The fact that Karol Brandt-Gilmartin lost 100 pounds is truly impressive. What is even more impressive is that she has managed to keep that weight off for more than 5 years! What's more, she lost her weight without extreme dieting, pills or surgery!
Growing up in New Orleans, Karol was an active child and didn't experience weight troubles until her 20s. Because her focus had shifted to her career, physical activity all but disappeared from her life. Combined with long work hours, stress and emotional eating, Karol's weight began to increase. Everything got worse after Hurricane Katrina. Karol lost her business, sustained major damage to her home and ended a long-term relationship. "It was a gradual spiral. I felt hopeless and overwhelmed, and turned to eating to help numb my feelings," says Karol. "Food made me feel a little bit better for a little bit longer, although of course that was only temporary."
Often binge eating in secrecy, Karol found herself wearing a size 22 and weighing 237 pounds. "My self image and my self esteem were so low. I didn't want to go to social events, I didn't want to do anything outside of home or work," she says. "I didn't want to live this way. I wanted to be the Karol that was."
In 2008, Karol went for a check up with her doctor and was floored when she discovered that she had high blood pressure, high cholesterol and was borderline diabetic. When Karol expressed surprise, her doc gave her some tough love. Karol recalls, "she really gave it to me straight, in the nicest of ways. She said, 'Karol, you
did this to yourself. You are severely overweight and your unhealthy lifestyle choices got you here. You
need to fix you
[bctt tweet="Truly A Weight Loss Inspiration: What We Can All Learn From Karol Brandt-Gilmartin"]
This was the wake up call she needed. Karol started attending weekly Weight Watchers meetings and educating herself on fitness and nutrition. She began a daily exercise routine and in two years time, she had lost 100 pounds and was in the best shape of her life, both mentally and physically.
"Weight Watchers gave me accountability – I needed it as my emotional guard rail. Every week I had to step on the scale, whether I wanted to or not. I also learned that the scale doesn't dictate everything. Even if I went several weeks without seeing the number drop, I knew that I was getting strong, and feeling even stronger."
While working on physical weight loss, Karol also put in time on the emotional baggage she had been carrying. "I did a lot of self-reflection and self work, peeling back the layers to understand my why.
Why I was emotionally eating, why I had allowed my health to spiral out of control."
She was able to identify the evening -- the time she left work until she went to bed, as being her binge eating trigger. She learned to spend these hours on things related to health and wellness. She would hit the gym on her way home or go to a friend's place to try new healthy recipes. "I tried very hard to maintain a pattern of surrounding myself with positive activities, especially during that particularly challenging window of time in the evening," she says.
How does she stay so positive?
"I wake up every morning feeling blessed that I have a new day, that I can share my story," says Karol. "I put my 'shield' on every morning with a lot of positive affirmations and motivational readings. I set goals that help to motivate me, drive me, and continually raise the bar, and I make vision boards to help me stay focused on these goals."
As is the case with most of us, time can get away on Karol during the course of the day so she makes working out a priority by getting up early and doing it at 5:30 a.m. While she generally pre-plans and preps her meals and snacks, sometimes she runs out of time there too. Karol always has a backup plan. "Even if it has to be fast food, you can make that work for you," says Karol. "I can get egg white sandwiches, or a grilled chicken salad with light vinaigrette at many fast food spots now."
Karol's advice to you:
"Remember that transforming your health is a journey. The weight didn't come on in a day, and it won't come off in a day. And don't give up. The struggle is real – but you
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