How I Lost 100 Pounds

Catherine Grunden explains how, and why, she dropped the weight.

Reviewed by Kathleen M. Zelman, MPH, RD, LD on February 25, 2014
From the WebMD Archives

I've been heavy my entire life. Even in my kindergarten photos, I was chubby. In late high school, I gained more weight. In college, I reached 260 pounds -- I think because I was on my own. I had a driver's license, a job. I could go out to dinner, eat when I wanted. Nobody was watching over me.

Being heavy didn't make me feel bad, though. I was pretty confident. I didn't realize I was as big as I was until I started looking at old photos a few months ago. It was pretty shocking.

About three and a half years ago, I lost 40 pounds. Then I got pregnant with my first child. I lost that pregnancy weight, then got pregnant again. After my second baby was born, I lost all but 10 pounds of that extra weight, so I weighed 230 pounds.

"I knew I needed to take better care of myself." -- Catherine Grunden

Deciding to Lose Weight

Two things pushed me to start seriously losing weight. First, I was done having kids, so I knew my body wouldn't be going through any more major changes. And second, my father had a heart attack at age 54, as had my grandfather. I knew I needed to take better care of myself.

My first step was to start the Couch to 5K program, which helps sedentary people work up to running a 5K race in just 9 weeks. I always thought runners were so cool, but to be one seemed like an impossible goal. A friend and I decided to try it together.

I had to start inside on a treadmill because I was too embarrassed to be outside. I cried that first day because I could only run for three 1-minute periods -- and you're supposed to do it eight times.

Eventually I worked through it, and we ran a 5K last October. Now I can run for more than an hour at a time. I'm hoping to train for a 10K soon, maybe even a half marathon some day.

Learning to Eat Healthily

Of course, diet is important, too. In the beginning, I didn't change what I was eating. I just changed how much I was eating. I didn't want to give up bad stuff.

Then I got tired of being hungry all the time, so I started making healthier choices. I started cooking more, rather than ordering in. I also learned about portion sizes and calories.

I have four children: a 16-year-old stepdaughter, a 10-year-old stepson, plus two sons, 3 and 1. I operate a day care in my home, and I sell shirts for little boys on the side. Running is my alone time. I'm outside. I'm getting fresh air. I'm not getting interrupted. I use it for my prayer time.

Right now I weigh 159 pounds, so I've lost 71 pounds since I set my mind to losing weight. A lot of people ask, "What's your secret?" like there's a pill or a program or a trick of some kind.

But the truth is I did it on my own, with a lot of hard work and some online fitness tools. I know I've been good to myself, and I'm being a good role model to my children. That's what counts.

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