Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Saying, "I can't have that", will make you want "that".

Happy Hump Day!! I still can't get over how hot it is!  I know it's August and all, but hello, the leaves are starting to fall, so that means fall is coming, right?!?!  I hope so!  I will take one last weekend of some fun in the sun, and then it's time to say good-bye to sundresses and tank tops.  I wan football, chili, sweaters and boots!

Today I want to touch on something that hit me, like a ton of bricks, last night.  I no longer say, "oh I can't eat that".  Yep, I allow myself, what I want (this actually happened when I ate some dark chocolate chips, followed by s few combos).  WHY???  Because when you say, "oh I can't have that", this makes you want it even more.  I realized last night that I have been living this way, since about January.  And what do you know, I have been in the best shape of my life, I haven't had the urge to purge, I never feel deprived and I am 100% content, with who I am.  Hmmm.... 

It's funny that this all hit me last night, because one of my favorite fitness girls, JillFit, did a post on it, this morning.  Her post is titled "How cheating more, will help you cheat less".  I knew I loved this girl for a reason.  She is SO right!  She mentions that the whole "black and white" thing, doesn't work with successful weight loss.  It only took me 40 years to truly get that one!  You cannot lose weight and keep it off, saying you can't have certain things.  Your "lifestyle change", MUST fit YOUR, specific needs.  For instance, I am an ice cream addict!  Yep, I MUST have it.  So I knew I had to keep this in my normal rotation of foods.  This is why I can NEVER eat 100% clean.  It's just not in my DNA!  I like stuff like, wine, ice cream, Doritos, that yummy cheese dip, you get at Mexican restaurants, egg rolls, sour candy....just to name a few.  But what I do now, is have that as a treat.  Like when we go to the movies, I don't think twice about eating popcorn, milk duds and chocolate covered raisins.  I mean it, no guilt at all!  I sit back, enjoy the movie and my treats.  I am now in the mindset that I can have bad stuff, and when I do, it doesn't mean the whole day is shot.  We usually go to the movies before noon, on the weekends.  It is way  So for breakfast, I will have my oatmeal pancakes and some form of protein.  Then when we get home have lunch, I eat clean, as well. And that night, if I want wine, it's ok.  I just make sure, my dinner is healthy and "clean".  And I don't gain weight or eat this stuff and go, "OMG I am such a cow".   But boy I sure did, a year ago. 

I am in a pretty predictable eating routine now.  SO....I know to "plan ahead" for my so-called "bad" foods.  Like I know we eat out more on the weekends, so I make adjustments during the week, for this. Or if I have a GNO during the week, I plan ahead for certain workouts that will burn more and I eat more strict.  Then when I got to "half price bottles of wine", night, I don't feel an ounce of guilt. 

Planning a head is HUGE, in weight loss.  As is allowing yourself what you are craving.  When you are craving chips, measure them out and stick to the serving size.  You will be amazed that this is enough, to satisfy your craving.  AND...once you have it, you won't feel the need to binge.  It's these little things, that keep you on the right track.  I think this is why Weight Watchers is so successful, for so many people.  You get to eat what you want, based on your points.  I have many friends that have been super successful at this.  Like they save up points for nights out of Mexican food and wine.  So it's kind of like how I live my life.  I plan ahead accordingly, for what I might eat.  I do this with my workouts as well.  On days I haven't eaten as much as I should, my workouts are lighter.  And then when I eat more, I workout more.  BUT...I always balance it out, to make sure I am eating enough.  Don't ever want to slip below what my body  needs.

One thing that has REALLY helped me not feel deprived, is making some "bad" food, good!  If you want a burger and fries...take a red potato and a sweet potato, cut them up into cubes, add some olive oil, a little garlic powder and red pepper flakes, roast @ 450 for about 20 minutes.  Then take some 99% lean turkey, spice it up with hot sauce and Worcestershire sauce and broil. This is one of my FAVORITE meals!  Who needs McDonald's anyway!!   Oh and I replaced my ketchup addiction with many different flavors of mustard!  I like jalapeno, sweet & spicy and Dijon, to name a few!

