FFC Park Ridge member, Angela Petroline, shares how she lost 100 lbs with the help of a registered dietitian nutritionist and the FFC community.
Tell me a little bit about yourself and how you made a change to your health.
I recently turned 49 and am a CPA for a private company. I have struggled with weight all my life, in fact, this is the second time I’ve lost 100 lbs. The first time I was 25 and was able to keep it off for seven years, but after getting married, I got comfortable in my life and the weight slowly crept back on again.
When I embarked on my weight loss journey for the second time, I Initially thought if I simply exercised a lot, I could eat whatever I wanted. However, I quickly realized this was not the case as I continued to gain weight. In December of 2021, I twisted my knee walking upstairs and ended up with a slight tear in my meniscus – which meant I had to stop exercising altogether.
With exercise temporarily out of the picture, I decided to hunker down on the nutrition side of things and really hold myself more accountable with my food choices. This pushed me to join FFC where I sought help from Alicia Edwards, a registered dietitian nutritionist.
When I first met Alicia, I completed a Resting Metabolic Rate test to understand how many calories I should be eating to successfully lose weight. I logged my food in an app to help monitor my macros and ensure I was staying within the recommendations. Simultaneously, I started going to physical therapy for my knee and was using the FFC pool for additional exercise. Once I discovered this balance between nutrition and exercise, the weight just started falling off.
From January 2022 – March 2022 I was losing 8-10 lbs a month. After physical therapy ended in March of 2022, I was cleared to get back on the elliptical, and I started incorporating more strength training into my routine to provide better and stronger support for my knee. I also continued to see Alicia once a month for nutrition guidance.
I steadily lost weight each month, and by April of 2023, exactly 1 year and 3 months after starting my journey, I hit my goal of 100lbs (which was the same timeline it took me to lose the weight at age 25).
Now that I’m 49, I’m more motivated than ever to keep the weight off for good.
What made you decide to join FFC?
I have been exercising at gyms ever since I could afford a membership, but my previous gym closed during Covid.
I did shop around when looking for a new gym – at one point I was a member of Life Time Fitness, but it became too expensive. I also tried out xSport Fitness, but it really lacked the amenities I was looking for. That’s when I landed on FFC; it has as many amenities as Life Time Fitness without the high ticket price, it’s close to home and I love all of the fitness options and community events the club has to offer.
I enjoy singing in my free time, so I have really loved participating in karaoke nights at FFC. I’ve also gotten more into self care so I now treat myself to a facial once a month right at the club to help unwind and decompress. FFC has become a one-stop shop for my health and wellness needs.
Since you’ve become a member, you’ve lost 100 pounds! What did you do both inside and outside of the gym to achieve these results?
The biggest thing for me has been incorporating weight training into my routine alongside cardio. Once I was released from physical therapy, I began using the elliptical in the gym every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Then on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday, I’ll complete at home strength training and step aerobic videos to start building more muscle.
Since my injury, my knee is officially 100% pain free! I’ve started slowly getting back into jogging by practicing three minutes of walking followed by three minutes of jogging for 30 minutes. My goal is to eventually replace the step aerobic workouts with a jog after I finish weight training.
Every time that I’ve felt a workout has started getting too easy, I have upped my intensity one way or another. Continuously challenging myself to take it to the next level has really helped me get to where I am today.
What motivates you to continue to work toward your goals?
Right now what motivates me is just feeling healthy. In 2020, I lost my only sibling to cancer so I’m the only child my parents have left. Not only do I need to stay healthy for them, but also for myself to have a better quality of life and be ready and prepared to handle whatever life throws my way.
You work with Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Alicia Edwards. What is the biggest takeaway you have from working with Alicia?
My biggest takeaway from Alicia is that she helped change my perspective on food and weight loss in general. Before meeting with Alicia, my idea on weight loss was that it was 80% exercise and 20% diet, however, Alicia helped me learn it’s really the opposite of that. She’s also always prepared with good suggestions on habits to change or caloric adjustments to make when I hit plateaus to get me back on track to hit my goals.
What are your keys to success?
My keys to success are persistence, perseverance and simply never giving up. Before I lost the weight I was battling depression so my workouts were sporadic and oftentimes I’d choose sleeping in instead of working out. But now, I don’t allow excuses to get in the way. I have trained myself to get out of bed every morning to do some sort of physical activity, no matter what. Even when I’m feeling a little under the weather, I listen to my body and swap my normal routine for something less strenuous like yoga or a walk to still incorporate a little activity into my day. Simply being consistent goes a long way.
What advice would you give to someone who isn’t seeing results yet from their efforts?
Check in with your diet – one thing I learned that I didn’t know in the beginning is diet is key. If you haven’t already, consider getting a Resting Metabolic Rate test to understand your body and how many calories it takes to maintain your weight at rest. Watching your calorie intake is important for weight loss, so this test will provide a baseline for how many calories you should be consuming to be in a deficit and lose weight. I’d also highly recommend consulting with a registered dietitian for continued guidance and support throughout your journey.
My final piece of advice would be to keep it simple. As humans we naturally tend to overcomplicate the process in our minds thanks to the endless advertising and marketing out there. But remember it doesn’t have to be hard – simply monitor how much you intake and burn and find the right balance that works for your body.
Post written by FFC Member Angela Petroline.