Curveball motivates Roz Quarto to lose weight, get healthy
When Roz Quarto was younger, she was a standout softball player with dreams of landing a college scholarship. But life didn’t quite turn out that way for the native New Yorker. Instead, she went to law school, launched her own firm, and played a major role in thousands of real estate transactions in the Big Apple.
With such a busy schedule, exercise took a back seat, she ate out more often, and the pounds started adding up. When she moved to Cleveland a few years ago to lead the non-profit Empowering and Strengthening Ohio’s People, she weighed more than ever. Unfortunately, being overweight wasn’t her only challenge.
“I was also diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis,” says Roz. “I was almost in a wheelchair full time for a while. A bad back and four knee reconstruction surgeries only made things worse. I felt like an old person in my late forties.”
At 228 pounds, Roz knew her weight was a problem. Various fad diets helped her lose weight, but without a long-term strategy she gained the weight back. That yo-yo pattern of weight loss and weight gain was frustrating, and she wasn’t sure how to break the cycle. Then life threw her a curveball that changed everything.
“My 72-year-old father literally dropped dead in his favorite Italian restaurant in Jersey after he finished a piece of cheesecake,” says Roz. “He just had a heart attack and died, and he was like 150 pounds overweight.”
The shocking news was heartbreaking. But it also gave Roz a new perspective on life.
“It made me realize I love my life,” says Roz. “I’m happily married and enjoy my work. Life is good, and I don’t want to be dead. When I lost weight before, I did it because I didn’t want to be fat and 40. This time I decided to lose weight because I didn’t want to be 50 and dead.”
Tapping Into the Inner Athlete
Armed with determination to lose weight, get in shape, improve her health and tap into the inner athlete from her youth, Roz reached out to Lauren Noe at EFS Personal Training for help. She was finally ready to commit to working out and eating healthier. And she knew it wasn’t going to be easy.
“We started training three times a week with basic body weight exercises like push-ups, squats, and core bridges to build a foundation and assess proper form,” says Lauren.
In the first meeting, Lauren assessed Roz’s overall health and wellness with an initial weigh-in, starting measurements, basic medical history, and first workout. They talked about her goals to lose weight, be more active, improve her body composition, and eliminate the need for medications she was taking for high blood pressure and rheumatoid arthritis. Roz’s wife, Gail Palmer, also committed to working out and eating healthier.
“When we go started, she could barely do a core bridge for 30 seconds or a proper push-up from her knees,” says Lauren. “We had to be careful about choosing the right exercises to develop her foundation because of her knees and lower back pain.”
Every EFS Personal Training client starts with an assessment and workout used to gather information to help trainer’s like Lauren develop a customized exercise and nutrition plan. It’s an important part of the process that sets the stage for making improvements.
“Lauren had to figure out what we could do,” says Roz. “She also had to convince us that the exercises and nutrition plan would work. When you’re overweight and out of shape, it can be hard to see the other side. But she was awesome. She made us hold those planks a little longer, use good form doing push-ups, and come up with a nutrition plan we could follow.”
Tipping the Scale in the Right Direction
Fortunately, Roz was determined to develop lasting changes this time. With Lauren’s help, and support from her wife, she started to tip the scale in the right direction. She gave up piles of pasta, rice and bread for healthier options. She cut back on pretzels and ice cream for healthier snacks like sugar snap peas. And she started to see changes that motivated her to keep going.
“I’ve lost weight before, but I realized that it’s different this time,” says Roz. “It’s not just about the weight. I’m learning how to be healthier. I look better. I’m stronger. I’m building muscle, and I feel better than ever. That kind of positive reinforcement can make it a lot easier to get up for an early-morning workout and make good food choices.”
As Roz began losing weight, getting stronger, and developing better eating habits, Lauren made adjustments to her workout to help Roz keep making progress. Alternating days of upper body and lower body workouts helped strengthen core muscles and boost metabolism. And cardio workouts like bodyweight exercises, running and jump roping helped burn more calories and develop endurance.
“Roz took all my nutrition advice to heart, and she’s had great results,” says Lauren. “A combination of resistance training, cardio workouts, and nutrition really helped her become the person she is today. She has a determination like no other person I know. When she sets her mind to doing something, there is no stopping until it is achieved.”
Roz has lost nearly 50 pounds since she first started working out with Lauren, and a total of 33.5 inches off her body. She no longer needs to take blood pressure medication. She’s on a low-dose of medication for rheumatoid arthritis, rarely gets sick, and doesn’t have the kind of back pain or knee pain she suffered with for years.
“I feel better all the time,” says Roz. “I sleep better. I can jump rope for 30 to 40 minutes at time without my knees hurting. I haven’t been to the chiropractor in a long time for back pain. I just ran a four-mile race. It’s like a frickin’ miracle, compared to where I was a year and a half ago.”
Today, Roz and Gail still workout with Lauren, eat healthy, and workout on their own. And instead of using downtime for sedentary social hours that often involve drinking and eating, they’re far more active.
“If we go on vacation, instead of sitting around the pool drinking, we’re going to do something more active,” says Roz. “We go swimming, canoeing, running, or take a walk on the beach.”
“Lauren really helped us find the inner athlete and remember how good it feels to work out, eat healthy, and be in good shape,” says Roz. I might be turning 50 soon, but I’m in better shape than I have been in my entire life. When I look at how far I’ve come, it’s a great reminder that it’s never too late to make a change.”