From Larda** to Gym Rat in Less Than 90 Days | February 2007


A lack of inspiration, as well as a looming deadline, have inspired me to write an update this time on my progress on the Body for Life program (I first wrote about Body for Life shortly after I began doing it; see “Twit For Life,” our November, 2006 column). Of course, if you’ve been reading The Humorless Twit for some time, you could argue that a lack of inspiration (and imagination, for that matter) is what has been driving this column since it began.

The Body for Life program officially lasts 12 weeks, although if you truly want a “Body for Life,” you should continue the program beyond this initial phase (I am, but… I’ll explain shortly). I’m happy to announce that as of the completion of my first 12 weeks on Body for Life, I’ve lost 31 pounds, mostly fat (no, I did NOT use a guillotine, either) and about eight inches from my waist.

The most amazing thing is I did it through Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve/Day.

I still have a ways to go, though, so I’ve “started” over. My completion of the first 12 weeks and beginning of the next 12 weeks coincided quite nicely with the beginning of the new year.

Unfortunately, it also coincided not quite so nicely with a bad cold. So I’ve been off to a rough start for my second Body for Life program. But despite the illness, I’ve managed to get in at least some work outs, and I’ve stuck to the diet portion of the program.

It’s easy to lose inspiration when you’re on a weight loss program and you get ill or injured. I know, it’s happened to me a number of times before.

But this time, the incredible results I’ve gotten with Body for Life have become my inspiration. For example, I like the feeling of having muscles I can actually see for once in my life.

Anyone who has ever dieted can also agree with me that one of the best aspects of dieting is fitting into smaller clothes. I always like to tell people that if I’m forced to spend money on clothes due to a change in weight, the expenditure seems to hurt a lot less when it’s due to weight loss.

Of course, I still believe I could stand to lose another 60 pounds or so, although I should mention that because weight training is a major part of this program and it increases muscle size–and muscles weigh more than fat–I might not need to lose that much weight to get to a good size. Additionally, I’ve learned to dress in a way that hides my belly, so people who see me now tell me I don’t need to lose any more weight. They stare at me dumbfounded when I tell them how much more weight I’d like to lose.

One such person blurted out, “Frank, are you turning into an anorectic?”

After I composed myself from a 15-minute fit of laughter, I replied “I’m in NO danger of becoming anorectic. I love food WAAAAY too much for that!”

In fact, one of the better points of Body for Life is that you get to eat six times a day (granted, healthy food only), but you even get one cheat day every week. The cheat day is included by design and you can eat whatever you want that day: ice cream, cake, chocolate, pizza, hot dogs, steaks, burgers, whatever. And believe you me, I eat WHATEVER I want that day.

Shortly after I began Body for Life, I went to a Miami Dolphins game with my father and brother-in-law. It was my cheat day, so I had some homemade potato chips. I turned to my brother-in-law and joked, “Hey, I’m on a diet. Can’t you tell?”

He responded sarcastically, “Oh yeah, I can see that.”

Fast forward to Christmas Day. I was at his and my step-sister’s home and he said “Man, you’ve lost a lot of weight!”

I replied, “Yeah, it’s from eating all those potato chips at the Dolphins’ games,” and he laughed.

A lot of people–co-workers, friends, family–have asked me how I could lose weight while eating foods like pizza and ice cream. I remind them it’s only one day a week where I eat such foods, and that my program is one where diet and exercise work together to speed up your metabolism.

We get told from childhood that in order to lose weight we must simply eat less and exercise more. Unfortunately, the human body has evolved over time to deal with periods where we eat less food (famine) by slowing down the metabolism and slowing down the rate at which the fat stored on our bodies is burned.

I learned this the hard way when as a young adult, doctors would put me on a low-fat, low-calorie diet in order to lose weight. I’d be okay for a few weeks, but eventually I’d feel extremely hungry all the time, which made me irritable. Then I’d reach a point where no matter how little I ate, I’d lose almost no weight. To describe this as “frustrating” is like describing the Atlantic Ocean as “a little damp.”

Since then I’ve learned a lot about proteins, carbohydrates, fats, and exercise, thanks to the Atkins diet, the “Zone” diet, Body for Life, and other diet and/or exercise programs. More importantly, I’ve learned quite a bit about what works and doesn’t work for me.

And so, right now, I’m happy with Body for Life. If you made losing weight or getting into shape a resolution for this year, I’d suggest you take time to figure out what combination of diet and exercise works best for you. You may turn out to be very sensitive to carbohydrates, as I am. Or you might not. Learn about your own body and then Speak to your doctor. And best of luck!