Looking back, I realize how far Ive come.

By permanenteditor
When I got home after being eliminated, everything seemed different. It was actually very similar to how I felt when I was sucked out of my reality and put in the DYAO house. I was totally thrown off and confused about what to do and how I was supposed to feel being home. When I landed in Newark, I remember being concerned that I had just been traveling for 12 hours and, if I had still been in the DYAO house, I would have already missed 3 workouts, dance rehearsal, and whatever else.

The first thing I did was meet my boyfriend at the airport, jump on him and give him the biggest hug ever! Then said “I’m starving, I need red meat now!” So we drove to BLT Steak and I got a fillet. Yum! He kept saying, “Aren’t you going to eat anything? Aren’t you hungry?” He was shocked at what a change it was to eat with me, how I ordered, and what I ate. I used to eat every bite and say yes to that refill of dinner rolls. Not this time, though – everything was “on the side,” “cooked without oil,” “steamed” or “grilled,” just as Rachel taught us.

At first when I got home, I tried to do the cardio/strength-training exercises Lee had taught me that didn’t require any kind of accessories, i.e.: weights, machines etc. But I didn’t feel like I was pushing myself like Lee had. I tried exercising on an elliptical while watching TV; I could do that two or three times a day, but felt like I was losing muscle from not weight training. Also, I didn’t seem to be burning enough calories to take off the weight, like I was in the house – even though I was eating the same and getting far more sleep.

The dreaded search for a gym…I found myself at the Hopewell Valley Health and Fitness Center and, low and behold, there was the answer: Jazzercise. I signed up for a class the next day and immediately connected with it. Jazzercise is a group fitness class that combines dance-based cardio with strength training and stretching. It’s the closest cardio can come to an actual dance class. I started doing to Jazzercise 6 days a week. I worked really hard on my diet and went to as many classes as I could. One of the things I had loved about being in the house was I was working out with everyone else. I like being with people – and now I have a new group of inspiring, supportive people to work out with. I’m also in the process of getting certified to become a Jazzercise instructor and am looking forward to teaching in October. So, please come visit me!

When I got back to LA to tape the reunion/finale episodes, we met for a hike at Runyon Canyon. It was the first time we were allowed to see anyone else from the cast. Holy cow! Everyone looked AMAZING! I felt so proud of what everyone had accomplished at home in such a short amount of time.

The hike up Runyon Canyon was definitely different this time around. My joints didn’t hurt! That is such a big deal. I had had reconstructive surgery on my ankle in college and I’m so used to it always swelling up or hurting. But it didn’t! My muscles felt great too; I wasn’t sore like I was the first time. I had a hard time breathing, but had just traveled across the country and there was a serious altitude change, so I’m thinking that’s all it was – since at home I have great lung capacity and stamina.

By the time I got to the top I felt great. I wanted to just take in that amazing view and keep climbing to the very tipity top of that canyon, but instead I was sidetracked by the gorgeous Mel B! Aww, I had missed Mel B. She is so real and has a wicked sense of humor! Then Mel told me that I had lost one of the TOP 3 percentages of weight since the beginning of the show. And that I was going to get a second chance to re-enter the competition and possibly win $100,000. Oh boy, that’s just the biggest news ever to be given on the top of Runyon Canyon I’m sure! I felt ecstatic!!! Later, at the reunion dinner, I found out that I had lost 1 lb. and 1% more than LaToya, which meant I had lost THE HIGHEST percentage of weight of all the women on the show!!!! That was so cool. I also had the lowest calories for my new “last supper.” The dinner was so much fun – definitely a great way to start the week.

It was really disappointing to work so hard all week – well, really all 14 weeks – and make it SO CLOSE to competing in the finale, and not make it. I knew it meant a lot to me, but I thought because I was happy for Michael I wouldn’t have felt quite the way I did. I knew any one of the 3 of us might come back to the competition, but Michael was always in the final 3; it was his spot to earn back and I’m so happy for him that he did. The three of us “wild cards”, as we were called, had a very special experience together – that I will never forget – preparing for the dance off and finale. Thank you Michael and Corey for being such fabulous friends and amazing people.

When I was asked who I thought would win the finale out of the final three, I said LaToya. She’s the best dancer. But she also walked in as the best dancer.

How exciting to go into the final performances, the partner routines, with everyone having scored a 10! It’s going to be an exciting finale and conclusion to this amazingly crazy journey – and I can’t wait! Looking back, I realize how far I’ve come. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I would become an inspirational figure, much less one whose diet secrets would be consulted by complete strangers. Even though I lost 60 pounds in 14 weeks, ultimately I want to be fit – and to inspire others to do the same. When someone tells me they’re struggling, I assure them, “I’m here. We can talk about it. Anything is possible.”

Please come visit me on my fan page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Katie-Fanok-DYAO-Season-2-Official-Fan-Page/138118622870049?ref=ts and on my twitter at https://twitter.com/KatieFanok where I share diet and exercise tips and you can ask me anything you want!

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