THIS WOMAN has been left with twenty-four-inch scars down both her arms after losing over HALF her body weight and undergoing excess skin removal surgery – but she is showing them off with pride as a reminder of how far she’s come.
Physical therapist Katy Gaston, 30, from Virginia, lost just shy of half of her body weight in just two and a half years. Her love of candy, bread and cheese meant that at her heaviest, she tipped the scales at 250lbs and a size 20 and despised being ‘the fat one’ in her friendship group.
Katy hated herself and never felt comfortable in any clothes she wore. Even going to restaurants was an embarrassing ordeal for her as she would become self-conscious about what she ordered from the menu.
The turning point came for Katy when she realized that as a physical therapist who is responsible for getting people in shape, she needed to be a better example to her patients.
With a particularly hurtful comment coming from a patient directly, saying that Katy would be pretty if she lost weight, she knew it was time for a drastic change.
Since early 2018, she has lost well over 112lbs and now weighs a tiny 133lbs and is a size 8.
Her incredible weight loss left Katy with excess loose skin which she had surgically removed from her stomach and underarms in March 2020. For Katy her loose skin is a reminder of all the hard work she has put into transforming her life and she plans to have further surgery on her legs to show off her growing quads.
Katy’s key to success is an incredibly strict exercise regime with her consistently running most days, totaling 40 miles per week and swapping the chocolate and chips for lean meat, brown rice and lots of vegetables.
She says that the comments she has received from friends, family and followers online have been overwhelmingly positive, with many calling her an inspiration and asking how she managed to lose the weight so successfully.
‘The worst comment by far was ‘you’d be pretty if you’d lose weight’ – it made me so upset. I remember crying about it. How could I be a physical therapist and be an example to others when I looked the way I did,’ said Katy.
‘I didn’t even realize how miserable I was prior. I remember thinking I’ll never be able to do it. That weight loss was one of those rare things only a select few could accomplish. I’ve never been so happy to be wrong.
‘The biggest problem was early on and just staying with it. Especially when the scale wouldn’t move.
‘My confidence is vastly greater and I’ve branched out to do so many things I wouldn’t have dreamed of – like rock climbing and hiking.
‘Now, I’m not only smaller, but I’m stronger, healthier, happier, and more engaged than ever. You’ve just got to start somewhere.
‘I still struggle with my self-image. I still struggle with guilt over food. I still see the swelling I have from skin removal surgery and think, “You need to do better.”
‘But I’m healthy, I look and feel incredible, I can do pull-ups and run thirteen miles nonstop, and I’m literally smaller than I was in sixth grade.’
A typical day of eating prior to Katy’s lifestyle change consisted of lots of bread, butter, fast food, sandwiches, pasta, cheese, chips, ice cream – totaling upwards of 3,500 calories a day.
A typical day of food and exercise now includes a protein shake and oatmeal with fruit for breakfast, a lunch of lean meat like turkey or chicken with green beans and either sweet potato or brown rice.
For dinner she has chicken fajita salad, chickpea pasta with vegetables and chicken, pulled pork grilled wrap with vegetables, or spaghetti squash sautéed with vegetables and various seasonings and meat – totaling around 2,000 calories.
She now runs 40 miles a week and weight lifts in the gym between four and five times a week.
She is keen to encourage those embarking on their own weight loss journey to be confident no matter their size.
‘I wish like hell I’d had this confidence back then,’ said Katy.
‘Ladies, just wear the damn shorts and sports bras. No matter what your body type, you deserve to be happy and wear what makes you feel sassy.
‘I’m the happiest I’ve ever been. I’ve come to realize there is no perfect body, so I rock shorts and crop tops without a care.’