(Note From Carolyn:  As you read this article, please note that the herbal detox product we share at CLICK HERE is a great favorite among both beginning and experienced weight lifters/professional athletes.)

In my article two weeks ago, I shared my own health needs regarding progressive osteoporosis and a life-long sugar addiction.  For my husband and children, for my future independence and theirs, I MUST do what I can.  It is not a luxury or an option.   It’s a simple truth but often difficult to embrace: The state of our own health plays a big role in how life proceeds, not just for each of us personally, but for our loved ones.

I have seriously been addressing both challenges since October of last year. It feels so good to be proactive!  When I reported to my doctor in November that I was enjoying a moderate weight training program with hand weights and ready to rev it up, she said, Go for it!  Weight lifting, at whatever level you can safely do, puts 
stress on your bones, which increases bone density. It also strengthens the muscles and builds agility, a critical preventative measure for falls.”   (Falls are scary for all, but especially for those of us with osteoporosis.)

Over the holidays, a weight management book with an emphasis on strength training and weight lifting resurfaced on the basement shelves. If you struggle with your weight, you probably have a copy too!  Body For Life” by Bill Phillips was headline news when it was published in 1999.  Cover to cover “before and after pictures” of middle-aged people in swim suits revealing soft flabby bodies who have become visibly toned and trimmed in 3-months say at least a thousand words.  The chapters and the program itself are interesting and easy to follow

 As impressive as their improved health and bodies are, however, for me the biggest transformation is the sparkle in their faces and the light in their eyes. Those featured shared that their overall lives had improved as much as their bodies! One after the other reports “more energy, more patience with my kids, enjoying my work more, becoming a better student, ready to take on other scary changes, new self-confidence, etc..”  The stories and the pictures in both the book, then continuing on right up to the present are at the official website.  

Fifteen Years Later

Body For Life, 12 Weeks to Mental and Physical Strength climbed the New York Times bestseller list in 1999 and stayed there for seven years. More than four million copies were sold, and it was translated into 20 languages. In 2003, USA Today listed it as one of the top all-time fitness books.  Now, fifteen years later there are thousands who have completed the challenge program. 

I was personally not up to the 12-week challenge back in 1999 being in a fairly OK place with my weight and health then (through Weight Watchers) and through the years since.  I read it with great interest, but not ready or in a position to commit.  The book made its way to the basement, where it has sat for many years.  At this time, however, with both the osteoporosis knocking on my door and a huge step forward with being free of sugar, I felt ready to take on another level, and that old book suddenly surfaced!  That phrase, when the student is ready, the teacher appears,” has never been more true. Through prayer and study, I know that I am ready to take on the 12 weeks.  I’ve been doing a preliminary trial run with increased exercise and loosely following the plan.  

Body For Life 12 Principles.  My Challenge Starts Today!

My start date, along with my daughter, is Monday, February 10, 2014.  I’ll be blogging every day at beat-sugar-cravings.com.  The plan is simple: 

1) Eat 6 times a day, every 2-3 hours (is there a problem here???? Not for me!) With one FREE day each week
2) Weight train intensely, no more than 46 minutes, 3 times per week
3) Do 20 minutes of high-intensity cardio 3 times per week
4) Plan and record each week
5) Practice the Universal Law of Reciprocation by giving unselfishly daily in small ways

For me, the main focus is BUILDILNG THOSE BONES, increasing my muscle strength and overall agility.   I also look forward to the great stress relief that I experience with weights and aerobics, and the exciting (read FUN) challenge of doing it with my daughter, a 20 year old student at BYU-I.  Of course, if I tone up and lose some inches and a few pounds, I’m not going to cry!  Do you have to continue after the 12 weeks?  Of course not, but the theory is that after 12 weeks, the journey, the improvements and the habits you’ve developed, you’ll be in a better position for life.

So! What can strength training do for you, at any age, but especially as we get older?  

The Mayo Clinic says we’ll get stronger, leaner and healthier with weight training. It is an important part of an overall fitness program. Despite its reputation as a “guy” or “jock” thing, strength training is a key component of overall health and fitness for everyone. 

Use It Or Lose It!

Muscle mass naturally diminishes with age. “If you don’t do anything to replace the lean muscle you lose, you’ll increase the percentage of fat in your body,” says Edward R. Laskowski, M.D., a physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn., and co-director of the Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine Center. “But strength training can help you preserve and enhance your muscle mass – at any age.”

Strength training also helps you:

  • Develop strong bones.
  • Control your weight.
  • Boost your stamina.
  • Manage chronic conditions.
  • Sharpen your focus.

Strength training can be done at home or in the gym. Common choices include:

  • Body weight.
  • Resistance tubing.
  • Free weights.
  • Weight machines.

I will be working out at home with a weight machine that is new for this 84 day challenge.  At this time my aerobics activity of choice is stomping, jumping and jogging on a mini-tramp.  (The stomping is excellent for building muscle and bone strength in the hips, a common source for serious breaks for those with osteoporosis.

I’m excited, and if I’ve piqued your interest, I hope you’ll get to the library, Amazon or the website itself:

www.BodyForLife.com.  If you are serious about learning more, the book that follows the original “Body for Life” is equally, or even more helpful and is called “Champions Body For Life” which features pictures, histories, motivation and tips from the Body For Life Champions and Challengers during the first ten years of the program.


  It is fascinating and fun.

What will the next 84 days bring  I’ll keep you posted! You may even want to start your own challenge!

  In the meantime, here are some great ways to enjoy oatmeal, one of life’s great tasty grains – especially in winter!

1)  Maple Walnut:  Add sugar-free pancake syrup and a few chopped walnuts

2)  Apple Cinnamon:  Add chopped apple, or unsweetened applesauce, sprinkle with cinnamon and a dash of your preferred no-cal sweetener.  (We love Truvia, available at Costco)

3)  Butter Pecan  Add a little dash of butter flavor spray or Butter Buds, and chopped pecans

4)  Toasted Coconut. Toast a small amount of flaked coconut in the toaster oven.  (We lightly spray a piece of aluminum foil with no-cal cooking spray, sprinkle the coconut in a thin layer and place under the broiler.  WATCH IT CAREFULLY as once it starts toasting, it burns easily.)

5)  Pumpkin-Apple:  Add a big scoop of canned pumpkin and some chopped apple, along with some cinnamon and a dash of sweetener.

You can follow my postings, starting today at www.beat-sugar-cravings.blogspot.com

As always, I’ll be drinking my herbal detox available at my website, CLICK HERE

Carolyn Allen is the Author of 60 Seconds to Weight Loss Success – One Minute Inspirations to Change Your Thinking, Your Weight and Your Life, available at her website.

She has been providing mental and spiritual approaches for weight loss success both online and in the Washington, DC community since 1999 presenting for Weight Watchers, First Class, Fairfax County Adult Education and other community groups.

She and her husband Bob are the parents of five children and grandparents of eight. They live in the Washington D.C. area where they are delighted to teach Missionary Preparation for the Annandale Stake CES Institute program. 

Learn more about them and the herbal detox product they share at Meridian! CLICK HERE