Exorcising the Demons

By Guest Blogger
Gru
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The reality is, you aren’t really over it. Most of us who were on Transformation.com and left have bumps and bruises to the spirit. The bad thing is those bumps are hard for others to see. The expectation is that you walk away and that’s it. You have removed the source of the problem, things go back to normal, you eventually feel better.

But you don’t. You know deep down that something is off. That something manifests in a variety of ways. For many it’s an extra 10-15 pounds that you cannot shake. It’s a wince when people suggest you try working out. Heaven forbid they suggest you use Body for Life. You were doing so well before things imploded. You knew that Body for Life worked and now it doesn’t. Or maybe you refuse to even consider the program. You refuse to give Bill power over you in any way, shape, or form.

Right. He’s got no power over you. That’s why Body for Life, Right Light, and Transformation are all words and phrases that make you wince.

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You’ve got a ding to the heart. Most of us have them in varying stages of healing. This ding happens to be making it tough for you to push yourself back to a level of fitness you consider acceptable. Let’s face it, one reason Body for Life has been so popular is because it works. You can make significant progress quickly. You can see results. Combine that with a supportive community and it feels like you are truly unstoppable. Now that’s missing. You try to find something to replace it, but other online communities have you gun shy. How do you know there’s not a threat if you engage others?

Deep in the back of your mind there’s a little voice that is nagging you. It keeps taunting you. Over and over it repeats, “without me, without my program you are nothing.” Stupid voice sounds an awful lot like Bill Phillips.

Yeah, you’re over it.

Words alone don’t move you forward. You can say it’s over and done as much as you want. Without matching actions to words, you stay right where you were. You spin your wheels and slowly dig deeper into the muck in your head.

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So let’s exorcise a demon here. Bill Phillips on the cover of Body for Life isn’t your own personal boogey man. He’s a construct, a marketing gimmick, and a representation of a game changing approach to fitness and health. He’s as real as Mickey Mouse. He’s not the same guy as the man who belittles and berates. He’s not the guy who makes and breaks promises like they are going out of style. It’s not him, and he’s not it.

There is good stuff in that book, and I challenge you to start using it again to help you truly move forward. Be brave, and reclaim something you thought was lost.

Quest 1- Grab a piece of paper. Set a timer for 15 minutes. In the middle write FUTURE in big old letters. Start off the timer and dream again. Where do you want your future to go? Anything goes here. Travel. Relationships. Impossible jobs. Things you don’t dare to hope for. Write them down. Just let it all flow.

I ask one thing: Write for the full 15 minutes. Even if you are struggling. Keep going. Tap back into the hope that helped you move forward before. I don’t care how crazy it sounds. Write it down. This is for you and nobody else. Keep going.

This kind of dream mapping predates Bill by years. It’s a technique that has widely used by millions of people to help plan out the next step. He did not invent it. He just introduced you to the idea. It’s a great tool to help you unblock and see what you may have been ignoring in your life.

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All done? Awesome. Now fold it up and go put it somewhere safe. Just for now. Let those dreams roll around your head for a bit. The bit is going to vary from person to person. Enjoy the positive vibes, that little thrill at the thought of reaching for something, that little tickle of fear as you wonder if you can. Enjoy those feelings.

It’s kind of fun, isn’t it? 

 

 

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Me, Myself & Lies

move on and get well 2

By Guest Blogger Gru

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The worst lies are the ones we tell ourselves. They are the lies we repeat over and over again, hoping that repetition will make them true.
It’s scary to own your own actions. It’s safer to hand them over to someone else. There’s a power, a strength, and grace that comes from being in a position where you truly realize that you are the one who made the decisions. For good and ill, at some point in time you have to accept your actions and the outcome, good and bad.
Bill Phillips gave all of us a tool box. It doesn’t matter who he got the information from, it doesn’t matter what he did or didn’t promise. He put together a set of tools, and handed them over to you. You then made a decision. Is the person I am now, the person I want to be? For so many, the answer was no. You didn’t want to stay fat and miserable. You didn’t want to stay in the bad relationship with your wife. You didn’t want to keep drinking yourself into oblivion. You didn’t want to keep believing that it was your fault you got raped. You didn’t want to keep figuring out what you did wrong that made Dad hit you. It was time to let go of those lies.
Man oh man did it hurt. Each rep ripped away another layer. Each HIIT session forced you to look at who you’d become. Each day was a decision. Do I stay where I am now? Or do I reach for this impossible dream? Can I actually be the hero that I see in my dreams? Can I be fit? Can I be happy?
Can I be happy? That question burned through you. Over and over. Because for years you lied. You told yourself that you were happy. You knew better.
So you took those tools, and you bought into the promise. The promise that you could fix this, and be better. Slowly, weight lifting stopped ripping you open and started to build something new. HIIT became less about running away and more about running towards.
Then came the magic. You started to reach out to others. You reached out with an open heart and said, “Look at me. I’m doing this. You can, too.” And people listened. Slowly you started coaxing others forward. You shared the amazing journey and watched as these new folks blossomed.
That’s when it happened. That gaping hole in your heart, the one you papered over with lies, started to fill up. More than just fill up, it started to heal. For the first time in maybe your whole life you understood what true happiness and contentment was.
Remember that feeling. Remember the power. Remember the hope. Remember the peace.
Remember how hard it was to get there. 
Now ask yourself one question: Do you feel that peace, that serenity, that hope, and that promise?
You lost it. You know where and when. It happened so gradually. Seemingly out of the blue, Bill Phillips wanted YOU. Yes, you. He told you that your story inspired him. He just wanted to have the chance to get that story out to others. He wanted you to help him change the world.
That’s pretty heady stuff. It tapped into that little broken part of yourself, the part we all have that never fully heals. Maybe this is the way to finish up the healing. Maybe it’s about getting your words, your story out to the world. In any case, you owed Bill. After all, it was his words and his program that brought you to this place.
So you accepted his deal. I mean come on, who wouldn’t? This is the person you owe so much to! He wants you to help him. There’s promise of recognition, fame, glory, and money. Now that’s not the real focus of course. It’s the work. That’s what matters. But hey, a nice shiny medal isn’t a bad deal. The money will sure help out with the bills. I worked hard. I should be rewarded! Bill just wants to help people.
Okay, so maybe he’s a bit rough. He’s got a bit of a mouth on him. Gosh some of the things he says are kind of mean. But he obviously means well. If I’m patient, he’s going to help me achieve my dreams. He’s going to help me find that last piece I need to heal.
How dare people say mean things about him? How dare they question him! Can’t they see he’s trying to help? Of course I can’t mention that I haven’t gotten paid yet. If I do that, he might get angry and not pay me. Which of course is my fault. It’s obvious that the people complaining they didn’t get what they were promised did something wrong. They were rude. They were ungrateful. They spoke out when they shouldn’t have. Why don’t they learn? Don’t make waves, don’t speak out, don’t question. He’s a good man, doing good things. I am just not quite good enough or smart enough to understand why he does this.

