While daughter serves LDS mission, father completes a mission of his own

Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

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Lower back pain, acid reflux and sleep apnea. These are only a few of the challenges Stan Paulsen faced every day being overweight. Stan admits he’s spent the majority of his adult life weighing more than 300 pounds. So when his daughter, Karen Paulsen, left to serve an LDS Church mission in October 2013, he felt it was a perfect time to start a mission of his own.

“I knew I was cutting my life short. I knew I needed to improve for my own health and for my family’s sake as well," he said. "I wanted to be here for them”

Paulsen had tried other diets in the past; even losing up to 60 pounds, but quickly gained the weight back. After multiple failed attempts, Paulsen realized he had to commit to change. Shortly after sending his daughter off to serve an LDS mission, he announced to his family and friends that he would lose 100 pounds by the time his daughter returned.

“It kind of made me things about how she’s out helping people, transforming people’s lives, including her own and I thought while she’s gone I can do that too," he said. "I can do that for myself and my family.”

Paulsen began cycling as part of his commute to work. “I ride every day. Good weather, bad weather, every day.”

He also changed his diet to healthy, low calorie options. The result? “I can’t tell you how great I feel eating the right foods.”

A change Paulsen says made the biggest difference. “Eighty percent of the weight loss comes from diet, and I would tweak my diet over time to find things that worked for me.”

Consistently losing about 5-8 pounds a month, he reached his goal less than two weeks before his daughter Karen returned home.

Filled with excitement, Paulsen waited patiently at the airport for the first glimpses of his daughter. “She knew that I lost the weight, she knew what I looked like for the most part, but I think seeing it in person is still quite a shock.”

The biggest shock Karen Paulsen says, was being able to wrap her arms around all the way around her dad for the first time in her life.

Stan Paulsen says right now he weighs 233 pounds. His goal is to get below 200 pounds before the end of the year.

Looking back, he says all the hard work doesn’t compare to how he feels now: “It was just an incredible experience.”

Watch the video to see the emotional reunion at the airport.

Jenniffer Michaelson


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