Thursday, January 29, 2015

On The Way, with Lori Ingram

Today on, we welcome Lori Ingram a longtime friend of mine and a fellow traveler on the journey to a healthier lifestyle.  

MW: Welcome Lor! You have always been an inspiration to me and after our last conversation I had an idea to present real stories of people 'on the way' to their health goals and the issues that are unique to them.  Thus "On The Way" was born and you are my first interview. Welcome! Please introduce yourself.

Myth is slain: I've lost more weight
after 40's than I did in my 30's.
LI:  I am a 44 year old woman who has battled obesity since a very young age. I have developed a love hate relationship with food. I LOVE to cook it and eat it, but I hate how it has impacted my weight. I love how right choices (eating) can make positive changes (to my overall health); yet I hate that celery doesn't taste as good as a nacho. I love how my body positively reacts to a very healthy light meal, and then I hate how gross my body feels after eating fried, high fat or sugary food. I have concluded that as long as I live I will always have a love hate relationship with food. For me, it's about finding the balance that is not only optimal, but one that makes me equally happy.

I spent most of my life just "wishing" the weight would go. When I was eight I was told it would magically "melt off" by the time I was ten. What no one figured into the equation was that:

1. I wasn't breastfed.  Apparently breast fed babies develop natural fat cells that melt away as they get older.  Unlike me, a formula fed baby, who develop fat cells that do not magically "melt away". 

2. Bad eating habits were established early.  Having naturally thin parents, they thought nothing of midnight feasts of fried chicken. My mother would argue that she did not give me bad eating habits because all of my meals were well "balanced" and I was not a sickly kid, which was true, BUT the bad habits were there as well.

MW:  How long would you say you have been on this journey?  

LI:  If I sit down and think about how many years I tried to lose weight, well just do the math, 44 - 8 = 36 years.

MW: Wow, that is a journey.  What obstacles have you faced during your journey and how have you overcome them?

LI:  When I was 9 I had an older cousin tell me that there was a way I could eat everything I wanted and not gain weight.  In the beginning I found it hard to make myself throw up, but that didn't stop me from trying for the next 5 years, that is until Karen Carpenter died.  At her death it was revealed that she suffered from an eating disorder that had damaged her heart.  Her fame brought national attention to anorexia and bulimia and the reports and studies on the effects of eating disorders were made known.  It was at this point I learned that what I had been struggling with had a name, bulimia.  

Two things have worked together to save me from bulimia
1. I wanted children, so I did not want to do anything that would damage my body in the long run.  I didn't know about obesity and infertility at that time, but for the Teen years, it was enough to stop me.

2. The second and most important thing is my relationship with God. He was and is my saving grace. He has made it extremely difficult for me to make myself purge.  Even though I tried. I never really could make myself do it... Until I was 21.

In the lifelong battle of the bulge, I returned home from my first year in college 30 lbs. lighter (so much for the infamous Freshman 15). But over the next 11 months it crept back, so I was determined to at least get back down to my "new" weight (220lbs.) before my 21st birthday. Enter the “lemonade diet.”Week 1 hurt, and then my cousin had surgeryI was asked to be his caregiver, which meant preparing his meals. One day I made steak-umms for him; those fried onions who can resist? Since he was immobile I got him settled, gave him his lunch and then scarfed the scraps of meat and left over onionsand then immediately threw it up! Well, what do you know my sleeping gag reflex was now working. I spent the rest of that week purging.

I did hit my "goal" of being 220lbs. for my 21st birthday and also the reality that I now had a bigger issue. Both my grandfather and my boyfriend noticed how listless I was, my usual defined calf muscles were soft and almost nonexistent. I realized if I kept on that track I would slide down a slippery slope.

My grandfather just happened to see a newspaper article about the long term health effects of fad and crash diets and pointed it out to me and it was the wakeup call I needed.

To this very day if I have a cookie there is a thought in the back of my mind, throw it up.