Do NOT be afraid of food!  Make it your friend. Ok I know that sounds stupid, but it is true!  I used to literally be afraid of food!  I would get nervous about eating food, because I thought every ounce of it, whether it was healthy or unhealthy, would make me gain weight.  Now I actually enjoy eating and don't "think" about it.  Also try new things, things you think you won't like!  You might be surprised.  And....make your food as esthetically pleasing, as possible.  Make it "pop", with color.  This will also really help.  Mind games people, they!!!

Hope you are all enjoying your week so far!  I am SO ready for one last 3 day weekend....I need to clean my closet...ick!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

20 Random weight loss "things" about me!

Happy Tuesday!  It is hotter than a 2 peckered goat, in a sheep field, here in lovely IL!  It's almost too hot to swim!  Well unless you have a cooler stocked with wine and beer and margaritas!  Oh and a pool boy that looks like Bradley Cooper.  Sorry....I side tracked!

On IG, this past week, a lot of people were listing 20 random things about themselves, me included.  So it gave me an idea for a blog post.  I thought I would share 20 random things about my weight loss.  Some will be kinda funny and some might be considered sad.  BUT....they are all a part of me!

1.  When I was in junior high, I weighed 210+ pounds and couldn't do any of the things we needed to, for the President's Physical Fitness Test.  It was beyond embarrassing, and I was made fun of...A LOT.  Gee you think the effing short shorts and tank tops, had something to do with it!

2.  I am the only one in my entire family, that has EVER had a weight problem.  I have 2 stunning sisters that are not only beautiful, but naturally thin.  Those skinny things could eat whatever they wanted...bitches!! :o) 

3.  I used to be a size 38DDD. Oh yes, just call me Dolly Parton. Funny thing...I share a birthday with Dolly.  Hmmmm...  I am now a 34C, but wear a 34D minimizer, due to the loose skin in my tatas!

4.  The first a-ha purchase for me, when I lost weight was a pair of Guess Jeans.  They were sized 1-4, 4 being the biggest.  To say I SQUEEZED into the size 4 (biggest size) would be an understatement.  I had to lie down to get them zipped.  But in my mind, I hit a goal and NSV!

5.  I used to have to stop, when running, after only about 3 minutes.  I would be so winded and my thighs would rub together and cause a big nasty rash.  Now...I can run a mile in 9 minutes without any problem.

6.  I lost the bulk of my weight by simply walking.  I started at a slow and steady pace, for 20 minutes and worked my way up to a fast paced, power walk, for 30 minutes.  Walking is one of the best things you can do, when trying to lose weight.  It's easy on the joints and will get those pounds off!

7.  I used to do Jane Fonda and Richard Simmons workout videos.  Oh boy was this a fun time! Jane was like JM and Richard, well he was fun!  Unfortunately, I think I just ate after those workouts.

8.  I used to eat the 2 cheeseburger and fries, value meal, at McDonald's, and still be hungry after.

9.  I have been on every fad diet known to man!  I did slim fast, the hot dog diet, the cabbage soup diet, the Atkins diet (for one second), the grapefruit diet, the starve yourself diet, the binge and purge diet...and so on.  NOT ONE OF THEM, ever worked!

10.  I used to want to be thin, so I could have a boyfriend.  Yep, I sure did.  This is why I did all those stupid diets.  HA!  What the heck was I thinking!

11.  Growing up, I ALWAYS wore a t-shirt over my swimsuit.  I was a size women's 14, while my friends were still in kids sizes.  My mom would let me get the "miracle suit" in hopes that I could hide my fat.  Pretty sure, that didn't work.

12.  I used to get mooed at, called fat ass, disgusting pig, Shamu, beached whale, Porky the Pig, the funny one with the pretty face, to name a few. 