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It’s just like when I was married. If I just learn the right thing to say, I won’t get yelled at. Besides, he apologized. He promises it won’t happen again. I just need to be better.
If I show him I’m loyal, then he has to give me what he promised. So I’ll accuse those who speak out of being liars. I’ll call them trouble makers. I’ll say they don’t have generous hearts. If I say it often enough, that will make it true. He will finally recognize how good I am being. I’ll get my reward.
The lies we tell ourselves are always the worst. Piece by piece, you undid all the work that got you out of the hole you were in to begin with. By the time you realized how bad it got, you were stuck. Do you step up and get blackballed for speaking out? Do you try and negotiate? Before you realize it, you find yourself with a pen out, signing away your ability to speak in exchange for a promise that you get money or maybe peace of mind.
Funny thing. That money doesn’t make that hole in your heart feel much better. It seems to eat away at it. Trapped, you’ve got no way out. You can’t figure out a way to stop the lies. Your body rebels, the weight slowly crawls back, like an anaconda, squeezing you as it moves up your body, making it hard to breathe.
You just want a chance to breathe again. You want to scream, “I’m sorry.” You can’t. You just live with the lie, unable to share your words, unable to share your pain. You just sit there and bleed, while others walk past. People continue to be hurt, and you just sit and do nothing. There’s nothing you can do. Your hands are tied and man it hurts so much.
Remember how much it hurt when you started your journey? Remember the workouts that left you stripped bare, tears streaming down your face as you fought through the pain in your soul? Remember when you finally recognized those lies you’d been telling yourself and said, “Enough?” You faced the truth, and that’s when things started to change. You admitted that things were not okay. You admitted that you needed to make changes. You accepted your role in where your life was. You owned your actions.
Then you made the decision to change. You made the decision to make your apologies, to ask yourself for forgiveness, to ask others for forgiveness. You stepped away from your past, acknowledged your actions, and moved forward.
Maybe you can’t ask for forgiveness just yet. Maybe the threat of a piece of paper holds you back. That first step forward is always the most frightening. So today let me give you a hand.
I forgive you. I forgive you for the lies. I forgive you for the insults. I forgive you for hurting me. I forgive you for being a bully.
I forgive you for not being strong enough.
I forgive you. With clear eyes and an open heart
I forgive you. Now it’s time for you to forgive yourself. 
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What good can come from it?

Note:  The following was originally published Feb. 17, 2011

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When this blog first began, the following comment was left:

“I do not understand why this has to be done and what good can come from it.”

It’s a good question.  There may be people who believe that putting this blog up is a petty act. There may be individuals who only see it as an ongoing exercise in anger and blame. What is the purpose here? Why does this need to be up? How does this help? What good comes from this?

Keeping silent doesn’t make fear go away. It makes it worse. It creates fears so deep and so dark, they eat you alive from the inside out. Learning how to speak up and face those fears is one of the key lessons from Body for Life.

“Do feared things first.”– Bill Phillips

Going through your day being afraid of saying something that will cause offense is no way to live. Being on a fitness support site and being afraid to give support isn’t right. Being afraid that you’ll say the wrong thing and get kicked off isn’t right. It’s just not right to live in fear every day.

If I’m willing to stand up and say something, it shows others that they have the power to stand up. I learned to stop living with fear. If I’m not going to live in fear, I need to stand up and lead by example.

It’s the same with the weight loss. Every time I share my story, someone realizes it’s not just them. They see that it is possible to lose the weight. They see that they can make this happen because I did it. By telling my story, they find something they can hold on to, something that helps them find a way forward.

I’ve moved forward. I’ve lost the weight. That doesn’t mean I stop telling the story. It helps people. This is the same thing. There are people who are asking questions. There are people who are scared to say something. There are people who still need to know others feel the same way.

That’s why this has to be done. So others know they are not alone. Every time someone reaches out and says, “I thought it was just me”, this is something good. They know it’s not just them.

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The More Things Change

… the more they stay the same. ~Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr

Unfortunately.

 

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Broken Promises and Wasted Potential

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Honesty matters to me. If I tell you I’m going to do something, I do it. That’s one of the things that has helped me keep the weight off.

Once I decided to take the extra weight off, and really decided to do it, that was it. I stopped lying to myself, and I stopped breaking promises to myself. I expect that people are going to do the same. I know that isn’t always the case, but I believe it’s important to hold myself and others to a standard. I don’t need people in my life who lie to me. I’ve earned that honesty. Yes, it might be painful, but through that pain you find growth.

After a year of putting it off, I finally sat down to start reading Bill Phillips’ book Transformation. For many reasons, the book has been a difficult thing for me to look at. It reminds me of broken promises.

