Oct 17, 2013

How to Lose Weight and Get Healthy: Day 1

Exactly ten years ago right now I was opening my first company. I owned a weight loss center franchise and had moved to a city where I knew no one...had finished my business plan, secured financing, found locations for my centers, hired and trained employees, advertised like crazy, and was opening for business.

It was a very exciting...and nail bitingly scary time. I was very young and had a lot to learn but I had wanted to go into business for myself since I was 16 or so and it was finally happening! My dad took a chance on me and we partnered up to make this dream a reality. Our company name? Elisa Clark. Sound familiar?

My full name is Elizabeth, but I lived in Costa Rica for a time and loved how my name sounded in Spanish. Elisabet, or Elisa, for short. Clark is my dad's name (not my last name). We 'did business as' the weight loss company.

Here's a bit of business trivia: If you ever see 'dba' in the name of a business it is just a way to have a company own a different company with a larger name. For example, franchisees of McDonald's will have their own business name and dba (do business as) McDonald's.
Here's a picture of my dad and me about 6 weeks after our business opened. We had a franchisee conference in Las Vegas and here we're standing near the top of the Stratosphere. (we rode the rides at the top...SO fun!) And random fact...this was also about a week after I met my husband. The following year when we went back to this Vegas conference, I was married and Michael came too!

I loved a lot of things about the weight loss business. I literally have helped thousands of people lose weight! My company was built on the premise of healthy eating, managing portions, and having consistent accountability one-on-one to a weight loss counselor. We had nutritionists design the plans and worked with people to lose weight and get healthy.

Not long after I opened the centers, I met my husband. We fell in love at first sight and were married within a year. After we were married I realized it's not much fun to work 80+ hours a week...and I knew I couldn't do that and have a family. So while Michael and I were on our honeymoon we started talking about selling the company. It took over 6 months but we sold it and I got completely...1000%...OUT of the weight loss industry. I couldn't even allow myself to check up on the locations, or find out how the employees were doing. It was too hard since it had been my 'baby' for so long and it wasn't mine anymore.

I think about the centers around the anniversary of when we opened every year (and on the anniversary of when they were sold). Last night and this morning I drove by the old locations...which are no longer occupied by the weight loss centers. They moved a year or two ago...and then they closed. Driving by them makes me feel a bit like Meg Ryan talking to Tom Hanks in You've Got Mail. Remember this quote?

People are always telling you that change is a good thing. But all they're really saying is that something you didn't want to happen at all... has happened. My store is closing this week. I own a store, did I ever tell you that? It's a lovely store, and in a week it will be something really depressing, like a Baby Gap. Soon, it'll just be a memory. In fact, someone, some foolish person, will probably think it's a tribute to this city, the way it keeps changing on you, the way you can never count on it, or something. I know because that's the sort of thing I'm always saying. But the truth is... I'm heartbroken. I feel as if a part of me has died, and my mother has died all over again, and no one can ever make it right.
Businesses come and go. If you've lived in the same city for more than a year, drive around for a few minutes and I guarantee you'll be able to recall different businesses that have come and gone from the locations you pass. It's amazing, really. In my case, there's no Baby Gap in one of the locations...it's even more depressing. It's a Rent-A-Center! Another location is completely empty and looks like this. (yes, I stopped and snapped a picture of the empty space and empty spot where my sign used to be)

I am no longer in the weight loss 'business' but I have a whole lot of knowledge about food and the general concepts of how to lose weight...and more importantly, get healthy. The funny thing is, though, that when I owned the centers I didn't really struggle with weight issues. After having 4 kids in 4 years that's a bit of a different story. (HA!) And the truth of the matter is, kids weren't nearly as hard on my body as spending month after month eating out at least 2 meals a day while in our 'homeless' phase. (read our house story here to see what I'm talking about)

My excuse has been that we still (after 2 years) don't have a working oven or stove. But I've gotten a lot better at figuring out what I can make so we don't go out much anymore. This year I have worked to lose 20 pounds. I have 15 more I'd like to lose to be back to my wedding weight (the weight I was when I owned my weight loss company). My anniversary is around Thanksgiving and I'd love to be at my goal by then.

So I thought I'd commemorate the 10 year anniversary of when I first opened my weight loss company and share some things with you. Over the next few days I'll be telling you about a few plans that will help you feel good and, as a bonus, maybe shed a few pounds. We'll talk about a whole body 'reset' tomorrow (and I'll share my favorite recipe ever), then we'll talk about a structured weight loss plan, and on another day I'll share about an amazing exercise guru. Then I'll have a challenge for YOU.

Remember - even though I don't currently work in the weight loss industry, I have a lot of experience. I've probably seen tens of thousands of pounds lost from my clients (maybe even 100s of thousands???)! If you have any questions you would like me to answer please leave a comment or even private message me on facebook and I'll do my best to answer them.


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