Finalists / Natalia V.

Natalia V.

23.50% weight loss (39.1 lbs)*

*Results not typical


As the saying goes, Rome wasn’t built in a day, so even with my successes ( ) in the last 90-Day Challenge, it was not even a question whether I was going to join this one. Growing up I was always overweight. I was born with kneecaps in the wrong place which made activity very painful. As a result, I was very sedentary. I went through multiple surgeries, but the problem was never fully fixed. Also, I never had access to gyms in Russia so my first experience was when we moved to Fort Lauderdale.

My son started on a swim team so I thought maybe I could learn to swim and do a workout that didn’t hurt my knees. The only problem was, I was embarrassed to get into a bathing suit because I was over 240 lbs. and really self-conscious. I would wear a big towel getting in the pool and cover myself the second I got out. I started as a beginner and worked really hard, even swimming two times a day. I became really good at swimming but never lost any weight.

One day my husband told me that his job in Fort Lauderdale was ending and he had to take a job in Chicago. I was still in Fort Lauderdale taking care of our son — working two jobs because we couldn’t sell our house, so we had to pay two mortgages. It was difficult to get regular workouts in, so I got even more out of shape. Finally, my transfer went through and I was able to move to Chicago. We could be a full family again.

When I got to Chicago I wanted to try and take care of myself again so I joined Life Time Fitness Warrenville. I met my personal trainer Chris Horton, who was very helpful and did a great job of modifying exercises for me because of my knees. I was very nervous at first, but as we worked together I noticed my pain was going away.

I have been a member of Life Time for more than two years now and I have done two 90-Day Challenges. The first with ok results, and the last with great results. In the last 90-Day, I did the food allergy panel and we eliminated a bunch of foods which really helped me see results.

After the Challenge, I tried to add many of the eliminated foods back into my diet, which caused my weight to go up and my allergies to flare. I started to feel miserable again. I joined the 60-Day Challenge to get back on track and feel better.

I did the food allergy panel again, and we found that some things changed and some I was still allergic to. If only I had this when I was younger because I dealt with many related issues growing up. Even when I was active and swimming, I still couldn’t lose weight, and it was just because of all the inflammation I had in my digestive tract. After the test, we revised my meal plan and within a few weeks I felt great again. As the 60-Day Challenge started, I had a game plan and all my testing done so I was able to work out smarter.

I love variety. I did everything that I could think of. I added in personal training and reformer Pilates, and continued to exercise with Chris. I also tried things I had never done before like paddle board yoga and the online exercises. I attended all the 60-Day Try-It Tuesdays. Of course, a big part of my workout was swimming every day.

Another big part of my results was nutrition. After meeting with Meredith Palagi for my test results, I continued to attend the Healthy Living Challenge Seminars. The seminars were extremely helpful when it came to planning and preparing my meals. I also did D.TOX on the 3rd/4th weeks coached by Anika Christ from the Transformation Team. This was especially helpful when I took a long-term trip during the Challenge and needed help finding healthier choices for meals on the go.

The last three weeks of the 60-Day Challenge, I had been in Fort Lauderdale with my family. We upgraded our membership so we could take advantage of working out at the Boca Raton Life Time Athletic. I met up with James Glasgow and he did my body analysis on the biometric scale and added my results to the 60-Day leaderboard. He was also added me to the email list so I could attend the 60-Day Try-It Tuesdays and Saturday Seminars. I also worked with John Crimmins as my personal trainer for the time I was there. So besides my commute (Ft. Lauderdale to Boca Raton is an hour one way) my exercise schedule did not change.

As the Challenge is coming to an end, I am very proud of everything I’ve accomplished. I never knew I was capable of so much. With all of the results I achieved for weight loss, body fat loss, increased endurance, increased strength, increased power, etc., I have improved in my true passion — swimming. I am attending the Nationals Master Swim Competition (1,291 swimmers with National cuts). I will be competing in the 400M Individual Medley, 100M Butterfly, and 200M Butterfly.