Seattle Athletic Club


What it Takes to Obtain a Goal. Three perspectives on the journey of our 2014 winner of Lose It.

We are entering the Holiday season and as a club, we are gearing up for our annual weight loss challenge, Lose It to begin in January 2015. It might seem cliché to set the goal of losing weight at the beginning of the year or set those new year resolutions. Who cares! January is a perfect time of year to reset and evaluate what you want for yourself. There are typically no outside obstacles of holiday parties or happy hours with co-workers to celebrate the season. It is a perfect time to reset. And let’s be honest, by January we are typically partied out and ready for a clean slate.

If you are looking for help in resetting your health and fitness goals and ready to drop some weight, consider joining our Lose It challenge. In January 2014 we had 45 people ready to make a change. Out of everyone we did post measurements on, our group lost a total of 205 pounds and 160.75 inches!

This leads me into the journey of our 2014 winner of Lose It, Sue Amundsen. I am proud to say that I have been in the fitness industry and working at the Seattle Athletic Club for 13 and half years now. There are so many aspects about my job that make me love what I do. Through the years I have had the opportunity to help a lot of people work towards and obtain whatever their goal may be. Anything from rehabbing a body part, work with certain disabilities, lose weight, assist in fitness for those going through cancer treatment, improve on general fitness or as of late, work with post pregnancy momma’s. My experiences with all of these have strengthened my passion for health and appreciate what life is all about. If there is one thing I’ve learned, it’s that life is a never ending roller coaster of ups and downs and regular resetting and evaluating of goals. In looking at the extreme differences in goals listed above, there is one thing they all have in common = you have to be ready.

To be ready is not to want something although yes, you need to want something to be ready. I’m talking about the type of ready it takes to actually make the lifestyle change. The change that puts you in unchartered territory and pushes you out of your norm, the type of ready that it takes to obtain a goal. With any goal, there are different pieces that need to align in order to make one successful. Having just one piece of the puzzle doesn’t tend to bring the desired result. You need to be ready to change or evaluate your time commitment to exercise, your family and social support, your nutrition intake, your sleeping habits, your work life balance and so on.


There is a story I would like to share which led me to writing this blog. The journey of weight loss for member, Sue Amundsen from my perspective. I’ve known Sue for who knows how long, probably 5 years now if not more. I’ve never trained her personally but she has always worked with someone from our training staff three days a week. In getting to know Sue, that’s just what it was. She trained with our trainers (and worked HARD) on a regular basis always leaving with a shirt soaked with sweat. Sue is hard core if you wanted to put a label on it. There wasn’t anything she would say no to, the harder the better. In all the years I’ve known Sue, I never knew what her health and fitness goal was until this last January. Sue signed up for our annual weight loss challenge, Lose It. As I ramble along, this brings me back to a point made earlier; you have to be ready in order to make a change. So many of us have a goal of losing weight but are we actually ready to do what it takes to obtain it? Sue was ready.

There are aspects about the Lose it program that are definitely NOT in Sue’s comfort zone. Aspects that aren’t in a lot of peoples comfort zone but the difference is, Sue was ready to make a change and willing to step into the uncomfortable territory in hopes of being successful. Her main mantra for being successful was, it’s only three months, and I can commit to anything for only three months. What’s the worst that can happen, right?

First obstacle for Sue was the pre-challenge assessment. The Lose It program measures one’s body weight, 6 sites of circumference and body fat using skinfold calipers.   Having your measurements done is a vulnerable and very trusting experience for someone. It’s not easy! And numbers can have a different effect on everyone. Some are motivated by knowing these numbers and some get discouraged. Sue knew going in how she wanted to handle this situation, she didn’t want to know!

The second obstacle for Sue was our weekly weigh ins. Every Monday all of the participants had to step on the scale for the trainer to record their weight. Same situation, to know or not to know? Sue chose not to know. She would step on the scale for her trainer to record and the only feedback she wanted was whether or not she was heading in the right direction or hovering.

The third obstacle and probably the hardest for most, is diet. Who wants to give up cheeseburgers and fries? Not many but if you are ready, you will. With guidance from her trainer, Sue has changed everything about her diet to what she eats, how she views food and how she meal plans.

The fourth obstacle is consistent exercise. This is an obstacle that Sue had no problem with. She is a regular 5-7 days a week and always willing to give it everything she has. With this particular obstacle, it wasn’t about not working hard enough for Sue, it was about the realization that you can work that hard but not see a change. In order to change, she needed to have all the pieces of the puzzle which for her meant, changing her eating habits.

