This 1 Change Helped Lori Transform Her Body

By , SparkPeople Blogger
In 2009, Lori (LORI-K) was sedentary, ill with respiratory issues from 23 years of heavy smoking and ate poorly. Although she was never severely overweight, Lori knew she was unwell. With a husband and three children who were depending on their mom, Lori decided the time had come to start making changes to improve her health.

Lori's first step was to quit smoking, and that goal prompted her to join SparkPeople. "I had several failed attempts at quitting until an illness scared me enough to get serious about becoming smoke-free," she recalls. At just 41 years old, Lori was told that she had the lung capacity of a 95-year-old woman, which left her petrified. Lori was prescribed medication to help her quit smoking but it had some negative side effects. At that point, she turned to willpower, walking and drinking a lot of water to deal with the cravings.

"At first the walks were very short. A block and back is all I could do," Lori recalls. As time passed and she began feeling better, her walks got longer and longer. Eventually she decided to try a 5K training program and began running. "I went from being very sick and having a hard time breathing to eventually running long distances including a half-marathon just three years after I quit smoking," Lori proudly states. 

While starting a regular exercise program was important, Lori knew she also needed to change the way she was eating. "I was a self-professed junk food junkie," Lori admits. "[My kids were young] so I ate a lot of fast food [and] their snacks, or [I] didn't eat at all." As she spent more time on SparkPeople and learned about proper nutrition, Lori began to realize that her diet needed serious changes. "I started logging all of my food which was an eye-opening experience," she says. By logging, she was able to see how she was doing relative to her recommended calorie and nutrient ranges and identify where she needed to make serious changes.

Injury Leads to a Shift in Routine

In 2016, a foot injury derailed her running progress. "I knew I had to do something to stay active," says Lori. "My husband had been lifting weights for a while, so I joined him and did upper-body strength training while I was unable to run."

Instead of becoming a temporary solution, weight-lifting became a passion that Lori has pursued ever since. "I quickly came to love weight-lifting as I started getting strong, seeing changes in my body and changes in my overall mood."  Lori says she gained confidence, improved her posture, experienced less anxiety and stress, and had an improved sense of well-being as a result of her strength training. "I've been lifting weights for two years now. I'm almost 51 and healthier than I've ever been," she declares. 

Lori's fitness routine includes a structured weight-lifting plan as well as regular cardio exercise such as running, rowing, elliptical and high-intensity interval training. Lori treats her fitness routine like a job that counts on her to be there every day. Consistency is key.

"I weight train five to six days a week for at least an hour but usually longer," Lori says. "I follow specific lifting plans and switch them up every six to 10 weeks or so; upper body is my favorite (chest, shoulders and arms)."
Lori isn't afraid to lift heavy and encourages other women to challenge themselves in the weight room. "Don't be afraid of 'bulking up'," she advises. "Weight-bearing exercises are important as we age and naturally begin to lose muscle mass. I've been lifting for a little over two years, and from my experience, it takes daily, lengthy and focused lifting to start developing [significant muscle mass]."


Lori's Advice for Newbies

Although Lori joined SparkPeople for support and resources when she quit smoking, she's still an active member nine years later. She tracks all of her fitness and food to measure progress, and says she sees better results when she's consistently tracking. "The friends I've made here and the support I've found have been amazing," Lori says. She reads member blogs for inspiration and enjoys participating in SparkChallenges for an added boost of motivation.  

For someone just starting out on their wellness journey, Lori believes that anything is possible. "Anyone is capable of making big changes as long as they are consistent with fitness and proper nutrition. Experiment with different food plans and activities until you find something you enjoy that produces your desired results."

Lori has a few valuable tips to share with new members: "[In addition to] logging your food and exercise, take pictures along the way," she advises. "Pictures show a much better measure of progress than the scale. Also, take measurements [since sometimes you can see a loss of inches even if the scale isn't moving] and journal your thoughts. These tools have been very helpful for me." 

