Centreville woman is a celebrity

Published 12:23 am Thursday, May 22, 2008

CENTREVILLE — Kathy Sterling now knows what it’s like to be a hounded celebrity.

On Friday, the wife and mother of two will be featured in the new issue of People magazine for losing more than 100 pounds. Sterling’s newfound fame doesn’t stop there. On Wednesday, a film crew from the ABC’s “Good Morning America” followed her every move for a story that will air Sunday.

“This is crazy. I don’t know how the movie stars and stuff do it,” Sterling said. “They have followed me around since I rolled out of bed.”

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Having shed 131 pounds, Sterling now weighs 144 pounds. Her secret? Weight Watchers and exercise.

Sterling’s national media visibility began when she submitted her weight loss story to Weight Watchers’ Inspiring Stories of the Year contest one year ago. People magazine contacted Weight Watchers and expressed their interest in Sterling’s story.

“Weight Watchers called me and said People wanted to do a story and I said, ‘Sure, why not? I don’t have nothing to lose,’” Sterling said. “Then (Weight Watchers) said People wants a picture of you in a bikini. It’s nothing a little computer technology can take care of.”

A week after the Weight Watchers call, People called Sterling to ask if she was available to travel to South Beach in Miami for a photo shoot — all expenses paid. While in Miami, Sterling was joined in the photo shoot by four other women from across the country who have also lost more than 100 pounds.

“They sent us to South Beach for four days and we got pampered. All we had to do was wash our hair and hit the beach,” Sterling said.

People told the ladies they would grace the cover unless there’s breaking news out of Hollywood. Unfortunately for the quintet, pop singer Ashlee Simpson’s marriage to rock musician Pete Wentz made the cover.

“I have a bone to pick with her,” Sterling joked. “She messed with the wrong country girl.”

When Sterling returned from South Beach, she was contacted by “Good Morning America.” She initially thought she would do a phone interview, but she soon learned otherwise.

“(The film crew) showed up this morning and they wanted to see the morning routine,” Sterling said. “They looked through my refrigerator and my cabinets to see what I eat on a daily basis compared to what the old Kathy ate.”

The crew also filmed Sterling exercising, shopping at the local grocery store and working at Wilkinson County Senior Care, where she’s a registered nurse.

“Everybody was just looking and oohing and awing. Everybody was real excited for me,” she said.

Sterling hopes her story will inspire people to take charge of their health. After the film crew packed up their equipment, Sterling asked herself one question — Why me?

“When I lost weight, I had no idea it would turn into this,” she said.