Whenever I get the chance to pick the brains of a nutritionist, I capitalize. I learn something new every time I talk to one (and admittedly, I’m a bit of a wannabe as well). That’s why I was so excited when they contacted me to see if I was interesting in speaking to one of their certified dieticians and learn more about the services they offer. I had the pleasure of speaking to Rachel from the Life Time Fitness in Orland Park, just outside of Chicago. Here is a quick Q&A from our chat.
A: We work one-on-one with clients at all levels to help them reach their health goals. Beyond individual counseling we offer members different ways to get them excited about achieving their weight-loss goals and having a little fun along the way. For example, we offer a 90-day team weight-loss challenge that combines exercise and nutrition classes three days a week. Members have found success with this challenge because the class provides a sense of accountability as well as a sense of camaraderie with your teammates that provide encouragement and motivation to reach your goals.
Another service we offer is providing members with tools like our calorie counter, which allows us to customize a members diet and exercise to their specific weight, height, exercise level, etc. that will help them achieve the best results by eating the right amount of calories for their body type. This is crucial in weight-loss as there are so many misconceptions about how many calories one should eat in order to lose weight effectively.
One of the more surprising services we offer is our grocery store tour. I say surprising because so many members go into it thinking they won’t learn anything, but most come out of it looking at a grocery store, food labels and meal preparation in a completely different light.
Our ultimate goal here is to get members to make lifestyle changes, not just come in to the gym a few times a week in hopes that what they are doing will work. We work hard to make this a fun, inviting environment where people can be successful.
Q: What advice can you give those of us who have hidden behind big sweaters and baggy pants all winter and are looking to jump start that summer body shape up?
A: There are no quick fixes. It takes a long time to put weight on and likewise, losing weight does not happen overnight. Like I said before, the best thing you can do for yourself is learn to make living healthy a lifestyle. That way, next winter, you won’t have to do this all over again. Any change you make, make sure it’s a change you can keep the rest of your life. I always tell my clients, “If you don’t want to give up chocolate, you don’t have to, but let’s figure out a way to fit it into your diet where it isn’t harming your health. Look at your diet as a whole, there are so many other factors that you can change to allow yourself that one cheat that you absolutely cannot give up. It’s all about compromise. By the time you get your 9-to-11 servings of fruits and vegetables in, 7-to-9 of those being vegetables, we’ll see if you are still hungry for chocolate. You wouldn’t believe how many of my clients have said to me, “I literally can’t eat everything you are telling me to!”
–Now that sounds like a diet I can live with it!
Q: What would you say are the three biggest mistakes that people make when trying to lose weight?
A: 1. Not making a lifestyle change – sticking with it for a while, but then eventually reverting to old bad habits.
2. Using exercise as an excuse to reward yourself with food (who hasn’t said “I worked out today so I totally deserve this double cheeseburger with fries”)
3. If I eat less I’m bound to lose weight – Most of the time I am encouraging my clients to increase their portions, you need to give your body food as energy in order to burn more calories. Most of us can meet our weight loss goals on just fruits, veggies and whole grains alone. Avoid processed foods.
Q: What are the key things we should look for when looking at nutrition labels? Calories? Carbs? Fat? Sodium? So many to keep straight!
A: Actually, the first thing I look at is the serving size. An item that is listed at 200 calories means nothing if you don’t look at the serving size. It might be 200 calories for half of the container. Just by looking at the serving size, you will keep the others in check.
Q: There are tons of gyms here in Chicago and the Chicagoland area, what sets Life Time Fitness apart from its competitors?
A: Life Time Fitness is not just a place to work out, it’s a lifestyle. I work here, but I could literally live here if I had to. We have every tool here to make our members successful at weight loss and getting healthy. It’s not just a group classes and a room full of weights. We have tools in place to figure out exactly what you need to reach your goals and maintain them. If a member comes to us and says “I don’t know why I can’t lose weight!” We don’t just throw our arms up and say “well, not our problem”, we work with that member and figure out why they are struggling and get them on the right track.
Thank you so much to Rachel for taking time to talk to me. Hopefully you have learned something here, I know I have! If you have any questions for Rachel or questions about Life Time Fitness please email me at dishnutrish(at)gmail(dot)com and I will make sure it gets to the appropriate person. Furthermore, check out your nearest Lifetime Fitness. The Illinois locations include, Algonquin, Bloomingdale, Burr Ridge, Old Orchard, Romeoville, Schaumburg, Vernon Hills, Warrenville, and of course Orland Park where Rachel is!