MW:  I had forgotten until you mentioned it, but yes, I remember when Karen Carpenter died.  I had never heard of anorexia nervosa before, but after her death the information was everywhere.  I’m sure you have learned a great deal over your journey. 

LI:  With each passing decade, I learn something new.

● Decade 1: I learned that "wishing" doesn't take off the weight. 

● Decade 2Revealed that fad diets don't work long term and I apparently get very bored very fast, especially when I can't see immediate results. 

● Decade 3: Was the eye opener to the reality that diet AND exercise is key. However the light bulb did not go off until 5 months before turning 40 and I was determined to weigh less at 40 than I did when I was 16 (250lbs.)and I was 209 on my 40th birthday. Not many people can say they weighed less at age 40 than they did at 16.  I know that 209lbs. isn't something to brag about, but considering my highest recorded weight was 298, an 89lb. loss is something to be proud of.

● Decade 4: Brought a new beginning. The fact that I was 40 and could do things I couldn't do in my 20's showed me that anyone can do anything they set their mind to even me, but only IF you are 100% committed.

MW: Well, I have to say Lee that 209lbs. is definitely something to be proud in light of where you have come from and you can bet that when I get there I will be having a celebration!  In addition to that triumph, what has been your proudest moment?

LI:  My proudest moment was just being able to run. I can write a book on the lengths that I went through to avoid running during PE, including faking an asthma attack (I didn't even have asthma at the time); but anything to avoid running at any cost. And then there I was, running 6.0 on the treadmill at the gym for one full hour, running non-stop. I was a BEAST! I say WAS, because I got a pedicure for my 40th birthday that I didn't want to ruin... and that was the beginning of the end; so it's my goal to get back there. Back to where I was, running 6.0 for one hour without stopping.

MW:  That is beasting Lori!  What has been the most useful advice someone has given you about this process?

LI: I would say accountability and getting to know yourself!

1. Accountability:  I had a trainer/coach who believed in me. Sometimes just having that one person in your corner, who you do not want to let down is better than any of the promises you make to yourself (and break). Because he believed in me, I didn't want to let him down, so I made myself do things I would have been able to talk myself out of doing. Also, I told people my goals, so they would know I was a total loser if I didn't reach them (I'm no loser).  

2. Know yourself:  Now this worked for me, but that's how I am. It is unfortunate it took me 4 decades to learn how to out manipulate myself, but you really do have to learn about you, who you are, what makes you tick, what are your triggers, good and bad, and learn how to block or counteract them. I did not discover I was a stress eater until I was in my late 30's. I also learned I ate when I was sleepy. I had to learn to ask myself "WHY do you think you're hungry" and from there I learned I eat when I 'm tired (especially if I have to work late) I also learned (from reading) I eat when my body's thirsty, so I had to learn to listen to my body more. What do you want and finally I had to learn to distinguish between a WANT and a NEED. Do you WANT to eat, or do you NEED to eat?

MW:  Great advice.  How would you encourage someone who is struggling and on the verge of giving up?

LI:  My advice/encouragement would be this: 

1. Question your motives:  Ask yourself why is it that you want to lose weight? If it is to catch the eye of someone, then you're doing it for the wrong reasons. If you're doing it to look better in clothes, well, that's not a long lasting reason. You will soon discover that it is not enough to keep you committed to running at 5 am in the freezing cold. You will soon talk yourself out of it.

2. Don't bite off more than you can chew: Do only what you know you can sustain. Do that for a while, then add on something else.

3. Do not focus on the scale:  Do NOT make it about the scale.  As hard as this sounds, if you are someone obsessed with a number, then throw the scale away. If it doesn't move you will get depressed and not just fall off of the wagon, but find a slippery slope and slide down it.  Pull out something in your wardrobe that you really want to wear, and slip it on, tug it up the chunky thighs... Whatever, point is, if you stay committed you will see progress. I have several dresses I held onto in the hopes of one day fitting into them. I am happy to say even with my slips, trips.. Oh yes, and Christmas, they still fit. Some are tight and the seams are screaming "hey fatty....AHEM!" 

