Have you ever noticed that when you see something every day, you start to look past it and barely even notice it anymore? Take looking in the mirror, for example. Do you look at your reflection daily, yet find yourself just glossing over what you really look like?
That’s exactly what had happened with Caitlin, our amazing Director of Search Marketing here at BioTrust. Sure, she would take a quick glance in the full-length mirror to check her outfit, but she couldn’t remember the last time she really looked at herself.
Then came an unexpected opportunity.
BioTrust Co-Founder Josh Bezoni shared news that he started a 12-week family health challenge, which he was inspired to do after his 76-year-old father had heart surgery—the thought of losing his dad really scared him—and the fact that he had seen many of his family members put on extra weight over the years (himself included). Over the course of the challenge, Josh and 20 of his family members lost a total of 447 pounds—an average of over 20 pounds per person.
After seeing such success within his own family, Josh was inspired to help our customers and their families enjoy even more vibrant health as well, so he started the BioTrust 12-Week Shape-Up Challenge. But he didn’t stop there. He also challenged all BioTrust employees to improve their health and fitness in a separate team challenge, which Caitlin decided to enter.
At first, she thought it was just a great team-building opportunity. She wanted to support her teammates and perhaps lose a few pounds herself. So, she asked her two boys to take a quick “before” picture to get started, which changed everything.
An Eye-Opening Experience
“What I saw was quite different than the image I had in my mind,” Caitlin admits. “I was surprised I was where I was. When I looked at the pictures, it made me truly think about my diet and daily habits—and how I got to that point without really knowing it.” Of course, Caitlin is like so many moms today. She’s super-busy getting her boys from point A to point B while doing her best to balance work and home life.
“I never felt like I had time for anything else and always felt tired,” she explains. “So, I turned to drinking coffee thinking that would help me get through the day. Honestly, the only water I was drinking was water that was steeped in coffee grounds. I got to the point where I could easily drink 8 cups of coffee a day yet still felt exhausted all day. My only exercise was running after my kids, jumping on the trampoline with them, or playing football or soccer with them.”
Yet Caitlin wanted more than that. She wanted more energy, better health, and to feel better and more confident about how she looked. So, she decided to embrace the contest wholeheartedly. As she explains, “I was excited about this opportunity to kickstart my lifetime goals; I viewed it as a chance to lead and enjoy a healthier, happier life for my children and me. I also wanted to be an inspirational role model for my children so they will choose to be more active and make healthier lifestyle choices.”
Setting and Achieving Goals
Before the challenge, Caitlin didn’t really have direction. She pretty much ate whatever remained from what she prepared for her kids, she hardly ever ate breakfast, and she also found herself eating fairly late at night. And exercise? She didn’t have enough energy to even contemplate working out.
The very first thing Caitlin did after taking the before photos was to set her goals. She started the challenge as a size 14, and she set her sights on dropping down to a size 8 or 10 in pant/dress size. She also set a goal to lose 15 – 20 pounds during the 12-week challenge. And most importantly, she wanted to feel better. Her specific goal was to “energize my body with exercise and the right nutrition, rather than depending so much on stimulants, like caffeine and sugars, every day.”
What made accomplishing these goals possible was breaking them down into smaller, more manageable goals, at which she could realistically chip away. “I was determined to lose at least 1.5 – 2 pounds every week because I knew if I did that, at the end of the 12 weeks, I would hit my overall goal of losing 20 or more pounds,” she says.
Caitlin took on her addiction to caffeine the first week. “I stopped drinking coffee.” Cold turkey. She also drastically changed how she was eating and started eating mostly veggies with chicken. That first week, she thought she was doing what she needed to do.
Fortunately, a good friend of hers is a nutritionist. Once she shared her daily intake with her friend, she discovered she needed to make some more changes and actually eat more. “She told me I wouldn’t be able to sustain what I was doing, especially since I was working out as much as I was. So, the second and third week of the challenge, I took her advice and focused on meal prep with a very specific meal plan.”
Caitlin’s Success Meal Plan
A typical day consisted of:
• Upon waking:
MetaboGreens 45X (replacement for coffee)
• Breakfast: ½ cup collard greens and mushrooms with 6 egg whites and 2 eggs supplemented with Ageless Body
• Lunch: A spinach salad with added cucumber, cherry tomatoes, and bell peppers with an olive oil-based vinaigrette, again supplemented with Ageless Body
• Dinner: Lean ground turkey with steamed green beans supplemented with IC-5.
Caitlin kept her eating tasty as well as healthy by using delicious recipes that her teammates, including Coach Cristina, were regularly sharing. “The biggest thing I learned in meal prepping and following a planned diet for the first two weeks was the frequency as well as the portions I needed to eat,” Caitlin explains. “Tracking my calories and macros (e.g., protein, carbs, fats) on MyFitnessPal really helped. Plus, it synced with my Fitbit. I was able to visualize and understand what and how much I needed to eat to ensure the proper balance for my goals and activity.”
Caitlin also found that by replacing her morning coffee with MetaboGreens 45X every single day, her energy levels began to skyrocket. Plus, her daily BioTrust Low Carb protein shakes provided the building blocks she needed to fuel and recover from her workouts: “I honestly felt like I had way more energy and ‘fuel’ in the gym when I had a BioTrust Low Carb protein shake about 30 minutes to one hour before a workout.”
