Karen Rediscovered Her Passion and Lost 50 Pounds
Name: Karen Griffard Putz
Height: 5 feet, 4 inches
Before Weight: I’d guess 220 pounds at my heaviest
How I Gained It: After my third child was born 13 years ago, the weight crept up so slowly that I hardly noticed it. I was drinking two sodas per day and getting very little exercise. I took a job with a writing company, so I sat all day and wrote — and ate! I played volleyball once a week, but I often found myself winded after each game. And the team would frequently head to the local bar post-game and fill up on appetizers and drinks, so I wasn’t doing myself much good.
I’m definitely an emotional eater — food is my comfort. I love to eat while reading, and I love to read — so you can see how the two can add up!
Breaking Point: My breaking point was on my 44th birthday. I was sitting on a pontoon boat atChristieLakeinMichigan, watching some water-skiers go by and feeling pretty down. Some of my happiest times have been on the lake — I’ve been water-skiing since I was 11 and fell in love with barefoot water-skiing when I was 16.
As I got older, life became busy. I got married and had three kids two years apart. The last time that I barefooted was in my 20s, and by the time my 44th birthday rolled around in August, I figured I would never touch the water again on my bare feet.
But in 2009, my husband sent me a link to the “Today” show, which featured Judy Myers, a 66-year-old woman who took up barefoot water-skiing at the age of 53. In the video, Judy was heavyset, but there she was, skimming across the water on her feet.
If a 66-year-old woman could barefoot, then what was holding me back from getting on the water again? I connected with Judy via Facebook and she invited me down to theWorldBarefootCenterinFloridato learn how to barefoot again. This invitation was the catalyst that started me on my path to a healthier lifestyle.
How I Lost It: In December 2009, I joined LifeTime Fitness. At first, it wasn’t any fun at all. Walking on the treadmill left me short of breath after only 10 minutes. I love to swim, but I hated getting into a swimsuit for fear that I might run into a neighbor.
On January 12, 2010, I joined a group of bloggers in a “Loser Mom” weight loss challenge. I knew that if I wanted to water-ski again, I needed a team around me to help me do it. It took every ounce of courage to find a “before” picture and post it on my blog, A Deaf Mom Shares Her World.
On March 28, 2010, I met Judy Myers and world barefoot champion Keith St. Onge for the first time. St. Onge walked me through some practice steps on dry land and then we headed out on the water. On my very first try, I placed my feet on the water, and instantly, I felt like a teen again. I was out of breath after the first couple of runs, but I was hooked.
St. Onge sent me a list of foods to eat and foods to avoid, and I began making some changes in the way I ate. The biggest change for me was to cut out pop — it was one of the hardest things for me to do! Both St. Onge and Myers provided encouragement to keep going.
I can’t emphasize this enough: Surround yourself with a supportive team to get where you want to go. I have a workout buddy that I meet with once a week, and my oldest son occasionally works out with me, too. I’ve also joined a weight loss group on Facebook that keeps me motivated.
I recently spent a week inFloridabarefoot water-skiing with 14 other ladies. We skied four times a day. Thanks to the lifestyle change and the regular workouts at the gym, I was filled with a lot of energy and was able to truly enjoy my time on the water each day. In three short days, I learned to barefoot backwards. What a ride!
After Weight: 168 pounds and counting!
Karen has been losing weight for a year and was recently able to buy first size-6 pair of jeans in more than a decade.
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