305 lbs. Couch to 5K, Part 1

The Couch to 5K program was to meet three days a week on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday for fifteen weeks.  I was fortunate enough that we were meeting at the community center about five minutes from my house.

I was excited about this new (ad)venture but also a bit nervous.  I didn’t quite know what I was getting myself into.  And, I was going at it alone.  It’s always more comfortable to do something like this with a friend–or two.

When I arrived for the initial meeting, it was raining.  We met in a room inside the community center.  There was somewhere around 45 people in all.  I saw very few people who looked like couch potatoes.  Most of them looked like they had been doing this for a while.  I was starting to think that I was way out of my league.

We were given a printed schedule of what our runs would be during the 15-week program.  Mike was our fearless leader, and he had several other coaches to help with the training.  After some introductions and brief instructions, we went out for our first run.

By now the rain had reduced to a sprinkle, and we were back to a typical midwestern, summer day–hot and humid!  We took a brisk walk down the parkway to warm up.  Then, the running began.  We were scheduled to run for one minute and then walk for 90 seconds and to repeat this for 20 minutes.  Due to the time taken for the initial meeting, we were only going to do the interval about three times.  I had doubts that I could do this.

The longest period of time I had ever ran was on a treadmill for 60 seconds during the Commit to Get Fit program with Cole.  It took the entire 12 weeks for me to work up to being able to run for  60 seconds.  Knowing I had run for 60 seconds on a treadmill just a few weeks prior doing basically the same thing with HIIT training, gave me hope that maybe I could do this.

Mike gave the signal for us to start running.  I knew that walking on the street/sidewalk was much more difficult than walking on a treadmill.  I soon learned that the same goes for running.  That was the longest 60 seconds of my life!  We then had our 90 second walk.  That walk became the shortest 90 seconds of my life.  Just when I thought I could breathe again, we were to start running!  I thought I was going to die, and then I was scared to death that I wouldn’t!  I don’t even think that I was able to run the last 60 seconds–I’m sure I had to walk part of it.

Still, I did it to the best of my ability.  There were plenty of us huffing and puffing.  Afterwards we did some stretching together.  Mike told us that today would be the toughest day and that it would get easier.  I was huffing, I was puffing, and I didn’t believe a word he said!

By Lori Camper


Celebrating One Year of Running

Last weekend I ran a 5K with my daughter and some friends.  It wasn’t until afterwards that I realized that it was this very same weekend one year ago that I ran my first race.  What a way to celebrate running one year!

This race was a Pumpkin Run at a farm.  We had perfect weather.  It was sunny and 55 degrees.  There was a fog lifting as we drove to the race, so that meant the whole course was wet and slippery.  The course was on a farm that included a pumpkin patch along with sunflowers, a corn maize, and all kinds of various vegetables.  We started out on gravel and then ran through the corn maize and then through other parts of the farm.

When we arrived, we noticed a group of about five girls in orange tutus.  They snarked at us old ladies in our tutus of various colors.

The race started and we went straight up a hill and then into the corn maize.  I was barely awake and not ready for that hill yet.  The corn maize was especially treacherous with the ruts, animal tracks, and uneven ground.  Running a straight line was impossible.  It was a zig-zag the whole way.  Once out of the maize we hit the mud and tall, slippery grass, so it was till very careful going.  Once I hit the one mile mark, I passed a couple of the girls in the orange tutus.  As I passed them I heard, “Oh, that’s scary.”

I now had a goal.  I was going to do everything I could to cross the finish line before these two girls did!

It wasn’t long until they passed me again, but as soon as we were on a flat straight away where I thought I had good footing, I passed them again.  They got me again on the next hill, but as soon as we were at the top and I had some flat ground, I passed them again and heard, “There she goes again!”

After that we had a short decline, around a corner, and a nice, flat straight away.  I pushed myself as much as I could to get far enough ahead of these girls that they would not be able to pass me again.  At the next turn I looked back to see that the girls were far enough behind me that I probably wouldn’t have to worry about them catching up.  Still, I did not want them to sneak up on me at the last second.  I pushed up the final hill and then down to the finish line.  Mission accomplished!

My time was not the best I’ve had or the worst, but this was my first trail race.  This was by far the toughest 5K I’ve done simply due to the terrain.  Most satisfyingly of all was beating the snobs in the orange tutus!

And then I found this and had to take a photo:



305 lbs. Commit to Get Fit, the Book

During the time that I was participating in the 12-week Commit to Get Fit program at my local community center, my teammate recommended a book to me.  Ironically enough, it was also named Commit to Get Fit.  My teammate had it on Kindle, and was able to “loan” it to me for the three-week period that Kindle gives you.  I did read the book and found it very encouraging and inspiring.  However, due to the time limit, I also felt like I read at least parts of it at lightening speed.