13.  One time at a restaurant, I was with my ex and two of the waitresses, were snickering at me, calling me fat, saying "why is he with HER".  What did my ex do, told them I was his friend.  Yep, he sure the hell did.

14.  I wouldn't go para sailing because I didn't want to tell them my weight.  They had to know, and would then radio it, to the boat driver.  Yep, I was just too ashamed.

15.  I was never picked for teams in PE.  I was always the last one. Even my own friends, wouldn't pick me.

16. One time, in softball, after I lost a few pounds, my coach said, "wow, you aren't as fat anymore". Yep, a grown ass man, at a Christian School, said this to me, in front of everyone.

17.  I could eat an entire Tombstone pizza, bag of Doritos and big ass soda, and still be hungry!  This was my go to meal, when no one was home to see me eat it. 

18.  When I first lost weight, SO many people said this to me, "wow, I didn't realize how tall you were". 

19.  I have stretch marks on my stomach, boobs, hips and inner thighs, back of my arms, and they have all been there, since my early teen years.

20.  I don't know what size clothes I got up to, because in the end, I only wore elastic pants/skirts and big shirts. 

Being overweight is hard on so many levels. It can beat you down, take away your confidence, your self worth and your pride.  It hides many a smile and brings many tears. can defeat it.  You can wake up, say, "I AM DONE" and never look back.  I know this, because that is what I did.  It took me a good 2 years, to lose 75 pounds.

  The other 40 pounds, came off in the next 5-10 years. But you know what, it stayed off, because slow and steady wins the race.  YOU....have to want it, for the right reasons.  Only YOU can convince YOU, that YOU are ready.  You can look to others for motivation and inspiration, but at the end of the day, you are in control.  You will cry, you will cuss, you will say f*ck this, more times than you can count.  BUT...that is ALL a part of the journey.  You have to go through the motions and FEEL, every single emotion, known to man.  You will hit plateaus, you will not see the scale move for weeks or even months. will all work itself out.  Don't use "Haters" as your motivators, use yourself.  Prove to the old you, that the new you, is one tough cookie!  Tell that old you, buh-bye for good.  But take with you, all that you have learned.  Don't change that inner you, tweak it a bit, but don't let being "thin" make you into something you aren't. 


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Unhealthy habits are SO NOT worth it!

I wanted to touch on unhealthy ways of trying to lose weight.  I have tried MANY!!  BUT....when I was trying them, I never once thought about what they might do to me, in the long run.  I see so many people, wanting to lose weight so desperately, that they will do whatever it takes, just to get them
"skinny".  As you know, I was one of them.  I see people I know using desperate means, to get skinny, fast.  They use "diets" that will help them drop X pounds, in X amount of time.  They choose methods that won't allow them to exercise, because they aren't consuming enough calories.  Ok what is wrong that that sentence?!??!  How can exercise be excluded in a weight loss journey???  This just blows my mind.  I hear ads for this "wonder diet" on the radio.  Women bragging, that they lost 30 pounds in 6 weeks and didn't have to exercise.  Ok here comes the harsh reality of this, you will in fact, gain that weight back.  Once you are "allowed" to eat food, your body will hold on to every single calorie.  WHY???  Because you put your poor body into starvation mode.  You cannot dip below a certain amount of calories and NOT workout and be successful at weight loss, for long term.  I was there, I was bulimic for years.  And all I got from it was this, MAJOR depression, MAJOR body dysmorphic disorder issues, MAJOR dental issues (12 cavities, 2 root canals, 2 crowns and now I need a dental implant), MAJOR mood swings, hair loss and brittle nails. a quick fix to "skinnydom" worth it.  F*CK NO!!!!!!!!!!!  Skipping meals will also not get you healthy and fit.  Don't be afraid to eat!!  And don't  be afraid of weight training.  To get that fit and trim body, you MUST do cardio AND weights.  This combo burns calories and fat and tightens what is left, up! 