I came to the chapter on making amends and found myself grinding my teeth. Last year Bill promised that he was going to reach out and make amends to people he’d hurt. It’s nearly a year later and still nothing. I was served with a cease and desist letter. I don’t quite consider that making amends. Be honest with me. If you have no intention to make amends, then don’t. But don’t set my expectations for something you aren’t going to deliver.

In a way, that sums up my whole experience with Transformation.com. There was so much potential to the site. There were people who believed in the message, and people who wanted to help make the world a better place.  There was a promise there, a promise that if you worked hard and followed the rules that you could help make the world a better place.

Yet behind the curtain, it was a different story. Words and actions never seemed to line up.

I can’t, and I won’t live like that.

I read that Bill recently suffered a major injury. He apparently tore his quadriceps tendons on both legs. A bilateral quadriceps tendon rupture is a very rare injury according to the sites I’ve Googled.

Bill is describing it as a result of an old athletic injury. I find myself wondering what the real story is. I hate that. I hate that I have to go through life second guessing what people say and do as a result of what happened on T.com.

It all comes back to broken promises and wasted potential. I spent a lifetime, my lifetime, hiding from things I thought I couldn’t ever do. Because of Body-for-LIFE, I don’t do that anymore. I’m no longer scared or embarrassed of my body when I go shopping or to the beach. I’ve tackled rock walls and ziplines and spoken in public about my weight loss journey. I’ve done things I never believed I’d be able to. I’ve learned to stand up and let my voice be heard. I’ve learned that doing feared things first is the way to live.

Three years ago, I decided I wanted to be the change. I didn’t know what that would look like. I thought T.com was going to be the way to be the change. In some ways it has been. I’ve changed for the better, become stronger, and learned so much. But I still want more. I want what T.com could have been. I still want that place where the people who are successful can reach the people who haven’t been yet. I want people to see that it is possible to lose weight, keep it off, and in the process discover the person you’ve always wanted to be, the person you were meant to be.

I don’t want to lose one more day. I still don’t know what it’s going to look like, but I still want to be the change.

How can we take all that wasted potential and make it into something amazing?

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Follow up – The Internet is Not Your Therapist

by Guest Blogger Clara K. Showalter

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So it looks like this idea struck a real nerve with people. It’s resulted in a ton of interesting offline conversations with folks.

For clarification purposes - I’ve been reminded that originally the Transformation website was actually open for people to read, not post. That just re-enforces my level of horror that people were posting these kinds of deep, dark secrets to the world at large.

I mean come on, posting that you are having an illicit affair and your husband doesn’t know about it yet is bad. Posting it where anyone with half a brain and Google can find it? That’s just asking for trouble. The site was then closed up, requiring you to be a member and log in to view things. Still troubling, but at least you couldn’t be exposed in a drive by type of situation.

Now the site is again open AND there’s the added bonus that people can wander in and randomly tweet out your blog entries. This isn”t such a big deal if you are just joining and can see that entries can be tweeted out. It’s a big deal if you posted information and you didn’t expect it to be republished.

It’s a bigger deal when you have information on that type of site and no longer have the ability to remove that information. People who’ve been removed from the site can’t delete their blogs. Yet someone can come in there and republish that information.

This begs the question – if you are removed from a website for any reason, should you lose your ability to control information that you put onto that site?

Thoughts? Comments?

Read Clara’s other Musings at

http://clarashowalter.wordpress.com/

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The Internet is Not Your Therapist

by Guest Blogger Clara K. Showalter

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The internet is not your therapist.

This thought keeps bouncing through my mind this week as I consider the ramifications of social media and the shrinking of on-line privacy. It’s not your priest, rabbi, or pastor. It’s not a lawyer. The internet is not the place to go with information that you’d rather keep confidential.

The internet can create a false sense of intimacy and privacy. It’s funny when you think about it. Parents closely monitor where their children go in real life and on-line. They don’t always do a good job of thinking through what they themselves do or say on-line.

A few years back I was spending time on an internet wellness community called Transformation.com. It was started by Bill Phillips, the originator of the Body-for-LIFE program. I’d used the program with great success, and like many BFLers, was interested to see what Bill’s new program would be. Transformation.com was not BFL. The site had a much greater focus on mindset, with workouts and nutrition taking on a secondary role. For real deep and meaningful transformations, you needed to get your mind right.

What alarmed me was the emphasis placed on opening up and revealing things which might be holding you back. There was a particular discussion which started up that just floored me. People were encouraged to reveal concealments, things which they’d been hiding from others which were holding them back. This is a variation of Alcoholics Anonymous step 5, where you reveal to another the exact nature of your wrongs.

I watched in horror as people stepped up and revealed things they had never discussed with others. These admissions ran the gamut from illegal drug use, to theft, to acts of violence against animals and people. People admitted to affairs, abortions, and then confessed that they’d never told their partners about these actions.

There was a very important element missing in these confessions. Because they occurred in a public discussion area, there was no confidentiality. None. Zip. Nada. The only protection these folks had was the site required a login to read forums. That’s it. When it was brought up that this may not be the best venue to discuss these things, the counter argument was that people in the forum would never betray the trust of other forum members.

Why do I focus on this? Because two years later those discussion forums are now open to the public. There’s no password required. Nothing stops you from wandering over there to read anything you chose. You can now wander over and republish blogs without the permission of the blogger. All you need to do is push the Facebook or Twitter button.

There was a good bit of peer pressure to post your deep, dark secrets.  It was almost a contest with some folks to see who could come up with the best issue. Now that information is out there, with potentially identifying information which could allow the wrong people to find it. Privacy laws don’t help here. There’s no law which can undo the impact of the send button.  Once the information is seen, you can’t unsee it.

If you do not want your kids to know about the wild partying you did in college, best not to go publishing that information in your blog. If you were addicted to drugs and don’t want employers to know that, then don’t go out there and discuss drug addiction and rehab. If you don’t want your insurance company to know that you dislocated your shoulder, then do not go discussing it in your Twitter feed.

