Tuesday, October 28, 2014


I knew it!  


This an interesting article, and while reading it I realized that our program DID exactly what this article is saying FOR me! I LOVE awesome healthy food now! It says that in order to rewire your brain to crave healthy food, you "swap out" what you WERE eating before for, "high-fiber, high-protein meals that tastes similar to what the dieters used to eat, effectively tricking and re-wiring the reward-seeking part of the brain and conditioning people to prefer healthier foods." Our program is a portion-controlled meal-replacement program where you eat 5 of the meals provided by the program (they send it them to you) and 1 meal of protein and vegetables that you make yourself. The meal options of the portion-controlled meal-replacements range from sloppy joe to brownies (yes, I could have 5 brownies in a day and be "on plan"), mac-and-cheese, mashed potatoes, mango soft serve ice cream, cinnamon pretzels, chili-nacho cheese puffs, BBQ bites, ziti marinara, soft bake chocolate chip cookies, etc. An argument I've heard from people is "but it doesn't teach you how to eat healthy" and I've always known this to be incorrect intuitively, because I DO know how to eat healthy and I credit our program for rewiring my brain to do just that! Evidence-based, my friends, evidence-based.

At the beginning of my journey I used to get that question ALL of the TIME!  "But you aren't learning how to eat for the rest of your life...."

You know, thinking back, that would discourage me.  Although I knew that is WAS teaching me, I couldn't put it into words for them OTHER than to tell them that I prepare a healthy Lean and Green every day which DOES teach me, and I was ALSO learning the habit of eating breakfast every day, AND eating smaller portions.  I was learning how to FUEL my body and not overeat.  I was learning to take CARE of my body and not feed it JUNK.  And now, scientific EVIDENCE proves that my mind was being REWIRED in the process to crave healthy food!  So just another example of how our program DID TEACH me how to EAT for the rest of my life.

It allowed me to change my habits, change my motivation, change my life, change my wants, change EVERYTHING about myself which I had been majorly hung up on for most of my adult life up until then!  

Yes, friends, this program worked, works, is working, will work.  I have learned how to be HEALTHY.  

Rinse and Repeat!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Are We Still Kidding Ourselves?

I remember the day when that first purchase of Halloween Candy "for the kiddos" right around October 15th would set off a cascade of events which would catapult me through Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Eve and leave me with an extra 10 pounds on my person.

You know what I mean, that first tingle of "Oh, wow, Halloween candy, right...I'd better pick up a bag of my favorites right now before I forget."

Then I'd get INTO that very bag well before Halloween.  Which would leave me needing to buy another bag at 4pm on October 31st anyway because I had eaten completely through the first one.  The one I bought for the kiddos.

November 1st would roll around and I'd still be in a sugar-coma from the Halloween candy.  But I couldn't start any program because, of course, Thanksgiving was coming up.  And who starts a program before Thanksgiving?  That would be a futile exercise, right?  So went my thinking in the PAST.  So the menu planning and the procurement of food stuffs FOR Thanksgiving would begin in earnest.  You know, the sorting through the recipes, the gathering of the pumpkin pie fixings, the elaborate side-dishes, I could feel my mouth watering with every Food Network Thanksgiving Show I watched!  And a few more pounds would come on in anticipation with some of the "test recipes" I would make, you know, just in case, because it was a new recipe and all.

Thanksgiving Day would come and I would be SO FULL already by the time Thanksgiving Dinner rolled around because I had been tasting and testing as I prepared everything.  Then the "post-Thanksgiving nap."  That tryptophan-laden slumber of being SO stuffed I could hardly breathe.  Good thing I was wearing an elastic waist-band, or better yet a draping dress that of COURSE hid my rolls.

Finally, the Christmas Season, which had already hit with a vengeance on October 26th, was in full swing.  Time to make the "Christmas Cookies" because, of course, it was TRADITION!  The massive quantities of fudge I would have to make early in December simply to have enough pieces to go around on Christmas Eve.  Turns out I had to make about 3 double-batches before Christmas anyway to have enough because we kept eating them and eating them in advance of the festivities.  And the fudge was just ONE of the 6 or 7 varieties of Christmas Cookies/Goodies I was famous for making.  Nevermind the Mrs. Field's Eggnog Cookies that I ALSO had to make a few double-batches of in order to have 24 left by Christmas Eve. 

