AUSTIN, Texas — On Mother's Day weekend, a 41-year-old Austin mom-turned-figure competitor wants to remind other mothers that self-care is a key part of parenting – after learning the hard way.
"It was my time to show my kids that my health matters for them because I want to be around for them," said mother Katie Mahler.
The 41-year-old mom and educator isn't taking any shortcuts. Her weight-loss journey has been long in the making.
"Before I started my weight-loss journey, my kiddos were born," said Mahler. "Two of them have disabilities; one has a blood disorder, and the other one has severe cognitive disabilities. In raising them, I kind of let myself go."
Mahler gained 60 pounds and heart arrhythmia. After most of her children graduated, the mother of three decided to take over her health physically and mentally.
"The original thought was, 'I'm just going to tone up,'" said Mahler. "'I'm going to lose weight. I'm going to start looking cute again at 40.'"
The Austin mom took it a step further. Last year she started to diet and train six days a week with her coach, Jay Martinez, to become a figure competitor.
Last week she stepped on stage for the first time in Bryan and then again in Austin. She took home a few trophies, including third place in the figure 40-plus category at the National Physique Committee Adela Garcia Classic.
"Stepping on that stage was just a sense of accomplishment," said Mahler. "My two children and their spouses came. They told me over and over again they couldn't believe that I made it that far and that they're just proud."
Mahler said it took her a while to learn self-care is part of great parenting. She hopes her story will inspire other moms to lift themselves up as they lift their children.
"You are worth every 30 minutes in that gym," said Mahler. "You are worth every piece of food that goes in your mouth. You don't have to eat healthy every day. Just eat healthy most days and you will see results."
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