I will never forget the image of my father reaching out to me as he lay dying in my childhood home. He had been sick for years; bedridden for months. My father was obese and had suffered many health complications because of his lifestyle, including debilitating gout, a heart attack, a stroke, diabetes, congestive heart failure, kidney failure and pulmonary fibrosis. He was a strong, willful, intelligent man, but he never learned how to overcome his addiction to food and sedentarism. He was an amazing father. He was my best friend. I tried for years to save him. I’d give him diet plans, make appointments at nutritionists’ offices, send him clean eating blogs. But in the end, I couldn’t save him. But as he took his last breath, as my mother and I held on to him and my brother grasped his hand, I vowed that I would honor his life by saving myself.
I lost 70 pounds in the year following my father’s death, by eating only natural, “clean” foods. I had hit a huge plateau and knew that I needed to incorporate some sort of exercise but I was afraid. I was that fat kid. That last kid on the hike, who would change for gym in the shower stall so no one could see me, who was picked last for teams. Yes, I was that fat kid who was picked on, pantsed, even spit on. Why on earth would I want to revisit those feelings again?
So instead of exercising, I ended up getting pregnant 3 times in 3 years. I had one miscarriage in February 2014, my daughter, Lily, in February 2015 and my son Alan (named after my father, of course) in December 2016. Those pregnancies put on 72 pounds. I was back where I started.
My two perfect babies gave me a new purpose. I promised myself that they would know happiness and joy, but they would also know health. Our vicious familial curse would end with me. I began eating clean and mindful the day I birthed my son. I lost 40 pounds pretty quickly but then hit another plateau. I had to face my demons and get into a gym.
A friend told me about Life Time. I had my onboarding session and the trainer who I met with was so different than the jock-like judgey bro I was expecting. Joe was kind, and down to earth. I felt “seen” by him. I’d never experienced that in a gym before! He talked me into trying TEAM Burn. It was through that first class that I met Nicole, a trainer at Life Time. She helped me with both my Active and Resting Metabolic Assessments. She also introduced me to Drew, who is now my TEAM coach. Both Nicole and Drew encouraged me to sign up for this 60day. One of my teammates and I decided we would “compete” in 60day. Whoever had the biggest change would be taken out for drinks by the other. Even though my friend and I were in competition, we have been rooting each other on this entire time. We’re both moms who want better for our kids. And for ourselves. So I decided to really throw myself into 60day.
I was given a meal plan by Nicole that really helped me streamline my eating. My favorite tips were from batch cook Sundays. As good as the Foodie Friday recipes are, it’s learning how to meal plan and prep that has really helped me succeed. I have been at the gym nearly every day of 60 day. It was the push I needed to learn that I can do anything I set my mind to. I can enjoy getting fit. I LOVE lifting weights. I love getting calluses on my hands and barely being able to walk down my stairs the next day. I love how my husband looks at me now. Not because I’m thinner, though I am. But because I’m lit up. I have a fire inside me that I never knew existed. I have more energy now than I did 20 years ago. And my goals have drastically changed. I don’t just want to fit into cute clothes anymore. Or avoid obesity related illnesses. Those goals are of course still there. But now I want more. I want to push myself to lift more. I want to increase my running time. I want to try new exercises! And I want to master all those moves that Drew makes me do that are so tough, because I can. Because I am stronger today than I was yesterday. And there is no limit to how much I can accomplish. I can win the 60day. I mean, I feel like I already have.