At 288 pounds, Kelly Kepner said her life revolved around food.
“I was always excited to try new restaurants and the food I’d see on Instagram had me constantly thinking about eating,” she told Women’s Health. After high school, she says she began living on her own and enjoyed the freedom of being able to each whatever foods she craved and live a sedentary lifestyle.
Kepner grew depressed as the number on her scale kept climbing, but her go-to coping method was the root of her problem. “I’d get upset over not being able to find something to wear that fit and then turn to food as a comfort—I was stuck in a vicious cycle,” she admitted.
Last April, her mother began attending Weight Watchers and Kepner joined the program with her. She said she wanted to lose two pounds a week to start, maybe 50 pounds in a year.
“I’d previously lost 50 pounds for my wedding in 2010, but that came back because after the event, all bets were off,” she said. “Not pressuring myself to lose weight for an event this time was a great relief and ultimately it was the idea of losing weight for myself that made me successful this time around.” That success meant shedding 113 pounds in just nine months!
Kepner stuck to using Weight Watchers Smart Points system, and began by purging her kitchen of the “high-point items” that made up her unhealthy diet. She says she then learned to become hyperaware of food labels and understood better how to navigate the grocery store.
“Thinking of foods in terms of point value has been instrumental for me,” she said. “For instance, fruit and veggies are all zero points, so those have become huge staples of my diet.”
She says she’s also ditched items that eat away at her points allotment — like bacon and cheese — and now relies on low-cal spices to flavor her food.
Now, Kepner’s daily diet normally consists of oatmeal and berries for breakfast, Greek yogurt as a morning snack, and a low-carb tortilla sandwich for lunch. Dinner is usually seafood or lean chicken with a green salad, or she’ll nosh on some of the 10 vegetable trays she roasts each week.
To complement her diet, she got active by walking three to four miles every morning. Since then, she’s started a routine: walk every morning, hit the elliptical three times a week and visit Orange Theory for a HIIT workout twice a week.
“Now, I feel so much healthier, stronger and more in control mentally,”Kepner said. “I no longer turn down trips to the amusement park out of fear I won’t be let on the rides and I've stopped avoiding spending time with friends who are thinner than me.”
For those interested in embarking on their own weight loss journeys, Kepner says the key is to start immediately and find a good support system to push you along the way.