The end of the year is a time for reflection for many of us — about what we’re grateful for and also to think about what changes we’d like to make going forward into a new year.
For most, this past year was filled with both gains and losses. And for some, their losses were also their gains, because they lost the weight that had been holding them back from living to their full healthy way of life potential.
At Life Time, we’re lucky enough to see and hear amazing success stories from a wide variety of individuals on a daily basis. And as we enter into 2018, we’d like to share our top 4 with you.
So whether your goal for 2018 is to lose weight, eat more healthfully or just feel better, read on for inspiration.
“I am often told ‘you’re the strongest person I know.’ It’s intended to be a compliment, but to me it means wow, I’m amazed you’ve survived; you’ve had a difficult life. It’s true, I’m emotionally resilient, but I would be the last person you would pick to be on your team in gym class.
“I had every reasonable excuse to be 70 lbs. overweight. I had six-month-old twins. I was breastfeeding. I had just finished five years of fertility treatment. I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism. And I was grieving the loss of my first-born son, Joseph Jr.
“A friend asked me to join her for a TEAM class at Life Time. I had not looked in a full-length mirror in years. I remember being sick to my stomach when I arrived. I got through those first classes under the watchful eye of my TEAM instructor, Marie. She saw the shame in my eyes. She would quietly give me a modification to get through the rep count. Other times, she would say, ‘Increase your confidence by 50% and try again.’
“After a few weeks, Marie noticed I was having difficulty following simple instructions for a lunge. I was so disconnected with my body I had difficulty replicating the basic exercise. She asked me to stand in front of a mirror and watch myself. When I looked into the mirror it took me a moment to recognize myself. A large stranger stared back at me. My eyes welled with tears. How did this happen? Who is this staring back at me? The tears poured as I struggled to balance my round self in a lunge. No one said a word. The group stood with me and finished the rep count. In this moment, my armor cracked and a stream of light came through. For survival, I had steeled myself emotionally and abandoned the body.
“I attended TEAM for almost a year. I built my confidence, built my strength, and built a community. But I didn’t lose much weight. I decided I was ready for the 60-Day Challenge. I knew I would need to do more than workout 2 to 3 times a week. Before the Challenge began I met with Life Time’s nutritionist, Morgan. We started with the Detox. She helped me plan better meals and added a few simple supplements. I was shocked to lose 17 lbs. in two weeks.
“As I began to change, tension began to build at home. I had created a household that depended on me for every decision, every meal, every transition, every pick-up, every appointment — every moment. I began to prioritize myself and I found I could not possibly meet everyone’s needs. I remember one night when I had postponed my workout all day. I had unexpected company, a family who wanted dinner, and a grumpy husband who had never seen me abandon the family during the evening to head to the gym. I struggled to leave the house for over an hour — the guilt was like shackles. But right when I was about to give in, Marie texted me and asked me, ‘How was your workout today?’ Sensing the tension in the house, my 13-year-old daughter Grace asked to join me when I left for the gym. We laughed, chatted, and had our first workout together. My heart swelled with pride as I watched her climb on the Stairmaster and it became clear to me why I needed to prioritize myself and my health. I had allowed the needs of my family to take precedence; serving my husband a hot dinner was more important than my workout, planning playdates more important than focusing on nutrition. Their needs seeped in to every corner of my life — I had become their invisible servant. As I watched my teen daughter break a sweat, I declared that I would model for her how to value herself. I will no longer allow others’ needs to be more important than my own. I’ll ask for help or I’ll delegate. I won’t be small, quiet and uncomplicated — I will make space for myself and for my daughter.
“As the weeks went on my family adjusted. Sometimes their needs had to wait. At night, Grace asked, ‘What can I do to help you get the gym tonight?’ I was allowing my family to support me and they were proud to do it. I was giving my workouts and my diet everything I had, but plateaued. I met with my nutritionist again. She made tweaks to my food diary. I started UCan and BCAA. I found my stride. I was able to work out longer and harder. I scheduled cardio workouts with my personal trainer to vent, stay strong, and reevaluate my goals. I suspended my own disbelief and completely trusted Marie. She never asked me to do anything that I couldn’t do. My physical abilities far surpassed anything I could have envisioned for myself. Marie believed in me until I could believe in myself.
