OneStepStories-LoriKI became the “adult” in my family at the age of 12, I am an overachiever and “go to” for many, and I have raised two wonderful kids yet, somewhere along the way, I lost myself.

I was exhausted, starved, had chronic inflammation, and was constantly out of breath. I did not sleep, did not eat right and have tried every short term solution on weight loss there is.  I would settle in on my couch and not be able to move, not even to go to my own bed, I would literally shut down and fall asleep in place if not working or trying to get something done.  I have had moments dropping weight over the past 20+ years losing the same 30-40 lbs over and over again.  I have a kidney stone disease, pre-diabetic, and found it painful to move. I never really put myself first, all I knew was caring for others, which was not healthy. I realized that I have not really allowed a photo to be posted (without an edit) or taken of me for over 20 years. I never really looked in a mirror—not fully anyway. It was like “I” did not really exist.  All of my energy went to my family, my job, others.  My life and dreams were passing me by, and I was one of the largest victims of it.

There were a series of events that triggered a change. My kids were growing up and needed me less and less. A very large turning point in my life was when my father-in-law passed away in May of 2015. He died of cancer but he left a beautiful legacy of love and happiness. He was a very healthy man. He moved a lot, he walked daily and was an optimist.

In June of 2015, I did a one day corporate athlete session. The theme I took from it was simple change. Little things. Not a big major diet or change you can’t live up to. In July of 2015, I had a kidney stone removal surgery. I got a serious bacterial infection. I spent an extra week in the hospital. I was so out of shape and unhealthy, it really scared me. As I recovered, I thought a lot about my life. I remembered EAP counseling I have had and thought about myself, my hula hoop or boundaries, it was time to put myself first. My husband and I got fit bits Aug 29th, 2015 after I was back to “normal” I started moving. 10,000 steps a day (yes I jumped right in—it appears it’s the perfect challenge for a competitive, overachiever), making better choices but not a diet….long term, simple, sustainable change. My physician is holding me accountable by having 3 month check-ins.

At first it was easy. I love music and my fitbit step tracking. Of course I just jumped in at first, no working up to anything. I started enjoying the meditation and the way I felt and the time “just for me”. The time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s was hard. I was afraid to weigh myself. I allowed myself to enjoy the holidays and even eat! I continued to move but did not get 10,000 steps in each day. As this was a learned behavior I thought I should just give up like I usually do. But this time, I did not. I actually lost 4 lbs during this time when I finally weighed myself. I assumed I had gained 10! I am now down approximately 50 lbs and I am still inspired because of how I feel. I have hit a few plateaus so I am adding in strength training. I added a simple new rule “You watch TV you bounce, move or plank!”  It’s not that hard—it’s my new normal.

I see improvement. I am planning on all of the things I want to do in my future—a lot of travel and a lot of exploring. This keeps me moving. When my daughter graduates next year, I don’t want to be the mom hiding from the family photo. I want to smile proudly of where I am.

I feel hopeful. I feel empowered to finally break through a cycle of living and diets I have been on for 30+ years. I am proud and I am excited. I feel like I am on the path to leave the legacy I started and want to leave with my loved ones someday.

My husband, Kevin is is my fitbit partner. We started this as something we could do together and he wanted a way to honor his father.  We both love travel and are both looking forward to the next phase in our lives, together. Think of all we can explore without getting winded.

I feel very supported by Whirlpool and this journey. I decided to bring my new approach to life to “move where I am at.” I got a large bounce ball. I brought a few bounce balls to a large meeting and other people started bouncing, including whirlpool employees from around the world!  On breaks and at the end of the day, I walk the halls of our new facility or whatever facility I am in! I walk all the aisles in the grocery store. It has become my new normal.   A couple of employees said that because of me, they are walking more, taking the long way to the bathroom.  That makes me happy!

I finally broke through a major weight barrier at my last Dr appointment and I am 50 lbs down.  I want to lose 50 more pounds but I am ok with a slow progression.  The last time I was at the doctor all of my blood work was perfect!  I used to have elevated liver enzymes, high blood pressure and high blood sugar.  They reduced my metformin by half. =)

The most significant thing to me is the simplicity of it all. Make simple changes.  Find something you enjoy and make it part of your routine.  Make time for yourself. It’s not all or nothing, it’s a journey. Focus on what makes you happy and set a goal or vision of where you want to be.  One step at a time.

Lori Khan, Benton Harbor, MI

March 28, 2016