How Katrina took charge of her health and happiness

How Katrina took charge of her health and happiness

It is time for our next transformation story, and this month Katrina is sharing how incorporating a healthy lifestyle has helped her become not only a healthier, but also a happier version of herself! Another inspiration story worth reading……


Tell us about yourself!

Hey everyone! I am Katrina. I turned 30 this October! (It feels crazy to think that, but also really exciting!) I live in the suburbs of Seattle, WA. I live with my husband of five years, our two teens, niece and nephew, and our dog Bosley. I am a preschool teacher for or local school district and I also enjoy instructing group fitness classes on the side, for fun. My family life is quite unique to say the least. My husband and I had met after he became a quadriplegic from a motorcycle accident. We fell in love fast & deeply. He proposed after only 7 months! And just a short few years later we took custody of my teen niece and nephew. My sister had passed away over 10 years ago and they were staying with another family member. When things got dysfunction over there, my husband and I took over. We love our life together and we wouldn’t change a thing! I always feel life is best when there’s always something happening. There is truly never a dull moment in our household!

What made you rethink your lifestyle?

A few months after my husband and I got married I had gained about 10 pounds. I wasn’t fitting into my clothes like before and I just felt sluggish and sad. I wasn’t happy with how I felt.


What changes did you make?

My husband helped me get back into fitness. He knew I was interested but I wasn’t making the move. For my birthday that year he got me a fitness pass for spin classes. I fell in love! I ended up becoming an instructor because I loved it so much. I also tried to research what healthy eating is. I soon found Tone It Up! I ended up getting the meal plan (that awesome hubby of mine bought it for me for as a gift, no doubt 😉 ).

Have you tried diets before? What were the results?

I never tried diets before because I knew that a fad diet wouldn’t work. None of the diets out there seemed to feel natural because, well… it’s a “diet”. I didn’t ever want to be on a “diet”. It just sounded terrible, torturous and embarrassing. A lifestyle change is something that sounded much more reasonable and attainable.

Every new beginning is difficult – how did you stay motivated?

I stayed motivated through social media. I discovered Instagram, the hashtags to follow in order to find new fitness friends and I stayed connected every day! I was checking in daily, (and still do!) to make sure I was staying accountable with meals and workouts. You can find me on Instagram @katrina_tiu 

How did you go about setting goals for yourself?

I name the BIG goal. I make sure it is attainable for me and tell myself I am capable of that goal. The next step is creating smaller goals that will help you reach your main goal; such as “drink more water this week” and have a number in ounces in mind. Another short term goal would have been, “stay away from candy” and things like that. Once you have those little goals in mind, there’s less pressure on the pounds you want to lose or whatever else your goals may be.


How long did it take you until this change became a lifestyle, a normal part of your everyday life?

It took me about 8 weeks to attain my first goal, to lose the weight I had gained. But I ended up gaining confidence and knowledge about myself I wasn’t expecting. I stuck with the meal plan and healthy eating for an entire 8 week period. I didn’t “cheat” and I stuck with my small goals, such as exercising daily. I learned how to incorporate this new lifestyle into the life I had already. I learned that I really was stronger than I had imagined I was.

Did you have any setbacks, and how did you overcome them?

Since my original before/after, it has been about 4 years. I have definitely fluctuated in weight but I have always stayed on track with having my health in mind. I think the biggest setbacks I’ve ever had were mental thoughts. Being too harsh on myself for missing a workout, eating something fattening or if I gained weight back… These are all things I hear about from other women, too. I have learned to let it go. Focus on what I have accomplished, how healthy I really am, and how maybe I needed break in order to continue this healthy lifestyle I’m living. It’s called balance. You need some wiggle room here and there to live a happy life. Sometimes having those treats keeps or hearts happy, so sometimes we choose mental health over physical health 😉

What does your typical day look like in terms of nutrition choices and workouts?

