talks about Confessions, Feature Friday

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    This woman is incredible.  She is one half of my health coach team. {her husband is the other half}.  But more than that, she is an inspiration, a trusted confidante, and an incredible friend.  Amazing how the program does that, too.  Brenda was a stranger to me before Take Shape for Life.  Now, not quite two years later, we are like soul sisters.  She is a complete blessing in my life in so many ways.  Anyway, it’s time to share a bit about her weight loss journey & story.

    1. Give us a bit of info on your story. Why did you want to lose weight, how were you introduced to TSFL, how much did you lose, and how long did it take?

    “I had struggled with weight my whole life.  I had 4 skinny sisters and they called me ‘pleasingly plump.’  How can you mix those 2 words unless you’re talking about a Thanksgiving turkey?!  In my mind there was nothing ‘pleasing’ about ‘plump!’ When I hit my mid-40’s, I was already overweight and started gaining weight without making any changes.  I thought I just had to accept it as the way it was going to be.  I felt hopeless.  My hubby ran into a friend who had lost 40 pounds and brought home a DVD about the program he used.  I was a little defensive and skeptical, but we were rapidly approaching our 25th wedding anniversary & a dreamy trip to Hawaii!!  Horrified to even think about donning any beach-wear, I watched with a guarded heart.  After hearing how the program worked and how scientific it was, I said, ‘Can we start tomorrow?’  I lost 23 pounds in 7 weeks before our trip and continued to lose a total of 50 pounds in 5 months.  The best part for me was losing 55 inches and 5 pants sizes!!! {from size 16 to size 6}


    2. What has been the most enlightening part of losing the weight; physically & emotionally?

    “I knew my worth was based on who I am on the inside and not what I look like on the outside, HOWEVER….I was amazed at how free I became to let more of the inside of me be known while losing and definitely once I reached a healthy weight.  I became aware that I was in an emotionally protective ‘hiding’ or being as invisible as possible mode.  Physically I feel like a different person-smaller & healthier than when I was in Jr. High!  I feel better than ever and feel in control of my health.


    3. How has reaching your goals and keeping the weight off changed who you are as an individual? And, in your relationships?


    “I have so much more confidence, but much compassion for people who have struggled like me.  I’m willing to say ‘YES’ to life now when my default before was to isolate.  I felt loved and accepted by my family and friends before, but now I feel like I can love and accept myself.”


    4. What dos an average day-in-the-life look like for you now? What is your favorite on program food & off program food.

    ‘I need much less sleep than I used to-and usually pop out of bed with a hopeful outlook.  I walk on the treadmill or outside {weather permitting} and do a classical stretch or yoga class that I record on PBS.  I continue to eat every 2.5-3 hours; making high protein/moderate carbohydrate choices most of the time.  I love a spinach salad with grilled chicken or shrimp & veggies sauteed in pan spray & garlic salt.  Another favorite is 1 egg white, egg beaters, sauteed mushrooms omelet with spinach & 1/2 wedge lite laughing cow cheese spread on the inside.

    Medifast favs-Brownie w/ 1 chopped walnut, topped w/ fat free whipped topping.  Hot out of the microwave!  Parmesan cheese puffs or BBQ bites in the afternoon.  I also love the new chocolate chip soft bake; mix as directed & divide in to 3 & bake like real cookies-woohoo!


    5. Please tell me about an “ah ha” moment you had while experiencing the TSFL lifestyle and how it’s changed you permanently.

    “I am in charge of my weight forever!  I monitor regularly and know exactly what to do if any pounds start to creep back on.  I had NEVER felt that way previously-always felt very out of control.”

    Thank you Brenda for your honesty and transparency!  I love how at the end you talk about being in charge.  When you experience a great change in lifestyle like that and you begin to own those changes, you consciously make a CHOICE-sometimes on a daily {or more frequent} basis-to CHOOSE health.  Brenda has now kept her weight off for 2 years {last picture}!  She amazes me and continues to inspire many others.



    talks about Confessions, Feature Friday


    This week felt like a bust because of lots of stress, husband out of town on business trip for five days, and lots of out of control feelings.  I’m dealing with my issues and have so many posts in the works, but for my mental health I chose not to weigh in this morning.  Instead, I’m taking a day off from the scale and just staying on track.  {the scale has some sort of power over me and sometimes it’s just better if I stay away for a weigh in here and there-never two weigh ins in a row, though.}


    So instead, I’m highlighting an awesome guy, who obviously kicked butt doing Take Shape for Life.  He has been an inspiration to me and I think he’s just a super cool guy.  He was always handsome, but now he’s glowing with confidence & happiness.  Without further adieu, here’s a bit about David!

