Skip to content

i ♥ body for life.

no idea what body for life is? click here for a brief rundown.

oh body for life. seriously the one thing that saved me from being a fat kid for the rest of my days.

first off, some visuals. this is me then and now.

let’s talk about it.

the background

my sister and brother in law did body for life, once upon a time. they had great results. i knew it worked for them. i didn’t need it though. i was a skinny girl in her early 20’s with a bangin metabolism and not a weight problem in sight. then something happened. i got older. well, that is what i am blaming. i guess it would have to be a combo of age, beer, food, and laziness.

i went from 117ish to 138 lbs–my very heaviest. this was slow going, the weight slowly and slowly was gained..and then i broke my arm in march of 2007 and the weight was maybe gained a little quicker in those 8 weeks i was laying around the house 24/7. i didn’t think it was THAT bad…but then one day i tried to put my size 5 jeans on and they did not fit. so i looked in the mirror and was like WHAT THE CRAP JANETHA?!?! something had to be done.

so in april of 07 i started up my first body for life challenge. i got the book, read it cover to cover, did some research, figured out what i needed to do for the next 12 weeks. i was going to do this, and i was going to do well. so i thought. the first 5 weeks or so went great. i was sticking to the eating, but the workouts were not very intense due to the broken arm.. but i was doing the best i could. i was losing some weight, feeling better about myself, all that jazz.

june came around, and so did my boyfriend fiance husband. getting a new boyfriend is kind of like getting a new puppy. you want to spend as much time as possible with him and enjoy the newness of it all. except with a puppy, you don’t want to eat the same thing as him. with the boyfriend, it is different. you want to go out to dinner. all the time. and you don’t want to spend time at the gym. and you don’t want to obsess over balancing your carbs and your protein. and basically i threw my challenge out the window.

people make mistakes, and i am no exception.

ohhhkay.. so fast forward about a year. june 17th, 2008 to be exact. i was tipping the scales at 136. ugh. something had to be done.. but what? i decided to stop eating bread, pasta, rice and potatoes. the only carbs i had were from veggies and fruit. i am a firm believer in free day so i would take saturday off and eat what i wanted. i had a trip to hawaii planned for the middle of august and i had to lose some LBs. sometime in july i did a 9 day isagenix cleanse. this is not a healthy way to lose weight, and most of it is water weight, but i did it anyway. after the no starchy carb adventure and the isagenix stint, i was down to about 127 lbs. not bad. off to hawaii i went, nothing holding me back from enjoying myself and all the food in hawaii to the fullest. i mean, vacations are vacations in my eyes. but i did have a game plan for when i got back.

here is a visual rundown of the timeline i just went over:

august 25th, 2008. i had just returned from hawaii and i was ready to do something about my body. things were not so bad, they could have been worse. i recruited my fabulous mom and we started a hardcore, no cheats, 100% by the book body for life challenge.

the challenge: 12 weeks to a new janetha

when the challenge began, my mom and i went to get our body fat composition tested because while we did want to lose weight (fat) we also were looking to gain muscle, which can not be measured by a scale alone. we did this up at the local university. we made appointments to have our composition tested halfway through the challenge and again at the end so we could have an accurate account of our transformation.

i weighed in at 124.5 lbs and 25.7% body fat. yikes.

so the first few weeks of my challenge i was really big on documenting everything. i wrote my meals and workouts down in a journal. i took photos every so often. i weighed myself each week. i did not cheat one bit. i was a real stickler on not cheating, and i was also really strict with my mom. she lovingly referred to me as “olga” her personal trainer.

i have known about a website, body for life tracker, for some time now. i stumbled upon it during my first challenge. it is an online community of people just like me. who have done, want to do, or are doing body for life. there are so many people in the same boat. this website has forums on eating, exercise, support, beginning, etc etc. there are also “teams” formed on the website that is a mini support group. for my challenge, i joined a team. my mom also joined the team with me. i think that the daily support and advice i received from my team really helped me get through those strict 12 weeks! i seriously love all those people on tracker, both on my team and not, they all are very informative, supportive and AMAZING.

tracker has a feature that allows you to track your challenges and post statistics and photographs along the way. if you would like to check out my profile, you can click the following links:


progress log for challenge 1

photo log for challenge 1 (you will notice you can click front, side and back views on the photos)

okay, so that is tracker. i love the message boards and i love the people and i love the features of the whole website. i will probably mention tracker from time to time, it is a big part of my daily survival on BFL!

back to the challenge! so after a few weeks things became habit. i stopped documenting everything and just did body for life like clockwork. at the end of september i visited my sister and her family in california and this was the first time i cheated during my challenge. i took two free days instead of just one. i did not beat myself up too bad though, because while i was there i ran my first 5k race and took third place! it was awesome, i felt so good.

