From the outside, there’s no denying Lori Harder’s got it going on—her famous abs and long, toned limbs have landed her countless spreads in fitness magazines and made her a three-time bikini and figure champ. Combine that with her kind-hearted, infectious spirit and this girl’s the whole package. Which is likely why she’s been successful in all of her endeavors, from being a spokesmodel and fitness personality, to starting her own lifestyle-improvement company, busygirlhealthylife.com. Recently, she’s also discovered her prowess as a motivational speaker and is melding those skills into her ever-expanding brand.
But appearances can be deceiving, and while one could jump to the conclusion that she’s always had a perfect bod and charmed life, that couldn’t be further from the truth. “I was an overweight kid from a family that did not eat healthy or exercise at all,” she says. “I really struggled in school and was made fun of daily for my weight. I ended up being home schooled through high school.” These traumatic teen years are what started Lori on a quest for deeper meaning, optimal health and unbridled happiness in her life. What she found was the strength be her true, authentic self and eventually, help others do the same. “When you feel good and love yourself, you will start finding answers,” she says. “We must first fix ourselves so we can then start helping others.”
Read on for a few pieces of advice Lori learned on her journey to health and happiness.
1. Silence negative inner voices.
“I always try to acknowledge negative thoughts when I first have them. When those thoughts come up I say, ‘I recognize this fear-based thought and I choose to see it differently.’ Then I ask for forgiveness of myself for having the thought. And I release it.”
2. Manage a crazy schedule (without going crazy).
“Start the day by making a realistic list with the three most important tasks at the top. That way, if you’re only able to do those three, you’re still moving forward. Make an agreement with yourself to do your best and not think about the things you didn’t do. Only focus on what you accomplished.”
3. Fitness doesn’t have to be hard.
“Don’t over think it. It’s just important to move your body everyday. Even if it’s just making yourself take a walk each day, you will still be ahead of the game. It’s about creating a habit of moving, and if you can lift heavy weights a few times a week, once you get in the habit, even better.”
4. Fitness doesn’t equal deprivation.
“We really question ourselves thanks to so many food fads out there. I used to think carbs were bad and desserts during the week were forbidden, which led me down the path of binging and feeling massive guilt and fears towards food. Now I truly enjoy a very balanced meal plan all week long. I don’t deprive myself and I have a little bit of chocolate every day. I also love my glass or two of red wine on the weekend.”
5. Work hard for your dreams.
“When I started Busy Girl Healthy Life, I had my doubts and so did everyone else. I took baby steps, worked tirelessly and had so many failures. It felt like the wins were few and far between. But I continued to build the brand on what is real and by being authentic. Now my little dream that I never gave up on has grown to include retreats, a cookbook, DVDs and more. It just goes to show, success does not happen over night. If you have that burning in your heart listen to it, have faith in it, and envision it every day and night.”
Green Curry Lettuce Wraps
Prep Time: 15 minutes | Total Time: 30 Minutes
Makes 2 servings (one serving=5 lettuce cups)
2 chicken breasts (4-6 oz), diced
1 can water chestnuts, drained and chopped
2 tbsp green curry paste
1/3 cup organic canned coconut milk
3 green onions, chopped
1 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp salt or to taste
1 cup cabbage, finely shredded
1 small head of bibb lettuce
1 lime, cut into 6 wedges
1. Heat a large nonstick pan over medium heat. Place all ingredients except for lettuce and cabbage in the pan.
2. Cook on medium heat for 15 minutes (or until chicken is fully cooked), stirring often.
3. Add cabbage. Cook an additional 3-5 minutes.
4. Wash and separate lettuce into “cups”.
5. Spoon about ½ cup of chicken mixture into each lettuce cup, squeeze fresh lime over each cup. Serve.
You have 20 minutes to workout. What are your go-to moves?
“One-arm kettlebell swings, push-ups, barbell squat and press, v-ups, repeat!”
If you could sit and chat with anyone in the world, who would it be?
“Oprah, because she is doing exactly what I want to be doing. Can Ghandi join us too?”
How do you end a good workout?
“With an amazing stretch to really happy music and a chocolate protein shake.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE:
Book: “Spirit Junkie” by Gabrielle Bernstein
Sports team: Green Bay Packers
Music to workout to: Dance/Hip Hop
Way to treat yourself: A night out with my husband, Chris
Skin care product: Isagenix skin care line
Time of the day to workout: Morning
Thing in your gym bag: G-Loves lifting gloves
Food combination: Kale salad and a bison burger
Travel destination: Greece
Gym equipment: Dumbbells