i ♥ body for life.

no idea what body for life is? click here for a brief rundown.

oh body for life. seriously the one thing that saved me from being a fat kid for the rest of my days.

first off, some visuals. this is me then and now. well, not now, now.. but after body for life. these days, i look closer to the gal on the right than the one on the left. just maybe not as ripped.

let’s talk about it.

the background

my sister and brother in law did body for life, once upon a time. they had great results. i knew it worked for them. i didn’t need it though. i was a skinny girl in her early 20’s with a bangin metabolism and not a weight problem in sight. then something happened. i got older. well, that is what i am blaming. i guess it would have to be a combo of age, beer, food, and laziness.

i went from 117ish to 138 lbs–my very heaviest. this was slow going, the weight slowly and slowly was gained..and then i broke my arm in march of 2007 and the weight was maybe gained a little quicker in those 8 weeks i was laying around the house 24/7. i didn’t think it was THAT bad…but then one day i tried to put my size 5 jeans on and they did not fit. so i looked in the mirror and was like WHAT THE CRAP JANETHA?!?! something had to be done.

so in april of 07 i started up my first body for life challenge. i got the book, read it cover to cover, did some research, figured out what i needed to do for the next 12 weeks. i was going to do this, and i was going to do well. so i thought. the first 5 weeks or so went great. i was sticking to the eating, but the workouts were not very intense due to the broken arm.. but i was doing the best i could. i was losing some weight, feeling better about myself, all that jazz.

june came around, and so did my boyfriend fiance(!!). getting a new boyfriend is kind of like getting a new puppy. you want to spend as much time as possible with him and enjoy the newness of it all. except with a puppy, you don’t want to eat the same thing as him. with the boyfriend, it is different. you want to go out to dinner. all the time. and you don’t want to spend time at the gym. and you don’t want to obsess over balancing your carbs and your protein. and basically i threw my challenge out the window.

people make mistakes, and i am no exception.

ohhhkay.. so fast forward about a year. june 17th, 2008 to be exact. i was tipping the scales at 136. ugh. something had to be done.. but what? i decided to stop eating bread, pasta, rice and potatoes. the only carbs i had were from veggies and fruit. i am a firm believer in free day so i would take saturday off and eat what i wanted. i had a trip to hawaii planned for the middle of august and i had to lose some LBs. sometime in july i did a 9 day isagenix cleanse. this is not a healthy way to lose weight, and most of it is water weight, but i did it anyway. after the no starchy carb adventure and the isagenix stint, i was down to about 127 lbs. not bad. off to hawaii i went, nothing holding me back from enjoying myself and all the food in hawaii to the fullest. i mean, vacations are vacations in my eyes. but i did have a game plan for when i got back.

here is a visual rundown of the timeline i just went over:

august 25th, 2008. i had just returned from hawaii and i was ready to do something about my body. things were not so bad, they could have been worse. i recruited my fabulous mom and we started a hardcore, no cheats, 100% by the book body for life challenge.

the challenge: 12 weeks to a new janetha

when the challenge began, my mom and i went to get our body fat composition tested because while we did want to lose weight (fat) we also were looking to gain muscle, which can not be measured by a scale alone. we did this up at the local university. we made appointments to have our composition tested halfway through the challenge and again at the end so we could have an accurate account of our transformation.

i weighed in at 124.5 lbs and 25.7% body fat. yikes.

so the first few weeks of my challenge i was really big on documenting everything. i wrote my meals and workouts down in a journal. i took photos every so often. i weighed myself each week. i did not cheat one bit. i was a real stickler on not cheating, and i was also really strict with my mom. she lovingly referred to me as “olga” her personal trainer.

i have known about a website, body for life tracker, for some time now. i stumbled upon it during my first challenge. it is an online community of people just like me. who have done, want to do, or are doing body for life. there are so many people in the same boat. this website has forums on eating, exercise, support, beginning, etc etc. there are also “teams” formed on the website that is a mini support group. for my challenge, i joined a team. my mom also joined the team with me. i think that the daily support and advice i received from my team really helped me get through those strict 12 weeks! i seriously love all those people on tracker, both on my team and not, they all are very informative, supportive and AMAZING.

tracker has a feature that allows you to track your challenges and post statistics and photographs along the way. if you would like to check out my profile, you can click the following links:


progress log for challenge 1

photo log for challenge 1 (you will notice you can click front, side and back views on the photos)

okay, so that is tracker. i love the message boards and i love the people and i love the features of the whole website. i will probably mention tracker from time to time, it is a big part of my daily survival on BFL!

back to the challenge! so after a few weeks things became habit. i stopped documenting everything and just did body for life like clockwork. at the end of september i visited my sister and her family in california and this was the first time i cheated during my challenge. i took two free days instead of just one. i did not beat myself up too bad though, because while i was there i ran my first 5k race and took third place! it was awesome, i felt so good.

