Last January, Lori Mercer was motivated by a desire familiar to women everywhere. She wanted to look healthier and feel great at her son’s upcoming September wedding. She’d experienced the ups and downs of weight loss and gain over the years after having her children. “Weight Watchers, Slimfast, The 21-Day Fix, I’d tried them all,” she admitted.
One year ago, she was determined to do something that worked, and that would last. Serving as the Health Coach Navigator at the Mount Ayr Medical Clinic and a licensed practical nurse, Lori knows the facts about losing weight. But knowing what to do, and actually doing it are two different things. “If you’re going to lose weight, you need to have your head in the game,” she said. “If you’re not focused, you’re just not going to do it.” Although she started the year with her goal in mind, it wasn’t until February that she really got some traction. A challenge among RCH employees called “Live Healthy RCH” kickstarted her journey. The combination of teamwork, accountability, and competition inspired her to give it her best. “We earned points for exercising, drinking water, and completing different challenges,” she said. “It was really helpful to be in a challenge group with my co-workers. We were competitive!”
One of Lori’s teammates, Leslie Murphy, is the health coach for the Mount Ayr Medical Clinic. “She thought meeting my goal to lose 50 pounds by September was going to be tough, but she agreed to help me and keep me accountable. Knowing I was going to weigh in with Leslie once a week made a difference.” Lori’s exercise routine started by putting one foot in front of the other – literally. She’d get up early and do a 30-45-minute workout using an online video to start the day. In the winter, she’d work out in her house. She’d walk for 20 minutes in the middle of the day, and again in the evening. In nice weather, she rode her bike several times a week. “I was working out three times a day, mostly walking,” she said. Along with regular exercise, she paid attention to what she was eating. “I didn’t deprive myself of anything. I was just careful. I cut back on food, but occasionally, I’d have a cookie or a piece of cake.” Again, the Live Healthy RCH challenge helped. “I had to be sure our team got our points. Even when I went on vacation I took an iPad so I could continue using the online workout,” she added. “I was that committed to losing the weight.” Her results? She beat her 50-pound goal and lost 54 pounds before the wedding. “I feel better. I have so much more energy. I’m less tired during the day because I’m not carrying all that extra weight around.”
As much as Lori wanted to look and feel great for the wedding last September, she has a long-term motivation. She’s a lifelong Ringgold County resident who has lived in area her entire life. With four grown sons and eight grandchildren mostly nearby, she wants to enjoy every minute with them. Even after exceeding her goal, Lori is determined to take off another 30 or 40 pounds. The Live Healthy RCH Challenge is right around the corner, and she’s ready to take it on again. “I’m doing food prep this week. I’m ready to go!”
Lori’s Top Tips
• Drink lots of water. The latest studies are saying we should drink half our body weight in ounces every day. Then add 20 ounces for every 30 minutes of exercise.
• Get up and start moving. Even if it’s just for five minutes. Then each day add five minutes. Each week add 10 minutes. Do it for 14 days straight. It will become a habit and you’ll want to do it.
• Don’t deprive yourself of food you really enjoy. Just limit portions to a smaller amount.
• If your head isn’t in the game, you’re not going to do it. Just take baby steps to get started. Remember, you’re doing it for you.
• Put up a visual reminder to keep yourself motivated. On her bathroom door, Lori posted a sign: Will it be easy? Nope. Will it be worth it? ABSOLUTELY.
For more information about meeting with the Mt. Ayr Medical Clinic Health Coach, Leslie Dredge-Murphy call (641) 464-4534 to make an appointment. Health-coaching services are available to all Mt. Ayr Medical Clinic patients.