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My “Unachievable” Goal

I swear I'm not THAT short! ;)
I swear I’m not THAT short! 😉

Doctor’s Orders

It was about 9 months ago that I went to my primary care doctor because I wasn’t feeling well. My doctor took care of my symptoms and provided some serious tough love. “Kelly, I’ve been seeing you for years. Every time you come in, you gain a few pounds.” Thanks Doc, happy monday to you too! I knew she was right though. Basically, she told me to lose weight or she would have to put me on an appetite suppressant. Joy. My physical wasn’t scheduled for 3 months. I had 3 months to show her I was making an effort, or, more meds.

It would be extremely fair to say that I have a few medical issues. I had my first stroke when I was 14. I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis at 20. The RA was so severe before I got it under control that it left significant deformities in both of my elbows. A year ago I had surgery to close a bunch of holes in my heart. And now I’m so fat my doctor is going to put me on drugs. That’s how I saw it. How depressing.

A few weeks after the appointment, I’m driving home from work and a bright blue awning at the corner of Ann Arbor Road and Haggerty catches my eye. Applied Fitness Solutions? What on earth could that be? I thought, maybe it’s a nutritionist office! Another diet? Sure, why not, I had tried everything in the last 5-10 years: Atkins, Weight Watchers, South Beach, Nutrisystem, 1200 calorie diet, you name it… I couldn’t stick with anything for more than a few months. Maybe a nutritionist could help me out, maybe they could tell me exactly what foods to eat and which ones were making me fat. It would be a simple and easy fix.

Imagine my horror when I found out Applied Fitness Solutions (AFS) was a gym! Ugh, how disappointing! A gym! I’ve got RA, I’ve got heart problems, I have a history of strokes… I can’t go to a gym! But, just to prove to my doctor that I was trying, I decided to send AFS an inquiry e-mail. I remember writing the most awful, off-putting e-mail I could think of – listing every negative thing in my medical history and slightly over-exaggerating my RA symptoms. I really wanted a response that would let me off the hook. One saying, “Yeah, sorry, you’re not a match for our programs here. I’m sorry you’re so unhealthy. Good luck!” But then! Some guy named Nate e-mailed me back telling me how great this program would be for me! Crap. Now I feel obligated to go in and meet with the guy!

Next thing I know, it’s a Saturday morning in February and I’m going to a gym to talk with what I thought was just a sales guy. What has my life come to? I expected to just go in and have him circle some prices on a flier, but quickly I realized it wasn’t that kind of place. He listened, like really listened. Nate told me all about how they would modify my workouts to make sure everything I do is safe for all my medical obstacles. He assured me they have worked with people who have just as many, if not more issues than I did. He showed me around the facility, and seeing people of all ages and all sizes was intriguing. The fact that not everyone was a Barbie doll or a meat head was reassuring.  He would assign me to Devin, the owner, as my fitness practioner, and as soon as I got clearances from multiple doctors, I could take my first class. And bonus, since it was the first month they were open, he would even waive my $50 New Client Orientation fee! So, I sucked it up, and signed up for a month of classes. Eighty dollars is only slightly more expensive than the fancy diet-of-the-month food I would have had to buy anyway.

Getting Started

My first class sucked. It was hard. One hour of solid exercise is more than I had done in over a decade. By the time I got home, I almost couldn’t make it down the stairs. The next day I could barely move. I was sore for days. But I paid for two classes a week, and darn it, I was going to two classes a week!!! I knew I had until the 25th of the month to cancel my membership, but by the 25th I had worked so hard, I felt like I deserved to see the results from my 6-week body comp. analysis. So I renewed my membership for month number two.

Now, admittedly, I’m a bit of a nerd. I love rules. Love them. If Devin says to eat 1,450 calories, I’m going to eat 1,450 calories. If Devin says to eat 90 grams of protein every day, I’m going to eat 90 grams of protein. Workout twice a week? How about Mondays and Thursdays? I also love numbers and data. I needed to see this data comparing my measurements after 6 weeks of pain and hunger.   Then woah, I’m down 14 pounds on the scale, 40 mm in skin folds, and 5 inches with the tape measure! Sold. Sold. I’m sold.

The New Normal

I’ve been with AFS for almost exactly 8 months. Of course I’ve had struggles; I still have them. I’ve eaten way too much, I’ve eaten too little. I’ve gone too long without making it in for class. I’ve gone weeks without losing a pound – all while doing everything “right”. There are days when I am in so much pain from my RA that all I want to do is sleep and eat ice cream. There are weeks when I look in the mirror and still see the overweight girl I was when I started. There are times when all I feel is fat and ugly, and I drown my sorrows in cookies and donuts. But I push through. I turn in my food logs every week and am encouraged by how much Devin gets me. I am shown kindness when I need it and I am shown tough love when I need it. I’m not in this alone.

To date, I have lost 49.2 pounds! Had you asked me what my goal was 8 months ago, I would have said, “Gosh, I probably should lose 50 pounds, but I can barely fathom losing 20.” Fifty pounds was not a realistic goal, it was unachievable, unattainable, incomprehensible, unfathomable.   Ask any of the Fitness Practitioners at AFS and they’ll tell you it was me who did all the hard work. And while there is truth in that; it is the guidance, knowledge, willingness to modify, and kindness of the staff that has kept me going. I owe my success to them. I often tell my friends, “The staff at my gym is so much more than just a business staff. They are my friends, they are my family. They are so people focused, that it becomes easy to forget they are a for-profit company.” These people have changed my life. In another few weeks I will have lost 50 pounds and gained a family. I think that’s a pretty great trade.

AFS, you go with your bad self and expand your company! I am so proud of you as you continue the process of opening the facility in Rochester. Just imagine how many more lives you will change there! The more you grow, the more the people of those communities will shrink! Haha, thank you #AFSfam for everything. Thank you.


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Kelly lost 49.2 lbs in 8 months!

Kelly, feelings are mutual 100%. We can’t thank you enough for being you. You’ve got the unique gift of making everyone’s life around you better..Congratulations on your success so far and keep inspiring!

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