Overweight and At Risk
At 55, Lynne Jordan found herself so out of shape and overweight that she was unable to walk up stairs without losing her breath or taking a break. The Chicago singer and performer had intense knee pain that kept her from moving much.
She’d let her fitness regimen drop off a decade earlier. Back then she used to be able to bike 10 to 20 miles around the lakefront and did so every day. But by 2011, she had developed acute knee pain from osteoarthritis.
That lack of activity only worsened her urges for massive overeating and binging, a cycle that she called “dark eating.” The result: She became obese, not only gaining back the 100 pounds she had lost a few years earlier, but also 30 more on top of that.
Lynne’s weight and inactivity wasn’t only putting her health at risk; it was putting her career on the line as well.
“I used to dance and move around like crazy on stage, but it got to the point where I could barely walk,” Lynne said. “Actually, what I was doing was not walking; it was hobbling.”
Not only was it physically painful for her to perform, but also the quality and energy of her performance suffered. On top of that, people weren’t keen to hire an overweight, out of breath singer to play at their weddings. The gigs started dropping off, as did the will to get out of bed. Unhealthy food became the norm.
A Weekend Visit With Fred Changed Her Life
In the winter of 2014, Lynne went to visit Fred and his wife in Colorado. Lynne thought she was doing a pretty good job hiding the fact that she was in crisis and having so much trouble walking by positioning herself in their comfy chairs. But Fred, who had known Lynne as a friend for many years, saw right through it.
“Fred said that if I didn’t get stronger and become more physically fit, I was going to die,” Lynne said. Because of their long-standing friendship and the fact that Lynne was challenged financially at the time, he offered to pay for a trainer if she was willing to commit to it.
“I knew he was right. I had to do something,” she said. “So I said, ‘okay’.”
“I Wanted To Be Stronger”
By April that year, she was hitting the gym and working with a trainer.
“I was determined,” she said. “I had found the trainer who knew what he was doing, and I knew what I wanted: to be stronger.”
The first three sessions were a major challenge for her. She felt dizzy and nauseous and had to sit frequently and drink water. “For the first month, I would have to go home to sleep after my sessions. But then only a few weeks in, I noticed that I could get up my stairs without stopping to rest on the landing,” she said. “That was a sign that it was working.”
Her trainer then started “sneaking” in an extra session here and there, which Lynne said made a difference. By the summer, she was up to working out three days a week. A year in, she started training four times a week for 90 minutes instead of just 60. And while she works harder with her trainer, she started doing exercise on her own as well.
Unexpected Sign of Success
While she’s lost some weight and inches, she’s stopped obsessing over the numbers. Instead, she now focuses on the real-life changes and signs of progress. One day, her band was running late setting up for a gig. Lynne was yelling at her drummer, who had been late, to hurry. He teasingly challenged her to help and pointed at a large, heavy bag full of drum hardware. Without even thinking about it, she lifted it and heaved it up onto the stage like. Her band members, with whom she has played with for more than 20 years, stared at her in surprise.
“I hadn’t even realized that I was gaining strength, not just stamina,” Lynne said.
Getting Strong Changed Her Life
Her ability to sing and perform has dramatically improved since that first gym visit. She has noticeably more energy and is no longer out of breath after a song, which means she can do her patter with the audience much more easily.
“It’s amazing,” she said. “StrongPath literally saved my life. Getting stronger saved my performing, enriched my creativity, and improved my ability to earn a living.” She’s now almost finished writing a one-woman show about her journey, a piece that was stalled along with her life. “The story seemed too sad before I found the StrongPath.” Now she has a happy ending for both her show and her life.