Vaughn’s Story: Making the Changes.

Vaughn Color Run

Last week I talked about one of the biggest changes that happened in my life, and making fitness and health permanent.

At first I made absolutely no changes to my diet, often stopping for a doughnut on my way home from training. It didn’t take long for me to realize that this was self-defeating and slowly I started cutting out the worst dietary offenders.  In April 2012 I had my last Coke. That was huge for me as I drank gallons of it and I had tried several times unsuccessfully in the past to stop the habit. It was the small changes in my lifestyle, like exercise, I made that eventually led me to quitting pop successfully.  I didn’t do what I usually did and turn around and make extreme and drastic changes right away, I eased into it.

With these modifications I started seeing some changes. I was losing weight at a rate of around 6 lbs a month. It was slow but it was happening without any drastic changes, just small incremental ones. More importantly I was feeling stronger both mentally and physically than I had in a long time.  I wanted to try different types of exercise so I decided to add running to my routine.  I decided to enroll in the Color Run in Oregon, a 5 k fun run, to give me a goal to shoot towards because I wanted to take this seriously.

My goals and weight loss were going along well until July when I hit a dreaded “plateau.” I had decided that I wanted to be a certain weight by my six-month mark and I didn’t make it. The scale wouldn’t budge. I was crushed. I told Paul that I was thinking about quitting. This is when he earned his weight in trainer gold. He didn’t let me quit. He strategized with me how to get past the plateau and he offered to take me out for coffee to talk over the thoughts of quitting. Up to this point I hadn’t made any huge dietary changes just getting rid of the absolute crap.  Now I started adding new workouts like stairs and making healthier eating choices.  The plateau passed and the thoughts of quitting were averted for a time. The thoughts kept coming back again but when I thought it just wasn’t worth it anymore and each time Paul would talk me through it; he wouldn’t let me quit.  He told me that I’ve come too far to turn back.

Vaughn tatoo

In September it was time for the Color Run, which is billed as the happiest 5k on earth. I decided to make an event of it to celebrate my progress so I did the run in Portland Oregon with one of my best friends. Two weeks before I was set to go I hurt myself, first crashing my bike to avoid hitting a dog and then having problems with my hip flexor so that I couldn’t run or workout for two weeks. Instead of quitting I went and had extensive acupuncture and massage therapy and took a necessary break from training. I was able to run the entire 5k without stopping. In the span of a few months to go from not being able to run for more than a minute at a time to running the entire distance was awesome. To celebrate the completing the run at age 43 I got my first tattoo. It’s in Swedish and means “keep going” which I thought was particularly apt for someone like me who struggles with thoughts of giving up.


  1. Vaughn first of all congrats! I will be 43 year this year, and stories like yours are what I find inspiring! I’m sure you have many more races ahead to kick butt at!

  2. fay neff says:

    Vaughn you are an awesome &beautiful woman. LOVE this story!

  3. Vaughn your courage to be open about specific details on how you took incremental steps is really inspiring. Yes it is little habits that add up to being the challenges we can identify and address at whatever pace we can handle. Great to see your smile so often and so truely!!

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