I know the high you get, from losing weight.  I know how good it feels, when people notice.  It is addictive. But remember, when the weight comes back on, because you put your body through hell, all that goes away.  The "high" you should want to achieve, is the one you get from feeling STRONG, FIT and IN CHARGE OF YOUR HEALTH. These are the things that will keep you feeling amazing.  It's those feelings that will last forever, if you do it the right way.  I promise you, slow and steady wins the race.  I know, because it took me over 2 years, to lose the first 75 pounds.  After that, it took me a good 3-5 years to get the rest off.  And in this journey, I slipped a few times, but knew the "right way" to get back on track.  I have only fluctuated up, 20 pounds in the last oh, 15 years.  If you ask me, that is success.  I will take a gain of 20 pounds, after losing 115.  I had to fail many times, to get here though.  AND THAT IS OK! 

It makes me so sad, to see so many people, only want to be skinny and do it the quick fix way.  And I know I cannot tell them, it won't work.  I know this first hand, you must figure it out on your own.  I wish people knew just how much yummy food you can eat, and still lose weight.  I wish they knew that working out 20-30 minutes a day, at home and eating clean foods, will get you there.  And it will get you there without ever feeling like you are on a shitty diet. 

I guess what I am really trying to get across is this, if you want to lose weight and be successful, take the word diet out of your vocabulary.  Go into with the attitude that it's a way of life now.  Don't do it because you have a wedding to go to, or be in, so you want to look your best.  That "skinny pic" of you, is not worth all the shit you are doing to your body and mind.  Remember, if all those magical breakthrough "diets" worked, and worked for long term, no one would have weight issues.  You need a plan that teaches you how to eat, to lose.  Not one that tells you, not to eat, to lose. 

Like I said, I have been there, so I get it ALL!  The high you get is great and it's one you always dreamt of.  You know when people stop and say, "Oh  my God you look amazing, how did you do it".  Make your answer be this, "I just decided it was time to get healthy and fit".  And when you say it, mean it.  Own that shit, 10000000%. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Random things about me!

Today is going to be a random post about me!  Just some things that not a lot of people know, about ole Lori!

1.  I cannot eat a Twizzlers without tying it in a knot first.  I am being dead serious.  This little diddy started years ago.

2.  I have actually been on a boat, in the Gulf of Mexico, that sunk.  AND...we had to be rescued by the Coast Guard even though my mom and dad TRIED.... to get all that water out, with their Evian bottles.  You know, the little bottles.  Watching them try, made this awful experience, just a tad funny. :)

3.  I CANNOT stand, when people air their dirty laundry on FB.  Especially when it is related to their family.  AND....while I am at it, the whole "let's post a cryptic message, so people will ask me what is wrong", annoys the shit out of me as well. If you are FB friends with me, you can see that all I ever really post anymore, is kid stuff.  Not a day goes by that I don't log on and shake my head, at posts...

4.  I just don't get the whole, "lets post negative comments on IG pics".  I am 100% for not agreeing with what someone posts, I know I don't agree with it all and Lord knows people get annoyed by my posts.  BUT...I was raised by parents who taught me this, "if you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all".  Vent that sh*t to your friends or spouse.

6.  I have never had biscuits and gravy.  How is this possible???  I am a Midwestern girl, that grew up with my mom and Grandma making this.  I think it is the texture thing for me.  I just cannot do sausage gravy.  From what I hear, I am missing out! :)

7.  When I was younger, my lovely feet stunk so bad (from wearing tennis shoes and no socks) that after a trip to the happiest place on earth (Disney World), my parents pulled over the car and made me put my shoes in the trunk.  #truestory

8.  When I lived in NYC, I could not get used to women referring to their purses as "pocketbooks".  I mean that is what my Grandma called it.  I am a "purse" or "handbag" girl.  Just can't do "pocketbook", until I am pushing at least 70. If you are bored, go to Urban Dictionary and see some of the lovely things referred to as "pocketbooks". :)

9.  I have never owned expensive make-up or any other beauty products.  I am a Maybelline/Cover Girl, kinda gal!  Oh and I don't wear foundation.  And to highlight my cheek bones, I use good old fashioned Vaseline!   I don't even buy expensive hair care products.  I guess what I am trying to say here is this, I am very frugal when it comes to "grooming". :o)  I JUST started getting my hair professionally colored, this year.  I am still giving Amy (my friend and hair doer) shit, for not giving me an intervention, regarding my hot mess hair, years ago!

