At Delta Life Fitness we aim to empower women in every area of their life. We know when women are empowered they are able to empower those around them and they can do amazing things. To honor all the strong and empowered women in Delta Life we started the Strong and Empowered Women Series. Each month we will feature a woman from a Delta Life facility who exemplifies strength, empowerment and strives to be better every day. This series will highlight the amazing women we have in the DLF community across the country.
For the first post in the Strong and Empowered Women Series Delta Life Fitness had the opportunity to sit down and talk with Katie Wise. Katie is owner and coach of Delta Life Fitness Daytona Beach, Florida. Life has thrown her a lot of curve balls and throughout it all she has kept an open mind and built an amazing amount of inner strength. Her strength is truly inspirational for women who may find themselves struggling or feeling that life sometimes gives us too much to handle.
Can you tell us a little about yourself? (Where were you born, how was it growing up, education, any other interesting tidbits)
I was born in southern California. I lived there my whole life. I moved to Florida after I got married. In terms of education, I don’t have a college degree. I went to college for a short time and then was hired and worked a full time job where I was able to work my way up
Throughout my life I’ve always had weight problems. I’ve always been up and down in my weight. I was either overweight or lost a lot of weight. I was never consistent. I never knew how to eat. I know that often times our nutrition when I was growing up was what was convenient because both my parents worked full time.
In 2012, while my husband was deployed I got over 200 pounds. I didn’t understand why I was gaining weight. I have always had to work out to simply maintain my weight. I always focused on exercise not nutrition.
Tell me about a time in your life when you didn’t feel confident or empowered?
Oh my gosh, there were a lot of times. Probably all of high school and more so in 2012 when I got to my largest weight. When I was growing up I didn’t feel confident. I always felt like I was the biggest of all my friends.
How did you cope with those feelings?
I worked out to cope, and I prayed a lot. The working out was therapeutic for me. I felt like I was still working towards something, even if I was just maintaining my weight.
What is the biggest struggle you had to overcome in your life?
At the beginning of 2013 my grandmother passed away, and I was working a full time job and wasn’t able to take time off work. My mom got very sick and was very close to dying at the exact same time my grandmother passed away. I was taking care of my mom and my grandmother’s funeral arrangements. During all of that I was still working full time.
Then my family dog died, which was a huge event in my life. My brother deployed. I moved across the country to Florida and it was my first move ever. I got married and we didn’t have jobs. So that was stressful. In 2014, I got a full time job, but it was very stressful mentality. I was able to get insurance with this job, and I had been feeling bad (health wise) for a while.
I finally was able to go to the doctor and found out that I had an overactive thyroid. When they were examining my thyroid they did an ultrasound and found nodules. They then biopsied the nodules and found out I had Hashimoto’s Disease.
It was then I learned why my weight went up and down throughout my entire life. My thyroid was either overactive or underactive. After I found out my diagnosis for Hashimoto’s disease I also found out that I had cancer in my lymph nodes. They actually had to remove the majority of my thyroid due to the cancer. They also removed 10 lymph nodes, 8 of which had cancer.
This decided the level of radiation I would receive. I would go to the hospital to take radiation pills. My husband was gone a lot due to work at this time, and after receiving the radiation treatment I would have to stay away from others so they were not affected by the radiation.
I also have hypothyroidism, which is when your body lacks a certain amount of thyroid hormone. I was put on medicine to get my body started again but I was not able to take medicine because of the radiation.
Do you feel these struggles have made you stronger? How so?
It was sink or swim. I didn’t have a choice. I was away from my family and only had my husband for support. I had a lot of serious mood swings because of the imbalance of hormones due to the Hashimoto’s disease and thyroid.
I had no choice but to be strong. I simply thought this is happening so I have to move forward. I had to take it day by day. There was no other way for me to look at it.
My entire body changed after surgery. I felt like I had to relearn my own body. I had a whole new body. I gained 20 to 30 pounds after my surgery. I felt it was difficult to get out of bed. I could sleep 16 hours a day. I was put on medicine to help even out my hormones and sometimes it would make me really foggy. Every day was different. I was on medicine for 6 months. I had a lot of mood swings, changes in my body and how I was feeling. I didn’t feel normal.
