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How I lost 150 pounds: 'My dream of becoming a mother kept me motivated'

Weight-Loss Win is an original Yahoo series that shares the inspiring stories of people who have shed pounds healthfully.

Katie Bolden is 31, 5’4” tall, and currently weighs 130 pounds. In 2013, after being diagnosed with several serious health issues, her dream of becoming a mother and living life to the fullest was threatened. This is her weight loss story.

The Turning Point

I remember my weight first becoming an issue when I was a young girl and I was told by doctors and family members that I was overweight. I suffered emotional abuse and fat shaming by loved ones at a young age. I was constantly told that I would be pretty if I lost some weight and called offensive names because of my weight. Even after all of that, I didn’t realize the magnitude of my weight problems until I started dealing with arm and chest pains in my late teens and early 20s. I dealt with dull, squeezing, and sometimes sharp shooting pains in my chest and upper left arm. Doctors later diagnosed it as angina and told me I was on the verge of a heart attack in the near future if I did not address my weight. The news didn’t scare me enough to lose weight right away and I am not sure why it didn’t because that’s scary news for anyone.

The real turning point for me was the moment in 2012 I got a pre-diagnosis of multiple sclerosis after a series of neurological issues that included going temporarily blind in one eye (optic neuritis) and temporary paralysis. That same year, I was also diagnosed with glaucoma, depression, and generalized and social anxiety disorders.

I also had an earlier diagnosis of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and issues with infertility. My dreams of being a mother were being threatened and I knew it was time to change. The thought of possibly not becoming a mother was a painful one. The possibility of losing my ability to walk, run, or see, shook me to my core.

Katie Bolden at the beginning of her weight loss journey and now. (Photos: Courtesy of Katie Bolden)

The Changes

I started looking at what I had done in the past for weight loss and why it was never a lasting change. I realized that a lot of what I was doing for weight loss was temporary. My mindset was off about health, fitness, weight loss — the whole journey. I didn’t realize that it was a permanent lifestyle change and that it was about making sustainable lasting changes. With my past attempts, I had an “all or nothing” mentality towards weight loss. I gave up as soon as I had a bad day with a workout or food because I thought it was all over once I messed up. I kept thinking, “all of this work is just temporary until I lose the weight. Then I won’t have to workout anymore or eat healthy and I can have all of my favorite foods again.” I kept thinking about how much I really hated to workout. I realized that mindset wasn’t getting me anywhere.

In February 2013 I started out with the same toxic mindset, but I wanted to do things differently. I started counting calories, tracking my food and macros through the MyFitnessPal app and decreasing my portion sizes. I started cutting back on a lot of the sugar and fast food that I was eating, but didn’t place any restrictions on myself. My diet was mostly high protein, low fat, and moderate carbs. I started out having one cheat meal a week and eventually worked up to having a cheat meal less often, one to two times a month depending on my goals. Sometimes more depending on my mood or the occasion. I started noticing the fact that I didn’t want cheat meals as often anymore and saw better results only having them once or twice a month.

I started working out four to five days a week doing cardio and weightlifting. I got a lot of my workouts from YouTube, Bodybuilding.com, and various DVDs. For cardio, I started running, or attempting to run anyways. I couldn’t run for more than 30 seconds, sometimes less. I was also swimming and hiking for cardio. I focused on doing things I enjoyed (hiking, swimming, etc.) mixed in with things that I didn’t enjoy so much at the time (running, weightlifting, etc.).

Challenging, but fun goals like hiking and 5Ks kept me motivated. There is nothing like taking in breathtakingly beautiful destinations that you can only reach by foot and some hard work.

Two months later in April 2013, I decided to document my journey through my blog – Huff ‘n Puff to Buff ‘n Tough — and social media. I thought it would be a good way to keep myself accountable while documenting my journey and connecting with others who are, or have been, on similar paths.