halfway through the challenge i had my body fat composition tested again. i was surprised with the results: 118 lbs and 21.2% body fat! in 6 weeks i had lost 6.5 lbs (8 lbs of fat lost, 1.5 lbs of muscle gained) and lost 4.5% body fat. i was thrilled, it only made me want to work harder towards my goals!

i became really into learning about foods, converting recipes into body for life approved ones and also really into learning a lot about exercising. i became the go-to girl for anything and everything body for life. it is so much fun to learn about something you are interested in!

at the end of the challenge my composition was tested once again, i ended at 113.9 lb and 16.8% body fat. i promise you this was the best shape i had ever been in my entire life. and not only did i look good, i felt AMAZING! i honestly was a different person inside and out.

here are my 12 week before and after photos:

my mom had similar results. her transformation blew me away! she was a real rock for me throughout my challenge and i know i would not have been able to do it without her right there with me.

our challenge ended in november 2008, we took the holidays off from being strict although nothing crazy happened. come january 5th, 2009 it was time for another challenge. we had a lot of friends hop on the body for life wagon because they too wanted to make a change. unfortunately my second challenge was not all i had hoped for. i ended up getting sick with bronchitis or a sinus infection about 5 times throughout the 12 weeks. i was not able to exercise and i ate WAY too much ice cream and drank way too much sprite. to top it all off, i went on a free trip to mexico on april 1 through april 8 (2009).

right now i am not as lean and mean as the “after” photos above. but i am also nowhere near the “before” photos. i am human, and i am also a young person trying to enjoy life. i gained a little, lost a little, gained a little, lost a little. that’s how life is.. it has its ups and downs. but all i DO know for sure is that when i feel like i need to get my butt in gear and tone up or lean out, i turn to the body for life eating and exercise plan. it works.

as a side note, my mom did keep up her hard work throughout the months, and she is still sitting pretty at a slim 112 lbs. her muscles put other women’s bodies to shame. my mom is my hero, and i am using her motivation and example as my inspiration for ever and always. i love you momma b :)

101 Comments leave one →
  1. April 23, 2009 12:26 pm

    Hi, my name is Chandra and I want your abs. :-) OMG, girl – your after pictures are smokin’! And that is only after 12 weeks? If I can get abs like that in 12 weeks I might have to look into this Body for Life thing… Great blog!

  2. Anita (Essence) permalink
    April 23, 2009 1:07 pm

    Great Blog Jenetha! I’ll take a cruisy’ tour around and check it out! Love your pics – you are a true BFL ambassador.

  3. mom permalink
    April 23, 2009 10:27 pm

    You are the sweetest and YOU are my rock and hero too!! When I feel like cheating I hear your voice of sense and wisdom whispering in my ear, thanks so much for teaching me how to be a better person!! Love and hugs to you!!! xoxoxo

  4. April 29, 2009 1:49 pm

    You look great, girl!
    Awesome blog, I’ll be reading more for sure!

  5. April 30, 2009 3:25 pm

    One look at your before and after picture would convince anyone to do Body for Life. :)

  6. Nicole permalink
    May 1, 2009 6:53 am

    Wow, you look amazing! I loved readinga bout your journey.

  7. May 3, 2009 8:44 pm

    WHOA girl that is incredible! What an amazing story and transformation. I can’t believe it! I’m so impressed that you were able to stick with that and your mom too. I would love to be able to convince my mom to do something like that with me haha. Completely incredible.

  8. May 8, 2009 2:51 pm

    Oh my god. I just read this and oh my god you are awesome! Another one for my google reader!

  9. snackface permalink
    May 13, 2009 11:03 am

    Janetha–Oh. my. god. Seriously. What a transformation! I want abs like yours! I’m so amazed right now.

  10. May 17, 2009 4:44 am

    Wow!! Amazing changes! Your abs and arms look freaking fantastic! What can I do to get arms like yours??? :)

  11. May 20, 2009 10:21 am

    Wow!! What an awesome transformation and what a story. Your arms are rockin’!! You look amazing. Congrats to you!

  12. april permalink
    June 20, 2009 5:21 pm

    Dang I try to work-out my abs pretty hard and they don’t look half as good as yours!!

  13. Courtney permalink
    June 28, 2009 11:32 am

    I love your blog. Haha, I just stumbled upon it and have been devouring the whole thing this morning … ROCKON!

    Adding you to the good reader offish!



