A Healthy Transformation, and Tips to Succeed

January 2, 2018

#NOWWellness Influencer Katie Bolden is an internationally published blogger, athlete, and fitness enthusiast that has lost half of her body weight (150 pounds) over the last three-and-a-half years. She is a mother, wife, and transformer who is motivating and inspiring thousands around the world.

Wake-up call

It was February of 2013. I weighed 280 pounds. I had been experiencing some life-altering and major neurological and reproductive health issues that made me realize, if I don’t do something about my health, my life and/or my abilities could be cut short. It was that “a-ha” moment that finally prompted me to become serious in learning the right tools and discipline I needed to get healthier. Specifically, in 2012 I suffered from an episode of Optic Neuritis that left me temporarily blind in one eye for about a month. My vision never fully recovered. The Optic Neuritis and dealing with temporary paralysis amongst other issues led doctors to giving me a pre-diagnosis and 95% chance of having or developing Multiple Sclerosis. And that wasn’t all. Within a three-year period, I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), infertility, glaucoma, anxiety disorder, and manic depression.

Slow and steady wins the race

The possibility of not being able to see or walk in the future and do the things that I loved to do without a lot of issues was very frightening to me. My health ordeals really helped to open my eyes and realize that life is too short to continue just merely existing and not living. The beginning of my journey was a confusing and difficult time for me. I felt lost because I knew how to get weight off of me, but it wasn’t sustainable and therefore didn’t help me to keep it off. I kept gaining it back and dealt with years of yo-yo dieting. I was losing weight in an unhealthy and unsustainable way with an “all or nothing” mindset.

This time I had to figure out how I could lose weight in a way that would be sustainable and maintainable especially after I have lost all of the weight. I did a lot of research in the beginning of my journey (reading articles, reading success stories and what worked for others, etc.) and still do a lot of research because you never want to stop learning throughout your weight loss and fitness journey. It’s a lifestyle change and you will never stop learning! I started with small changes starting with my daily activity. I started moving my body more. I did things that I already enjoyed doing, but didn’t do often, like hiking and swimming for cardio. I started weightlifting for strength training. I started utilizing tools like heart rate watches and information with heart rate and calories burned during exercise.

Never in my life have I ever had a healthy relationship with food before my 150 pound weight loss. I knew something had to change in this department to keep things sustainable for me for long-term success. I started working on cleaning up my diet, tracking my food, and counting calories and macros. I drastically cut back on fast food and other foods I enjoyed that weren’t healthy, but I never completely eliminated them. I saved that for my cheat/treat meals.

Two months into my weight loss and fitness journey, I made the decision to start documenting my journey through a blog, to help me remain accountable. I created, Huff ‘n Puff to Buff ‘n Tough (http://www.huffnpuffbuffntough.com/). Throughout the years it has blossomed into a beautiful community of support.

Crushing goals

Throughout my journey, I have set and accomplished many goals! Goals that STILL blow my mind when I look back on it. I have completed multiple 5Ks, 10Ks, obstacle courses, and two half-marathons! I am working on completing that full distance with a full marathon in the future. I competed in my first bodybuilding competition at the WBFF Fitness Atlantic USA Championships and won my division! I have had amazing opportunities with having my story published and shared in the media. I am currently embarking on a journey to becoming a published author with my book that I am currently writing— focusing on my life story and journey to good health. I will also be discussing my advice and tips on having a successful weight loss and fitness journey and embracing life with medical conditions such PCOS and various mental illnesses.

Living well with NOW

I am so grateful for NOW products! I’ve been incorporating NOW products into my life and weight loss/fitness journey for over two years. I have used NOW for everything ranging from diet support to half-marathon training to bodybuilding to recovery and healing. NOW was there for me when I lost 150 pounds, training for and successfully completing my first half-marathon, my journey to the stage, competing and winning my first fitness competition, and recovery and healing my mind and body. Knowing there’s a company out there who you can completely trust when it comes to safe and effective products, is so important. I can’t thank NOW enough for the encouragement and support throughout these few years.

6 Tips for embarking on a health transformation journey of your own:

  1. Be patient – We all want results RIGHT NOW, but nothing in life works that way. All good things take time and work. You can’t lose all the weight overnight. You can’t gain all the muscle overnight. A transformation doesn’t happen overnight, so be patient with your body and the process.
  2. Start today not tomorrow - Stop waiting for tomorrow or a Monday. Life is too short to keep pushing it off. Tomorrow isn’t promised to any of us. Start today and work with what you have. Some of us receive a wake-up call and some don’t. If you do happen to be one of those people who get a wake-up call…. take it seriously!!!!
  3. Accountability - Be proactive! Make a plan, set some goals and write them down. Better yet, put it out into the universe on social media, blog, groups, etc.! That can help tremendously with actually following through with your plan. You’re also more likely to gain cheerleaders and support from people who will become your “fit family.”
  4. Fix your mindset - If your mindset is negative, you are going to have a very tough time on this journey. You are going to make it 5x harder for yourself than it has to be. Be open to changing your eating habits. See your workouts as an opportunity to not only improve your body, but your mind as well. It’s a lifestyle. Treat it as such.
  5. Rely on discipline rather than motivation – Motivation is a great tool, but it can only take you so far. Motivation is unreliable. You won't always be motivated. Focus on building self-discipline. When you have a solid foundation of self-discipline, it will always be there for you to keep you going when the motivation runs out.
  6. Most importantly……. Learn to love yourself every step of the way on this journey. In my personal opinion, it is one of the most important aspects of any weight loss and fitness journey. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Allow yourself to mess up and make mistakes. When you fall off with a bad day, week, month, or year— get back on. You got this!

You can follow Katie for daily inspiration on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.