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Posts from the ‘Before & After’ Category

The power of acceptance

We can’t change what we cannot ACCEPT. And that includes ACCEPTING what we can & can’t control.

I was talking with someone the other day about my transformation journey and five-year anniversary and she fixated on one question: “Aren’t you mad that you have to work so hard to stay healthy and fit and that you’ll struggle with this for the rest of your life?” (No!)

In another conversation recently, a close friend was having a terrible time accepting the reality of depression and was spiraling deeper because of his refusal to accept it. It made me sad.

In a much more trivial moment, I was personally challenged to accept the answer I got from American Honda about a serious defect in my Honda CRV that might cause the engine to blow up and their process for dealing with it. (Don’t even get me started on this one!)

How many of you have had difficulty accepting a misfortune —  something you don’t really like or want in your life? Yep, I’m guessing pretty much everyone.

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Five lessons of five years living in the equation (sans -200 lbs)

With gratitude from the mountaintop

Those of you who know me personally or have followed my blog, know that I’ve used a mountain climbing analogy to describe my personal transformation journey. I truly believe that as we conquer the mountains, we conquer ourselves.

One of the fundamental things that’s different about me as I celebrate five years of living in the equation sans -200 lbs is that I now actively seek those mountains. I say YES!, accept the challenge, and aim to live a WHOLE life, not just a busy one. I do this because I know that as I conquer the mountain (literally and figuratively) I will grow and bloom. In fact, this is where the growth and bloom occurs.

As a fit and active girl, I take it to the mountain when I’m searching for answers, needing a restart, wanting to feel strong and fit, when I want to challenge myself, and to celebrate every significant milestone in this journey. It’s my go-to place…my sanctuary…the place I feel closest to the Universe. And, it’s where I’m actively conquering me.

Last week, I took it to my all-time favorite mountain — Penobscot in Acadia National Park, Maine. I embarked on a solo climb to celebrate my 5-year milestone and ponder my biggest and next question: “What do I need to say YES! to right now?” As usual, the mountain did not disappoint. Read more

Healthy, happy & whole sans -200 lbs. More than a weight loss story — it’s an inside job!

Celebrating 5 years of Lori in the equation!

Lori in the equation 5 years – May 2017

I woke up today on the official 5-year anniversary of living with “Lori-in-the-equation” and hopped on the scale. A cheer erupted when I weighed -202 lbs LESS than I did at my highest weight, confirming that I’ve successfully maintained my 200+ lb weight loss for 5 years. YES!

My pants are still 11 sizes smaller than when I started my journey in 2010 (though a few things have shifted!). I feel strong, healthy and fit! I’m climbing mountains for fun. I’m living a WHOLE life, not just busy one. And, putting myself in the equation and taking care of me now comes naturally. It’s non-negotiable.

As I mark this five-year milestone, I am beyond grateful and even humbled by these incredible gifts that have now become my norm.

Most people look at me as a weight-loss success story. But, my transformation journey isn’t about weight loss. It isn’t about diet and exercise. It’s not about counting calories or macros. Nor is it about deprivation…or even willpower. And, it’s not done.

The greatest gift I’ve given myself is not the hard numbers — though it feels incredible to be healthy and have reversed my health trajectory. Rather, the greatest gift is how I’ve changed on the inside. This is what makes it an inside job.

Here are just a few things that are different on the inside. I’ve learned to push past fear and stop being paralyzed by perfection. I no longer self sabotage and beat myself up for being imperfect. I know that I’m enough, exactly as I am. I’ve proven to myself that I can do anything I make up my mind to do. I’ve learned to love and accept myself, imperfections and all. I’ve discovered that self-care is a non-negotiable, and acquired new skills like the “restart” to keep me on track. And I’ve learned to change beliefs and life-long thought patterns that were keeping me stuck and stalled.

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The mountain and me

Six years, countless climbs. Still conquering the mountain & me!

It started on this mountain in the depth of winter a little over six years ago. This is where I dug deep and found myself – my strength, my determination, my resolve, and my desire for a better life.

This is where I officially decided that I wanted more out of life than being obese and living small. This is where I decided I wanted it all. And most importantly, I decided — YES, indeed, I could do it!

It was December 2010 when I first met Oberg – a little mountain on Minnesota’s North Shore of Lake Superior. I weighed upwards of 360 lbs (down 20 from my all-time high). I was on day two of weight-loss boot camp when they told me we were going to climb a mountain…in snowshoes.

I was pissed, scared, and a bit defiant when it came time to suit up in our snow gear. Fear took over as I contemplated my first mountain climb ever. I stood there and allowed Jeremy, the young activities director, to strap on my snowshoes because it was too hard for me to bend over and I had no idea how to assemble those contraptions to my feet.

How time flies and circumstances change!

Today, March 18, 2017, I find myself back at the foot of Oberg Mountain Loop strapping on trackers over my hiking shoes. I am alone. I am -200 lbs lighter in load. I am strong, confident, resilient and beautiful. And this time, I am oh so grateful for the trip up what I now refer to as “my mountain.”

I KNOW this mountain. I know me. And I know that I will find exactly what I need today as I make my way up the deceivingly steady incline at the start of the trail, on the switchbacks, and as I make my way around the hilly 2.2 mile loop with breathtaking views. Read more

Creating healthy habits for life

For the past five years, I’ve been learning to live a healthy, happy life with Lori-in-the-equation…and it’s been awesome! During that time, I’ve been thinking about, writing about, and practicing how to live more intentionally, while creating new healthy habits for life.

