Overcoming Life’s Biggest Challenge


This post mentions several people I know. I have not received any compensation in exchange for sharing this story. I chose to re-post the story because it covers a subject relevant to this blog — creating a path beyond adversity — and is important to everyone who reads this blog. The story was previously posted by No Limit Personal Training, a gym for people who want results. For many years in a row, Fox Channel 11 Hotlist rated No Limit #1 for its personal training and its boot camps. 

Introduction by Sako

I knew she lost weight while training with Bobby, but until recently I didn’t know the whole story. Bobby and Lisa are on an incredible journey together. During the journey, Lisa has faced many challenges and setbacks, but she continues to overcome all of the obstacles in her way. She made many sacrifices during the journey, but she lost more than 100 pounds – a great accomplishment that is certainly worth the sacrifice. Their journey continues. Bobby and Lisa now make nutrition and fitness a significant part of their lives!

Bobby and Lisa are an incredible team that has inspired many people to overcome their challenges, obstacles, and adversities. Here is Lisa’s story…


Why I Decided to Transform by Lisa

At age 4, I started playing soccer, tennis, and basketball. When I was young, I spent most of my time after school practicing and playing sports. I loved being outside and active. I became overweight when I stopped playing soccer in high school, but I continued eating like I was active every day.

I graduated from high school in 2003, went to a local community college, and worked full-time. I also got into the relationship that I’m still in today, lost control of my schedule, and started eating fast food because it was quick and cheap. I planned to play tennis in college, but a previous shoulder injury prevented me from playing. I focused on my studies and, before I knew it, my chance to play sports faded. The high energy I was known for was gone and I was weighed down by calories and cholesterol. I had a gym pass but couldn’t make myself go.

In June 2010, I went on a trip to Moab, Utah, with my family. As my father and I waited to go on a horseback riding trip, I saw a basketball hoop next to the barn. I attempted one shot, missed, tried to rebound the ball, landed awkwardly, and tore my right ACL. That’s when I realized my body couldn’t hold my weight. It was months before I could walk, and I gained another 20 pounds.

I had always struggled with my weight, but now I was more than 100 pounds overweight. My mother had talked with me about my size throughout my childhood and sometimes not in the nicest way. I know she meant well, but I was hurt. My mother was concerned about my health and talked to me about getting lap-band surgery. I wanted my mom to be happy and proud of me, so I made an appointment for the procedure.

A few weeks before the surgery, I started to feel uneasy about the procedure. I wasn’t sure if surgery was the path I wanted. Approximately one week before the surgery, I told my mom I couldn’t go through with it, but neglected to change my diet. I felt a sense of relief, but at the same time I had been mentally relying on losing weight with the lap band. I needed another plan because I knew that nothing different could happen if I continued doing the same thing. My mom was furious about my decision and she stopped talking with me for a few months.

I weighed 246 pounds in April 2010, was about to turn 27 years old, and made a promise to myself – I wouldn’t look like this at age 30. Now I’m 29 years old, weigh 136 pounds, and have never felt better!


How I Accomplished My Goals

After my birthday, I committed to changing my diet. I kept a food journal so I could track my calories and food intake. I replaced soda with diet soda and carbonated water. I quit eating fast food. I started cooking at home and preparing my meals. I began eating sandwiches, soup, salad, and fruit. I even made Crystal Light popsicles.

The dietary changes helped me lose the first 40 pounds in five to six months, but I noticed improvements almost immediately after changing my diet and adding some light exercise. I began taking my dog on daily hikes. I had more energy, felt happier, could breathe easier, and was losing weight, but didn’t feel comfortable going to the gym yet. I gradually added more physical activities into my daily schedule and the pounds started to disappear. I also noticed that I slept more soundly through the night. Eventually, I was comfortable going to the gym.

A year ago, I hit a weight-loss plateau and couldn’t get below 190 pounds. I was going to the gym regularly, but I spent the time doing only cardio. I needed extra help and started working with Robert “Bobby” Stefanko, an advanced certified personal trainer for No Limit Personal Training in Placentia, California. I lost another 54 pounds with Robert’s training and nutritional guidance. Robert gave me the tools and encouragement to lose weight.

lisa transformation

Now I go to the gym five days per week, lift weights, and love it.


Well, that’s her story . . .  anything is possible. You can succeed no matter where you begin.


Click here to read another Beyond Adversity post.

 Thanks to Sako Yakinian (owner of No Limit Personal Training and No Limit Boot Camp) who introduced the story in this post, Bobby Stefanko (trainer at No Limit) who confirmed the validity of the story, and Lisa Eiselstein (client of Bobby Stefanko) who told the story.


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