10. I was born in Effingham, IL.  My first home was a trailer in Beecher City, IL.  I would NOT change this for the world.  I grew up with hard working parents, that raised me with good, ole fashioned, Midwestern values.  I know what it is like to struggle, to not know how a bill will get paid.    I know that money does not and will not, buy you happiness.  I don't give 2 shits what you do for a living or how much money is in your bank account.  I have friends from all walks of life.  Some are unemployed, some cannot work, due to a disability and some are attorneys and computer genius's, I love them ALL the same.  I think one of the ugliest traits someone can have, is "arrogance".  One of the best, "humility". 

Hope you all are having a fabulous day!  Is it Friday yet???? 


Monday, August 19, 2013

New Goals

HAPPY MONDAY!  This weekend I thought a lot about where I am in my journey.  I decided it was time to set some goals and stick to them.  I am in "get my ass in tip top shape", mode!  I am really loving clean eating so I want to kick that up a bit and same with my workouts.  I figure I would list 15 goals I want to stick with.  These are WEEKLY goals.  I figure once I get past this week, I can continue said goals, add more or change them all up.  We shall see!
1.      No drinky during the weeky!  Yes, I know that is not proper grammar.  BUT…it rhymes and I like it! :)
Buh bye...see you later, alligator!
2.      ONLY have “clean” snacks, during the work week.  So what this means is I have to break up with Edy’s Lite.  Yep, gotta tell that lovely lady good-bye.  But we shall meet again, this weekend, perhaps.
3.      Kick my workouts up a notch!  I am going to alternate weight/cardio days with cardio days.  Cardio will consist of kickboxing and tabata.  My weight training will come from Jillian Michaels.  And I won’t lie, I plan on cussing at her and telling her to shut up, every time I do her workouts.  BUT…she knows her crap, so the love is there, just hidden waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay down deep!
4.      No take out during the week.  All dinners are going to be “clean”.  So this means my hubby is secretly doing this challenge with me, he just doesn’t know it.  So let’s not tell him!  I am hoping he likes it, sticks to it, and he needs me to buy him a smaller size in pants. J
5.      Drink only water.  This won’t be too hard, I guess.  If I want something else, it will have to be water with lemon.  OR…I love to make chocolate milk, after my workouts, with Sugar Free Almond Milk and cocoa powder.  To sweeten it a smidgen I will use my Stevia.
6.      Make sure and eat or “refuel” after my workouts.  Especially the weight training ones.  I am bad at doing this, but I need to! I know I will benefit from it. 
7.      Eat protein with all of my meals.  Even my snacks.  This might be a little hard, but I know I can do it.  I always eat protein with my carbs, so this shouldn’t be TOO hard, for me.
8.      Do something active with my babies each night.  This won’t be hard.  BUT….it is a way to get us all moving.  I see dancing in our future, tumbling contests and good ole fashion, chasing mom around the yard with bugs.


9.      Help my hubby get in some exercise.  This poor man has not had a day off in weeks.  He has been putting in SO much mandatory OT, so it’s hard for him to find time to work out.  I know how much he wants to get himself in shape, so I am making it my goal, to get him there.  I also hope to take him somewhere fun, to show just how much we appreciate all his hard work.  Coming home at 9:00 on aFriday night, after working the whole week, just isn’t fun for anyone. 
                 He is  the gangnam style, dance, in this pic.  For this alone, he is a keeper!! :)
10.   Try lots of new recipes  I just love that sight! Great recipes for every occasion and such yummy snack ideas.
11.   Food prep for the rest of the week, tonight.  I failed to do this yesterday.  My lunches will be whole grain with veggie and protein seasoned with red pepper flakes, a little garlic and some spicy jalapeno mustard.  I am telling you, “clean” food can taste so yummy, if you spice it up just right.