Caitlin needed that fuel to reach her daily goals of getting over 10,000 steps, walking at least 5 miles, and recording 60+ minutes of activity at her peak heart rate. To accomplish this, Caitlin would spend 20 – 30 minutes on the treadmill, 10 – 20 minutes on Jacobs Ladder, and 10 – 15 minutes on the rowing machine or stair master. She would rotate days, and on “rest” days, she would do yoga or other stretching exercises with resistance bands.
One of the most important aspects of any major change can be a support system. All the participants in the customer and team challenges joined the private VIP Facebook group where they could keep each other accountable and encourage, motivate, and inspire one another. As a result, Caitlin found herself surrounded by encouragement. She explains, “Every team member in our group was so incredibly helpful and supportive in offering great input on recipes and workouts.” They also provided plenty of encouragement and helped motivate each other.
Yet her biggest support came from her two boys. Caitlin explains, “My 7-year-old and 4-year-old were instrumental in my success from beginning to end. They even took my before and after pictures. Including them was the best thing I ever did for myself. They asked me what I did to exercise, what I was eating, how I was prepping my meals. It was so exciting, especially when they, too, started asking how they could exercise with me or eat what I was eating! In fact, one morning when I was making my eggs, my 4-year-old looked up from his cereal and asked, ‘Mommy, why do you get the good stuff?’ From that day on, I started to make extra because my boys would rather have that than cereal.”
That support was exceptionally vital the first three to four weeks. “My body was in complete shock. It was screaming at me every which way, including wanting food that was ‘off limits’ (because it didn’t jive with my goals), and it was super hard. Having my two boys asking me every day about what I was doing for the challenge really held me accountable.”
A New Routine
After drinking her MetaboGreens 45X before eating or drinking anything else, Caitlin now starts her day with stretching.
It’s then all about prepping her day for success by making sure meals are ready to go. Caitlin is still a busy mom and has continued to do everything she was doing before. With one huge difference: “I have way more energy than ever before,” she explains.
Now, once the chaos of the day is done, Caitlin finds she still has enough energy to go to the gym to work out. Plus, she moves throughout the day to ensure she gets her steps in and hits the daily goals she sets the day before. “Eating right and getting good sleep the night before sets me up for success in continuing to reach my goals. If I ever deviate from it, boy, do I feel it!” In other words, when Caitlin doesn’t take care of herself, everything suffers.
Staying the Course
Like everyone, Caitlin faces temptation, and there were days when she felt like caving in. To stay the course, should would take out the before pictures and remind herself why she was making these changes. “That usually did the trick to help me stay on track,” she explains.
That’s her number one suggestion to others who have decided to, contemplated, or even been hesitant to take on their own challenge. “As much as you may not want to, take the before pictures. You will be amazed at how much has actually changed since the beginning of your journey.” Caitlin also recommends finding a support system or group that can offer advice, share obstacles (believe it or not, we’re all in very similar boats), and celebrate wins—together.
Finally, to deal with cravings, Caitlin says, “If I was craving something or feeling hungry, I would drink some naturally flavored sparkling water or spring water with fresh lemon and cucumber slices. If I felt like I really wanted a dessert, I would have yogurt with cottage cheese and fresh berries. Caitlin also found the MyFitnessPal app truly helped her stay on track and ensure she was getting the nutrition she needed to fuel her days and workouts.
Results, Results, Results!
Caitlin accomplished her original goals and much more. She started at 176.6 pounds, measured 46 inches around her waist, and wore a size 12/14 in pants/jeans. Her scale reported a 37.8% body fat percentage. A mere 12 weeks later, Caitlin ended at 147.2 pounds (that’s nearly 30 pounds down!), 38 inches around the waist, and wearing a size 6 – 8 in jeans—a size she hasn’t worn since high school! And now her body fat is 28.7% according to her scale. That means she shed over 24 ½ pounds of unsightly body fat, and she shed 8 inches around her belly!
Best of all is how Caitlin feels. “I wake up refreshed and no longer experience that sluggish/crash feeling in the early evenings. I have tons of energy and typically work out in the evening, which I was always too tired to do before I started the challenge. When I exercise, I have way more energy than I used to. I was so out of breath and felt like I was barely able to get 5 – 10 minutes in. Now my body craves the workouts and the stretching. I have more endurance and strength. I really enjoy zoning out and running for 30 minutes! The breathing and the feel of my muscles working as the minutes pass is just amazing!”
Caitlin has noticed her tastes have changed as well. “My body feels so much lighter and healthier, and it just craves healthy foods. Overall, I am happy about the direction I am going. I still feel like I still have a way to go, but I am definitely happy with what I have achieved. And I look forward to continuing to build on my healthy habits every day—not only for how my body looks but how my body feels!”
Because goal-setting made such a difference, Caitlin now sets new challenges for herself. For example, 2 weeks before the BioTrust team challenge ended, she set her sights on a pretty lofty goal: To “Climb the Summit Challenge” by Jacobs Ladder, which involves climbing 29,029 grueling feet, the equivalent of climbing Mount Everest, the world’s tallest peak. “Again, I made small goals to achieve it—doing 1,000 feet each workout session.” No surprise, Caitlin accomplished this challenging goal.
Caitlin’s plan is to continue to set new, more challenging goals moving forward. “My choices have impacted my family’s life so much that all of us eat healthier, do more activities together, and are more conscious in our decisions. If my boys continue this through their lives, I will have achieved my ultimate goal!”