Over the past nine years, Lori has become discouraged many times when she wasn't seeing the results she'd expected. "There have been times when I lost all motivation and direction," she recalls. "What I have learned is that my motivation won't always be there, but discipline and willpower is what gets me through the rough patches. I remember why I started and get it done even when I don't feel like it. I just keep moving. With consistency, every weight lifted, every repetition performed, every step walked or run, and every wise food choice adds up to big changes over time," Lori believes. 

How has weight training made positive changes to your body? Share in the comments below and congratulate Lori on her amazing progress!

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NANANANA 5/18/2021
Great job Lori.
I loved working with weights until I broke my clavicle. Then I had problems driving to a gym and haven't been back. I have a starter set of dumbbells - buried under my husband's things. Report
Congratulations! Report
NASFKAB 2/6/2021
Way to go Report
ARNETTELEE 12/13/2020
Thanks for sharing, Lori! Report
NASFKAB 11/6/2020
Inspirational Report
PATRICIA-CR 10/8/2020
Extremely inspirational! Report
ISNESS 9/21/2020
Beautiful tribute to Lori! She is my great inspiration on one side and a beautiful person on the other side! Lovely helpful and pretty. Congrats Lori!! Report
SWEETBUNNIE50 9/20/2020
Thank you for the inspiration Lori. I'm just getting back into working out again trying to stay motivated. Your awesome. Report
RACHAEL2020 8/18/2020
Good inspirational article. Report
GERRTIE 8/10/2020
You are an inspiration to me! I am just now seeing the need to do weight baring exercise. I am getting older and my daughter, the nurse, has been after me to do it so I will maintain muscle mass. Thank you for sharing your story! Report
MILLER-S 8/8/2020
Awesome!! Thanks for sharing!! Report
You are an inspiration. Report
CD26054119 7/12/2020
Thanks for sharing your story Lori!! Report
MANGO1960 6/25/2020
Thanks for sharing your story. Great job! Report
Very inspirational! I love to see stories where someone who is inactive becomes so healthy!! Congratulations! Report
I feel like i've read this before Report
I love this story , thank you for sharing Lori you look great! Report
This was an inspirational story! I had a recent health scare so, I am so motivated to read this as I start my journey. Report
Great Report
Awesome Lori! Thanks for sharing. Report
Happy to hear that you love weight lifting! So do I!!! I love to lift weights at my gym. I use the 5 lb. weights!!!! Report did I miss this?
What a success story you are!
Congratulation in being featured here...lots of Sparkie’s May follow your lead. Report
Great Choice! Report
Well done Report
Congrats, Lori! Well Done! Report
Congrats on your success story. Report
Thank you for sharing. Sharing helps make SparkPeople work. Report
Great job! Report
Super job and inspirational story,Lori!! Woo Hoo!!!! Report
Great going! Report
Great going! Report
Thanks for sharing! Report
congrats. thanks for the share! Report
Wow!!! Just wow!! I had never heard your story Lori, what an amazing transformation not only with the outside, but health wise!!! Girl you are amazing!!! Report
I started taking barre classes and saw an amazing change in my body. Have not been able to take the classes lately but have kept up with the strength work. So good! Report
Congratulations! Report
Congrats on your success story. Report
Great Spark article, Lori! Glad to know you. Report
Inspiring! Report
I need to take pictures. Report
Very nice Report
Very nice Report
Great Job! Report
I used to smoke also, but walking up to the 4th floor every day with my class helped me to quit. Report
Interesting Report
Great story! After 25 years of chain smoking I quit in 1991. 5 years and 46 pounds later I started a training program for a 10 mile road race in the City I work in. That eventually eliminated the nicoteen cravings and weight issues. Added mountain biking and strength training and was steady at it for the next 18 years. Ran 18 ten milers, 17 half marathons, 4 marathons biked hundred mile events and was able to include the entire family and everyone's health improved. However, COPD issues started to interfere and I stopped for 2 years-big mistake!- back at it and now at age I'm walking instead of running but walked the last three 10 mile events and strength train at least twice a week. in the process of knocking off the extra pounds that came back when I quit and I have been recording everything on sparkpeople for the last 2 months. 9 pounds down and 16 to go.Strength training is a must for people with breathing issues related to smoking. Report
Lori is Amazing! Congratulations Lori!! Report
Thanks for sharing Report
Thanks for sharing Report