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Posts from the ‘Press’ Category

Helping others with self care & stress reduction

This past Thursday, I shared my transformation story on live TV on Speak Your Mind, a half-hour program on PBS (channel 8) in Duluth-Superior. The show is sponsored by the Human Development Center, a nonprofit mental health center that provides integrated mental health and addiction services fostering hope, self-determination, and recovery.

The topic of our show was: Stress Reduction and Self Care, and you can watch it here.

I was invited to be a guest on the show by host Carolyn Phelps, Ph.D., L.P., after she read my transformation story in Duluth Superior Magazine. Speak Your Mind is a call-in program designed to jumpstart the conversation in our communities about mental health issues and to encourage people to ask the questions they’ve always wanted to ask. I applaud the mission and was excited to make my TV debut on a program that really, truly helps people and on a subject that changed my life.

The heart of my transformation was about self-care. Two years ago, I was not practicing self-care – at all! I was not even in the equation of my own life. Working 12-18 hours per day, seven days a week to build my marketing firm, I had ballooned to my heaviest weight on record: 381 pounds. Yes, bigger than a professional NFL linebacker.

I was so attuned to my to-do list that I had forgotten to put myself – or my health – on that list. I was living a sedentary lifestyle on a diet of processed and fast food. My stress levels were out of control. Everything, including my relationships, suffered. I was both literally and figuratively dying.

My real transformation began the day I decided to focus on self-care. About that same time, hope walked through the work door. That hope and inspiration was O’Neal Hampton who was on Season 9 of NBC’s Biggest Loser with his daughter SunShine Hampton. O’Neal helped me believe I could do this. But I still had to take those first steps myself.

How did I do it?

  • I leapt despite my fear. I grabbed hold of the opportunity to change my life and grew stronger by pushing past the fear and accomplishing that of which I was most afraid. Yes, there is fear in doing anything transformational or big, but the strength, the courage and empowerment you feel when you push past it and succeed – well, WOW, it can’t be topped!
  • I set myself up for success by finding the right team of experts and support and developing a plan. That plan included a list of non-negotiables that would allow me to consistently be in the center of my equation and provide self-care, bar nothing.
  • My commitment and focus was 100% all in. I mean, I decided I would not quit – no matter what! And, most importantly, I learned to reset my mindset and restart when I slipped and had a bad day. Too often we beat ourselves up and throw in the towel when it gets really hard. I told myself, this time that was not an option.
  • Set short-term goals, milestones and challenges along the way and celebrated when I achieved them. And this time, I rewarded myself without food!

When you put yourself in the equation, everything else is better…

Self care for me was learning the important lesson that if I don’t take care of myself, not only am I not going to be around long term, but I can’t be there for everyone else. There is no question that I am happier, stronger, braver, more creative, more strategic and more fun today because I live life by taking care of myself first.

I am a better business owner, consultant, partner, daughter, sibling and friend because of it. I guarantee you that when you practice self-care — as Ann discusses in the piece and I am a living example — everything is better. Not just you, but everything around you. And this is an awesome gift to yourself and others!

Where to start…

My number one tip for those of you wondering how to begin is exactly what we discussed on the show.

Start by becoming mindful of where you are today. What are you practicing that serves you or not? What is standing in your way of making the time and commitment to put yourself first? What stories are you telling yourself about that?

Just notice. Maybe journal about it. Or, better, let’s start a dialogue here on my blog.

For me, it was lack of self-love and acceptance. Fear of inadequacy. Fear of failure. And yes, to some degree, even fear of success and a very different life that would result. Well, I am living that very different life right now and I have to say, it is awesome! 🙂

Now is the time…

The holidays are a tough time for many of us when it comes to stress levels and self-care. The expectations and the pressures are high. I encourage to just become aware of where you fit in the equation of your life and think about what you are practicing. Are you practicing self-care? And what one thing might you do for yourself this holiday season to ensure that you are taking care of yourself.

Let me know where you are on this topic and how you practicing self-care, or not. Where do you need help? How can I inspire and support you?

Let me know what you think…

If you care to post a comment on the Speak Your Mind blog about our show on self-care and stress reduction, please click here. I would love your feedback and/or questions.


