Sunday, July 28, 2013

They Are Losing It: Lacey Horner

Today I feature Lacey Horner, my former roommate, classmate, and very close friend. She's the sister of Megan Horner and great friend of Kat Bukowy (click on their names to read their stories). Lacey's living in Korea and has traveled to all sorts of countries. She shares how she's managed to lose weight and be healthy while traveling and living in very new situations. 

Let's make one thing clear...I have by no means reached my destination. I'm still on the journey, but I'm halfway there at this point. I'm struggling right now, just maintaining at this stage. I'm hoping to break this plateau soon! 
Weight loss and body image have been a problem for me since I was young. I was small as a toddler and young child, but by 2nd grade, I "exploded" while my dad was away on deployment.  I have a rough relationship with food...I'm an emotional eater. My mantra was, "If some is good, more must be better!" Being introduced to athletics by my family helped me a ton when I was teenager, but an early knee injury set the tone for things later on. I would go through cycles of activity and "better" eating, only to get sidelined by the knee throughout various points in my young life. That would just start the cycle over...being 13 years old and not being able to do anything was a blow to the already poor body image that I had. This went on from the time I was 13 until I was 22 years old.  So I would basically be able to participate and not have to worry as much about what I was eating, and then I'd fall off the wagon when I was injured. 

I've had many down moments, but I think one of the things that spurred my weight loss is the fact that I love to travel. However, it would take such a physical toll on me that it became harder to enjoy. Standing and walking for hours a day on student trips just beat me up to the point where I'd have to stay in the hotel at night to rest. I also hate the fact that I was just turning 30 (at the time) and felt like there was so much, physically speaking, that I didn't think I could do anymore. It made me sad and ashamed. 
I started out on the HCG program; it's hardcore, but I did it with my doctor's
Can you guess her costume?? (I love this pic)
supervision. I'm an all-or-nothing person. I've never moderated well before, so I knew it would take drastic action to truly make a difference. The first weekend was hell, as I was basically detoxing my body from all sugar, caffeine, carbohydrates, and even good fats. I felt horrible but knew if I stuck with the program, it would be worth it later. Besides, I was paying money to do the program!
My family has always been supportive, but at the beginning, my then-roommate was incredibly encouraging. Sue's actually in her 60's and I find her so inspiring. The way that she's so devoted to her health, activity, and zest for life keeps me accountable. I want to be as fit and active as she is when I'm her age, but that only happens with diligence and discipline. 

Since then, it's been my sister and one of my closest friends.
Lacey and Megan before they lost it (the weight, harhar)
My sister, Megan, had lapband surgery last year and has since lost around 75 lbs. She was a career athlete and is finding her way back to health. We're super competitive, so her success is a challenge to keep me on track. Kat has fought her way back through diet and exercise. If people think I'm disciplined, then they've never met Kat. Her consistency, willpower, and determination far surpass my own! She's visiting me in Korea right now!
Living in Korea has been quite the challenge, looking for the foods that first aided my weight loss. The language barrier makes it difficult for me to find my preferred foods, but I'm finally discovering ways of procuring things that I need. I love quinoa for the protein, Greek yogurt, and stevia. I'm not a big fruit person, so I can skip some of those sugars, but veggies are great and I love to make stir-fries at home. Low-fat/low-sodium broths help keep meats moist if you want to skip oil, and I even resort to just adding extra water as I cook while adding more spices. 

In the States, I used to love going to the gym for Zumba, cycling, or yoga classes. The Korean lifestyle helps immensely, as I walk almost everywhere I need to go save for trips downtown when I take a bus or taxi. This is what separates Americans from other people; the sheer size of our country makes it difficult. I'm getting back into yoga here with the help of some great local instructors. I can't play the sports that I used to play, so I've had to adjust my expectations for now. It's more important to find something, ANYTHING, that you enjoy and can sustain over time. Anything is better than nothing!

I love working out with music. I used to listen to anything that would keep me going on the elliptical, stationary bike, or treadmill: club music, Euro trash, hard rock, you name it! My old workout list named "Pump Up the Volume" if that tells you anything : D
Keeping track of your food consumption is important, because that's where so many of us falter. You can work out all day long, but it doesn't matter if you're not honest about what you're putting into your mouth every day. It's not working for me right now, but only because I don't always know what I'm getting in the restaurants. Yes, the language barrier excuse is a lame one, but it's legit! There are times when I only able to order by looking at pictures. 
My time is limited by my crazy work hours, but one of the things that I have realized in this country is that it's not always about what you eat, but rather HOW MUCH you eat. Koreans are so communal about food; it's almost always a shared experience for them. You won't find them eating alone, nor do you find them having separate meals. Koreans normally share meals since so many places serve food in a family-style setting. You can get away with not depriving yourself of your favorite things if you're splitting a single serving with others! That is one thing that helps me here because I don't always eat the best these days. They also recently started putting calories counts on the menus of bigger chain restaurant, arming you with knowledge before making choices. The US needs to get with the program.
I previously bought a one-month pass to a local yoga studio, and plan to do the same now that I'm recovered following a recent surgery. They have classes every day of the week, but my schedule only allows for certain days. It's really just about committing myself to those days and not planning anything else on those evenings. I do my best to get my bag ready the night before or get up early the morning to do so. If I have a bag packed, I'm more likely to go. When I cook at home, I try to make enough to take leftovers to work so I'm not tempted to go out to the local fast food places or convenience store. (That is one of the unfortunate effects of globalization; Koreans have their own versions too).
At home, was so helpful when I was tracking my food intake. You can find nearly everything you can imagine on there, and it also allows you to edit things so you can participate in the process. I also signed up for emails from "Eat this, not that!" It's a helpful guide, suggesting healthier alternatives. is another great website with tips, inspirational stories, etc. to keep you going. 

I don't have any particular quotes that I come back to, but one that pops into my head right now is an old saying in Spanish, "Vale la pena." It translates to, "It's worth the pain." And I know it will be in the end!
Comparing old and recent pics to see where I've lost weight in my face helps me stay motivated. I'm not one of those lucky creatures who has a thin face. If I gain weight, you can see it there immediately, so I look like a vain little tart checking myself out in the mirror all the time. 
Kat and Lacey in the Pacific Northwest, Summer 2010

Lacey and Kat in Korea, July 2013
Mentally being able to say to myself that I can always eat certain foods later helps, if that makes sense. As a kid, it was always, "If I like it, I should eat more of it, and NOW," was my modus operandi. Knowing that I don't have to succumb to instant gratification is a big step for me! 
If you fail today, tomorrow is always your second chance. Beating yourself up constantly will get you nowhere. Intentions are not enough though; lack of action is what got most of us here in the first place.  

Would you like to be featured on my They Are Losing It series? Email me at for more information!


  1. Yay! Thanks for including me on YOUR journey! :-)

    You got this!

  2. inspiring reading! I'm glad you've broken a major piece of the code of overeating. Keep up the good work.