By Andrea (Matetic) Osmun g05Published: Jan 27, 2017
Alumni weight loss stories
While many people made New Year’s resolutions to lose weight this year, two Fort Wayne alumni, Lorraine “Lori” Papazian-Boyce g77 and Brandon Hall g03, have already crushed their weight loss goals and hope to inspire others to make healthy lifestyle choices in 2017.
Lorraine Papazian-Boyce g77
Over the past two-and-a-half years, Lori has lost 149 pounds. She said her secret was simple but challenging: “I ate less and moved more. That’s what it all comes down to. I don’t have any secret potions or diets or anything like that. I simply used the MyFitnssPal app to make calorie counting quick and easy.”
After Lori graduated from Fort Wayne Bible College (FWBC) in 1977, she went for her master’s degree in health systems management at Rush University in Chicago. However, she learned how to count calories in her physical education class at FWBC.
“You have to eat fewer calories than you burn,” she said.
During that class she lost some weight, but since then she gradually gained five or ten pounds each year and never lost any of it.
“That’s how I got from a normal weight to over 300 pounds two-and-a-half years ago,” Lori said.
Lori decided she needed to make some major changes. She started going to a personal trainer who had just opened up his business in Belfair, Wash., where she and her husband, David g76, live.
Lori said her fitness trainer was a “no-nonsense kind of guy” who told her to start keeping track of everything she ate and the calories she consumed each day. He also started her on exercise and strength training, which was tough because she was very weak at the time.
“I knew, before I started working with the trainer, that if I was going to do this, I was going to have to make changes for the rest of my life,” she said. “This was not going to be a short-term project. Throughout the process, I didn’t do anything I didn’t believe I [could] sustain on a long-term basis.”
Her weight-loss journey inspired David to get healthy, too. Lori said he lost about 40 pounds during this time.
“I was 59 years old, and I weighed 300 pounds,” she said. “I honestly believed it was impossible for my body to lose weight, but I did. I ran a 5K this summer. When I was in college, I couldn’t run a mile. So, whatever your barriers, challenges, or excuses are, you can do it. No matter how much you weigh or where you are in your life, it can be done.”
Brandon Hall g03
Brandon decided he needed to get serious about his health because of his family. Brandon and Nicole (Lemberg) g05 have a son and two daughters, and Nicole is pregnant with their fourth child, a daughter who is due in February. Over the past six months, Brandon lost 60 pounds and is now maintaining his desired weight.
“Our kids are 10, 8, 1, and one on the way,” he said. “Knowing that I’m going to have younger kids for a long period of time, I need to have energy and be around as they grow up. I was headed for a lot of health issues that could have shortened that.”
Brandon’s weight-loss journey is similar to Lori’s. He also sought out a health coach who put him on a strict, controlled diet and helped him change his perspective on weight loss in order to stay healthy for the long haul. A big part of that included learning to let go of his reliance upon food for emotional satisfaction or stress relief.
“Working on the mental aspect was the big thing that flipped the switch for me,” he said. “That’s the big piece that people miss. People look for a quick fix. A lot of people know the ‘how,’ but if you don’t know your ‘why,’ you’re not going to stick with it.”
His goals for 2017 are to become more active and encourage others to get healthier, too. He’s now a health coach with Take Shape For Life, the same program that helped him. The program is all done through texting, email, phone calls, and video calls, so he can work with anyone throughout the country.
“Community and support is a huge, huge thing,” he said. “If you’re doing it by yourself, it’s going to be so much more difficult. You need a health coach or some other people encouraging and supporting you along the way. If you don’t have that, you’ll never stick with it.”