“Today I stand as strong physically as I know I am emotionally. I know exactly what it takes for me to be strong and healthy. I not only need to belong to a Life Time but I need a community of people who expect me to be there, encourage and push me — TEAM does that for me. I know what foods and supplements I need. As I dropped my excuses, I dropped the weight. I can look in the mirror and be proud of who looks back at me.”
Interested in signing up for the 60-Day Challenge? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“I am 57 years of age and since June of this year I have been a member of Life Time at the West Lake Houston location.
“I am not someone usually given to providing testimonials of a personal nature, however, I believe what has happened to me in the past three months is worthy of note as an example of what can be achieved if you are surrounded with a dedicated and professional team.
“After 30 years of travelling the globe on business, I had avoided any form of exercise or fitness and my diet was heavily carbs orientated, and was usually accompanied by a high level of alcohol consumption. Which was, of course, a potentially lethal combination at my age.
“My wife, who is a dedicated athlete, and who I have been lucky enough to be married to for over 30 years, had begged me to join the gym for several years. But apart from one very short-lived attempt at a fitness regime (it lasted a month), I had not felt the inclination to commit myself to anything that strenuous, and was always looking for excuses not to do anything about my burgeoning waistline and general poor health.
“After another of her attempts to get me focused on a lifestyle change, I reluctantly agreed in June to ‘give it a go,’ once again. But in truth, I was only doing it to appease her, and fully expected to do my usual short-term effort and then fall off the wagon again.
“As part of the ‘new regime,’ she told me that she had arranged for me to have a personal trainer and a specialized nutritionist to manage my program. But before I could meet with them, it was necessary for me to undergo a comprehensive set of bloodwork to see exactly what shape I was in. The results were shocking. Suffice to say, my readings showed that at most levels I was double the optimal range and that my blood sugars were so high and abnormal that I was diagnosed as class 2 diabetic, and as a result of this, my GP immediately put me on various medications to control my diabetes and blood pressure.
“As ridiculous as this sounds, and despite the fact that I had done nothing to look after myself for years and years, I was stunned by these results and decided that a lifetime change was critical if I were to have any chance of improving my life expectancy.
“Hopefully you have not gone into a coma yourself reading this testimonial so far, but it was necessary to give you the background to what occurred next.
“So at my first meeting, I was introduced to the people who have — in the past three months — completely turned my life around. Step forward, Casey and Jenny Ingram, my trainer and nutritionist, who along with Hanna Grinaker, who is a corporate registered dietitian, agreed to take me on and so began my journey with them.
“On June 1, my weight was 270 lbs. and my PBF (percent body fat) was registered at 42%. Casey told me that the goal was to lose 70 lbs. in weight and to reduce my PBF to 20%. I thought this guy must be the World’s biggest optimist, however, I had mentally prepared myself to commit to the program, and I am so pleased that I did. The training was very hard for me at the start, but Casey and I found some immediate chemistry which was a huge factor in me pushing through and his style of training. It pushed me to the limit on occasions, but I never felt it was beyond my capabilities, so we were off and running.
“Let’s now fast forward to the end of September when I went to have my bloodwork. redone. The results were amazing and here is a snapshot of my progress: My weight is now 230 lbs. (a loss of 40 lbs.) my PBF (percent body fat) is down to 34%, my BP is now at 117/78 (at one time it was 195/98), and all of my results from the blood works showed all of my readings had returned to the optimal levels. And the huge improvement was in my blood sugar that had reduced by 50% to the extent that my GP has halved all of my medication, and has confirmed that if that rate of improvement continues, I’ll be off of all medication by the end of this year.