I wanted to write a post on this book but didn’t feel like I could do it justice without reading it again.  So, I went to Amazon and bought a “like new” copy for just a few dollars and was pleasantly surprised to receive an autographed copy!  I am so glad that I chose to re-read this book.  It has been educational, entertaining, inspiring, and hard to put down.

Commit to Get Fit by Laura Dion-Jones

This book comes with a warning on the cover:  WARNING:  This is NOT your typical diet and fitness book!

It doesn’t take much reading in this book to find that it truly is not your typical diet and fitness book.  Why?  Because Dion-Jones is not your typical lady.  Dion-Jones very bluntly tells it the way it is, does not mince words, and does it all with great humor.

The first part of the book tells her story, which is inspiring in itself.  Not only was she a plus-size model, but she also created her own designer line of plus-size clothing.  She started her weight-loss journey at 317 lbs.   Just weeks away from gastric bypass surgery, she decided against it after attending a support group meeting for post-op patients.  This decision took her journey on a different track which resulted in walking 35,000 miles in 10 years–with a dislocated knee!

After telling her story, the book then focuses on you, and encourages you to create your own weight-loss story.  Dion-Jones tells you how to do this step by step.  She tells you what you MUST do for success.  She makes no bones about it being difficult and that permanent change is necessary  for “your own true and everlasting weight loss.”

After planning your future, there is Motivation and Inspiration, tips to keep you on track, meal suggestions, and all kinds of resources.  Yes, this book is a complete program in itself!

Wherever you are in your journey, this book could be a resource for you.  It is a quick read, but one that I know I’ll return to again and again as a resource.  Dion-Jones also has her own website where you can find some of the same information as in her book.  She also has videos, a blog, a coaching program, and many other resources to help you with “your own true and everlasting weight loss.”  You just “gotta wanna.”



305 lbs. True Confessions

As summer comes to an end, I have taken some time to reflect on my accomplishments.  It’s been a rough summer, but it has gone by quickly.

I lost my job in the spring and started working again in May.  The company I worked for was sold, and at first I was told that the new company was not going to hire me.  After my boss who was one of the partners in the original company quit, the new company did hire me.  I gained a job but lost my biggest cheerleader.

Sometimes you don’t realize what a strain something is until it’s gone.  I’ve grown up having a dog my whole life.  I didn’t realize how much work having a dog was until our dog of 16 years died and we decided not to get another one.  I did not realize how much stress my job brought into my life until it was gone.  Finding the time to run or go to the gym was easy.  The pounds just seemed to fall off.  My stress was definitely at an all-time low.

Going back to work has been very stressful  for my whole family.  I am doing the exact same job that I was before, except that I am no longer allowed to work from home.  That has caused a huge strain on me because I am now trying to cram seven days of home management into five.  My being out of the house two days a week for somewhere in the neighborhood of 13 hours a day has effected everyone in some way.

This summer has been the roller coaster summer–lose two pounds, gain two pounds, lose two pounds, gain two pounds.  I’ve been here before, and it’s frustrating.  I look back at the summer and think of the time that is gone that I cannot get back.  However, I look back at what I’ve done so far–losing 100 pounds and able to do almost anything–and I’m amazed.  I feel like I’ve completed a monumental task.  Did I really do that?

However, I’m not finished yet.  I’ve been looking back so much on what I’ve done that I have lost sight of my goal.  I need to refocus.  I need to quit looking back and turn around and look ahead.   However, when I do look in the right direction, the task ahead seems astronomical. I think that I cannot do it and that I might as well just give up.  Fear sets in.  Fear of failure.

Sometimes I think I’ve gotten too comfortable where I am. Everyone keeps telling me how great I look, so I feel accepted. I feel content and satisified where I am, so there’s no push to change that.  Time is flying by.  I don’t want to waste another minute!


The Benefits of a Group

Last weekend was the big finale for our C25K (Couch to 5K) group.  We all spent the summer training together for a 5K.  Last weekend was the 5K our group ran together.  For a few of us, this was not our first year in the group.  For others, it was their first year and their first 5K.

The morning was a cool and crisp 55 degrees.  The course was fairly flat on a paved highway.  Running on pavement is my favorite, so I loved it.

We all had our own personal goals, which I believe everyone met.  Thanks to our coach, we were all very well prepared.  Many in our group received medals!