  14. jocelynsteiber permalink
    July 9, 2009 6:29 am

    Damn girl! You look incredible. I have never had even close to a 6 pack in my life. The Body for Life plan sounds really great. I’m getting into a new exercise routine and this plan looks perfect for me. I like how you get to do different exercises each day. I get bored easily and I need a routine like this. Hope your feeling better! Ps I want your bangs! I’ve always wanted to cut bangs but I’m too scared because my hair takes FOREVER to grow. Xo Jocelyn

  15. peanutbutterprerogative permalink
    July 12, 2009 2:59 pm

    what an incredible transformation! you look awesome!

  16. Miss Aspiring Athlete permalink
    July 16, 2009 6:39 pm

    That is some serious dedication!!!! I may have to check this bad boy out!!!
    I am only just getting a feel for this blog malarky…but am loving your work!!! :)


  17. August 3, 2009 11:40 pm

    You look absolutely incredible!!!! You make me want to go out and try body for life!

  18. Becky permalink
    August 9, 2009 2:25 pm

    Wow I am so glad I found your blog! You look amazing. Congrats on all the hard work. Wowza lady :)

  19. *Andrea* permalink
    August 20, 2009 5:17 pm

    gah i want your abs! great transformation – body and outlook! i look fwd to reading your blog :)

  20. August 23, 2009 4:22 am

    Hey, ok, just looking back over your story. I know I already commented here, but how tall are you? Just wondering because 136 isn’t a bad weight if you’re my height, but I can’t remember how tall you are! Either way, I cant’ get over these pics–you’re smokin’!

  21. September 3, 2009 1:34 pm

    Love, love, love your blog, and I’m so excited to get to know you more in San Fran! The four of us are going to have so much fun!!!!

  22. September 15, 2009 4:04 pm

    Just stumbled across your blog – love it! I’ll definitely be a regular reader.

  23. Lizzy permalink
    September 23, 2009 9:30 am

    OMG girl! after you commented on my blog i just had to come check yours out!

    Um AMAZING! you look amazing and your story is soooo awesome! can you train me, i need abs like that! :)

    You are such an inspiration! :)

    get it girl!

  24. September 28, 2009 12:24 pm

    Wow, this is pretty amazing and inspiring! Congrats!

  25. m i c h e l l e permalink
    October 15, 2009 8:52 pm

    Janetha ~

    Your body looks amazing and just by the pics alone, I can tell how much hard work you put into it (of course your words are the icing on the cake).

    Love your attitude! Keep living all the knowledge you acquired … :-)

  26. Lindsay permalink
    October 21, 2009 4:39 am

    What a coincidence finding your blog! I too love body for life, and I know it works! The fall before my wedding (two years ago almost exactly) I started a challenge and was like you, soaked it like a SPONGE and busted my @$$ for 8 weeks. Then I gave it up, but stayed in relative shape, and my obsession with food blogs and running keeps me healthy, but nothing like then, I had some abs! My husband still refers to those 8 weeks as my best mood EVER. I’ve been debating doing another challenge..I think you just inspired me to get back into some HIIT and finish a challenge! :)

  27. October 23, 2009 5:50 pm

    Damn girl, looking good there but I totally understand if the 12 week after photos are an unrealistic lifelong thing. Weightlifting and the eating regime in order to look like that *for life* as you just alluded to in your 10-23-09 post are not necessarily a live-able goal, but if you’re 5-7 lbs away from that and ENJOYING life in the process as it sounds like you are now…then I say rock on with that mentality :) Cuz you look bangin now too!

  28. November 22, 2009 11:00 am

    I found your blog through Allison’s from GDW! I love it! I am totally inspired by your amazing job! I am 20 weeks pregnant and I am already worried about getting back in shape. I think BFL might be what I should do. I already have books and love their principals – I also love how they don’t require 2 hours of cardio a day bc with a new baby I know that will not be possible! Thanks for being so honest!
    :) Ali

  29. December 15, 2009 12:09 pm

    I don’t think I ever looked at these pics! You look amazzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzing. I totally understand about maintaining it. Have you ever thought about competing?

  30. Holly permalink
    January 17, 2010 2:35 pm

    Help !!! I did my first bfl lower body workout on Thurs and it was super hard but awesome…but since friday i seriously can barely walk !! My calves hurt so bad that I am limping around. Any advice??? Is this normal? How do I make it go away??

  31. January 26, 2010 1:54 pm

    Your muscles are beautiful and amazing.

  32. January 31, 2010 12:45 am

    such amazing before and after pics! you are such an inspiration! keep up the good work :)

  33. February 6, 2010 6:47 pm

    Giiiiirl I just order BFL and I’m super pumped to get started. I’ve been trying to figure out a plan to get me in shape like you and it looks like I finally found one! Wish me lucck, I can only hope to look HALF as good as you!
    much love!