And finally, New Year's Eve.  What is New Year's Eve without food, and a LOT of it?  Appetizers, champagne, you name it. 

I honestly don't think I felt a PANG of hunger from October 15th clear through until January 1st.

THEN came the resolution.  "I will lose weight this year!"

Sure.  If the previous 3 months was any indication of my resolve, I was in trouble.  Still kidding myself.

So, then comes the question.

What would I be willing to do to FINALLY realize my dreams of attaining and maintaining optimal health?  

If you could, with the right tools and a little motivation and support, start something right NOW that could allow you to LOSE 10-22 pounds BY Christmas, would you be interested in that proposition?  Would you believe that by following a simple eating plan JUST FOR TODAY and then when you wake up tomorrow, following a simple eating plan JUST FOR TODAY you can realize your goal? 

The good news is you CAN.  The question is WILL YOU?

You see, I used to be the person described in the first half of this blog.  I used to BE Class IV Obese.  But I can tell you that even if you have 10-20 pounds to lose, you can relate to this blog, and you CAN get the results you want and live the life you desire, in health.  The plan is simple, and effective, and clinically proven.  The cost is ONLY the cost of the food you eat ON the plan, and a book called "Dr. A's Habits of Health" which will teach you how to learn the principles to make this a LIFESTYLE change instead of just another failed "diet."  

If you are READY to bring health into your life and you can FOLLOW a simple program when 5 out of the 6 meals you will eat daily are PROVIDED FOR YOU, if you can DRINK water, if you can simply CONTROL for 24 hours what you put in your mouth, then repeat again tomorrow for just 24 more hours, etc, you CAN be successful on this plan.  And since I am a FREE health coach (you only pay for your food which you consume on the plan) I will assist you to FINALLY navigate through this Holiday Season with success.

If you are thinking "But I WANT to eat Thanksgiving Dinner and Christmas Dinner, I don't WANT to start something now and NOT be able to enjoy those two days" think of it this way:  You are talking TWO days out of SIXTY-ONE days if you start on November 1st.  That is TWO days and really it is your decision whether you enjoy those meals in moderation, no one is going to slap your hand or think you are a failure if you make a DECISION to have a couple Tablespoons of stuffing and a small sliver of pumkin pie.  You MAY even get to those meals and decide that it isn't WORTH it to you to have a few yummy things and sacrifice those days on plan.  But it isn't a deal-breaker unless YOU make it one.

RIGHT NOW there are some incentives available to new people coming onto the program, and those SAME incentives are available to people who are not NEW to the plan, but have not ordered in the last 12 months.  Is RIGHT NOW the time for you to make a decision?  Please e-mail me at stacymichellephillips@gmail.com and we can get your plan on  your way to you. 

For me, it was a turning point in my life and my health when I committed to the process.  What will YOU do?

Rinse and Repeat!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Still Focusing on Health, Never "Done With This Thing!"

Have you ever said to yourself "Man, I can't wait until I'm DONE losing weight, I can't wait until I'm OFF this thing I can't wait until I REACH my goal!"

I used to say that all of the time to myself.  It was my common chatter in my brain, the way I viewed my "weight-loss journey."

That was when I was a yo-yo dieter.  I had an oscillating pattern of "lose-gain-repent-repeat" and would white-knuckle it for so long, stuck in the realm of a deprivation mindset which made me anxious to be "finished."

This journey to attain and maintain Optimal Health has been SO different on SO many levels, I can truly say that although I am the same person my mind is NOT even CLOSE to being in the SAME oscillating weight-cycling pattern of my 20's and 30's. 

