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!
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.
Changing from the inside out
My story is about transformation from the inside out. That means addressing your mental, emotional and physical health — mind, body and spirit. I had to change on the inside to sustain the physical changes on the outside. And this is what has allowed me to keep the weight off and stay the course for five years.
This new way of thinking and being attracts good things into my life. It keeps me in the equation and makes me happier, healthier and whole. And it keeps me on track and more resilient when the bad stuff happens in life, as it always does.
It’s my view and personal experience that significant weight loss happens when you address the mental and emotional components of health simultaneously — while working on the physical. This is where so many diet approaches go wrong and where many people get frustrated, fail or throw in the towel.
Put yourself in the equation & everything else is better!
My message has centered on self-care as an act of survival. I’m living proof that the conscious decision and daily practice of putting yourself in the equation of your own life can be a life-changing choice.
So my success story is about understanding and honoring your SELF. It’s about: Self-care. Self-awareness. Self-acceptance. Self-love. Self-respect. Self-trust. Self-discovery. Self-expression. Self-confidence. Self-esteem. Self-care. Did I mention, self-care?
For many of us who have struggled with weight our entire lives, the weight is a symptom of something much deeper happening on the inside. Many of us got here because of a fundamental belief that we weren’t good enough or that we couldn’t do it. Our mind was/is stopping us. The food (or work, or alcohol…insert device) was a way to cope and it was our “go-to” for escape.
The good news is that we have the power to change it! We are the only ones who can grab hold of our own life and change it. I want my 5-year anniversary to be a beacon of hope and a call to action for others who are struggling.
YES, YOU CAN!
If you’re reading this and feel stuck, stalled or hopeless in any way — whether it’s about weight loss, just getting fit and healthy, or your facing one of life’s transitions — my message is simple: YES, YOU CAN!
If I can do it, so can you. I promise that you have within you, right now, everything you need… everything!
There is nothing wrong with you. There is nothing missing or hard-wired incorrectly. You absolutely have what it takes…and you are enough. You are good enough, smart enough, determined enough, brave enough, strong enough, resilient enough… But it doesn’t matter if I know it, to move forward YOU have to believe it. And even if you don’t believe it right now, trust that you’ll get there. Trust the process and just take a step. One step.
How am I so certain you’ve got what it takes?
I know the way. I know the struggle and the pain. I know the inner voices of self-doubt and shame and how easily they can hijack your brain. I made gazillions of attempts at dieting and exercising, having some success, only to fall off the wagon and feel worse when I gained it back. I know busy and every other excuse in the playbook for staying stuck — it’s too hard…I don’t have time…it’s my health challenges that prevent me from losing weight…I don’t have the money and can’t afford the help…you don’t understand me and my struggle…now is not a good time…I can’t do it…
Yep, I know all the ways we keep ourselves stuck and small. My self-doubt, fear, limiting beliefs and thought patterns consumed me and I lived as a victim of my life circumstances. In the process, I ballooned to 381 lbs — more than an NFL Defensive Lineman — and had myself convinced I couldn’t do it.
And then I did! I found hope and guidance. I pushed past fear and self doubt. I went 100% all-in. And here I am! Five years in and going strong. Defying the odds. So, I know what I’m talking about when I say — we’ve got this!
There is hope. Here is hope. I am hope. So please grab hold and let’s go!
Defying the odds
Three months ago as I was preparing to give an “In-the-Equation” speech, I researched the statistics for long-term weight loss. While not easy to reconcile conflicting research, 10-20% of people who lose significant weight — 10% or more of their body weight — keep it off for one year or more.
But that’s not all. The most alarming stat is that the number drops to about 3% at 5 years. Only 3-5% of people who lose significant weight maintain that loss for five years or more. Yikes! Regardless of which stat you read, a very small percentage of the people who lose weight keep it off for life.
That’s a bit scary, but it brings me right back to my core message and the number one lesson of my success to date. Internal transformation is key. Taking care of yourself first, before others, is key. It’s the mental and emotional work that gives you (and me) the very best shot at maintaining for life! And I can tell you, I’m 100% all-in at defying the odds. This will not be a surprise for anyone who personally knows me! 😉
I’m more proud and more grateful for the gift of five years of healthy living than of reaching my weight loss goal in May 2012. And it’s because it is so challenging and requires ongoing inside work. I am living healthy because I’m continuing to learn about myself, grow and evolve. It’s not always easy. But that makes it even more worthwhile and empowering. And even more worth celebrating.
I know more today than I did five years ago. I am stronger, sexier, and more resilient today than that beautiful girl who wore the sparkly dress and celebrated on May 12, 2012. That beautiful girl was healthy, strong, confident and on fire, but she had no clue how to keep the weight off and remain in the equation when things got really, really hard. She is self-taught. She had to learn it using the toolkit of internal transformation — self-awareness, self-respect, self-love, self-care…
This girl today, five years later, well — she sparkles inside. She’s been tested and tried and has shined through some tough stuff. She does hard things. I like that. And that’s why I have confidence going forward that I’ll keep the weight off and continue to help others along the way.
Not done yet.
For much of my adult life, I walked around carrying the weight of another adult person. Literally. I’ve now shed that 200 lb. extra person and gained a new life — on the inside and the outside. I live with a growth mindset and keep the promise to myself to never, ever give up no matter what!
The most frequently asked question I get today from people who know my story is: How did you do it? How have you kept it off for five years? The answer is that I’ve changed from the inside out and I’m not done yet. I work at it every day.
This quote came across my email when I was preparing for a keynote speech in Ashland, WI. It is my answer to that question and my new guiding mantra:
“It’s not what’s happening around you, Lori, that determines your health, finances or “hotness” … but what’s happening inside of you, exclusively.
You hottie, The Universe”
I couldn’t agree more!
P.S. THANK YOU to my friends, family, colleagues in this health and wellness work, and to each of you for cheering me, encouraging me and supporting me through this life-long journey to live in my equation. It has been a blast. My heart is beyond full. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. No one does this alone. We all need help. You raise me up and keep me going! #forevergrateful
As I continue to reflect on my transformation journey and celebrate 5 years, stay tuned for blogs on these topics:
- The 5 biggest lessons of five years in the equation
- My 5 truths at five years — five things that are different about me now
- 5 tips for those who think they can’t do it
Here is what I look like today. Special thanks to my dear friend, Jean, for this 5-year anniversary photo shoot and for documenting my transformation journey all along.