100-pound weight loss: Walking helped woman stop hot flashes and stress – TODAY | Gmx Pharm

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In January 2021, Kari Hughes Newman, now 46, made a New Year’s resolution to lose weight, but not only did she want to shed the extra pounds, she wanted to get healthy. “I wasn’t feeling well, my knees hurt and I was just always tired,” she said. Also, her family had a history of diabetes and heart disease, so she knew she needed to take better care of herself.

She’s always struggled with her weight, but over the six years she’s built a business with her husband, she’s gained about 80 pounds, bringing her to 248. “It was the stress of the business and lack of time that I didn’t realize I needed to manage my time better,” she said. “I was exhausted every day. I came home from work, cooked, took a nap, got up two hours later, stayed up late and did it all over again. It was a vicious circle I couldn’t get out of. My sleep pattern was messed up. Everything was just a disaster in my life.”

She was also frustrated because she likes to hike and she was afraid if she fell down a steep path she wouldn’t be able to get up. “I weighed 100 pounds more than my husband so he couldn’t have helped me,” she said.

A turning point for her came when she was taking her husband on an anniversary trip and she couldn’t climb to the top of a scenic view – they had to take the ski lift. “I knew with my heavy weight and activity level that I just wasn’t able to climb the incline. I was too out of shape and embarrassed to admit that physically I just couldn’t,” she said.

“When the New Year came I decided, ‘Okay, I’m going to get in shape. I’m going to fix myself.’ And she did it. Newman lost 60 pounds in six months, about two pounds a week. “Sixty pounds went away pretty quickly because I was so overweight for my height of 5ft 2″,” she said. She added another 40 off, but those pounds took more time – almost a year, so she did it.

She changed her life gradually, not all at once

Kari Hughes Newman in January 2021 at her heaviest weight.Courtesy of Kari Hughes Newman

Newman didn’t try to completely overhaul his lifestyle. She took one step at a time.

  1. She substituted soda with water. This change meant she also reduced her alcohol consumption, as she was discouraged from drinking soda mixed with alcohol.
  2. She gave up fast food. “I’ve honestly eaten fast food four times in the last two years. Even if we go [our daughter’s] Racetrack meetings, I pack snacks so I don’t go to the concession stand. When we travel for business, I pack healthy choices for myself so I don’t have to when other people stop at McDonald’s. Fast food is a thing of the past,” she said.
  3. She started walking. Her daughter, an athlete, was injured and had to take up swimming as part of her recovery. Newman got a family membership at her local YMCA and started walking on the treadmill: “I could only do a little bit at a time, at a very slow pace. There was really no choice but to walk.”
  4. She wrote down what she ate with their Fitbit app.
  5. She and her husband started hiking again. “I like being in nature and outdoors,” she says. “So that was one of my motivations — just being able to get out there and do things,” she said. “We started hiking a lot and the weight came off pretty steadily.”
  6. She skipped the midnight bedtimes. Now she comes at 10 p.m. And because she’s seen how alcohol changes her sleep patterns, it’s much earlier in the evening when she drinks.
  7. She remained consistent with her physical activity and diet. “It was important that my health be a priority even if my schedule wasn’t normal. As a result, everything became a habit. Even on vacation, I was mindful of my food choices and activities so I didn’t fall out of my routine,” she said. “During times when the scales didn’t move, I stayed consistent and knew there was so much more to the big picture.”
Partial image of Kari in August 2021 and in July 2022.
Kari Hughes Newman in August 2021 (left) and July 2022 (right).Courtesy of Kari Hughes Newman

After making solid progress, she had to break through a plateau

Newman had improved her diet, but she knew it wasn’t as healthy as it could be. “I couldn’t lose weight anymore and I knew something had to change. That’s when I saw Stephanie [Mansour] on the TODAY show,” she said.

She realized that adding some strength training would improve her health and fitness. She joined the Start TODAY Facebook group and added core, arm and lower body strength training to her workout routine.

“When I joined this group, it was nice to see other people making progress and sharing their stories. That motivated me,” she says. “I thought, ‘If they can do it, I can do it.'”

She now wakes up at 5:30 am and does her workout first. And on Sundays she shops for groceries and meals for the week. “It makes me fit for success,” she says.

She also takes photos of herself every month to see her progress. “I know what I look like, and that’s more important than what the scale says,” she said.

She overtook what she ate

Kari in July 2022.
Photographing their progress, like this one from July 2022, helps Hughes Newman stay motivated. Courtesy of Kari Hughes Newman.

Newman said changing her diet was a challenge — she’s from an Appalachian culture, so she grew up eating lots of fried food and small portions of vegetables.

“I never realized how unhealthy my food was because it wasn’t processed food. I’ve always loved to cook, and it was good home cooking, but it was things like gravy and cookies and cornbread,” she said. “I still eat these foods in moderation, but regularly I’m pretty good with my diet.”

  • She stopped frying food. “I’ve started using lots of olive oil and nonstick spray and baking and grilling. I use something from Steph [Mansour’s] recipes,” she says.
  • She tried restricting her calorie intake to 1,200 a day, but found that didn’t work. “I didn’t eat enough,” she said. “It’s not sustainable. When I started strength training, I realized I had to have my protein.” Now she wants to eat 130 grams of protein per day, in foods like eggs, turkey sausage, Greek yogurt, protein cereal, chicken, seafood, and a daily protein bar. She will be making high-protein salads or soups for lunch for a week.
  • Her carbohydrate intake naturally decreased. She has found that with her current diet she is not consuming many carbohydrates. “It’s not that I limit them, I just don’t want them,” she said. She no longer has junk food in the house. And when she eats at a restaurant, she skips the appetizers and chooses salmon or seafood with a salad.
Hughes Newman loves to hike — and now she can do it without feeling exhausted or embarrassed that she needs to stop and rest.
Hughes Newman loves to hike — and now she can do it without feeling exhausted or embarrassed that she needs to stop and rest. Courtesy of Kari Hughes Newman

So her life has improved

The weight loss and health changes she’s seen over the past year have made a huge difference. She can wander a lot more, for starters. “We’re doing the same trails now as last year and our time is so much better. I’m not tired. I can do anything. We’re in West Virginia — we’ve got nothing but mountains — and I feel good after the hike, not exhausted or embarrassed that I’ve had to stop so many times,” she said.

Her hot flashes that woke her up three or four times a night are almost gone. Along with the weight loss, she’s seen her resting heart rate drop and her Fitbit cardio fitness level improve. “It says I’m in good to very good shape compared to bad when I started,” she said.

And her stress level has plummeted. “I’m not that tired, so I can do more – it all goes hand in hand. The work is also less stressful. Everything is moving in the direction I would like to see it.”


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