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Cashman: She gained a career through weight loss

After selling the family manufacturing business in Wood Dale, Kathryn Godlewski partnered with a long-time friend and opened a coffee bar in Fox Lake. At the same time, Godlewski faced the possibility of a serious health problem caused in large part because she was obese.

An angiogram ordered by her doctor to test for blocked arteries was negative, but it served as a wake-up call. She knew she had to make a change.

"I was 50 years old, had dieted all my life, weighed 301 pounds. and faced the possibility of blocked arteries" she said.

She reviewed all of the diets she had tried, identified why they hadn't worked and developed her own program. For the next year and a half she followed her program and lost 165 pounds. To date she has maintained the weight loss for four years. Family, friends and customers at the coffee bar who witnessed the change urged her to write a book.

The recession forced the closure of the coffee bar and, as therapy, she decided to write that book.

"Closing the coffee bar was as difficult as losing a close friend," Godlewski said. "Creating my own recipes, testing them and writing the book helped me to deal with it."

When the manuscript was completed, she decided to take the next step and copyright it. She said, "with a copyrighted manuscript it seemed sensible to take another step and publish it." Through Internet research, she discovered Create Space, Amazon's independent publishing site. With her book "How Did You Do It?" available on Amazon, a new career began to evolve.

Godlewski, 58, is now a health coach at Dr. Timothy Hartlett 's McHenry Medical Center, 202 S. Route 31, McHenry; she is working with Fox Lake District 114 in developing a program to combat childhood obesity and diabetes; and has teamed up with Gayle Booth, a registered dietician and owner of Pathway Dietetics in Crystal Lake. "We are working to show kids that there are fun activities beyond the screen and to show parents that serving healthy meals is not complicated or time consuming," Godlewski said.

Godlewski also provides coaching through her website www.followmetobehealthy.com.

"For the better part of my life I thought a diet would help me to lose weight and be healthy. Nothing out there helped me," Godlewski said. "When I changed my way of thinking all the pieces fell into place. It is truly satisfying now to see my experience helping other people to achieve their goal."

• Email ccashman@shawmedia.com

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