    1. Tell a bit about your stats {starting weight, how long you were on the program, how much you lost, where you’re maintaining, how tall you are}

    “I started program 10-1-09. -My Total Weight Loss is 205 pounds from my highest weight of 420 pounds. I am basically in maintenance at this point, but I do utilize the 5&1 if i ever get out of balance and weight starts to come on. I am just so glad to have the valuable tool of 5&1 to keep my weight in check.”


    2. What inspired you to get started and make a change?

    “Last year I topped the scales at 420 pounds and was scheduled for Gastric Bypass surgery, but despite my desperation I canceled my surgery just 2 days before I went under the knife. Still ready to find a real solution, a friend introduced me to what I now call the Holy Grail of Weight Loss. With her supporting me as my Health Coach, I started the program and now am no longer a bystander to life, rather I’m a fully engaged and active participant in my own life.”


    3. What is the most exciting thing you’ve done since losing weight?

    “I was literally watching my life pass me by and I decided I didn’t want to be a bystander to my own life any longer. I found TSFL at the perfect moment when I was ready for a change and ready to make a commitment. I had so far to go that it seemed impossible. So I decided to make my goal what seemed like the most impossible thing I could ever do as a 420 pound man. I then took out a HUGE permanent marker and wrote on the wall of my house my current weight of 420 pounds and my goal weight of 240 pounds so that I could GO SKYDIVING! Which was just the most liberating and impossible thing I could imagine. So with my commitment literally written on the wall I then marked my daily weigh ins directly on the wall. I took a leap of faith in myself that I could achieve something so tremendous. Now I call it my Trophy Wall after literally leaping from an airplane and skydiving this last September.”

    4. How has becoming more healthy affected your confidence?

    “There were countless social humiliations every day and often felt like every moment. I had to walk down the airplane aisle and watch everyones eyes as they hoped the morbidly obese guy wasn’t going to sit next to them. I had to push the button and ask the flight attendant for a seat belt extender. Once at a high end furniture store I sat on a chair which instantly collapsed making a crashing noise. But there have been many chairs to collapse under my weight. Some bending and some plastic yard chairs shattering.
    I have a video diary I took once after breaking a third toilet seat in someone else’s house inside a 2 month period…I started carrying a variety of assorted toilet seats in the trunk of my car so that I could make the attempt to replace another broken seat without anyone noticing.
    I still have my old size 62″ waist pants that split up the back just before I arrived at an important business dinner downtown. I frantically searched a dozen stores but ultimately missed my meeting and left the city in tears after not being able to find a single pair of pants to fit my body. I was depressed and couldn’t bear living that way or more specifically dying that way any longer.

    After losing the weight, I was offered a promotion at work that I had dreamt about for the last 7 years.
    Before Medifast I had been on 3 dates in my entire life…now its a funny joke that I have had as many as 3 dates in one day. Which has also been an emotional adjustment and makes me all the more grateful that I lost this weight through diet and not through surgery. I feel like I have earned this new life and I know what it takes to keep it.
    I LOVE that my most important responsibility as a health coach is to live an authentic and transparent life. We have a culture at TSFL that allows us the extremely rare opportunity ask ourselves what do we want…what do I really want in life and why do we want it.  For as long as I can remember, I had always believed deep in my heart that someday, somehow, I would be able to use my struggle with obesity to help other people. That dream is now my daily reality as a health coach for the program that saved my life. There is nothing more rewarding than hearing my clients tell me that they are off their medications, sleeping better, have more energy, and the best thing of all is when they tell me they are happier! And so I spread the word in hopes that my story will inspire someone else to take back control of their body and their life.”


    5. What is your favorite product for helping keep you fit & healthy?

    “My Scale is probably my favorite tool for staying healthy.  Monitoring is crucial… otherwise it’s way too easy to let my weight creep up. My scale helps hold me accountable.”