4. Check in on yourself:  As I said in the last example, some are tight and the seams are screaming, this is when I say to myself, it's time to get back in control, unlike in the past when I would reach into the back of the closet and grab the next size up.

5. Don't be too hard on yourself:  I would say this as long as you are breathing you always have a "second chance".  So what you ate a doughnut today! You gave in to the impulse to add sugar to your coffee!  You did not gain your excess weight in a day, and it will take more than a day to lose it.

6. Focus on lifestyle changes:  And finally, what you really want to concentrate on is making LIFESTYLE changes. Commit to doing one healthy thing a day... EVERY DAY and you will see changes.  Fifteen years ago I began to drink water. In the beginning it was hard. I struggled. I had a 64 oz. bottle and it used to take me a week to get through it. Then I marked it so that I had to drink so much water an hour; and by the end of 2 months that same bottle that used to take a week to drink  I could drink in a day. Now 15 years later I can drink it between 9a.m. and noon; depending on how busy my day is. My tastes have changed so much that now I rarely drink soda, and when I do, I can't finish a 12 oz. can without feeling gross. My body doesn't even like it as a "treat" anymore.  If I want some pop and fizzle, I drink sparkling water, but no more than once a week.

Thank you Lori for that insightful and inspiring interview.  I love that through your struggle you are open, honest and positive about your journey.  We wish you well and we are pulling for you to reach your 45th birthday goal of being under170 lbs.  

Lori Ingram resides on the Isle of Bermuda, where she manages a very active philanthropic entity. Lori also writes a faith inspired blog called The Musings of Me

I hope you enjoyed this interview and found some inspiration for your journey.  If so, please leave a comment and or a topic of interest you would like to see covered in  "On The Way". 


  1. Great interview! I also conduct interviews on my blog. Lori's story was inspirational. I can't wait to read who you interview next.

    1. Thanks Crystal. I'm glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for popping by.

  2. Lori is definitely an inspiration. Thanks for sharing her story.

  3. This was a great interview. The battle with weight is a real one. While, I'm not obese I still constantly battle with keeping my weight in control. It can take over your life mentally.

    1. Yes Melody the battle is real. I'm glad you enjoyed the interview. Thanks for popping by.

  4. Good for her!! It is a very tough struggle and admire her commitment! Daily lifestyle changes are key vs fad diets since with those the weight will come back. And Bermuda!!! I have been and it must be a beautiful place to live!

    1. You are right Nadeen. Lifestyle changes are the key. Glad you enjoyed Bda. That is my home!

  5. This is a very inspirational story! I truly admire her and thanks so much for sharing.

    1. Yes Adanna, it is good to know you can make it when the odds are stacked against you.

  6. Ask yourself why is it that you want to lose weight? That was a big one for me. At first it was to please others, which explains why it never that I am doing it for me and for my health :)

    1. So true, only what we are truly connected to lasts.

  7. I really enjoyed this post, I wish Lori nothing but the best as she continues on her fitness journey. She is a true inspiration, thanks for sharing.

    1. You are welcome Mimi. I'm glad you enjoyed the post.

  8. She's definitely an inspiration. She touched on some key points that would definitely help someone else on this journey.

  9. What a great interview! Thanks to Lori for sharing her journey! I love her last truly is a lifestyle!

  10. Love this post Gina. I can relate on the subject of bulimia. Glad to see Lor is working on her and winning every time she makes a better decision. Keep the motivation coming.

  11. I really like the comment, "don't be too hard on yourself." It is true. We can be our own worse enemies in the battle of the bulge!

    Thanks for sharing on this week's Mom 2 Mom Encouragement Linky Party! Hope you come join us again soon, Rachael @ Diamonds in the Rough