ABSpiration – Kelly Harper. Conquering Weight, Diet, and a Mountain!

My journey to healthy living started after seeing the extremely quick recovery my husband made after each of two very serious surgeries (cancer then heart valve replacement). As a weekly runner, he entered those surgeries with a strong body and was able to bounce back with phenomenal speed. His motto was, “For a sick guy, I sure am healthy!” He is my inspiration. I had had multiple serious surgeries myself 15 yrs prior and didn’t bounce back due to my poor eating habits and lack of exercise. That was the start of the downhill spiral. The summer of 2010 I met my long-time Jugoslav friend and went hiking in Macedonia and northern Greece. It was a challenge, but I managed to keep up. Plus, we ate like Serbs, which was minimally but very heart healthy. This trip resulted in me losing 10 lbs. ‚Ķ.which I immediately put back on within weeks of returning to the U.S. Disappointed with myself and having had a terrific mentor of a husband, I began my concerted effort to do something about my health. In July I cut most starches, fats and sugars (and alcohol) out of my diet and for the most part still do. I ate a small amount every two and a half hours from the time I woke up till I went to bed at night to jump start my metabolism. This includeda lean and green dinner.

As for exercise, I started out walking one mile, twice a day. In the beginning, it took me 22 minutes and was a struggle to even go up a very slight incline. Determined to make better progress, I engaged the help of a trainer (Kim Bessac, one of ABS Founders) and that’s when I really made progress by training twice a week in one-hour sessions. I also read an inspirational book about aging and healthy living titled “Younger Next Year”, which helped validate the whole process. Through this change of lifestyle, I lost 30 pounds. I not only look better but feel incredibly better ‚Ķ. and now have a positive image of my body, even though I’ve gained a few pounds back (working on that!). Plus, I have more energy to run up and down the stairs at work (no more elevator rides for me!) and I look forward to any exercise thatI can do. For example, in the past, I really, really hated walking around one block and protested when my husband begged me to get out with him! Now life doesn’t feel fulfilled if I can’t do a regular 3-4 mile walk/jog with my husband! I also work towards increasing weights with my trainer and gaining continued muscle strength and balance in my life. I wouldn’t say I’m an athlete by any means, but I am certainly far ahead of where I was three years ago. ABS helped develop a carrot to work for with our first trip to snowshoe in the Colorado Rockies and then to continue to seek out varied kinds of sports I’ve never tried before. They are my continued inspiration and I love hearing about their individual goals and successes. Go ABS!


  1. debbie fanning replied 6 years ago:

    you are a true inspiration! thank you for sharing your success story as it can/will inspire others. you are a true ABS gal with heart 🙂

  2. replied 6 years ago:

    Kelly, I still remember your excitement when you topped that mountain on the snowshoe trip…your achievement was great!

  3. replied 6 years ago:

    Kelly – I have been trying to eat small portions of “good foods” every 2-1/2 hours since reading this article. I’ve dropped two pounds and haven’t been hungry! Thanks for sharing your story! It’s awesome!

  4. Kathy Mihelic replied 6 years ago:

    Thanks for sharing your story, Kelly! You are truly an inspiration!

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