Honey, I Shrunk the Series: Katie for Life

Happy Tuesday, all! If you live in the area, I hope you weren’t accosted by the terrible, first-snow-of-the-season traffic that befell me last night, haha. I love snow, but I do NOT love snow commuting, that’s for sure.

So you guys have all heard the origins of my weight loss story time and time again, and I am so grateful for how kind and supportive everyone has been in receiving it. Of course, I only provide one perspective of how this kind of health journey can take shape! Many of you have accomplished far more than I have in terms of your weight loss, and I can only imagine how inspirational your journeys are. Thus, Honey, I Shrunk the Series has been born! Cut me some slack on the title — you know how much I love the corny.

So today, instead of more continuous drivel from yours truly, I thought it’d be great to showcase others who have had similar struggles. First up, we have Katie from Katie for Life!

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He's not mine, but isn't he the cutest?

For as long as I can remember, I have always struggled with my weight. I went to a private grade school and in 5th grade, the other girls made fun of me, because I had to start wearing a skirt – a privilege reserved for girls in sixth grade and up – because the jumpers didn’t fit me anymore. Girls can be so harsh. Between the seventh and twelfth grades, I dieted on and off, trying my best to get small enough to fit into the all-the-rage clothes at the hottest stores, but I always ended up gaining back what I lost … and more.

Senior Prom, May 2007

Then, I hit the road for my first year of college. While most kids gain the dreaded Freshman 15, the pressure of fitting in and looking as good as all the other scantily clad girls prancing from house party to house party encouraged me to lose weight. I crash dieted, over-exercised, and successfully dropped about 30 pounds.

College 2008 (Another baby!)

For me, the end of high school and beginning of college was a very unhealthy period in my life, both physically and emotionally. I invested myself in an almost-five year relationship with an individual who showed a complete and utter disregard for my feelings. To put it simply, he cheated on me, pointed out each and every one of my imperfections, and made me feel worthless. To make matters worse, I was unhappy being away from home and realized that the “giant university” college experience didn’t suit me at all. However, I put my feelings on the back burner, because I didn’t want to leave the “love of my life.”

College 2008

At the end of 2008, I made a decision – a decision that I believe led the way for many more positive changes in my life. I decided to transfer to a schools and move back home. Although I remained in that toxic relationship for years to come – and my unhealthy relationship with food still lingers – I truly believed that I finally started to see the bigger picture and realized that the importance of putting myself first in order to be there for everyone else.

College 2009

Still, living at home meant that I constantly surrounded by food. The house was stocked with every snack food imaginable, and I showed no restraint. I ate when I was hungry; I ate when I was bored; I ate when I was sad over the latest disagreement in my now-long-distance relationship. Basically, I ate too often, and I ate too much. I wasn’t as educated about eating disorders and healthy eating habits back then; I now know that there’s a name for the eating that I did, and sometimes still do: binge eating disorder. During the 2009 holiday season, I took a trip to Australia with my mom to visit her fiance. It was an amazing trip that I was insanely lucky to take, but I couldn’t help but feel self-conscious for three weeks straight.

Australia, 2009-2010

The once-in-a-lifetime experience of holding a precious little koala … and a picture that I was embarrassed to show anyone. In reality, I couldn’t stand to look at almost every picture from this trip. It was the beginning of a much needed wake up call. Still, the changes didn’t begin immediately. I continued working out semi-regularly. I was a Jazzercise instructor, after all. I had taken Jazzercise classes on-and-off since age 15 and became certified in 2008. Still, these well-rounded workouts were negated by my out-of-control eating. In April 2010, I attended a Jazzercise Convention in New Orleans. Surrounded by healthy women, I felt a blimp and decided that I needed to make a change.

April 2010

The next month, my mom and I joined Weight Watchers. I vowed to carefully count points and work out daily. I was dedicated – more committed that I had ever been to anything in my whole life. In fact, looking back, I was probably a little bit manic about it. But I lost over 60 pounds by my 21st birthday on September 21st, 2010.

I felt beautiful, confident, and healthy! Even better, pounds and inches weren’t the only thing that I got rid of. I also found the strength to close the book on my relationship from hell, and in August 2010, I can confidently say that I met the real love of my life.

