle of INSANITY (my ultimate goal at the time). My mom was still recovering from her broken leg, but was amazed by my transformation and wanted to know what I was doing. I told her everything, and let her know she didn’t need to exercise to lose weight. She was very against the idea of shakeology and counting calories. We started sitting down together every morning talking about anything and everything. At first it was mostly about food, recipes, etc., but then we started sharing our feelings and thoughts about food, exercise, our ways of life and living, and more. I introduced her to myfitnesspal, and after realizing how many calories our usual breakfast was, she was willing to try shakeology. After she started losing 2lbs per week consistently without doing a single exercise, she was hooked! She lost a total of 40lbs without doing a single exercise, and then started exercising and has since lost another 30lbs for a grand total of over 70lbs in 10months. This journey has brought us so close together, and watching my mother regain her confidence, life, youth, and abilities has been a very powerful experience. My mom is my best friend and has become my inspiration for health and fitness too. I’ve seen a kind of ripple effect happening throughout my life since I’ve made my transformation. I started losing weight, then my mom jumped on board, and her transformation has motivated my dad to start exercising and making healthier choices, so now my entire family is more focused on health, nutrition, and doing whatever we can to extend our lives and improve the quality of our lives at the same time. It’s been a complete 180 from our old ways. Before I feel like my family saw and used food as a status symbol (eating a lot means we can afford a lot), as a sign of affection (more food means more love, right?), and as an accessory (I was guilty of carrying a venti starbucks caramel macchiato with extra caramel everywhere), not paying any mind to portions, nutritional value, or elements of a healthy meal. Now we see food as fuel, and it has revolutionized our entire lives! Our entire family is closer together. We often spend weekend mornings browsing healthy cookbooks together, and my mom and I make a new healthy recipe together at least once per week. My parents go on “dates” to buy fresh produce together, workout together, and are always experimenting with ways to make our old recipes healthier options. Turbo Fire has not only ignited a fire within myself (mentally, physically, and emotionally), but also within my entire family, and has touched every relationship I have (because it affects the way I relate to and treat others). Turbo Fire has made me a more patient, compassionate, determined, and thoughtful individual. I feel like I could go on forever discussing the ways that Turbo Fire in particular completely changed my life, beyond the ways that other fitness programs have impacted my body and mind.
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