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    Local mom experiences the benefits of making a healthy lifestyle change

    Fitness Before

    The before photo of Sandy Johal-Watt prior to her starting the DEFINE nutritional challenge. Photo submitted by Sandy Johal-Watt

    In April after becoming winded while playing with her kids, local mom Sandy Johal-Watt, realized she needed to make a change to get fit and healthy.
    “I was running up the stairs and I was winded half way through getting up the flight of stairs chasing after my kids,” said Johal-Watt.
    She admits that she knew her busy lifestyle with the kids in school and sports, working 12-hour days and relying on fast food eaten in the car would catch up to her.
    There never seemed to be enough time in the day to look after herself.
    “I just didn’t know how bad it was sitting at a computer desk for 12 hours a day,” she said.
    Being unable to keep up with her kids combined with the realization she had put on almost 40lbs pushed Johal-Watt to make a change.
    “I was kind of scared,” she said, “I’ve always been active but this last year and a half working piles of overtime…I lost track and before I knew it I had gained more weight than I had with my pregnancy.”
    She has played soccer and practices and competes in Tae Kwon-Do but not at an intensity level to counter the long work hours and poor diet.
    After exploring the variety of programs offered in Chestermere, Johal-Watt decided to join F45 Training for the convenience of being able to work out in Kinniburgh, where she lives.
    Johal-Watt went with her husband to the first class at the gym.
    “I couldn’t even do a push up,” she recalled, “It was really bad.”
    Johal-Watt, who had tried the home video workouts in the past, liked the intensity and competitiveness offered at F45 Training.
    She joined the gym with the goal to get healthy.
    “I wanted to be able to put my kids in sports and still look good and make time for myself,” she said.
    To reach her fitness goal, she decided to take part in the DEFINE nutritional challenge.
    The challenge is an eight-week program that combines working out with healthy nutrition and meals.
    Participants are given everything they will need to succeed in the program; grocery lists, meal plans, education information and support from the coaches.
    “I didn’t have anything to lose,” said Johal-Watt.
    She downloaded the challenge app and got started making time in her day to eat healthy and work out.
    “The kids and I, we went to No Frills and I actually priced out everything and bought organic everything,” she said.
    She has started spending time on Sundays to cook meals and freeze her lunches for the week. The changes have meant waking up earlier and making the time to meal plan and by groceries.
    “It wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be,” she said of changing her habits.
    “The hardest part was not buying in to the convenience of fast food,” said Johal-Watt.
    She said that she craved the salt and sugar found in those foods.
    The healthy changes she is starting to see have made the effort worth it.
    “I feel so much better,” said Johal-Watt, “I’ve lost almost 25 pounds.”
    “It’s not about the weight loss for me,” she said “I feel good again, I can run around, I can chase my kids.”
    She’s seeing the benefits in her other activities as well.
    At a recent Tae Kwon-Do tournament in Lethbridge she won gold in sparring in her division.
    The DEFINE nutritional challenge ended on this past weekend but Johal-Watt is confident that she will be able to maintain her new habits.
    “It’s a lifestyle now for me,” she said.
    Her goal is to lose the rest of the weight
    “I’d love to lose another 20 pounds…I want to be able to excel in other sports,” she said.
    This program was the right fit for Johal-Watt. She encourages anyone looking to make a change in their lives to research the different programs available in Chestermere and find what will work for them.
    “All of those other organizations have something to offer,” she said.
    “You don’t have to go into Calgary, there are excellent options here that are convenient,” said Johal-Watt.