Body for LIFE Tracker
Success Stories
Great results are their own reward!
Profile of the Month: Julie Whitt - See Profile
Duration: 6 Challenges (More than a year)
Weight Lost: 40 lbs
Body fat % Lost: 22.4%
Progress Photos
Julie went from
To This

Julie in her own words:

"I’ve been living the Body-For-LIFE / Eating-For-LIFE way of life for a year. At age 19, I had lymphoma and the treatments nearly destroyed my lungs. I developed interstitial lung disease, a permanent condition. Through the years I’ve been plagued with seriously lung infections, the last one culminating in pneumonia. I was on life-support and in a coma for weeks and it took months to rehabilitate. I have 25% of the lung capacity that I need, or in other words, half of a lung! Body for Life was my pathway out of the destruction. Last year I was alive, but this year I’m living!

When I began my first challenge, I was in such bad shape, I had to wear oxygen to do the least little thing. The first challenge changed my life forever and in 12 weeks I only needed supplemental oxygen with intense exercise. By my second challenge, I was doing well and my feeding tube was removed. Unfortunately, I stayed sick with bronchitis throughout the challenge. I even got thrown in the ICU for a day, but I made that free day, and never missed a workout until…the dreaded lung contusion in March. I was bench pressing at home and my bench malfunctioned and I instantly went from flat to decline and was thrown backwards onto a set of dumbbells. At the time, I thought, “I’m ok” and I even finished the workout. Three days later I was in the hospital in screaming pain, coughing up blood. This was the lowest point of my entire life. Here I was, trying to improve my situation, and I got hurt in the process. I had to start wearing oxygen again 24 hours a day.

Still recovering from the contusion, I started my third challenge doing what I call “turtle” cardio and “weightless” strength training. I soon graduated to rolls of coins and then back to dumbbells. After six weeks or so, I had gotten myself back to where I was before the contusion and just used oxygen for exercise. During this time, I found out that I had won the inspirational category of the EAS Jump-Start! Only God understands just how much that meant to me. During Challenge Three I endured a week of tests at Duke University Medical Center to be evaluated for lung transplant. I was hoping I would improve so much that I wouldn’t need it. During the heart catheterization, they found that my right coronary artery had collapsed from radiation damage. They did emergency surgery that day to correct it.

On to Challenge Four! A few weeks later I get “the call”. Not only was I listed for double-lung transplant, but heart transplant as well. It appears that I’m developing radiation-induced coronary artery disease. This just devastated me until…I changed my thinking. A year ago, I couldn’t even be considered for transplant. Now I’m able to pass the exercise and other requirements to be considered.

During Challenge Five, I spent two days in the hospital with chest pain and had another heart catheterization. Everything turned out to be fine and I continued with the program.

During Challenge Six, Porter Freeman came to town and crowned me the EAS Inspirational Grand Champion for 2004! To God be the glory! I don't know what the future holds for me, but the Body-for-Life lifestyle will be the one constant I can count on. I want to spend the rest of my life helping and inspiring others."

Q: Why did you decide to commit yourself to a 12-week+ transformation?

A: I had been so sick for so long.  I just thought that life had to be better than this.  I read the Body-for-Life book and at that moment, I said to myself, "I've had enough.  I've got to make a change."  I decided then and there that I would work myself out of this hole or die trying.  The day my latest case of bronchitis cleared up, I started my first challenge. 

Q: Were there times you came close to quitting and if so what did you do to keep yourself going?

A: No, I have never even considered quitting.  No matter what has happened (and a lot has happened) I always come back and give it another try.  I feel fortunate in a way that I don't have to rely on motivation to keep going.  My mortality keeps me going, because quite simply, if I quit working on this body, it will soon decay and my life is over.  I have no choice but to do this.  (If you think about it, that rings true for all of us, but my mortality is breathing down my neck!) 

Q: What was the hardest thing to overcome during this time?

A: The hardest thing to overcome has been my lung disease, which got me in this shape to begin with.  With only 25% capacity coming from a diseased lung, each day is a challenge.  When an infection gets in that lung, it takes me down quick.  I've had to work hard to stay well and even harder to get well from lung infections.

Q: What helped you get through this change in lifestyle the most?

