Finalists / Karen E.

Karen E.

Woodbury, MN

Karen E FRont

On May 1, 2018, I had to undergo major back surgery. For 25 plus years the toll of being overweight was finally more than my back could bare. I knew how painful the surgery was going to be because I had the same surgery 19 years earlier after my third child was born. I lived the next 19 years overweight and with chronic back pain that left me afraid to exercise and I used that as an excuse not to exercise. But with all the support I received from Life Time, I have learned that ANYTHING is possible if you believe in yourself.

I had just begun my fitness journey when I started my membership with Woodbury Life Time in July of 2017. Fast forward to May 2018 and I honestly felt like WHY ME…WHY NOW. After meeting with my surgeon, he explained that my back didn’t go out because I started working out, it was because I was inactive and overweight for so many years. I decided after this surgery I would do everything in my power to get strong and stay healthy. After the all clear from my surgeon, I was back at Life Time continuing on my fitness journey.

So for me, this 60Day wasn’t about losing. This was the first 60Day that was actually about gaining: gaining knowledge by working with Life Time nutritionist Mike and taking meal planning to a whole new level. Gaining confidence, working with a personal trainer named Toby who probably saved my life as my obesity and depression had begun to take every ounce of happiness I once had, one pound at a time. This challenge for me was about putting myself back together again piece-by-piece.

Life Time had all the tools I needed to succeed. From the staff who greets me with a smile to the variety of equipment that presents me with a new challenge every visit and my personal trainer Toby who continued to believe in me even when it was hard to believe in myself and of course there’s also the Life Time Café; consistently filled with many wonderful tools and treats to help me on my journey. I’m always seeking recommendations from my personal trainer, nutritionist or whoever is running the café at the time; the entire Life Time staff and facility encourages success. I was the one who had to take advantage of these tools if I was going to gain my freedom and truly live again.

This 60Day has not been about simply burning calories, it’s been more about a burning desire I discovered in myself to gain control of every aspect of my life. Ironically, one of the ways I do this is with a class appropriately named “GTX Burn.” It feels amazing to me every time I finish a class when the reward starts almost instantly with a feeling of accomplishment. The others in my class are never my competition, rather we quietly support each other simply by showing up. There is a mutual admiration and respect that can be felt at the end of each class. Words cannot accurately describe the emotions felt.

The bottom line for my story: It takes a village. When friends and family see me, the very first thing they see are results. They aren’t sure how I got here, but they see that I’ve arrived. Of course some ask how I’ve done it and I always share that in order to change your life, you need to change your habits.

At this point in my story, for me it isn’t about adding more, in fact it’s about getting rid of or eliminating certain things, like excuses. Excuses (by definition) are something you seek or use to defend or justify. I would add one more word to this definition…..failure. Excuses are something you seek or use to defend or justify failure. There are always excuses to fail. Throughout my journey I have had great excuses, some very legitimate excuses to stop or put off this journey. There are always new excuses that pop up in my mind only attempting to cheat me out of the life I am now so grateful for. With the help of Life Time I have learned to overcome the excuses and win.

We all have challenges in our lives and although we can’t eliminate them, I do believe we can, to a degree, choose what types of challenges we face. My old life was filled with challenges that were debilitating, life threatening and both physically and emotionally exhausting. My new life includes new challenges that are healthy and rewarding.

My latest 60Day was the most important for me because my back injury forced me and my trainer Toby to modify both my nutrition and fitness goals.  But this challenge was never about a number, it was all about living a healthy lifestyle and that’s what I’ve done. I’ve created a healthy lifestyle that I now know will last a “Life Time.”