Kay Koziol has seen her fair share of challenges. She survived cancer not once but twice and has fought heart valve issues, high blood pressure, and disc replacements. In her mid-40s, Kay realised that she had gained quite a bit of weight, and she didn't feel or look like herself anymore. She knew she needed to make a big change in her life if she wanted to see her 10 grandchildren grow up, so she started working out and cleaning up her diet. Since then, she's lost over 22 kilos, and she's going to be a gym owner soon so that she can help many other women get their health and fitness on track. Here's her full story.
POPSUGAR: When did you start your weight-loss journey? What made you decide to?
Kay Koziol: I got serious about it in October 2016. I will never forget heading off to Chicago from Dallas to see my husband's parents for their 50th wedding anniversary. Everything was different about this trip. My confidence was low, the way I walked was slow, the way I dressed was to cover up, and even the way I sat was different.
I was sitting at a table with 10 to 15 people in the room, eating pizza, cake, cookies, and anything that was not good for you and full of sugar. I proceeded to tell people I was heavy because I had a thyroid problem. I literally said this at the exact time I was stuffing my face with junk food. My doctors did tell me I had a thyroid problem and put me on thyroid medication; however, at that very moment, I started to hear myself and I quickly realised it was not a thyroid problem — it was an eating problem. I have survived a lot of things in my time — cancers, major back surgery, two titanium discs, a leak in my heart valve, etc. Never did I make excuses; I just overcame and became stronger. That is when I had to ask myself why this was different and made a choice right then. I flew back home to Dallas and went to Burn Boot Camp that weekend to begin my journey.
PS: What was your starting weight?
KK: When I began my fitness journey, I was about 86 kilos, and now I'm 61. I've lost 23 kilos, and I've gone from 36 percent body fat to 12 percent.
PS: How did you do it?
KK: I trained at Burn Boot Camp, a national fitness franchise that creates a place where women can come together and empower one another through fitness. I trained there six days per week, doing its 45-minute circuit-style workout. I [also] followed the nutrition plan it provided, which consisted of back-to-basics lean meat, green veggies, and healthy carbs in moderation. It's something I work on still to this day.
PS: What are some non-scale victories you've experienced?
KK: Confidence! I feel so good about myself. I feel strong and powerful rather than skinny and weak or heavy and no energy. I have gained a support system and thought process that fosters nothing is impossible — I can overcome anything! Also, I gained a fresh career. I'm so inspired by Burn Boot Camp I opted to open some locations myself.
PS:How do you stay motivated?
KK: Burn Boot Camp has this amazing ability to create such a bond within your groups. We call our group the "happy-hour crew" since our camp is at 5:30 p.m. We help hold each other accountable and motivate each other to keep pushing to the next goal, whether we are in camp or out of camp. These are lifelong friends that have been created with like-minded goals.
PS: What does a typical day of eating look like for you?
KK: Once I wrapped my mind around the fact that if I actually eat, I can lose weight, I started seeing drastic changes after the first 30 days. I went from one to two meals per day to four to six meals per day. I eat small meals all day. I start with a bowl of muesli as my first meal, then a few hours later I eat four to five egg whites, then the rest of the day's meals include a lean meat, green veggie, and sweet potatoes or jasmine rice. My fall back if I can't get to a meal is a Shaklee life shake or snack bar.
PS: Any advice or tips for people on their own journey?
KK: Surround yourself with people that are on the same journey and hold each other accountable. Help motivate and celebrate any changes you see, as they are all earned! The saying that people will ask "Why are you doing it?" and then later ask "How did you do it?" holds very true. Don't let people who are not ready to get their life in order from a health and fitness perspective hold you back. Women should help lift each other up, and if you find they are not, it's time to surround yourself with people who will.
PS: Anything else you want to share?
KK: I can't even begin to express how much my life has changed through this journey! I have never felt so good in my entire life. I am 44 years old and am in better health and shape then I was in my 20s. I am no longer on any medication for anything; I have no blood pressure problems, no thyroid issues; I have no back pain; I have full mobility now since my back surgery — and I can do anything!