Emotionally, the change was complicated. I felt great in terms of energy and motivation, but I also felt frustrated and angry while making changes for my health. I felt great because I was seeing results from the changes that I was making and I was gaining a lot of energy. But I felt frustrated and angry because I kept assuming that I wouldn’t have had to do all of this work if I had not been obese in the first place. I was also not as knowledgeable about nutrition as I am today and thought that food options were few and far between when it came to healthy options.

After I finally became a mom and had my daughter in September 2014, she became even more of a reason to not give up on my health, dreams, goals, and life in general.

Katie with a pair of her old jeans. (Photo: Courtesy of Katie Bolden)

The After

Since my 150 pound weight loss (and I am not done yet — I am still carrying about 5-10 lbs. of loose skin which I plan to have removed eventually), my life has changed in so many ways! I have gained a great deal of confidence and self-esteem throughout my journey. I am happy in many aspects of my life. I am healthy when it comes to my weight. I feel beautiful and strong even with my excess skin. I feel like I am on top of the world and that I can accomplish most anything I set my mind to. I never thought that I could ever feel that way.

I have also expanded my world, and had a lot of amazing and fun opportunities that I never even dreamed I could have. Shy by nature, I was told by loved ones to break out of my shell and try new things; but I had a tough time doing that with anxiety, depression, and obesity pinning me down. Now I have ventured into the world of modeling. I tapped into my inner athlete, that I always suspected was there, and started competing in bodybuilding competitions — I even won my very first competition.

I was really surprised by the positive and energetic attitude that I gained towards life during and after weight loss. I was also surprised by the amount of loose skin that I was left with. Excess skin was never an issue that I thought about before weight loss. I never thought about it until it started happening. Even after it started happening, I thought it was pretty badass! I do have my bad days with my skin though, and I don’t want to keep it around forever. But for now, I’ll rock the hell out of it.

Photos: Courtesy of Katie Bolden

The Maintenance

It really depends on what I am doing (maintaining, muscle building, fat loss, power or strength building, etc.). But typically, if I am just maintaining, I am working out four to six days a week. I do moderate to heavy weightlifting and cardio. I eat five to six times a day, every two or three hours.

I still use the MyFitnessPal app. I use it for all of my fitness goals. I am having cheat meals once or twice a week when maintaining to keep myself sane. I make sure to drink at least a half a gallon of water a day. If my body is hungry, I eat. I have dessert most days out of the week (protein ice cream, low calorie ice cream, etc.).

I am not always motivated. But when I am motivated it’s because of the amazing energy from the Huff ‘n Puff to Buff ‘n Tough community! My results, dreams, goals and the fact that I am never satisfied keeps me motivated. The fact that fitness has become my passion throughout my journey keeps me motivated. Above all, my daughter has been and will always be what inspires and motivates the very most.

The Struggles

One thing I struggle with to this day is nutrition. I know what to eat and how to eat for my goals, but I am pretty basic with my nutrition. I would like to expand what I eat and start trying new recipes, but I don’t cook all that often. That said, I have been working on some new recipes and I am sure that with practice, I will get better.

Photo: Courtesy of Katie Bolden

Advice

Make it fun! It will still be hard, but why not have some fun in the process. Find some activities that you enjoy. Create goals! Goals are everything on this journey. Without goals, you aren’t going very far. Try to create goals that are more than just about numbers on the scale and how much weight you would like to lose in a certain amount of time. Try making fun non-scale goals like doing a fun themed 5K and maybe eventually working up towards a 10K or more. Have patience and work towards creating a positive mindset with positive pep talks to yourself. A little confidence, and reminding yourself that you will get there eventually no matter how long it takes, will take you very far on this journey!

Need more inspiration? Read about our other weight-loss winners!

Weight-Loss Win is authored by Andie Mitchell, who underwent a transformative, 135-pound weight loss of her own.

Have a weight-loss win to share? We want to hear it! Tell us at YStyleBeauty@yahoo.com.

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