I asked for the Body for Life For Women book for my birthday this year, really just to give me a refresher on the concepts and learn some new things about nutrition. I didn’t plan on doing the program again until I (again) fell in love with all the before and after photos. These people are BUFF! Anyway, I finished the book and decided I would start the program again. I’m now in week 10 of the 12 week program.
The Program in a nutshell:
1. Eat six small meals a day, or three small meals and three snacks
2. The meals consist of a combination of a lean protein (like meat, fish, dairy, or soy), a carbohydrate (like bread, fruit, rice, or cereal) and as many veggies as you want (like salad, tomatoes, carrots, asparagus)
3. Work out six days a week alternating days with cardio and weight training
4. Sample schedule of work out looks like this:
Monday: Cardio (30 min on elliptical)
Tuesday: Upper body (45 min with weights)
Wednesday: Cardio (Walk 30 min)
Thursday: Lower body (45 minutes with weights)
Friday: Cardio: 30 min run
Saturday: Upper body (45 min with weights)
Sunday: FREE DAY
5. Free Day: This day you not only get to take the day off of working out, but you also get to eat anything you want. Literally. Anything you want. The whole point is to take a break and eat the things you love. If you take the whole day, you usually feel pretty terrible at the end of the day and are eager to get back on the wagon the next day.
6. Drink a ton of water
7. Do this for 12 weeks and see dramatic changes in your health, measurements, weight and appearance.
8. After the initial 12 weeks, you can continue on for another 12 weeks or move to a maintenance version of the program.
Things I Love About This Program
1. I’m rarely hungry because I get to eat 6 times a day. Even when I do get hungry, I know another meal is coming within 2 hours.
2. I don’t have to count or measure anything. Portion sizes are eye-balled (the size of your fist, the size of your hand, the size of a tennis ball, etc)
3. It is very well-balanced, in terms of nutrition and fitness. It focuses more on health than losing weight. More on feeding your body the right kinds of foods than depriving it.
4. I get to treat myself to the foods I love every week, if I so desire.
5. The results are amazing. As I said, I’m in week 10 right now and I’ve got shorts and jeans I’ve been wearing all summer that literally fall off me today without unbuttoning them. I’m very toned and feel great. My husband keeps saying, “you look so skinny.” Others are beginning to notice and ask what I’m doing.
6. The success stories and pictures are very motivating.
I look at them all the time, to keep me going.
7. The Body For Life website offers a TON of great recipes that are
Body For Life friendly and delicious.
8. I can work vegetarian stuff into this program very easily.
9. The principles of this program fit well into every day life, even when you are just trying to maintain your current weight or fitness level. My family (hubby and three kids) get Body For Life meals most nights and don’t even know the difference.
Things I Don’t Like About this Program
1. The Free Day: while I love having a day off, I don’t always want to blow a whole day.
2. The first time I did it (8 years ago), it felt restrictive because my diet included a lot of processed foods, sauces and high calorie beverages. So if your diet is very unhealthy, getting started may be a big shock to you. This time around for me, because I had made so many good changes over the last few years, it was very easy.
3. The first few weeks, the work outs about kill ya! Even if you work out now, the program challenges you to keep pushing yourself to the highest level possible. So, again, if you don’t currently work out, you’ll be very sore the first few weeks.
4. It takes a little planning: Making sure your pantry and fridge are stocked with the right foods, and knowing what you are going to eat for your next meal. It also helps a lot to keep a food and work out journal, which can be time-consuming.
5. The program gives a chart of “authorized foods.” These are grouped into categories to help you put together your meals. In the original Body for Life, the chart is very clear and easy to follow. However, in the Women’s edition, it is extremely confusing. I was just looking over it again, and I can’t figure out what’s a carb and what’s a veggie. Very vague. A reason why you need both books, if you are a woman.
6. It takes a little practice knowing how to put a meal together. But once you get the hang of it, it is very easy. I haven’t looked at the chart since I started, and I’m doing fine.
7. The “For Women” book has a “new-agey” edge to it, mentioning things like meditation quite a bit. If you can get past this and realize meditation on the right things is very Biblical, or substitute “prayer” for those references, it’s no big deal. The mind-body-spirit connection is real, we just need to make sure we’re tapping into the right Source of our strength (Jesus), rather than relying on our own mental ability or some other false god.
How I’ve Tweaked This Program to Fit My Life
1. I don’t take a full “Free Day” but instead take “Mini Chills” (as described in the Women’s book). So if I’m going out to eat with my hubby and want to order lasagna and dessert, I will just enjoy that meal, but get on board with the program the rest of the day. We also have pizza once a week at my house, so I allow myself some pizza (veggie thin crust), without blowing the entire day. I also make sure I take a day off of the work outs each week, but it isn’t the same day every week. It depends on what I’ve got going that day.
2. The authorized food list puts fruit as a carbohydrate. I, personally, don’t think one should restrict the intake of fruit (unless there is some medical reason). Fruit is packed with nutrients…and, call me sheltered, but I don’t know anyone who is overweight because of their “fruit addiction.” So, I treat fruit like a “veggie” in this program and add it to as many meals as I want.
3. I refuse to be legalistic about anything. So even with this fitness program, I just do my best to stick with it. If I have a day or a meal where I don’t feel well, can’t get in a full work out, or want some kind of treat, I take a short break and get right back on with the next meal or work out. One thing Peeke says in the book over and over is “Progress not Perfection.” I try to think of that ever day.
What I Recommend You Do to Get Started
1. Read the books!
If you are a guy, you only need to read the original Body for Life.
If you are a woman, I think you need to read both. Here’s why: the original Body for Life lays out the program in great detail, but is very much geared toward men, I think. The “for Women” book is great about speaking directly to women, and gives a ton of information about research on women’s health and nutrition, but is vague when it comes to the details of the meal planning, foods that are OK, and the work outs.
2. Check out the website
I’m going to give away a copy of each of these books this week!!!
Here’s all you need to do to enter:
1. Click on “comments” below and tell me you’d like to win and which book you prefer. If you don’t have a Blogger account, click on “anonymous” and follow the prompts. Just remember to leave your name.
2. If you’d like to be entered TWICE, do one of the following:
a. Subscribe to my blog (see sidebar and follow the prompts)
b. add a link to my blog on your blog
c. invite 10 people to read this blog
I will take your word for it if you do these things. Just let me know you did it and I’ll put your name in two times.
I’m going to leave this contest open until NEXT FRIDAY, so you have lots of time to get your name in the hat. Be sure to check back next week to see if you won!!!!!
This program may not be for you. I think one of the main components of fitness is to find something that fits your lifestyle and preferences. This is just one of many, many well-balanced programs you can follow to achieve your fitness goals.
And y’all know I’m not a doctor, right?
The polls are closed…I’ll be posting a winner soon!!!!!!!!!!