When she walks into Sanford Fargo’s weight loss clinic nowadays, Lori Odegaard feels pretty good about herself. That wasn’t the case five years ago though.
“I was walking upstairs at my parents’ house and I got to the top of 14 steps. I was so out of breath and it was really alarming to me,” Odegaard said. “That was my heaviest. I was 297 pounds.”
After that trip up the stairs, Odegaard decided to change her life. She started eating better and exercising. In her first year she lost 40 pounds, but soon her weight loss plateaued. She eventually reached out to Sanford.
“Someone had told me about the Sanford weight loss clinic, and I was like, ‘Oh, OK. There’s health coaches, there’s meetings, you can go to all this different stuff,” said Odegaard.
Help from Sanford
“We kind of have a moderation mindset, as far as lifestyle, nutrition and exercise. There’s nothing that our program restricts,” said Whitney Kohoutek, an RN Health Coach at the weight loss clinic. “Sometimes I think of weight loss as a puzzle and every patient needs to figure out how to put that puzzle together, and the puzzle is different for everybody.”
For Odegaard, things started to click after meeting with Kohoutek, and trying a different way of tracking her eating habits.
“I was seeing my body change, but I wasn’t seeing the scale change necessarily,” said Odegaard. “It wasn’t until this last summer I started trying something different — counting my calories — and I lost the remaining (weight). It’s been amazing since then.”
Odegaard started her weight loss journey at 297 pounds and now she weighs 193, having lost more than 100 pounds in five years strictly through lifestyle changes in diet and exercise.
“I think something that makes Lori really special is her determination and drive to want to lose the weight,” said Kohoutek. “Her motivation was not so much what she looked like or to be thin. This was more driven by health and wanting to live the best life she could.”
Sharing her story nationwide
The North Dakota State University senior shared her inspiring story with a local television affiliate in Fargo, and that story was soon picked up by multiple national outlets, including Fox News and most recently, the “Today” show.
“I was like, ‘Am I being punked or something? This is crazy!’” Odegaard said about being approached by “Today.” She was supposed to fly to New York to tell her story live in-studio, but a COVID-19 surge changed those plans. Instead, the hosts of “Today” interviewed her on a web call.
“We are so lucky we have technology and the world that it is today with it, that I can still be on the show,” Odegaard said. “When I see the interviews, I think of myself as that 14-year-old girl who was really struggling. And I think to myself how proud she would be of herself, you know, 10 years in the future. That’s what I think about, and that just makes me start crying.”
Odegaard has shared her story with the whole country, and after all this time she’s still giving advice to other people who may try to follow in her footsteps.
“Be nice to yourself. I wish I would’ve been nicer to myself through this whole journey,” said Odegaard. “I know it took me five years, and that probably seems like forever for some people. But now I look back at those last five years and I’m like, ‘I did it though.’ The pride I have for myself … it’s just unbelievable.”
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