Saturday, January 24, 2009

Success Story ~ Susan Lucy

My name is Susan Lucy and I am a 41 year old stay-at-home mother of 3 children, ages 10, 8, and 6. I have been married for 13 years and live in a suburb outside of Boston, Massachusetts. This is my story.

For the better part of my adult life I have obsessed about my body image. I grew up active and never had to watch what I ate. When I went to college, I gained the freshman 15 (which was more like 25) and spent the next 5 years punishing myself horribly about how I looked. I became bulimic and spent most of my waking hours thinking about what I ate, should eat, making myself sick or exercising like crazy. I truly hated myself. I tried every diet and gimmick in the book and got more depressed each time I failed. I wasted so much time obsessing during those years. Time I should have spent enjoying my 20's and living life. Time I can't get back. When you're 41, that time seems so much more precious.
After college, I began a career and was able to stop my eating disorder thanks to some wonderful support. I exercised regularly but was a "cardio queen”, I lost most of the weight I had put on in college but I still obsessed about how I looked for many years to come – through getting married, having 3 kids in 3 years (talk about body image issues) and leaving my career to stay home with my children.

After my youngest child was born in 2002, I got more serious about getting fit, again by doing mostly cardio and not much weight training. I worked out consistently, mostly to compensate for my bad eating habits. I still had many issues with food and I would get so angry with myself for “going off my diet” or eating “forbidden foods”.

In 2004, my husband got me a gift of personal training for Christmas. While I was working with the trainer, I did awesome. I gained some upper body strength, which is what I had wanted for a long time. Around the same time, I also got my certification to be a spinning instructor and started teaching at a local gym. I ultimately had to stop the personal training because of the financial burden. Once again, I found it difficult to continue with my program. I no longer had a plan and so I would usually go back to my comfort zone and just do cardio.

Last summer, I was sitting up one night and saw the infomercial for P90X. I was very intrigued but very reluctant to buy it. First of all, I never was successful working out at home. I am a hardcore gym rat. Second of all, I had purchased so many gimmicks and gadgets in the past, I didn’t want to be let down again. If it said, “as seen on TV”, I owned it. But the next time I saw the infomercial, something grabbed my attention. There didn’t seem to be any gimmicks just hard work and some discipline. I still didn’t purchase it. Could I do this for 90 days? Would I fail again? What ultimately convinced me to buy it was, I wanted to get some upper body strength and this seemed simple – push-ups and pull-ups were core exercises. Little did I know how humbling it would be to try to do a pull-up? Frankly, I never really thought about the nutrition aspect of the program but soon realized how important good nutrition was to be successful on this program. When I got my P90X, I was very overwhelmed. It seemed so “extreme”. I didn’t even want to take my measurements initially, but I did, because I think part of me was convinced I was going to fail again. I had my daughter take Day 1 pictures and I started on September 1, 2007.

I thought I was in pretty good shape before I started but I got my butt kicked pretty badly that first week. I did great with the cardio as a result of my spinning, but the weight training, primarily the push-ups and pull-ups were so hard. I couldn’t even do one pull-up. I kept thinking “What have I gotten myself into? I can’t do this”. On the DVD, you kept mentioning the MBB community and the message boards so one night I checked them out. I had never heard of a thread, or posted anything on the internet. I lurked for many days, so intrigued how people could share all this personal stuff about themselves to complete strangers. The funny thing is, they did not seem like strangers to one another. They were helping with nutrition and workouts and well, with just about everything. One day I posted and I never stopped. I can say with absolute certainty, that I would not have made it through the 90 days had it not been for the message boards.

It was around day 45 that it all clicked for me. I felt myself getting stronger and instead of obsessing about what food I had put in my body, I was thinking "What do I need to consume to fuel my body for my next workout?" I was stronger but not just on the outside. I had more confidence and felt better because my eating was cleaner. I had hated myself for so many years; it was refreshing to be proud of my efforts. I even posted my progress pictures on the message boards. I would have never had done that in the past. People in my spin classes started telling me that my classes were better than they had ever been.

P90X has taught me how to work out properly and efficiently. Every day when I get up, I have a plan on what I am going to do. I do most of my weight workouts at home but I am at the gym a lot for my classes so I also weight train there. I even have a nutrition plan that I follow, most of the time. Because of my past, I will always struggle with eating issues, but they don’t control me any longer. If I do eat something unclean, I am learning to let it go, get up the next day and move on. I am a totally changed person. Mentally, I am more confident and physically I am stronger than I could ever imagine. One year later, I am still using P90X as my primary workout, although I have integrated TMT and ChaLean Extreme as well. My spinning instructing is better than ever; and I am a better parent and spouse because I am now happy with the person I am.