“So I am now well on the way to achieving the goals set by my team, and am enjoying every session that I have in the gym — which is a far cry from where I used to be mentally. Also, I now enjoy an uninterrupted night’s sleep, have stopped snoring, and have loads of energy when I wake up that lasts the whole day. I am now a 40-inch waist instead of a 50-inch waist, and have gone through two complete wardrobe updates since we began the program in June.
“I never truly believed I would be able to get to this point in terms of health and fitness. And I am forever grateful to the amazing support and commitment I have received from my incredible team, the aforementioned Casey, Jenny and Hanna. And of course, the fourth member of the team, my incredible wife Debbie, who has ensured that all of my dietary requirements at home have been met. And who has encouraged me on every step of my journey so far. We still have a way to go to achieve the goals originally set, but I can assure you that these will not only be achieved, but surpassed, and it is all due to this team of people. So guys, thank you so much for turning my life around.
“As I said at the beginning of this, I am not someone usually given to public statements, but I just hope that people who are reading this and are at the start of their journey. Or more importantly, are seeing this and thinking ‘I could never achieve that.’ Please trust me when I tell you that you can. There was no greater skeptic than me and because of the dedication of my team, I am in the best place — both physically and mentally — that I have been for over 20 years. Thanks for taking the time to read this and good luck on your own journey.”
Interested in speaking to a dietitian or having your lab work done? Email us at email@example.com.
“In truth, I would say that my weight worries began when I was a junior in high school. The fads of the day were the soda called Tab, doctor-prescribed diet pills and the grapefruit diet. I was in the high school musical that year and was ordered by the director to work on my diet. I think I weighed in the 130s to 140s in high school. My obsession with weight loss began at that time, and I have never been at peace with my weight for very long since then.
“After high school, with no good nutrition, very little money for groceries, and no knowledge of healthy cooking or access to healthy foods, I gained a lot of weight. It was a Big Mac per day for supper on my home from work (no car either), as I passed McDonald’s when getting off the city bus. Eventually, it was a TV dinner per day when I moved and passed a tiny corner grocery store on my way home from the bus stop. It didn’t take long before I was in the 160s to 180s.
“Upon moving to Spokane, WA, when I was 21 years old, I really began to hate how I looked and felt. So I joined Weight Watchers, which was extremely restrictive at the time (1974). I lost weight and eventually was back to the 140s, I believe. Through depriving myself and going off and on starvation diets, I managed to stay at a fairly stable weight for my college years (1976–1979). In fact, I became a runner (about 3 miles per day) during my junior year in college. I loved running so much that I wanted to try out for the track team but talked myself out of it.
“Upon moving to San Francisco in 1979, I again joined Weight Watchers when I saw my weight start to creep up again from my lowest on my wedding day of 126 lbs. For years, I paid huge dollars to eat 500 calories per day on some weight loss program when I got tired of Weight Watchers. But eventually, I gave in to the food calling me, the depression over a terrible marriage and ballooned to 228 lbs. (my top weight). Food was my everything; my comfort and companion. I longed for the Friday nights I would find myself alone in the house. And I would get a pizza and a half gallon of ice cream and eat until I was sick. I was sick alright; sick in my body and in my soul and spirit.
“Although I was despondent, there was always the tiniest bit of a fighter in me, and I couldn’t bear being this weight forever. I don’t know what was the catalyst. Maybe when my husband and I divorced and I started graduate school, but back to Weight Watchers. I went and this time it seemed to really be working. It seemed like something I could do long-term as it was about eating anything I wanted and just counting points.
“I also joined Life Time and started exercising (minimally) albeit ever so little. As time went along and I saw some progress, I started joining the 90-Day sessions and joined TEAM Weight Loss and TEAM Fitness. Although I still didn’t exercise much on my own, the TEAM classes were helpful, and gave me ideas on what to do when I did come in on my own. Trainers began to talk about nutrition and supplements, and naming other people who might be able to help me. I felt intimidated to ask for help and ashamed at my inability to do it on my own, but no one shamed me.