If you need to share things which are holding you back, seek a professional with an obligation to protect your information. Remember that personal trainers, life coaches, gurus, and “doctors” without degrees or licenses to their name have no obligation to keep your information private. Do your homework. Take steps to protect yourself. Don’t assume that a website is going to keep your private information private.

Private online is not the same as private in real life. Remember, the internet is not your therapist.

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Read Clara’s other Musings at

http://clarashowalter.wordpress.com/

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The End? It’s More Like Beginning

Beginnings – Part One of Three

The Middle – Part Two of Three

Part Three of Three begins here…

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True transformation isn’t about a scale number or a visual aesthetic. It’s about becoming something bigger, something more than the sum of your parts. It’s about pushing yourself to new places and believing in the impossible. It’s about leading by example and teaching others. It’s about facing down your fears and overcoming new obstacles as they come up. It’s about continuing to dream big, chasing those dreams, and eventually catching them.  It’s about finding inner peace.

The initial transformation is only a small part of the whole. I made those changes and started looking for others who had also done something similar. Listening to the stories of others who were walking the same path introduced me to some amazing people. I found women like me who had made changes to their lives and were now looking for a new way to pay things forward. It wasn’t about being famous or having glory. It was about finding the words to help others on their journey. It was about seeing a face light up when they hear a story they connect with. In those words, through my story, people could find a thread which resonated. It was something they could grab on to and start to weave a new story for themselves.

This was the idea behind the Five-for-LIFE challenge. Five women who had individually used Body-for-LIFE to help themselves lose significant amounts of weight came together and decided to do a group challenge with a single purpose — to show people there is hope. They came together to show other people that they could indeed do this and that they weren’t alone.

Over a 12 week Body-for-LIFE group challenge, these remarkable women pushed each other to reach for new personal bests. Some changes were physical, some were emotional, and all of them were made possible because it was a team effort. You think sometimes that you are done with all your steps. You aren’t. You just keep finding new ways to move yourself forward. This is how you grow.

What I wanted originally when I joined Transformation.com was a place to help share this story. I wanted to show people where this group came from and what we accomplished. I wanted to share the message of hope. I wanted to celebrate what could be done when you learn to let go of fears and reach for things which initially seem impossible. The idea of “Being the Change” seemed like the way to do that.

It didn’t quite work the way I anticipated it would. As I see it now, it’s worked out better. You see, I choose to look back and take the positive from all this. Bill Phillips started me on this journey. Without Body-for-LIFE, I wouldn’t be here today. He also gave me an amazing video to share with the world. I thank him for that.

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Something has changed within me
Something is not the same
I’m through with playing by the rules
Of someone else’s game
Too late for second-guessing
Too late to go back to sleep
It’s time to trust my instincts
Close my eyes: and leap!
-Defying Gravity, Wicked! The Musical
 

It’s time to trust my instincts. It’s time to take that exhilarating, frightening, long overdue leap and use the opportunity I’ve been given to help others learn that they, too, can Change for the Better.

Click below to go to the new site and watch the video 

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The Middle

Beginnings – Part One of Three

This is Part Two of Three

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Making a physical transformation is one of the ultimate acts of faith. Losing weight and changing your body is about more than just shifting pounds. I like to say it’s a simple process, but the reality is that simple doesn’t mean easy. Losing weight challenges your very sense of self. It’s about letting go of things you’ve believed to be true for years. It’s about learning to be brutally honest with yourself.

That honesty is scary. Honesty is important to me. I like to think people are being honest on a daily basis. The reality is deep down my body would recognize the little lies that I would tell daily. You know the ones. A little more won’t hurt. It’s a low fat food. Or my personal favorite: I’ll start tomorrow. Tell yourself those lies day in and day out and makes it hard to trust yourself. You start to look for someone else to believe in. If I could find something or someone to hang on to, that support might help to rebuild my own broken confidence.

It’s natural to look for a mentor, a leader, or a role model, although I didn’t realize I was doing that at the time. Humans want to find someone who can show us the path. In years past, this could be a challenge. Seven years ago, with over 100 pounds to lose, it was difficult to find people to relate to. There were periodic stories on late night infomercials or in women’s magazines. The wise individual treated those claims with skepticism. If it sounded too good to be true, odds on it was.

In the late 1990’s all that changed. Bill Phillips’ Body-for-LIFE program generated a fitness revolution. For the first time ever, I could see before and after shots which seemed real. Combining those photos with powerful stories of change and slick marketing, Phillips was able to reach out to a wide segment of the population. These were real people. The stories rang true. I could relate to the struggles.  Reading Kelly Adair’s words I could find myself starting to think that maybe, just maybe, it was possible to make a major change. I wasn’t going to look like a cover model in 12 weeks, but maybe one day I could actually look normal.

That maybe is all it took to ignite the spark. That spark flared up, and ignited hope.  All this was fed by the words and images of Kelly, Porter Freeman and others. If they can do it, maybe I can, too. In that first 12 weeks I took a leap of faith. I did what others around the country were doing. You stop lying to yourself. You don’t promise to start tomorrow. You realize that tomorrow is today. You hold yourself to a higher standard. Maybe for the first time ever what you say is what you do.

That act of faith gave me back my honesty and integrity. It gave me back the person I’ve always had the potential to be. It was everything I wanted, and so much more. For so many people this is where it all stops. The changes are made, and it just seems to stop there. So many of them end up going backward. That’s not what I wanted to do. There was so much I’d changed. I had a question repeating in my head, “What’s Next?”

Click to read The End? It’s More Like Beginning – Part Three of Three

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Beginnings

 Part One of Three

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In the beginning there is so much pain.

I want to believe. I want to be able to trust that what you tell me is the truth.

