Monday, June 17, 2013

Taking Shape For Life

I read this in January. At this time I was plotting a big change in my life but I didn't want to really tell anyone because I was unsure of the outcome. I, like most everyone else, am vulnerable, and sharing something big can be rough. Especially when it is something most everyone has an opinion about. This was something I put a lot of thought, research, and prayer into. I am so glad I took the chance on myself and I am going to share it with you now.

As many of you know I had a baby and all most of that baby weight did not come off, even with breastfeeding. I really had a strong desire to get back in shape for many reasons. My family history has some various health problems I would like to avoid, I would love to be able to keep up with my kids and grand kids, I want to feel better about myself, help fight depression, and get my body ready for more kids. Those are just a few reasons to name. I decided to take up running. At first I was loosing a little weight but then I got hurt and everything came right back. Honestly, even though I was loosing some weight I still had horrible eating habits. I would eat junk food like no tomorrow. I could never stop at three donuts. My relationship with food was tied to my emotions too much. I felt like getting in shape was always going to be a battle with lost cause. I needed a change that was going to be positive and long lasting. But I hate diets, I hate them more than pyramid schemes. I didn't want a diet. I wanted a change and not just a one time event. I knew something like that would be a process but I was ready to commit and make it happen. I wanted something that was going to really help me reboot my thinking on food and get me to where I wanted to be, not just for a while but forever. The questions was where I would I find something like that.

 I ran into my cousin a while later and she looked really good. She told me how she did it and also got me in touch with her health couch. She was nice but the program seemed way too good to be true. So I shrugged it off as a fad diet that will not last. A while later my friend in Mississippi posted a before and after picture of herself on FB and she looked AMAZING. She also used the same program. I got together with her and she answered more of my questions. I thought about the program for weeks, talked to Lars, talked to her again, and read about it over and over again about the long term success. Finally, I prayed about it and decided I should take a leap and just do it. I really had nothing to lose and why shouldn't I gamble on myself.

The program is called Take Shape For Life. What appealed to me the most was that it is more of a lifestyle change than a diet. I needed something with the structure and support to help me reboot my eating, exercise, sleeping, and daily habits that effect my goal to be healthy.

Here is how it works. I set a weight goal. Until I reach that goal I will eat 5 of their high protein, low carb meals and then a meal I make that consists of 1 lean protein and 1.5 cups of low carb vegetables.  I can have a certain amount of condiments, snacks, and healthy fats in addition to that. While doing this I am reading Dr A's Habits of Heath and utilizing a workbook, this part feels like High School but the information is really cool and I am learning so much. I am losing weight and reaching a healthier BMI (body mass index) but most importantly I am figuring out what my triggers are and creating better habits for my health all around so going forward the weight will stay off. After I reach my goal weight I will begin a transition phase and slowly stop eating their food and replace it with other healthy foods. After starting the program I didn't exercise, but now I have incorporated light exercises, weights, and cardio. It is an amazing feeling to do physically things that I couldn't do before.I have a free health coach and an amazing support group on facebook that consist of other people who have/may join the program. Some of them are local some of them are across the country. We have free access to weekly calls, doctors, nurses and nutritionist.  Plus this is not just a one size fits all program. They have alterations for nursing women, diabetics, vegetarians, gluten free, and if you don't have a large budget you can do a modified version where you eat 4 of their meals and 2 lean and green meals you make. 

I bought the books and I buy their food monthly but the rest is free. Buying their food sounded so scary at first. I was worried it would be super expensive but honestly we are not spending anymore than we were before on our monthly grocery bill. In fact, we are saving money. We aren't buying junk food and we aren't going out to eat as often. I can still go out to eat but it is funnier and easier to just plan and cook at home. Making time to make lean and green meals is way easier than I thought. Sure, I have busy days and don't feel like cooking but with some slight planning I am able to get a healthy meal made up in 15 minutes.When I do go out to eat I get my meal protein style. Lars is not on this program and I still plan and cook his (and Roan's) other meals. I usually eat my lean and green meal for dinner and he eats what I cook. So far he has loved almost everything and has even been loosing some weight himself by association. ;) The program food really isn't too bad either. I don't have to just eat it plain, I can dress it up with various recipes I have found (I have two pinterest boards, Lean and Green and Medifast Meals).   I have learned some really cool and delicious lean and green recipes too. Did you know you can make just about anything with cauliflower? I have made, rice, breadsticks, Alfredo sauce, and pizza crust to name a few. Plus you can use vegetables as noodles like this, and this. Can't eat bread, try revolution rolls. All this stuff is good for you and taste great.

