Movin’ and Improvin’: Falling off the Wagon

Libertyville and Gurnee, IL

This story is part of a partnership with Advocate Condell Centre Club.

Melissa and Loralie have partnered with Advocate Condell Medical Center Centre Club to spend the next year working to achieve their health goals. They’ll be documenting their steps to get Movin’ and Improvin’ and be fit by 40.  This is not a weight-loss series, this is a journey towards health. Read the series introduction to learn more. Today we check in with Loralie …

Movin' and Improvin' with Advocate Condell Centre Club

It’s truth time.

I fell off the wagon.

advocate condell centre club
© L. Thomas | | 2016

It’s a familiar chain of events for me.  I’ll recommit myself to diet and exercise, fail, then feel shame and use it as an excuse to throw in the towel. But just because you make a mistake, even a big one, is no reason to give up on yourself or your health.

During a breakthrough moment in my therapist’s office, I realized that all my life I have seen diet and exercise as my punishment for being fat. I had to deprive myself of food, and torture my body with exercise.  Is it any wonder that so many people fall off the wagon again and again?  When we view the healthy activity and healthy food choices as a prison sentence, we will do anything to sabotage ourselves for just one minute of “freedom.”  Thus the cycle of shame continues…

advocate condell centre club
Therapy can be a vital tool if you chronically struggle with weight. Photo Source:

Working with my therapist, I am learning to reframe the idea of taking care of myself. I need to treat myself with as much love, care, and concern as I treat my own children. Do I give in to my child’s every request for candy? Do I let my child sit inside day after day in front of screen?  Of course, I don’t. Love doesn’t always look like a “yes,” sometimes it asks you to make a better choice.

A healthy and active lifestyle should not be seen or practiced as a deprivation, I need to focus on what I am gaining, not losing. Instead of beating myself up and finding comfort at the bottom of a bag of chips, how about instead I focus on the progress I have made and the good choices I make every day?

gardening in lake county
100% Loralie’s handiwork. ©L. Thomas| Little Lake | 2019

This past weekend I worked on our front yard.   I remembered that at this same time last year, I sat on the porch with my leg in a brace while I directed my husband in the planting.  Arthritis in my knees at only 38 years old, caused by years of carrying extra weight had left me incapable of doing any of the spring gardening by myself.  Yet here I am one year later, stronger and able-bodied.

When picking up my son from school the other day, my daughter began running for the school door.  Previously, I would have shuffled behind her yelling at her to walk, but instead, I decided to join her for an impromptu foot race to the front door.

After swim class, my kids wanted to stop at a playground. Normally I would plop myself on a bench, smartphone in hand to check my emails. But that day, I played hide and seek with my kids instead, running from tree to tree to escape their clutches.

advocate condell centre club
© L. Thomas | | 2016

Last year, I never dreamed about taking time out of my day to go to the gym or do anything active unless I had to. Today I am a Centre Club member who can leg press 240 pounds and can ab crunch 45 pounds on the TechnoGym. I count all of these things as progress.

So rather than mope around over what I did not do this last month, I’m going to celebrate my victories and practice forgiveness.

I don’t demand my children to keep their rooms clean every single day, to get 100% on every quiz, and to never ever fight with their sibling.  As a mom, I don’t expect that I will never yell, never lose my patience, and never ever forget that it was Spirit Day at school.  Life happens. So if I make a poor choice, I am no longer going to use it as a license to throw all my healthy habits out the window. It’s time to leave my drama at the door and keep on chugging.

trainers at advocate condell centre club
Michelle at Centre Club Gurnee – © L. Thomas | | 2016

When you fall off the wagon, it’s good to have a hand to dust you off and help you back up.  I’ve been doing the same workout at Centre Club since February.  To keep challenging myself, making gains, and to keep me from getting bored I knew it was time to step up my routine.

Centre Club has a team of personal trainers who are fitness specialists, and I scheduled my first personal training session with Michelle.  The great thing about the Centre Club is that since they are owned by Advocate Condell Medical Center, they are truly invested in seeing you succeed and achieve your health goals.   They aren’t sales-oriented, and won’t try to sell you magic protein shakes that will help you lose weight. They truly want to help you get fit.

advocate condel centre club
© L. Thomas | Little Lake | 2016

I learned a lot from Michelle, and I’m not just talking about new exercises.  She pushed me to realize I am capable of a lot more than I give myself credit for.  I used to ride the stationary bike at a Level 2, but with her guidance, I realized I belong at a Level 10 and I can easily sustain that intensity for several minutes.  For my abs, she asked me to do a plank, and I insisted I would have to try it on my knees as there was no way I could hold myself up.  Little did I know, I was fully capable of not only getting into plank but holding that position.  Who knew?

advocate condell centre club
© L. Thomas | Little Lake | 2016

Michelle also helped me to realize what I need to work on.  When we think of working our core and abs we are always thinking about crunches, but you need to work those back muscles as well. She taught me how to do reverse crunches on the stability ball which really brought to my attention how weak my lower back was.   All those hours in front of a computer writing for Little Lake County was doing nothing for my core strength.

With a new diet strategy from my family doctor, a new outlook from my therapist, and a new exercise plan from my Centre Club personal trainer, I am back on the wagon again.  I know there will inevitably be missteps along the way, but I now feel confident that I can stay positive and regroup. I am an imperfect woman who is still learning how to love and care for myself, and that’s perfectly okay.

centre club gurnee

Advocate Condell Medical Center –  Centre Club is a hospital-based health and wellness club owned by Advocate Condell Medical Center and operated by Midtown Athletic Clubs. They offer a choice of group exercise, basketball, racquetball, weight lifting, swimming, indoor track and more.  They also offer various health programs, personal trainers and massage therapy.

Connect with Advocate Condell Centre Club
200 W Golf Rd, Libertyville | (847) 990-5750
1405 Hunt Club Rd, Gurnee | (847) 625-4750

Find more reviews of classes and gyms at Fitness in Lake County.

By Loralie

When Loralie isn’t out exploring with her two pint-sized adventurers you’ll often find her in front of her computer plotting to take over the world (or at least Lake County.) She appreciates good friends, good food, expensive shoes and parents who make two lanes in the drop-off/pick-up line at school. Her spirit animal is The Hobbit. She invites you to join her on her quest for unique distractions, diversions and deliciousness in this county we call home.

Disclosure: Loralie and Melissa have received a one-year membership from Advocate Condell Centre Club in exchange for sharing their journey and progress with our readers. All thoughts and opinions belong to the writer and no further compensation was received.

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