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Changing Paths

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Photography by
Lauren Hunsberger

Photography by
Micahel Matti

Member Peter Gaan knew his health was heading down the wrong trail. So he stopped in his tracks and changed the direction of his life. This is the story of how he did it.

Peter Gaan admits it took a pretty big scare to get his health in check.

Just a few years ago, Gaan went to the doctor for a simple check-up. Going in, he knew his health wasn’t perfect. He was about 50 pounds overweight, suffered from fatigue and just felt an overall malaise. But the results were even worse than he thought. His doctor told him he was pre-diabetic and needed to get on medication immediately.

Gaan’s family has a history with diabetes. Both his grandfather and father battled the disease for decades. At that appointment, it became clear to Gaan that he didn’t want to follow in their footsteps. Plus, he says he couldn’t fathom a life of pricking himself daily with needles and taking a laundry list of medications. Staying healthy for his immediate family—wife, Lisa, and three children, Marc, 25, Matthew, 23, and Lindsey, 21—was also a major priority. So he made a big change in the only way he knew how. 

And when Gaan, CEO of Golden Globe Transport, an international logistics company, says he changed everything about his lifestyle, he is not exaggerating. The first component was his diet. Previously, his meals consisted of “everything and anything I wanted.” After the diagnosis, however, he took great pains to understand exactly what was in the foods he was consuming and how they were affecting his health.        

“That might have been the most surprising thing. Reading food labels and learning about how big of an impact nutrition—specifically sugar and carbohydrates— has on the body.” Subsequently, he gave up a whole list of foods as well as alcohol, and he never looked back. Not once. “It was just a switch I made. I decided to do it, and going back to the old way of eating wasn’t even an option.”

Once Gaan adhered to a low-carb diet he was well on his way to correcting the course of his health. But there was another important part of the overall equation. The second major change he made was in his physicality. Gaan was always an avid tennis player and played a few times a week at the Club, but at the recommendation of his physician, he took his exercise to a whole new level.

Gaan started training with Bellevue Club personal trainer Shannon Treybig with just as much gusto as he had in his approach to nutrition. He credits integrating a strength training routine into his weekly workouts as the reason why at 54 years old he’s in the best shape of his life, is playing tennis better than ever and feels an overall energy he hadn’t experienced in decades. “Plus, I actually have abs now,” he jokes.

What isn’t a joking matter is that Gaan says another unexpected result of his new lifestyle is the invaluable relationship he’s created with Treybig. He says she has become a dear friend and someone he knows is on his side as he continues on his journey, which has resulted in a 50-pound weight loss and a major reduction in his blood glucose numbers. 

“After I had made these changes for awhile, I went to the doctor for a check-up and he told me my numbers were great. The first person I called was my wife. The second person I called was Shannon. She’s really become a friend and partner, and I know she genuinely cares about my wellbeing and health,” Gaan says.

Now with his feet firmly planted in this new lifestyle and a team of people giving him encouragement, Gaan has broadened his sense of adventure and recently returned from a major hiking trip in Phoenix, Arizona. There he made it up seven summits and gained a new confidence for longer, more challenging physical pursuits. It’s something he said he never could have done before and hopes to keep up in the future.  

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