Finalists / Elyssa G.

Elyssa G.

Garden City, NY

Elyssa G Front

I have struggled with an eating disorder, an exercise addiction and my weight for more than half my life. Just a few months ago, I was ready to give up and surrender to being out of shape, and miserable forever.

Every Monday I would try a new diet plan, and would fail miserably by Friday. Things hit an all-time low last summer as I found myself going through an awful divorce and many uncomfortable life changes that were beyond my control. I was turning to my bad habits of binge eating, and excessive exercise to soothe my nerves and cope with life. All of a sudden I was single mom without a clue how to go forward. I was struggling to get through the day, working full time, parenting my young daughter, and essentially pleasing everyone except myself. I could barely wake up in the morning as I was so physically and emotionally drained. I was embarrassed by my weight gain and developed a self-loathing attitude as a result. What kind of example was I setting for my child?

During the summer of 2017 I decided to join Life Time so my daughter and I would have a nice place to go for the summer. I figured if I went here then I could workout, feed my daughter and spend the rest of the day at the pool. I loved the fact that she could go to the Kids Academy and take classes of her own. I attended many events and group fitness classes with the most amazing, and knowledgeable instructors and trainers I have ever come across. I knew I could get help here, but sadly I didn’t realize that first I had to want to help myself.

I would meet with Dom, who was my nutrition coach at the time. He gave me that best advice and suggestions. I would leave his office ready to work hard and promise myself that this time everything would be different. Then I would go home, and life would get in the way. No matter what I did, I always wound up over-eating and then overdo my exercise, with no plan or guidance. I was unable to break this heart-wrenching and shameful addiction.

One day, a series of events occurred and I simply had enough. Everything clicked at the same time and I was ready. My daughter told me I was “fat.” She asked me how I got such a big belly. Kids don’t lie. My clothes were not fitting anymore, even some elastic waist leggings were getting uncomfortably tight. That same week, a friend of mine, who had entered the previous 60Day became a national finalist! I saw his before and after photos all over the gym and I said to myself, “Why can’t that be me?” That soon changed to, “That will be me!”

I needed to take action fast and signed up for this 60Day. I started surrounding myself in positivity by making a vision board and listening to empowering books and songs in the car. I signed up with my nutrition coach for personal training sessions and asked him to write out a workout place as well as a food plan to follow. I bought the Life Time’s women’s multivitamins, fish oil, pre and post workout powders, I was all in. I started to meal prep once per week and made many of the 60Day meals. Dom would always tell me that if I was working out properly, under a certain time and tempo then I wouldn’t be able to work out for hours. I didn’t understand what he meant until we started to train. I was drenched in sweat and dying within seconds of the workout. I was a cardio addict who did cardio for at least 45 min per day minimum, but after one hour of training with weights, I was done! I realized I had a lot to learn when it came to exercise.

I also did an AMA evaluation to determine my heart rate in each zone to burn the most amount of fat. I used to run or step at a steady, easy pace that I could do all day. Now I was doing an efficient cardio workout for about 30-45 minutes. Slowly I was learning to give up control and my rules. I’m learning it’s the quality and not the quantity that counts. I’m also learning to cope with life on life’s terms. Things aren’t always going to be easy, but that doesn’t mean I have to eat tons of sugar or junk. I recently started to consistently take yoga here at Life Time and I’m learning to focus on breathing, meditation and healthier methods to calm my body. I’m much more open to finding positive and healthy solutions to help me manage my life.

As the 60Day came to a close, I debated doing something drastic for the final week. Just something to help me finish strong. Then I realized something, this isn’t about an amazing final weigh-in, it wasn’t about numbers on a scale, my photos, or even this story. It was about me. Day 61 is going to be exactly like day 60. This challenge was a catalyst for me to start achieving my goals, both in fitness and in life. The challenge has ended, but I’ve just started.