Slimming World member discusses her seven-stone weight loss
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Katie Taylor spoke exclusively to Express.co.uk about how she finally managed to lose weight after years of being under confident and unhappy. By getting her health under control, and overhauling her diet and exercise routine, she has become “a new woman”.
She told Express.co.uk: “Just as I turned 50, the pandemic hit. And there was news coming out about how people with a high BMI were faring very badly.”
The fear of becoming unwell should she contract the virus, coupled with her frustration at being “frumpy at 50”, prompted her to change her size 16 frame and lose her excess weight for good.
But weight loss had been an uphill battle for Katie, as she had been forced to give up work due to “very bad” perimenopause symptoms that were misdiagnosed as depression.
“I couldn’t function particularly well as a mum or wife and I became a bit of a hermit, spent a lot of days just sleeping on the couch because the symptoms caused me to have a very low mood, low energy, anxiety and brain fog, as well as aching joints.
“When you’re not moving, you’ve got no purpose and you’re very low, that’s when the weight gain starts to creep up. I was comfort eating carbohydrates just to try and feel anything. I had no joy in life, and yet my life was good.”
Eventually, things began to look up when Katie got her final diagnosis and was put on HRT (hormone replacement therapy).
“I literally felt like a new woman. Within a couple of weeks, it had wound back my clock by 20 years.”
Because of the HRT, and later having a hysterectomy due to heavy bleeding, Katie’s hormones were finally balanced and she could actually address her weight issues and “engage with weight loss”.
She stated: “I felt happy so I wanted to eat healthy. I wanted to move.”
Having tried weight loss methods such as cutting out carbs or fats, attending fitness classes and going for walks, Katie realised that “there’s this whole wheel of weight management in menopause”.
“You can’t eat in the same way you did in your 20s and 30s.”
It becomes much more complex, as several different elements, “the thyroid, cortisol, sleep, digesting, exercise, insulin and oestrogen” and they all have to “work together”.
Katie was “fighting a losing battle” with her weight loss because the perimenopause had depleted her oestrogen: “There was no way I was going to be able to lose weight until my hormones were balanced. It was a game changer.”
With a new lease of life and newfound “clarity and energy”, Katie downloaded the Slimming World app and found a workout video designed for women in midlife.
“I didn’t like the idea of going to Weight Watchers, I just hated that. I just felt uncomfortable being in a room, weighing myself in front of people.”
From the comfort of her own home, as lockdown hit, Katie started to see the weight drop off, and she is now a slim size 10.
“I walked my dog a lot more, like a lot of people did. And I exercised every other day at home when I first woke up.
“Slimming World was amazing because I didn’t realise that you can eat pasta and rice and potatoes and vegetables and fruit and still consistently lose a pound a week.”
Where Katie had failed in the past with dieting was that because she was forced to cut out “major food groups”, she felt like she was “missing out all the time”.
“I know that crash diets are the worst thing anyone can do.”
This way, Katie could enjoy healthy fats, carbohydrates and even a daily sugary treat – “just not addictive, highly sugary ones”.
She revealed: “I remember telling myself, ‘I can either roll out of this lockdown like a hedgehog in spring or I can just bounce out’, and I knew I could have gone one of two ways.”
The weight loss has exponentially changed Katie’s life, and she has learnt to “love” the routine of healthy eating and exercise.
“I leave my trainers, workout gear and weights right by my bed so it’s almost like a reminder every day.”
With her hormones now balanced, she is in a place where she can prioritise her health and wellbeing.
“When I was very low, I didn’t even have the energy to cook and that that was really hard. I used to be such a fun mum and I was awake. I’ve got four children, so I was always very capable. And I think there was a period of about four years where I just wasn’t fun mum anymore. I was just a shell of a woman and my former self.
“One bonus is that I can share my daughter’s clothes, and she’s 25.”
This journey wouldn’t have been possible without her perimenopause diagnosis, so Katie urges women in midlife to be aware of this condition if they are struggling with their weight or any of the symptoms she herself had experienced.
“There are loads of other symptoms like low libido, vaginal atrophy, migraines, mood swings and heart palpitations.”
Having never considered it as a possibility, Katie always thoughts “menopause was some grey haired old lady fanning herself in a corner”.
She advised other women: “Balance your hormones first and then try and address the weight because if you’re feeling low and teary because of lack of oestrogen, you’re not going to engage in healthy eating or exercise because you just feel so dreadful.”
Inspired by her own diagnosis, Katie set up Latte Lounge, an online platform which helps “thousands of women all over the world” in all aspects of midlife.
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