“One day, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I felt so guilty. I felt I had brought this on myself from my hormone replacement therapy and my poor eating habits. Looking back, it was another stepping stone to my good health — as one of the first people I was referred to was a nutritionist at the hospital. She talked to me about how to eat during my chemo and radiation treatments; how to take care of my body and give it the best chance to heal. I learned — unfortunately late in life — that our fat cells carry estrogen and my cancer was both estrogen and progesterone positive. And by being ‘obese,’ as the doctors called me, I was increasing my chances of a recurrence. So this knowledge both scared me and motivated me. Although I didn’t dramatically change everything, I was very diligent during my treatment and ate more healthy foods than not.
“At the end of my treatment, I ran (slowly jogged) the Mother’s Day Cancer Run at MOA with one of the Life Time members who was heading the Run Club at the time. She had worked with me for a few months to get me ready. It was such a huge milestone for me. Thank you Leslie Skelly! A few years after treatment, I decided I was going to have reconstruction for my deformed breasts. And thought about what I could do to prepare for this surgery and be as healthy as possible, because I was now about 54 years old or so. Lent was coming, and I always gave up something for Lent. So I decided that year that it would be soda pop and all sweets, and I would do it until Easter. It was difficult but I persevered. Easter came and I thought, ‘Well, I’m not to my surgery date yet, so why don’t I continue this way of eating until surgery,’ which I did. Well, then after surgery, I thought, ‘I need to heal and good nutrition certainly would aid in the healing process, wouldn’t it?’ So, I continued on.
“Before I knew it, I had done it for a year. A year turned in to more years, and I saw the benefit of feeling better and losing weight that came from no pop and no sweets. And of course, I continued with Weight Watchers off and on until I would get sick of counting points and feel like I could do it myself. My weight (extremely slowly) crept down until after one of the 90-Day’s (I don’t remember what year, but probably 6 or 7 years ago) I broke 140 lbs. and was so delighted. Of course, I thought I had arrived, and would never have weight problems again. Alas, it has been a non stop struggle for me since age 15. Up/down, up/down. Buckets and buckets of tears have been cried. I continued to do the 90-Day, continued to do TEAM Fitness but pretty much got stuck in the 140s, and couldn’t budge.
“About 5 years ago, there was a handsome beau that came into my life, and for whatever reason, the weight seemed to start dropping off and I found myself at 133 lbs., and working toward my goal of 126, which was my wedding day weight. Since we had talked of marriage, I thought I would once again be at that weight on my second wedding day, but I plunged into despair when he dumped me for his ex-wife. I kept telling myself that he would not, could not, control me through my emotions, and I would not eat to cover my pain. However, I let myself indulge and quickly found the scale rising with me having little care about fighting it. Up/down, up/down the scale went again and I don’t know how, but eventually someone connected me with Mandy Rother, the nutritionist at the Life Time in Fridley, MN.
“I had tried it all; diets, classes, counting points, you name it. And I thought I might as well try this as a last resort. Well, wasn’t she a Godsend? Never would you meet a more kind, compassionate, encouraging and knowledgeable nutritionist. She always had high expectations for me and ideas to try. She suggested various things through the years, and I would have some success, but it was ever so brief and ever so little. I would feel better but not be losing weight. I got discouraged and would pick up my old habits. Even when I would try other eating plans or cleanses (and she would even do them with me). I would still be trying to count points and resisted just letting my body and how my clothes fit dictate what I needed.
“She wanted me to do lab work so we could get to the nitty gritty of what my body was needing; what it was telling me. I really did not believe it would tell us the truth and that it was just a money-making operation. I finally relented after the ups and downs continued, and more buckets of tears were shed.