I always drink 20 ounces within the first hour of being awake. During the work week I also make sure to spend 20-45 minutes exercising before work. I never skip breakfast and I make sure it’s a healthy one. I really love protein pancakes, protein smoothies or some oatmeal. I prep my meals over the weekend so I have everything I need for the whole week at work. I eat 5 meals a day, 3 main meals and 2 smaller snacks. I drink water throughout the day to make sure I’m always hydrated. Some days I choose to do a second workout after work a yoga or group fitness class, or run. I’m more relaxed on weekends but I always try to do something. I love to go on longer runs with my dog or maybe a quick ab workout or go hiking. I usually like to have one rest day, where I don’t do any workouts. It’s good to take it slow once in a while.

How do you stay healthy on the go or when you travel?

I bring so many healthy snacks with me! I also pack my own healthy spices and protein powders. I also make sure I have a kitchen at the hotel so I can cook some of my own food. I try not to dine out every day I’m on vacation so I am able to make healthier choices.

A lot of people are concerned that such a change will affect their social lifestyle. Did this change affect your social lifestyle?

I think my social life became brighter after getting into fitness. I made friends who feel the same about health, so it became something I could do with others. I love that I have made girlfriends that will last my lifetime because of this lifestyle change.

How has your life, health and overall wellbeing changed throughout this process?

Every aspect of my life has changed, since focusing on my health. I am happier than ever! My body feels good, which leads to my mind feeling even better. I have more energy, sleep well and I think it shows. People tell me I have a glow about me, and I believe it’s because of my healthy eating and consistent exercise.  


You are working and you have two teen kids – how do you manage such a lifestyle (workout and nutrition) while managing everything?

I have so many jobs in my life. I’m a teacher, mom, wife, caregiver, fitness instructor, leader of different groups and a friend. I have so many things going on every day. I always make an effort to do my meal planning and prepping over the weekend so I have my meals at work. It’s really important that I do this so I’m prepared to eat healthy all week long. I wake up every weekday before work and I get in a workout anywhere between 10-45 minutes long. If I don’t get that workout in I normally feel “off”. And then I won’t feel bad if I don’t have time for a workout after work.

Do you ever allow yourself unhealthy food? Do you feel guilty? How do you deal with it?

Every once in a while I need to eat something totally not healthy! I think it’s a mental thing for everyone. If you allow yourself to indulge every now and then you will be less likely to binge later. My rules normally are, 1) plan that treat, so you don’t go overboard 2) limit yourself to one serving of whatever that treat is 3)if it’s not planned to eat that treat then REALLY make sure you don’t over indulge 4) don’t feel bad about treating yourself! When you work out and eat healthy for the majority of the time, you truly deserve a treat!

What can we always find in your fridge?

Almond milk, nut butters, goat cheese, an array of fresh berries/fruits and veggies, salsa and chocolate… 😉

What did you learn about you throughout this lifestyle change?

Through it all I learned that I am a leader. I never had imagined I could inspire others to the extent that I have. I never thought that I would lead a group of 700+ like-minded women on Facebook by creating/hosting events for everyone to meet each other. I learned that I am really good at leading group fitness classes and I have what it takes to be a personal trainer. I learned that I have what it takes to do absolutely anything I put my mind to. I am a strong woman inside and out. I used to fear my dreams and now I aspire to go for them.

What kind of advise can you give to anyone looking to change their lifestyle to a healthier one?

I would tell anyone who is looking to change to a healthy lifestyle is #1 find your wolf pack! Find a group of people who want that same lifestyle and strive to be healthy every day.  When you surround yourself with these supporters and cheerleaders you will be successful! I would also tell them not to feel discouraged but don’t get down on yourself when you are feeling discouraged. This is a journey. It’s not going to change overnight. This is something you will be working on for the rest of your life. Being healthy isn’t a fad… It truly is a lifestyle.


Photo shoot by Connor Surdi Photography ( & )

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ONE COMMENT ON THIS POST To “How Katrina took charge of her health and happiness”

  1. Allison says:

    As a person who follows Katrina on Instagram and Snapchat, she truly is an inspiration to me and many others finding their way on the healthy living path!

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