Jazzercise Convention, Las Vegas, June 2011

In October, I walked 5 miles for Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, feeling fit and fabulous. I was a mere six pounds from the WW goal weight. I even had the opportunity to share my weight loss story on a local morning TV show.

Unfortunately, in September of that year, I gave myself the “week off” to celebrate my birthday, and since then, I don’t feel like I been able to completely reel-in my eating habits. I am fully aware that this could have a lot to do with the fact that my weight loss journey was 100% healthy eating with ZERO indulgences. Even weight maintenance has not been easy. I still fight and give-in to the urge to binge eat. Since reaching my lowest weight, I have gained a little over ten pounds back. But I’m not giving up the fight.

After attending a second Jazzercise Convention in June 2011, I decided to resign as a Jazzercise instructor for various reasons. I still belong to a gym, but working out is by no means second nature to me. I know how important it is, but I still struggle with the motivation to do it on a regular basis.

I started my blog, Katie for Life, in October of last year, but only recently began blogging regularly – several times per week for me. I’ve tried writing about my eating and workouts in a past blog, but found that these aren’t the types of topics that I want to engage in with my readers. Instead, you will find open and honest posts about the struggles and triumphs of an average girl navigating the world of healthy living.

Most recently, on a trip to NYC in December 2011

Although my blog is relatively new, I have plans for innumerable posts about topics that I am hopeful that many of you can relate to. I truly want Katie for Life to be a safe and supportive community for all. At 22 years old, I am still learning and growing every single day, so I know that I can gain from your interaction as much as, if not more than, you might benefit from reading my posts. I recently shared my goals for 2012, and I’d love to know what yours are as well. Please stop on over, and say hello! Talk to you soon!

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See what I mean? Inspiring. Thanks so much for sharing, Katie! 🙂

If you would like to your weight loss story to be included as part of Honey, I Shrunk the Series!, please email me at [email protected]

PS: Just a final reminder that the winner of the Hello Hydration giveaway will be drawn tomorrow, so get your entries in!

Daily Eats – 1/9/12

The day started out with a slice of whole wheat toast (100 cal), a tablespoon of peanut butter (80 cal), and a smear of sugar-free raspberry preserves (5 cal).

Then an apple as a morning snack (80 cal).

The first part of lunch was a serving-and-a-half of my healthy chicken salad (200 cal).

Followed by the rest of my balsamic braised red cabbage (~200 cal). Just as delicious cold as it is hot!

Unfortunately, my stomach started to feel kinda weird before dinner, so I wasn’t feeling up to much. I ended up copping out and making a bowl of ramen (380 cal) and an egg (90 cal).

Total for the day: 1,135 calories. Kind of low! Guess that means there’s time for me to nom on a couple Hershey’s miniatures to balance me out, haha. Win!

Weight Loss 101: Hello Hydration (Giveaway!)

Catching up? Check out my previous Weight Loss 101 posts!

Splish Splash
(photo by ben)

Water. We need it to, you know, live. It lubricates our joints, regulates our system, gives life to our cells, and heck, we ARE it — you know, what with that whole thing about the human body being two-thirds water (source).


(source)

There’s no doubt that staying well-hydrated is an important part of weight loss, too. Thirst can masquerade as hunger, causing us to eat more and, though it seems a bit counter-intuitive, being dehydrated actually makes you retain water. This causes bloating and (water) weight gain, which we all know can have a dramatic impact on our motivation and self-esteem.

I don’t know about you, but I am TERRIBLE about drinking enough of it. Depending on where you live, your weight, how much you exercise and sweat, etc, the specific volume of water you should be consuming may differ. Even just going by the old standard “8 x 8” rule (64 oz, or eight glasses full of eight ounces of water daily), I find myself constantly falling short. I don’t know if it’s just because I’m too lazy to refill my water bottle, or if it’s ’cause I really just don’t think about it, but I would say I am under-hydrated on more days than not. To that end, I’ve compiled a few of my tips for staying hydrated that I’m sure will make you say “well, duh.” Also, you’ve probably already heard/read them 1,000 times before. But now you get to read them again! Huzzah!

