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Reflections on a life-changing experience

I decided the new year was the perfecttime to reflect on my Fitness North experience. I have put this off because it is difficult to succinctly summarize the live-in experience of Fitness North. Words do not seem big enough…profound enough.

When I awoke this morning — January 1, 2011 — with a renewed anticipation, determination, excitement and hope for the new year, I realized that this “glass-runneth-over” feeling was indeed part of my journey. How miraculous to breathe that in and enter the year with momentum and joy, not to mention a den full of lions supporting me every step of the way. Wow! I am so fortunate.

My Fitness North journey has indeed been one of the most difficult, challenging, rewarding, enlightening and influential experiences of my life – truly life changing. The live-in Fitness North experience is like none other. Each and every day, you force yourself to get out of bed – aches and pains in tow – and know that you will push your body, your mind, and your spirit farther than you can imagine. You will have to dig deep. It will be tough, perhaps the toughest thing you will ever do. Most of the time, in the moment you will think it “totally sucks.” But, almost immediately after you’ve accomplished that which you thought you could not — well, wow, you feel fantastic beyond compare!

And how many of us in life really know the extremes of what we are capable of both physically and mentally? Most of us have spent a lifetime being stopped by mental barriers. Sometimes they are our own, sometimes they come from familiar voices among our family or friends, and sometimes from societal pressures. To break through that barrier and push past those voices is amazing, and we did this every day at Fitness North. So it is natural, I guess, that when you come out on the other side of this experience, you feel empowered, renewed, strengthened, and more confident. In and of itself, a pretty great gift.

At Fitness North, each of us learned how we personally react to the tough stuff — to pain, to stress, to heartache (for some of us – not so pretty!); we learned we can push through it and come out the other side almost every time; we got the opportunity to focus only on ourselves in the moment, every day for two weeks — for some of us this was the first time in our lives we put ourselves first; we learned about food and nutrition as a means to an end — learning how to eat to support our bodies to live and be strong instead of living to eat; we had trainers and leaders who pushed us, encouraged us, were tough on us, loved us, and lead us through the process so that we ALL achieved success, no matter where we were in the journey; and we learned that if we give up the reigns/control and let them lead, trusting the process and the FN team — we would have guaranteed success!

Finally, we lived along side and experienced this intensely personal journey with others who have the same struggles. We shared not only living space, meals, and work outs, but laughter, tears, heartache, pain, and all of the personal triumph, success, accomplishment, achievement and unconditional support that comes with it. We were a team; a family, in the greatest sense of the word. (Carrie, Sue, Shari, Phillip, Jusselin, Leslie, Jim, Gina and Mark – and O’Neal, Sheryl, Leif and Jay – you will hold a special place in my heart forever.)

When the two weeks were over, we were given all of the tools and support to succeed at home. Some were nervous or fearful of being at home but I left with confidence, momentum and the assurance that if I did exactly what I was told every day, I WILL reach my goal weight and achieve my dreams. I can’t think of a better gift.

When I first started this blog, I had mountains to climb. A part of me was broken. Or, as one friend and colleague said to me, “You had a hole in you.” My business was my life and there was no time in the equation for Lori. I was a success by all accounts in my career and in work, and in being there for others, but I could not seem to put myself first and take care of my most basic need – my health. Physically and figuratively I could not, or was not, climbing mountains. I knew I wanted and needed to climb those mountains to be at my personal best, my fullest, my happiest.

Today, after two weeks at Fitness North and just over two weeks at home on my customized plan, my hard results are great! I have lost a total of about 56 lbs — just over 20 lbs in the two months after I met O’Neal and Sheryl and before I left for Fitness North camp; plus 21 lbs lost during the 12-day program (and muscle gained); and another 14 lbs lost in the 2.5 weeks since I have been home. Oh, and -17.5 total inches – that’s two clothing sizes and shrinking.

But the truly miraculous result is that I am back in the center of my life and determined to hang on to that centeredness and keep Lori in the equation! Moreover, (did I just write moreover?), I feel like I can do anything – climb mountains, workout for 7-8 hours per day, eat well, make time for myself, build and grow a successful business, and be a good friend, colleague and soul mate! Now, I can be fully present and truly happy (and really already am) in each and every moment – not just fake it like I sometimes had to do.

Oh, there are miles to go in the journey and certainly tough times lie ahead. But my life is a sacred journey and I am on the path with a renewed sense of self and strength, and a den full of lions to support me. So I am good to go!

Leif, Jay, O’Neal, Sheryl – you are amazing! Each and every one of you has a role in making Fitness North the life changing, life enhancing, life saving program it is and there is no question you are my gifts in 2010 and now into 2011. I adore you. I thank you. There are no words. It works!

Carrie, Sue, Shari, Gina, Phillip, Jusselin, Leslie, Jim, and Mark – wow, I am so lucky for having met you on this journey and now we are bonded for life. Let’s kick some ass – FN #2 family. By next summer we will be so skinny and good looking we’ll be on magazine covers and in advertisements. Well, Phil will for sure! 🙂

Mike, Shannon, Shari, Cara, Robin, Wendy, Karen, Justin, Trish, and Heather – thank you for leading the way and for sharing your wit, wisdom and of course, anti-nausea drug tips. I love being a part of the FN family with each of you. You are lookin pretty amazing from what I can see on Facebook, and I can’t wait to meet up this summer at the reunion in our sexy summer clothes!

Finally, to my personal family, friends and colleagues (you know who you are) — I could not have come this far without your amazing unconditional support. From blog posts and Facebook encouragement, to phone calls, cards every day during my FN experience, and the team that covered my business so I could step away and do this – I thank you from the bottom of my heart. You are the wind beneath my wings. Please keep up the support for a healthier lifestyle for me and for you including a little less partying, strict eating times, and, for now, a limited food plan. God bless you all for being lions in my den and supporting my journey each and every step of the way. I feel incredibly fortunate and loved! And of course, I love you.

And now, I leave you with a Caroline Adams poem that has inspired me on this very personal, very special journey. Here’s to the happiest and most dreamed filled 2011 for me, for you, and for all on life’s sacred journey!

Your life is a sacred journey…
And it is about change, growth, discovery, movement, transformation, 
continuously expanding your vision of what is possible, stretching your soul, 
learning to see clearly and deeply, listening to your intuition, 
taking courageous challenges at every step along the way. 

You are on the path… 
Exactly where you are meant to be right now. 
And from here, you can only go forward, shaping your life story into a 
magnificent tale of triumph, of healing of courage, of beauty, 

of wisdom, of power, of dignity, and of love. 

Check out Fitness North and on Facebook.


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