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“I am so fortunate to have found a friend like Val to make this journey with. Her friendship and support have been everything. Doing this together has helped us push each other. Having each other has been key to our success, BUT we could not have accomplished any of this without you!”
  • Lisa Mallen
Val, Liz and Lisa

Dear Liz,

Before the craziness of the holiday weekend gets a hold of me, I wanted to make sure I properly thanked you. What started out as a whim and a half-kidding challenge by my husband has turned into one of the best journeys I could ever ask for. There is no doubt Covid has affected all of us. For me, the layers of anxiety, pressure, change, and the unknown was coming from all ends…work, kids, school, parents, husband’s business, and menopause. Not to mention we were still grieving the loss of my mother-in-law. In the beginning, wine and margaritas seemed to do the trick, but as time went on, I was waking up nauseous, depressed, irritable, and losing my mind. I can’t pin which event was the final straw (there were a few!) but what I can say is that I knew I couldn’t go on without making a dramatic change.

I was in a very dark place, and I knew my life was pretty awesome, so something was not right. Those who know me know I am very driven, an overachiever, hardworking, and one of the most loyal people you will ever meet. So why was I not applying these qualities to myself? How many of us put everything and everyone first all the time? Yep, I was one of them without even realizing I was. You always hear and read about how important it is to put yourself first, but until you actually make that commitment, do you finally realize what that means, and only then are you fully able to give yourself to others in the right way! It started slowly; when I heard Fitness Incentive was holding outside classes, I asked Val to literally hold my hand and bring me back to the gym. Why I needed that support, I’m not sure. I grew up going to the gym, but for some reason, I was paralyzed to go! Maybe the media had subconsciously gotten to me? Let me tell you, those outside classes were everything!!! I didn’t care if it was 20 below zero. Breathing the fresh air, not wearing a mask outside, getting out of my home, not staring at my or three kid’s computers for 12 hours at a stretch was life-changing. If I have one request, please don’t stop them. Offer more! Outdoor exercise is more than just physical; it’s mental too.

Anyway, It was a slow build until the challenge email crossed my husband’s inbox, and that’s when I kicked it into high gear. I am so fortunate to have found a friend like Val to make this journey with. Her friendship and support have been everything. Doing this together has helped us push each other. Having each other has been key to our success, BUT we could not have accomplished any of this without you!

Where do I start?

First, I had no idea you were a nutritionist! I can’t tell you how amazing the weekly recipes, food plans, and shopping lists have been. Thank you for putting so much thought and time into them. The recipes were amazing, and I will be using them again and again. The length of the challenge gave us just the right amount of time to really learn and change nutritional habits. I literally cleaned out my entire kitchen and now only stock healthy options. I’m committed to making sure my husband and our three kids are on a more nutritional diet. I also didn’t realize FI offered all this. How could I not? I mean, I’ve been going to the gym leisurely for quite a few years now, but looking back, I realize that I was on autopilot. Take a class, change, catch the LIRR, get home, feed the kids, HW and bed. Ugh. Let’s hope we never go back to that. I never had the opportunity to really utilize Fitness Incentive for all that it has to offer, and wow, it has a lot!

Second, who knew training sessions could be so impactful? I never went in half the rooms in FI or knew what half the equipment does for you. The trainer sessions have taught me so much, and I always look forward to them. Thank you for teaching and showing us all.

Third, I loved getting to do the body scans and weighing in each week, seeing our progress, and learning about fat/muscle percentages and what’s proper.

Lastly, I am blown away at how genuine and caring everyone is. I mean, of course, it’s a gym, right? But why did I never see this before? I can’t tell you how touched I was when Cor left messages on my phone. The fact that she took the time to look my number up and check on me after my biopsy blew me away. I could go on and on, but it’s getting late, and I want to get some sleep before I see you tomorrow for our final weigh-in🙂. Winners or not. I am winning 🙂.

I will leave you with this…

They say the first 50 years are a gift and the second you need to work for… so sign me up! I am loving working for the next 50 with you and Fitness Incentive.

Thank you, Liz, for everything!

Lisa Mallen

Lisa and Val, Before and After the Dynamic Duo Challenge

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About Liz Keller


Liz Keller

Liz Keller is a Nutritionist with a bachelor’s degree in Nutrition & Dietetics from Queens College. She is a certified CDC National DDP Lifestyle Coach through Solera Health and is currently pursuing her master’s degree in Human Nutrition from Bridgeport University. She runs the Eat Smart program at Fitness Incentive.

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