  34. Ashlyn permalink
    February 7, 2010 6:45 pm

    Ah! You seem to be the millionth source I’ve heard about BFL from this week and your pictures are totally what convinced me start it. If my legs and abs look anywhere near as great as yours, I’ll be completely happy! Congratulations on your results-I know it takes hard work in the kitchen and in the gym…

  35. March 23, 2010 6:00 pm

    You look awesome! Congrats! I’m definitely interested in started BFL. I’m not overweight but really want to tone up my whole body and lose unneccessary body fat. I was wondering if you took the supplements or made your meals yourself?

  36. Nikki permalink
    March 30, 2010 3:30 am

    Hi Janetha! You look wonderful and you’ve inspired me to try the Body for Life challenge! I actually started this morning and I do have a question. If I am not putting protein powder in my oatmeal do I make six egg whites to make up for the protein portion? That sounds like a lot, but I noticed you wrote that is a serving for a meal.

  37. April 2, 2010 6:01 am

    WOW!! I just found your blog (don’t know what took me so long!), and I’m just amazed by your transformation! WOW, WOW, WOW! Great job!!

  38. melissa @ the delicate place permalink
    April 14, 2010 7:27 am

    wow you look great! how tall are you?

  39. April 21, 2010 6:03 pm

    I loved reading about your transformation story! :) We actually have a lot in common with our ‘transformations’ you can check mine out here! :)
    Hope to stay connected!

  40. May 3, 2010 9:01 pm

    If you haven’t already (and have time to squeeze another blog into your reading list), you should read Peas and Thank-you. She’s a vegan mother of 2 doing BFL.

    • charrie permalink
      May 5, 2010 5:42 pm

      your site is very inspiring and encouraging!

  41. brad permalink
    July 30, 2010 8:23 pm

    Amazing transformation! I bet you feel like a whole new person. It takes a lot to achieve weight loss goals like this. Great job.

    Highly Recommended Weight Loss Programs:

    The Gold Coast Diet – Metabolic Weight Loss Program

  42. August 30, 2010 4:58 pm

    I love reading your Body For Life section of your blog and seeing your pics! You inspire me so much! I have gained about 11 lbs in the last 8 months and I know it doesn’t sound like a lot but I can feel the difference on my body and see it. I think when you are used to being thin, you notice the weight change a lot. I am currently in the process of changing my diet and have begun working out. I hope that by December, I can have awesome results. The hardest thing is that my husband can eat whatever he wants and doesn’t gain a lb. He weighs 145lbs and is 5’09” and a total meat-lover. So, that makes cooking really hard. I am trying. Thanks for sharing your story with us!

  43. September 25, 2010 6:34 pm

    Your transformation is truely remarkable. You are so inspirational and I could spend hours reading your blog.

  44. kellywinston permalink
    October 6, 2010 3:32 pm

    You look amazing! Im happy you have better willand strength then me.

    <3 Kelly

  45. October 7, 2010 8:15 pm

    your pictures are AMAZING. Good job :) BFL really is one of the easiest (or simple, I should say) ways to get in shape. I think I’m gonig to go back to eating htis way (minus the ratio counting…no thanks).

  46. November 1, 2010 2:43 pm

    Wow, fantastic transformation! Look at those muscles!

    I completed Body for Life at the beginning of the year but didn’t see the results I wanted, which I attribute to not eating enough on training days and overeating on free days!

    Did you do the whole free day thing during your challenge? And did you count cals etc or just follow the body for life portion control method?

    I’m starting body for life again next week and am determined to get it right this time!

    Love the blog and great recipes!

    Best wishes,

  47. November 8, 2010 10:46 am

    Hey! I just started reading your blog and just wanted to say that I think your scar is awesome! =)

    And, of course, your whole body transformation is awesome, too, but that’s a given. ;)


  48. Lisa permalink
    November 14, 2010 11:28 pm

    I am starting Body for Life today! Did you buy the book or did you just use the internet guidelines?

    • November 15, 2010 12:58 am

      I bought the book and am glad I did!

      • Anon permalink
        November 26, 2010 8:41 pm

        That’s a remarkable transformation!!!

        Which book do you recommend? I looked BFL up and I came across several versions (one for women, for example. looked inside that one but wasn’t sure if there was a set exercise plan in it or not. didn’t look like it).

        • November 27, 2010 11:34 pm

          The original body for life book, by bill phillips, is the one i suggest. I don’t think the BFL for women book will give you the best results.

