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 hear from Loralie…
With any major life change, you’re going to need support. Because that’s what Melissa and I are doing; we are majorly changing our lives.
Movin’ and Improvin’ with Advocate Condell Medical Center Centre Club is not about keeping a New Year’s resolution.
We’re not trying to fit into our skinny jeans.
We’re not waiting for a number on the scale to validate us and give us a license for our life to truly begin.
We are smack dab in the middle of a hectic, glorious, messy, beautiful life. One in which we are busy raising children while working together to build a media company that serves the parents of Lake County. My life isn’t going to start once I weigh 120 pounds. I am living in the thick of it, and what I want is to improve the quality of it.
It’s been all too easy to let taking care of myself fall to the bottom of my list of priorities. When you have children, it’s natural and expected that they move to the top of your list. But there’s a reason that the flight attendants tell you to put on your own oxygen mask first before helping others. How can I possibly give my all to my family and my job when my tank is running on fumes?
In 2007, I vowed I would never step foot into a Lane Bryant again. I had just finished walking over 500 miles from Boston to Washington D.C. I camped outdoors all along the way with a group of other obese contestants as part of an ABC reality series, Fat March. (Oh you’ve never heard of it? Yeah, you’re not alone, it’s ok.) While fame eluded me, I had lost enough weight to get the green light from my OBGYN to start having children. I had gained cardiovascular strength, fitness, cash, prizes, lifelong friends, and most importantly, the confidence that I could do anything. Steve and Bonnie Pfiester (Steve was my trainer on the show!) posted this highlight reel of Fat March on his gym’s YouTube channel, MAX Fitness Club.
After the show, I continued to lose weight and competed in several 5K’s, half-marathons, obstacle races, and sprint distance triathlons. Fitness and competition were now part of my life.
But training with small children can be complicated. Long runs require time away and time for recovery that toddlers just won’t allow. I stopped registering for races. I started eating more and more of what was easy and convenient and choosing foods for comfort over nutrition. Slowly the weight crept back up and with it a host of physical problems. Last year, when the Little Lake County team enjoyed a team-building event at Whirlyball, arthritis in my knee had gotten so bad I couldn’t even participate. I sat on the sidelines recording the action instead of joining in the fun. In fact, the inflammation was so bad, I needed a hand just to walk out the door and was on crutches the very next day.
You hear the stories of people who go on reality shows to lose weight, only to gain it all back and then some. I saw them too and judged those people harshly for throwing away such a gift. Yet, here I was one of those people.
After spending the holidays desperately ill suffering from sinus infections, ear infections and a nasty case of pink eye, I had finally hit the wall. Overworked, overstressed and overeating had taken its toll and my life had to change. Having ridden the diet rollercoaster before, I knew diets, quick-fixes or even a reality show were not what I needed. My life had to change, permanently. And I needed, and I still need HELP.
So that’s where the importance of finding support comes in. I have a literal team backing me up to achieve my health goals. My family doctor is helping to monitor my progress and may just be my biggest fan. I’m seeing a talented therapist who is helping me get to the root of my self-sabotage as I learn to love and care for myself again. And then, of course, there’s the Centre Club with its amazing staff and facilities.
When we first teamed up with Advocate Condell, I thought to myself, “What am I getting myself into?” My time was already at a premium between taking care of kids, a household, volunteering, and Little Lake County–how could I possibly afford time for hitting the gym into my schedule? The truth is, I couldn’t afford not to. With my packed calendar, the most vital appointment I had failed to schedule was time for myself.
Believe it or not, over the last month and a half, I have come to cherish my time at the gym. There’s something hypnotic about the swoosh, swoosh of the elliptical machine. It’s exhilarating to feel my blood pumping and my lungs filling with air on the treadmill. Even my nemesis, the rowing machine, gives me the necessary mental break from my work, my children and my responsibilities. Gym time is ME time, where no one is making demands of me, no dishes are needing to be washed, and the writing deadlines will just have to wait.
As the primary caregiver in my household, I simply could not make the trip to the gym without childcare. Both Centre Club locations (Libertyville and Gurnee) have Karing for Kids, their onsite childcare facility.
My daughter LOVES it here. In fact, I wait for her to get out of preschool so we can go to the gym together. It’s become “our thing.” She gets upset if she hears I’ve been to the Centre Club without her. She considers Karing for Kids to be her playroom, and it doesn’t hurt that they have three full drawers of Barbies. It’s my 5-year-old daughter’s dream come true!
The staff at Karing for Kids is incredibly patient and kind. On my first visit there, there were a few fussy babies and each staff member had a baby in their arms that they were cuddling to provide comfort. It was a sweet sight to see. During busy times, they always make sure to schedule enough staff, so you can rest assured your child is getting the attention and care they need while you give yourself the attention and care you yourself need. If the room reaches capacity, they’ll bring some of the older kids out to the gym floor to shoot hoops or play games.
Even the security impressed me. You need a passcode and they use biometrics to read your fingerprint before you can even gain access to the Karing for Kids room. Karing for Kids lends that extra layer of support that busy parents need in order to take care of themselves, and it is included at no extra charge for all Centre Club members. With one less worry off my plate, Karing for Kids allows me to make fitness a habit and a regular component of a healthy lifestyle.
I know how to lose weight, been there done that. To improve my life, I need to make fitness part of my everyday routine. The healthy activity has to be a part of mine and my family’s daily life. The end of this journey we call life is inevitably the same for all of us whether you’re thin, thick, muscular, flabby, short or tall. But if I can find a way to love and care for myself and others along the way, it’ll make the journey all the sweeter.
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.
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.