I consider myself a work in progress and always will. I never take for granted my progress or success. Rather, I approach life with a growth mindset, and I’m careful to never assume that my progress on the healthy living front — and weight loss in particular — is so rock solid that I’m invincincible. (The day I do that would probably be the day I get fat again!)

Healthy living, including weight maintenance, self-care and striving to be a better human — is something that I have to work at every single day. And I’m okay with that.

Why? Because living from a place of healthy, happy and whole evolves and changes as I evolve, change and grow as a person. It evolves as I get older. As life circumstances change. I think that’s both the fun and beauty of it, it keeps life interesting. But it’s also the challenge. I’ve always said that the day I become boring or uninteresting and/or quit, is the day I lose the battle. The words “boring” and “quitting” are not in my vocabulary!

The truth about healthy weight maintenance is that it is HARD. And the game is constantly changing. Anyone who tells you it’s easy or they’ve got it together all the time — is either a liar or they don’t know the reality of it. Read more

Hiking under the Arizona sun

You almost LOST ME at rattle snakes, scorpions & tarantulas!

Last week I got to spend some quality vacation time with family and friends under the warm Arizona sun. I’m an ocean-loving girl, so it’s been more than nine years since I’d been to Arizona.

The last time I visited, I was at my all-time heaviest weight of 381 lbs and it was a very different trip. Needless to say, I was more of a passive observer of the Arizona mountains on that trip. I had trouble walking even short distances and couldn’t imagine actually getting out in the wilderness and hiking.

But this year, as a fit and healthy girl, it was important to me to get out in the dessert and experience it up close and personal via my favorite outdoor activity — hiking the mountains. At least that was my plan UNTIL I learned that rattle snakes and tarantulas frequent the trails! Eeek. Literally, my worst nightmare and one of my biggest fears. That said, my desire to hike was greater than my fear of reptiles and creepy crawly things (barely). So, off we went.

We had a host of hiking recommendations in the Superstition Mountain Wilderness — including the Siphon Draw Trail and Flatiron. But, after hearing my 20-something niece and nephew describe the difficulty of these hikes, we decided our inaugural dessert hiking trip would start with something simpler — the three mile round trip Hieroglyphic Trail near Gold Canyon. Read more

7 tips for keeping your motivation mojo

New Year. New In-the-Equation You! How are you doing at keeping your motivation mojo?

For so many years, I’d start the new year by setting lofty goals or New Year’s resolutions — usually aimed at losing weight, exercising more and getting “healthy” — only to fall off the wagon by mid-to-late January. Join the club, right?!

I would inevitably feel bad about losing my motivation and start beating myself up. I used my failure at achieving my goals as evidence that I couldn’t succeed. That I wasn’t good enough. My negative self-talk countered any positive progress, and I often ended up feeling worse. Ironically, this became a self-fulfilling prophecy. I stayed overweight, unhealthy, and totally out of the equation of my life. I continued to feel unworthy. And I continued to set resolutions and start anew at the beginning of a new year.

Luckily, that’s NOT how my story ends!

Like many of you reading this, for me, New Year’s resolutions are a thing of the past. So is the negative self-talk that accompanied them and kept me stuck. The NEW healthy and in-the-equation ME doesn’t wait for Jan. 1st to set personal goals or challenge myself to do the things I want to do. I say YES! to life now and embrace a personal growth mindset — all year long.

That said, I absolutely take advantage of the calendar year close as an opportunity to reflect on the lessons and experiences of my year (The Five Lessons of 2016). And, I get focused and intentional about what I desire most in the New Year by setting clear intentions. In fact, I get totally jazzed about this work. I just no longer force it or rush it to meet an arbitrary January 1st deadline. Read more

Embracing the whole, beautiful & imperfect me. Swim outfit & all!

The surprising gift of my first 2017 adventure

This lucky girl just got back from her first adventure of 2017 — a fabulous and fun trip to Cozumel, Mexico to kick off the new year!

This trip was significant for me as it meant tackling a list of fun “FIRSTS” that included pushing outside of my comfort zone. I’ve been on a personal mission to say “YES!” to life since I lost weight and put myself in the equation five years ago.

Before my personal transformation, I held back and lived a “small” and safe life. I didn’t put myself out there or take risks. Too often I let fear rule my life decisions — fear of what others would think, fear of looking silly or doing it imperfectly, and fear of failure often stopped me in my tracks.

Perhaps the saddest part of this reality is that I had convinced myself that I could be happy living small and safe. But the truth is, I wasn’t happy. I was hiding behind the layers of fat I donned for self-protection. I hid behind my work. And at my core was a foundation of low self-esteem, lack of confidence and a fear of not measuring up.

But I’m a success story. In 2012, as I reached my goal weight and the peak of living a healthy, happy and WHOLE life, I realized by definition “living WHOLE” meant putting myself out there. Taking risks and going for it, even and especially when I was scared. I decided to live brave. That meant saying “YES!” to life and tackling a whole list of “firsts,” seeking opportunities to grow and expand — even if that meant falling or failing. It’s been a fun and joyous ride, and five years in, I’m still going strong.

So what surprised me about my first big adventure of 2017 was how in the process of saying YES! and doing new things, I ended up embracing my whole and imperfect body and self in an even deeper way. That’s pretty cool and the focus of this blog. Read more

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