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.