halfway through the challenge i had my body fat composition tested again. i was surprised with the results: 118 lbs and 21.2% body fat! in 6 weeks i had lost 6.5 lbs (8 lbs of fat lost, 1.5 lbs of muscle gained) and lost 4.5% body fat. i was thrilled, it only made me want to work harder towards my goals!

i became really into learning about foods, converting recipes into body for life approved ones and also really into learning a lot about exercising. i became the go-to girl for anything and everything body for life. it is so much fun to learn about something you are interested in!

at the end of the challenge my composition was tested once again, i ended at 113.9 lb and 16.8% body fat. i promise you this was the best shape i had ever been in my entire life. and not only did i look good, i felt AMAZING! i honestly was a different person inside and out.

here are my 12 week before and after photos:

my mom had similar results. her transformation blew me away! she was a real rock for me throughout my challenge and i know i would not have been able to do it without her right there with me.

our challenge ended in november, we took the holidays off from being strict although nothing crazy happened. come january 5th it was time for another challenge. we had a lot of friends hop on the body for life wagon because they too wanted to make a change. unfortunately my second challenge was not all i had hoped for. i ended up getting sick with bronchitis or a sinus infection about 5 times throughout the 12 weeks. i was not able to exercise and i ate WAY too much ice cream and drank way too much sprite. to top it all off, i went on a free trip to mexico on april 1 through april 8 (2009).

right now i am not as lean and mean as the “after” photos above. but i am also nowhere near the “before” photos. i am human, and i am also a young person in my 20s trying to enjoy life. i gained a little, lost a little, gained a little, lost a little. that’s how life is.. it has its ups and downs. but all i DO know for sure is that when i feel like i need to get my butt in gear and tone up or lean out, i turn to the body for life eating and exercise plan. it works.

as a side note, my mom did keep up her hard work throughout the months, and she is still sitting pretty at a slim 112 lbs. her muscles put other women’s bodies to shame. my mom is my hero, and i am using her motivation and example as my inspiration for ever and always. i love you momma b :)

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{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

Jim the body for life guy February 25, 2012 at 11:39 pm

What a great page! I started body for life in 2000 and followed it for many years with great success. The eating plan and the workout plan are excellent, well thought and they work for everyone. I loved the diet plan especially and all the great recipes in eating-for-life. If you haven’t checked out eating for life, do so, you will be hooked to the great recipe ideas.


Janetha February 25, 2012 at 11:55 pm

Eating for Life is a great cookbook, for sure. It’s collecting dust on my bookshelf and has been for a few years, I should bust it out again some day! Glad to hear you’ve had great BFL success!


tiah July 2, 2012 at 5:43 pm

WHo writes Eating FOr lIfe? Is there a SPECIFIC meal plan to follow? what about if someone follows the eating plan but not the workouts right now?


Janetha July 5, 2012 at 3:48 pm

Bill Phillips. I think that the eating is 75% of the program!


Amy March 29, 2012 at 2:55 pm

Hey, Janetha! I just started BFL on Monday! However, because of the blood clot I had in my leg recently, I’m having problems with my knee and can’t seem to do many of the leg exercises that require a lot of bending, leaving me with just the deadlifts. I’ve tried looking online for alternate quad/hamstring exercises, but can’t seem to find any that don’t require excessive bending of the knees. I’m sure it’s going to be hard to find replacement exercises, but I was wondering if you by chance had any recommendations??


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tiah July 2, 2012 at 5:41 pm

How much weight did you gain in those 8 weeks??

I have discovered that I’ve gained 30 lbs in only 2 months and I’m afraid I’m permanently ruined :(
(increased fat stores?? doomed to gain weight and fat easier as i age? )
My calves are SO chunky and thick and I’ve always been so lithe and petite :( I fear I”ve done permanent damage and so ashamed I want to hide under the bed.
I wish I had a metabolic rresearcher or fitness and body composition expert to talk to….to calm me down or something :(


Frank August 3, 2012 at 6:05 am

that is wild…I did the same thing some years back and I am sure that it was from my metabolism “clicking down” a notch or two. Of course you want the weight off of you, but try not to lose too fast. Depending on how much and where you gained, you can be left with a lot of loose skin. If the weight comes off slowly, your skin will tighten without a lot of damage


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Coley November 27, 2012 at 11:58 am

Okay Miss Janetha, I am going to give this Body For Life a go. Thanks for all the information and quick answers regarding BFL. You are a great inspiration! Have fun storming those GPP workouts! Wish I lived closer. :)


Janetha November 27, 2012 at 12:04 pm

YAY! let me know if you ever have questions!


caroline November 28, 2012 at 8:29 pm

Hey Janetha! I love you blog! The recipes and routines are fantastic! I’m getting ready to start BFl and wanted to ask you a few question.
1. Did you eat grains/bread as your carbs at all. Obviously they would be whole wheat, but I keep finding different info where some people do and other avoid it. What’s your experience? 2. Did you count your calories? I know BFL says not to worry about it, but I’m still skeptical and worry about eating to much…thanks so much. You’ve inspired me to try this and I’m so excited!!