So many people around me lie. Politicians twist and spin data until it bears no resemblance to reality. My coworkers and I share half truths and lies all day. We tell each other what we want to hear, not what truly is. My kids have learned to tell those same lies and half truths. Did you do your homework? Yes? Really? No. My pastor stands at the pulpit and admonishes us to be truthful and honorable. Rumor has it that he has a girlfriend two towns over.

Worst of all, I lie to myself and give myself excuse after excuse for why I can’t move forward. I make promises to myself to change, but deep down I don’t believe them.

I’m drowning in a sea of lies and half truths. I don’t just want to believe you. I need to trust you. I know that trusting you now may be key to moving forward. Trusting what you tell me is the key to learning to trust myself.

I need your words and actions to match up, to align. Show me how to talk a good game. Show me how to act on my words and desires. Show me a path I can follow. Don’t force me to be a clone of you. Help me find the path to be the best me that I can be. Lead me with integrity and compassion. Don’t be one more person who will break my trust.

Show me what it means to be the better than the sum of my parts.

Click to read The Middle – Part Two of Three

 

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Is It Worth Dying For?

by Guest Blogger Richard “Rico” Brown

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After a heart attack, physicians recommend that the patient participate in a cardiac rehab program. Cardiac rehab is more than just physical exercise. It’s purpose is to educate the patient on the lifestyle changes required to live a long, healthy and productive life. Many find the emotional, spiritual and physical support they need to overcome their new test in life through cardiac rehab. 

One of the things that the doctors want you to learn in rehab is how to avoid and handle stress. I’ll never forget a phrase that I heard during therapy that really resonated with me. When you find things in life that stress you, things that cause you anxiety, you have to ask yourself:  “Is this worth dying for? because this one thing could be what kills you.” That question is so powerful. 

Let’s explore this question and take it a step further. Let’s go beyond the subject of stress. Let’s go to other things that affect our health, and ask the same question. Is this worth dying for?

Is smoking cigarettes worth dying for?

Is gorging my body with unhealthy food worth dying for?

Is being in my comfort zone of unhealthiness worth dying for?

Is (you fill in the blank) worth dying for?

Take the next couple of days and spend some time contemplating on what negative, unhealthy things are in your life that keeps you from progressing and moving forward towards being the healthy and happy person you want and deserve to be. Make a decision to take the necessary steps to remove the negative and unhealthy and replace it with healthy and positive.

Richard Brown

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You Made a Difference

by Guest Blogger Clara K. Showalter

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Congratulations, you made a difference.  

Sara Lake is a supplement distributor, personal trainer, and graduate student living in Christchurch. She’s one of the thousands of residents who have been impacted by the February earthquake. Her home suffered some damage. For the past several weeks she’s been dealing with power issues and water supply issues. Imagine having to ration water for drinking and bathing when you are a trainer. You’re used to unlimited access to water to keep hydrated. You can shower as needed after working with clients. In an instant, that luxury is gone. Sure it’s not the end of the world, but it is stressful. Sidewalks around the neighborhood are buckled, meaning you have to pick your way along the road carefully. What used to be a nice walk is now a potential sprained ankle, waiting to happen. Even her cats are having a rough time of it. Every aftershock sends them fleeing from the swaying house. Out into the garden they go. It’s safer to sleep outside, away from the wobbly house. 

Go down the road a bit and you find her favorite grocery store in the local strip center. The damage is so serious they will not be re-opening. It’s an inconvenience for her. The wine expert at this location was excellent, and they had a wonderful selection of organic foods. For the employees of the store, it’s a bit more.  There’s a lost job. Hopefully the chain will be able to move them to a new location. For the owner of the strip center, it’s a major loss of rent. Not only does he face rebuilding, he faces the stress of trying to figure out how to pay his bills as he takes a hit. 

Moving closer to the center of town, you see more damage. There is major buckling of roads in some places, impassable roads in others. We all know what it’s like when you have a single major road in your area facing construction. In Christchurch, you’ve lost the ability to directly go from point A to point B. There will be months of road construction to get things passable again. Houses are reduced to rubble. As you pass one flattened residence, you see a man with tears rolling down his face. This was his dream home, the home he worked years to get. In an instant it’s been reduced to a pile of timber and stone. 

You approach downtown. Once you’d have been greeted by the landmark spire of the Christchurch Cathedral. Now it’s gone. 100 years of history, the pride of Christchurch is just gone. The Wizard of Christchurch says he’s moving on as well. No spire means no place to preach his own form of gospel to those who pass. In some places, people still aren’t being allowed in. It’s just too dangerous. Outside a security barrier stands a family, hands joined in prayer. Rescue stopped several weeks ago. Now they are looking for bodies. This family prays they’ll find something. There are bodies pulverized beyond recognition still buried in the debris. For those families there may never be closure. 

This is Christchurch. These are the people you helped with your run. Your actions don’t seem like much. Money can’t replace some losses. The thing is, it’s not just about the money. Your actions let the citizens of Christchurch know that they are not alone, and they are not forgotten. 

Your actions made a difference. Thank you.

It’s not too late… you can still donate. Click here. 

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Your Change can make a Difference

by Guest Blogger Clara K. Showalter

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One of the components of the Body for Life program which has made the biggest impact on me is the Universal Law of Reciprocation. The idea is pretty simple. Do something good for someone else. Don’t do it as something you mark off on a list. Do it because you think it’s really the right thing to do. 

For most of us, the reality is we aren’t nearly as bad off as it may seem. Reaching out to do good things is a great way to remind yourself about what’s really important. Again, it’s not about keeping track. It’s about reaching out to help others at a point where they are struggling. 
 
File:ChristChurchCathedral1 gobeirne.jpg
(Christchurch Cathedral Greg O’Beirn GDFL.Creative Commons via wikipedia)

On February 22, Christchurch New Zealand was rocked by an earthquake. This is a city the size of Oakland, CA. Nearly 1/3 of the buildings in the city center have been destroyed, 166 people have died, and hundreds more are injured. The city faces years of rebuilding efforts and is never going to be the same again. 

