New Year’s Fitness Plan with Me? My story with the Whole Life Challenge-Join my Team!!!

Hello everyone!

Happy almost new year! Many of you know that I did the Whole Life Challenge back from September to November and lost weight, got fit and really got my physical health back into focus. I want to help you do this as well so I decided to become the “captain ” of the team starting January 17th. If you sign up before January 1st, you get a discount, $39 instead of $49 so sign up now! A percentage of your registration fee is going to the Foundation for Prader Willi Research!

To describe why and how I did it, I have written up a bit about it below. I hope you will join our team! Here is the link to join the Take Back the Kitchen Team

Here is my story on the how and why I started doing the Whole Life Challenge:

My niece Bailie tried to get me to do this WLC last year but I was too busy to even look it up. It usually takes repeated poundings into my brain for me to pay attention. I’m busy and old.

Bailie did it and lost a lot of inches. I missed the boat.

A year later, I really started to see my body sagging big time and realized I hadn’t done any cardio in a year. I also got a bad cholesterol report from my doctor (it’s hereditary and my Dad’s was in the 300s!). Lastly and most importantly, I am vain. I could no longer fit into my clothes without some serious love handles hanging over those low rise jeans and for the first time in my life, I could not lose those extra pounds after a few days of watching my food intake. I got scared. Very scared. I thought I was different and thin for life like all my 5 sisters and my mother at this age but my body betrayed me.

That’s when I saw my friend Jessica’s Wolf’s posts on facebook and in her blog Jessica’s Take about how she was so taken with this regimen (I call it a regime) and she had lost 20 pounds over this past year doing it. She is a reasonable seeming person so I listened to her and trusted her. She has tons of useful info on her blog about her experience so check it out.

So, it was a perfect storm of love handles, high cholesterol, sagging thighs and buzz on facebook about the challenge so I almost signed up. Almost. The forbidden cheese is what made me hesitate. How could I not each cheese for EIGHT WEEKS? I put cheese in everything. When Jessica said the permitted full fat Greek yogurt gave her the sense of eating cheese, I bit the bullet and signed up at the last moment.

I LOVED the challenge which went from Sept. 13th to Nov. 7th and loved being on Jessica’s team. I met all these fun people on line and got great recipe ideas from them. I got to meet them in person at our compliant food potluck midway through. I decided to create my own team this time because some of my friends felt weird about joining a team of strangers and wanted me to lead the way with all my new WLC experience. So, here I am for you at round two.

Here are the five easy things I had to do for the challenge and what you will do:

Eat right, exercise at least 10 minutes a day, stretch at least 10 minutes a day, take a supplement of your choice each day and drink a third of your body weight in ounces every day. Then you log in to the site to be held accountable every day (takes ONE MINUTE) and that is it!

Pick a diet from their 3 diet choices. I chose the “lifestyle” diet because it is restrictive but not too crazy. The “kick start” diet seemed too easy to pig out on the permitted food items and I knew I would not lose weight-it would be a slippery slope. The “performance diet”, the hardest one, seemed like I would be punished for eight weeks and I would never commit to that as a lifestyle.

After one week, however, I said %^&* that! to the compliant almond milk in my coffee instead of milk and decided to “borrow” milk in my coffee from the kick start diet but NOTHING else. I got mad about not having milk in my coffee which I needed to start my day off right and I did not want to resent the diet. That’s just me-some people were strict throughout and had no non-compliant dairy. I know myself, as you all know yourselves, so be careful if you decide to “borrow” a bit here and there from the easier diet. It is indeed a slippery slope and we all want to be successful.

I am a goody two shoes and know that I have a lot of will power. I’m not braggng, just telling the truth. It’s not always a good thing but I am a committed person when I want to be, very all or nothing, which is why I like being strict on this challenge. I like being told what to do and to follow rules (unless my husband is asking things of me). If I eat the allowed sweet potato chips and sweet potato fries as the WLC “junk food”, I will eat the whole bag so I stay away from their junk food options. I know they are not good for me or the diet. When I got very thin at the end of the diet, I allowed myself some on occasion. Do what you want but know that those kinds of items will not help you lose weight if you eat a lot of them. Stay away unless you can only have a few which many of us can’t. Seriously, chips are just too good.

As for sweets, I sweeten everything with dates and other dried fruits like pineapple, figs and raisins that are really sweet. I never use the allowed stevia because I am afraid stevia is bad for us and it tastes chemical-y.On occasion I use vanilla extract which is great for sweeting.

I like bread and bread like substances so I started making compliant muffins and pancakes. Don’t worry, I will share the recipes with you for savory or sweet pumpkin pancakes, almond muffins, and jalapeno cilantro coconut pancakes. I have created a secret facebook page for those on our team with LOTS of compliant recipes. You will not have to recreate the wheel like I did. There are also a ton of recipes on Pinterest and elsewhere for WLC compliant recipes. Just google them.

Going out to parties, restaurants:

When you go out and order a savory dish, do not ask a million questions about ingredients, as long as you are not ordering desserts. Savory, compliant items are allowed. For example, if you order salmon or a side dish, just eat it even if there may be some kind of a sweetener in the sauce.

I was VERY worried about what I would eat at parties. I go to most parties/dinners/fundraisers/school events a lot and to eat. I thought my social life would be over. I would always feel sick afterwards because I ate too many dairy products, sweets and gluten. Not the case anymore!

