Sometimes people have unsuccessfully tried many, many weight loss methods. You must watch this video to see an extreme example of Farah, a 32 year old stay-at-home-mom who has tried EVERYTHING for fat loss:
Here are some pictures that she sent:
So can I help her?
In December of 2008, this 32 year old stay-at-home mom signed up for training (through my online training website Pacific Elite Fitness). Within 48 hours after she had signed up, I had collected a series of online questionnaires about her health and exercise history, conducted a video conference between me in Spokane, Washington and her in San Diego, California, and sent her the first set of exercise and dietary recommendations.
Here's the first video she sent back:
FARAH'S ONLINE PERSONAL TRAINING AND NUTRITION PROGRAM UPDATE #1:
I wrote back immediately, giving her an alternative exercise to the bridge. It turns out, she was attempting an advanced version of the bridge!
FARAH'S ONLINE PERSONAL TRAINING AND NUTRITION PROGRAM UPDATE #2:
2 Weeks Into the Program
Weight: 223.7 (Starting Weight: 225)
Two weeks into the program, we had a Q&A discussion about the nutrition and meal plan.
During this Q&A, I answer her questions, including:
1. Was I eating too much, too little, just the wrong foods?
2. Is this diet tailored to me? Why these foods?
3. How can I include my family in this diet without making separate meals or
feeding them foods they won't eat?
4. There are some foods that I can't eat that I
might have forgotten: pork, celery, walnuts, lamb and tuna. Are there
alternatives to these food items?
5. Should I limit egg at breakfast to a couple times a week?
6. When am I allowed to increase those portions?
7. Was the smoothie recipe included?
8. How should I go about adding the 2-3 T coconut oil at breakfast?
9. How should I eat a sweet potato or yam for a snack? Cooked? Uncooked?
10. Can I eat a different kind of bar? Greenfoods or organic food bars?
11. Do I still need to eat a post workout snack on walking days?
12. Is there any time I can have coffee?
13. What can I add to rice to make it more flavorful?
14. Why should I avoid dairy when I am not allergic to dairy?
15. What are natural fruit sugars and how do I use them?
16. Can I use butter on my toast or something to make it not so dry?
17. If I have to take the supplements before a meal, when should I do that
and still get snacks in?
18. Do I have to eat at any specific times? Do I have to eat snacks even when I am not hungry?
19. When can I cheat? Do I get any free days? How should I eat for the holidays? Would I be able to have a treat now and again? If so, are there any rules to cheating?
20. Finally, what can I expect my life to look like at the end of all this? Will I be on this type of diet forever? Will I always have to exercise this way?
4 Weeks Into the Program
Weight: 222.2 (Starting Weight: 225)
8 Weeks Into the Program
Weight: 219.4 (Starting Weight: 225)
At 8 weeks into the program, Ben and Farah decided to begin taking measurements to assess actual changes in Farah's body size. Here are the 01/19/09 results:
Hips – 52.5
Biceps – 16
Calf – 19
At this same time, Farah decided that she would have the time to do a little extra cardio, in order to achieve a greater caloric deficit on several days of the week. Based on this, she will actually begin incorporating a July 4th 5K training program into her routine three days of the week!
8 weeks into the program, Farah's weight increased by one pound. She wrote to Ben very discouraged and ready to quit. Here is Ben's response.
I feel bad for you because our society is throwing lie after lie in your direction that says you should melt away fat every week and be ultra-thin within just a few months of starting a program.
You are 8 weeks into a program that I anticipate will take you 2 years to complete. In other words, just 7% into a journey, you are tempted to sit down and quit. This isn't necessarily your fault, because I think you've been conditioned to see the signals of stagnation, generate fear, and drop-out.
I must say that I understand your struggle because I see it day after day, and a long, slow journey to reach a goal is something that I am not foreign to. I trained for 5 years to be able to complete an Ironman triathlon. Do you think I felt discouraged after 8 weeks? Absolutely. It was a daunting task. How do you think I felt after 1 year? But now, having done it, I look back and the time spent day after day after day was well worth the goal achieved.
If you are indeed leptin resistant (indicating that you have poor appetite control) and you do indeed have food allergies (which we know you do), then yes, cheating can make a big difference. What it comes down to is that you simply cannot get away with what some other people can. The question is, are you going to let that destroy your objectives, or are you going to let it inspire to prove to the world, to your friends, and to yourself that you actually can succeed in the face of these obstacles? How is your husband quantifying significant results? And how is that type of negative talk going to help you?
Farah, I need to be honest with you. The metabolic testing is a “drop in the bucket” in your program. There is nothing magic that it will achieve for you. It will help burn a few extra calories and give a little more insight into your program, but ultimately what it comes down to is that you HAVE to exercise every day and you HAVE to stick with your nutrition and there is nothing that is going to replace hard work. Nothing. If you are serious about achieving this goal, you are going to have to work hard. You are going to have to sweat. You are going to have to do it every day.
