Before & After: Kara

by TrainerMomma on April 15, 2011

It’s time to meet Ms. Kara.  Her body has undergone such a transformation that I have been excited to share her story with you.

She and her husband have devoted their time and talents to the folks in Wisconsin at CT Fitness Center and Rehab. Their blog always has inspirational stories and wise words on health and fitness.  She sounds like my type of gal —  I’d give anything to join Kara in one of her bootcamp classes!

kt before


Name: Kara Thomas
Age: 41
Height: 5’4”
Total lbs lost: 40
How long did it take you to lose the weight? It took me about 3 years to lose those 40 lbs.
How long have you kept it off? Two years and I’m not sure I’m done yet!

The Weight Gain
After the birth of child #2, I didn’t really lose much of the weight.  I just didn’t pay attention to what I was eating, I was too busy doing the mom and work thing. I ate out a lot and drank a LOT of soda. I also socialized a lot with alcohol and late night muchies. However, my husband still loved me and found me attractive so even though I didn’t like the way I looked, his love in some ways kept me complacent.

The Turning Point
It was the next jean size up. I couldn’t find anything to fit in what I thought was my size. Plus it was getting to the point where it was impacting my relationship with my husband because I didn’t want him to look at me or show me affection because I felt horrible about myself.

kt after [640x480]


The Food
I eat constantly! I am a grazer/small meal eater.


I eat about a 300 calorie breakfast almost every day, anything from a healthy, homemade “egg mcmuffin” to oatmeal.

I eat a midmorning snack of a healthy granola bar, pretzels, fruit or something with protein.

I eat an early lunch anything from leftovers to a sandwich to soup. I do NOT eat out at lunch. Ask my co-workers! They find this really annoying! I love sandwiches with meat, cheese and fruit (yes, fruit!).

I’m snacking again by 2. I like natural peanut butter slathered on a banana, a cheese-stick wrapped with a lunch meat (I stole this from Trainer Momma!), or veggies. I don’t care if the veggies are cut up pretty—I just tear a stalk of celery off, wash and eat. Same with carrots—sometimes I peel them, sometimes I don’t.

Dinners vary. My husband is a meat and potatoes guy and I do love steak. We just eat it in moderation. I try to rotate red meat, poultry, fish, legumes, pasta as the main dish. We always have fruit and veggies with our meals. I do not make a special meal for me and then something else for the rest of the family. Health is not just about me. It’s about all of us!!

I really took the time to get healthy recipe resources. I subscribe to Cooking Light, I have purchased healthy cookbooks, and I read awesome blogs like Trainer Momma.

The Workout
When I first started this journey, my only goal was to be active 20 min a day every day. It could be two 10 min workouts, four 5 min workouts. It could be a walk with the family, playing soccer with the kids or an actual workout.

Then I discovered the bootcamp style workout ( I believe the technical term is HIIT training—high intensity interval training) and everything changed! I got so much stronger! It was my first ever group exercise experience, and it really changed my whole shape. My muscle definition increased. I could do more, I could run farther and faster. I was addicted to this physical challenge. Therefore, I upped the ante. I pushed myself to try a sprint triathlon 6mo after starting bootcamp and fell in love with a whole other physical challenge.

Now I do bootcamp 2-3x/week in the morning. I swim, bike and or run 2x/week each. I also walk the dog for 20-30 min 1-2x/day. My goals now are completely focused on triathlon training and moving to the Olympic distance while continuing to finish at the top of my age group.

This is so far away from my initial 20 min a day goal. When I started, I never thought I would be able to do any of this!

The Challenges
I couldn’t count calories or points or keep a food journal because then all I thought about was FOOD and what I could eat next. I floundered a bit. My plan just became “knowing” calories and portion sizes. For example, knowing that a “cup” of milk does NOT equal a glass of milk. My glass actually equaled 2 cups. And then knowing that 1 cup was 90 calories so by choosing only one actual cup (vs a glass or two), I was saving 90+ calories.

After the weight started to come off, the hardest part was the shock that not everybody is happy for you and that some friends actually resent you for the lifestyle change. Making healthy choices in front of those who aren’t made for a lot of snide comments.

And alcohol…I’m surprised that I don’t enjoy drinking anymore. It’s not even a calorie choice thing…It just doesn’t taste good or hit me right. This makes me less fun to many people.

Tried and True Tips
MEASURE your food!! I thought I knew portions and I decidedly had NO clue!! Measure until you are comfortable with eyeballing and then occasionally measure anyway.

Measure yourself—right at the start. I had LONG plateau periods where I didn’t lose a pound, but I lost inches in places during that time and that helped keep me going.

Be kind to yourself and be patient. Surround yourself with supportive people. Reward yourself along the way. And keep telling yourself…This is a lifestyle change….NOT a diet.

I wish I would have had Trainer Momma’s “how to lose a pound” when I started this! It makes it so easy—as does that “Lose It” program on the iTouch. I wish someone would have explained weight loss to me in those terms. I mean I knew that one pound was 3500 calories, but I couldn’t figure out how to break that down into weight loss.

The Rewards
It has been worth EVERY minute. I love my new energy, how healthy I feel, and just how good I feel in my own skin!!

Never say never because I never thought at 41 that I would be doing what I am doing. My list of excuses was so long: I’m slow, my knee hurts, I don’t have a pool to swim in, I don’t have a bike…But now here I am feeling better than I did at 25!!

The best payback is when I can offer advice or motivation or inspiration to others. I want everyone to achieve their goals and be happy so I love helping out in any way.


Kara! She is certainly has a great story continues to inspire those in her community.  If you have a Before & After story you’d like to share on Trainer Momma, please contact me and we’ll get the ball rolling!

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1 Jenny April 15, 2011 at 4:28 pm

Wow! She is very inspiring! She looks AMAZING!

2 Andrea April 15, 2011 at 4:29 pm

Wow, what a motivating story! She is truly inspiring! I am so excited to read that she started out with boot camp. I have been doing boot camp 4 days a week and are starting to see real results. She looks amazing!!

3 TrainerMomma April 15, 2011 at 5:14 pm

I love that she did it with no crazy pills, cleanses, diets, etc. Just WHAT WORKS. Excellent!

4 Stephanie April 15, 2011 at 5:16 pm

What a great post to go into the weekend with! Kara rocks!!

5 Aubrey April 15, 2011 at 6:49 pm

I love all the before and afters you share. It gives me such hope that I can get my good before back after having another babe!

6 Brittney April 18, 2011 at 2:23 am

Wow her after picture is amazing!!!! This gave me new found hope!!! What an inspiration to us all!! Kara u rock and look awesome!!!!

7 mary kate April 18, 2011 at 2:20 pm

I thought you looked great before! way to go!

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