Last spring, my husband and I complimented a 60ish furniture salesman we know on his youthful physique. He told us to read the book, Body for Life. My husband and I have worked out for many years, but frankly I haven't been inspired for the last few. I found myself doing less and less at the gym. This June I remembered our salesman's recommendation and ordered Body for Life from www.paperbackswap.com. I read the book and was immediately inspired to do the 12-week challenge. Read more about it here.
God took away my compulsive overeating problem in 1996 and I maintained a 30-pound weight loss until 2004 when doing the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) for ulcerative colitis caused me to lose an additional 12 pounds. Unfortunately, most of this weight loss was lean muscle--especially since I wasn't doing as much strength training as I had in the past. During the last couple of years, I have regained the 12-pound loss and then some from eating more and working out less.
BFL appealed to me because it argued that strength training had to be planned and intense to be effective, cardio could be just as effective if it was short and intense, and muscle gains and fat loss occurred when eating six small meals a day comprised of one protein and one carbohydrate portion. I typically wandered around the gym goal-less, doing whatever I felt like doing. I often ate poorly because I didn't want to take the time to make something nutritious. Doing BFL gave me a daily plan for exercise and for eating, too. Just knowing that I had to come up with a protein and a carb for each meal gave me the structure I needed to start eating better. Combining BFL with SCD was a little challenging at first as I cannot eat processed low-fat, non-fat foods. I did eat cheese made with 1.5% milk and no additives and occasionally splurged and ate small amounts of things like olive oil and full-fat homemade sour cream. I took full advantage of my free days, eating anything I wanted, except for the last two weeks. I did use EAS's 100% whey protein even though it isn't legal on SCD. I didn't have any problems tolerating it and I made delicious smoothies with it as well as frozen coffee drinks using homemade almond milk. Finally, I took glutamine, creatine, and CLA daily.
After 12 weeks of BFL's 6-day-a-week eating and exercise plan, not only did I lose 5 pounds, 8% body fat, and 1-2 dress sizes, but I have increased my strength more than 150%! I have also been getting up at 6 a.m. for 12 weeks. That's been a goal of mine for years--to consistently get up early each day. Not only that, but my body now only requires 7 hours of sleep. I always needed 8 before and I still felt tired. I have so much more energy! The discipline of BFL has taught me how to meet other challenges in my life, too. One of the keys of BFL was to prepare for the next day's workout the night before. I have preached this for years, but didn't give it 100% of my effort until BFL. I just knew that if I didn't plan my workout, meals, and my workout clothing for the next morning, I wouldn't accomplish anything. I was actually afraid not to do these things! I knew that all it would take was one day of not planning, one day of resetting the alarm to catch some extra sleep, or one day of eating whatever I wanted when it wasn't a free day for my challenge to fall apart. I didn't give myself the option of not doing it.
The picture on the left above was taken a year ago this weekend. I don't have a before shot from 12 weeks ago that I am willing to share with the world (LOL), but trust me, that I looked just like this 12 weeks ago! The most incredible part of this transformation is that God enabled me to do it. BFL emphasizes reviewing your goals daily which I absolutely believe in. But I knew that I wasn't capable of achieving them in my own strength. I prayed daily that the Lord would give me the ability to get through each workout. He did!
What's next? I plan to continue the BFL workouts and eating plan. I will probably be a little less fanatical on eating throughout the week, but otherwise I will continue on. My prayer is also to inspire others. Looking great is a wonderful confidence booster, but that isn't what got me out of bed at 6 every morning. I wanted to be as healthy, as strong, as faithful to a goal as I possibly could be. I look forward to taking on new life challenges now, including developing a spiritual workout for people who would like to make any kind of change. If that's you, let me know and I would love to have you be a program tester. Most of all, I want God to get the glory for the changes He made in me. If He can change me, He can change you! You can be in the best shape of your life, not in your own strength, but in His.
P.S. Why on earth am I wearing high heels with a workout outfit? I took some pictures in other outfits and forgot to change shoes. :-)