Friday, September 17, 2010

Guest Blogger: Lori

Hers is an amazing story and anyone who has experienced tragedy that becomes life changing should read this. I'm always an admirer of people who take hardship and turn it around to something good. Lori is definitely one of those people. Lori writes about her life at The Neverending Lori and about her healthy living at Bloggin the Bugg. She has made amazing changes in how she takes care of herself in the past 9 months. Read her story- you will be inspired!!

Guest Spot...ME! Who Am I? Why hello Liz followers! I am today's guest blogger...and I am happy to be here! My name is Lori and I'd like to tell you a little about myself. I am a 38-year old wife, mother, sister, daughter, and friend. I do not take these roles lightly, and hope that if I fulfill one such role in your life, you know how serious I am. (Actually, serious is not a good word to describe me at all! I am goofy...silly...funny...a class-clown kinda gal in a grown up world. I love to have fun, and I think you HAVE to laugh, even when things are hard.)

First, let me tell you how I know Liz. It seems that I've known Liz for a really long time, when in fact, I have not. Liz's awesome hubby Jeff works with my awesome hubby Jeff on True Dungeon! In 2009 Liz and I started talking on Facebook a bit and then I started reading her blog. She doesn't know this (...well, she will here in about 10 seconds...) but she is the reason I started blogging. I had been reading her blog and thought that it might be a good outlet for me, and oh has it! Liz and I were probably introduced before during the TD Event, but this year it was official...she came and we MET and talked. I wish the week was such that we could've met know...Liz and her two littles, me and my two littles...running off to Connor Prairie or the Zoo or one of the other cool Indy places I've read in her blog...then leaving the kids with the Jeffs in the evening while Liz and I snuck off for maybe a pedicure, more talking, and then dinner and a glass or two of wine. Oh, well...maybe someday!

So Liz is off on her trip so it's time to pitch in and help a friend out. That's where I come in. Liz wants me to tell about myself, and let me say first off...I do not think I have some kind of amazing story to tell. I firmly believe that I am an ordinary person and the stuff in my life is just like the rest of the folks out just happens to be my story. And although I do not find it particularly interesting or amazing, I guess someone does, so here goes!

Family is important to me. I come from a tightly knit family. My parents had 3 boys and then when they were 13, 15, and 18...OOPSIE! That would be me...I've heard so many euphemisms for what I was, but let's just go with "surprise baby"! Because of the age gap, I didn't really grow up with brothers, but more like 3 slightly older Dads. When my youngest brother had 2 children, it was really more like having a little brother and sister than a niece and nephew. Then in my life I was blessed with a wonderful husband, who is honestly my partner in all things. Jeff and I were entrusted with the care and upkeep of two sweet babies that we decided to call Drake and Avery.

Becoming a Mom was life-changing. These people are the center of my universe. I may not talk to my brothers or my parents every day, but our familial bonds are tight and we'll all go the distance for one another. Don't get me isn't all that I have, because I have some of the most awesome, incredible, and beautiful friends a gal could ask for. My "village" as I call it, quite simply ROCKS. You will learn more about my village later...

Here is my story... In 2009 I decided to start a work-out program. I began the Wii Fit on 1/1/2009 with a goal of getting more in shape and losing some weight. I did great at first, but on 2/24/2009 the first major curveball in my life was thrown at me and knocked me out of the game for a while. On that day, I received a call from my niece, Amber, saying that Schuyler (her brother, my nephew) had been killed by an IED in Afghanistan. This was the day that everything changed. I can't even begin to sit down and type out this entire story because it would take days. In short, I went to my hometown, tried to help my brother and niece and everyone deal with things as best we could. The days that followed were excruciatingly difficult. I was away from home, so the village stepped up and took care of business in my own home and with my kids so that I could focus on my parents, brothers, and niece and their needs. This was unchartered ground for us, but we made it through. In the weeks and months that followed we all tried to come to terms with a "new" normal for our lives. It was a very dark and difficult time (and still is at times) but we did the one thing that we knew was good...stuck together. I traveled a lot to my hometown during those months. We spent a lot of time together, and that helped more than you can imagine.

Then, once again, tragedy struck our family. On July 3 I received yet another call that Mom was in the hospital and not doing well...some unknown thing was causing extreme gastrointestinal issues and there was some talk about operating to see what was going on. Jeff and I almost left that night, but decided that we would get up in the morning and see how she was doing. That call to the nurse's station told me that things had not improved overnight and that we needed to get up there as quickly as we could.

Unfortunately, my Mom passed away not long after being brought out of surgery. Jeff, my Dad, and my brother John were with her as they worked to get her back, but it was not to be. ...and so the Mack truck struck my family yet again... And once again, we rallied together and did what we needed to do. And while I was gone taking care of details, my village stepped in once again and helped my husband with the kids so that I didn't have to worry. And once again, we struggled to find a new normal.

