I started writing this essay after Week 1 of the 60 Day because I felt change immediately. For the first time in a long time, I began to feel happy about my body. While my 60 Day goals were defined in physical terms of increase muscle % and lose fat, what I have taken away extends well beyond, to my complete well-being.
I entered the challenge viewing my physical self as a burden. After having each of my two children, I had life-threatening complications where my body shut down 4 days after delivery. With my first child, I suffered from a severe form of preeclampsia marked by high blood pressure, liver failure and in extreme cases, seizures or death. My lungs filled with fluid and my heart nearly stopped; I was drowning in my own body. Had I gotten to the ER a mere hours later, I wouldn’t be here to tell this story. Last June, I had our second child. Again, 4 days after delivery, my body shut down as my heart rate dropped and blood pressure spiked.
In the months that followed, I found myself overly concerned about every physical problem possible. I was at the doctor’s constantly, measuring my blood pressure multiple times daily. I got a clean bill of health from every possible doctor I could see. (For this I am very blessed – many moms who suffer similar complications are not so fortunate.) That day, a 60 Day email popped into my inbox. I saw this as a sign from above that, in order to be the best mother, the best wife, the best member of my community, I needed to be physically, emotionally and spiritually healthy.
I met with personal trainer, Julian, on Day 1 of the challenge. I once identified as “The Attack” and knew I could be that again. Julian and I came up with a plan and I knew I was all in. Working with Julian and the structure of the program has provided motivation, a timeframe and structure — all things I needed in order to prioritize me and my health.
Prior to the 60 Day, I had never worked with a trainer. It has surpassed any expectations. For 15+ years, I’ve taken kickboxing, and it turns out I’ve been winding up my hook punch incorrectly all this time! Julian and I box and “lift heavy shit” for an hour. This is the best workout of my life. Julian is knowledgeable, hugely motivating and is truly invested in success of his trainees. Group classes have also propelled me to my goals. Instructors help to build the mental muscle as much as physical – whether it’s a “yes you can” from Katie or Petra when you have nothing left to give, or Ali cranking Euro pop to a last set of lunges. The energy of each participant working his/her hardest in the room is palpable. Giuliana’s HIIT Yoga has a fired up energy that I would describe as soul-filling. It doesn’t get any better than that.
Diet has been equally critical. Healthy meals that are delicious and filling exist! But require planning which was not a priority before the 60 Day. I highly recommend the Thai Chicken as a recipe to see just how delicious healthy can be. I stopped mindlessly finishing my son’s leftover pizza or macaroni and cheese, which took a lot of effort. Within days of eating an intentional menu sourced from the 60 Day recipe book, I felt energized; within weeks, notably cleaner.
Going forward, I will continue to prioritize my health, and my family’s health. The club has become a part of our family routine. My son loves kids’ yoga and tumbling gymnastics. My husband loves Life Time even more than I do – and as my biggest fan, has been a huge part of helping me achieve my goals. We run into people from the community at Life Time, and meet new ones. Simply being greeted with a warm smile by the engaging team members at check-in or the Kids Academy or the kind women who help in the locker room – this is a part of our life and I am so grateful to have such a welcoming destination.
Coming off of an experience that shook my confidence in my physical sustainability to the core, I have never been stronger. I can lift my 50lb son without a blink. This was so much more than a contest. It was a gift of an opportunity to reclaim both inner and outer strength. I am immensely grateful to each person at Life Time who has helped me (and will continue to I’m sure!). To the Life Time organization, thank you for creating such a special place and community, and for sponsoring the challenge, and most importantly for helping me to reclaim the beautiful gift that is life.