You see, when I made it all about "weight-loss" I was hyper-focused on getting something OUT of my life that I didn't want there anymore.  I was wearing size 28 Women's Stretch Jeans (well, actually I wasn't because they didn't fit me anymore and I was down to wearing my 3XL Men's sweatpants and 4XL Men's T-shirts), I would huff and puff simply walking in to the grocery store from the as-close-as-I-could-get parking space that I had spent 15 minutes waiting for, and I rarely played on the floor with my son because I could never get up off the floor without having a piece of furniture to lean on for support. 

I try to remind myself where I've been occasionally, because it really puts me in a gratitude mindset.

I am so grateful that I found Take Shape For Life.  You see, I had tried EVERYTHING in the past.  I had just come off the heels of losing 140 pounds in 14 months and gaining it all back in the same amount of time, and my confidence was shattered, my heart was broken.  I felt completely incapable of bringing lasting change into my life.  Sure I could "diet" with the best of them.  I could get results.  But as soon as I hit my "goal weight" or got relatively close, it's like a switch would flip in my brain and I would become overwhelmed with life and circumstances and turn to my old friend "yummy food" to just make it through a day or a week or a month.  And guess what?  My body continued to respond to the instructions I gave it.  It always has, and it always will.  There is NO magic wand that comes in and changes my internal physiology and makes me a "normal person" who can "eat normally" and remain a healthy weight.  So what's a girl to do if she desires to live life as a fit and healthy woman but has been given the body I was given, complete with limitations and boundaries on my food intake?

I chose health.

I chose health, and I did what I needed to do in order to LEARN the limitations of my body that would NEVER change and I learned to co-operate with them joyfully.  I utilized the Take Shape For Life system and all that it had to offer to LEARN Habits of Health.

My story, while unique to me, is not unique to me.  It is available to anyone who makes a fundamental decision to CHOOSE HEALTH.

I put food in it's proper place in my life, and didn't simply put my relationship with it on "hold" for a time "while I lost my weight" but I CHANGED my relationship with it.  I learned to LOVE vegetables, and I PREFER them over just about anything else.  I got rid of the junk in my house PERMANENTLY.  I created a micro-environment of health around me, because the macro-environment of this country is so obesity-promoting it almost gives me PANIC attacks when I go to stores like Walmart or even Big-Chain grocery stores such as Safeway or Fry's to SEE all the "junk" that is being passed off as "food" these days.

It's funny, as I sit here and ponder how people can actually say to me "I want to eat "real food" and not out of a packet for my nutrition.  Let me tell you something, the stuff that is being churned out for mass-consumption in this country is killing us.  We say we want to eat "gluten-free non-GMO organic" then we go buy the box of crackers, cookies, or smoothie drinks that say "gluten-free non-GMO organic" on it thinking we are doing ourselves a favor, when what we are ACTUALLY doing is infusing super-high doses of sugar into our systems.  The forces of marketing promote obesity in this country.  Period.  And if I had never made a decision for health I would be stuck in the mindset that I was doing good things for my body while still exceeding my calorie limit every single day and growing larger and larger.

I say these things because they are on my mind these days.  I say these things because I am striving for optimal health for myself AND for my family.  I hope it is helpful to someone.   I realize this is a very wandering blog today.  Partly because I got up in the middle of it and made my Lean and Green and therefore my mind wandered on to other things. 

Basically, I am NEVER "Done" with this thing because then I'd be "Done" with pursuing health.  And that is not going to happen.  People ask me all the time if I'm still using the Meal Replacements even at a healthy weight.  I tell them "heck yes!"  Not because I HAVE to use them.  In fact many people maintain beautifully without utilizing the Meal Replacements.  But I happen to ENJOY them.  I happen to love the convenience and portability of KNOWING that I will be able to keep my blood sugars stable all day which will KEEP my cravings virtually non-existent and allow me to easily stay in a place of good decisions regarding my food intake.  So, yes.  I use them.  4-5 per day I use them.  I have never grown tired of them.  I love me a good HEALTHY Brownie Soft Bake knowing that I am assisting my body to remain at a healthy weight and ALSO enjoying a little bit of Brownie!  I keep using the products because I WANT to keep using the products.

