I started my Body-for-Life journey in late February of this year. It was a challenging time for me because I didn't know what I wanted to do with my life, all I knew for sure was that my body felt like a prison and I couldn't do anything with my full potential because of the limitations I experienced both physically and mentally. I want to thank the BFL team for continuing this program and giving people a place to support one another. I want to show my gratitude by sharing what a wonderful experience this past year has been for me.
One year ago I weighed 250 pounds. I've gone down to 190 and haven't gained any of it back since I started. I've never gone this long without gaining weight or yo-yoing on the scale! Anyone who is on the fence about doing this thing, I hope I can encourage you with my experience because it was worth it in ways I never expected. I started and finished one whole 12 week challenge, and since then I have not gone back to my old ways. I have lived life in moderation for the first time ever, and lost a total of 60lbs since February without having to be super strict or exercise like crazy. When I stuck to the plan 100% for 12 whole weeks I understood how it felt to eat in a way that actually satisfied me without packing away fat from calorie dense food and I didn't feel hungry. Believe me, it feels amazing. The freedom from food that kept me shackled in shame fells better than "skinny". Forget about that saying "nothing tastes as good as skinny feels", I never knew how skinny felt except when I crash dieted on harmful pills that destroyed my mind and body....what kind of incentive was that? I threw out all the old imaginary scenes in my mind where I could someday walk on a beach in a bikini and look amazing. Those things never helped me either; they only made me feel so distant from a reality I knew: I can't let go of the foods that make me feel better at the end of a hard day. THAT was the thing I needed to let go of the most.
Being fat kept me from going to the pool in a bikini, but big deal. I don't really do that sort of thing anyway. I didn't realize how much my body held me back until I had the problem addressed in a healthy way. I felt so tired, moody, shaky, weak, slow, sore, and had an upset tummy from most of my meals. I would try to avoid eating during the day so I could have treats at night (which I never looked at the calorie content of, of course!). Because of all that, I had a hard time committing to things I really wanted to do. I didn't know how I was going to feel on any planned day a week or month from now, and I felt a lot of underlying anxiety over whether it was going to be a good day or a bad day. I didn't see how I could be so......big when I didn't even eat that much! But when I got real and started looking at serving sizes and calorie content, I was horrified and it made sense. When I go to the grocery store, I make a careful choice about certain food items that I might pick for their "healthy" qualities (beware of nuts!). I still have myoplex shakes in the fridge at any given time. I still enjoy the chicken and tilapia I made during those first 12 weeks with no extra calorie dense ingredients added.
What I am able to do now is fulfill a dream that started when I was a child, and that is working with parrots. I started getting really serious with this last year, but it was hard to do what I wanted to do so I mostly read information to fill in the gaps of what I know. Since May I have dedicated myself with no reservations to this passion I have. I raised some baby parrots and fed them around a tight schedule for months. I would have NEVER been able to make a commitment like that with how bad of shape I was in before. I started helping with a parrot rescue, I do this at least once a week and I am never worried about what kind of day it will be. Its always a good day, even on a bad day. I am able to physically exert myself real hard every weekend, cleaning out over a dozen big heavy duty parrot cages. The guy I help is grateful that I can be there and I don't need a hand when pulling out the heavy trays one by one. I could talk about that forever, I am just so happy to do what I love.
I've always wanted to help, I've always felt best when I am giving. When I was held back from that due to my weight it was so, so painful. I am able to give back in a way I never could before, and that is because of body-for-life. I don't worry about how much weight I might gain next month "when I can't take it anymore", because I never go through that horrid cycle when I live this lifestyle. And the best change for me was mentally. The food and exercise issue was honestly SO hard for me to commit to in my heart and mind, that once I was able to do those two things for 12 weeks I then felt like I could do anything. I had such intense social anxiety from things I've been through in my life and going to the gym was one of the most terrifying yet beautiful things I have gone through. My fear of people faded a tiny bit every time I had to go workout, and now I don't doubt myself like I once did and I've accomplished so much from having that self esteem. I am so thankful for that, I truly can't say enough.
If you're thinking about all the reasons why you could throw in the towel and start later, think about what I've said and how it would feel to really do it!!! It. is. so. worth it.
Thank you so much for sharing you amazing and truly inspiring journey. Your weight loss is a tremendous accomplishment. But the parrots are my favorite part of the story, because life is far more about living your dreams than how much how much you weigh.
Thank you Dan! That is so true, it is such a good feeling to have the "for-Life" part along with the Body!
I thought it would be cool to share a video from a year ago and one from a few weeks ago to show what a difference it has made.
One year ago, 250 pounds. Stevie was just a baby then ^_^ I didn't upload this until now because it was on my husbands phone and he didn't delete it. I was so mortified when I saw myself on film like this...I had avoided mirrors and was in such denial. Since then, I have uploaded close to a hundred videos to teach people about raising parrots and training them with a kind and gentle approach. I wouldn't have had the courage to do that before. Every time someone contacts me and thanks me for sharing my knowledge, I am just grateful that I can do this without being embarrassed about my looks.
This video is one I took for someone who had me bird sit their parakeet and train him for them. He wouldn't go back in the cage and would fly away from hands when he knew it was time to go back, lol. I raised him as a baby to be tame and he ended up loving people SO much that it was nearly impossible to get him back in the cage. He would also try to preen people and end up nibbling way too hard. So I am just showing how I did all that. It was just a few weeks ago, I can't believe how much healthier I look!
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