12.   Start thinning out my closet.  Dear Lord, if you guys could see what it looks like, you would DIE!  It gets bad, when I start to get sick of wearing this seasons clothes. I am pretty done with summer wear.  I am officially ready for sweaters and boots.
13.   Look for a new exercise dvd.  I am thinking I want to incorporate a 45 minute cardio workout, twice a week.  Most likely I will call upon my favorite Biotch, JM!
14.   NO MORE MIO!  OMG that stuff tears me up!  It bloats me so bad and makes me miserable.  I just can’t do it.
      15. Try warm water with lemon, before  my meals.  It tricks the tummy and makes it feel full. 
Wish me luck!!  I hope you all have a wonderful week!  If you set new goals, I hope you are able to stick with them and get the results you were hoping for!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Don't make your goal be "skinny"

Today I wanted to touch on goals and expectations.  I think they go hand in hand, when trying to lose weight.....

When I started losing weight I won't lie, I wanted to be skinny.  I wanted to be skinny because it would get me a boyfriend and everyone would like me.  Yep, when I was young, that is what I wanted.  It was all about vanity back then.  I would sit and look at my friends and wish so much I could be skinny, like them.  I was so jealous of all the attention they got.  I was jealous that they were never made fun of and people liked them, just based on their looks.  The funny thing is, I was popular too.  And maybe, just maybe, people liked me for me. But as we know, growing up is a BITCH! It's funny that now that I am fit, I do not like attention at all.  I get all nervous and just don't know how to act.  I am horrible in a crowd.  I don't know how to stand or where to look.  I am so awkward when it comes to that.  I know you are all thinking, "hmmm....really Lori, you don't like attention, but you will post a pic of you, in a bikini, on IG".  For me, that is just to show others, what my transformation is/was like.  I want people to see that at ANY age, you can have a fit body. is OK, not to like everything about your body.  Hell, I can't stand my thighs, they are saggy and have cellulite.  BUT....they are 100 times better than they used to be.  THIS is what I focus on now.  What I like about them, not what I don't like.  I like that they are long and that I can see some muscle definition.  I can walk without them rubbing together and starting a fire.  See this is way more fun that focusing on icky saggy skin and cellulite! :)
So if I can share my flaws with people and my success at the same time, maybe it will give someone else hope or motivation, to get started.  Maybe they will see me and go, "well she isn't perfect, BUT....she owns it and is healthy".  THAT IS WHAT WE ALL NEED TO DO!  Own the body you have.  No matter what phase of your journey, you are in. 


Another thing that works for me is making small goals.  One thing I have realized, just over the past few months, setting "small" goals, is easier to stick to.  For instance, instead of saying you are going to cut out all snacks, cut out one a day, for a week.  If you stick to that, then add another snack, for the next week.  Try doing one week of Ripped in 30, instead of saying you are going to stick to all 30 days.  Once you get passed week 1, set a new goal, to get through another week and so on.  If you want to kick your soda habit, do the same thing. Take baby steps, they lead to GIANT ones.  If you want to start eating clean, take it one day at a time or even one meal at a time.  Start out with a goal of eating one clean meal a day, for say 3 days. Once you hit that goal, add in 2 meals a day, for like 5 days.  It's so much easier to stick with something long term, if you go into taking baby steps.  I wish SO much I would have realized all of this 20 years ago. Instead of being healthy about my weight loss, and realizing it would in fact take a while, I went into it wanting a quick fix.  I wanted to be "skinny" over summer break and come back to school and wow everyone.  Oh dear GOD!  That kind of thinking just makes me sad.  My mom has always told me, "if losing weight was easy, honey, there would be no overweight people in the world."  AND....if shakes and pills worked, we would all be rail thin!  And she is so right.  It is NOT easy, but it is SO worth the hard work.  Oh and the whole, "but you don't understand" thing won't work on me. I understand it ALL!  I have tried it all, I have failed at it all, so I get it, I really do.  I know that it takes not only hard work and dedication, it takes the right mindset.  You MUST go into this with having your ultimate goal be, "a fit and healthy you".  Take that effing word "skinny" out of your vocabulary.   Don't even put a clothing size as a goal.  I think once we free our minds of all the "media expectations", everything starts to fall into place. Quit wanting to  look like so and so.  Your goal should truly be, to look like the best YOU, that you can.  And that does not mean a size 2!  The best you just might be a size 12.  As long as you FEEL good in your own skin, are exercising in some form, and eating things that will fuel your body, you are doing OK. 