And honestly, I think we have...I think all of us have figured out that if you choose to overcome it, you can, no matter how impossible that seems. In December of 2009 I thought about my January 2009 plan...this plan had failed miserably, but maybe January 2010 was just as good of a time as any to get back to it. I planned a quick trip to meet my Dad in Vegas so I decided that January 15th (as soon as I got back from Vegas) was the start date. And once again, in my life, this was the day that everything changed. I began working out...nothing major at first. Some treadmill, an arc trainer, and the bike. Nothing too fancy...I was 265 pounds and totally out of shape. Around this time I also started watching The Biggest Loser, and saw/heard them reference the Body Bugg. I'm a gadget freak, so after doing some research on this gadget, I had my mind set that this was a gadget that I needed and that could help me. I had lost some weight in those last 2 weeks of January and the first week or so of February, so on my birthday (the 11th) my hubby said "Why don't you go ahead and order that Bugg thing for your birthday". Well, that was all I needed to hear, so I got online and ordered it.

The Body Bugg made a huge difference for me. It made weight loss a numbers game. I understand numbers. Calories IN minus Calories OUT (burned) = weight loss (or gain). During this time I had also decided to spend the money on one personal trainer session per week. The trainer required a food log, and so does the Body Bugg system, so pounds started melting off. Now, when people ask me "how are you doing it" and I tell them "watching what I eat and exercise" they're totally bummed. They wanted a magic diet plan or pill that was easy. But, I always try to explain...this really was easy. The Body Bugg made it easy for me. If I hit my target "burn" in a day and stay at or below my target "consumption" in a day, I'm going to lose weight. Does it matter that 50 of my calories went to an Oreo instead of carrots? Nope. And does it matter if I go out to eat at lunch and then realize that I'm going to end up going over my "consumption" target by 500 if I eat dinner? long as I up my "burn" number for the day by 500...and I CAN do that by being active in my life...taking a couple 15 minute walks or parking farther in the lot than normal...or even running up and down my basement stairs to get in an extra 100 calories burned after dinner!

So that pretty much gets me to now...September of 2010. I have reduced my body fat % from 52% to 43%. I have reduced my weight from 265 to 207. I started this year wearing 22/24's. Now I'm wearing 16's... And folks, that's a 16, not 16W, and trust me, there is a BIG difference! But here's the best thing...I feel so incredible. I feel pretty again. I feel confident. I feel happy. I have energy and stamina, and I feel FIT. I feel more fit than the 130 pound woman who is just genetically thin and never works out. I know in my mind that I could totally out run, out lift, out bike, out lunge/squat/crunch her skinny ass ANY day! And that, my friends, makes me feel great! It had been difficult since 2/24/2009. The road I travel has seen so many turns and curves that even mapquest can't keep up. But, as a family we've stuck together and weathered the storm. My brothers are so supportive of my weight loss and constantly check in with me to see how I'm doing and what's going on. I don't see them as often as I'd like, but the silver lining in that is that when I do see them, they TOTALLY notice every new pound that is missing! I saw part of the family Labor Day weekend. Then I talked to my California brother the next week and he said "I asked Dad how you looked and he said 'Thin...she looks thin' ". That's hilarious! Still over 200 pounds and someone called me THIN. The funniest thing about that is that a year ago, "thin" wouldn't have even been on the list of words to describe me. It still doesn't exactly belong there, but it's so amazing to hear someone describe me as "thin".

So, Lizdom readers, that is me in a nutshell. The side roads of those events in my life have long stories in and of themselves, but you get the idea. Life is is hectic. But I am thankful for the people I have around me and the happiness and balance they bring to my life. I am a total believer in that how you choose to react to a situation depends more on the outcome than anything else. Had I chosen to let the tragedies of 2009 define my existence in a negative way...well, that's exactly what would've happened. However, I chose to keep on living, and living fully and that is what I have done. I miss Schuyler and my Mom horribly, and some days I get angry that they're not here and that we had to go through all of that. But then I remember that we had so many wonderful times and that there are more wonderful times ahead of us. And I also remember that both of them are watching over me and that if I chose to be miserable it would make them miserable to see that sadness. I honor their lives by fully living mine.


Liz's Mom said...

You are an inspiration. Your final paragraph says it all. Many have written books that just boil down to your paragraph--too bad you can't get their royalities. Thank you for sharing your story.

Liz's Mom said...

I went to your blog site and was truly moved. Your are a wonderful writer. I wasn't able to leave a comment as it didn't like my open ID/URL. Other people could be having the same problem.

Unknown said...

Thanks, Liz's are so kind. I have no idea what the deal is with being unable to post a comment...I will take a look into it, but my knowledge of that website is very very small!

c3 said...

Wow. Loved this. Your story is amazing. I was unable to stay up on Liz's blog for a while, and had saved the guest posts to read last when I did my catching-up. I'm glad I made sure to read this. Your final words of wisdom -- choosing to remember and to seek the wonderful instead of letting the misery take over -- are hard to remember in times of tragedy. It can be too easy to let the new misery become a habit that replaces the former joy. Your words are a reminder that we have to choose otherwise and that we honor those we remember by making the choice that they would choose for us in love. I'm so glad that I got to read this. Thank you.