The road to a healthier lifestyle begins in the kitchen

Nov 30, 2015
Ashley Ann Lawrie

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Karine Charky never was one for daily exercise and enjoyed healthy eating only sporadically.

Like so many of us, Karine led a sedentary lifestyle with a desk job. She’d hit the gym or the yoga studio once in awhile, but never stuck with it. On the nutrition front, she enjoyed her pub nights out with friends, a steady stream of take out and processed foods, and maybe a little too much caffeine.

But this lifestyle, combined with stress, had caught up with Karine by her early 30s. She suffered from poor energy, insomnia and a growing weight problem.

It was time for a change.

“I wanted to be healthier, more active and thinner,” she said. “I had tried the big box gyms, but for me the results were inconsistent, the staff was impersonal and cold, and the atmosphere was awkward and pretentious.”

So she decided to try a more personalized approach at Free Form Fitness’s ByWard Market location.

Karine soon discovered that the road to a healthier lifestyle begins in the kitchen, but admits it was a hard lesson to learn.

“I thought that training twice a week would be enough to lose weight without changing my lifestyle too much,” she said.

But after three months with FFF and losing 12 pounds, her progress stalled. Karine realized she had to pay closer attention to all that talk about nutrition from her trainer, Ryan Brown.

“I started reviewing my lifestyle, limiting my nights out, changing my food habits and cooking for myself more often, running more, and eating fewer carbs and more protein,” she said.

After making changes in her diet, Karine made more rapid progress and felt better all around.

“I had more energy and less stress and insomnia,” she said. “My gym sessions became more efficient and fun.”

That was the summer of 2014. Today, Karine is 40 pounds and about 15 percentage points of body fat lighter. She blasted through her initial weight loss target of 30 pounds some time ago.

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“Training is now routine,” she said. “It’s something I look forward to doing because of how it makes me feel. It’s empowering to see myself improve from week to week and surpass my limits, physically and mentally. I have greater self-confidence now to achieve more in other aspects of my life.”

When she started, her friends and family were concerned she might overdo it and injure herself. They also had to adjust their expectations when Karine cut back on those nights out. But now that they’ve seen the positive results, they support her all the way.

“They’re really happy for me that I’ve achieved this and maintained it.”

In addition to her two sessions a week at FFF, Karine will soon start training at the Running Room for her next goal – a half marathon in May. She can already run 10-12 km at a time, but needs to build that to 20+.

Her advice to others who may be looking to make positive changes in their health?

“It can only happen if you set your mind to it and stop thinking about the ‘sacrifices’ you make,” she said. “Instead, see them as choices you make to reach your goals and be who you want to be. You cannot improve and be a better you if you are not willing to leave your comfort zone. You cannot expect a different outcome if you’re doing the same thing over and over.”

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