Body for Life, the Universe, and Everything

Being a description of the author's thoughts on the experience of participating in the "Body for Life" Challenge, questions of great philosophical import, and randomly selected topics of no significance whatsoever

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Location: Missouri, United States

In no particular order, I'm a professional lettering artist, a yoga practitioner, a cat lover, a vegetarian, a reader of everything from books to cereal boxes, married to a very attractive guy named Tom (nope, no kids), an exercise enthusiast, and a lot of other things I don't care to admit in a public forum. I have a BS in applied math that I haven't used in over 10 years, and I can put both feet behind my head. What else would you like to know?

Monday, June 13, 2005


I took some measurements with the tape measure and calipers and such a couple of days ago, and I was ticked. T-I-C-K-E-D! For eleven weeks, I've been pedaling my legs off and sweating on everything in sight and sending my heartrate to 200 bpm three days a week, and lifting weights heavy enough that I feel like I'm gonna pop a blood vessel three other days a week, and slapping my hands anytime I even think about eating anything other than soy, cottage cheese, whole grains, or vegetables, all six of those days a week, and restraining myself almost that much even on the one weekly free day...and I haven't lost a fraction of an inch, or a fraction of a pound!! I didn't get into this to lose actual poundage, because I was already pretty much at my ideal weight, but still...!! (Actually, I've gained a couple of pounds, but I'm certain that it is all I feel a bit better about that.) I was pretty steamed about this situation for most of the day, but then I calmed down and started trying to attain some perspective about it. (Inner peace, anyone? Would you like fries with that, Ms. Buddha? No, no fries, it's not my free day.)

Tom says I look different--better, I guess--and is upset that I don't seem to believe him because I don't have any hard numbers to prove it to myself. What I really got into this whole BFL thing for was to try to get rid of the superfluous abdominal fat--which has been hanging around and bothering me for about ten years, even though there's not that much of it--but most or all of it hasn't budged. In general, I was hoping to get just a bit trimmer all through the middle section of my body (waist to knees). If that has happened at all, I can't see it or measure it, and I'm very frustrated by that. body fat percentages have improved a bit (although not much), so a little of it must be coming off from somewhere. And the big thing is that I am now lifting at least twice as much weight in my weightlifting workouts as I did when I first started lifting, only eleven weeks ago. Right before we started the program, we purchased the additional dumbbells that we felt we needed for our workouts; I lifted the 20-pound dumbbells into the shopping cart and said, "Wow, I don't think I'll be using those anytime soon!" Now I'm using 50 pounds per hand in a couple of my lower-body lifts! I now have shoulders like a mini-Schwarzenegger, which I've never had before! (BTW, the picture that's currently posted with my blog profile, on this page, is from our 9-week photo session, just two weeks ago, and it actually shows those shoulder muscles a little bit!) A couple of weeks ago, three friends and I had a "girls' night out," and when I was asked what I'd been up to lately, I pushed up my sleeve and showed off my new muscles, and there we were in the restaurant, with them squeezing my upper arm like we were in a Charmin commercial and saying, "Ooooh!" like groupies!! It was most gratifying! :) They were embarrassed later. I wasn't!

But back to my hissy fit about my lack of measurable results.... I have decided that I am going to work the program to the letter, to the very best of my ability, for the week that remains in the current Challenge, and then continuing likewise into the next Challenge, which we will start very shortly afterward. (Tom wants to wait a week or two, and I want to start again immediately.) If this doesn't give me the kind of results I want, I don't want there to be any excuses about it along the lines of, "Well, you didn't follow the program exactly...." But if I don't have anything better to show for it after Challenge #2, I'm going back to what I was doing before (which is actually relatively far off the American norm, what with my vegan, mostly sugar-free diet, and my moderately extensive exercise program), because it is obviously enough to maintain more or less the body I have now.

Tom points out that the people in the pictures in the BFL publications are the ones on the far end of the bell curve (yes, we both have scientific degrees; can you tell?). I am going to find out where I stand on the bell curve, and I will either get results or prove that this program doesn't work for my body. NO EXCUSES.


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