Katie Gallagher set out looking a ‘revenge body’ after being dumped by her boyfriend and feeling let down by her friends.
For the first time in her life, she started taking nutrition seriously, cutting out all unhealthy, processed foods and eating a clean, calorie controlled diet. Combined with a love of going to the gym and staying fit through dancing, Katie started to lose weight, but more importantly, how she felt about herself.
Katie reveals the exact steps she took to lose the weight and how her mindset and confidence shifted during her journey.
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Opening up to WomensHealthMag, Katie says she never learned the importance of nutrition growing up and simply ate the food she enjoyed all the time.
“I never practiced healthy eating habits growing up. I’d skip breakfast every single day out of convenience. When it came to the rest of my meals, I ate whatever I wanted. I was an emotional eater and had the mentality that if something made me happy, I should just eat it. Unfortunately, what made me happy was snacking on Oreos and Goldfish. Around fifth grade, these habits finally caught up with me and I started gaining weight. I was starting to get a little bit of a belly. However, I’d been an active dancer since age 3, so I was far from morbidly obese.”
A solid weekly gym schedule couldn’t counteract the drinking, partying and eating of college life.
“When I hit college, I remained active and went to the gym about two to three times a week. Despite my workouts, I gained 40 pounds throughout my five years in college. The drinking didn’t help, and neither did the late-night study snacks. I grew more self-conscious each year, and began buying clothes that would hide the weight. By the time I graduated, I was very unhappy with the damage I had done to my body.”
After Katie graduated, other priorities took the lead and she could never get focused on a healthy lifestyle.
“After I accepted a new job across the country, I was in vacation mode for the first few months of post-grad life. I was making new friends and every weekend we did something new and exciting (that usually involved eating). I got a new boyfriend, too, so everything was going great.”
“About six months after the big move, I was dumped, and a lot of my friends in our group turned against me. I felt alone and more self-conscious than ever. I used my heartbreak as motivation to get my “revenge body” in October of 2015.”
Katie began making smart decisions, downloading a diet tracking app and limiting her calories, but the results didn’t come as fast as she wanted.
“I always knew I had poor eating habits, but I never had the will power to actually eat healthy. I began making small changes by tracking my calorie intake with the MyFitnessPal app. After a couple weeks, I had a handle on how much I should be eating and stuck to that amount. However, I didn’t stop eating junk food overnight. From October to January, I only lost 10 pounds because I still eating too much processed food. But when the New Year came, I fully committed to eating healthy.”
Katie Gallagher’s Daily Diet
Katie’s new diet began by cutting out a lot of heavily processed foods that were loaded with fat and chemicals, instead focusing on typical, healthy, whole foods.
“My ideal healthy breakfast is egg whites with avocado, spinach, and hot sauce and some sweet potato on the side. I started forcing myself to drink black coffee in order to cut back on the sugar and calories. That was hard at first, but now I no longer crave those sugary coffee drinks.”
“For lunch, I usually eat pretty light because it’s hard for me to be productive in the afternoon if I eat too heavily. Typically, I eat chicken and broccoli or salmon and asparagus for lunch or dinner.”
“I also snack a lot throughout the day to keep my metabolism going. Protein bars, cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, and fruit are my go-to’s. I also stick to eating fibrous carbs like quinoa versus a lot of bread and pasta.”
“For me, healthy eating isn’t about deprivation. I still eat one to two cheat meals a week for my sanity. You better believe pizza is my number-one choice for that! But I also make healthy substitutes for the foods I crave. For example, I make pizza with cauliflower crust all the time. It kills my craving without sacrificing my clean diet.”
As working out, dancing and going to the gym had always been part of Katie’s lifestyle, it was easy to get back into a solid routine again.
“I was relatively active before deciding to lose weight, so it wasn’t a huge stretch to start working out every day after setting out to lose weight. Besides how often I was working out, the biggest change I made was adding strength training into my routine. I had never lifted weights before but I knew I wanted to start. I worked with a trainer for a few months and searched for great workouts online. Lifting weights is my release for anything that is stressing me out or making me unhappy and it’s brought me amazing results.”
Katie Gallagher’s Workout Routine:
“I stick to a pretty regimented workout routine. Monday is leg day, followed by some form of cardio; Tuesday is back and biceps, followed by cardio; Wednesday is chest and triceps, followed by cardio; Thursday is shoulders and abs, followed by—you guessed it—cardio. I repeat this cycle so that at any given time, some muscle group is always sore. When it stops being sore, it’s time to work it again.”
To stay fit, Katie employed a wide range of activities, which helped keep things fun and interesting.
“To be honest, cardio workouts are not something I enjoy that much, especially running. Because of that, I’m always trying to challenge my body in new ways. Dancing, kickboxing, cycling, and the stair stepper are great ways to get my body working (plus, I enjoy these more than running). One of my friends and I work out together consistently, which helps me stay on track when I’m feeling like I don’t want to work out.”
“I make sure I do some form of exercise for a minimum of 30 minutes every day, but I also listen to my body when I feel like a rest day is needed. The key to achieving lasting fitness results is adopting the mindset that there is never (and should never) be a point where you decide “this is good enough. I’ll stop here.””
Katie worked out with a training partner which helped her stick to the plan. Having someone with the same mindset and goals as you helps to give you added motivation to stick with it. They would go shopping together and split the cost of the bill.
“After about a year of working out and eating healthy, I lost 42 pounds and now weigh 138 pounds. I’ve kept that weight for about a year now, but my body composition is still changing to become more muscular.”
After starting out just looking for a ‘revenge body‘, these lifestyle changes have literally changed her whole life. Helping her feel much more confident, happy and able to get her dream job.
“Making this big lifestyle change has affected more than just my physical appearance. It’s easier to get out of bed in the morning, I no longer become breathless from walking up the stairs, and I feel much happier and more confident overall. The journey has certainly given me a major sense of accomplishment, which is a great payoff after dedicating this much time and energy to being fit.”
“I tried out for the dance team my freshman year of college and didn’t make the team because I didn’t have the body type they were looking for. I didn’t let it stop me though, and I continued to be involved in dance ever since. Now, I’m a professional dancer for the NBA and the WNBA. I refused to give up my dream.”
As Katie reflects on her own journey, she advises that it’s important to adopt a healthy mindset throughout the process and be proud of yourself throughout.
“You have to know that it isn’t going to be easy, but you will thank yourself for putting in the work more than you will ever know. Once you get past the stage of craving everything under the sun and being frustrated from not seeing immediate results, you’ll start to love it. You may not get that flat stomach in a month, but if you stick to your goals and are consistent with your methods, you will get there in time.”
“I’ve learned that if you don’t love yourself at your heaviest weight, losing weight isn’t going to magically make you love yourself later. No matter what size you are, you need to realize your worth and decide that you are enough. Letting someone else’s opinions of you define how you see yourself is one of the worst things you can do for your happiness.”