A girl and her mountain.
Lessons from the mountaintop — 200+ lbs lighter…
Celebrating 4 years of Lori-in-the-equation!
She climbed until she saw…Until she dropped the heavy weight she carried as a shield.
She climbed until she discovered she was enough, just exactly as she was.
She climbed and climbed and climbed until she found self-acceptance, self-love and compassion…until she mastered self-care as priority.
She climbed until she found a WHOLE life, not just a busy one. Until she learned to say no to things that no longer served her and YES! to the big wide-open world of possibilities.
She climbed, until she learned that indeed she could not only climb — she could FLY!
She climbed until she saw.
When I started my personal transformation journey, I also started this blog to document it. That was in Nov. 2010. At the time there was no question what the blog title would be — She Climbed Until She Saw.
Climbing mountains has been a metaphor for my transformation journey. Thus, at every milestone I find myself back on the mountaintop reflecting on the lessons and the gifts.
Some of you know the story of how I found myself atop Oberg Mountain on Lake Superior’s North Shore weighing 360+ pounds in the middle of winter, bundled up and in snowshoes. I was not a happy camper. But I had chosen to be there for weight-loss boot camp and was determined to stay the course and not quit — no matter what.
But, indeed, it was on that mountain in weight-loss boot camp more than five years ago that my personal journey of self-discovery, weight loss, and self-love began. And today, I could not be more grateful or humbled by the experience on what I now call, “my mountain.”
So it seems fitting that as I celebrate significant milestones in my life, I make my way back to the mountain to reflect and express my gratitude.
LESSONS FROM THE MOUNTAINTOP
This past week, I celebrated four years sans -200 pounds, 11 dress sizes AND the heavy burdens that physical weight protected. I celebrated four years of living as a fit, active, healthy and happy girl with Lori fully in the center of her equation. And I celebrated living a whole life.
The coolest thing about this journey is that as the years and milestones pass, the gifts just keep on giving…as long as I am willing to grow — and I don’t mean in pants size!
Here are my lessons from the mountaintop as of May 2016 — exactly four years after I shed -200 lbs and the heavy burden of self-doubt. My hope is that these lessons provide inspiration and serve as a reminder that this quest to self is about much more than weight loss. It’s about unleashing your best and greatest self on the world! Living your best life…a WHOLE life. And it’s a love story…about self-love and everything that comes with it.
- Mindset is key. By changing you mind, you can change your health (and your life).
- You’re more resilient than you think.
- A WHOLE life is way different and way better than busy.
1. Mindset is key.
Most of you who know my weight-loss story, have heard me say that it wasn’t about the weight. Rather the weight was a physical symptom that something was not right on the inside. It was really about what was going on in my head.
I had a self-critical and harsh view of myself, and a fear about showing up as my authentic self and being truly seen. I didn’t believe I was enough — good enough, smart enough, beautiful enough, thin enough, strong enough … And that core belief manifested in how I showed up in the world, how I treated myself, and in how I chose to cope and hide my internal pain. I know that so many of you can relate and if you are in that group — please reach out! I get it. And I’m here.
Most of us developed our self-worth at a very young age and were influenced by those closest to us. The good news is that you don’t have to be a victim of that thinking or your past forever. You CAN indeed change it! You CAN change your mind. And it makes all the difference.
It took me until age 47 to get there — so honestly, I don’t believe it’s ever too late to change. And I do believe it has to happen from the inside out. Until we change our mind and mindset — especially the internal tapes about our self-worth — we can’t really achieve physical change on the outside. Of course, there are exceptions who will read this and prove me wrong. But I am sharing my experience — and that of many of those I’ve met along the way — as evidence that internal transformation and external transformation go hand in hand.
When I was finally brave enough to work on the inside — my emotional well being — as well as the physical weight loss, I was able to break through and lose all of my weight and keep it off for four years….and counting. Before I was willing to tackle my stinkin’ thinkin’ and put those internal gremlin voices in their place, I had trouble losing the weight and/or sustaining what I had lost. The weight always came back on when things got hard.
This past year it has become clear to me that the work I continue to do on my mindset: Accepting myself as perfectly imperfect and enough; learning to accept what I can control and letting go of the rest (a hard one); practicing self-love and self-care as a non-negotiable — even and especially when the going gets tough; this is the stuff that keeps the weight OFF and me in the equation. Your mindset is key to both weight loss and to weight maintenance — dare I say it is the key to anything you want to achieve!
Some of us need to learn to change our thinking and develop new tapes that honor our worth. Others of us just need to believe we can do it. But honestly, it all starts with your emotional health and your mindset. It is totally doable and worth it! And it is never, ever done.
2. You’re more resilient than you think.
Resilience during times of struggle and set back — this is where and how you will know you are strong. We test and build our resilience along the way of life. Sometimes it’s fun but most of the time when we are in it, it’s not that fun. And if you’re anything like me, you’ve struggled with this one — especially when you get in a negative place and adopt a victim mentality.
I’ve learned that resilience and mindset are 100% related and intertwined. You become more resilient as you practice self-love, self-care and as you work on changing your mindset — believing you will be okay, letting go of what you can’t control and working on what you can control.
