Choosing to Change: How I Became a Healthier Version of Myself

By Cori O’Brien Paluck

Weight is a heavily debated topic these days, with a focus on loving your body and embracing your “flaws”. But what happens when your health is at risk, and a lifestyle change is necessary? About eight months ago, I was faced with this question. The result was my journey to losing 80 pounds!

Over the past 15 years, my weight had steadily increased, little by little, until I reached 225 pounds. I've always been a curvy girl, and for many years had been confident in my body shape. I particularly loved my #Booty! As my weight crept up, I noticed my health starting to be negatively affected. My snoring at night meant I couldn't get a good sleep; I had constant hip, back, and neck pain that years of therapy was no longer helping. While my health issues increased, one in particular really forced me to face the problem: I found my commute walking to work was becoming increasingly difficult and I could no longer keep up conversations with friends when we met up for walks, which is one of my favorite ways to connect with them.

Dreamforce 2016 with Marisa from Selamta Family Project  –  nearing my heaviest weight

Dreamforce 2016 with Marisa from Selamta Family Project – nearing my heaviest weight

Last May, I knew I needed to make a change. I didn't want to die from a preventable health-related issue, and I wanted to move around with ease. At the end of each day, I felt resigned to the couch because I was too tired to do anything else; I was determined to change this and restore my energy. It was this realization that led me to start my weight-loss journey.

After doing some research, I found a company called Dr. Bernstein (it's a Canadian company but I believe there are offices in the US). Dr. Bernstein is a doctor/nurse-led diet program that guides you through healthy eating habits, like sticking to a diet of lean protein, veggies, and fruit. The meal plan is strict low calorie/fat/sugar/carb and includes large amounts of B vitamins and water.

Once I started, the first steps weren’t easy – a total lifestyle overhaul is hard! On day one, I had a massive panic/anxiety attack. It was the loss of control that made me nervous. The diet is strict, and I wasn’t used to having restrictions that meant I couldn’t eat whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted it. It was daunting to commit to something for so long that limited me so much. The next four days I spent in a horrible sugar withdrawal. This side-effect surprised me and was a reminder that sugar is a drug many people are addicted to.

After that, it was simple. My new plan included creating and sticking to a meal plan each week, buying groceries, weighing my portions, and visiting the nurses each morning for check/weigh-in. Under the plan, the diet is all about real food and only features items that you can buy at the grocery store.

I can do it! Halfway through my goal on a hike in the Canadian Rocky Mountains, August 2017

I can do it! Halfway through my goal on a hike in the Canadian Rocky Mountains, August 2017

Sticking to this plan, I was able to lose up to 5 pounds PER WEEK!

Now, 7 months later, I'm at a healthy weight and feel great. I eat healthy and enjoy eating more vegetables than I've ever had in my life. For real...veggies are my friend. I never would have thought that 8 months ago!

So, today I'm in maintenance mode. I'll slowly introduce previously disallowed foods back into my diet each week. I'm pretty nervous for this part as I am worried I'll slip back to old habits, but I’m confident I can do it. I've come this far! Under this plan, I’ve learned valuable lessons about portion control and how to cook a balanced meal. Previously I had the conception of “Who cares if I eat 7 slices of pizza, I’m already fat." Now I can see the impact my food choices have on my health and well-being. Eating healthy translates into feeling amazing, and this motivates me to eat in moderation.

Sharing a slice of pie with a friend at Dreamforce 2017…it’s all about moderation

Sharing a slice of pie with a friend at Dreamforce 2017…it’s all about moderation


Being at a healthy weight today, I realize I previously felt unhealthy and sluggish 100% of the time. This became my norm, and it wasn’t until I made the change that I realized that’s not how I’m supposed to feel every day. My weight-loss has helped not only my physical health but my mental health as well. My new norm means I feel great physically and my mind is at ease. I realized that previously every glance in the mirror induced stress. Every time someone sat beside me on public transit, I worried they didn’t have enough room; I preferred to stay home instead of going dancing with friends or do anything that required physical effort. Now that I feel more comfortable, I am looking forward to doing the activities I had previously closed myself off from. I’m excited to make plans and don’t feel so anxious picking an outfit. In fact, picking out clothes to wear is fun! I have also been able to get back into yoga, and I’m considering getting into dance!

I enjoy dressing up again!

I enjoy dressing up again!

My journey through losing 80 pounds wasn’t easy but a commitment that I made to myself and my health. It’s not over, as living a healthy lifestyle is an ongoing choice. This being such a personal journey, it wasn’t an easy choice to publically post my weight-loss, but I wanted to share my journey with the Amplify community – especially if it helps inspire others.

Hello future…I’ve got this!

Hello future…I’ve got this!


I have worked at iATS Payments in a variety of roles for over 15 years, most recently as Operations Manager. I've always worn many hats, including product management for Brickwork, a leading Payment Processing application on the Salesforce App Exchange, as well as a number of other products and services within iATS.

I'm also a proud certified Salesforce Administrator and working on getting my Advanced Administrator and App Builder certifications. I have currently earned over 60 Trailhead Badges and counting! #Ranger, here I come!

On a personal note, I am an active member of the HW Flesher Co-Operative Housing in Vancouver and am a volunteer Salesforce Administrator for the Ethiopia/US-based NGO Selamta Family Project. I also enjoy volunteering my time sewing for Day's for Girls and exploring new charitable opportunities.

I was born and raised on the Sunshine Coast, and I currently live with my husband and cat in beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia.

Follow me on Twitter: @coriopaluck or on the Trailblazer Community: Cori O’Brien Paluck