(AFP)

Faced with this tragedy, a group of friends from New Zealand decided to set up a virtual Run for Christchurch. The idea is simple. Wherever you are in the world, this weekend get out there and do a 5k run. If you can’t run, bike. If you can’t bike walk. Wear red and black for your event (the colors of the local Christchurch rugby club). Then donate. You can go as little as $5 NZ (http://www.fundraiseonline.co.nz/run4chch/ ) That’s $3.71 as of current exchange rates by the way. 
 
Run for Christchurch
(link to website- http://run4chch.wordpress.com/) 
 
That’s it. Get up, do good, and go run. There’s no melodrama, no race to be the best, it’s just about doing something for someone who needs help, then doing something to help you. 

So here’s the challenge. You’ve been feeling kind of down the last few months? It’s time to step up and make that change. Check your pockets for change, toss out all the spare lint. Decide what you can spare, then donate (http://www.fundraiseonline.co.nz/run4chch/ ). This weekend, get out there and do something, just make sure it’s 5k worth of something . Heck, I don’t care if you walk the mall! Just get out there and do it. Encourage your friends to do it. Have some fun. 

Remember why you started your transformation in the first place. Then help Christchurch and the people there as they go through their own transformation. 
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10 Magical Rules That Can Change Your Life

by Guest Blogger Dianne Orwig

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Life can be magical when you have a clear set of personal rules to live by. Here are my top 10 rules for living a happy, abundant life. (I hope they inspire you to create your own set of rules for living life to the fullest!)

Life Rule #1: Look for what pleases you, rather than what annoys you

Whether it’s your partner, your brother, your pet, home, or work, try pointing the majority of your attention toward the things you really love and appreciate, rather than looking for the things you find annoying or irritating.

Life Rule #2: Have a life that is yours alone

Try, as much as possible, to live a life that is not tied too closely to the actions and opinions of others. Do what you love and love what you do.

Life Rule#3: Appreciate where you are now

As you make your way toward your ultimate goals and dreams, make an intentional effort to love where you are on the way there. Find at least one thing about your life RIGHT NOW that satisfies you.

Life Rule #4: Have some fun

Laugh, dance, do something silly. Watch a funny movie, go for a swim, have lobster for dinner. Whatever you think is fun, pick one thing per day and Just Do It!

Life Rule #5: Say what you need to say

Don’t hold back… if you want to say, “I love you,” say it. If you need to say, “You hurt me,” say that too.

Life Rule #6: Surround yourself with people you love

Make a list of the people who make you feel safe, inspired, happy, or motivated. Keep them close and let them know, on a regular basis, how much they mean to you.

Life Rule #7: Forget About the money (at least for a little while)

Money makes the world go round, BUT if everything you do is based solely on the monetary value, you’re destined to miss a lot of life on the way to your “riches.” Make a habit of doing something every day that you would do regardless of whether you ever see a dime for your efforts or not.

Life Rule #8: Be a duck – let things roll off your back

Contrary to popular belief, life is not about struggle, hardship and pain. Often, simply deciding that you will look the other way, turn the other cheek, or smile and say “no problem,” can spell the difference between misery and happiness. It’s always your choice.

Life Rule #9: Do a DRAK (Daily Random Act of Kindness)

Hold the elevator, wave the other car in, in fact, let two in, pay the next guy’s toll, tell someone they smell really good. Find someone to compliment and do it.

Life Rule#10: Take care of the vehicle you’ve been given

In a world where most of our time is spent taking care of others – your boss, your children, a friend in need, our significant other – it’s important to remember that it’s our physical bodies that take us from point “A” to point “B.” Without it, it’s impossible to take care of anything or anyone else. Make self care top priority.

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Dianne Orwig
Founder and creator of LivingFit Online
www.lovelivingfit.com

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As Time Goes On

by Guest Blogger Troy “Zooman” Cook

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When I posted my reasons for leaving Transformation.com late last year and was kicked off shortly after, I assumed that would have been the end of that. No more hearing about T.com and what Bill Phillips was doing.

I knew Michelle was starting to put together a blog about peoples’ experiences dealing with Bill and with other occurrences on that site. I, like a few of my other friends, thought after a few months this whole thing would die off and go away.

It hasn’t.

It seems like there is still trouble in paradise. Every few days it seems I’m getting friend requests from people on Facebook who are on or who have left T.com. They have questions. The first one is usually how did the apology go with Bill and was he sincere about it?  Did he meet with Michelle, Clara and Beau along with me or were the meetings done individually. My response to them is that I was never due an apology, I wanted it for a friend of mine. Bill has never apologized directly to the people involved. There were promises made, then no follow through. I feel he never planned to. This was just a little dramatic acting on his part to shift the blame from him and make it appear that all would be taken care of, while making him look like the good guy again.  

As a matter of fact, instead of apologies most of the people he said he was going to apologize to he has hit with cease and desist orders from his attorney. That doesn’t look like an apology to me.

The other thing I have people that friend me on Facebook talk about is how the site seems to be totally different than it was two years ago. They talk about it losing that friendship, support, and family-like feeling which promoted Christian-type values to one of an all-out commercialized marketing campaign bordering on a cult-like worship of Bill, who hardly appears on the site anymore unless it’s to clean up
another mess that has hit the forums.

The latest mess was the awarding of the Holiday Challenge winners. T.com does a couple of challenges during the year. In past years, there have been challenges which award special status to people who complete them. These aren’t the big challenges. They are more like the old BFL Sprint type challenges. Winners typically have gotten a special badge by their name, a small dollar award, and free admission to one of the bigger T.com events, like the Denver or Dallas marathons.

