Get out of the way, Katie: Guest Post by Katie Prejean

173. One hundred and seventy three. One. Seven. Three.

No matter how I type it out, the number stays the same…and no matter how closely I looked at the scale that day, that was the weight it was registering at the beginning of September, 2012. 

I, Katie Prejean, weighed 173 pounds. It was the heaviest I had ever been in my life and I was angry.

I was angry at the scale…why did it have to be so brutally honest?

….I was angry at the McDonald’s corporation for putting one of their restaurants right across the street from the parish I’d been working at for the past year.

….I was angry at my couch for being so darn comfortable, because it meant I never wanted to get off of it.

But most of all, I was angry at myself. I was furious that I had allowed myself to ever reach that weight of 173 pounds, and for no good reason.

I wasn’t the type to get on a scale and weigh myself very often…in fact, I still don’t even own one (I just use the one at the gym these days). But on that particular Tuesday in September, I had seen a picture of myself on Facebook that woke me up to a harsh reality that I was scared to accept: I had gained weight, and not just a little weight over a short amount of time, but about 40 pounds over the course of 14 months. I had been avoiding that scale and I’d been ignoring the harsh reality of my weight gain, but there I stood on top of a scale in my parent’s bathroom, looking down at a number I didn’t like. 173 pounds.

To be entirely honest, when I got off the scale that day, not much changed other than my mood. The anger at my weight gain didn’t really inspire me to do a whole lot about it, other than mope and feel sorry for myself. I continued to eat fast food more than I should have. I continued to drink sodas and snack throughout the day on anything that came my way. I kept telling myself I would go buy a pair of sneakers and start walking my dog more frequently, but I never did. While I was completely aware of the fact that I was over-weight and felt bad about myself because of it, I didn’t make any necessary changes to fix the problem.

And that was the problem in and of itself: I was entirely aware of the problem, and I even knew the solution, but I was unwilling to make any effort to actually enact the solution. I find this to be something I personally struggle with in all areas of my life, not just the weight-loss department. I can analyze and pin-point what is wrong until the cows come home, but when it actually comes to fixing the issue and arriving at the intended solution, I struggle to follow through. Perhaps it’s because none of us have the power to truly do anything on our own…

In September of 2012, I wasn’t just overweight. A myriad of other “problems” were surfacing in my young life, and I couldn’t ignore them any longer. My prayer life was in the gutter, simply because I wasn’t committing any time to conscious mental prayer.  I knew this and I knew the simple solution: just do it – just make time to actually pray. At the time, I was struggling to maintain balance between my teaching job, my parish youth ministry duties, and my speaking career; rather than taking on less responsibility so I could be better at each, I never learned the art of “saying no” and stretched myself too thin, eventually burning out and resenting ministry all together. I was neglecting my family and friends, I was swamped with my work, I was ignoring God, and I was fat…these were the problems in my life, and I knew it. Even worse, I knew what I needed to do to fix each problem and I simply wasn’t following through. Once again, perhaps it’s simply because none of us are able to follow through without some sort of divine assistance…

As tough as it is to admit, it must be said: I was lazy, I was prideful, and I was unwilling to make any sort of sacrifices to do better in any area of my life. I didn’t want to admit it then, it is painful to admit it now, but it is the truth: I, Katie Prejean, wasn’t ready to “get over myself” and do what I knew had to be done.

I find that I’m certainly not the only person that faces this particular struggle. In fact, I’d be willing to bet that most people are often their own worst enemies…we get in the way of our own success, simply because we don’t like to admit when we’re wrong and we don’t like to admit that we’re unable to succeed on our own. It’s simply our pride getting in the way, and this does nothing but drag us further and further away from the life and happiness for which God has created us. 

So what was the turning point? At what point did the crummy prayer life, busy work duties, lack-luster relationships with family and friends, and my 173 pounds of fat finally all come crashing down? What inspired me to actually start following through on the solutions I knew were out there?

I was scrolling through Facebook a few months after that fateful weigh-in day in September and I saw a picture a friend had posted. She was in a Target dressing room with the caption “down from size 12 to 6 – half the size and feeling great.” I hadn’t seen her in a while and had no idea she had been working out and losing weight. But there she was, big smile across her face wearing cute pants and an adorable blouse fitting her in just the right way, and I thought to myself, “It must be nice to be that thin. Why can’t I be like that…?” 

And then it hit me: the only person keeping me from looking and feeling that way was me. I had become my own worst enemy, and after months, years even, of being a lazy bum completely aware of what needed to be done (but with no desire to do it), it finally all came crashing down. I sat on my couch staring at the picture of my newly thin friend and I began to cry. 

