karensept photo (1)   image (2)
Karen, 9-22-2012 Karen, 11-5-2012 Karen, 12-31-2012

I want to share Karen’s story with you today because you may be one of those people, like Karen, who had lost hope and was frustrated with her attempts at weight loss, getting fit, and having a body that just plain worked and looked better.

Karen is now approaching her 20-lb weight loss mark and is down 2 pants sizes. She’s also made some dramatic changes in her lipid profile;  see graph below. Yet most importantly, she is infused with enthusiasm and hope that she thought were gone forever.

Making clear plans, working through the fine details, and being honest and present with each step of the process and acknowledging the 3 Pillars has brought Karen deep and rich rewards. Here is a peek into Karen’s story, told through her unedited answers to a questionnaire I sent to her for evaluation at the two-month mark of our work together, a good time to reflect and acknowledge all the wins.


Changes in Karen’s lipid profile


Karen’s weight loss graph

These are Karen’s responses in interview:


Q.  What were your challenges or frustrations that you were looking for assistance with?KarenDrakedec13

Karen:  My challenges or frustrations have been with finding a plan that works as a complete lifestyle change and finding someone who understand my lifestyle to walk with me on this journey. Sometimes listening to the difficulties that others express at weight loss meetings did not resonate with mine. I travel 3 times a year to Africa and needed a program that would ebb and flow with my travel as well as work with the available food in both settings.

I also felt embarrassed that as a professional myself with degrees behind my name I still could not reach my weight loss goals. I asked, how could I have studied hard and gotten a PhD, but don’t have what it takes to get rid of weight, and gain a healthy eating pattern and lifestyle.

After spending some time discovering the weight loss and health benefits of eating low fat and plant based, I knew I needed guidance in making this change and I didn’t find it to the extent that I needed in websites and articles. I needed a coach.

Q 4) What specific changes have you experienced since getting started? Include specific measureables such as weight, and think also about energy, movement and getting around.

Karen:  I have had many measurable changes.

  1. I have lost weight about 17-19 pounds since we started in late August.
  2. I have more energy.
  3. I don’t need to snack often – and if it is because I am hungry – then I can eat the right foods.
  4. I am wearing slacks that are 2 size smaller.
  5. The big midsection has shrunk and you can see it in pictures.
  6.  Maybe best of all – I have had incredible changes in my lipid panel that made my doctor very happy.
  7. I am exercising more.

Q 4) From there, what changes have you experienced with eating and food planning, degree of comfort with learning new ways of eating and exercise?

Karen:  My changes have been many:

  1.  I now eat almost 100% low fat and plant based – with a few planned exceptions for holiday or special occasion. Planned and then immediate routine to my new regular way of eating.
  2. I have to plan ahead to have the right food in the house, to have meals and foods ready when I am truly hungry so that I am not tempted to eat choices that might not be the best.
  3. I have to plan ahead at work to have the right food available there. The world out there is not really ready for people who eat like I do.
  4. I find eating this way satisfying and I have no need to eat when I am not hungry for real food.
  5. The hardest part is eating out with friends and family. Thankfully, my family will look for places to eat that are maybe vegetarian or vegan – but most choices are still not as low in fat as I would choose at home. I try to make the best choices and focus on the good times of being with friends and family and not on food. I have found eating some good food before I go, means I don’t really need so much food when I am out anyway.
  6. Exercise is still my last frontier to conquer. I know because the other areas have come a long way that this will too. It is the hardiest area both mentally and in reality of my life’s irregular schedule.

Q 5) What have been the best changes for you?

Karen:  the successes of weight loss, figure changes, having more energy, feeling healthy, and knowing that my lipid panel is looking so much better.

Q 6) What strategies have you found most helpful?

Karen:  these are strategies that I have found helpful:

  1. Planning, sometimes this takes the form of journaling and goal setting as well as having the right things around.
  2. Reading, studying and even listening to the Boot Camp Mind materials – filling my mind with the right thinking about where I have come from and where I am going. Knowing it has good research behind the changes I am making.
  3. Getting the support of husband and family.
  4. Focusing on my successes and not the failures to be perfect. Tracking weight, taking pictures, looking a lipid panel results. Success builds more success and keeps me on track. It was hard to wait for the first signs of success – but when you get there – I “feast” on the small successes because I know I want more.
  5. karensuccessstoryRemembering my vision and ultimate goal. Lani had me create a vision statement and I think of that to stay on track.

Karen B. Drake, RNBC, PhD
Professor of Nursing
Director of Skills Lab and Technology
Bethel University
St. Paul, MN

Karen has demonstrated that we can make changes for the better and improve our bodies, our health and our lives.  I’ve had the privilege of working with Karen via the Fast Start program.  You can read the complete transcript of Karen’s interview on the Fast Start page.


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