Well now, look who is on Week Four!
Way to go Body-for-LIFE® Friend! You have completed 28 days of what I call the finest fitness and nutrition program on the planet! I am Rena Reese, a 2004 Body-for-LIFE® Grand Champion and I am thrilled for you that you have made it to this point. Chances are now overwhelmingly in your favor that you will make it to day 84—and beyond—since the first month is truly the hardest! Creating new habits, fighting off old patterns of action and replacing them with healthful alternatives takes strength, determination, planning and intention. You should be proud!
This month you have done so much more than eat six balanced meals and perform cardio and weight training. You have made a promise to yourself and kept it. That can only help to build self-esteem. You’re probably showing up more confident and energetic at work and in your daily interactions. In addition, unconsciously, you are training people new ways to treat you too. It is possible that you have had a friend/coworker/partner/family member call you obsessed. (Great, that means you are doing Body-for-LIFE® with passion!) It is also possible that you have inspired some of those very same people to participate and take on the Challenge for themselves. You are making a case for the notion that it is perfectly okay to take care of yourself! It is not selfish, but rather it is responsible. Wonderful!
When you stick with this program for the first month, your esteem increases. When you see that you have kept this promise to yourself, your momentum increases. If you snap a photo of yourself at week four, you will notice that which may not be observable in your daily step out of the shower. It is a marker in your 12-week journey that confirms that what you are doing is making a difference! During the first 28 days of my Challenge in January 2004, I was so focused and determined.
Before Body-for-LIFE® I must have gotten something out of being the “mommy/martyr" “Poor mom has no time to take care of herself….” “Poor Rena. She’s out of shape because she puts her family first..."
All of that stinkin' thinkin' got me what? FAT! But, after four weeks of Body-for-LIFE® I had lost 16 pounds of fat and that was while I was really enjoying my free days! My first free day I ate Chex Mix and Oreos for breakfast—and that was likely the healthiest part of the day! By my fourth free day, I forgot it was my free day until the afternoon! That is how powerful repeating new patterns of actions can be. My great food choices had become automatic. My family and I benefited from my newfound energy and level of happiness.
One of the most important things you can do for yourself now as you begin week five is set up supports to carry you through your Challenge. The ones that helped me the most were the Body-for-LIFE® Web site, connecting with past champions and other Body-for-LIFEers via email, my journal/log and taking a gander at my before pics!
But, the most powerful tool I used to support my sticking to the program was the creation of a home video. I got the idea when I saw a TV program which explained how a man documented his baby’s growth. Each day he laid out a black cloth and laid his baby down and took a short clip of footage. Each day he would repeat this process and he did so until the child turned two. When showed start to finish, the video was like time-lapse photography of a flower opening. The child changed ever so slightly but he did change.
So, I decided that this would be a powerful way to document my transformation. I set up my video camera on a tripod and my daughter Meg filmed me in the same swimsuit each day for a few seconds. For me the effect was powerful. I would watch the footage which began with my before picture up to the present day of the Challenge I was in. It motivated me. On the weeks that I felt like I had reached a plateau, I could see that the scale may not be changing but what was happening to my body could not be denied. I realized every day mattered. Every workout mattered; every meal contributed to the metamorphosis that was unfolding on my videotape. If you cannot videotape yourself each day, a weekly photo could serve the same purpose.
We have all heard that “nothing tastes as good as being thin feels.” Before Body-for-LIFE® I didn’t know if that was true or not because I had never been thin. I’d like to re-write that to reflect the Body-for-LIFE® experience. Unauthorized foods and skipped workouts are no substitute for the energy, power and high you get from being fit and in control. Yes that is a mouthful and profoundly true. Now, I don’t want to be thin. The word thin conjures up an image of a frail, weak person with no muscles to speak of. That is not the look we Body-for-LIFEers are going for. Stay the course and you will be lean, strong, and toned. As your body changes, your size will change. In addition, muscles will emerge where there were none or where there were once layers of fat. This will make you want to wake up, workout and eat right. Frankly, I became excited to go to sleep each night and then wake up to see that something magical happened during the night. Each night, it did.
I have been going to my gym four to five times a week for over two years and I can honestly say that most people look exactly the same as they did when I first lugged my chubby self in there in January 2004. Now, looking the same is great if you already are fit and fabulous. If you are not fit and not getting fit, it seems then that the goal is to not get any less unfit. What kind of goal is that?
So, know that what you do today counts towards achieving your ultimate goals. Know that the workout you engage in, food you eat and thoughts you think today matter!
I wish for you fine health, abundant energy, confidence and perseverance as you continue this path! Know that when you submit your packet, the team of judges will review your packet giving it the time, respect and attention it would get if you were a judge's friend, sister, brother, or parent. The team at Body-for-LIFE® are so invested in your success and health that they have literally made it their job to aid you in your success!
Now, go eat, work out and get fit for the remaining eight weeks of your Challenge and FOR LIFE!
All my best,
"Things that matter most must never be at the mercy of things that matter least."