A: First and foremost, God gets me through each breath of life.  The community of people on the Body for Life Guestbook have kept me going.  We all write in and support each other.  I've made great friends there.  That has also given me accountability.  I've made a public declaration of my intent and people out there are counting on me to follow through.  When I mess up, I not only let myself down, I let the group down.  If I don't post within a few days, someone calls or writes me to find out why. 

Q: Was there a particular area of your body you wanted to improve most (chest, arms, legs, etc)? If so, what did you find most beneficial in achieving that goal?

A: The area of my body I wanted to improve the most was my cardio-pulmonary system!  Some people want six-pack abs--I want an extra percentage of lung capacity!  I wanted to improve my immune system so I wouldn't catch everything coming and going.  I wanted to make the rest of my body strong, to help me out when I get lung infections.  Vanity has never motivated me to make a change, but by putting my health first, I got the extra bonus of an outer transformation. 

Q: What is/are your favorite new healthy meal(s) that you incorporated to achieve your goals? Please include recipes if necessary. 

A: My life being limited like it is, I have to keep things simple.  I have to pace myself through each day, so I keep my meals simple.  I eat six small meals daily and drink lots of water.  My favorite protein is egg whites.  Quick and easy.  My favorite carb is fruit.  A favorite meal is egg whites and an apple.  I don't like many vegetables, so I load up on the ones I do like, such as spinach and green beans.  I pour a tablespoon of flaxseed oil over my spinach to get my EFA's.  My husband grills chicken breasts or fish for me to have handy during the week to microwave.  I also drink two Myoplex shakes a day. 

Q: What is your favorite exercise that helped you lose weight and maintain that loss? 

A: I use a treadmill to do my cardio and I love it.  I crank up my favorite dance music and do 20 minutes of high-intensity interval training three days a week.  After cardio, I spend a few minutes stretching out my muscles, because flexibility is so important.  Three days a week I use dumbbells and a barbell to do my strength training.  My favorite exercise of all time is the decline crunch.  It's a killer and it works!  

Q: What did you do when you felt the most temptation to cheat in order not to?

A: I focus on my reasons for doing the challenge.  Having control over food is powerful.  If you can back yourself away from a jelly donut, you have made a huge accomplishment and are rewarded with a dose of positive energy.  On those moments when I cave into temptation, I feel bad about myself for not honoring my self-promises.  That's the worst feeling!  Most of the time, I stick to the program, but when I mess up, I forgive myself and get right back on track. 

Q: Did you use any supplements, EAS or otherwise, and if so which ones?  Do you think they helped you? 

A: Yes, I've used Myoplex Lite shakes from the beginning.  Drinking two of those daily gives me the benefits of a multivitamin, plus enough good protein and carbs to make a meal.  I also use the Myoplex Lite bars when I'm not at home and need a snack.  I use Betagen, which contains creatine, HMB and a heavy dose of antioxidants.  My advice on supplements is to do some research on what is right for you.  Don't add a supplement to your diet unless you know what it will do for you!   

Q: Now that you've achieved your goals, have you maintained the same workout and diet or have you modified them to keep the results you've gained. If so, what changes have you made? 

A: Though I've achieved many goals, there are still goals to be achieved.  I still follow the Body-for-Life plan.  I change my weight-training routine every four weeks to keep my body guessing.  Our bodies are great at adapting, so we have to be a step ahead.  I still stick with the same meals I ate when I started Body for Life 16 months ago. 

Q: What have you done since achieving your goals that you were not able to do before?  

A: Well, to start with, I can lift a paper cup now!  I've made tremendous strides.  I couldn't do anything for myself after the coma and now I can do most everything.  We recently went on a cruise and my husband could not believe how much I was able to walk around that ship unassisted.  Basically I've gone from totally, completed disabled to mildly disabled.  It's a huge change and I'm so happy!  

Q: How has achieving your goals changed your life? 

A: During the process of strengthening my body, my mind was strengthened as well.  I have found so much happiness doing Body-for-Life.  There's nothing like the feeling of setting goals and achieving them.  I've learned to be happy despite my limitations.  Even when I'm very sick, I keep a positive mindset, knowing I will overcome this. 

Q: Do you have any advice for others currently working towards their goals or having troubles getting to them? 

A: Never give up.  Never stop trying.  As long you're trying, you haven't failed.  Surround yourself with positive people.  Read positive books.  Help other people.  Form friendships with others who do Body for Life.  Stay focused on your reasons for improving your life.  If you WANT to do it, you CAN do it!

See Our Previous Featured Profile - Hotzing

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