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Coaching Corner – Sharing Success: Karen Clark

Karen Clark race photoWhen Karen Clark sets out to win, look out. Fiercely competitive and intrinsically driven, she’s up for a challenge and often creates her own. So, when Karen decided to lose some weight and improve her health, it came as no surprise to anyone that she went after it with a vengeance.

Karen discovered Hilton Head Health through a brochure that was sent to her by a friend. But it was the A&E show Heavy that inspired her to act on the information. While she could not participate as a guest at Hilton Head Health at that time, she signed up for the at home coaching program.

Karen began working with Coach Linda Hopkins in April 2011, identifying her family as her primary motivator. “I gain strength from my family, who are the most important people and priorities in my life,” she said. Close family members include her adoring and supportive husband, two lovely daughters, her elderly dad and a precious new grandbaby. One of her long-term goals is to whittle down to a size eight dress by spring 2012, when her oldest daughter gets married.

As of July 2011, Karen has lost 45 pounds. She has reduced her waist, hips and thighs by eight, five and four inches, respectively. She says that her body feels “entirely different.” She has taken up running which has improved her breathing and stamina. She ran her first 5K race in July, finishing in 41.23. Her quality of sleep has improved dramatically, and she no longer needs her CPAP machine. In addition, her blood pressure and total cholesterol were drastically reduced, with her total cholesterol now at 156 and blood pressure readings consistently well under 120/80.

Most importantly, she has discovered a new way of thinking about food and the role it plays in her life and has established healthy eating and exercise habits that she can sustain for a lifetime.

What factors have contributed to your motivation?
Shortly after I signed up for coaching, a contest was announced at my boot camp. The person who loses the highest percentage of body fat as measured by “pinchers” in nine body locations wins a trip to Jamaica. The contest started on May 15 and ended on July 30. Hard work, determination, commitment, inspiration and very positive belief in me from Linda, a great boot camp program and coach all helped me keep going. In the end, I didn’t win, but I am still the winner in so many important ways.

Note: Karen received an honorable mention for losing the most weight. But the real results go far beyond the numbers. The payoff is a healthy body, an abundance of energy and a positive outlook on life.

How has wellness coaching contributed to your success?
Many factors are contributing to my success. Finding the right mindset and then the support I needed was key. I came to the coaching program looking for a boost to what I already know. I have been working out at a boot camp for the past three and a half years. I have attended many nutritional seminars and know what good, healthy food is. The area I was lacking was in my mindset.

Linda inspired me to think about food and eating in a way I had not done in the past—eating mindfully while still allowing for the pleasure of eating. She helped me to put my challenges in perspective. For example, when out with friends, it is not the food that should be important but the people whose company I am sharing.
It is also about choices and making the choices that are the most important for long-term success, not just choosing short-term instant gratification. This is something I will be able to continue forever.

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