Lisa B January 31, 2013 at 9:02 am

So i got the book and I read in less then two days. Super exited to get started. Two questions for you about your B4L experience. Did you do the program twice through? And did you incorporate the shakes as suggested in the book?


Hai February 13, 2013 at 5:47 am

I was recommended this blog by my cousin.
I’m not sure whether this post is written by him as no one else know such detailed about my problem. You are wonderful! Thanks!


Janetha February 13, 2013 at 10:41 am

Thanks for the comment, Hai!


Samantha February 13, 2013 at 8:59 pm

Did you by chance take any supplements while doing BFL? I’ve read that some did and some didn’t, but not sure what to do. Thanks


Janetha February 14, 2013 at 9:38 am

I did take some, but not consistently (bad habit of mine!)


ivania February 21, 2013 at 9:58 pm

Thank you so much for inspiring me to begin this CHALLENGE. I am determined to lose this stubborn weight that I have gained back since September. After doing a lot of reading on your blog and on the body for life website I decided to register today and begin on Saturday. I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I am. Thank you once again for inspiring me to begin a new healthy lifestyle.

I am a bit confused, though. How do I get the workout plans and eating plans?


Janetha February 21, 2013 at 10:01 pm

They’re in the book! Good luck!


ivania February 21, 2013 at 10:23 pm

THANK YOU! :) In HIS book or an e-book from the website?!


Janetha February 22, 2013 at 7:03 am

Yeah just in the book by Bill Phillips :)


Kristi McCain February 22, 2013 at 2:45 pm

I am planning to start this soon, your blog is so motivational and you look awesome! So for each meal, are you supposed to eat a serving of carbs, protein and healthy fat? What about vegetables – are those to be eaten with every meal? I love veggies, just don’t want to over eat, so wondering if veggies are unlimited?

Also, after a workout, is it best to drink a protein shake? Would you count this as a meal?



Janetha February 22, 2013 at 3:17 pm

Yep you would count it as a meal! And veggies I always did 2x a day. And yes, each meals is a protein, carb, fat combo of 40/40/20 ratio. The book explains it really well!


Alezandra Craig | Fitness Together Columbus April 9, 2013 at 1:04 pm

Hey Janetha,

You have a very inspirational story and I appreciate how open and honest you are about everything including your photos and the fact that you even shared your moms photos! Thanks for your work inspiring others to live healthier lifestyles.


Susan May 23, 2013 at 2:55 pm

Sorry if this is answered somewhere else and are having to answer again but what ab work did you do on top of BFL recommended exercises?



Janetha May 23, 2013 at 2:58 pm

I didn’t!


sara July 13, 2013 at 3:57 pm

Hi Janetha, your blog has inspired me to start BFL! I got the book and am starting tomorrow. I’ve read your entire blog in the last 2 weeks :)

The question I had was- What should I be looking for in food? Low sugar? Low fat? While I like structure/regimen to follow (I bought the EFL cookbook), I don’t want to restrict myself to just that cookbook.

I hope I’m making sense!


Janetha July 13, 2013 at 5:14 pm

You want to have 40% of your calories come from lean protein, 40% from healthy carb sources, and 20% from health fat sources. Good luck!


sara July 17, 2013 at 8:33 pm

Hi Janetha- I hope you don’t mind an additional question. I just did my UBWO for the first time today, and when I get to my 2nd exercise (the one where you do the initial 12/10/8/6/12, and then immediately move to the 2nd exercise), I notice that my muscles are really fatigued out by then. Should I be doing a lighter weight (I can most likely do 12 reps), or move to a higher weight and not be able to do 12 reps?


Janetha July 18, 2013 at 8:52 am

You want to be at a level 10, which means you are trying the very hardest you can try while A-not sacrificing form and B-getting all the reps in. So, yes, lighten up so you can get 12 reps.. but don’t make it too light :) Hope that makes sense. Keep up the good work!


Jam Ris February 9, 2014 at 11:31 pm


would you consider doing BFL again, while having your readers follow along and doing the BFL challenge with you? I know I would jump on board and it would be cool to see how many of your readers would also be interested.


Janetha February 10, 2014 at 9:29 pm

Hi! BFL was a very basic beginner program for me and I have since evolved from that. I now prefer GPP workouts. However, I eat the BFL way 80% of the time. I have for over five years!


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