The first few days were tough because I was so hungry, but I was more determined to make this work and didn't give up. I didn't exercise much the first few weeks. Now I do 15-20 minute strength exercises 5 days a week. I usually rotate between upper, lower body, and core with my Skimble Workout Trainer ap that is free. I also try to walk 20+ minutes on my lunch break. On the weekends Roan and I try to walk to the park at least once. That is it. So easy. I could work out more, if I do I need to adjust my meal plan and eat more protein. I still have temptations and there are days when I am stressed or sad and want to drown my sorrows in junk food. But I ask myself, "Is this going to get me to my ultimate goal? No, then it is not worth it." I thought the program was too good to be true and I keep waiting for it to get hard. But it is the best and I know that it is easy because all I am doing is making better habits. No starving yourself or eating food that taste like saw dust. Just new instilling new habits. Don't get me wrong sometimes it is not a walk in the park, but it is way easier than everything else I have seen out there. 

Only Lars and a few other people I associate with daily knew about this. Eventually people started to notice. A few of my coworkers noticed my clothes were starting to hang on me and asked me what I was up to. I didn't go into as much detail as in this blog, unless they really ask, but I give a little run down. I love and appreciate the compliments. I love that when I moved into my house I tried on all my clothes and threw out a lot of clothes that were too big for me and was able to fit, like a glove, into my pre-preggo clothes that I had kept for so long.

For me, this program has been amazing. Not just because it made me look like this (see below), it makes me feel great. I used to get exhausted by 2 pm, now I have consistent energy throughout the entire day.  It simplified things as I go until I really learned what foods are better than others. I will still be able to eat chocolate if I want to, I just know how to balance it better because of what I learned from this process.  It gave me the structure and support I needed and honestly it worked. Now could I have gotten the same results counting calories or doing something...maybe. But this is what worked for ME. It gave me the reboot I needed so I can move forward being focused on moderation rather than do's or don'ts. It was hard at first but I made up my mind I wanted a positive change and I really don't miss the stuff I ate before. I will have some of those things again, like a beef n' cheddar, and moose tracks, but not right now. I am having too much fun looking and feel great!!!

I am not bringing it up here so you can join and I can make money off of you. I am not becoming a health coach (not yet anyway) or selling a product. I was just really shy about sharing this. I don't like to be singled out too often and in this case I can still live my life normal, just healthier I guess, but in the beginning it was hard to explain.  I know no matter how I look I am awesome. Everyone has a way of doing things and this worked for me and that is okay. It might not work for you and that is okay too. But I have a good thing here and it is hard not to share it. SO my vulnerable feelings aside this program is wonderful and I am so so glad that I am apart of it. This is a great option if you are looking for a change. If you are not looking for change then good for you. Just admire my change and congratulate me or give me a virtual high five! Because I feel amazing and healthy, my energy is consistently up, I love what I am putting into my body, I love my new fitness performance level, I just love what this has done for me all around. I haven't been this fit and slim for many many many years. I didn't think it could ever happen but it did and I am going to keep it up  :) Everybody is different and this worked for ME. If you would like to know more call me or check out their website.

Now that I told you all about it, let me show you all about it.
Start Weight: 191.6 lbs
Start BMI: 28

6 weeks weight into program: 165 lbs
6 weeks BMI into program: 24

I lost
26.6 pounds
7 inches off my waist
3 inches off my hips
2 inches of my upper arms
3 inches off my upper thighs.

By week 3 I had to wear a belt with all my current clothes and all my work shirts hung on me. I got to my pre-preggo weight by week 5.

Here are photos of the progress. I love that the weight loss is healthy and not happening all at once in the wrong places. It is melting off of me at the right times and in the right places.

Goal Weight: 145 lbs
(my 10 year anniversary is in August, I would love to get to my pre-wedding weight by then)
Goal BMI: 21
I still want to get more toned which is why I am lifting weights. I have a little ways to go to reach my goal but I am so happy and proud of the progress I have made so far.
Special thanks for the love and support from my health coach Thia and the TSFL groups on FB!!!!

UPDATE: I am becoming a health coach. My website is this.   or Please call me if you would like to know more. :)


  1. Holy cow, lady! You look fabulous! Good for you for being dedicated enough to make such a big lifestyle change!!

  2. I'm so happy for you. But what I love most about the most about the later pictures is the smile! Your bangs are super cute too. They are making me want some!

  3. That is so awesome Stephanie, you do look amazing!!! I know if you have friends who want more info they can also go to!! Thia is a GREAT coach!!! So excited you have had such great success!! Keep up the good work!!

  4. That is so awesome that you found something that works so well for you. Way to go Steph! The results are so encouraging and I'm sure you are feeling on top of the world. I hope to join you soon. =) Here is one big virtual high five! And a HUG! Love you lady.

  5. Eeeeee! I love it!!!... You have done a FANTASTIC job! I am so impressed with how well you have made this "your program". You're journeys story is going to help so many people!!

  6. Eeeeeee! I love it!!... You have done a FANTASTIC job!!! I am so impressed with how well you have made this "your program". Your journeys story is going to help so many people! You truly are an inspiration.

  7. Way to go you..............doing a little happy clap here for you.......I can imagine how good you must be feeling with yourself now.


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