I was a failure…I had allowed myself to get to this point in life and I had removed myself from the one Person that wanted to take care of every problem for me.  After sitting on that couch and weeping for longer than I’d care to admit, I made a resolution: I was going to get my life on track. I was going to fix my prayer life, I was going to focus on my family and friends, I was going to find balance with my work, and I was going to get healthy and lose weight. And I was going to do it all with my Creator by my side. From that moment forward, nothing would be done without consulting God first…no food would be consumed, no words would be spoken, no actions would be taken without considering whether I was attempting to fulfill God’s will rather than my own.

I prayed a prayer that night, one that I don’t recommend you pray unless you’re ready for God to completely turn your life upside down. I sat on my couch, tears freely flowing, and I said,

God, I give you permission to remove anyone or anything from my life that is keeping me from being the best version of myself. Bring me closer to Your heart. Make me holy. Put in my life whatever will get me to closer to You.”

 That was in mid-January of 2013. I slowly began creating a routine for myself that included daily prayer, portion controlled, healthier meals, equal time for both work and play, and most especially, more physical activity. My dad has always had a motto: eat less, move around more, do what you love, and serve God. This phrase from my childhood became my mantra, and very gradually, I began to notice a change in my life.

I was waking up excited for each new day, ready to tackle new challenges and see what God had in store for me. I was spending more time reading Scripture, focusing specifically on the Gospels. It was like I was meeting Jesus for the first time all over again. I made attendance at daily Mass a top priority for myself. I began to make an effort to see my parents more frequently and talk to my sister outside of just the occasional Facebook post. I started to build new friendships that have since become some of the deepest and most cherished I could have ever hoped for. I forced myself to wake up every morning to take Barney for a walk…this eventually turned into a morning “rosary run” that would bring me to the Cathedral’s prayer grotto not far from my house where I would finish the fifth decade. I removed sodas and sugary drinks from my diet and I began cooking healthy meals rather than making pit stops at fast food joints. I joined a gym and started working out on a regular basis. The elliptical has since become my favorite therapist and the row machine my constant companion. My attitude improved, my self-confidence was boosted, and my desire to live life to the fullest and take advantage of what God had to offer me was finally awakened.  

 In September of 2012 I was a heavy girl. Physically, emotionally, spiritually, socially – in every area of my life I was carrying around too much weight.

 I’ll say that again: I was carrying around too much weight. Me. Katie. On my own. I was carrying the weight. I was carrying the worries of my life. I was identifying the problems and recognizing solutions and never following through because I, a sinful, prideful, busy human being, was getting in my own way. I thought I could fix it all, ignoring the fact that the greatest “trainer” or “coach” or “problem-solver” I could ever want is the God that made me in His Image and Likeness, simply out of love, so that I would have the chance to fulfill His perfect will. To surrender control to Him and stop fighting on my own (often against myself) was the only way I could ever succeed. Rather than cling to myself and the problems of my life, I had to give it to Him – I no longer needed to be in control. 

 This is usually all it comes down to…we don’t cast our burdens on the Lord, even though He tells us He will sustain us (Psalm 55:22). How often do we sit around anxious about tomorrow, forgetting that God takes care of even birds, so of course He will be mindful of us (Matthew 6:26)? How frequently do we forget that we are the beloved creatures of He who can control even the mighty winds of turbulent storms (Matthew 8:27)? Why do we ignore Jesus’ reminder that while yes, the world is full of trials and tribulations, He has already conquered the world? We are called to simply revel in His victory! (John 16:33)

The moment I admitted I could not do it on my own was the moment I won the war. That was the moment I lost the weight.                 

It is now October of 2013, 13 months since I first got on the scale and weighed in at 173 pounds. I am now 129 pounds. My prayer life has never been better, my career has never been more fulfilling, I work out at least three times a week (and actually have muscles!), and I have the most amazing friends and most loving family that I try to cherish deeply each day. I have never been happier and never felt better.

All the weight was lost…and then some.  



What do Apple products, a fluffy white dog, dancing vigorously, working out excessively, and Jesus all have in common? They’re things that Katie Prejean loves with a passion. Born and raised in Lake Charles, Louisiana, Katie has been sharing her love of the Lord across the country since 2007. Her favorite color is green, she really wants to own a pet elephant someday, making people laugh is one of her favorite things to do, and she doesn’t like to be hugged (but will gladly accept a hug should fair warning be given). Katie is the freshman Theology teacher at St. Louis Catholic High School and the Youth Director at Our Lady Queen of Heaven. She and her dog Barney live in Lake Charles, Louisiana where they are often creating Vines & posting photos on Instagram together.