Part 1: Physical Makeover Parallels Financial Makeover

Part 1 – Laura’s Physical Makeover

I knew Laura for a long time as the mom you see above. A lovely person, always gracious and friendly, she worked at the desk of my chiropractor’s office until about four years ago. There have been staff changes at the desk a couple of times since her departure, and recently, I noticed a new receptionist. “Hi Ruth,” she said to me. Did she know me? There was something familiar about her. It was Laura! But transformed! I was truly shocked, unable to reconcile my concept of Laura with the woman I saw before me. It wasn’t long before I asked Laura if she’d be willing to do an interview for Fruclassity. I’m so grateful that she said “Yes.” 

I knew you for years when you weighed up to 90 pounds more than you do now. For how long had weight been an issue for you? Had you tried to lose weight before?
Being over-weight was always an issue while I was growing up. I wasn’t really into sports or keeping fit when I was younger. I tried many programs, and I would always lose a few pounds, but then the novelty of the program was lost and I was back to making poor food choices. When I had my first son, my weight ballooned. When I had my second son, I gained even more weight. So there I was at the age of 31 – nearly 240 lbs. After the second pregnancy I wasn’t focused on losing weight but rather just being a mom, catering to a 4-year-old and new born. When I began my journey to weight loss, I weighed 250 lbs. Now I weigh 160 lbs.
What would you say made it possible for you to break through to such a significant loss of weight? What conditions in your life made this the right time?
My excess weight was starting to have an impact on my life with just simple day to day activities. I knew it was time to change when I wasn’t able to keep up with my kids in the park, or I couldn’t bend over to tie my shoes. I was wearing “stretchy” pants all the time as I couldn’t fit into jeans or dress slacks. I found that I wasn’t happy in my life.
My weight loss was possible because I was able to look at the big picture and break it into smaller, easier pieces to focus on. I knew I weighed too much, so I started my first month with just simply recording what I ate and  how much I ate. The second month I chose to start small movements – I walked 3 times a week for 30 minutes. The 3rd month I added on a 4th exercise day or extended my walking time. From there it just snowballed to where I went and got  my first gym membership.
In what ways have your eating habits changed?
They have changed slightly. I eat only until I am full. I limit my carb and dairy intake, and I eat a lot more protein than I used to, and raw veggies and fresh fruit. Limiting my sugar is key. I look at food not as a bad thing but approach it with consideration: “OK, what did I already eat today? Did I work out? How much should I eat now?” I have a healthy respect for food, and I put a little more thought into it and gauge my intake. I won’t deny myself or be hard on myself because I want fries or cake. It’s about moderation.
In what ways has your level of exercise changed?
My level of exercise has dramatically increased. I have found my new passion in Crossfit – which I credit for having allowed me to become the fittest I have ever been in my life. I have even stopped worrying  about the number on the scale because I am lifting weights and doing much more than I could ever do before – more than I would ever have thought possible
What challenges do you face in maintaining your new lifestyle – especially in terms of your eating and exercise?
The biggest challenge I face is the temptation to make poor food choices – which leaves me feeling sluggish. Also, there is the pain I feel the next day after training, or not feeling well enough to go into the gym and work out…having one day turn into two – and then a week later I haven’t worked out. I just have to suck it up and get my butt in gear.
What impact do your weight loss and increased fitness level have on your children?
My kids are more active. We are a very active family. They make healthier food choices (to a degree, lol). They’re not afraid to exercise and have fun.
What are some of the “mindset obstacles” you’ve had to face as you’ve carried through with so much change?
The biggest struggle I face still is the vision of what I used to look like when I was at my heaviest vs what I see in the mirror now.
Many people lose weight and then end up gaining it back again. Are you confident that you will be able to maintain your current level of fitness and weight?
I can say with a big YES that I will be able to maintain my weight loss.  Crossfit, which has helped me gain confidence and improve my fitness level, has also taught me to appreciate me and what I am capable of doing.
When I first saw you after your weight loss, I didn’t even recognize you. Is that typical? What kinds of responses to your “transformation” have you been getting from people? How does it feel? Do you ever get a negative response? 
Haha, yes lately yours is the typical response I get. It feels incredible that after 4 years of working hard, it shows, and I love to share my story with others. I never thought I would be that weight-loss-transformation person that you hear of. It also gives me a sense of empowerment that I have made the right choices.
The only negative response I get when people learn I do  Crossfit is, “You’ll look like a man,” or “Don’t bulk up,” but I put that aside and don’t let them get to me because it’s something that I love to do. The only number that I love to see go up is the number on the weights on the bar vs my body weight.
What unexpected benefits besides increased health have you experienced? 
I have noticed that my sleep has improved, and my ability to fight off colds has improved. I am able to overcome mental obstacles much better, and I am more confident and have a better outlook on life.