Before I go, I will share some of my goals for August...

1. Continue to eat clean at least 5 days a week.

2. On the weekends, make at least one meal, 100% clean, each day.  This is almost always, breakfast for me.

3.  Mix up my workouts 100%.  This means doing something different every day of the week, 6 days a week.

4.  Eat what I want, with no guilt, one meal a week.  If I do more than that, I seriously feel like shit.  I am just at that point, where I can't handle all the processed crap.  This is a good thing! :)

5. Do 25  weighted squats, 25 weighted pliĆ© squats, 50 crunches with 10 pound dumbbell 5 days a week.

Ok there you have it!  I also want to do a lot of my workouts with the family. This will mean walks, bike rides and dancing our booties off, like no one is watching!  Oh yeah, we break it down at the Flip  house!


Thursday, August 1, 2013

A little piece of me...

I was just cleaning out old emails, and came across this story, that I did for our local paper, on the 10th anniversary of 9/11.  I can't read it, without getting very emotional.  It never fails, this time of year, is always hard for me.  I am way more emotional and tend to get down. will pass. I just have to grieve, because it's part of who I am now.

As the 13th anniversary approaches, I start to remember, what my life was like back then, and how far I have come.  I thought I would share it all with you, because it truly is a huge part of who I am.  That day was a HUGE wake up call for me.  It made me realize just how short life can be.  And when I start to feel down or sorry for myself, I try and remember just how lucky I am.  Things could have gone SO differently that day.  Life is a precious gift, that we ALL need to cherish.  Enjoy every second you are given.  Don't focus on all that you wish you had, focus on ALL that you do have... 

Lori Filipiak stood in front of Duane Reade pharmacy debating whether to pick up a few things before work.

“When I close my eyes I can see the front of the store, the guy with his breakfast cart — everything,” she said about the morning of Sept. 11, 2001. “I remember that day like it was yesterday. I can remember exactly what I was wearing, how there wasn’t a cloud in the sky and my exact moves.”

She opted to keep going instead, using a path within the World Trade Center to get to the subway.

“To this day, I wonder just what made me keep walking,” Filipiak said. “Twelve minutes later, the first plane hit.”

Ten years ago today, Filipiak was “on the front lines of a war,” as she describes it. As one jetliner slammed into the twin towers of the World Trade Center, Filipiak was moving swiftly in a subway train underneath lower Manhattan’s streets as they filled with ash and human debris. At the same moment in Springfield, Lori’s father Stan Sproat was trying to get a hold of his daughter.

“When I arrived at my office, my co-worker told me to call my dad immediately. I found this a bit odd, because my dad never called me in the morning. When I called my dad, he told me that a plane had hit the World Trade Center. I was a bit concerned at this point because my apartment complex sits right across the west side highway from the Twin Towers,” said Filipiak, who worked at a nanny placement agency at the time.

“As this thing progressed, I thought, ‘I’ve been right there,’ ” said Sproat, 62. “I thought, ‘Oh my god, what’s happening?’ I knew (Lori) lived at ground zero and knew she walked in that general vicinity. I remember when she called me back, I wasn’t here and she left a message … the terror in her voice, I can still hear it."