“She believed the labs told a story about my gut being off, but we couldn’t pinpoint it. I thought I would start off 2016 by doing the January 1 Commitment Day 5K, and I felt so good about doing that. It was a motivator for me to continue to try and beat the blues about not losing weight. I am an overcomer, a fighter, and did not really want to give up. But just seemed stymied at every turn. Some of it would be my own fault because I was inconsistent. But I would get tired of trying so very hard — and not seeing results. So one day, I asked Mandy if she knew of a trainer that could help me train for a Triathlon. She introduced me to Jody Quesnell, who worked me to death (haha), and in 2016, I did my first tri in June! However, my weight during that training was in the 150s, and although I was working out for 1 ½ to 2 hours per day, for 4 months, I never lost an ounce. I was toning some, but again felt extremely frustrated that I could eat so well and work out so much, and not lose any weight.
“I was at my wits end when at the end of 2016 I told Mandy I was going under and didn’t know what to do anymore. She told me that she knew of this new program that might address my gut issues. That it wasn’t too expensive and that we could work this through together. She believed that the labs were giving us a message and the other programs hadn’t quite gotten to the core of the issue. I was reticent to try something new again since I have tried so many things. However, I was desperate and because it was reasonably priced, I thought I’d give it a try. Well, it was a miracle to me! On January 9, 2017, I began GUT.FIX. Mandy and I met weekly to walk me through the first four weeks and answered the myriad of questions I had.
“I was extremely diligent, and I can tell you that now four months later, I am down 20.9 lbs., and feeling the best I have felt in many years! As I have begun to get compliments the past few weeks, and people ask what I’m doing, I have raved about this program. I know that I have worked hard to stay on track. But I also think that for me, the supplements must have addressed a deficiency in my body; something lacking or something needing to be ‘fixed.’ I am forever grateful for this program and for Mandy and her ongoing encouragement. It is difficult to maintain healthy eating when the world around you lives on carbs and sweets (as I once did), but I will continue to persevere and I pray that I will never be in the place of needing a ‘fix’ again.”
Want to try GUT.FIX? Find more info here.
“The first two weeks of March was my one year anniversary of starting the D.TOX program. I have lost 42 lbs., and now getting a nice toned body that I once had…or close to what I once had. I’m at the perfect weight for which I want to stay at forever, 230 lbs. The programs have totally changed my eating habits. My lifestyle continues as if nothing has happened.
“Many of my friends ask me what diet I’m on. I tell them, ‘It’s a lifestyle, not a diet.’ I tell them: ‘We are all on diets, some of us have good diets, and some of us have bad diets.’ I compliment and give credit to the Life Time Fitness programs. I’ve purchased the D.TOX packages for my daughter, brother and co-worker. All three have shown success.
“I’m 59 years old, I was an athlete in college, then competed in triathlons and marathons for ten to 12 years, I have completed three Ironman Triathlons. I was in the Clydesdale division, playing football. I’m a big guy. My best Ironman was 11 hours and 23 minutes, and I weighed 225 lbs. Then I slowed down and got busy with my kids, slowly stopped working out, got heavy and out of shape and up to 272 lbs. I was shocked at how much I weighed. The years just disappear, but getting myself back in shape was so self-satisfying; my wife of 37 years and family loves it also. I’m back; Big John is back!
“I hope all your clients feel this sense of accomplishment because it breeds success and continued good health practices. Now that I’m at my desired weight, I still do the D.TOX quarterly, but I follow the 80/20 rule on eating, too. A person can’t be perfect all of the time, so if I eat properly at least 80% of the time, so I’m good to go. This has worked for me for the past four months. When I go on vacation I try to eat good, but not every day or every meal, 80% of them.
“I just went on a ski trip to Whistler with 27 people. I was the oldest guy in the bunch at 59; the youngest was 31. I outlasted them all on the mountain, and we ski hard, double diamonds and all, and we went heli-skiing for a day. Two of the younger guys asked me what the heck I’m doing. I tell them it’s the Life Time programs and told them to look into them! A BIG THANK YOU for all your work and encouraging e-mails and phone talks.”
Interested in the D.TOX program? Sign up here.
Written by LTWL Staff
This article is not intended for the treatment or prevention of disease, nor as a substitute for medical treatment, nor as an alternative to medical advice. Use of recommendations in this and other articles is at the choice and risk of the reader.