Now there are always people who don’t win who think they should. It happens everywhere. This year the winners were named and a few folks felt they should have won. Again, that’s normal. People get disappointed and frustrated. This time a couple of them were upset enough they posted they were leaving the site. One in particular wrote that he was disappointed and was leaving. Soon after that post, Bill made came out and said there was an “oversight” and awarded this person a spot as one of the winners.

This opened up a little debate about poor sportsmanship. The thread ran a little bit, then was deleted. Once again, any time something that doesn’t seem to walk the line goes up, it comes back down.

How can this actually be a good way to reward anyone who has entered a challenge?  It’s supposed to be about transforming your inside, not just the outside. It’s okay to be a little disappointed if you don’t win. You set out to lose the weight, you shoot for that milestone goal and then you hit it. Then you don’t get any recognition because it seems like you don’t know the right people or aren’t popular. You enter over and over again, and see some of the same people getting recognized, but they don’t make any changes. You can work it around in your head so that it makes sense. They obviously made some changes you just can’t see. But then you get someone “winning” because they complained about it? You don’t know any more if it’s about the best winning or just about the squeaky wheel always getting the grease.
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There are other things that are going on over there that really call past rules into question. There are several members who are peddling other products that either Bill endorses or doesn’t know about. Why have several people been kicked off the site for similar behavior in past years? They were accused of trying to sway people away from his site for their personal benefit or had other agendas different from his. Heck, if you posted a link to a product you liked, a lot of the time it got deleted because it “violated site policies.” If you posted a link to a personal blog, that could get you in trouble. If these people are pushing other products to members I’m just guessing Bill doesn’t know. If he does know, then I guess he doesn’t care now.

It seems as though the more time that passes the more contradictory that site becomes.

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Please feel free to “Leave A Comment” below and Facebook Share by clicking the button if you feel so inclined.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

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What’s your Success Story?

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If you are reading this blog, you probably know that the bestselling book, Body-for-LIFE, and it’s message have been invaluable in helping thousands of people change their minds, change their bodies and change their lives.  

The book and it’s simple yet not easy program was instrumental in starting me on the path  to losing and keeping off just over 100 pounds of fat and gaining a life that I had only dreamed possible.

I’d love to hear how you’ve used the contents of the book to move your life forward. What lessons have you learned and implemented to make you successful in your weight loss journey? What would you share with others to help encourage them on their journey?What’s your success story? 

Reach out and share with us the positive that Body-for-LIFE has brought into your life. It’s important to share our accomplishments and  your shared win  just might make all the difference in someone else’s own success story.

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Today I’m Pushing Delete

When I established BYOO, I determined that I wanted to give people an opportunity to have their voice heard. For years, I was not able to speak up and make myself heard. One of the gifts BFL gave me was the strength and courage to speak up and give my words life. The most difficult part of my time on T.com was the fact that after finding my voice, I felt that it was taken away from me again.

A few days ago, Brett contacted me and asked that I remove comments he made on some previous discussions. He was concerned about what he’d put out into the world. I understand that concern, but believe that it’s important to give voice to both good and bad. That’s how you find true power and strength. It’s how you find your own Oz. Rather than further stifle his voice, I asked him to consider writing a blog expressing the positives he’s finding in this process. This is his story of learning to “listen to his inner self and transform”.

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by Guest Blogger Brett

Since Michelle asked me to be a guest blogger for BYOO, I have been overwhelmed with thoughts about what to write. I have started and re-started my story, only to delete it and think, “That doesn’t tell my whole story.” How do I describe how Transformation has consumed my thinking for the last few years? How do I convey how it has thrown me back and forth with my feelings towards it, between what I wanted it to be and what it actually has become?

I could go on about how I too thought Transformation was my promised land. How I thought I had finally found what I was meant to do with my life when I found Transformation. I truly thought it was a calling for me. Or how I let it take over parts of my life, because it seemed to have a moral high ground that I wanted to be part of my life. And how that idea came crashing down time and time when facing reality.

There are good things about Transformation – the people there that really do care about the message; the people who open their hearts up to others in an effort to help others; the stories of overcoming addictions and past tragedies; and the steps that show people how to live a healthy and happy life. I loved all those aspects of Transformation.

But there are also the not-so-good things about Transformation – not being able to have your own voice and the need to follow the opinion of one man; the idea that one way is the only way; the confrontational approach that others take when something is questioned; and the message of how the site is truly about “inner” change while it bombards you with photos of “champions” showing off their “outer” half-naked, muscular bodies.

The elements of Transformation have been a conflict for me since I first found the site. There are the friends that I had there. But at the same time, there are people there who used confidential information I shared with them to question the motives of some other people on the site that I knew. There is the idea that forgiveness of others is a step in your inner transformation. But at the same time, there was a time when I was told I needed to just “back away for a little while,” so those in charge might forget about something that happened and allow me to return. There are the “champions” who were so open to listening and sharing their insight with you. But at the same time, there are “champions” who do not allow others to have a voice, who condescend others when they do try to question something about the process, and who only follow the opinions of Mr. Phillips. How can a program that is based on “inner” transformation of each individual also have a foundation of allowing there to be only voice? 

Last week, I was watching a church program with the Rev. Dr. Jim Keck of the First Plymouth Congregational Church of Lincoln, NE. He said, “The idea of people all thinking exactly alike and not having disagreements, that sounds creepy to me. Any institution that promotes ‘group think’ or some forced unanimity of opinion, that’s creepy. We don’t gather at church to drink the Kool Aid; we gather to drink from the cup of the new covenant and that cup of Christ honors our differences and diversity as individuals. Any institution that promotes ‘group think,’ that’s more of a cult than a church of Jesus Christ.” I thought to myself while he was speaking those words, “Wow. That is so like Transformation.” It was that way from the beginning but I was blinded by my wanting of approval by others to see it. It is that way more than ever now.

