I did not see a big difference in my outer appearance, but saw significant results inside! I was about 5’11” and 168 pounds when we began the challenge. What often surprised others was that I was ‘pre-diabetic’ and my cholesterol levels were really high, in spite of my BMI. My wife and I did the challenge in 2 consecutive cycles, so for 4 months. The first time I was just trying to figure things out. I didn’t win anything, but after 2 months my eating habits had changed significantly. For the second challenge, we committed to do it 100%. When we were most of the way through the 2nd challenge, I went and had a physical, which included blood work. I received excellent news from my doctor as he told me that I was no longer in the pre-diabetic range, and my cholesterol levels had dropped significantly. Right now, I weigh 165 and I feel great.
2. Which of the challenge requirements was the most difficult for you and how did you overcome this difficulty?
There were a few things that were hard for me. It was hard to get out and exercise when it was cold or wet outside. I struggled to eat all my portions of vegetables and fruits. We also had family reunions and vacations during the challenges, and it was really hard to say no to yummy desserts! The greatest help I had was doing this challenge with my wife. It changed our shopping habits, and we encouraged each other to keep with it. We got our children involved in encouraging us. They would exercise with us and were willing to give up a lot of treats. It was also helpful to have someone ask: Did you say your prayers (or take your vitamin, or complete the challenge, etc.)?
3. Which requirement was your favorite and why?
My favorite requirement turned out to be the invitation to say morning and evening prayers. I was a little inconsistent with evening prayers before the challenge, and I was terrible at remembering to say my morning prayers. As I worked at saying my prayers each day I could see a lot of blessings that came to me and my family. It is now established as a daily habit!
4. What is your favorite workout?
I love to play basketball with my children. For me, running is the worst thing I can do unless I am chasing a ball of some kind, so I love football or basketball.
5. Favorite healthy food?
I really came to love the spinach smoothie! We started having a smoothie every day, because it knocked out so many requirements. We mixed in a lot of different fruits and had some fantastic smoothies!
6. What kept you motivated for all 8 weeks?
I was motivated by my wife and children. We set a family goal to help us accomplish this. Even though the children were not signed up, they wanted the family reward for helping mom and dad eat more healthy.
7. What advice would you share with current and future participants?
First, I would suggest you do this challenge with a spouse, family member, or great friend. It was so helpful to have encouragement from someone I saw every day. I would also encourage you to do back to back challenges. The first time, just try to figure things out and begin establishing healthy habits. By the end of that first 8 weeks, you will be really good at it. Then commit to winning during the 2nd 8 week challenge. Strive for perfection every day, every week, and throughout the challenge. I would also eat a spinach smoothie every day!