I had the pleasure of having a face time chat with one of my favourite clients the other day. (Actually, all my clients are my favourite – I love working with them all!) This particular client is especially exciting to talk to and about because she’s come such a long way over the past year on her way to wellness. To start, she’s lost over 50 lbs!
Yep! I said OVER 50!
Lori is 61 years old and lives in Barrington, NH. Obviously, her weight loss is just awesome in itself, but in my opinion, her complete lifestyle change is even more exciting. When we started working together, in July 2019, she was drinking as much as six cans of Coke a day and her daily routine didn’t include much consistent exercise. She was also taking several prescription medications and a few over-the-counter meds regularly and dealing with lots of general aches and pains. I asked Lori to do an interview because I was excited to share her success, what worked for her, and how she managed to get started and keep it going.
Hey Lori, thanks for chatting with me today! Let’s start at the very beginning…what did you weigh when you started last July?
And how much weight have you lost over the (almost) year?
That’s so incredible! When we began chatting last year about where to start, you were a little apprehensive…why was that?
I always had trouble sticking to any diet. I knew I had to start slow, so I would be able to stick to it better. The first thing I had to do was give up drinking Coke. I drank at least 2-3 cans a day, but some days, drank as much as 6-8 cans a day. I gave it up and to this day, I don’t drink it. I also started walking 1/4 mile a day. Every week, I increased it by 5 steps – just 5 steps. Now I do 11 miles a day, broken into 3 walks.
11 miles is quite distance, given that you started with only a quarter mile!
(Laughing) It’s a good distance. I usually walk 3.5-4 miles in the morning, then another 3 miles in the afternoon and then the rest is in the evening – that’s a relaxing walk. (big smile)
Relaxing walks in the evening are great for the head! So, what was your next step?
Next I started making smoothies, with protein .
I remember when you started asking me about making some changes to your diet, but you wanted to make sure that I knew you “couldn’t do the green stuff”! And now you’re putting all kinds of “green stuff” in your smoothies!
Yes, I didn’t want anything green! I stared with just frozen berries, bananas, protein powder, and water. Started slow, again, with that for breakfast every other day, but now I have a smoothie everyday for my breakfast. I even have my husband drinking it, too! After I got more used to them, I added kale and flax seeds and collagen.
Then you asked me about adding kale and I was worried – it’s a total superfood, but I was afraid the color would throw you off. I didn’t want you to stop drinking them!
I didn’t mind it at all. At first, I didn’t look at the color when I drank it, but now I don’t even notice. And I even love a kale salad!
(Lori told me the trick she has for making smoothies an easier process – when she buys the ingredients, she separates everything into individual servings and puts them in the freezer. She even has the dry ingredients measured out and in containers on the counter. When she makes a smoothie, she just pulls out one of each container and dumps it in and then adds some water – brilliant! She said it’s so easy that her husband has started making one every morning, too!)
So, besides smoothies, what other changes did you make to your diet?
I started cutting out junk food, processed food and paying more attention to what I was eating. We eat a lot more fish these days. And lots of chicken and salad. My salads have spinach, kale, carrots, cucumbers and celery. Before, I would put my salad in a bowl and pile my plate up with meat and carbs…after finishing my plate, I’d often be too full to eat the salad. Now, I put the salad on my plate first, so it takes up half of the space on my plate and then I have less room for the other things. This way, I make sure I’m eating lots of greens and vegetables before I’m too full. I also eat much healthier snacks – an apple with a piece of cheese is usually my go-to snack.
I was so excited to hear how many healthy changes you were making to the foods you were eating! The next step we took was with supplements. I remember being shocked when you told me you couldn’t swallow pills. I asked you how you took all those pills and you said you had to crush them up! Lol! I went searching for quality supplements that you could either add to your smoothies, or that were chewables – we got it done!
Yep, I started taking a chewable multivitamin and Vitamin C, and also a magnesium powder I add to my smoothies to help with pains I was having in my legs.
What about water? You know how I love to bug everyone about how much water they drink!
I definitely drink a lot more water now. I drink at least half my weight in ounces, but I often drink even more than that.
Perfect! Water is so important for our bodies – and even more important when the weather gets hot! Ok, you gave up Coke, you started walking every day, and then you tackled your diet. Now, let’s talk about your medications. You were on several when you started, yes?
Yes, I was taking meds for blood pressure, cholesterol, muscle relaxants, and sometimes Tylenol. I really wanted to not have to take so many pills! I worked with my doctor to gradually cut back on my blood pressure medication. As I started losing weight, my blood pressure started going down and stayed down. With every 10 lbs I lost, my doctor lowered my bp medication. I’m now completely off that medication and my blood pressure that started at 180/ 90 is now consistently at 121/80. The next one I want to work on is the cholesterol med!
(**It’s important not to change or stop any medications without consulting your healthcare provider. Lori talked to her doctor about her goal to reduce her need for medication and her doctor monitored her closely, cutting it back gradually and safely.**)
It’s so amazing that you’ve had such success with your blood pressure! So, with all of these changes and improvements, how do you feel?
I feel great. I have so much more energy, I feel like I can focus much better than before I started working on this and I feel calmer – I’ve not ever been really a high-strung person, but I can notice a difference in how I feel…less anxiety inside. I’m sleeping much better, have way less aches and pains (even with all the walking!) and physically, I can do things I couldn’t do before. The changes I made were not hard ones, but the key for me was going slowly and getting used to each one before adding anything else. They’re all just a regular part of my life now, so I just do them without even thinking about them!
And that’s definitely the key. You have to make these changes your new habits…that become part of your life without thinking. You’ve done an incredible job at doing that, Lori!
Thank you for being a great help without being pushy (laughs). I like that you gave great advice to try new things when I was comfortable trying. I also enjoyed your group program – very helpful tips on sleep, anxiety, and stress. It was nice to know you weren’t the only one going through stressful patches in life.
You’re most definitely not the only one – we all go through it. I’m glad you enjoyed the program – it’s so important for our physical and mental wellness to learn effective ways to deal with stress and negative emotions. I don’t think enough of us recognize the direct connection between physical well-being and stress. (A colleague and I recently ran a 7-day group program on FB to help folks learn how to better manage stress – much needed for most of us during a pandemic!)
Lori, it’s been a pleasure helping you through it all and I’m excited to keep going! Thanks so much for taking the time to talk to me about your journey and huge successes!
Obviously, I’m over the moon excited about Lori’s success. From the beginning, we went slowly, starting with just three things: cut out Coke, move your body everyday, and drink half your weight in ounces daily. From there, she led the show, telling me when she felt she was ready for something else and then we added one or two more changes. It was slow and steady – just as it should be. And she was patient, as she had to be. The biggest reason Lori has been so successful is that she stayed consistent to anything she changed and she made those changes when she felt ready to do so.
Diet and lifestyle changes have a profound effect on our health and small changes can have HUGE results. Medications are sometimes necessary, but they’re usually not the only option. High blood pressure, poor digestion, allergies, anxiety, hormonal troubles…whatever you have going on, don’t settle. Everything can be improved through diet and lifestyle changes.
When you’re ready to start, I can help! Send me an email and we can set up a time to chat!