  49. January 8, 2011 4:20 pm

    quick question…it says to stick to the exercise plan…that you don’t have to do more to see my dilemma is that tomorrow is lower body strenght training but there is also a yoga class that I want to take…will it hinder my progress if I do more…this is probably a goofy question:/

    • January 8, 2011 7:15 pm

      i say just do the yoga in addition to the LBWO. it’s not gonna kill ya, and if you want to take it.. take it!

  50. January 21, 2011 9:09 am


  51. Sparkles permalink
    January 31, 2011 8:16 am

    Hey girl!

    I have just started Body for Life. Your pics are truly amazing and motivating. I would kill to get abs like yours :) ! I was wondering if when you did BFL did you eat 6 meals a day or just 4. I am finding it is hard with my job to get in 5 let alone 6 meals a day. 4-5 meals is more realistic for me. Also, I am training for a triathlon right now and am basically doing the weights according to the plan but am having trouble doing HIIT due to needing to do longer endurance based workouts. Any recommendations or suggestions? Thanks for your daily motivation!

    • February 5, 2011 12:33 pm

      Hey there!

      I typically ate 5 meals on BFL, sometimes 6. Never 4. I ate 2.5-3 hours apart.

      I am not sure about the best way to tie in endurance training with BFL. My only suggestion would be to swap one of the HIITs out with endurance training, but make sure you do HIIT twice a week at least.

      Best of luck to you!

  52. Ash permalink
    March 14, 2011 9:10 pm

    How many calories did you typically on the BFL plan? Especially towards the end to get even leaner?

    • March 14, 2011 9:13 pm

      typically “eat

    • March 14, 2011 9:58 pm

      I never counted calories on bfl but I’d guess around 1600-1800 daily. I never ate less at the end either.

      Sent from my iPhone

  53. stuffedsillysarah permalink
    March 23, 2011 12:02 pm

    Hi Janetha, you have inspired me to give Body For Life a go… thank you! I am on day three now and starting strong. Just can’t kick the diet cola habit : ) No doubt I will be in touch again for hints and tips x x ♥ SJ x x

  54. Lorin permalink
    April 16, 2011 11:30 pm

    I have to say that when you said your body fat percentage was 25% and you think that that is bad is a bit confusing. Because the normal fat percentage for a woman is supposed to be between 24-32% body fat.

    • April 18, 2011 10:14 am

      Hey Lorin,

      I get my BF% checked at the University at a certified academy and I go off their recommended body fat percentages. This is how it is laid out for women:

      Athletic 35%

  55. April 18, 2011 5:46 am

    I am starting BFL to day :)! Ekk im nervous. I have done some research on it. Any advice/tips?!

    • April 18, 2011 9:57 am

      Good luck! Make sure you give it the full 12 weeks, it is a 12 week program for a reason, don’t get discouraged if you don’t see changes right away. It takes time! Chances are it didn’t take only 12 weeks to get where you are now, and so it will take at least 12 weeks to get to where you want to be. Also, make sure you don’t cheat yourself! Give it your all, hit your 10s and do your very best :)


  1. and my butt already hurts :) « meals & moves
  2. this little blog of mine. « meals & moves
  3. miss janetha b -> meals & moves « The Healthy Everythingtarian
  4. take me out to the ball game. « meals & moves
  5. guest post: momma b. & a year of BFL! « meals & moves
  6. flashback friday round ten. « meals & moves
  7. flashback friday round thirteen. « meals & moves
  8. listening. « meals & moves
  9. ‘fessing up. « meals & moves
  10. jamaica or bust. « meals & moves
  11. Girl Heroes Janetha & Momma B | Girl Heroes
  12. New Challenge! | Whole Body Love
  13. My First Gray Hair | Whole Body Love
  14. ratios explained. « meals & moves
  15. Fighting off commiting to another challenge… or maybe I shouldn’t
  16. Getting out of my own food and exercise jail
  17. flashback friday: what a difference a year can make. « meals & moves
  18. my fast food story. « meals & moves
  19. Change it up! « Fighting with Food
  20. stuffed. « meals & moves
  21. things i use and love: round two. « meals & moves
  22. emily alvers: 2008 Body-for-LIFE grand champion. « meals & moves
  23. weekend recap + body for life | kit kat kate!
  24. Randomocity | Live, Love,
  25. steezy. « meals & moves
  26. a new challenge & flashback friday. « meals & moves
  27. Body…for Life? | Healthy Twists
  28. flashback friday: taking the party out of the girl. « meals & moves
  29. On Our Own | Running with Needles
  30. Bull by the Horns | Snack Girl Goes Healthy
  31. weigh in wednesday. « meals & moves
  32. FAQ: BFL. « meals & moves
  33. taking the party out of the girl.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: