Karen is an obese woman I train twice a week.

She is 30 years old, weighs 250 lbs and is 5’2”.

These numbers don’t say anything about her as a person. She is a painter who owns her own gallery.

The serenity in her eyes, and how she smiles for no reason, introduce her to me before she says her name.

She has been married for more than five years to a musician who is of normal weight. Her husband would come to pick her up after the sessions; that’s how I know he was in shape.

The conversation we had the first day we met left me pondering about life for days.

The question I ask all my clients before we begin is: What are your three main fitness goals?

This is how Karen answered my question:

“I only have one goal: to enjoy our workouts.”

I look at her as if she didn’t understand my question, and ask a more specific one:

“I understand, Karen. I will make sure the exercises are fun, but what I mean is, how many pounds to do want to lose?”

“Valeria, I don't care about the weight,” she says, smiling. “I just want to feel good during and after the workouts. It doesn’t matter if I don't lose any weight, really.” She ends her sentences looking at me with her big peaceful eyes and joyful smile.

I can’t believe this woman and how out of reality she is.

- Look at her size; she is obese, for God’s sake. She could die of a heart attack any moment. I talk to myself as my mind refuses to believe that no one can be peaceful or joyful with that body. It can’t be possible.

So I keep insisting. This time I try to force her to make a deal:

“Can we agree on losing 1- 2 lbs a week? How about that?”

She says to me with the same serene and happy look on her face:

“Valeria, dear, I think you don’t understand. I am fine with my weight. I do what I enjoy for work. I love my family and my friends and I am loved by them. I am so grateful that my weight doesn’t bother me at all. These workouts with you are just to get my body moving while I have fun.”

I still couldn’t understand her.

Then, I go home thinking about this and I remember one thought I had when I was a teenager. A thought that kept coming back throughout my life—that I would die young. I believed I would not reach the age of 30, despite being physically healthy.

Perhaps, intuitively, I knew that my heart could fail at any moment because of my lack of understanding of what life was really about—love and kindness.

My physical health without love never meant much.

Next week I will have another trainer / client story for you!

Much love!