I’ll write Part 2 next week, and I’ll draw parallels between Laura’s physical makeover with a financial makeover. Can you think of any? Your comments are welcome.


18 comments on “Part 1: Physical Makeover Parallels Financial Makeover

    1. I am definitely going to ask Laura if any of her physical transformation has impacted her finances. According to the book Power of Habit, physical fitness is a keystone habit that really does impact everything else.

  1. Huge congrats on taking control of your health, Laura! SO happy for you, and you look so healthy and happy. I believe there are many parallels between financial improvement and health improvement. For me (in both areas) I needed to uncover what negative messages I was giving myself that was causing me to eat more than I should/spend more than I should.

    1. There really are some incredible similarities. I’ve used both money and food as forms of self-medication. Often it was a two for one deal – spend too much on food I didn’t need. There’s a lot of “uncovering” that goes into personal change.

  2. Wow – that’s amazing!! Congratulations!! There seem to be countless paralells between weight loss and “debt loss” – tracking, discipline, making hard choices, staying the course, etc.

  3. Beautiful story! I can relate to weight issues. I lost 60 lbs in 3 months a long time ago and kept it off for a few years. Then I got pregnant and never did get all the way back down again. I think I’ve had “Oprah” syndrome. Up, down, up, down … especially since menopause, but I really feel ready to buckle down and get it together for good this time. Your story is an inspiration! Congratulations and God’s blessings going forward Laura! 🙂

    1. 60 pounds in 3 months?! That was one intense diet! Pregnancy is a definite turning point when it comes to weight – as is menopause. We’re lucky to be alive at this time, I think, when people of all ages are able and encouraged to physical fitness. When I was a kid, it was really just something for the young. All the best as you “get it together for good”!

  4. Congrats on the progress! Since I left the stressful lifestyle of my previous job, I have lost 15 lbs. I feel more energetic as a result. It’s amazing how one or two choices can bring about intended & unintentional results.

    I know we all try to say looks don’t matter but we are all image concious when it comes to having our photo taken, going out in public, and talking about our dirty financial laundry.

    1. I’m glad you mentioned the “looks don’t matter” bit, Josh. I’m not kidding when I say my whole concept of Laura shifted when I realized who she was after her dramatic weight loss. I’ll have to get into that whole side of things next week for Part 2. So glad that your new life is less stressful, and that pounds are being shed as a result : )

  5. Laura, congrats on the weight loss! Great story – anxious to read part 2! There are so many parallels between weight loss and personal finance (particularly paying off debt).

    I had a similar experience as Laura. I gained a little weight after the first baby, even more with the second (after 3 months of bedrest!) and, believe it or not, kept gaining after the second baby was born. I was stressed with a 2 year old (with borderline JRA) and a newborn – my relaxation was baking…and eating the results. I ended up losing 60 lbs over a couple of years due to better diet and exercise. Interestingly, I also got busy getting my finances in order and paying off debt around the same time…coincidence? I think not.

    1. Cool “coincidence”, Amanda! I mentioned to Brian that physical fitness is a keystone habit (Power of Habit book) that often impacts other areas of life. You’re living proof of that fact. I had to Google JRA. Is your child doing OK? Does “borderline” mean it hasn’t developed? I can imagine that your worry contributed to that comfort in baking and eating. I hope all is well.

  6. Wow. This is so inspiring! What a transformation! I’ve heard a lot of good things about Crossfit and it seems like it’s really changing lives. Reading this reminded me of a few things I need to be more mindful of: sugar intake, protein intake, and finally snacking on raw fruits and veggies more often.

    1. If Crossfit is changing lives, I think it’s because people – like Laura – LOVE it. It is so challenging for some people to get into a regular workout routine. It’s not enough to know that it’s “good for you” – it has to become something that you actually desire – and somehow, Crossfit accomplishes that. I believe they have a real sense of community in their gyms that has a powerful draw.

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