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Celebration Story – Karen Karnatz

I’ve been overweight all of my life, but when I hit the big 200 for the first time, I knew it was time to make a change. I had bounced around some; 170’s had been comfortable and 150’s meant I was doing well…but at 5’3, I was never what you would call fit and a size 12 was an acceptable medium.
The day I stepped on a scale and saw 200, I knew I was done letting weight gain happen to me, I was finally going to do something about it. I looked around for a place to start- what were the fit people doing? That was when I began to see running as something other than to be avoided; many runners appeared lean, so maybe there was something to it. Start up costs were cheap enough, just some shoes and some Gu (which I learned to love).
I found a couch to 5k podcast called Chubby Jones (warning, not for kids) and with the help of my headphones, I went from being able to run for a minute at a time to running for an entire 30 minutes. With all the running, moderate diet change and some whole food cleanses, I lost 50 lbs…and then I got pregnant and had my beautiful son.
The company I work for allows its employees to participate in a wellness program. If you agree to an annual health screen and to take certain steps to a healthier lifestyle, you get a credit on your medical plan. It was at my wellness screen in 2011 that I found out I was back at 200lbs. You could say I had just had a baby, but that was not an excuse I was willing to live with. For the second time, I was done letting weight gain happen to me and decided to take action. I got back into running,  reached out to friends that were runners who were all very supportive, pushing me when I needed it. I also joined a running club and the camaraderie  of the group helped to motivate me further.
I made some big goals and I accomplished them – in 2014 I was back down to the 150’s and completed a marathon – a seemingly impossible feat! How far I had come from who I used to be; inactive and unmotivated to make any physical changes. Now I could do anything!
So what was next? I had always admired strength and I now knew I could do the impossible…so why not try bodybuilding?
I have left 30 lbs amongst the free weights, cardio room and SCC at Sun Oaks, and I am grateful for the encouragement of the staff and the other early morning regulars. In just 9 months I again did the impossible; got up on a stage and showed off all of my hard work in a Women’s Figure competition.
Did I win? It depends on what that means to you. I could say I didn’t take home any trophies but I don’t think that is accurate – my transformation is my trophy. It took heart to do what I have done, mental fortitude and a willingness to push past any perceived physical limitations. I am a different person today than I was even a week ago, and I am forever grateful for the experience. The only question now is: what’s next?!
See you in the gym, fitness family!
-Karen Karnatz