PALISADE, Colo (KKCO) - A local couple says they came to a crossroads with their weight and lifestyle -- now two years and 172 pounds later, they hope their experience will give others the strength to make a change.
Palisade High School teachers Troy and Lori Raper say they can't help but smile when they see old pictures of themselves. "It's sometimes hard to believe that's me," says Lori. "I'm much happier in this body. I'm healthier, I have more energy."
"Most people that I knew from the last school year, they don't recognize me," says Troy.
But they say getting there wasn't easy. "It's a total lifestyle," says Troy. "I think in a lot of ways you just need to commit and say you're going to do it."
Lori says her commitment took the form of hiring a personal trainer, who not only helped her shed 70 pounds in six months, but got her ready for her first body building competition within a year. She says the key to her success was having someone who showed her how to exercise correctly. "A lot of people go the gym and spend hours doing low intensity cardio, reading a book, and not really putting effort into it," says Lori. "You have to go in and put the focus in."
She says she also learned to eat better. "It's about ninety percent the food you put in your body," says Lori. "The rest is training, but really it's about what you put in your body."
Troy says watching his wife lose weight, while he stayed steady at 260 pounds, had a huge impact on his psyche and ultimately pushed him to join her. "It's really hard to do by yourself," says Troy. "I was fortunate I had her."
Before he knew it, he'd lost more than 100 pounds and was competing in his first body building event. "You lose a pound here, lose a pound there, then all of a sudden that adds up week after week," he says.
Lori, who is now a Yoga Instructor at Crossroads Fitness Center, is currently working on getting her trainer and nutritionist certification, in hopes of helping other people achieve the same success she and her husband did. "We want to focus on families and couples because it helps, that support system is huge," she says. "If I can do it being a mother of two, working several jobs, and doing all the stuff I do, then anybody can do it."
To stay in shape, the Rapers say they go to the gym six days a week, where they do 45 minutes of cardio and 40 minutes of lifting. Their diet consists of lean meats, green vegetables, and whole grains -- with one "free day" to indulge in whatever they want.