The last couple of months have been an incredible journey! Like many, I’ve spent years trying to keep my weight under control and feel a positive body image. I’m an emotional eater and my weight fluctuated from 220 to 145 several times. My go-to was anything fried or salty! My blood pressure was borderline, I’d be winded going up a flight of stairs, yet I found any excuse to not exercise. This lifestyle came at a price. At 40 yrs old I was a working, single mom of a 2 yr old, and received terrifying news. I had stage 3 breast cancer. I was facing the battle of a lifetime and was in terrible physical shape.
I went through 5 months of chemo and lost my hair rapidly, followed by a double mastectomy and radiation. Though I came through treatment successfully, my pre-cancer body was now even more out of shape, with a weaker left side. A doctor told me that I may never ‘be the same as I was’. I accepted this and truly felt the best years of my life were over. I focused my energy on raising my son, and even accepted that I’d always be single.
After my fight with cancer in 2017, I was plugging along, but still overweight. The most exercise I had was taking my son to a nearby park! I felt insecure, but was so glad to be alive—though being alive doesn’t mean you’re living. Being labeled a ‘survivor’ was lovely, but I put diet and exercise on the back-burner ‘I’ll get to it soon’. Facing my mortality was life changing, but my motivation was oddly inconsistent. Sadly, it took a second traumatic event to wake me up and knock some sense into me.
My mom was worried about my health, but I dismissed her concerns. I beat cancer, wasn’t that enough? Suddenly, at 69, my mom passed away of a heart attack at home. My grandma passed at the same age, the same way. I found myself alone with my son and was scared and sad, but never felt more motivated about my health. I was ready to do everything in my power to get (and stay) healthy for myself and Logan, no delay. After all, I plan to be there for his first day of school, be an embarrassing goofy mom, and see him off to college!
This was going to require hard work, a drastic lifestyle change, and I knew I needed help. It was time to get off my butt to prove to myself that I could turn my life around once and for all! This is always what my mom wanted. I made the conscious decision to channel my fears and grief into improving my health. I joined Life Time in Burr Ridge a month after my mom passed away, and the staff were incredibly supportive.
This is definitely a psychological journey. I was intimidated at first and felt lost in my grief at times, but even on my lowest days I felt lifted up by staff members. I’m amazed how quickly my body responded to exercise and training! With the help of Life Time staff I started making better eating choices, logging my meals, and started seeing changes quickly. Before I knew it I was happily drinking protein shakes for breakfast and a gym junkie! Lifetime helped me heal during a very difficult time (and gave me back my mojo!) I can’t wait to see my body transform further and my health continually improve.
I am so grateful for my trainer, Debbie, who treats me with kindness, understanding, and reminds me what I can do–always believing in me and pushing me gently when I definitely need it. I love that we can laugh and have fun during my sessions no matter what is going on. I felt so uncoordinated and awkward at first and now I don’t feel like such a fish out of water! I remember worrying about not wearing my prosthetics in public, but now I don’t wear prosthetics at all! I’m learning to embrace my body and feel comfortable in my skin again. Also, Ronnie for always exuding the most infectious positive energy. The metabolic assessment was fascinating. I learned so much about my body and what works best for me. I now see that there are no limitations!
Without exaggeration, the staff at Life Time from my trainer to the salon helped me change the way I think about myself. I found a place where I belong. I am still the same person, but much stronger in mind and body! I feel at least 10 yrs younger and I can see so many possibilities in my future. Life can throw us curve balls, but it is all about the recovery, our perception, and how we choose to handle the challenges.
I can hardly believe I’ve lost 27 lbs and 5% body fat! The 60 Day is just the beginning of my health journey. Fast food restaurants have probably felt the loss of me, searching for lost revenue! I feel a fire inside me that I haven’t felt in many years. After losing 20 lbs, I treated myself to my first haircut post-chemo at the Life Time salon. I felt it was time for something as vibrant as I feel. Thanks to Nicole, we went pink and didn’t look back, I love it! Regardless of the results of this challenge, thanks to the wonderful support and knowledge of the staff, I’m on the right path and already feel like I’m winning.