I was talking about the "limitations of my body" and the fact that it will "always follow the instructions I give it" with regards to losing weight, gaining weight, or maintaining weight.  I think it is important to make a solid distinction here, and to give some evidence-based data to support what I am about to tell you:

After losing 150 pounds utilizing the Take Shape For Life Program, I did not "screw up" my metabolism.  This program didn't leave me with a really LOW metabolism.  As a matter of fact, my metabolism, when ACTUALLY measured with indirect spirometry (they put a mask on you and measure YOUR individual oxygen consumption over time while in a resting state and they TELL you what YOUR Resting Metabolic Rate is) came in HIGHER than predicted for a woman of my age and height/weight.  That is right, HIGHER than predicted.  Seventy-five calories HIGHER than predicted when they did the simple equations for a woman of my size.  That tells me that it isn't that the limitations of my body were imposed on me and "screwed up" over years of yo-yo dieting.  That tells me that our common "perceptions" of what our metabolisms "should be" are just flat out wrong in this day and age.  We THINK that we "should be" able to eat 1800-2000 calories per day and that is "normal".  Well it isn't "normal" for a 5 foot 3 woman, and it never was.  Everyone is different, and "normal" for me was actually calculated at 1250 (not including factoring in exercise).  But my ACTUAL was 1326.  In today's food/eating out landscape here are some examples of what my DAILY INTAKE would be (theoretically, if it were SOLELY about the numbers of calories-which it isn't) to MAINTAIN my weight:

Day 1: Cinnabon (880 calories) + 1 Wedge Salad from Outback Steakhouse (435 calories)

Day 2:1 Oriental Chicken Salad from Applebees (1290 Calories) + 1 cup of coffee with 2 TBSP Half and Half

Day 3:1 Waldorf Salad from California Pizza Kitchen (1230 Calories) + 1 piece of whole wheat toast without butter (100 Calories)


Now I would never ACTUALLY EAT like this, but I wanted to use it as a frame of reference to show you HOW QUICKLY the calories add up in our current society.

Here's a great article that highlights the changes in our perceptions over the last few decades with regards to food intake and portion-sizes:


Many people "think" that the program we utilize for weight loss is extreme.  I say it is NOT, I say that what we view is "normal" these days is in fact "extreme overeating."  I think that beginning to UNDERSTAND that in our society and culture today is the BEGINNING of being able to embrace my own limitations and understand that I am not a freak because "I don't get to eat normally and not gain weight as a result."  I simply have a realistic and accurate view of what "normal" really is for my body.  I say that our weight loss portion of our program is not "extreme" and that it simply encourages us to get into the fat burning state and utilize all the extra calories we have been hoarding on our persons for years and years.  And to DO that we need to create a calorie deficit while still giving our bodies what it NEEDS every day.

So embrace the change.  KNOW that you will likely need to adjust your view of what "normal" is, and you will need to respond to your body and its cues.  KNOW that you will NEED to do a full Transition after the Weight Loss Phase, and then you will move into Maintenance which likely won't look a WHOLE lot different than your last week of TRANSITION, and will be dependent on predicted metabolism as calculated through the formulas used in Dr. A's Habits of Health.  This is the food basics of what I have learned.

 Rinse and Repeat!

Monday, October 13, 2014

No Regrets

My whole family had a brush with death last night.

No joke.

Here is what happened on our flight:

I am very grateful to God and to the Southwest Pilot who successfully landed our plane last night in Phoenix upon returning from our Leadership Retreat at the Sundance Resort in Utah. We were on flight #1344 from SLC - PHX yesterday (October 12th).

