Have you never met someone, but feel like you’ve known him/her your entire life? That’s how I feel about Lori Hare. Some of you know her as the admin of the “2013 No Excuse Mom Challenge”. She is inspiring, motivating and challenging. In January 2006, she emailed me about a question regarding strength training. A book she read advised hour-glass-shaped people to not weight train because of their genetics. I wrote her back (as I usually do eventually) and told her the benefits of strength training and how I limit myself (because of my built legs) and we continued a friendship throughout the years. After discovering we were both pregnant at the same time, it was fun to experience pregnancy trimesters with someone else who was on your same page. Not only were we on the same page, but we gave birth on the same day! Talk about kismet!
Lori is a true example of a healthy and fit mother who you can relate to. She works, she works out from home, she is challenged ( as we all are) and she makes no excuses. She has also struggled with her weight, dialing in at 170lbs at just 13 years old! Today, at 31, standing at 5-foot-4, she proudly weighs 138lbs and working towards her goal of becoming featured in the “Future of Fitness” section in Oxygen magazine. If you see her running a 5k around Ashatbula, Ohio, give her a high five!
1. What made you passionate about fitness.
I was not a fit child growing up. I started my journey as a 13 year old who weighed entirely too much and was obsessed at stepping on the scale, multiple times a day until I got so mad at it that I threw it into the closet out of sight and wouldn’t let myself go through that torture anymore. Once I began to exercise, I loved the way it made me feel. Once I had success with a fit lifestyle, I loved the way it made me look, feel and I had a level of confidence I never knew before.
I also have a passion about it because I saw so much illness on both sides of my family while I was growing up. At some point, I knew that if I didn’t have my health, I wouldn’t have much to look forward to! I decided not to fall into the same unhealthy habits I saw so prevalent in my family.
That chubby 13 year old weighed in at about 170 pounds. My sister and I were both overweight and we decided to start eating smaller meals and walking every day. We both had some initial success, but I teetered up and down even after adopting those slightly better habits. My weight fluctuated between 145 and 160 for the rest of my school age years. In my early 20’s, a guy I worked with invited me to the gym where his brother was a trainer. I signed up and was hooked. I worked with his brother to get down to a nice 135, the slimmest I’d been since I was twelve. I thought I was done, so I slacked off and gained 10-15 pounds back. 145 was my body’s “safe weight”. That was what it returned to any time I didn’t watch what I ate or exercised. I eventually got mad at myself and got back to the gym. The second time I was able to keep consistent for a while, but life forced me to stop coming to the gym again for the last portion of my associates degree, when I had full-time classes and part-time work. As soon as I completed my degree, I joined again for what I dubbed, “the final time”, because I had no intention of needing to stop again. Little did I know hoe challenging it would be getting to the gym with a baby! I decided to work with a trainer and get into the best shape of my life. In early 2010, I was in the best shape of my life. Slim and fit, at about 128 pounds.
I had a fantastic pregnancy. I didn’t get nausea, back pain, terrible mood swings or most of the negative things people complain about. I have to admit that I was terrified of gaining weight. With how much I had teeter up and down in the past, I knew it would be a challenge for me. I was also afraid of stretch marks. I felt that they were inevitable for me because I had gotten them when I was a teen. I put cocoa butter on my belly daily from a very early point in my pregnancy, trying to curtail the impending doom of red lines across my stomach. I ended up being very right about both my weight and my stretch marks. I had already put on about 15 pounds from my slimmest weight before ever even getting pregnant and then I gained 43 pounds throughout the pregnancy. This disappointed me. I was able to exercise at the gym throughout my entire pregnancy, with my doctor’s approval and guidelines. I also ate a majority of very clean foods, only I did not limit carbs. I ate when I was hungry, allowed myself some treats, but tried to keep it clean overall. As for the stretch marks, none appeared on my belly until I was about 6 months along. My baby was positioned mostly on my right side, so the pattern is a very odd crescent-moon shape with just a couple on the left and a LOT on the right. By now, a year later, they are almost completely gone.
