Note: This article may contain commentary or the author's opinion.
After having lost her long-term job during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, a Minnesota woman decided to take her health into her own hands and lost almost half of her body weight by focusing on healing, rather than weight loss.
Katie Schmitt, 43, of Rochester, MN, joined WW (formerly known as Weight Watchers) at 240 pounds and during a very low point in her life and it was then that she decided to assess her life goals and what she really wanted for the future.
I was thrown into a different life during the pandemic…It was a really dark time, I think, for a lot of people, and I definitely felt that.
At the time she was laid from her non-profit job that she had had for ten years, Schmitt was 100 pounds overweight and suffered from high blood pressure, low energy and depression. Several family members had died in a short time span. After months of research on weight loss and wellness programs she joined WW where she was able to focus on her habits and not entirely on the scale. She eventually started exercising and started with 10-minute daily walks.
I would ask myself ‘Am I really hungry? Is this a really hunger or if I have a cup of tea, is that going to be a better option for me right now?’ Or maybe I’m just feeling a little anxious and I need to take a walk… It was really about building those self care habits and skills. I had a list of options printed out, [showing] what else I [could] do besides eat. I was taking that time to reflect on what I wanted to do next in my life and kind of mapping out my dreams and my goals. As I was doing that, I recognized that my weight would hold me back.
When she reached certain milestones Schmitt rewarded herself creatively, such as getting more sunshine, reading poetry and working in her art studio. She kept a journal and in it listed postive habits and soon realized that she was feeling healthier and more energetic as the pounds came off and that losing weight was a way to take charge of her life.
Isolation from friends family during the pandemic was challenging but Schmitt said that having her husband’s support was essential as he helped her not only prep food but also ate the food that Schmitt cooked. In addition she communicated with others on their weight loss journey via the Connect, the social media platform on WW’s app: That for me was everything. Schmitt’s story caught the eye of WW’s brand team and she was one of seven members selected to appear in a commercial for WW’s spring campaign.
Schmitt’s initial goal weight was 140 pounds and once she hit it, decided to lose another 5 pounds and realized at that point the process was much easier than she had anticipated. She added another five pound loss goal, then another, and is at her current weight of 123 pounds and has been able to maintain it for the last few months.
Schmitt encourages those who are or about to undergo their own weight loss and wellness journeys to be gentle with yourself:
You can’t hate yourself thin, she said, adding later, Let your body set the pace…It doesn’t have to look like an exercise video…You can decided what that looks like for you.