Lifestyle change helps local woman lose over 100 pounds

Katy Kuns is exercising and eating healthy.

For most people, weight loss is challenging, and requires a complete change in behaviors and habits often developed in childhood.

Katy Kuns of Butler Township has struggled with maintaining a normal weight since she was very young. She remembers fighting weight gain as a teenager in the 1980s and continued to put on weight throughout college.

“I got married in 1993 and I was 270 pounds,” Kuns said. “I can say now that I overate but didn’t understand why.”

Kuns said that by the time she reached 350 pounds, she realized her eating habits were developed as a means to cope with stress. The pressure she felt to be thin as a youngster only exacerbated her weight issues.

“My health was declining the older I got,” Kuns said. “When I reached 46 years old, my doctor told me I was prediabetic.”

Kuns decided it was time to take control over her health and her relationship with food. Over the years she tried nearly every commercial diet plan available.

“I would lose a little and gain even more weight back,” Kuns said. “I even considered bariatric surgery but my insurance wouldn’t cover it.”

Kuns was like the more than estimated 90% of people who diet to lose weight and then gain all the weight back after stopping the diet plan. She realized that unless she changed her habits and lifestyle, she would never lose the excess weight, which could lead to more health issues.

“I felt like there needed to be some healing on the inside,” Kuns said. “Anytime you see a person go through a massive weight loss, they have to explore why they were using food to cope in the first place.”

For years, Kuns was ashamed to go to the gym and physically move around in front of other people. But at age 46, she found a local Zumba studio in Vandalia and she said it made all the difference.

“I was going to Zumba for three years and had lost about 60 pounds when they closed their doors,” Kuns said.

In the spring of 2018, Kuns started looking for a gym and found MPower in Vandalia, which offers instructor led classes in boxing, sports performance, Taekwondo, fitness, kickboxing, self defense and TRX.

“I knew I needed to start strength training to help make a difference in my weight loss,” Kuns said. “So I worked with coaches at MPower and lost more weight.”

Today at age 53, Kuns has lost more than 120 pounds and is exploring new forms of exercise, including boxing. But adding physical activity to her life wasn’t the only change Kuns needed to make to successfully lose weight.

“I was addicted to large Diet Cokes and would get them every morning from McDonald’s,” Kuns said. “I would eat a lot of fast food too and I found out that diet soda is really just as bad as regular and can cause you to overeat.”

With a busy life and job teaching fourth grade in Huber Heights, Kuns knew she needed to make small changes. The first thing she gave up was the daily Diet Coke, replacing it with more water.

“I got headaches at first but eventually they stopped,” she said. “I drink a gallon of water a day now and have a container to measure my drinking. My students even notice if I’m not drinking enough!”

Instead of trying and failing at another fad diet, Kuns decided to mostly eliminate processed foods from her diet and limit her carbohydrates.

“Now that I’m 53 and post-menopausal, it’s just really hard to lose weight and keep it off,” Kuns said.

She is working with a nutritionist to slowly increase her calorie intake to help her body get back on track after so many years of restrictive calorie intake. Mostly she is working to establish a healthier relationship with food.

“I try to trust the process and I’m not afraid to eat bread or pasta now,” Kuns said.

Kuns is also trying to help become a better role model for her two children and her students, who she said have a much healthier view of what a woman’s body should look like than she did at the same age.

“Back in the 70′s and 80′s when I was growing up, the female body was only admirable if it was very thin,” Kuns said. “It was hard to be surrounded with that and not feel bad about myself.”

Kuns said the journey to weight loss has taken time and she calls herself a “work in progress.”

“I had so much shame and body hatred that I had to learn how to honor and respect my body,” Kuns said. “I’m still working on it and need to lose another 40 to 50 pounds. I want people to know that it’s never too late to repair the relationship with your body and live a healthy lifestyle.”

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