Imagine carrying any one of the above animals/objects/people around with you everywhere you go, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Now imagine that extra weight being body fat.
Aside from being physically exhausting and painful on pretty much every joint in your body, it would exert an even greater negative impact on your cardiometabolic health.
Not to mention the psychological suffering that goes hand in hand with the physical. And the stark realisation that this is not how you want to live the rest of your life.
This is where Catherine was in July 2020 (Catherine is a former 360 PT client who had trained with me back in 2012).
After years of struggling with her weight, she eventually reached rock bottom when, mid-pandemic, her life took an unexpected detour.
She came home one day to find her apartment flooded. Her and her husband had to move to Normandy, where despite initially enjoying a break from Paris, she started to feel more and more physically, and socially isolated. This led her to get back into her old habit of comfort eating to make herself feel better and get through the day.
Before long she had reached her all time highest weight of 142 kgs (313 lbs). Catherine's heart health had also begun to suffer and she had started getting symptoms of type 2 diabetes.
She told me that one day when she got back from walking the dogs she was out of breath, had difficulty walking and could feel pain all over her body. She said that the combination of these factors flipped a switch inside her. She said to herself 'I do not want to be like this in 10 years time.'
Catherine told me that she knew that this was going to be about so much more than just going on a diet. This time, she was determined to make permanent change and in order to do so she realised that she would have to do something she had never done before.
She told me that if she wanted to be in a much better place 10 years from now she would have to get to the root of why she was eating as she was. She said "I knew I had to deal with my emotional self."
Nine months after Catherine's epiphany she sent me the following message:
She sent me these pictures too:
I could barely believe what I was seeing. I gave Catherine a call to find out how she had managed to make such incredible progress.
Catherine explained her story to me, telling me the details of her weight loss journey so far...
CATHERINE'S WEIGHT LOSS RESULTS
- July 2020 - weight: 142 kgs
- July 2021 - weight: 82 kgs
- Total weight lost: 60 kgs
HOW CATHERINE DID IT
- She started off on a ketogenic diet (very low carb, high fat and protein). Catherine was fully aware that the main benefit of this diet for her at the beginning was that it automatically cut out all the junk food she was eating (which was generally high in refined carbs), along with the cravings that accompanied it
- She also counted calories when she started out to increase her awareness of how much she was eating and to make sure she was consistently in the required calorie deficit to lose weight
- She cut out all alcohol
- She cut out all sodas (including diet sodas)
- She stopped snacking, sticking to 3 meals per day, eating mindfully so as not to eat more than she needs to
- After her initial success she found that the keto was too restrictive to be sustainable. Instead of giving up, she switched tactics, allowing herself more carbs, mainly in the form of fruit/veg, still cutting out most of the junk
- During the past few months, in addition to her walking/running, she has also incorporated strength training in order to maintain her lean body mass
- She weighs herself once per week to keep track of her progress
- Lastly, and possibly, most importantly, she has taken personal responsibility for her health. She rejected the victim mentality of the HAES (Health at Every Size) movement which she believes allows people to evade responsibility, giving them something to hide behind.
11 REASONS WHY I BELIEVE THAT CATHERINE WILL CONTINUE TO SUCCEED ON HER WEIGHT LOSS JOURNEY
- She has managed to successfully navigate the nutrition minefield on social media without being taken in by tribal diet dogma. This is no mean feat. While she may have followed a ketogenic diet at the beginning of her journey, she recognised it for what it was: a way to consume less calories. She was therefore able to adapt when it was no longer working for her.
- She has chosen to take full responsibility for her health instead of feeling sorry for herself.
- She realised that to get to where she wanted to be it was going to be about more than just going on a diet. She was brutally honest with herself regarding her emotional eating, and committed to making permanent change.
- She has vastly improved the quality of the food that she eats. By cutting out junk food, not only is it easier to consume less calories per meal, but she also doesn't have the same cravings as before that drove her to eat in excess. Being aware of the addictive nature of the junk food she was eating will help her to resist allowing it into her life again.
- She’s developed a regular habit of exercise: she's managed to make the switch from dreading exercise to not feeling right if she doesn't exercise. And the strength training she has incorporated will not only help her to retain her muscle mass but will also help her maintain her metabolic health.
- She accepts that losing weight and keeping it off is a lifelong project. She is conscious that there isn't a finish line. She understands that permanent lifestyle change is necessary.
- She has new goals to aim for. In addition to further weight loss, Catherine wants to do a full marathon and is planning on climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. She has a lot to look forward to that would have simply been impossible before.
- She is mindful of what she eats. Being aware of what she’s eating and why she’s eating it has been a key to her success.
- She's grateful for her progress and all the benefits that come with it: she's conscious of how much better she feels, she feels calmer, she realises she has a full life to live and has plenty to look forward to, she's not in constant pain any more, it's not a struggle to get off the sofa any more, she has more energy, her self confidence has improved... All of which far outweigh what she's given up: the emotional eating of addictive junk food.
- She weighs herself regularly (once a week, more or less), so as not to go off track, but is not obsessed by the number on the scale.
- Catherine has become a role model for others, helping inspire people to follow her on a similar journey. You can learn more about Catherine Connors here, on her YouTube channel, Bothar to Health.