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A bird who has just learned to fly: Karen’s weight loss journey


By Karen Karlheim, Ebensburg Adult Day Center, UPMC Altoona

I know the pain of being overweight. I am now very willing to help others because I’ve lived that life and it’s awful.

My story starts May 15, 2013. I began my weight loss journey with a goal of losing 160 pounds.   Because of “bad knees” and the challenge of a busy work and home life, I was not able to exercise.

I began by researching different weight loss programs and finally settled on The Calorie King. This plan allows you to enter your age, height, and weight loss goal. Then it tells you how many calories per day you need to consume to meet this goal. I used the app to record my food choices and maintain 1200 calories a day. Upon doing this, I found that it worked very well.

My son, who is knowledgeable in fitness and weight management, instructed me to drink one gallon of water per day, and eat small high fiber meals/snacks every 2 hours. I also ate a bigger meal for lunch, rather than dinner.

The only thing I denied myself was sugar. I did this because I felt I was addicted to it. I ate everything else, even attending several parties, just eating small low calorie foods, prior to the party. This kept me from overeating at the parties, allowing me to eat what was being served.

I lost 2 to 3 pounds per week and at the end of 13 months, I had lost 140 pounds. All by myself and by making smart food choices! Because of this weight loss, I was able to stop using my “C-PAP machine” and all of my pre-diabetes and cholesterol medications.

How do I feel now? Like a bird who has just learned to fly.

I have participated in the UPMC Weight Race to support my ongoing journey, and as I work at losing 20 more pounds.

Don’t ever give up. You never know which diet will work. Had I quit, I was only one try away from reaching my goal.