Catherine Shanklin from Oklahoma City weighed 420lbs, wearing size 6XL pants. Being treated for multiple medical issues including polycystic ovaries, high blood pressure, and diabetes, doctors repeatedly warned Catherine she would die if she didn’t lose weight.
"Being 420lbs I was held back from so many simple things, like tying your own shoe and getting out of breath. The doctors told me I needed gastric bypass surgery, but I said over and over again, 'I could do this on my own'." Learning portion control (check out our portion size guide for more), keeping natural things in your diet, and working out using the best exercise machines to lose weight,
After multiple warnings that she needed to have a gastric bypass, the professional childminder decided to lose 260lbs naturally. But Catherine’s journey is not over – now awaiting skin removal surgery to remove the 20lbs of excess skin from her body, health complications have meant she has had to delay having the surgery due to invasive vein removal procedures.
Watch Catherine's inspiring weight loss journey here
Describing her relationship with food as her ‘second soulmate’, it became the solution to however she was feeling. If she was feeling down, she'd eat a pizza, trapping herself in a vicious cycle. Catherine had a breakthrough moment where she realized she could lose weight with her husband.
She promptly joined a gym and started walking and running, exercising with her husband so they could be each other's accountability partners.
Walking is a great way to get more exercise into your day. It's easy to start, it's low-impact and low-intensity, which means it's doable every day. One study published in the Journal of Women's Health (opens in new tab) found an extra 30 minutes of walking a day resulted in a significant decrease in blood pressure and hip circumference. Grab your best shoes for walking and hit the great outdoors.
Catherine said: “This isn't about being the skinniest person or the strongest person. It's about being healthy and being happy with who you are. It doesn't matter if you're 400, 500 pounds: just get out there. It's not going to happen overnight but you take those small steps and guess what you're going to fall.”
Matt Evans is an experienced health and fitness journalist and News Editor at Fit&Well, covering all things exercise and nutrition on the Fit&Well website. Matt originally discovered exercise through martial arts: he holds a black belt in Karate and remains a keen runner, gym-goer, and infrequent yogi. His top fitness tip? Stretch.
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