Before: 270 lbs
After: 133 lbs
In high school, Katie Hug, 33, was trim, despite typical (read: awful) teenage snack habits. Even a prescription for anxiety and depression, which can cause weight gain, didn't seem to affect her size. In college, though, a junk-heavy diet plus a snowballing list of 12 mood meds caught up with her—and her waistline. By age 29, the 5'4" woman reached 270 pounds. At a checkup in 2012, Katie's physician said she was morbidly obese and pleaded with Katie to at least try exercising. At the end of her rope with fatigue—and fearing she'd creep up to a size 30 from her snug 28s—Katie gave it a shot.
Her first step was enlisting a psychiatrist to help her taper off her meds, and with the new clarity, she walked around her block each morning and tracked her calories with an app. "I had no idea I was eating around 5,000 a day. I cut that in half," she says. By swapping pasta and refined grains for chicken, turkey, fish, and veggies, Katie dropped 40 pounds in a year. Eventually, she started jogging and got a trainer. By June 2015, she weighed 133 pounds—less than half her starting weight—and fit into a size 4. Even better: Her body-fat percentage plummeted from 45 to 18 percent.
Here's how Katie kicked ass and conquered her weight-loss goals:
Test your strength. "Instead of using machines at the gym, I flip tires and pull weighted sleds. It's the most motivating part."
Upgrade breakfast. "I always ate sugary cereals until I tried Greek yogurt in flavors like strawberry cheesecake. It's filling, and it keeps my sweet tooth under control."
Party while you prep. "Weeknights are busy, so I make sure to prep on Sundays: I wake up early, buy groceries, and dance in the kitchen as I cook."
For more on Katie's incredible weight-loss journey, pick up the September 2015 issue of Women's Health, on newsstands now. In the meantime, check out more inspiring weight-loss success stories and healthy ways to lose weight.