Here’s the secret: For parties, find the hummus, olives, shrimp, marinated vegetables area and stay there, shoveling it in until you are satisfied. Otherwise you will attack the cheese platter and jump on the waiter passing around the pigs in a blanket. I have become an expert at seeking out the compliant appetizers at the numerous bar mitzvahs, dinner parties, fundraisers and holiday parties and there is pretty much ALWAYS compliant food. No excuses to cheat! Feel free to be gross. For example, if hummus is being served with only pita chips, put a LOT of hummus on your plate and use one sturdy chip as a vehicle, like a spoon, to eat the hummus. You heard me. Don’t eat the chips! Who cares if someone sees you by accident? If they have a problem, they’re probably just envious because you look so damn good and svelt eating that hummus with a pita chip spoon.

Exercise: You can do whatever exercise you like for 10 minutes a day, even walking but it is recommended to do 3-5 days of a more serious workout.

I am TOTALLY into bootcamp with Accelerate Bootcamp which I started when I started the challenge. So much so, that I asked Patty Manning, the instructor and founder, to give you all a discount to join and she generously did. She will offer you all a free intro class and give you a 25% discount for the 8 weeks of the challenge. She teaches Monday, Wed. and Friday at 5:15 AM!!! or the more reasonable 9:30AM if you work from home like me.

I do Bootcamp twice a week and yoga once a week. I go to free Lululemon yoga classes on a Saturday at 9AM or Sundays at 10AM or take from my friend Jacquie Ruderman from Jaipure Yoga (or a private) once a week:

Jacquie Ruderman:

Here is Patsy’s email to get started:

The supplement piece: This is totally up to you. You can take any supplement like Vitamin D, calcium, a multivitamin, garlic pills, whatever. It is a supplement that you know you should be taking but that you don’t because you have been lazy or forget (like me). I take calcium everyday because I have no thyroid but I often forget to. This kept me doing it daily.

A word about naysayers and unsupportive family and friends. You will probably have some very supportive friends and family to help you with all of this change and if you don’t use us, the rest of the team). That’s what I am here for and the rest of the team. TRUST ME, HOWEVER; You will have people in your midst, close to you and even worse, not so close to you, who will make fun of you, try to prove your practices hypocritical or contradictory or just plain eye roll at you. They will try to tempt you with delicious foods and say “What’s the big deal?” “Just this once”. Maybe they are trying to be nice and they truly don’t want you to miss out. Maybe they cannot relate to you or this at all. Maybe they have no filter. It doesn’t matter why they are saying these things to you because they all end up potentially sabotaging your efforts.

So remember this: The Joyful are envied. Be generous.

You have a choice here. Don’t let them pull you down. These comments will be there throughout your challenge so stay strong. Here are some suggestions as pat replies for you:

I am really trying to get healthy in the next eight weeks. Then I’ll be happy to eat your cupcake.

Why don’t you join me? I feel so much better eating well and exercising!

Can you freeze some of that for me so I can eat it after the challenge?

I know it sounds weird that I can’t eat plain popcorn but I’m just following what they tell me-my friend lost 25 pounds so it must work!

Speaking of losing weight, it takes some people WEEKS to start losing weight so do not get discouraged! It will definitely start coming off. For many of you it will start coming off immediately and you will be shocked at how flat your stomach will become!

As for energy and sleep, I have a TON more energy during the day and I seem to be getting a much deeper sleep. Go figure?! It may be because we are forced to drink a lot of water, something I never did enough.

Stretching: Pretty self explanatory. I do it before bed to mellow myself out (when I remember).

That’s it for now but I promise to write more about it later. For now, HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! Please send me your questions.


24 Responses

  1. Alma,

    Where do I find info on the different programs? Lifestyle, kick start, performance?

    What do you think of a morning cup of Java?

    Lastly, when are you teaching us how to cook?


    1. Hi Liz! The programs are listed on the Whole Life Challenge website as well as my secret facebook page once you register. Also, YES to the coffee! I am going to be organizing a cooking class soon so stay tuned!

  2. I have some distressing news: I did not lose 25 pounds. At my low, low, lowest I was down 20 pounds. But really 17 is most accurate. That said, Game on!

  3. Good for you Alma! Both for doing and motivating others! Have fun on your next challenge. And a Happy, Healthy New Year for you and your family!

  4. Hi Alma,

    Happy New Year! Sorry I didn’t read this yesterday but I’m still joining your team today!

  5. Hi Alma, Thanks for turning me onto this challenge, just what I needed! I just signed up and my husband will be joining me. How do we join your team? Couldn’t find a team under your name or Montclair. Or do I just create a team for my husband and I? Looking forward to this! So this starts in 2 weeks right? We all start together?

    1. Hi Kathleen! It is the Take Back the Kitchen team and we start Jan. 17th but sign up now so I can add you to our secret facebook page where will will share info re: our team.

  6. Alma…I’m interested. I’m hoping this community can help me — a woman in her mid 50s who’s trying to figure out her menopausal hormones. I’m working with essential oils and trying to balance my Adrenals and Thyroid glands. I also am vain and am so tired of not fitting into my clothing and weigh the heaviest of my entire life. Ironically, part of my problem is not enough cholesterol production for healthy glands. How the heck does one eat eggs, cheese and bacon without gaining weight? I’m open for some help!

  7. Hi Alma,
    I heard about this from my friend Lisa Espinosa as well as from my son who is really close with Noah Webb (Jessica’s son). I signed up…ready(ish) to go on the 17th (even though I’ll be on vacation in Miami). Thanks for taking the lead. Karyn

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