After a weight-related medical scare, Katie Patterson's mother told her enough was enough and recommended a program called OPTAVIA. At 409 pounds, she knew she had to do something to change her life, and her weight-loss journey began.
POPSUGAR: What made you decide to start your weight-loss journey?
Katie Patterson: I had a wake-up call two years ago! I was visiting my parents' house with my husband and kids for Thanksgiving. That morning I was sleeping in a chair, sitting up, and stopped breathing from having sleep apnea. My parents woke me up and said, "that's enough, you have to change your life and you need to lose weight!" As the unplanned intervention unfolded, my mom then began to tell me about OPTAVIA and how she had already lost 30 pounds since July. She told me how she felt so much better, so I agreed to do it, but I didn't know how I could afford to start the program when we were in the middle of a financial crisis. My mom wouldn't let it go, and I couldn't either, because she kept losing weight and feeling even better. Thank goodness, I eventually was able to start.
PS: What drew you to OPTAVIA specifically?
KP: My mom inspired me with her story. Even though I had never heard of TSFL before, my mom insisted I do it.
"I would knock off items at the store with my stomach and people would stand there and look at me."
PS: What's your favorite way to work out?
KP: I don't work out at a gym, but I get 10,000 steps though my busy daily routine. My exercise of walking is always different and exciting with my kids, husband, and job.
PS: How much weight have you lost?
KP: As of today, I have lost 220 pounds and over 12 feet of fat all over my body! I'm still going! I want to be in the healthy range of the BMI chart.
PS: What was the first big difference, other than the number on the scale, that really made you feel proud and excited?
KP: Wow! Where do I start? I went from dependent on my husband to take a shower, dress, cook dinner, and much of the care of our children, because my body was in so much pain all the time, I wasn't able to walk a half a mile to the bus stop to get my kids without being out of breath and sweating like crazy. I would knock off items at the store with my stomach and people would stand there and look at me as I attempted to bend over and pick up the items, or I would kick them under something to hide it so I wouldn't have the embarrassment of having to pick it up. I not only couldn't fit in my seat belt, I couldn't fit in our car! I had to always drive our large SUV. Even then, my stomach was tight against the steering wheel, causing rub burns. I fell asleep throughout my day from exhaustion, even while helping my kids with their homework.
So you ask what was the first big difference? Where do I start? I couldn't possibly limit it to one. But it started with the pain going away and the confidence growing.
"All you have to do is say yes to health and do your best."
I am a mom again! I am a wife again! I am a friend again! I am so many things again that have been hidden for eight years. I am alive again, and I want to be the best me I can be as a healthy mom, wife, and friend.
PS: How do you track your weight loss?
KP: I track my weight loss by measuring myself every month and weighing myself daily. I write my measurements and weight in my food journal every month. For accountability, I talk with my health coach, Pam Carter, regularly and share with our support community.
PS: What's a typical day of meals and snacks?
KP: I am currently on the OPTAVIA Optimal Weight 5 and 1 Plan. It consists of eating five healthy fuelings throughout the day ["fuelings" are snacks from the OPTAVIA brand as part of the program], along with one healthy meal of lean protein and low-carb vegetables that I make on my own. This has taught me how to prepare healthy meals with healthy portion sizes. I love that I don't need to count calories.
PS: What are the healthy staples that are always in your fridge?
KP: I don't go shopping for a full month of food anymore. I shop weekly, so I don't have a lot of food in my fridge. A majority of my food is provided through TSFL, while I'm doing the weight-loss phase of the program. Jalapeños, mushrooms, broccoli, and other salad fixings are my favorite vegetables. Chicken and occasional steak are my favorite lean proteins.
PS: How do you strategize for meals out?
KP: I connect with my health coach and my community of friends that might know what is a great healthy idea when I plan a meal out at a new place. I usually stick with salads with dressing on the side; it's usually the safest meal to choose when dining out.
"I am ALIVE again, and I want to be the best me I can be as a healthy mom, wife, and friend."
PS: Do you use a fitness tracker?
KP: I sometimes use an iPod fitness tracker, but now I am on a routine and know what my usual day-to-day steps are.
PS: What role did OPTAVIA play in your success?
KP: OPTAVIA, my health coach, Habits of Health home study, the healthy fuelings, and the OPTAVIA community continue to provide me with the tools and support needed for long-term success. Before OPTAVIA, I was so fearful, angry, scared, alone, in denial, and sick, yet longing for something more. Now I have a wonderful community of like-minded, fun, loving, supportive friendships, who are happy and uplifting, as we fellowship together on our shared health journeys. They are always there for me when I need support, when I struggle, and when I share and celebrate my scale and "NSV" (nonscale victories). OPTAVIA will always hold a special place in my heart and a big, huge part in my health journey. I wouldn't be where I am today if I didn't have these new habits of health and the tools I use every day to get healthier and healthier as I get to my optimal well-being! Matter of fact, I decided to "pay it forward" and become a health coach because I want to make difference in other people's lives, like my coach has done in life.
PS: What advice do you have for anyone starting out on a weight-loss journey?
KP: This is the hardest journey I have ever been on, but the most rewarding! If you are thinking about starting your own health journey, stick to it. I tell myself every week, even every day, do your best today; it will pay off tomorrow. All you have to do is say yes to health and do your best. I've learned so much about healthy habits and about myself. My health coach reminds me regularly, when I am struggling, "You haven't come this far just to come this far. You can do it." She continues to have me ask myself, "What do you want to accomplish most and why?" and "What will your life look like when you get to your healthy BMI goal and beyond?"