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What a difference a year makes

One year ago today, I was…

      • At my all-time heaviest weight ever (exactly 170 lbs more than I weigh today!)
      • Coming off a spell of working seven days a week, often 18 hours a day to build my business – sometimes going weeks with no more than 3-4 hours of sleep per night

      • Focused on everyone and everything but me – trying to be all things to all people and hold up the world
      • Garnering my success from how much I did, and who I helped
      • Feeling very tired and uncertain about my future – professionally and personally
      • Resigned to being single
      • Unhealthy and worried that I could/would die early of a heart attack, with heart disease running rampant on both sides of my family.

I was also…

      • About to embark on one of the biggest personal challenges of my life
      • Scared to death about what the next two weeks would bring
      • WAY out of my comfort zone
      • Quieter than I think I have ever been
      • Absent my sense of humor
      • Wondering what the hell I had gotten myself into!

That’s because one year ago today, I officially started the Fitness North program on the North Shore of Lake Superior. A two-week, live-in weight loss and fitness program (think Biggest Loser) started by Sheryl Babbitt and O’Neal Hampton (Minnesota’s own celebrity on Season 9 of NBC’s Biggest Loser).

This program promised results, and promised that we would work out 7-8 hours per day, six days per week at levels we couldn’t even fathom. And we did. (In fact, about this time last year, I was climbing a mountain!) To be successful on campus, we learned we had to give up control and the “I can’ts” and do what we were told, when we were told – living only in that moment. We followed the lead of program director, now owner of Fitness North, Leif Anderson. And, we had to push ourselves — mentally and physically — past anything we thought possible. In doing so, we learned that indeed WE CAN DO IT and we would survive. In general, Fitness North promised to be the jumpstart we needed to not only achieve our weight loss goals, but transform our bodies and our lives.

Well, one year later, I am living testament to the fact that everything they promised is true! I did it. I not only survived the two-week rigorous program and lost 21 lbs while on campus, but my outlook, my energy and my life began to transform in those two weeks…forever.

For me, the journey was focused on putting Lori into the equation – right in the center of my own life. Perhaps for the first time ever. It also meant giving up the reigns of control and doing things a different way – because certainly the way in which I was living was not working. It meant going 100% all in — like I did every day in my professional life — but focused on this one thing that to date had eluded me. I simply had not been able to solve my life-long battle with obesity (and if we’re being honest – deep down self-worth).

I am overwhelmed, overjoyed and simply amazed at the results of the past year. My accomplishment – pretty awesome if I do say so myself. Victory over this life-long battle that most certainly was going to kill me early! I am surprised most by the relative ease with which it came once I went 100% all in and believed in myself, keeping myself at the center of the equation every day and in every decision that was presented to me. Not saying it was easy, but doable. Really!

One year to the day I started this journey, I am:

      • 170 lbs lighter
      • Physically capable of amazing things – climbing mountains, hiking miles, biking, snowshoeing, and hopefully soon to be determined – skiing for the first time in my life
      • A happy, optimistic, passionate about life, 100%-all-in-every-day Lori
      • A total fashionista with the cutest clothes ever, including dresses and skirts and suits
      • Focused on eating to live, not living to eat
      • So much smarter about nutrition and my body
      • A thriving business owner who works a lot but not at the expense of herself
      • Still a giving, caring person focused on changing the world – but just not holding it up and sacrificing myself for others to prove my worth
      • Emotionally – sooooooooooooo much stronger and happier
      • A glass-half-full gal
      • Able to loosen the reigns and give up control when I need to
      • Smiling and having fun every day
      • Inspiring and motivating others and paying it forward with my story, my passion and my results
      • Excited as can be about the future – and what comes next. I can’t wait!

And the list goes on, but this blog should not. So much more to say about the journey, the physical and emotional transformation, and what comes next. To that point, I have challenged myself to blog every day of my two-week Fitness North anniversary to take note of the journey and I hope in some way to inspire, motivate or give hope to others. So stay tuned if you are curious, care or need/want help.

THERE IS NO QUESTION THAT IF I CAN DO IT…YOU CAN DO IT!

Before I sign off, I must thank the leads of the excavation team. I simply would not be here today if left to my own devices and if I had not meant the people I needed along the way, when I needed them. There are so many who have inspired, motivated, led, pushed, encouraged, supported (roared) for me, but these are at the very top of the list and must be recognized again today. On our one-year anniversary.

      •  Sheryl Babbitt for sharing her story and having the inspiration to start Fitness North. She is the founder and she found Surfside on Lake Superior, which meant in turn, she found me. Thank you Sheryl! Fitness North has now gone on to give the same jumpstart it gave me to (I think) hundreds of people and still growing. Please check them out at fitnessnorth.net.
      • O’Neal Hampton my mentor, coach, single inspiration and leading lion. There is no question that without O’Neal’s personal plea, success story, and exuding confidence that I could do it, I would not be here. O’Neal looked me in the eye the very first time I met him in person and said, “We can do this. We’ve got this. I can help you.” And he did. His unbelievably generous spirit, optimistic persona, and happy confidence that he can help others achieve the kinds of results he achieved on the Biggest Loser is God’s gift to anyone who crosses his path. His personal style and his story were the perfect impetus for me. I believe he was put in my path for a reason and at just the right time. He is my hero, my friend, a confidant, mentor and coach. I cried that day after I met him in a business meeting because I knew in that moment that my life had just changed forever. Check out the O’Neal Hampton Wellness Foundation and O’Neal’s newest venture – a live-in weight loss camp in Texas with fellow season 9 Biggest Loser Cherita at U 1st Fitness. Life changing.
      • Leif Anderson my other gift from above. The guru of fitness and nutrition, bar none. I challenge you to find someone better. This man knows his stuff and combines that knowledge with a personal caring, passion and style that is unmatched in the industry in my book. He knew when to lead, when to push, when to coach, when to hold your hand, how to navigate the landmines, and he definitely knows how to determine your personal body chemistry and work to get results. Without fail. I learned that if you follow Leif’s lead, good things will happen. I have had the absolute pleasure of continuing to work with Leif personally this entire past year, on personal nutrition and fitness plans aimed at achieving my goals long term — and being able to maintain it. And look at the results! Plus, his gentle caring side, his integrity and his passion for my success have blessed my life each and every day of the past 365. Wow, Leif, how can I ever thank you for this gift? You are simply incredible. People – check him out at Fitness North and Leif Anderson Fitness. The greatest blessing of all for me, perhaps, is to call Leif my friend.

Sandra Swami and Julie Gronquist, my personal trainers in the Twin Cities at Balance for Life Fitness Center are the other part of the Lori Health & Wellness Team. Julie has been with me on several false starts to the journey and knows the good, the bad, and the ugly. Sandra is kicking my butt every week in the gym and she is without a doubt one of the best personal trainers I have worked with (right up there with Leif Anderson). So, team, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Long blog. So much to say. More later. For today, I am blessed and so incredibly grateful for this new life I have been given. Gratitude is the word of the day.

Hugs. Today is a new day. Tomorrow starts today – what a great tagline for Fitness North. I wonder who came up with that! 🙂

The new and improved,
Lori

P.S. Yes, at some point the before and after pictures will be published along with my starting weight. I am working up the courage.

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