On Tuesday, I climbed a volcano in Chile. When I stood at the bottom, I felt like a tiny ant. When I started to climb, and it felt like 2 hours had passed, and I looked at my watch, it had been 20 minutes. Hundreds and thousands of steps later, we stopped, and I asked the guide how far along we were, and he said “not halfway yet”. The top just never came. I wanted to give up on countless occasions because we just never got there.
But do you know what happened at the top?
I stood, seeing hundreds of miles of South America all around me, 8000 feet above where I had started, up in the clouds, and I completely forgot the journey up. It was nothing. I would have walked back down the entire mountain and done it again. The fantastic feeling at the top completely dwarfed the difficulty of the journey getting there.
Farah, you're at the bottom of the mountain. Your friends, the ads, your thoughts are telling you to get back in the car and drive home. It's your choice if you want to keep taking those tiny steps to the top. Close your eyes. Can you see yourself at the top of the mountain?
Farah stuck with it, and a couple weeks later was down another 2.4 pounds to 217! Shortly after, Ben and Farah had another video conference.
10 Weeks Into the Program
Weight: 211 (Starting Weight: 225)
March 23 Update:
Weight – 210.4 (Starting Weight: 225)
Hips – 50 (down 2.5 inches!)
Biceps – 15.5
Calf – 18.5
Thigh – 31
April 12 Update:
This week, Ben made several changes to Farah's program – most significantly changing her weightlifting routine to allow a better hormonal fat loss adaptation and leave Farah less “breathless” while training. She will continue with 30 minutes of cardiovascular work at least 5 days per week outside of her weightlifting workouts.
Weight – 208.2 (Starting Weight: 225)
Hips – 49
Biceps – 16
Calf – 18.5
Thigh – 31
May 17 Update:
Farah and Ben worked through the following questions from an e-mail that Farah sent:
“I went over your email with my husband. Since I can’t seem to make good choices all the time, and today we cleaned the house of all the foods I can’t eat. Now that all his and the kid’s offensive foods are out of the house, we have no alternatives for some things he wants to eat. Here are the foods that he would like to have on hand to make. We already found alternatives for some of these things in your recipes, but some he and I had questions about whether you had healthy recipes for any of the following that are EASY to cook. Maybe some of these won’t be possible to keep in our diet, but we are asking anyway.”
a. We think we found an alternative for mashed potatoes (blended cauliflower). Is that ok to cook? If so, do you have a healthy recipe for this so that doesn’t have to use a lot of milk or butter?
b. Spaghetti and meatballs (probably not a possibility, but I told him I would ask)
c. Burritos (you have black beans burritos, but he wants some with meat and I don’t think I am allowed tortillas right?)
d. Hot dogs/Bratwurst – I have been buying the kids uncured, all natural, no preservative hot dogs in either buffalo or beef. Is that something I would also be able to eat at all?)
e. Chicken Nuggets
f. Is any long grain rice good, like Jasmine, brown or Mahatma or can it only be wild rice. Am I only allowed rice/starch/breads if I work out within two hours of eating them?
g. Taco Salad
j. Mediterranean lunch – pickled garlic, sheep cheese, bread and olive oil, uncured salami, green olives
k. Egg or Tuna Salad Sandwiches
l. Chips and Salsa
m. Roast and Potatoes or Stew
o. Ranch, Honey Mustard or Poppy seed Dressing (We really didn’t like the creamy romaine dressing
Ben sent Farah a comprehensive response, with recipe links, meals and substitutes for all of her questions. Sometimes fat-loss style eating can be difficult, especially when you have kids, a busy social life and a hungry family!
During the first month of July, Farah developed a plateau in weight, despite perfect exercise and nutrition. Ben and Farah decided to try a new approach, with the incorporation of a special fat loss drug called “HcG”. Ben explained Farah's situation in the free audio Podcast Episode #50, which you can listen to by clicking here.
Using this program, at the end July 2009, Farah officially broke the 200 mark! Watch this video to see what she thinks…
August 12 update:
Farah has finished her 40 day HCG diet protocol, supervised by Ben Greenfield. Here are the changes in her measurements:
Starting Weight: 216.6
Ending Weight: 191.2
That's an average of 0.7 pounds a day during the 40 days! Have you ever experienced that amount of weight loss?
Arm: 14.5 (down from 16!)
Waist: 37.5 (down from 39.5!)
Hips: 47 (down from 49!)
Thigh: 29.5 (down from 31!)
Calf: 17.75 (down from 18.5!)
November 1 update:
Farah is still loosing weight! Here are the changes in her measurements:
Starting Weight: 216.6
Ending Weight: 189
Want to find out what happens? Is there any chance she can shed 95 pounds of fat, especially with everything she has already tried? Would you like to stay tuned to this story?
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