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2015: Finding & celebrating my strong

MtM_holiday_card_2015_final_front2015 was a year of happy, healthy and hard.

Naively, I did not expect “hard” as I entered the new year steeped in hope and opportunity, with big dreams and deeply in love. At the time, I was experiencing a new level of happy in my now WHOLE life. I was on a roll!

But ironically, it was the “hard” that was the greatest gift of 2015 because it reminded me that I am strong and resilient. It gave me the chance to again prove to myself that I can do absolutely anything.

I first learned this lesson five years ago when my transformation journey started in weight-loss boot camp. Now, here it is again, reminding me: YES, indeed: I am strong. I am resilient. And I can do anything that I make up my mind I’m going to do!

2015 gave me the opportunity to rise strong. And I celebrate that.

Rising Strong

Acadiamountains-loriMy favorite read this Lori-beloved Penobscotyear was, Rising Strong by Brene Brown. The book jacket reads: “If we are brave enough, often enough, we will fall. This is a book about what it takes to get back up.”

Perfect timing. In fact, serendipitous.

ITE_BeautifulGirl_QuoteThe book was released in early summer, just about the time I found myself struggling to make sense of a blinding heart-break, major back pain/sciatica that grounded me from my new healthy life as I knew it, and a heavy dose of work and financial stress.

IMG_3082I pre-ordered Rising Strong and listened to the manifesto on video, crying through the entire thing. My favorite lines from the manifesto:

“This is about those of us who are willing to fall because we’ve learned how to rise. … We craft  love from heartbreak, compassion from shame, grace from disappointment, courage from failure. Showing up is our power. Story is our way home. Truth is our song. …” 

Lori-MyDad-#StrongThrough the process of time, the experience of owning my story and adjusting my attitude, and settling into honoring the hard, I found my center again. But first I had to learn to live in a very uncomfortable place — between “no longer” and “not yet.” (Not the easiest for an action-oriented doer like me!)

That, in a nutshell, is how I rose strong in 2015 and how I find myself in a far better place, slowly but surely. That, and a whole lot of mountain climbing (pre- and post-sciatica)!

Grateful for it all — especially the “hard”

It sounds cliché to say that I am as grateful for the “hard” as I am for the happy and healthy. But I truly am. It is in those moments when you are knocked to the ground and you feel like shit that you totally learn what you are made of. It’s then and there where you find your strong. And how can you not be grateful for that?

I spent the second half of 2015 embracing my strong, doing “hard” things, and learning from it. Sometimes it felt great to be brave…and sometimes it totally sucked. Sometimes I navigated the tough territory and dared greatly with grace, and other times I put myself out there and it hurt. Perfectly human. Perfectly imperfect. But always 100% authentic. So I’ve got that going for me!

The gifts I received in return were many: Learning to let go, trusting myself more, living in the present even when the present sucked, coming to terms with my body and gaining a whole new respect for the fragility of my new healthy lifestyle, and embracing life open-heartedly vs. getting stuck/stalled, throwing in the towel, or self-medicating with food, work, or the next big distraction to numb the pain. That last one was a real fight and I didn’t win every day.

I embraced “hard” and I am grateful for these gifts — the greatest of 2015. They will make me a better person. A better role model. And a better coach to others.

Manifesting happy and healthy. A great combo!

The good news is that 2015 was about much more than “hard.” There was a HUGE amount of happy and healthy — and the opportunities were/are immense. I started the year on a high in Hollywood, CA, sharing my at-home transformation story on NBC’s The Biggest Loser Season 16 Finale! It was an amazing experience and a huge opportunity to extend my message and reach to help people.

Throughout the year, I gave six major speeches — growing in skill and reach with each one. In June amidst all the hard, I shared my In the Equation message on Twin Cities Live, KSTP TV. I am so incredibly grateful for the opportunity to provide hope and inspiration to others, like O’Neal Hampton did for me five years ago. The In the Equation online community is growing and I am grateful for that. Read my year end #gratitudeblog, here.