I am constantly asked how I achieved my results. Because I work in a gym, people expect me to say that I spent all this money on a trainer etc. When I tell them it's from a set of DVD's I bought from an informercial, well most of them are speechless.

I have two daughters, one of which is entering puberty soon. I hope they never have to go through the struggles with weight and body image I did as a young adult. It is truly self-destructing. Society puts so much pressure on girls to look a certain way and I want my daughters to be confident, fit young women. I am doing my best to be a good role model for them, and my son. They know how important fitness and healthy eating is in my life. If they take and use that knowledge as they grow up, and become fit confident young adults, then I will be even more of a success story.

I recently became a coach and hope to be able to help others with their fitness goals as others here at BB have helped me. Thank you Tony and Beachbody for helping me change my life!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Abundance Diet

Missy Costello prepares food for me every week. She is the reason why I'm healthier than ever. She makes it, I eat it. Whole fresh foods prepared right in my kitchen. This gal knows her stuff. This is a piece she wrote for her blog and I'm passing it along to you.

Enjoy the Knowledge!

If you are a living, breathing human being, then chances are you’ve been on a diet once, twice or maybe multiple times in your life. The word diet, as described in Webster’s dictionary means; “fare; what is eaten or drunk habitually”. If you think about it, this means any food that we eat on a daily basis. So, according to Webster, we are on a diet every day of our life, just by eating habitually. Unfortunately in today’s times, the word diet has been described as a way to lose weight. It almost has a negative connotation to it. When most people hear the word diet, they think “lack, or deprivation”, which is usually true. But

Human beings are as different from one another as any snowflake that falls from the sky. There are no two of us alike, anywhere in the world. We all have our own distinct genetic make up, we differ in the way our body burns calories, absorbs nutrients and so on. Most of these diets are based on some sort of deprivation and are very unbalanced. The abundance diet is just the opposite.

If you want to lose excess pounds, maintain a healthy and fit body weight, burn calories, feel good inside and out and keep away disease and illness, then you will need to adapt a whole foods eating lifestyle. Or as I like to call it, the Abundance Diet! A whole food eating lifestyle is a way of eating where you do not deprive yourself. This way of eating allows you to have an abundance of whole foods; veggies, leafy greens, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, lean proteins and healthy fats. You can eat as much as you want, as long as you are eating a whole foods diet, without gaining weight. You will actually even drop weight.

Of course, as with any change in your eating habits, you will want to take baby steps, so that you do not set yourself up for failure. Below are some simple steps you can take to help change your eating habits for lasting results.

1. Adapt the 80/20 Rule: Eat a whole foods healthy diet 80% of the time and allow yourself to splurge the other 20% of the time. This allows the mind to believe that it is not deprived. Sounds pretty abundant to me!

2. Upgrade one food per week: switch out white rice for brown rice, white flour for whole grain flour, white sugar for natural sweeteners such as honey or brown rice syrup.

3. Cut out one processed food/drink per week: give up your twinkies, this week, and see how you feel. Cut out your diet soda…just for a week. YOU CAN decide after one week if you want to continue to drink this over processed, chemical ridden beverage or if you want to be committed to your health. (for more on the effects of artificial sweeteners visit

4. Add one new whole food per week: if you’ve never had kale before, give it a try. Eat something you’ve never thought of eating. Having trouble knowing how to prepare it? Just email me or go online for tasty recipes at

5. Have a piece of fruit and a handful of nuts for a snack instead of those greasy, salty chips. The fiber in fruit, and the protein & fat in the nuts will help to keep you feeling full longer and will regulate your blood sugar.

6. Drink plenty of water: forego that afternoon soda and have water instead. . Drinking plenty of water keeps our appetite at bay and our body well hydrated. Sometimes we may mistake thirst for hunger. Drink an 8-oz glass of water and see how you feel after 15 minutes.

7. Cut back on caffeine: if you drink coffee, try cutting back by drinking half decaf with half regular. Or switch to heart healthy green tea! But remember, for every cup of caffeine you drink, you will need to drink extra water to hydrate!