Working out in a group has been great for me, especially when trying something new.  Here are some advantages of working within a group:

Leadership.  If you’re working in a group, there is most likely going to be a group leader.  This is someone that is experienced in the task at hand.  When you meet, the leader will most likely have a workout already planned.  All you have to do is show up and follow directions.

You’re not alone.  Trying something new on your own can be difficult.  You may not know what to do, how to do it, and when to do it.  If you’re working in a group, you have a lot of people to help you.  There will probably be other people in your group in the same shoes you are.  When trying something new, it’s nice not to be alone.

Defined meeting time and place.  Group workouts will have an appointed meeting time and place.  Your workouts are already scheduled for you!  Some might see this as a disadvantage but working in a group will keep you from using excuses not to work out.  You’ll show up on days you really didn’t want to work out and do it anyway.  When I do this, I’m always glad I showed up.

Accountability.  If you don’t show up, everyone is going to be asking where you were! Other in your group will let you know when you’re doing a great job, and when you’re slacking as well.

Collaboration.  You can glean from your coach and from those in your group.  You can share knowledge, experience, ideas, mistakes, and successes even.

Encouragement.  With physical exercise not only are you having to mentally learn something new, but you are most likely stretching your body physically.  You will be surrounded by people that are there for the same reason you are–to better yourself.  I have never seen people be more encouraging to one another as I have seen in the fitness community.  On the days that you “don’t want to” or “don’t feel like it,” you’ll have people to encourage you and get you moving anyway.  On the days that you’re feeling great, you can be an encouragement to others.

Camaraderie.  Whether you’re in a team sport or doing something that’s more individual, you will develop the same camaraderie a team does.  You will all have this “we’re all in this together” attitude.  The strong will encourage the weak (so to speak), and the weak will remind the strong of where they once were and how far they’ve come.

Relationships.  Most likely, you will gain a new friend or two.  It may not be a close relationship or someone that you tell your secrets to, but eventually you will find a workout buddy that you can exercise with.   This could prove invaluable when the time allotted for your group has expired.

If you’re wanting to try something new whether it be exercising, knitting, or cooking finding a group to be involved in may be the motivation to do it.  Your group will be made up of people with varying degrees of knowledge and experience.  You can all glean from each other while learning something new together or trying to meet a new goal.  This can make learning or doing something new a lot less painful while boosting your odds of success far above that of doing it on your own.


2 Days, 2 5K’s

I ran another 5K with my daughter and a group of friends Sunday morning.  This one was bright and early at 7:00 am.  A cool front had come through, so the weather was nice and cool.  It was about 60 degrees when the race started.  It was great running weather!  Knowing the course and knowing what to expect is always a plus as well.

This course was the same course as the SuperDad 5K that my daughter and I ran on Father’s Day.  It was amazing what the difference in the weather made that day.  My focus leading up to the race was to get the nutrition and rest that I needed to get up at the crack of dawn and run three miles.

We all did well and ran the entire race without walking.  My time was a little slower than I had hoped, but my pace time was where I wanted it to be.  Overall, it was quite an improvement over the last race I ran.

My daughter got 3rd place in her age group, and our friend Isaac got 2nd place in his age group for running the 10k.  There’s nothing like being in a group of winners!

Monday night I went to meet with our running group, and our coach said, “We’re going to run a 5K tonight!”  I was not feeling up to a 5K Monday night.  I had just finished a 5K the day before.  I knew I could do it.  I didn’t think I needed to prove anything to myself Monday night.

So, I didn’t.  I cut a few corners and made it through.  Tuesday I felt good and refreshed.  We worked on speed, and I gave it all I had–just like I did on Monday, just like I did on Sunday.

The human body in some ways is like a machine.  Many factors can effect its performance, especially maintenance.  Physical activity, like running, is more than just physical.  It is very much a mental activity as well.  If you’re not in the right mindset, if you’re telling yourself that you can’t do it; then you won’t.  It’s important to listen to your body as far as pain and injuries, but when it comes to physically completing a task (like a 5K) all that’s needed is your knowing that you can do it.  Having friends and family around you (see photo above) that will tell you that you can do it when you’re doubting yourself is vital in the beginning.  Once you quit doubting yourself and know you can do it, all everyone else needs to do is get out of the way!

By Lori Camper


Gone Fishing

I will be back next week!


305 lbs. You are . . .

Many people in my neighborhood have gotten accustomed to seeing the old, fat lady trying to run.  While out on a run this morning, a tall, skinny lady was out watering her plants.  She politely waved to me, and I waved back.  She then yelled,


Old, fat lady (me), “Thank you.”