This year was also the five-year anniversary since my transformation start! I celebrated with a solo mountain climb, an outing with some friends in Maine, and by taking stock of the incredible gift of transformation through my blogs. I am forever grateful for my transformation team, all of the family and friends that supported me, and mostly for the gift of courage that allowed me to push past my fear and take the leap to put myself in the center of the equation of my own life at the age of 47!

And here is the takeaway from that and my message to you:

Peeps, if I can do it, you can do it, too! It’s never too late to start. Start where you are. The key is to start! To leap. We’ve got this!  Message me here, today, if you’re ready and want help.

A whole life — is hard, not easy

It was in a conversation with my counselor in 2014 when I first heard the question: “Did you ever think in your whole life, you’d have a whole life?” It struck me immediately that indeed the gift I gave myself through my personal transformation was a WHOLE life. Not just full or busy — anyone can do that — but WHOLE. I was no longer holding back. I was going for it.

It was in that same conversation that I realized — WHOLE is hard! It’s a lot of work. It does not always mean happy, easy, or rockin. It takes work to follow your heart, but balance that with your logic button. To learn to say no to things that aren’t on your priority list and set boundaries. It can be messy and complicated. And, it truly takes a strong and resilient, happy and healthy person to do WHOLE!

I’ll take a WHOLE life over a busy life anytime. “Hard” and all!

What does it mean to be strong?

This morning I read a blog that asked — what is a strong woman? It got me thinking. How do you define strong? Do you know it when you see it? I believe being strong is how YOU define it.

For me, it stems from internal strength and a belief that I can do anything I set my mind to — I may not want to; I may be afraid to; but I know I can! Being strong is fighting past the pain (physical and emotional), self-doubt, hurts, shame and worthiness issues to do the very thing you know you must do for yourself and/or another, even and especially when you don’t want to. It’s honoring the standing still space — the space between “no longer” and “not yet” — when that’s what you need to do. It’s recognizing and honoring your emotions and then feeding them with something other than work or food (insert addiction.) It’s working on your mental game, stopping the self-depreciating tapes and choosing instead to believe you are enough — even at your worst or toughest moments. Being strong is about emotional resilience, perhaps even more so than being physically strong. Though that counts, too.

When I was on the mountain in snowshoes at 360+ lbs cussing and crying from the physical pain and filled with self-doubt that I could make it to the top, I kept moving and fighting for it. That was a combination of both emotional and physical strength. That’s where I found my strong, perhaps for the first time. I am proud of this. And in 2015, I not only was tested again, but I had the opportunity to see first-hand where I get my strong.

Yep, late this year, I learned that much of my resilience, strength and sheer determination I get from my Dad. It brings tears to my eyes as I write this because even though I told him that, I’m not sure he believes it.

So I end this last blog in 2015 with a tribute and a huge THANK YOU to my dad, Larry.

Just before Christmas, Dad had a long overdue knee surgery — his second. Because of the knee itself and other complicating factors with his health, there was some concern about the surgery and recovery period. I was with him in the hospital during the most difficult days after surgery, and I can tell you that I saw first-hand my Dad’s emotional strength and resilience in how he handled immense pain and setbacks that he could not have predicted. I witnessed his determination, stubbornness and fight to get up out of bed and push through the pain to do his physical therapy so he could get strong and on his feet again. And it reminded me of me on the mountain five years ago.

So, Dad, thank you for gifting me — by genetics and by example — my strong. Thank you for showing me this year, your strong. You are amazing and resilient. And I love you.

Wishing you a new year of finding your strong

And so, peeps, if you actually made it to the end of this long blog, thank you. I wish for you the opportunity to discover your  internal resilience and emotional strength in 2016 and to find your strong. I hope it will consist of you putting yourself in the center of the equation of your own life and taking care of your health and happiness, before taking care of everyone and everything else. Why? Because I think we change the world by becoming healthy, happy, strong and resilient people. And I know, we’ve totally got this!

Thank you for being part of the In the Equation community. Here’s wishing you all a happy, healthy and in-your-equation New Year.


#gratefulgirl #intheequationlori #stronglori

My 2015 year in review:

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