Here is what we THINK happened, of course we have had no formal confirmation from Southwest Airlines.
As our landing gear was coming down on approach to Phoenix Sky Harbor, a VERY loud and disturbing buzz/vibration began emanating from what felt like the landing gear on the left side of the plan (we were seated directly behind the left wing). After the buzz went on for over 2 minutes (I've never heard this buzz before and have flown 100's of times) the pilot appeared to be adjusting his approach drastically, and began banking hard and beginning to climb when he should have been leveling out and lining up for the runway. After about 3 minutes of confused passengers glancing nervously around and no information from the flight-crew as to what was going on the left landing gear sounded like it clunked down (we felt it under our feet) and the buzz went away, and the pilot then banked hard again and began to RAPIDLY descend and level out, as it appears he made the decision to land right then instead of abandoning the landing effort (so that trucks could go out and spray the runway with a foam-like fire-retardant liquid for a possibly belly-land with the landing gear UP). SO, from then on it was also like no other landing I have experienced, it began as a one-wheel land and we were going much faster than I have ever remembered a landing speed to be. The pilot came down first ON the left side, we believe he was testing the gear to make sure it was, in fact, down and locked before committing to the land and putting the other wheel down. That way if he sensed something was not right he could fire up the speed and take off again before the runway ran out. I seriously thought our left wing was going to scrape the runway and begin the plane in a summersault (sp?) and we were still going WAY faster than normal. The right wheel went down and the engines were put into full reverse thrust mode, and I think a few prayers of thanksgiving were uttered in the cabin and in the ***-pit also. I'm sure pilots have had lots of training on how to deal with these situations, and I KNOW that IF this is what happened our pilot was a hero and used all of his training to get us safely on the ground. Incidentally, before we landed the flight crew had told us that this flight was continuing on to San Francisco and that passengers continuing on could remain in their seats until departure. After we landed, ahem, the flight crew came on and said that the 4 people going on to San Francisco would need to off-load the aircraft because they were doing an "aircraft change". I bet they were. I bet that airplane that we landed in was driven directly over to the mechanics in the Southwest Hangar and won't be back in commission until they fix the landing gear issue. Anyway, that was our story. Whew! Of course our son was looking to us for how to respond to the situation and the "funny noise" and we just smiled and shrugged our shoulders and said "Wow, isn't that something, I've never heard that noise before! Cool!"

So, the title of this blog is "No Regrets" because of the incredible health journey my family and I have taken these last four years.  Take Shape For Life has allowed me to have the tools and support to make a FUNDAMENTAL DECISION towards HEALTH.  Four years ago I could barely SIT in an airplane seat let alone get the seat belt fastened.  These last four years our family has gotten healthy, I have been able to bring my husband home from his Architectural Project Manager job in order to homeschool our ten year old son, and we are living the life we always wanted to live.  Had our plane crash-landed it would have been OK!  I can tell you that if it HAD crash-landed my last thought would have been one of fulfillment and contentment.  It would NOT have been "If only I had lost the weight....."

I mean really, think about it.  All my life until four years ago pretty much my ONLY desire in life was "to finally lose the weight."  That desire had hogged up ALL my dream-power, ALL of my goal-setting, and MUCH of my waking thought-life.  Every year about this time I would be reading up on the latest "diet" and saying to myself "OK, Self, as soon as I eat all the Halloween candy I want, as soon as I stuff myself silly ONE LAST TIME at Thanksgiving, and as soon as I BAKE AND EAT lots and lots of Christmas Cookies and Fudge and go to the New Year's Eve Party and drink lots and lots of champagne, THEN I'm going to really get serious and LOSE WEIGHT."

What an A-1 "BS-er" I was.  Really.  No joke.  I could work my way through the ENTIRE holiday season through to January 1st DENYING that I had a true problem that needed TRUE attention.  And by January 1st I was busting out of my CURRENT size, you know, that size I swore I'd never go ABOVE, and be wearing my sweatpants and sweatshirts and that XXL tent-dress on New Year's Eve because nothing in my closet fit me and I refused to BUY the next size up.  So then I'd DIET.  I'd diet like the professionals.  I'd restrict and eliminate and limit and use every ounce of willpower I had to get through the first week of "Diet of the Year." 

And I'd lose a few pounds.  Sure, I always did.  We always lose a few pounds when we are gung-ho about that new whatever thing we are trying.

