After struggling to find a "diet" that she could stick to, Katie Dunlop of Love Sweat Fitness decided to ditch the idea altogether and finally found success.

By Faith Brar
Advertisement

If you've ever visited Katie Dunlop's Instagram profile, you're sure to stumble across a smoothie bowl or two, seriously sculpted abs or a booty selfie, and proud post-workout photos. At first glance, it's hard to believe that the creator of Love Sweat Fitness has ever struggled with her weight or had a tough time maintaining a healthy lifestyle. But in reality, it took Katie years to change the way she treated her body-most of which had to do with her relationship with food.

"I struggled with weight like many women do for a number of years," Katie told Shape exclusively. "I tried fad diets and several workout programs, but still somehow got up to my heaviest. At that point, I didn't feel like myself anymore."

As she tried to find a solution that would stick, Katie says she came to a major realization: "I quickly learned that it wasn't just about how much I weighed or how my body looked, it was more about being in an emotional state where I wasn't motivated to treat myself better," she says of how she used to feel. "More than anything, that came down to what I was putting in my body." (Related: Katie Willcox Wants You To Know You're So Much More Than What You See In the Mirror)

That's when Katie decided that she was done with random diets and was going to focus all her energy on making healthy eating a part of her lifestyle. "We all know what foods are good and bad for us-at least to some extent," she says. "So once I finally started looking at food for what it is-a fuel for our bodies-I was really able to change my relationship with it and embody a more balanced approach."

With that had to also come the understanding that she wasn't going to see results overnight. "I realized that the changes I wanted weren't going to be fast and that was okay," she said. "So I made peace with the fact that even if my body didn't change physically, I was still going to do everything in my power to take care of it to feel better and more confident. That's something I took one day at a time." (Related: The Surprising Way Low Confidence Affects Your Workout Performance)

Being a self-proclaimed foodie, Katie knew her success would be dependent on finding ways to truly enjoy eating healthy foods. Learning how to cook with healthier ingredients and season them to perfection without loading up on salt or sauces played a big role, says Katie. "Learning how to start reducing the extras like salt, oil, and cheese is what really made a difference," she says, and "finding delicious recipes to experiment with was key."

Katie says she also had to rethink her game plan when eating out with friends. For example, she'd ditch the crackers on the charcuterie board, but still allowed herself have some cheese because it was something she really loved. During taco night, though, she realized the shredded cheese didn't really add much to the meal, so she skipped it. It was all about finding out what worked for her and making small substitutions that didn't make her feel like she was giving up anything, she says. (Related: Three Food Swaps to Help You Overcome a Weight-Loss Plateau)

It took a solid six months before eating clean became second nature to Katie. "By that time, a bulk of my weight had come off, but it was a huge struggle breaking those old habits since I was used to not sticking to the same thing for too long," she admits. But she did stick with it and the results showed. "The best part was that I didn't just see a difference in my body, I also felt it," she shares. "And that made me realize how much food affected me."

Today, Katie says she eats five times a day and her meals vary in portion sizes. "My days usually start with egg whites, avocados, and sprouted bread, as well as Greek yogurt and tons of fruit," she says. "From there I try to incorporate nuts, nut butter, lean chicken, protein, fish, and tons of veggies into my daily diet." (Related: 9 Foods Every Healthy Kitchen Needs)

"Never in my life did I think I'd be where I'm at right now: 45 pounds lighter and feeling so confident both physically and emotionally," says Katie. "And that's all because I learned to fuel my body properly and give it what it needs to be the best version of itself."

If you want to change your eating habits (from a small tweak to a total overhaul) and are looking for a place to start, Katie recommends taking it one step at a time."Find what you're struggling with the most, whether that's sweets or late-night snacking, and slowly find ways to start making healthier changes," she says. Rather than sitting down to a pint of Talenti, have a couple bites and then switch to Greek yogurt and honey or fruit to satisfy the rest of your sweet tooth, she says.

The number-one thing Katie says she tries to instill in her followers, clients, or just women in general, is that they deserve to feel happy and confident. "That confidence doesn't just come when you reach your goals, it comes from making those healthier choices all the time. If you're consistent in that, you've proved that you actually love your body enough to take care of it-and everyone owes that to themselves."

Comments (16)

Anonymous
September 9, 2019
Good advice. Eating well plays an important role. But exercising as well. But it's So difficult to exercise when you have sciatica, back pain. I try low impact exercises, pilates, and nothing helps. Any suggestions?
Anonymous
March 4, 2019
A breakthrough Yoga Program that melts away flab and reshapes your body in as little as one hour a week. https://bit.ly/2S3Fk9s
Anonymous
March 4, 2019
Losing weight is not so difficult with the right guidance and methods. What worked for me was this amazing guide: https://bit.ly/2QvsWDd Explains the science of losing weight, right foods to eat, foods to avoid, tips and tricks to lose weight quickly and stay healthy.
Anonymous
January 29, 2019
I had used Brian’s method to reduce 8 kg in just 3 weeks; I followed step by step procedure as per Brian’s instruction. This is one of the perfect weight loss product to reduce weight without any side effect and keep the body fit for lifelong, refer here => weightlossin3weeks.com
Anonymous
December 17, 2018
The simple 30 second ritual that stops fat storage: https://bit.ly/2LjBabD
Anonymous
December 7, 2018
Eat this “superfruit” before bed to burn more fat: https://bit.ly/2G7zzXt
Anonymous
November 16, 2018
This controversial method can make you lean fast: https://bit.ly/2DmMBxk
Anonymous
October 16, 2018
The Secret to Losing Unwanted Weight Fast and Keeping It Off: https://bit.ly/2pRzPPy
Anonymous
October 12, 2018
Lost 41 pounds and 4 dress sizes. I am in the best shape of my life. Wish I had seen this amazing video earlier: https://bit.ly/2xZoIIy
Anonymous
September 14, 2018
I came to look at comments, and I see a bunch of sales pitches for weight loss diets! Not cool!
Anonymous
August 31, 2018
Losing weight is not so difficult with proper guidance and discipline. What helped me in my desire to lose weight and get fit was this amazing weight loss program. watch the video here: => https://the2weekdietnow.com
Anonymous
July 24, 2018
My life is totally transformed after I followed this diet. https://bit.ly/2safCoC Have Lost 27 pounds in last 1 month and feeling great about myself.
Anonymous
July 7, 2018
Did you know there’s a “deep detox” you can do first thing in the morning to burn more fat? And the good news is It only takes 13-seconds! Here it is: https://bit.ly/2x45lQy
Anonymous
June 16, 2018
Discover The #1 Detox Tea That Melts Away Fat EFFORTLESSLY: https://bit.ly/2Laaysp
Anonymous
April 6, 2018
Since I turned 40 it has been increasingly harder to lose weight. I have tried every diet, watch what I ate etc., nothing worked. One day my husband came home and told me about this system, I thought why not. Three months later I lost 34 pounds and 3 sizes. Now that I’m on the maintenance part of the system I lost a total of 38 pounds and now down 4 sizes…. This system works. It really had me change my eating habits. I have learned valuable nutritional information to ensure I keep the weight off and look great. Three months later I lost 34 pounds and 3 sizes, just following this system: bit.ly/2H03IXR
Anonymous
March 18, 2018
Thank you Katie for words of wisdom