It took me about 8 months to lose the 43 pounds. I have always been a slow loser. People kept telling me that if you breast feed, it comes off quicker; or since I work out, it’ll come off quicker. But it didn’t. This is the body I’ve been given. I’ve very slowly been losing more weight and I would love to get back to where I was and then surpass where I was. This time, health and fitness are a lifestyle, a set of habits and behaviors that I have adopted and live out.
Since I exercised my whole pregnancy, I thought when I was clear to exercise again it would be easy to jump back in. It wasn’t. Not that exercising was hard, but getting to the gym was. I started out trying to go first thing in the morning when both my husband and my baby were asleep. But there were a few problems with that. First, my daughter inevitably woke up either when I was getting ready, a million times in the night, or right after I left to wake my husband. This made me feel guilty and sleepy. I inevitably decided that home workouts were the best option until she got a little older, as we weren’t using babysitters at that time. I started doing my workouts while she was napping. (unless I was napping, too, of course!) If a day was extra busy, I would use her as my weight and do some exercises that way so that I didn’t have an excuse for not doing something.
· Really, allow yourself some rest. Take at least one nap when your baby is napping, for as long as they are waking up in the middle of the night. If you’re well rested, the rest of your life will seem much easier!
· Don’t expect your body to respond as fast or as slow as others post-pregnancy journeys. Whatever you have experienced in the past is a much better indicator. My body responds slowly – but steadily – when I am consistent.
· Don’t be discouraged if you get stretch marks. Think of them as battle scars for the amazing journey your body went on to bring the miracle of life.
· You really have to MAKE time to be active. It won’t happen if you are waiting until you have nothing on your to-do list or when you feel like it. Exercise while your baby is napping, use your baby as weight, make exercise into a play-date and squat down to kiss them. Buy a jogging stroller. Have a small amount of equipment and exercise videos at home to get you by at first and on days when the gym isn’t looking like an option. (It happens now and again!)
· Most importantly, let your children grow up seeing you active. You are a living example for them and building good habits and a healthy mentality from the get go!
6. What keeps you motivated?
Being healthy and happy and being a good example for my daughter. I don’t want her to struggle with her weight the way that I have. Also, it I have anything to do with it, I will not get high blood pressure, have diabetes or be overweight like a lot of my family is! I love them tremendously, but not so much that part of them! I also love to inspire other people. If I can turn my lifestyle and habits around, anyone can.
I know that I need accountability to be successful. I thought it would be a great idea to provide moms a place to support each other while we take this journey. There are plenty of facebook groups, plenty that address weight loss; but I think ours is special. I’m a little biased, of course! But it’s a positive environment where we all inspire each other! It’s been quite motivating just being a part of it, let alone leading it! I see success in a positive environment where everyone understands because they are all in the same shoes… even if they’re on a different leg of the journey!
I love the fact that it started and has remained a positive, inspiring place where women can post the successes and the stumbling blocks without fear of reproach. No one on here yells at you when you had a bad week. They just reiterate that today is a new day and that you can make better choices and learn from mistakes. It’s really a group of like-minded, positive people who WANT real, lasting change.
My goal by the end of this No Excuse challenge is to meet or exceed where I was at my fittest. I’m well on my way! After that, I intend on mastering pullups. Sounds funny, I suppose, but I’ve always had to do them modified – my arms are not my strongest body part! I will be continuing to improve my body and want to submit my picture to Oxygen Magazine’s “Future of Fitness: Are you next?” feature by the end of 2013. This is my year of no excuses!!
10. Any last words/thoughts.
If you’re still one of the people who thinks that they don’t have time to exercise… take a long hard look at your life for things that are stealing your time. What do I mean by that? What activities do you do (probably daily) that can be limited, that you really can live without? How long do you spend on facebook? In front of the TV? on the phone?
I’m saying this because this is one area of big excuses for me. I’m a self-proclaimed computer junkie, and now that I have this group it’s even more tempting to sit on there all day long. The key is making fitness a priority. Even if you have to tell yourself “I can’t go on facebook until I exercise and plan my meals!” It really can be done. You just have to find out how it can work with your life.
Join the “2013 No Excuse Mom Challenge Group” HERE
Left picture was taken 2 weeks after giving birth. Right was nearly a year after
(and 50lbs after!) Follow her fitness journals here.
Stepping on stage in the best shape of her life.