But then, time would pass, and I'd go right back to that oscillating pattern of "lose-gain-repent-repeat."

Until I found Take Shape For Life. 

Now I can listen to that Switchfoot song, "This is my life...are you who you want to be...." and say YES!!!   I am living the life I want, I am WHO I want to be!  And it is freaking AWESOME!

Are you who you want to be?

Rinse and Repeat!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Cuz I Got a Peaceful, Easy Feeling....

Cause I got a peaceful easy feeling
And I know you won't let me down
'Cause I'm already standing on the ground
I love the Eagles.  And their lyrics are flowing through my head as I sit here preparing TAXES for the extension we filed in April.  And guess what?  I've got a peaceful easy feeling!

Not because I am doing taxes, but because I am being true to my eating plan and authentic to WHO I decided to BECOME 4 years ago. 

A fit and healthy woman.

I think so much has to do with our identity.  Who we want to be.  I decided who I wanted to be and I set my course to DO only those things which THAT person who I wanted to BE would DO.

In years past this was not so.  I would yo-yo diet all over the place, even losing 140 pounds just to gain it back.  And I SO remember what I said to a friend of mine in THAT journey, when I was AT my goal weight.  She had complimented me on my "weight loss" and I had said, out loud to her, "Yes, but I'll probably gain it all back, because I always do that."


So spoken, so done.
So expected, so done.

It was an absolute self-fulfilling prophecy.  And guess what, it came true.

A year later I was the highest I had ever been, at 272 pounds and walking with a cane.


I picked myself up off the floor and I made a DECISION to change my IDENTITY.  I was no longer going to identify myself as a chronic "dieter" who could "lose weight" with the best of them, simply to turn around and gain it all back again as if a switch had been flipped in my brain and changed me from Jekyll into Hyde.

No more of that nonsense.  Seriously, it was nonsense.  You see, I had the power to CREATE the life I wanted.  I had the power to DECIDE who it is I wanted to be, and then BECOME that person.

Now I'm not saying a cat can become a dog.  I'm not saying an apple can become a snake.

I AM saying that we will DO exactly what we EXPECT to do.  And we, in this country, pretty much always get what we really want.  "For where your treasure is your heart will be also."  And my treasure had been....FOOD.  The yummy FOOD.  I pintressed it.  I collected recipes for ooey-gooey things.  I baked Christmas cookies every year and gave them to the neighbors.  I had a zillion baking books for cakes and pies and tarts.  You know the ones, like the Williams and Sonoma beautiful coffee-table display books with the shiny pictures promising sweet tempting things.  I was a foodie.

I changed that. 

I began to IDENTIFY myself as a FIT AND HEALTHY WOMAN.  And I wasn't lying to myself or playing games, I was dead serious.  When I was in a restaurant I adopted the attitude of "what would a fit and healthy woman order at this restaurant?" and then I would order that.  When I put on my walking shoes I would ask myself "what would a fit and healthy woman do today?" and I would propel myself out the door with my favorite music.  At the movie theatre I would ask myself "would a fit and healthy woman buy a large popcorn and a box of dots?" and the answer to that would be no, so I'd have my diet coke and Medifast Chili Nacho Cheese Puffs. 

At wedding receptions and birthday parties I would ask "what would a fit and healthy woman eat?" and I'd bypass the cake, bread and desserts, sticking with my chicken and salad, OR I'd simply eat my Medifast Meal ahead of time and drink water. 

I changed my EXPECTATIONS of myself to do ONLY what a fit and healthy woman would do.  I read Dr. A's Habits of Health and began to adopt them as my own.  I stayed accountable to my Health Coach.  I DID.

I DID some more.

And now I've maintained a healthy weight for 2 years.  And I DON'T have an itch to scratch which will send me over the edge and back to a class IV morbidly obese woman with a BMI of 47+ because I am not her anymore.  I am a fit and healthy woman, and a fit and healthy woman I will remain.

And there is great peace and joy in the journey, and peace and joy in the process.

Rinse and Repeat!