Transformation

What This Philly Instagram Star Wants You to Know About Her 100-Pound Weight Loss

Yes, Courtney Fowler lost 100 pounds after she had a gastrectomy and discovered a love of SoulCycle. But what made the biggest difference was the change in her mindset.


Photographs courtesy Courtney Fowler.

Changing your body takes hard work, persistence, and dedication. Here’s one local’s story. Want to share your Transformation Story? Email ccunningham@phillymag.com

Who: Courtney Fowler (@journey_to_courtney), 28, a social media and web content manager from Brewerytown

Why I wanted to make a change: “What really started me on this journey is a desire to just see how much I could transform my body if I was willing to commit to it. There were so many times when I let weight get in the way of opportunities because I was self-conscious, and I craved the opportunity to change myself physically.”

Height: 5’4″

Starting weight: 292 pounds

Current weight: 195 pounds

What changed: “What changed the most for me is my mindset around food. A lot of times food is framed as an either a comfort or complete enemy, which is a dangerous mindset as it’s something that we all need. Not viewing food as a crutch or letting myself spiral out of control when I do have a ‘cheat’ meal has been huge for me. I’m also vastly more energized and more confident to put myself out there in ways that I would’ve NEVER done in the past.”

How I changed my eating: “I had the vertical sleeve gastrectomy procedure in December 2015, which involves removing a portion of your stomach to restrict the amount of food that you can consume. However, that was just a portion of what it took to lose (I lost 102 pounds in the first year), and none of what it takes to maintain as I can now eat significantly more. I’m admittedly a foodie so I live by a pretty strict 80/20 rule. However, the 80 percent involves a high protein/low carb diet at 1300 calories a day.”

Photographs courtesy Courtney Fowler.

How I changed my exercise plan: “Before surgery, I didn’t workout at all. So in terms of changes, adding it period was an improvement. I’ve been really lucky that I have a full gym in my apartment building, so I generally work out there splitting an hour (three times a week) between cardio and strength training. I’m also pretty obsessed with SoulCycle, because for me it’s the best balance of working on both physical and emotional improvement at the same time, so I try to clip into a bike as much as possible!”

The hardest part: “Not beating myself up through the parts where I faced stalls and changes weren’t happening. I’m a perfectionist in many ways, so at times where I felt I wasn’t where I should be, it got tough. However, I got through those times by reflecting on where I started and the growth that’s happened. The realization that I was extremely close to 300 pounds not even three years ago, and now I’m doing SoulCycle regularly for ‘fun’ is mind blowing.”

“The thing that isn’t emphasized enough about any health journey is losing weight is one part of ‘wellness.’ The conversations that we have within ourselves, about ourselves, shape so much of how we live.”

What I’m most proud of: “How my habits have improved. A different body is just a byproduct of the way that I’ve shifting my thinking about the need to work out and stay active or eat better and stay hydrated. When you do the work, it shows.”

What’s next: “Physically, I’m happy with where I am. I’m not at my lowest weight (186 pounds) and — thankfully — not my highest, but I’m genuinely happy with how my body appears. Right now, I’m focused on maintaining physically and improving my mental health, which I think is crucially important. The thing that isn’t emphasized enough about any health journey is losing weight is one part of ‘wellness.’ The conversations that we have within ourselves, about ourselves, shape so much of how we live. Thus, it’s just as important to improve your mind and the ways in which you connect with yourself.”

What I want everyone to know: “It’s okay to stumble, but never quit on yourself. Also, never stop giving everything to yourself and your wellness because you’re the best investment you could ever make.”

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