On the good days, Loree Randall might pencil herself in at the bottom of her priority list. Most days there wasn’t room.
“I did all this running around and taking care of everybody else, but I didn’t take care of myself,” Randall said.
Certain she didn’t have the time to exercise or learn healthy eating habits, the Tumwater resident gained weight. She weighed 70 pounds more than she wanted, but assumed it was simply an occupational hazard of motherhood.
Then she changed her mind.
After reading a newspaper column about Olympia sisters Rochelle LaRose and Erica Eddings combining to lose 205 pounds, she decided she too could get in shape.
“They absolutely inspired me,” Randall said. “I thought these are average people. They aren’t movie stars. I can do this too.”
As fate would have it, the sisters’ trainer, Tessa Effland of Tumwater’s Fit Life studio, was one of Randall’s former Olympia High classmates. So when she happened across Effland a short time later, not only was she ready to start training, but she said, “I’m going to be your next article.”
She was right. Randall followed Effland’s exercise and nutrition program “to the T” and lost all 70 pounds.
Randall’s secret to success: Moving herself all the way to the top of the priority list.
“It took a little bit before I thought that was OK,” said Randall, who also works full time.
But don’t assume that putting herself first meant asking her two teenage children or husband to sacrifice for her.
Instead, she started setting her alarm for the early hours of the morning and showed up at Fit Life at 5:15 a.m.
“It is early,” she said, “and it was hard at first, but now I actually look forward to it.”
She shoehorned in nutrition classes and started making two dinners each night. One for her and another for her husband, Mitch, and children, Kyle and McKenna.
It was a lot of work, but she didn’t mind. Dinner was always an important family time.
“Maybe we didn’t eat healthy, but we ate together,” Randall said.
It was at the dinner table where Randall learned she wasn’t in this alone.
“I was kind of struggling in the beginning,” Randall said. “Then my husband said, ‘Why are you putting all this pressure on yourself? Just because you are on this food plan doesn’t mean we can’t all eat the same things.’
“My family is so supportive.”
Supportive, yes, but totally willing to rid the house of Randall’s problem foods? Not quite.
Randall describes Mitch as “always fit.” He finished ninth in the 40-44 age group and 57th out of 1,259 in May’s Capital City Half Marathon. So while he was willing to overhaul the dinner menu, he didn’t have the same issues with certain foods.
Both like peanut butter, but for Randall “it is one of my biggest weaknesses.”
Mitch knew this, so when he bought it, he would hide it so his wife wouldn’t be tempted.
“But every once in awhile I’d say, ‘Do I smell peanut butter?’” she said. “And he’d always say, ‘No, you don’t.’”
Her family’s support was evident to those watching Randall’s transformation.
“The love and support of her family has helped her gain what she never knew she lost — the athlete inside each and every one of us,” Effland said via email.
The athlete inside Randall is a runner.
At first, Randall cheered on Fit Life runners. Then she set a goal of running 30 minutes.
“I ran two blocks and I thought for sure I was going to die,” Randall said. “But I didn’t. ... Tessa told me ‘If you’re breathing you’re not dying. Go as far as you can go and then go one block more.’”
So she did.
Last November, she ran a 4-mile Turkey Trot. She enters other runs and did her first mud run this month.
During her training runs, sometimes her daughter hops on a bike and cruises alongside.
Randall has set a goal to run next spring’s Capital City Half Marathon.
“I might not be the fastest runner, but I enjoy it,” she said. “And I’ve finally grasped the concept that as long as I’m running I’m not sitting on the couch.”