I had more tests done because I was convinced something else was wrong. I was then diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome, which was causing more hormone balances. Now, I am at this point and found out my pancreas is creating more insulin and my body is constantly creating too much testosterone or too much estrogen.
How do you find motivation every day?
There are a lot of ups and downs every day. I am on a rollercoaster. Some days are great and some days I have to try hard not to get in a funk. I feel like I have to fight the bad days. I have to look forward to the positive things. It’s like setting a goal. I have to have something to look forward to, it helps me get through the hard days.
There are days even with Delta Life Fitness when I don’t want to get out of bed and go. My members keep me from getting in a funk, and they keep me strong. I know I can’t have a bad day because I want to be strong for them. They need someone to lean on when they are having a bad day. They also help me when I am having a bad day or when I’m not feeling well. They keep me strong.
How has Delta Life Fitness empowered you?
Honestly, it helped educate me on nutrition. It has opened the door for me to understand more about nutrition. I have learned what is good for my body. When I don’t eat well I’m not only sabotaging myself, but with all the hormone changes I can’t eat certain things. I have digestive problems after the surgery. If I eat certain things I can feel that my body “hates me”. Like right now, I haven’t gone shopping or meal prepped and haven’t eaten like I normally do and every day I can feel it.
Every single day, I am making a change in the way I think about eating. Delta Life was the starting point of me realizing I should be on a low glycemic index diet and how to treat my body with food. I now crave vegetables. I never would have thought that way years ago.
When you change your life with Delta Life Fitness it becomes something more. I no longer want to eat the things I used to. I feel a difference when I am sticking to minimally processed food. My digestive problems are less when I am eating non-processed food.How has Delta Life Fitness made you stronger? Mentally and physically?
On the business side I feel it’s made me wiser for my age (24). I feel like I have accomplished and gone through more than people my age. When you run a business it is sink or swim. You either are successful or you fail and failure is not an option.
I never drag my feet to workout. I love to workout. It’s made me look at life different. It makes me think why I didn’t do this years ago.
Delta Life Fitness keeps me motivated. I am trying to set the bar for my members. I want to make sure I am an example for them. I want to show my members not to give up. Taking time for yourself is important. The 35 minutes in a Delta Life class is the only time I get for myself. The members empower me just as much as I empower them.
When a member comes to me frustrated that they “only lost 10 pounds” I have them take that amount of weight and do their warm up lap with it. It helps them realize that those “only 10 pounds” used to be on their body. They used to carry that on them every day.
EVERY POUND IS HUGE! You’re not gaining weight and if you weren’t here, at Delta Life, you would be! I am so much stronger.
How has Delta Life Fitness changed your life?
I’m human. I never want anyone to get the impression that I don’t get “those days”. I do. Honestly, it takes a lot of my strength to keep my head up, to look at the positive.
It’s hard to lose weight and it’s hard to be overweight. Pick your hard. It’s so true. I want my members to look how far they’ve come in 3 months. Instead of women thinking they can’t accomplish something I want them to know they can accomplish anything. They can lose weight, but you have to fight for it.
I always think about it like a plot twist. Okay, this is where your life is going now and you have to handle it. Get in the mindset and stop fixating on the number on the scale. There are small victories. It’s a mental game. I set goals to my lifestyle. I set goals like wanting to feeling confident, and feeling better in my clothes.
If you had to tell women reading this one thing what would you tell them?
I would tell them that they’re good enough. It’s the one affirmation I tell my members. They should say it when they wake up. I say it every morning when I wake up, it sets the tone for my day.
I feel like we lose ourselves. We look at the person next to us. We compare ourselves to them. They make more money or they are losing more weight than me.
This is your journey. Women should be 100% selfish in that. When they walk into the gym they are there for themselves.Become Empowered & Strong! Click for Free Trial and Location Nearest You