Danielle S.

South Jordan, UT

danielle s. spring 2022 finalist

Danielle’s Story

In January 2020, I was a 32-year-old married woman, working as a flight attendant. I’d been flying for 8 years and was very thankful for the travel experiences that I had through work and also with my husband on our days off. As a flight attendant, I spent most of my days on my feet and every time I landed, I had a new city to explore. Outside of work, I played a lot of beach volleyball, ran races and triathlons, and hiked mountains. Two years later, in January 2022, I was still a happily married flight attendant, but I was also a new mother of 2 beautiful baby girls born in a pandemic.

I always had a vision of what my life would look like while I was pregnant- I would just keep doing what I did before, only with a cute baby bump. Thank you, COVID-19 for the abrupt change of plans! Instead, the first few months of my pregnancy were spent in serious lockdown rather than my usual social and active lifestyle. In a nutshell, I wasn’t as active as I wanted to be, which led to me eating more, giving birth to Blair in September 2020, getting pregnant shortly after, repeating the cycle, and then giving birth to Stella in November 2021. Thankfully, I had 2 healthy pregnancies but by the end of the 2nd pregnancy, I was so uncomfortable that I found most of my joy in food and tv. The bottom line is I gave up on fitness.

Two weeks after giving birth to my 2nd daughter, I was talking to my friend about the whirlwind of the last two years and I swore that I would never take my health, fitness or mobility for granted ever, ever again. She told me how amazing Life Time was, especially for parents with young children, and I signed my whole family up. I was so overwhelmed but the team welcomed me with open arms. The fitness staff was incredibly supportive of my goals and the childcare staff took such great care of my girls… I knew we were in good hands.

Cara did my initial assessment one month after Stella was born. At this point, I was at 29% body fat and 164 lbs. I’d already lost 20lbs of baby weight but the rest was unhealthy weight that I knew I’d have to work hard to lose. At the beginning of the 60day Challenge, I wrote myself a letter and I stapled it inside of my planner. I wanted it to be a daily reminder of my goals throughout this challenge which were to “look good, feel strong, be proud and lose 10+ lbs.” As extra motivation, I added “If I commit to this, I’ll start year 35 feeling healthy and in great shape. I’ll look good and be able to compete in the volleyball tournament in Hawaii in April.” The three non-negotiables that I committed to were “intentional meals, good workouts, no soda.” At this point, it’s been 7 weeks without soda. I still crave it every day but this experience has opened my eyes to how much better I feel without it. When either my husband or I are tempted to overeat or eat unhealthy, we ask each other, “Does this help you meet your goals?” By asking this question, it gives us the opportunity to decide for ourselves. Then, instead of feeling controlled, which has typically lead to failure, we feel empowered by our own healthy choices.

Through this 60day program, I’ve learned how to meal prep and feed my family healthy whole foods. It’s a goal I’ve always had but didn’t know how to achieve until this point. All of the recipes have been delicious and easy to make, and the grocery lists made them simple. Now we always have healthy food in the kitchen and my husband and I are so much more aware of how we eat and how poorly we ate before. I feel that the changes I’ve made through this program are completely sustainable, which is something that I haven’t felt about a lot of the challenges and diets that I’ve seen my friends do in the past. I am so thankful for the habits I’ve developed and for the new lifestyle I can live because of them.

Some of the healthy habits that I’ve learned in the last 60 days, and am looking forward to keeping up, are sugar awareness, carbohydrate awareness, simple meal prepping/batch cooking and the importance of regular strength training.

In the last 60 days, I’ve lost 14 lbs and 9% body fat. I’m feeling strong and just won my volleyball league! Now I’m looking forward to competing in the tournament in Kauai next month and participating in a triathlon in a couple months with 11 of my girlfriends- all of whom are moms of babies under 2 years old! I am so thankful for the community and friends at Life Time that have been so motivating through this 60day Challenge. Now I’m looking forward to seeing what else I can achieve in the next 60 days! I love it when my husband tells me I look strong and skinny, but the best and most fulfilling part of all of this is when he says how proud he is of me for working so hard to create this healthy lifestyle change for our family.