Laura has become not only a faithful client but also a friend since we first meet 5 years ago. And I am so proud to be able to feature her success this year. Even though Laura attended classes for years, her weight loss journey really amped up 1 year ago and with her determination she lost 35 pounds and counting. Laura is one of the strongest woman I’ve ever worked with, which was fun because I could really challenge her in our personal training sessions. Its finding that exercise/food balance that is really key. One of Laura’s 2015 goals was to be featured on the client spotlight and I told her in October if she got under 200 pounds by Thanksgiving the next spotlight was hers… And here she is! Stay tuned, however… We’re going to continue Laura’s journey with another feature this Spring!
You took your first class at PNT Fitness in APRIL 2011 (just 4 months after we opened!!) Do you remember why you decided to check out the studio and how you felt after your first few classes?
That was a long time ago, but I remember those first classes like it was yesterday! My office had just moved to Vernon Blvd and I was looking for some classes to take after work. I was eager to try spinning because I have always enjoyed outdoor cycling. I thought the classes were really challenging, fun and energizing, and I still get the same great feeling after every spin class. I love it! For the record, I also took a few Zumba classes that were offered then, that did not go quite as well!
What has kept you coming to the studio for so many years? And, what changed over the past year for you to focus on weight loss?
I really like the small group fitness class concept, and that PNT is almost like a little private club, rather than a traditional gym where you just anonymously scan your bar-coded key tag. I feel like I am “expected” to show up, and that helps me get here on days when I don’t really want to work out.
I have struggled with my weight my entire life. When I was in my mid-twenties, I lost over 70 lbs on one of those programs where all the food comes pre-packaged for you. Slowly, over 15+ years, I have gained it all back. I decided last year that I needed to really start focusing on my weight loss when the scale registered more than 10 lbs over my previous heaviest weight. I feel like I have lived 2 completely separate lives; one as a thinner, healthier, energetic person, and the other as a very unhappy, less social, drastically over-weight shell of who I really am inside.
I know you’ve tried to be religious about your food journaling with MyFitnessPal and using your FitBit tracker, how have these technological tools helped you?
“Tried’ is the right word. When things get hectic for me, I tend to let my food journal slip, when in reality, I need it more when things are hectic, and I dont have as much time to my food prep & exercise routine. I have learned that ACCOUNTABILITY is the thing that has really helped me stay on track. I can’t do this on my own. I have been working closely with Tara to make sure I always have a food and exercise plan, and MyFitnessPal and my Fitbit, have kept me honest about my efforts.
I use the Fitbit Charge which monitors my heart rate/calorie burn. I have become sort of addicted to getting that little notification that I have burned enough calories for the day to keep me on track. MyFitnessPal constantly reminds me that calories add up faster than I think. And when my weight loss has slowed down, Tara has been able to tweak my calories & macros to give it a jump start. As much as I always think I will then starve to death, I haven’t yet and it works every time!
What do you continue to struggle with?
I knew when I started really focusing on weight loss in Oct 2014 that this journey would be more of a marathon than a sprint, but the weight is coming off even slower than I expected. And whereas my commitment to a healthier lifestyle is still just as strong, I find that my day-to-day motivation remains a challenge. I mean, I have lost 35 lbs, so compared to one year ago, I feel incredible! People notice now that I’ve lost weight…I fit in everything in my closet…so at times I have felt a sense of complacency creeping in. I guess I am trying to find a balance between celebrating my success and reminding myself to keep pushing forward. I still have a long way to go!
Plus I also still struggle with burpees. I don’t think that will ever change.
What advice do you have for other women who are trying to make healthy changes in their life and lose weight?
Like I noted above, accountability is essential. Recruit as many friends, family & gadgets to help keep you in the game. Vary your workouts so nothing gets too routine, and most importantly, try new things! I am eating lots of foods I never thought I would 2 years ago, and I have started jogging, which I have never enjoyed (still don’t really). It’s like I see things through a different filter now, and that filter is my overall well-being, health & future instead of just immediate gratification.
Has personal training with Tara combined with classes impacted your life or outlook on fitness, if so how?
Yes! in more ways than I could even list here. To be honest, a couple of classes alone weren’t enough for me. In fact, I think they gave me a false sense of confidence that I was “doing enough” exercise, and I probably ate more thinking I could get away with it. In fact, I gained more weight over the first couple of years that I started coming to the studio. It wasn’t until I started training/working with Tara that I started seeing the bigger picture.
Tara has been my biggest cheerleader & coach to help me learn to balance my nutrition & exercise. (she’s like a Fitness Santa…she knows when I’ve been bad or good, so I better be good for goodness sake!) In all seriousness, this journey has been hard, and there are times when I would’ve quit, but it’s really hard to quit when you feel like you would be letting someone else down.
Also, a major hurdle for me has been overcoming some chronic pain/injury.
I dislocated the arch in my foot 14 years ago and have had to wear orthotic inserts since then to help it. I have also suffered from plantar fasciitis (severe heel pain) which in my case was totally weight-related. The pain in my feet was previously enough of an excuse to stop me from doing a lot of different exercises. But I have learned that Tara can work around almost any injury and still find a great workout to keep me burning calories even while I feel like I should be side-lined. And now, at 35 lbs lighter, I no longer suffer from Plantar fasciitis and for the first time since 2001, I don’t even own orthotic inserts anymore. It’s like I have been given a new set of feet!
What is your fitness/health goal for 2016?
Well, I am only about half way through my weight loss journey. To be honest, since I have been so heavy for so long, I am not exactly sure what my ideal weight is, so I look forward to getting closer to knowing what that should be.
I also want to do a century bike ride, and at least five 5k runs. Most importantly, I just want to keep moving forward, maintain the positive habits I have picked up, and keep getting healthier & happier!