Happy Monday, SlimKickers! We usually interview people who are experts in a specific field in nutrition or fitness. But today, we decided to talk with someone more down-to-earth to give you some inspiration. Her name is Katy Widrick, and she's an executive producer for a production company. During 2008, she lost 40 lbs on Weight Watchers, and has continued her passion for healthy living by being a swimmer, cyclist, and runner. She was kind enough to talk with enough, and share what worked for her. Read on.

SlimKicker: I saw the before + after pics on your site. Why did you have such success with Weight Watchers? Was it the simplicity? The group support? The etools?

Katy: I think that for me, the connection came in the classroom and the group meetings. I am a huge fan of technology -- I read on my smartphone, I do business by mobile -- but in this case, the face-to-face interaction absolutely was the key to my success.

Surrounding myself with people who were on the same journey as me made me feel like I could ask questions, seek support, whine and moan about the bad days and celebrate the good ones. At the time I was on Weight Watchers, the program was a little different than it is today, but I always appreciated the black and white nature of the program. You had a certain number of points you were allowed to use through the day -- no more, no less. That absolute set of rules helped me.

SlimKicker: Did you try any other diets before you did WW?

Katy: I'd tried several plans and programs before WW -- the South Beach Diet, counting calories, etc. -- but this was the first (and only!) time I ever joined a membership plan.

SlimKicker: What were some unhealthy habits you had when you were overweight? And what main lifestyle changes did you make as you lost weight?

Katy: I think the most unhealthy habit I had was not so much in how much I ate -- although that was definitely a problem -- but what and when I did it.

I worked overnights for nearly three years, and found myself eating out of boredom and fatigue more than because I wanted to fuel myself well. I ate junk foods without much nutritional value, ate on the go, ate before bed and in addition to all of that, was not working out or getting much sleep.

I really didn't connect how important it was for me to make smart decisions about my fuel, and I think I lost several years to bad habits. It reflected poorly on me professionally and personally.

When I decided to lose weight, the first step was coming up with a plan, and for me, that was Weight Watchers. After a year and a half, I'd lost 40 pounds and was at a healthy goal weight.

From there, I started really committing my focus to exercise and working out, and while I achieved more goals -- some that I now hold more dear than the weight loss -- the change in behavior did take my attention away from Weight Watchers, and I no longer follow that program.

SlimKicker: How fast did you see changes while you were on Weight Watchers?

Katy: I saw immediate changes -- five pounds lost in the first week and steady declines after that. But it was a a slow and steady process, and it took me a year and a half to lose 40 pounds.

SlimKicker: What strategies do you have when you're in situations where there is a lot of unhealthy food? How do you resist?

Katy: After I stopped Weight Watchers, I changed the way I ate again. On WW, I relied on empty, low-calorie foods. When I started training for events like running and triathlon, the quality of my fuel was much more important. It took months to detox my system from processed foods and sugars, but the amazing part was once I did, I no longer craved the unhealthy foods.

So avoiding temptation is not all that much of a challenge for me, because I don't like the way I feel when I eat junk foods or sweets. I truly crave fresh fruit, whole grains and delicious, healthy foods.

SlimKicker: How did you get into running and cycling?

Katy: I covered a Masters triathlon for the company I work for, and couldn't believe how great the over-40 athletes looked. They were in their 50s, 60s and beyond, running 10 miles and I couldn't walk a quarter mile without getting winded. It humbled me, so I vowed that day to start training.

It was a slow start -- a half mile, then a mile, then two of running. Short bursts on the bike. But after a few months, I had a routine that worked for me and goals to reach.

SlimKicker: What tips do you have for beginner runners, and were there any mistakes you made when you were just starting that others should avoid?

Katy: I think it's key to start slow. For me, running a half-mile without stopping was an amazing feat. After a while, I was able to increase my distance and now comfortably run half marathons and more. But like my weight loss, it would have been dangerous and unsustainable to move more quickly.

In addition to that, I surrounded myself with support. Between local runners, bloggers, friends on Twitter and more, I'm never far from someone who can help or push me, depending on what I need!

SlimKicker: What's your favorite unhealthy pleasure food?

Katy: I love pizza, although the way I make and order it, it's really not unhealthy! Same with ice cream...I love it, but I'm satisfied with a reasonably small amount, so I count it as a delicious part of my healthy diet.

Katy Widrick is a TV producer by day, and a runner/triathlete by night. She lost 40 lbs on the Weight Watchers program in 2008, and is passionate about healthy living and fitness. You can follow her blog at KatyWidrick.com


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