A Mom’s Weight Loss Inspiration

Moms will do anything for their children, and for 31-year-old Lori Butierries, that included losing weight.

A dedicated stay-at-home mom, Butierries has a six-year-old son Jacob with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) Type 1, a degenerative and terminal diagnosis. With no family here on the island to help, her schedule is filled with doctor appointments, visits to the hospital, and providing around-the-clock care for her son. She also has a daughter Abigail, who turns 9 on Monday and has an autism spectrum disorder.


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Lori Butierries at 60 days into her weight loss journey

“Living with the threat of death hanging over our heads has taken its toll on every member in my family,” Butierries confesses. “I personally used food to help me cope with the stress. Since the stress in my life never alleviated the urge to eat never subsided either. But that created other problems for me. I became obese and because of the extra weight that I had gained it became physically difficult for me to care for my son and/or play with him.”

Butierries and husband Dennis live in Makakilo. She previously worked as a hospital corpsman for the U.S. Navy, and he is in the Coast Guard. She says she knew she was gaining weight, but between caring for her special needs children, cooking, cleaning and “a million other excuses,” it just felt impossible to find time to exercise.

Then, last year in March, she made the decision to do something about her weight, which was at 255 pounds. The motivation: a simple request from Jacob to go on a walk.

“Finally a moment of clarity arrived when my son asked me to take him for a walk, and I couldn’t because I was too tired and more than likely unable to walk the hill that we lived on because of how out of shape I was,” she recalls. “It was his response of, ‘That’s OK, Mom, I can’t walk anyway,’ that opened my eyes and made me realize that I needed to do something about my weight because it was negatively impacting my family. Seeing the disappointment on his face, that was heartbreaking.”

So Butierries took action and showed up at the gym at Kroc Center in Kapolei, where she already had a membership for their family to go swimming on the weekends. She went there every day for six months, and then at the suggestion of a personal trainer, cut back to six days a week.

She spent an hour-and-a-half to two hours working out, doing cardio, strength-training exercises, using TRX bands, and taking a variety of classes, such as Zumba. She also started using a calorie counter to track her food intake. After one year, she dropped 70 pounds to a weight of 184 pounds.

“It wasn’t easy and I often wanted to quit, but I didn’t give myself that option because I didn’t want ‘quitting’ to ever be an option that my children embraced,” says Butierries. “Life is hard and it isn’t fair, but we have to make the best out of the hand that we have been dealt.

“If my son can be happy despite the many limitations and hardships that he has to endure daily, then I can find reasons to be happy and thankful too.”