The year 2017 has been a year of change in my life. I turned 40, my wife left me, I lost my job, found a new job, and am raising my 7 year old daughter. I was going through a lot of negative emotions and stressors, with restaurants and fast food as my pick me up and stress relief. I was a long way from being in shape like I was when I held swimming records at Northern Illinois University in the 1990’s.
I joined Life Time Fitness and made excuses not to go. When I did find time to go to Life Time and meet with the nutrition staff or personal trainers, I was rude, angry, and unwilling to accept their advice and coaching. I was encouraged to join the spring/summer 60 day challenge and I laughed saying I didn’t have time or money for that, even though I was starting to have difficulty putting on my socks and shoes in the morning due to my size and lack of flexibility. I was in a very dark place full of anger and hatred at everything the world was throwing at me.
In the fall, my divorce was finalized, and I was ready to quit the club as I was only coming a few days a month and money was tight. I stopped by the sales manager’s office to see about a refund. She took the time to listen to my concerns and helped me realize the potential I had to restart my life at 40. The manager signed me up for the 60 day challenge and I left her office feeling good about myself for the first time in over a year. My goals were to be able to comfortably put my socks and shoes on, channel my anger to more positive outlets, have more energy to be there for my daughter, and to show up to the club at least twice a week. If I lost a few pounds in the process that would be a bonus.
During the fall 60 day challenge I not only lost 44 pounds and 11% body fat, to be under 200 lbs. for the first time since High School, but have lost the negative attitude, anger and hatred, and found healthy ways to relieve stress. I love the morning Pilates mat group class where the instructor makes it a point to know all 50+ participants name, and the WRX workouts are great with the hot Chicagoland fall. I have started looking forward to going to Life Time, and am able to go to the club 5-6 days a week, always finding something new and interesting to do each time from the pool, to the rock wall to the group classes, to the TEAM classes.
For the winter 60 day challenge, I actually gained a few pounds, but have lost fat. I went from 243lbs with 34% fat in August, to 199lbs and 23% fat in October, to 201 lbs., with 18% fat in January. I went from a size 42 waist to a 36 and I had to buy new belts and pants. This success can be attributed to the daily emails to the nutritionist who tracked my meals and gave recommendations, TEAM Bootcamp, and the try it Tuesdays, in addition to my own workouts.
The big moment came to me when I was sledding down a huge hill (Rotary Hill, Naperville IL) with my daughter. After about 35 minutes, she was too tired to keep walking up the hill again and again. Five more trips up the hill carrying a 55lbs 7 year old on my shoulders and two sleds in Chicago weather and not being tired was when I realized how far I came. I look forward to always being a huge part of my daughter’s life, now and on her (distant) wedding day. These challenges have helped me start down a path to get me there.
I have also switched to 5-6 small meals a day without ever really being hungry, thanks to the grocery store tour and weekend meal prep. This has also positively affected my budget as I am cooking more than going out to eat. The Life Time Staff has made this process so easy I will have no problem maintaining the small meals, and meal prepping after the 60 day challenge is complete.
I’ve apologized to the trainers and nutrition staff I was rude to, and I enjoy the smiles and encouragement I have been getting at the club every time I see them. Even the front desk staff has started calling me by name and have been extremely supportive.
My daughter and I look forward to continuing to go to the club at least 4 times a week to partake in all the fun activities, while eating smaller, healthy meals for the rest of our Life Time.