Old water cooler bottles
(source)

1. Make it convenient.

At my last job, there was one of those little water coolers (you know, the kind with the big plastic jug that makes the “bloop bloop” noise when it bubbles?) about 4 feet from my desk. I could essentially swivel my chair and have water at my fingertips. I drank so much more water at that job than I do now, where I have to walk the length of the office (the horror!) to get to a water fountain! Why? Convenience. I’ve admitted to my laziness time and time again (at this point, it’s practically boasting!), so making something easy to access is a number one priority for me. If you find yourself without a similar convenience, try asking your office manager if you can get a similar water cooler installed in a central place, or get a mini-fridge to keep at your desk to store pre-filled bottles in.

2. Carry it with you.

Okay, so maybe your boss says you don’t have the budget for a more hydration-friendly office, or you’re thinking about those non-office moments (rare though they are). Well, no fear, there’s an even simpler way to ensure you have water available at all times. Just make sure you always carry a bottle with you. (See? Cue the “… duh”s.) Now, for bag ladies like me, it’s easy to toss a Klean Kanteen or other reusable water bottle into your giant purse. If, however, you find you’re needing another way to hang onto your hat bottle, might I suggest a bottle holder? And if you hang around until the end of the post, you’ll even have an opportunity to win one!

Healthy Water with splash
(source)

3. Make it interesting.

I hear it from people all the time. “Water is so boring!” “I just can’t drink that much water.” “I don’t like the taste.” Well, people, water is awesome. You can flavor it with anything, you can make it sparkle, it’s good hot and it’s good cold. Experiment! We all know my devastating love for all things sparkling water, an addiction that our new Soda Stream helps enable daily, hehe. Other suggestions:

– Add a squeeze of lemon or lime to ice water when at a restaurant.
– Enjoy a drizzle a touch of honey in a steamy mug of hot water on cold days.
– Use frozen fruit instead of ice cubes to give your glass some color and zing.
– Homemade cucumber water is very refreshing (it makes me feel like I’m at the spa, haha) and just about the easier thing ever: slice cucumbers, add to water. Ta-da!

There are tons of combinations and experiments you can do make water more appealing to you. Try a few of them out!

So there you have it. Whether you like your water fizzy, flavored, or flat, there’s no excuse not to try to get your 64 oz. in each day. And for one of you, it’s about to get even easier. Giveaway time!!

My good friend Sarah‘s mom handcrafts the very macrame water bottle holders you see in the photos above. They come in three colors (pearl, tan, or brown) and one of you will win one in the color of your choice!

I have one, and I love that due to its drawstring top, it’s flexible enough to fit a variety of bottle sizes (from the standard plastic water bottle to my giant reusable ones!) It’s soft, lightweight, and would be great to sling over your shoulder on a hiking trip or photography tour. They are also available from her Etsy shop, and she’s also working on designs for a farmer’s market bag, as well as a wallet that will clip onto the bottle holder. Neat, huh?

To enter, simply leave a comment offering your favorite tip for staying hydrated. Be sure to indicate which color you would want, too!

As always, bonus entries are awarded for:

1. Liking me on Facebook
2. Following me on Twitter
3. Blogging/posting/tweeting about this giveaway!

Just make sure to leave a separate comment here for each thing you do to ensure you have multiple entries! I’ll be drawing a random winner on Wednesday, January 11th.

Happy Friday, everyone!

Daily Eats – 1/4/12

Yesterday’s eats! Forgive the iPhone photos. Laziness strikes as always again!

I started with ~6 oz. of V8 Smoothie (Strawberry Nanner) watered down with some tap water to create an equal 8 (90 cal).

And a clementine (35 cal).

Lunch was a multi-parter, starting with the good ol’ salad I’ve been enjoying for the past few days — greens, onion, grape tomatoes, craisins, blue cheese, and balsamic dressing (~200 cal).

Followed with a crapton of cornmeal encrusted chicken tenders. I didn’t intend to eat all of them but… you can probably guess what happened, hehe (~300 cal).

1 cup of orrecchiette pasta topped with a homemade sauce which included ground beef, Trader Joe’s Vodka Sauce (SO good), mushrooms, and a crapton of spinach. Delicious. I went back for just a smidgen more afterward, hehe. (~700 cal).

Unpictured: Activia Nonfat Blueberry Greek yogurt (190 cal).

Total: ~1,515 calories. Winning! Still got to work on that inverted pyramid though… whoops.