In the earlier years after I reached my goal weight (2012-2015), I was living on cloud nine as a happy and healthy girl. I was dating. I fell in love. I was starting a new business. I had a whole new wardrobe 11 sizes smaller. I was helping and inspiring people. I got to spend lots of time in my beloved Maine. I met new friends and work colleagues in my 50’s. Life was good! In those first years of my new life with Lori in the equation, I was so happy and having so much fun that I perhaps didn’t realize at the time how important resilience was.
Well, now, I do! The last year has been way tougher. I’ve lived through heartache and hardship. Love relationships ending. Dreams ending or changing course. Tough business decisions and the accompanying financial worries. Crippling sciatica pain. And, a sister’s massive stroke. Yep, shit happens!
The real test for me in this past year was in the navigating heartache and hardship. I had to decide if I was a resilient, healthy and in-my-equation girl who could hold her own during some really, really challenging times. Or, if I was going to use this heartache and hardship to throw in the towel on me like I used to? What do you think I did?! 😉
Nope, I didn’t throw in the towel. And it wasn’t even a tough decision. It turns out my resilience kicked in and came naturally.
Rather, than give up, I found my wings and listened instead to the inner voice of strength, self-worth and compassion. I made a conscious decision to take care of myself, practicing what I preach and valuing myself first and foremost. Did I cry, get frustrated, have an occassional binge, lean on my friends, and even resort to the “poor me” thinking at times? You bet, I did! I’m human!
But in the process, I learned how to pick myself up every time I got off course. I held my own during times of incredible sadness and struggle without letting the wheels fall off the bus. I experienced how awesome it is to live from a place of self-love, respect and acceptance where self-care is a non-negotiable. Where your resilience is tested, deepened and then tested some more.
Yep, turns out, I am a strong and resilient girl. It’s part of who I am! I fall down. I get hurt. I screw up, and I rise strong and get right back in the arena. This is transformation. Yes!
Oh, and newsflash — bad stuff happens — to all of us, eventually. Life cycles from good, to not so good, to bad, and always back again. So what really matters is how we deal. How we embrace it (or not), hold it (or not) and deal with it — the good, the not so good and the bad. That is resilience!
If you’re in the good cycle, like I was those first three years of weight maintenance, good for you. That’s awesome! It makes me smile. Live in the moment and enjoy every, single moment of it. If you in the not so good or bad cycle, stay true to you and know that everything will cycle back again. Take care of yourself. Be gentle with yourself. And know that it is how you respond and hold the tough times that makes all the difference.
I wrote a blog last week on resilience as the key to leading a happy, healthy and WHOLE life. For me, it was the newest and greatest lesson of this past year. If you missed that blog, you can read it here.
3. A whole life is way better than busy.
For much of my adult life until now, I was obese and I was busy. I lived life on the hamster wheel going through the motions of what I thought I needed to do to be a good person, a good business owner, balance it all and make people happy. Busy was good, right?
I was living more from habit (bad and destructive health habits), practicing no self-care and giving everything I had emotionally and physically to others (so they would love/like and value me). I understand this now, but of course was pretty unaware at the time. I was just the busy hamster on the wheel.
Through my personal transformation and path to self-love and self-care as a priority, I have flipped my focus and in return given myself a WHOLE life. I still can’t do everything, but I know I can do anything. And what gets in my life and gets my time, energy and focus (though constantly re-evaluating and prioritizing) now includes ME!
This WHOLE life that is healthy, happy and hard is the best gift ever of transformation. And it’s work, every day.
Each and every milestone I hit in this journey is awesome. But on this four year milestone the lessons are far reaching and life changing. I know they have helped me become a better person, business owner and transformation coach.
I am forever grateful to my amazing transformation team (O’Neal, Leif and Sandra), the countless family and friends who have listened, loved and supported me all of these years. You truly raise me up so I can climb on mountains. And every year on my goal anniversary I watch this my celebration video and am reminded that it takes a village and I’m a lucky girl to have such an amazing village! None of us does it alone. If you want to watch my transformation video and see some of the amazing peeps in my life — here it is.
Finally, I’m incredibly grateful for all of you I’ve met along the way — personally and professionally — on this In the Equation quest. Each of you enriches me and makes me better. The In the Equation community is growing and helping people change their lives and their focus. For that, I could not be more grateful…and proud.
Cheers to you! Cheers to a healthy, happy and whole life. Cheers to “my mountain” and all of the mountains yet to climb. And, finally, a shout out to my sister Lisa. I’m dedicating this anniversary blog to my beautiful sister who is in the fight of her life and I who, I know, is strong and resilient. She will go on to overcome and to help so many.
Read other blogs on related milestones and on the topics of resilience, a whole life, and more. And view my mountain climbing celebratory photo gallery below. Enjoy!
- Resilience. The key to happy, healthy & whole (May 2016)
- Weight maintenance is hard, rewarding & totally doable (May 2016)
- 2015: Finding & celebrating my strong (Dec. 2015)
- I lived. I did it all! (celebrating 5 years of me) (Dec. 2015)
- Five years ago my new life began (Nov. 2015)
- Are you trying to do too much? Be honest (March 2015)
- -211 lbs + love = a WHOLE life (Dec. 2014)
- Courageous girl: Four years ago I was scared to death! (Nov. 2014)
- Two years fit and healthy. New life. New lessons. (May 2014)
- A whole life…the best life (Feb. 2014)
- One year sans 200 lbs…my new reality (May 2013)
- From “fat girl” in an office chair to “fit girl” knocking out a half marathon (July 2012)