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Posts tagged ‘pay it forward’

Finding my strong on the mountaintop

Can you be strong when your world falls apart?

As I awoke to the morning sunlight streaming across the ocean and into the bedroom window, I was reminded that Hurricane Irma had just hit my life. Sadness set in before the sleep was out of my eyes. How can you be strong when it feels as if your whole world has just fallen apart? I’ve survived some tough stuff, but I’m not sure I know how to do so while being strong.

I got out of bed and made my way outside to the wrap-around porch to drink my morning coffee and watch the tide slowly roll out, exposing the sea life on the ocean floor. Will those critters survive this tidal change, I wondered? What do they do when they become exposed and are gasping for air?

As I sit rather zombie-like starring out at the sea, I feel sad, mad, worried, empty, scared, tired, overly emotional, and…more. Feelings too exhausting to think about. And yet I find myself preoccupied with one question — what does it look like to be strong when the world as you know it is changing forever and not by choice? When bad things and challenging times pummel you with gale-force speed like an unforgiving Hurricane batters the shore, and you can’t fix it or change it.

This is not the first time I’ve been pummeled, of course, but this feels like the worst pummeling ever. (Most of the details don’t matter to the story — we all have times we experience this). What strikes me today is that I don’t think I’ve ever pondered this question in the midst of a pummeling.

Rather, I’ve wallowed, cried, complained, and suffered alone in my hurt and pain — drowning it with work, food, alcohol — and hiding from the outside world. And when other people experienced pain and suffering — I was the first one to show up. I gave, and gave and gave at the expense of myself, trying to fix it.

None of this feels right to me now. None of it fits my new Lori-in-the-equation life. And yet the pull to go back to bed and bury my head in the covers is strong. The pull to eat everything in sight — even stronger! I have a lot of experience with that.

But perhaps this is the next evolution of transformation for me. An opportunity to find my strongest and best self and learn to cope with “hard,” while loving and giving to her. So, I get curious again.

Can you be strong when your world falls apart? Read more

Success is finding your authentic self

Meet Dean. Transformation success story #3 in my series titled, “Success. It’s personal. And that’s a good thing.”

Dean Packingham

Dean Packingham (upper right) participating in his first competitive race, 2012.

Have you ever had a situation in your life where you felt like the timing was perfect…meant to be? That’s how I felt when Dean Packingham reached out to me via this blog.

He told me that I had inspired him and that he was about to embark on his own personal transformation journey. He admitted being afraid, fearing failure, but also expressed hope and determination. What struck me about Dean was that he had the courage to leap and go after something he desperately wanted, despite his fear. He asked for help. And that was the beginning of his success story.

We corresponded that night for quite awhile. My response was: “Dean, we’ve totally got this! There is no question that you can do it.” This was the same response that my mentor, O’Neal Hampton, gave me. A message of hope that arrived just when I was ready to receive it. Then, I was able to pay it forward by helping Dean.

What’s cool about this pay it forward story, is that last month, I hooked Dean up with a delightful young lady who also asked for help. She admitted she was terrified to take the leap, and that she was not in the equation of her life. And, guess what Dean said to her about two years after he reached out to me? Yep. He said, “We’ve totally got this!” Read more

One years sans 200 lbs…my new reality

Taking stock one year after -200+ lb weight loss: Fit, active & healthy…
embracing life & reality from the center of my equation

Lori at one year - first "little" black dressThis is one of the toughest blogs I’ve written in two and a half years. I had intended to post it on the one-year  anniversary of my -211 lb weight loss (May 11, 2013) but it wasn’t ready. The words were not flowing as easily as I had hoped. The truth is, I am more proud of this accomplishment – maintaining my goal weight and living fully in the center of my equation as a healthy, happy and fit “girl” – than I am of getting here in the first place.

Don’t get me wrong. Shedding more than 200 pounds and going from a body fat percentage of 60+% to 14.5%, learning to live in the center of my equation for the first time ever, sharing my story for the world to see, and loving and accepting myself along the way – those are incredible, incredible accomplishments for which I am forever grateful and extremely proud! Life changing. And nothing will diminish that. Read more

Fresh footprints in the snow

This morning I had a he _ _ of a time getting out of bed to do early morning cardio and strength training. I was pushing my minimum of 6 hours of sleep and had every excuse in the book of why this was not an option.

You know the internal voice that starts in when your alarm goes off and all you want to do is stay tucked under the warm covers. “I have too much work; speeches to give; I am not getting enough sleep; it’s cold outside; no one but me will ever know; I’ll do it tomorrow…” Read more

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! 🙂




The gift of sharing my story

Today my heart is full and my spirit soaring. This past weekend, I had the privilege of sharing my transformation story in my first-ever keynote speech. I spoke to a group of about 90 women at Girls Gone North Weekend at the Bluefin Bay Family of Resorts — in the very same room where my transformation journey began two years ago at a live-in weight loss boot camp. Read more

Her secret is patience

It’s been one week since my first half marathon and I am in a very different place today than I was a week ago. Last Sunday I was on an emotional and physical high after completing the Women’s Half Marathon in Bloomington. I was feeling strong and fit, and planning future races. My body didn’t ache like I expected. While there was some minor muscle fatigue, I felt great and was back race walking and strength training three days post marathon…and grinning from ear to ear. Read more

Daring to lead…daring to live greatly

Today, I had the good fortune to attend a free webinar titled Daring to Lead with Dr. Brene Brown. Brown is a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work and a nationally renowned speaker on the topics of vulnerability, courage, worthiness, and shame. Pretty exciting stuff! lol Read more


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