Whatever you do- Don’t let this happen to you!
I have a story to share with you that I hope in someway helps you or somebody you know.
A few weeks ago, I ran into a young woman who was a member at one of our old fitness clubs. I didn’t recognize her, which was no surprise as I had only met her once about 10 years ago. She was only 12 years old then and her mom was trying to convince us to let her join.
I remember that day clearly. I was standing on the gym floor talking to some members and out of the corner of my eye I kept noticing that the general manager and woman with what appeared to be her daughter kept looking at me. I wasn’t sure why but I soon found out when the manager came over to talk to me.
You see the 12-year-old girl was about 40 pounds over weight. Not good at any time in your life but especially at that age. God knows adolescence is tough enough without having to deal with being obese. And just as bad the mom was probably 50 pounds overweight herself.
Well the manager asked me if we could make an exception and let this 12-year-old join with her mom. They both wanted to get on a program and lose weight. A beautiful thought and wonderful way for a mother and daughter to spend quality time together. The problem was, our insurance carrier simply did not allow for any person under the age of 16 to be in the club. My answer was no.
The manager walked back over to the pair and I could see the disappointment in their faces. Clearly this was something they had talked about and were excited to start together. But what was I to do? I couldn’t risk my job and the whole club over this.
A few minutes later I noticed that the mother and daughter had not left and in fact the mother was making a beeline right towards me. As she started to talk to me I could hear not only the passion in her voice but the desperation. She told me that she had been overweight all her life and it just got worse and worse. I could feel the pain in her stories. From the ridicule of being obese as a young child to being ostracized in sports and other activities. She told me how she married the first man that showed any interest in her because she thought it may be the only man she would ever have. And that he left her but also left behind the most precious gift ever- her daughter.
She pleaded her case- that her daughter had to start losing weight and that she would do anything to make sure that her daughter didn’t have to go through what she went through. I mean this wasn’t just a story or someone trying to get their own way, this was pure despair and anguish. The tears welled up in her eyes until they streamed down her face and she asked me to come over and meet her daughter.
I walked over to her and she shook my hand. She was of average height, overweight in the face, mid-section and rear end. She did not carry the extra weight well but then again do any of us really? She was very shy but polite. And she asked me, “Can I please join your gym? I really want to be skinny and know you can help me. I promise I will be good and will work hard to lose the weight”. Then she started crying.
I still remember her talking to me and what she said because at that very moment it was like I was struck by a lighting bolt. THIS IS WHAT WE DO AND WHY WE EXIST. If we weren’t going to be here to help these ladies then what was our purpose. Morally and ethically I could not turn this little girl down. They were begging for help and I wasn’t about to turn my back on them. Insurance or no insurance I had to take the chance. I knew we could change the lives of these people forever!
And so we allowed them to join and sure enough they came often and always had smiles on their face. Probably bigger ones when they left that when they came. I never really kept track of them as I was regional manager of many clubs across Canada and the US but thought of them often and knew they would be successful.
And who knew that 10 years later this young girl, who was now very fit and very beautiful would remember me? We talked about that day and how happy both her and her mom were about being members. And we talked about how fitness has played such a huge part in her life and built her confidence and self-esteem to levels she never knew existed.
I asked her how much weight her mom had lost and if she was still going to the gym. Well, it seems her mom had stopped working out about 6 months into the program. Once the daughter had started getting some results and mom knew she was on her way to a major transformation the mom stopped going to the club. And she had got some pretty great results too so its too bad.
The daughter told me that her mom only went to the club for her and never really cared about her own health. She gained weight steadily and became more and more unhealthy getting diabetes a few years after she stopped going to the gym. The daughter pleaded with her to get in shape and workout together but to no avail. And whereas 10 years ago the mother was so emotional about getting the daughter onto a program it was now the daughter getting very emotional about how she tried her hardest to get her mom onto a program. As it turns out the mom died of a heart attack a few years back. She was only 43 years old.
This was such a sad story and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it for the past few weeks. Sad because it was so avoidable and I want to make sure this never happens to you. I’m 100% sure that the mom never thought she would get a heart attack and die. And I’m pretty sure she didn’t think she would get diabetes either.
You see most people never think it will happen to them. Ever! And yet heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in Canada. I think you better stop, read that again and let it sink in. This is so important to know because your heart is directly influenced by your activity levels and nutrition. You can control the health of your heart. Will you? Or will you be like the mom who never thought it would happen to her and was only concerned about her daughter?
How many of us have had health concerns about family members and friends when really we should be looking mirror? Are we doing enough to keep ourselves healthy and fit? No wait, are we doing everything we can to be healthy and fit? If the answer is no, then my question to you is why not? Because I promise you, when and if a major health scare comes, you are going to wish that you ate cleaner and exercised more. We have to get serious with our health and realize that our one and only body needs to be treated properly. Good nutrition, a good exercise program and proper wellness guidance to relieve our day-to-day stresses are a must. It is not optional.
Don’t ever be one who wishes you had have lived healthier when it’s too late. Start now, start today and live better, live longer, live healthier.
As always feel free to leave me a comment or send me an email if you have any questions!