    Thanks David for your honesty!  You are a definite inspiration to me and your MASSIVE loss is encouraging me {and others} to just keep the faith & not give up.  You look amazing and I am so happy for your achievements!  And, I’m LOVING your trophy wall.  You seriously took visualization to the next level-I LOVE it.  Leave David some love, peeps!



    talks about Confessions, Feature Friday


    Today’s Feature Friday is Lisa.  I think this chick is pretty awesome!  She is a motivating influence in my life and has blown her journey using Medifast out of the water.  Totally inspired by her.  And her BLOG too.  She is absolutely darling to boot!  I asked Lisa a few questions and here are her replies:

    1. Tell a bit about your stats {height, starting weight, how long it took you, ending weight}:

    Let’s see…I’m 5’3”. My starting weight is a bit tricky. I was over 200 lbs after giving birth to my son in July of 2009. I lost a bit, but hovered around 180 ish for a while before deciding that was not acceptable. I felt terrible and avoided social situations and was just “blah”. I started Medifast in March of 2011, I had managed to get down around 170 by then. Today I weigh anywhere from 130-135 ish from week to week.


    2. What was your biggest motivation and when did you realize you wanted/needed to change?

    I literally had nothing to wear. One year post partum was a just a tad too late to be trying to get away with maternity pants. I wanted my outside to match my inside. I had {and still have} a wonderful husband, a beautiful new baby, and a pretty awesome life, yet somehow, I would let the fact that none of my clothes fit overshadow all of that happiness. I was tired of my weight being a constant chip on my shoulder and the guilt I felt over doing nothing to change it.


    3. Hardest habit to break & best habit you’ve developed?

    My hardest habit to break was making excuses. Having a toddler, it is VERY easy to make excuses for why there is no time to get to the gym and no one is going to look at you funny when you do! BUT, the best habit I have developed is treating the gym like an appointment. I HAVE to go to the gym at 6, I will be back at 7, the universe will not spin off of it’s axis in that hour. If you want to make time, you will.


    4. Favorite healthy meal/recipe/restaurant?

    If you know me at all, you should know that me and the husband eat out 1x a week. This started for budget reasons, but has been helpful in me getting fit and healthy too. Once a week we go to Chipotle, I could go on about my love for them, but you’ll probably get bored and stop reading, or go get some Chipotle…   I order a salad with extra chicken, fresh mild salsa, medium salsa (I use this as dressing), and a TEEEENY bit of cheese sprinkled on top.


    5. What has brought you the greatest joy since reaching your goal? How has it impacted your relationships & ability to be a wife/parent?

    Reaching a goal (any goal) does wonders for your self esteem, directly impacting all of your relationships. I believe my husband now when he says I’m hot! I know I am a better wife/mother/friend because I am happier in general. I used to think that I had to sacrifice being “me” to be a mom, I know now that the two can live in total harmony! My greatest joy is knowing that I am setting a good example for my son, that when he gets older we can go for jogs together or ride bikes together.


    *Bonus: all time favorite products to help you keep your momentum?

    OOOH, I love me some extra credit! My favorite food product that literally helps me keep my momentum? Clif minis!  I have one 30 minutes or so before a (long) workout to keep me going. My favorite non-food “product” has to be myfitnesspal.com; it really helps in keeping me accountable on days I *might* want to stray from my plan.


    WOW!  Thanks Lisa, for your transparency, your example, and your obvious enthusiasm for your new lifestyle.  You are inspiring me & so many more to keep plugging along in making the daily choices to reach the goals we set!  Isn’t she awesome?  Leave Lisa some LOVE!




    talks about Confessions, Feature Friday

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    So you might remember Jenn, the hottie Feature Friday posted about a few weeks ago?  Guess what?  She has a husband.  Who also did the Take Shape for Life program.  This is Trey.  He was incredibly successful as well and lost 105 pounds in 8 months.  Super awesome!  Trey is the real deal and is completely and fully living his life in optimal health now.  Here is what he told me.

    1. How has your relationship with each other & your daughters changed since losing the weight?

    “Our relationship and our family life have both improved. Where we used to come home and spend time in front of the TV after cooking a pizza in the oven, we now spend time planning and cooking our meals together. Our youngest daughter is getting to help us when we need it, and she’s wanting to be a bigger help. Our older daughter whom we get to have every other weekend, is also more in the process of thinking about the food we are going to have as well.

    Jenn and I spend more time together now also because we have energy. This was the case during the weight loss phase when our energy increase was due to fat-burning and it has continued to maintenance as well.”


