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Saturday
Mar262016

Tara L. - Lakeville, MN

The Life Time 90-Day Challenge came at the perfect time for me. It provided me with focus, inspiration and direction that I needed to change my life and my attitude.

It gave me permission to take care of me.


Before the 90-Day Challenge, I chose to be a surrogate for friends of mine, for the second time. I gave birth to my own daughter 6 years ago and was able to stay active through the pregnancy, and I bounced back fairly well. My second pregnancy left me with less energy and unfortunately more post-baby weight. The experience being a surrogate was amazing and I loved being able to help create a family for someone. When I decided to be a surrogate for the second time, I told myself to just accept that my body would never be the same. I would end up holding on to more weight, because everyone told me that’s “just what happens” after having kids, especially in your 30’s. After giving birth, I felt terrible about my body. Strangers kept asking me when I was due. I had the postpartum body and no adorable baby with me to explain why. I avoided putting on any new clothes and resigned myself to wearing maternity clothing. On the rare days I had some energy, I would make it to the gym, but I would feel too down to do much and I’d leave. I just felt terrible about myself. But then I saw the big signs for the 90-Day Challenge and thought, if nothing else, maybe it will give me motivation to get back to exercising.

I met with a trainer for the initial weigh in. We discussed some things that weren’t surprising – clean eating habits, more weight training, less stress, more sleep. But we also talked about protein, which made a huge difference in my journey. I am a vegetarian and was eating high carbohydrates and very low protein (one trainer labeled me “carbitarian”, which was pretty accurate!). All those carbs left me feeling tired and craving sugar. The trainer recommended increasing my protein and suggested trying Lifetime VeganMax protein powder. He also suggested less cardio and more weights. I tried to explain that I just didn’t feel like I was working hard when lifted weights. But who was I kidding, I was barely working at all at that point. He told me to lift HEAVY weights

So I left my initial weigh-in with hope. And I decided that if I was going to do this, I was going commit to it fully. As a mother of 2, I constantly suffer from the mom guilt, always putting other things before myself. There was always laundry to do, or food to prepare, or errands to run. Even when I was working out regularly, it was always surrounded by feelings of guilt. But I decided, I just spent 40 weeks doing something amazing for someone else. Now I was going to spend the next 12 weeks on myself. I began planning my meals and scheduling my workouts. I started lifting heavy. And discovered I loved lifting weights. I stopped eating my children’s leftovers, which was one of my biggest problems before this challenge. I told myself if it wasn’t on MY plate, it wasn’t MY food. I drank VeganMax twice a day and tracked my protein and carbohydrates. I began wearing regular clothes again. And I began feeling good.

The thing is, 12 weeks is a really long time when you are in the middle of it. I would be really motivated some days, and other days would be harder. I would be tired or irritable. Life didn’t stop. There was still work and family and long to-do lists. But often, it was my kids who were telling me to go workout so they could go to the Life Time Child Care. They always had fun and they adore the staff. The weekly weigh-ins were necessary for me to stay focused. Every Tuesday, without fail, I weighed in. Seeing the weekly progress was motivating. And no matter which trainer weighed me in, they would always ask how things were going. They may have regretted that question each week, because I would pull them aside and ask a million questions. What about this exercise? What are your thoughts on these meals? Can you give any advice on plateaus? And they always could. Talking to the Life Time trainers was essential to my success. They always provided sound advice and great suggestions. And just as important, they were upbeat and positive. I left each Tuesday with new dedication for the week (and a LifeCafe protein shake as my reward).

90 days of dedication. 90 days of focus. 90 days of focusing on ME. I still am amazed at the amount of progress that can happen in 90 days. I started simply wanting to feel a bit better about my body and wanting a little push. I ended up with more confidence, I am a better mom and a better wife because I am happier. I put myself first for the first time in my life. As cliché as it may sound, at less than 4 months after giving birth, I am now, literally, in the best shape of my life. And I plan to keep it that way.