At home, unaware
Inside Lori’s apartment, which was situated just across the street from the World Trade Center in Battery Park City and eventually part of the crime scene, was a sleeping husband, before she knew he was in danger.

“My girlfriend and I decided to go down and check it out. We could see the towers from the street, a few feet from our office entrance,” she said. “We were down there a few minutes, and then the second plane hit. I could not believe what I was seeing.”

As she and others that had lined the streets stood immobile, Filipiak said she felt there was a collective epiphany that they were witnessing an attack.

She returned to her office, received another call from her emotional father — creating more terror.

“At one point, I could hear him choke back tears. This is the very moment I knew that my life would be forever changed, that life as we once knew it was gone. I think at this point in my life I still had some innocence left … but it, too, was taken.”

Eventually, all cellular phone service was jammed. Sproat, who was working as an Illinois State Police supervisor at the time, quickly left for the day and returned to his Chatham home.

“I was so wired up, I mowed the lawn and it didn’t need it,” he said about waiting to hear from his daughter. “I remember thinking, ‘I’ve walked through there’ … I can remember my daughter and wife went shopping in Towers 1 or 2 and I’d hang out in The Gap, and those people’s faces were kind of flashing in front of me, wondering, ‘Did they get out?’”

Filipiak couldn’t reach her husband, Mark, either. A call eventually went through to Mark, and as he ran out of their apartment at her command, he grabbed a video camera. Afterward, they would find he’d filmed bodies falling just outside their home.

“There are no words to describe what seeing that was like,” Filipiak said. “When the first tower fell, I watched it from my office knowing my (now) ex-husband was out there somewhere. I just remember sobbing uncontrollably, thinking he was dead. By the grace of God, he was able to dive into a restaurant entrance and keep safe from the rubble. At this point, there was absolutely no cell phone service so we were out of contact. I was unable to speak to any of my family. … Finally, hours later, my ex-husband walked into my office, covered in soot and debris. He looked as if he had seen a ghost. Unfortunately, he had seen worse.”


Wake-up call

The two could not return home — nor did they know if their home was still standing. They decided to stay with Filipiak’s younger sister and her husband in their Massachusetts home until FEMA and the Red Cross found them hotel lodging.


It was weeks before they were able to go back home — a neighborhood where rescue crews were finding body parts daily. Their apartmentstill had debris inside, and was still considered a crime scene.

“I remember the awful smell,” Filipiak said. “I got off of the subway train and what I heard and smelled is forever burned in my brain. It was so overwhelming. I just stood there and cried.”

Sproat said to this day, his daughter hardly ever talks about New York.

“It’s still with her,” he said. “That was her home, even though she was from Illinois … mentally, they were really affected by it, probably more so than we realized.”

When Filipiak and her husband finally were allowed to return to their apartment to live in December 2001, the building had been emptied — either by tenants moving to a new locale, or by death during the attacks.

“It was very somber for a long time. We all had a bond that we certainly wished we didn’t have. We all lost something that day. But we vowed to stick it out in our neighborhood. We were not going to let those horrible monsters take that away, too,” she said. “Life eventually got back to normal.”

But Filipiak also describes the event as what woke her up. She and her husband decided to part ways, and she moved back to Illinois as family, she said, became her first priority after Sept. 11, 2001.

She is now married to Springfield native Ray Filipiak and has two children, 6-year-old Andrew and 4-year-old Olivia. Ten years later, she’s clearly still shaken — with an unflappable certainty that she will not be able to forget that day.

“Every Sept. 11, I wake up and I am just so sad,” she said. “I relive that day over and over again. I cannot look at a picture or hear audio without losing it. No one in my close circle here in Springfield can relate. It is just one of those things, that will forever be with me. I can’t shake it. The smells, the sounds, the tears, the screams are forever burned into my brain. I went back last May for a visit and it was so sad for me. I miss those beautiful towers so much. They held so many wonderful memories for me.”