Overcoming Challenges When Everything Seems in Your Way

My life has always been filled with people, love, laughter, and purpose. Despite this, I have always felt a sense of emptiness, and used food to comfort me and fill that void. At the young age of 26, I tipped the scale at 350lbs. ‘How did I get to this point?!’ I would ask myself. I was morbidly obese, asthmatic, and had a bad back and weak knees from the extra weight. I had A LOT of challenges up against me.

Despite these events, I was determined to get my life back on track and go back to medical school someday. I was motivated to help others live healthier lives, but knew I had to start with myself. In addition, I was tired of always being told, “You have such a pretty face!” It was time to make a change. Once I determined my, “Why?” which was the reason I wanting to live a healthy lifestyle.

I joined a local gym for a low cost and started working out 3-4 times a week. I slowly worked my way up to being active 4-5 days a week for 60-90 minutes. I changed my eating habits and wrote down everything I ate. Eating healthy can get expensive, but I found ways to eat healthy while staying within my small budget:
1. I rarely went out to eat and made my food at home
2. I stopped for fresh fruits and vegetables at local Farmers Markets
3. I clipped coupons and kept an eye on grocery ads for sales
4. I stopped buying cups of coffee and brewed it at home before leaving for work
5. I made my own 100 calorie snacks from larger packages
6. I planned my meals a few days in advance
Believe me, it was not easy. Yet, the benefits outweighed the costs.

Katia_ComparisonDespite whatever is going on in your life, you can make a positive change and become a healthier you. If I can do it, you definitely can too! So join me in my journey toward healthiness today! We’ve all heard that physical activity is “good” for us and has lots of health benefits. If everyone knows all that, why aren’t more of us physically active? I’ve heard (and given) a lot of excuses: we don’t have enough time; don’t feel like it; are too stressed; or think it’s boring. In the same breath, we say we want to be healthy, lose weight, tone-up, or as some have put it, “get my booty back in the right place.”

The simple fact is that we have to move to lose. Getting in shape doesn’t happen overnight – it takes hard work, patience and dedication. I’m speaking from experience – I used to be the queen of excuses. I used them all, sometimes using more than one at a time. When I first began my weight loss journey I tried to fight back the excuses by putting on my headphones and starting with cardio exercises. As my weight started to drop off, so did the reasons I used to avoid working out. The more active I became, the more open I was to trying new things, such as kickboxing classes and weight training so I could build muscle while shedding pounds. I am here to tell you that YOU CAN do this…Know YOUR WHY? Join me on your journey to better health and fitness.

People that know me understand how dedicated I am to improving my health and the health of others. It’s not easy, and there are days I would rather just stay in bed or visit my two favorite men, Ben & Jerry. I have to constantly remind myself that we’re only given one body – if we treat it right, our body will return the favor by keeping us healthy. Whether it’s bootcamp, Zumba®, stair-climbing, weight lifting or walking, it’s important for us all to be “good” to ourselves and our health – our bodies deserve it!
What do you do to keep your body happy? IF I CAN OVERCOME MY CHALLENGES….SO CAN YOU. Let’s do THIS!!!

Katia Powell is a Doctoral Student at the University Of Massachusetts Boston McCormack Graduate School Of Policy Studies and Global Studies that specializes in Nutrition. As a Health Policy Educator & Motivational Speaker with over a decade of experience in healthcare her expertise involves the areas of obesity prevention, healthy eating, food deserts, food access, racial and ethnic health disparities, and non-profits serving marginalized communities. She is also the founder of STRIVE 2020 Inc., a nonprofit that focuses on obesity prevention, ending health disparities and making strides against the mental stigma in communities of color. For more information, visit Katia’s website and follow her on IG: @HerbaDivas | Twitter: @KatiaPowell | Facebook: KatiaHealthGuru