P.S. I am a huge fan of the Human Development Center and their work on mental health issues. If you are interested in learning more about work, please check them out here. You can also support them by providing a donation. Special thanks to Speak Your Mind host Dr. Carolyn Phelps, Ph.D, LP and Kim Matteen, Foundation Director. And finally, thanks to Jeanne Carpenter and Sue Bott who helped me prepare for my first ever live TV appearance. You ladies rock! 🙂




Me…a cover girl! Really?!

Today I saw the September issue of Duluth Superior Magazine for the first time. The issue is focused on spirituality and health and it hit newsstands this past week. And, I am the cover girl!

Yes, indeed, the cover features a photo of Leif Anderson, my transformation coach, holding me at my celebration party on the North Shore. Inside the magazine, you can read the story of my transformation titled, Changing the equation,” and a “how to” sidebar describing how I put myself in the center of the equation of my life and lost more than 200 pounds, 47.5% body fat, and became a fit, happy and active girl.

Cover girl

When Wendy Webb, the editor of Duluth Superior Magazine, saw the photo of Leif holding me she immediately suggested she wanted to run it with my personal essay. But it wasn’t until a week or two before printing that I learned the photo would appear on the cover of the magazine! When I first saw it, I had mixed feelings. Part of me was excited and happy — how fun to be a cover girl, right?! But another part of me was apprehensive…a bit self-conscious. Perhaps further proof that my head has not caught up with my transformation on the outside. Sometimes I still see the fat girl, not the newly transformed woman I am today. But I’m working on it!

Ironically, this cover photo almost didn’t happen. It was Leif’s idea to take the shot and I remember him trying to sell me on the idea. At the time, I didn’t grasp the magnitude of the moment. All I could think was that he wouldn’t be able to lift me or would hurt himself doing so.

It took a fair amount of coaxing from Leif (who reminded me that he knows exactly what I weigh) and some coaching from fellow Fitness North trainer Jay Grove to get the shot that now appears on the magazine cover. The truth is, it is the most fitting tribute to my transformation journey under Leif’s expert guidance. It shows both my transformation on the outside and our mutual happiness on the inside. It truly was one of the most memorable moments of my life. It’s not every day that a girl gets swept off her feet, right?! And if you are 350+ pounds, well, let’s just say “it ain’t gonna happen!”

So a special thank you to Leif Anderson for suggesting the photo and sharing in this special moment. To Jay Grove for the coaching to get the lift just right! And to both Leif and Jay for not letting my dress ride up! lol Finally, a big thank you to my friend and documentary photographer, Jean Voxland, for perfectly and beautifully capturing the moment. Jean also took my second favorite photo — the one of my mentor O’Neal Hampton and Leif hugging me — that appears inside the magazine. Another capstone shot on a perfect celebration party night.

Sharing my story…inspiring others

While appearing on the cover of the magazine is special, I am even more excited about the opportunity to tell the story of how I changed the equation, flipped my life upside down and, for the first time since I can remember, put myself and my health at the center of my life. In the process, I transformed my body and reignited my life. Duluth Superior Magazine gave me an opportunity to share my story to inspire others and to tell how I did it in a sidebar titled, “Five principles for putting yourself in the equation.”

I hope you will read the article here and let me know what you think. If you are someone who struggles to make time and space in your life to take care of you; feels things in your life are out of balance and your dreams are out of reach; or if you have significant weight to lose but can’t seem to get there on your own — to you, my message is simple: YOU CAN DO THIS!  There is no question that if I can do it, YOU can do it too. It is within your grasp. And like O’Neal and Leif did for me, I am here to help. Connect with me here and let’s chat. Life on the other side of fear is a blast and you deserve true happiness. We all do.



P.S. You can read the full article and sidebar in PDF form here. The magazine can be purchased on major newsstands in Duluth and the North Shore region. As of now, I cannot find it in the Twin Cities but hope there will be a link online soon.

**Special thanks to my new friend Julie Slowiak from Duluth who purchased magazines and sent them to me! 🙂


My first “real” press hits newstands

Hi all,

Thanks for your love, support and kind messages this past week as my Minnesota Monthly Magazine makeover piece hit newsstands. I have been inundated with calls, emails and facebook greetings in the past 4-5 days. I am humbled and blessed by your belief in me. Thank you! The article is now posted online and you can read it here.  Read more


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