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Thursday
Mar032011

Matt S.

My name is Matt, and I wanted to take a moment to share some of the transformation that has happened in my life since joining Lifetime and especially since working with Brent Shehane. For the past 11 years I have been on an increasingly dangerous path of  obesity. I was already struggling with being overweight when I moved to Arizona, but over the past 11 years it moved from just struggling to a point where I had just given up. I felt powerless to do anything about my weight and what was even worse, I was trying every fad diet and quick weight loss gimmick that was on the market.

 This past year I turned 40 and I went in for my 40 year old physical. At that time my doctor decided to have a very candid conversation about my physical health and obesity. As of last fall, I was fluctuating between 360 and 364 pounds and was struggling with borderline high blood pressure and was showing some symptoms of adult-onset type 2 diabetes. At that time, my body seemed to be at a tipping point and I had to make a decision to either face life using medication to accommodate my obesity or it was time for a change.

I had been a member of another local gym for about 9 months at this point, however the environment of this gym was not one that I enjoyed and frankly I made the choice to use that gym because it was cheaper. The first decision I made was that I had to find an environment that would inspire me to at least be more receptive to go to the gym. From the first time I stepped into Lifetime, I felt like I had found a home and a place that inspired me to finally do something about my weight. After a few weeks, I had made a little progress with a few pounds, but I also realized that I needed to make a more radical change!

When I joined Lifetime, there was a promotion for $150 towards services available at Lifetime. My wife encouraged me to use it to try out a personal trainer since there was a session with a trainer

included with the new membership. I wish I could say that the first session with Brent was inspiring and left me hungry for change. That wasn't the case. The first session was a wake-up call to just how much I had let my body deteriorate. For the first time I saw that I was living in denial and I could not dig myself out of this hole without some accountability.

 What was clear to me after meeting the second time with Brent and doing my health assessment was that I needed to give something else a chance. I had tried everything else short of surgery and I was so hungry for hope. The greatest challenge as a man is that being overweight is such a personal issue and I needed to have someone I could work with that could inspire me and yet be tough enough on me to push me beyond what I "thought" I could do. Brent has done a masterful job of both. He started from the very beginning by developing a plan for me with nutrition. I am now proud to say that I have a food journal that has become a new way of life for me. As he inspects my journal each week, he continues to help me focus on  healthier choices, while at the same time teaching me how to help my metabolism work for me in weight loss. The second thing that he did that has made all the difference is that he painted a realistic picture of what the journey towards my target weight would look like. The fact that it was realistic helped me to put things into a little better perspective. It has helped me to focus on the bigger picture and not just the short term goals each week.

The most personally gratifying thing that Brent has done for me is that he is teaching me how to push myself farther than I have ever pushed myself, and also he has helped me to begin the process of  planning on a long-term strategy for weight management and physical fitness. The amazing thing since I joined Lifetime in November is  that I have now lost 50 pounds and I am halfway towards my primary goal of losing 100 pounds! Can you imagine the excitement of my wife as she is watching the weight loss, but also the lifestyle changes in how I relate to food. I have better energy, more physical stamina and I have had more opportunities to give hope to others that are just as discouraged and desperate as I was.

As I look towards the future, I had first thought of my journey with  Brent and Lifetime in context of a year's commitment to lose weight. Somewhere over the past few months Brent has helped me to move towards a different line of thinking: This transformation is a new me! A new me that has the opportunity to embrace these lifestyle changes as the new normal for the rest of my life. I have a joke in my family of all the names that I call Brent when I am going to the gym for my training sessions with Brent. The fact is that my wife and I owe a debt of gratitude to Brent that would be impossible to repay. I have no delusions of grandeur about how God has helped me to take steps to finally do something about my weight, but I also do not believe in coincidences. It is no coincidence that I am working out with a trainer that has an ability to help push me to do what I  was either unable or unwilling to do before now.

This past week was the first time in over a decade that I looked  into a mirror and I saw a reflection of me that finally registered in my brain as a face that has hope. It has taken a long time to get here, and there is not a day that goes by that I don't remember the humiliation and pain associated with obesity that was out of control. I am grateful for Lifetime Fitness and the environment that you all create to help a person like me that has never really get excited about going to the gym at least have a chance to feel comfortable in the process. I am even more grateful to Brent for seeing something in me that I didn't even have the courage or  imagination to see in myself at the beginning. The work that he has  invested into my life has made such a difference and i hope at I have the opportunity to "pay it forward" in the lives of others!

Matt S.

Outreach Pastor

Reader Comments (2)

Your story is so inspiring. Your account of your journey is so real. Its so hard to make that first step and good to hear someone going through and feeling the same as me. I decided to finally go to the gym after trying dvd workouts, treadmill in the garage, diet plans. Nothing was working for me, and honestly I really felt like I needed to be IN shape BEFORE graduating to the gym. I joked with my friends that I needed to get into shape to wear workout clothes but really thats how I felt. I agree with you, the atmosphere is very inviting and not intimidating at LT. Congrats on your success and for sharing your story.
-Maricela

March 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMaricela

Congratulations....I can relate to all your comments about Brent S. He has been my trainer since Dec 2009!!
Brent is a personal trainer at Gilbert, not Tempe!

October 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDonna R.

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