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“Even if no one says you can do it, God believes in you. He has given you that faith and vision.”
Fitness Expert, Author and Speaker Kim Dolan Leto has walked what some might say is an improbable path. At the age of 30, Leto found herself overworked and out of shape. She was, like so many Americans, exhausted both mentally and physically. “They say sitting is the new smoking,” she says. “I wanted to so badly to have mental clarity and that was not happening at all.”
Leto had a lucrative job in pharmaceutical sales. And then a family health crisis caused her to stop and make some major changes.
“My dad had a stroke. Prior to that I had never taken care of myself. I wanted to get healthy but I didn’t know how. Seeing my dad in that hospital bed was devastating,” she explains. “He was completely paralyzed down one side and he was only 47 — the age I am now.”
Doctors thought her father’s stroke might have been caused by an autoimmune disorder called Wegener’s Granulomatosis. His health problems persisted. He would later need a quadruple bypass. In his 50’s he needed a kidney and Leto’s little brother, Billy, made the life saving donation. During the transplant, however, Leto’s father had a heart attack. At age 61, he died of a massive heart attack.
Throughout all of this, Kim Dolan Leto was inspired to transform her own life, becoming not only fit, but a fitness model.
“I am probably the oldest person in fitness,” she laughs. “I think for so long I put all of these labels on me. I had no background in fitness going into this.”
She has gone on to huge success in the health and wellness industry, making a name for herself as a woman who proudly shares both her fitness and her faith. “Without faith, fitness is just a vanity project,” Leto says.
“As a Christian, I give God all of the credit. I know that he was telling me what was causing all of that fear.”
She calls it “people bondage”; being afraid to be who you are and constantly seeking approval.
“I don’t think there is any smaller or sadder place to be than seeking approval from others.”
Her fitness success story is now the inspiration for hundreds of thousands of women. Leto is a role model and she has done it on her own terms.
Along the way people encouraged her to sell “sex” or “sexy”, to write a “Hot Over 40” book, but she resisted. Instead, Leto followed a faith based path, writing her book FIT: Faith Inspired Transformation, where she encourages women to love the Lord and themselves. “It’s not too late. You’re not too old. You can go and become your best you — right now.”
The book features equal parts fitness tips, healthy eating, and scripture. Leto outlines the path to health that worked for her: FAITH.
(F) Be faithful and specific
(H) Healthy goals
At age 47, Leto says she feels better than ever. As a mother to a young daughter, she wants to set a healthy example.
Leto’s Faith Inspired Transformation was inspired by personal tragedy. That, she says, is her “why”. It motivates her, inspires her, and keeps her walking forward in faith.
“You need to have the why. And know that you are worth it. That lasting motivation is looking at my dad.”