Current Weight: 190 pounds
Total Weight Lost: 340 pounds
When Cathi started her weight loss plan, she tipped the scales at more than 500 pounds. She admits she once ate whatever she wanted and didn't care what she put in her mouth. "My eating habits were so out of control, I once purchased a three-tiered vanilla wedding cake, put two fake names on it [and] brought it home," she says. "It's all I ate over a two-day period, with a gallon of milk."
At times, Cathi says she felt invisible. "I was constantly asked to step out of photographs. When you're 506 pounds, people have a tendency to actually not see you," she says. "I wanted to prove to myself that I was still here."
Determined to lose weight without gastric bypass surgery, Cathi spent nearly a year reading, researching and interviewing people to design the plan that would work for her. "I was so afraid I'd fail, but I wasn't going to start a temporary diet," she says. "I wanted to start a new routine I could stick with the rest of my life." She began eating sensibly and lost 90 pounds the first yearbut she says no one noticed.
Cathi began to incorporate exercise by slowly walking around the neighborhood. One morning she says someone threw a bottle at her out of a car windowthat's when she decided a cemetery would be a better place to begin her exercise program. "When I was at a cemetery, I realized it was a quiet, calm place that no one would see me," she says.
For seven months, Cathi walked in the cemetery. When the temperatures began to drop, she joined a gym, exercising at 4:30 a.m. in the hopes of avoiding other people. The early-morning gym crowd eventually broke down Cathi's wall of solitude, becoming her best friends and encouraging her to work out daily.
After losing more than 300 pounds, Cathi completed a marathon in 2005. "I feel invigorated, energized, empowered, emotionally and physically strong and powerful," she says. "I want others to get to this point and feel as fantastic as I do now!"