    2. What is a day in the life like now, versus then.

    “A day in the life: Up by 6:30 in order to get out the door to take Ava to school by 8:15. We fuel up the family with a good breakfast so that we start our metabolisms off correctly.

    Now that I’m self employed with TSFL, I either go to the gym for a short workout or head to the office that Jenn’s accounting business shares with our Road to Health business. I spend a few hours either contacting clients or doing emails and Facebook. I love the networking that I get to take care of now.

    We are constantly fueling our bodies throughout the day. Often time we will walk down to the local Subway where they recognize us and know that we will be getting two Grilled Chicken salads with double meat. This is a great option for those that are in the weight loss phase of our program or those that want a great lunch option without all the carbs.

    In the afternoon one of us will go pick up Ava from school and bring her back to the office for about an hour or so of wrap-up work. We head home to make dinner and listen to some Adventures in Oddysey that we check out from the library instead of turning on the TV.

    Our evenings are sometimes filled with business related calls or just spending time together as a family. One thing that I’m looking forward to this summer is getting to spend time just being together without having to get homework completed.”

    3. Favorite Healthy food?

    “My favorite healthy meal is a smoked salmon portion with asparagus and a salad. This something that we didn’t prepare a lot while we were in the weight loss phase, but has become a favorite when we do have it. Both of us have become fanatics for asparagus. This is something that we never had before starting the program but really enjoy now.”


    4. Tell a bit about your recent awesome adventure {WCG}.

    “Wild Canyon Games 2011 was my second time competing. Last year I went and celebrated the new life that I had been able to create. It was one year exactly from the time that I had started the program and changed my life.

    Last year my goal was to survive the events. I rode the mountain biking portion of the triathlon relay (12.5 miles of up and down on pavement, dirt and rocky paths). This year I took part in the geocaching which is a high tech Easter Egg hunt in the hills, valleys, rocky crags and stream beds of Central Oregon. My partner and I calculated that we mountaineered (run, walk, climb, descend) more than 17 miles in the 5 hour time span. It was so much fun to get out and run the game trails and look back on what I had been able to create in the last two years.

    The most awesome point for me was having Jenn out there with me. She wasn’t able to go last year, so to be able to share this adventure with her this time was priceless. The one thing that I will never forget was seeing her running down the road to the starting point for my 1/2 mile sprint on Sunday morning after she had run/walked to the top of a very tough Communication Hill. We spent several minutes in each others arms hugging and crying. It was one of those moments that words did not need to be said because we both knew the impact of this weekend, and more importantly the previous two years, on our lives. It still brings tears to my eyes to remember her running toward me.”

    5. What is your favorite place/thing/device/motivator that helps you stay in shape now?

    “I have several motivators that keep me on purpose about what I’m doing. The first is my health. I have an autoimmune disease. It was the main motivator for me to begin the program. After a year and a half of treating it with chemo and steroids there was really no improvement. I knew that I was not at a healthy point and that what I was putting into my body was not helping me. It was time for a change and time to stop living a selfish life.

    My disease has improved dramatically since I started the program. Where I once had 8-10 nodules in my lungs, I now have only four and those are continuing to reduce in size. I am at a healthy BMI now and at a point that I believe allows my body to do what it is designed to do; heal itself and give the modern medicines and ancient therapies the best chance of succeeding.

    Motivator number two is my family. When we started the program we did it with our family in mind. We didn’t want our girls to have to go through what we went through. They needed to have the tools to succeed in living a healthy life that we did not have at that point. My goal now is to continue to be a healthy example for my daughters and to always be a point of pride for them.

    Lastly, my clients are a motivator. I know that by teaching them the lessons that we have learned, they will be looking at me and how I’m incorporating them in my life. I need to be leading by example. The worst thing for me would be to have one of my clients, or even someone that I spoke with about the program, see me taking a huge diversion from what I claim are the habits by which we all need to be living.

    When will my journey be over? Never. As our business coach says “I want to slide into the grave sideways at 110 saying “What a ride.””


    Isn’t that AWESOME?!  I get chills every time I think about how much their relationship has to have changed.  It’s like they both were married to new people!   Happier versions of the same person, for sure.  Trey, thanks for being a great example and for doing what it takes to stay healthy as well!


    *Results will vary.