These are just a few ideas for ways you can begin to eat healthy and abundantly. Once you start to make changes and adapt this healthy whole foods lifestyle, your cravings will subside and your body will no longer want the junk food. This will result in a natural weight loss, clearer skin, better digestion, less mood swings and so on. The list of benefits is endless.

Remember, allow yourself that 20% cushion so that you wont’ binge. Reward yourself with a treat after dinner, or an afternoon snack. Also be mindful that the healthier you eat, the healthier you will be, feel & look. We all know that old adage, “you are what you eat”. So adopt this as your new Mantra because it is the biggest truth that has ever been told!!!”

For a complete list of whole foods in the Abundance “Diet’, contact Missy at or visit her web site at

Saturday, January 03, 2009

You Are Going To Die!

The title of this blog is much more than a means to grab your attention. With the start of a new year it's typical for many people to establish new disciplines (temporarily), but the new year is also a reminder that time is flying at light speed, literally. With every passing nanosecond we all get a little closer to death. You know, that thing that happens to everyone. Your final day on earth, rigermortous sets in, the end. It seems to me that quite a lot of people meander through life as if death isn't coming. We act as if we have all the time in the world. We wait, hesitate, procrastinate and blow-off life altering opportunities all the time. Our goals, ideas and aspirations are put on hold for some ideal moment in the distant future. We dillydally and waist our precious time on a mishmash of nonsensical meaningless crap that consumes years of our lives. Why and for what? Most often it's because we're scared. Scared to live at our full potential. Why take the risk when you think we're going to live forever? I'm here to tell you that your life on this earth is precious and shorter than you think. Turning 50 this year proved that to me. I swear it feels like I was in high school ten minutes ago. Turns out that was over 30 years ago! As we get older change can become more daunting with every passing day. You don't have to be at midlife for this to be true. Teenagers get just as stuck as people in their 50s and 60s. I've seen people give up and thrown in the towel at all ages. We've all been an eyewitness to the tragedies of misguided lives. The hope and optimism of childhood gives way to despair and disappointment with one bad experience after another. It's the saddest thing in the world. Maybe you know what I'm talking about.

Is there hope for the fallen? Can we turn it around after years of wasting time, procrastinating, plenty of hardship and waiting for the right moment that never comes? Hell yes! The good news is that you can have the life you dreamed of as a kid without meds and therapy. Step one is moving. Turns out that it doesn't really matter how you move. What matters is that you do. Step two involves eating healthy food. Whole food that feeds the body, spirit and especially the mind. The garbage this country eats most of the time is killing us. Junk food and fast food (AKA food porn) does NOT fuel our desire to grow, learn and change. It keeps us in a state of flux and despair. If you have problems, procrastinate and feel stuck in general, odds are you're overweight, out of shape and eat junk. The deck is stacked against you if you're overweight and out of shape. Your brain can't function to solve problems properly if your feeding your mouth tons of sugar and grease. If you like a life of quite desperation then continue to spend endless hours sitting and laying around. If procrastination, sadness, depression, low self esteem and a state of malaise fits your lifestyle then continue to eat candy, cupcakes, high fructose corn syrup, fried food, saturated fats, soda pop, processed carbs, hot dogs and tons of cheese on your pepperoni pizza. Nobody gets away with making lame choices in this world. Sooner or later (turns out later comes sooner than you thought) your bad behavior will ruin your life.

Good behavior can and will save your life. Good behavior will give you the opportunity to turn misery into joy and happiness. In the end it's joy and happiness we seek. Authentic joy and happiness comes from treating ourselves and others with respect and civility. Adult toys (cars, homes, jewelry, etc), prestige, money and looks are usually a means to short term pleasures. These things feed the ego. The ego isn't real. It's your desire to create a false you to present to the world. Nothing but smoke and mirrors to make you feel better than someone else. Yuck! What is good behavior? You know exactly what it is by now. It's a matter of whether you want to practice it consistently or not. The more disciplined you are the less problems you'll have. Honestly! For real! Life will still come at you at a million miles an hour and the issues in your life will still exist, but when you exercise and eat right you create the brain chemistry of a person who can deal with issues, problems and challenges productively and happily. Other variables like proper sleep and stress management skills play a roll as well, but the foundation of "the good life" comes from the two things that make you a joyous happy human being. Exercise and healthy food. Period. The clock is ticking and your death is inevitable, so while your here why not take the first steps toward a better life. Get off the fence, ask for help, start moving, eat your veggies, enjoy the journey, enjoy the power of right now, push play and experience the life you desire and deserve.