Skinny Lady (SL), “I’m a runner too!”

Me, “I’m trying to be one.”

SL, “You’re out here, you’re doing it, you ARE A RUNNER!”

Lifestyle changes such as changing your eating habits and taking up a new sport are difficult.  It may take months or even years before we become experienced and proficient at our new lifestyle.  In the meantime, we often feel as if we’re not really a ________ (fill in the blank) yet.  We’re new at it, we’re struggling, we feel like we’re not there yet.

I was reminded today that if you’re doing it consistently, you are.  If you’re pumping iron regularly and consistently, regardless of how much, you’re a weight lifter.  If you’re out riding your bicycle, you’re a cyclist.  If you’re out running again and again and again, you’re a runner.  If you’re making and drinking juices regularly, you’re a juicer.  If you’re sitting on the couch thinking about doing some of these things, you’re still a couch potato.

I could go on and on with examples.  The bottom line is, you are.  If you don’t like what you are now, decide now to change that.  Once you start your new lifestyle, remember that regardless of how long you’ve been at it or how proficient you are, YOU ARE!


The Silencing of Juicing Radio

Juicing Radio is a free podcast sponsored by Champion Juicers and created and hosted by Shane Whaley and Angela Von Buelow.  Their website says,

Juicing Radio is a podcast aimed at motivating, inspiring and educating people who are interested in starting juicing, sustaining juicing or renewing their interest in juicing.

Anyone you’ve ever heard of in the juicing community has been on Juicing Radio.  Most of them more than once.  A lot of people you’ve never heard of, ordinary people like you and me, have also been on Juicing Radio.  In fact, Shane asked me a few months ago if I would do an interview for the program.  I felt very honored, and I was excited to be able to share my story and what I have learned the last few years.  My eight year old has been asking me all summer, “Mommy, when are you going to be on the radio?”

Juicing Radio’s weekly podcasts have been an encouragement over the last year.  I have looked forward to listening to them, learning, and gleaning from the guests on the program.  I arrive at my part-time job on Friday mornings and refresh my podcast list.  Always there is a new program from Juicing Radio that I add to my “up next” list.  Often after listening to the program I would add it to the “up next” list again so that I could glean even more information.

This last Friday morning there was no new podcast from Juicing Radio.  I was bummed and thought, “What’s up?”  I arrived home Saturday night to find that there was a new podcast released, but it was also Juicing Radio’s last podcast.  This came as  a disappointment as the quality of the podcasts were absolutely excellent, and there is no other podcast out there like it!

The good news is that the podcasts are archived for now and you can listen to them and even download them to listen to later.  Shane says in his final podcast that he does not know how long he will be able to host the podcasts online, so go listen and download now while they’re still there.

Thank you, Shane and Angie for your valuable contributions to the juicing community.  I’m sure you will continue to contribute in other ways.


305 lbs. From Commit to Get Fit to Couch to 5K

The Commit to Get Fit program was finished the first week of April.  After that, I signed up for more exercise classes.  I was going to the gym five days a week for classes and trying to figure out what my next course of action would be.

One day, I picked up a flyer from the front desk of the community center.  It was advertising a Couch to 5K program that started in the middle of June.  I contemplated and stewed over whether or not I could do it.  I had never been a runner–probably a lot of that was to do with my severe pronation and never having the right shoes.  The one thing I hated the most in P.E class was track and field.  The only thing I hated more than running were the hurdles or anything else that involved jumping.

I tried to get a few people to sign up for the Couch to 5K program with me, but no one was interested.  I decided to go ahead and give it a go.  After all, it was only $20.  If I failed or dropped out, I wouldn’t be out much.  If it weren’t for Cole convincing me that I could do anything I put my mind to, I would’ve never even signed up for it.

I convinced myself to sign up for one reason, and one reason only–the dreaded turkey neck.  That’s right, pure vanity!  Due to my sheer size, I had a double chin for quite some time.  As I lost weight, I could see that it was slowly turning into the turkey neck.  One look at the women in my family, and I could see that it was inevitble.  I had noticed many years prior, and for some reason it had stuck in my mind, that runners have great necks.  I didn’t know one runner (and I mean a seasoned, dedicated runner) that was overweight, had a big belly, or a turkey neck.

Bottom line was, I needed a reason to give this a shot.  It was a 15 week program with a 5K at the end.  If vanity was what it took, I was willing to use it.  For the first time in my life I was starting to care about me.  For the first time in my life I was starting to take care of myself the way I should–not just skin deep, but through and through to the core.

By Lori Camper