Sue was willing and ready to trust and take a leap of faith and change for the above obstacles for 3 months. What started as a three month challenge has now turned into 10 months later. Sue found a lot of success in the first three months with her willingness to do what it takes so why not keep it going? At the end of those three months she was feeling better than ever, dropped weight, increased her strength and has an overall increase in range of motion and movement. Now, 10 months later, Sue has dropped 69lbs, 18.82% of her body fat and best of all, feeling the best she’s ever felt and doing more than she ever thought was possible.

Words can’t express how awesome it is to be on this journey with someone that you’ve known for so long and to see them in a place where they never thought was possible. It is possible; you just have to be ready and willing to do what it takes.

~By Dana Lauren






To be ready, willing, and to believe in yourself is absolutely what it takes. No one is saying this is easy, and we all know that it takes the right timing in our life along with a collision of events to get us to a point where we feel that WE CAN. The plan of events can be simple or complicated and for each person, needs are different in reaching goals. For Sue, simple was good. It turns out that simple worked very well for her.

Anytime I have accomplished something, it always went smoothly if I believed in myself and believed the outcome possible. Life change is always harder if you fight it. At times we can be thrown off by daily events that get in our way, but mostly these things are an excuse. Sue had challenging moments come up like vacations where you might enjoy eating the local specialty foods, holidays, family dinners, work engagements with plenty of temptation, yet she kept believing, kept being willing to try, and kept seeing results. She never gave up, always gave it her all at the gym, embraced the challenge, and she truly opened her heart and mind to the possibility of something new. SHE did it!

Sue has a great story to tell and is an inspiration to many people. She is living proof that YOU can do it too if you are ready, willing, and believe in yourself. No matter what it is you need to change, make a simple plan, be open to results, and never give up.

~by Rose Barker






Rose and Dana are absolutely correct that you have to be ready to work toward a big goal. I think success in losing weight or doing something that requires physical, behavioral, and mental effort also comes when pieces of the puzzle come together. Something “clicks”, and what once seemed impossible suddenly, or maybe not so suddenly, actually happens. Much to my amazement it has happened for me over the last ten months. What follows are a few things that helped me reach a seemingly impossible goal.

As strange as it may seem, the decision to join “Lose It” was almost as hard as doing the work over the last months. I was reluctant to join the challenge – I really, really, really, had no interest in being measured, weighed, or telling the very friendly, encouraging, and supportive (but somehow intimidating) training staff that I was trying to lose weight. I thought it would be hard enough to accept failure on a personal level and that it would be even worse when others knew. So the first step towards being successful was not being afraid to sign up and give it my best effort. The weekly weigh-ins provided a bit of motivation and held me accountable for my work each week. This was not entirely a bad thing and it was a huge relief to finally be dealing with a problem that I spent an enormous amount of time and energy thinking about.


I attribute my success in the challenge to perseverance and a plan that was formulated with guidance from Rose Barker, my excellent trainer. I suspect that everyone has different issues to sort out in establishing a plan that will work. For me, a part of getting ready for “Lose It” was to think of reasons I might fail. This may sound discouraging but I reasoned that if I recognized likely pitfalls and had strategies to avoid them, success was more likely. Changing poor eating habits takes time so staying in it for the long term was essential. I focused on the idea that no matter what happened; I could do anything for three months. This ruled out the idea of giving up before I had a chance to see some success and establish better habits. Knowing that there was a theoretical end point somehow made it easier to hang in there. From previous attempts at losing weight I knew that becoming discouraged or frustrated by lack of change (or thinking it was easy when I had a good week) could cause me to make poor food choices. For this reason I went through the challenge without knowing my weight or how it was changing. I just followed Rose’s directions and kept going – now for ten months. It only got easier as time went on.

Another big decision when trying to lose weight is what to eat. There are an enormous number of theories and accompanying diet recommendations to choose from. Rose and I discussed nutritional issues often in the year or so before I started “Lose It”. She noticed my lack of enthusiasm whenever she mentioned the words fish, eggs, nuts, or yogurt so when it came time to come up with a plan for the challenge we settled on 1200 calories/day proportioned appropriately between protein, carbs and fat. No rules on exactly what I had to eat, only that I should try and stay within the limits. Rose had me record everything I ate on an app that tracked calories and other nutritional information so we knew how I was doing.The system worked well and eliminated the need to guess about whether I was eating too much or too little.

After ten months it is easy to stick with our plan. I continue to be motivated because I feel better and better and it is easier to do all of the physical activities I enjoy. None of this would have happened if I hadn’t been ready to take the first leap – with a good plan and lots of help and support from Rose, Dana, and the great staff here at SAC.


~By Sue Amundsen

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