2015 Spring Transformation Challenge Runner-Up
*Results not typical
Imagine feeling like you couldn’t get out of bed in the morning, too exhausted to take care of yourself. That is how I felt after my last pregnancy. My thyroid stopped working, slowing my metabolism and making losing weight nearly impossible. Also, my abdominal muscles had split apart, and if they didn’t heal with exercise it could mean surgical correction. I felt as if my body had failed me. Instead of bouncing back, it just jiggled. When I signed up for the 90-Day Challenge, I knew I’d have the support I needed to live a healthier life, but it was up to me to participate.
I spoke to a registered dietitian, Samantha Bielawski, who recognized my hypothyroid symptoms and advised me on food choices that could help. My doctor started me on thyroid medication that I now take every day. With these changes, it felt like I had been pulled from quicksand and could finally move again.
To make time to exercise, I needed to be more organized, admittedly a work in progress. I have three young children, work 12-hour shifts as an RN, and I’m trying to advance my degree. I started looking for ways to become more efficient, such as getting my children’s outfits and lunches ready in advance or having my gym bag packed. I changed my work schedule, lightened my class load and made exercise part of my routine.
I used a phone application to track my nutrition. It was shocking to see what I ate, but empowering when I was able to change it. I started to look at food as fuel and instead of saying, “I CAN’T eat that,” I’d say, “I don’t WANT to eat that.” The Life Time Cafe was also a big help. I always felt able to make good food choices after a hard workout. I did the D.TOX, as much as possible while breastfeeding. It was hard to eliminate, eggs, soy, dairy and gluten. As a lifelong vegetarian, these were my top four sources of protein, but when I increased my overall consumption of protein, fruits and vegetables, I really did feel better.
To stay involved in the Challenge I attended “Try-It Tuesdays,” weighed in and got to know the incredible 90-Day team. I worked with an amazing trainer named Matt Masserant, whose enthusiasm was contagious. He could always make me smile, even through the toughest workouts.
I completed a metabolic assessment with Dominic Danno to generate efficient cardio workouts. I used a heart rate monitor and ran 30- to 60-minute intervals four to five days a week, alternating with weight training. Running gave me time to think, which helped with stress reduction. I can’t say it was easy, since before the Challenge I just walked on the treadmill, but every day got better. To think about it now, I could have never imagined doing squats with free weights before working with my trainer, and I even participated in the Alpha Showdown and Life Time Triathlon.
In the first six weeks I saw great results; I lost weight and felt stronger. It was rewarding when people noticed the change. But then something strange happened. I stopped losing weight, was extremely tired and developed an itchy dermatitis on both arms. I went to a dermatologist who suggested the rash was stress induced, which perplexed me since my stress seemed better with my lifestyle changes. But the changes were the culprit. The stress on my thyroid caused my body to respond with eczema and my progress came to a halt.
My plan had to adapt. I started to include restorative exercise like Pilates and yoga, utilized the massage therapists at the LifeSpa, and worked on better sleep so my body could recover. It meant a possibly less dramatic transformation, but it was what my body needed. It also made me think about the fitness of my skin. I began to use products from the LifeSpa, and within a couple of weeks I could see improvements. My skin was tighter and smoother, with an added bonus that the creams seemed to increase my workout results and recovery. The first time someone said I looked like I had great skin, I knew my new skin care regimen was worth it.
I am really quite amazed and grateful for this experience. It has strengthened not only my body, but also my appreciation for my supportive husband, friends, family, trainer and the whole staff at Life Time, especially the stellar Child Center staff for being so great with my children. I now have a new routine and better mindset. I’m healthier, with more energy and the insight to rest if I need to. Life will always be a challenge, but it is incredible how much my life has changed in just 90 days.