I love the message of Transformation. I love the thought that we should want everyone to be healthy and happy. I love the idea that eating good food, exercising, and taking the time to love yourself and others is truly the RIGHT way to live. I love that message. But, honestly, I loved those thoughts before I found Transformation. I simply had not chosen to live my life according to that message. I do not need the site anymore for me to truly understand that message, however, I understand that there some people who may. Some people out there who are still looking for someone to lead them to find a path to living their best lives. I wish the site was truly about that, but it always seemed to be heading in another direction.

I had a friend tell me once (the same friend who got me and my computer banned from Transformation.com last year – that is another story) that in the future the site would become just like every other “self-help” site on the internet. It would be just like all the other sites created based on selling a book. Books created by authors outlining the steps and guiding us on how to live our best lives. Of course, it would go hand-in-hand with the idea that your “best life” really only happens if you buy the DVD’s and nutrition bars that go to help you along the way. Starting today, with the release of the “Transformation Solution,” his prediction has become true. I found it truly ironic that on the day that I sat down to write this blog about my torn feelings about Transformation, an ad for the Transformation Solution froze my computer after it popped up on my screen and I tried to delete it. That was a message from somewhere that did not go unnoticed.

The wonderful concept that I thought that the site was truly about, has transformed itself into an infomercial. When I found the site, I thought it was bound for greatness. Instead, it seems it is bound for late-night television. That is truly the saddest part of this story. It has, in an instant (but a well-calculated and planned out instant), become the next Snuggy and Gold-For-Cash of the self-help industry.

It’s funny how this site had owned my life for the better part of two years. I was hooked with the message from the very beginning. I was searching for something better and I thought Transformation was that missing element in my life. It has caused feelings of happiness in me and heart ache at the same time. I thought I needed Transformation to find my inner-self but all I really needed to do was to listen to my inner-self and transform. 

Transformation has played a major role in leading me to where I am today. Today, I am a man ready to move on. I am a man who does not need to follow in order to understand where I need to go. I realized, after writing this final version of this blog, what I really wanted to say in it is that I’m finally ready to say “good-bye” to Transformation and move on with my life. Like my computer, my life was frozen by what was offered. Today, I’m pushing delete.

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Negative and Positive

by Guest Blogger Clara K. Showalter

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There’s a lot of talk about how negative the world is. We are bombarded by negative images in the media, ads telling us how to look, what to drink, and how to eat flood our televisions. Any story that offers data someone doesn’t approve of is considered negative, and as such is viewed as not important. I hear people talking about the need to remove negative images from daily life.

Yet doing that doesn’t solve the real issues. Say we stop television broadcast of the video coming out of Egypt. There are many who view those images as negative and violent. Yet I’d be hard pressed to find someone who can persuade me that the information coming from those images isn’t important. Now is it possible to be flooded by those images? Absolutely. That’s why it’s important to educate yourself and understand where that information is coming from and why it’s important.

Information isn’t positive or negative. That bias is applied by individuals. Understanding why that bias is applied is a step in the process of educating yourself and forming a solid opinion. Negative or positive, it’s just opposite views on pieces of data. When you see a piece of information which challenges your world view, ask why? Then start looking at the data and dig deeper. There’s something in the situation which makes people feel so passionate about the event, they feel the need to speak up. That tells you something.

Before you jump up and down accusing someone of negative thinking, take the time to look at what’s being said. Ask yourself questions. Is this information that I may need to know? Can information in this discussion change my outlook on a situation? What makes this person feel so passionately about this subject?

Collect data, review the data, THEN make an informed decision. Don’t jump to conclusions just because the information provided doesn’t match your world view.

This is one of the ways you grow past your own boundaries and limits and move forward.

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The Heart of the Matter

by Guest Blogger Richard “Rico” Brown

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For those who may not be familiar with my story, on April 4, 2004 I suffered a heart attack. I was only 38 years old. I died twice that night before I was stabilized. At the time I was 50lbs overweight, a three pack-a-day cigarette smoker, workaholic and food junkie. My life was miserable.

Because of my addictions and bad choices, I had damaged my body enough that the result was the heart attack. I was a husband and father of 5 children and because of those addictions and bad choices, I almost made my wife a widow and left my children without a father.

That night God was gracious enough to give me a 2nd chance at life.  And you know what? I have taken it and run with it. As a result of my transformation, Bill Phillips produced a video documenting my story.

Richard Brown’s Second Chance

Recently I had to give my “heart of the matter” speech to a loved one. It went something like this: 

When I had my heart attack I came to the realization that I had two choices: I could continue my way of life and end up literally killing myself, or I could decide to totally transform my life. Eat healthy, and exercise. Replace negative with positive. Put God first in my life instead of last.

I had to decide that the loved ones in my life were worth living for. I had to decide that my family was worth all the changes that I would make. I had to decide that I was worth all the effort and change.

So…………..What will you decide? Is this the year that you do it, or will you be entangled and lose yourself in the abyss, caught up in the snares of everyday DYING?

The heart of the matter is this:

1. It is your call. You can decide to embark on a new journey.

2. Once you make that decision, there is a ton of support available to help you.

3. There is so much more to the journey than six pack abs and prizes. This is about LIVING. This is about your life and what you are going to do with it!

Are you living to die or are you dying to LIVE?

Richard  Brown

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Using a Hammer when a Telephone would have done the job

The topic of cease and desist letters is an interesting one. It seems that blogs give voice to what people are thinking (but not saying in traditional media) as well as those facts that are known, but not widely published. If a blogger then says what everyone is thinking or reveals a fact that isn’t widely known (and which gets someone’s knickers all twisted up), then there is a possibility of the cease and desist letter. It’s the “I don’t like what you said, so I’m going to do this as a way of complaining.”

They are perhaps a move against “transparency.” ~ Jill Hurst-Wahl

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It was never my intention to speak poorly of Bill Phillips. When people asked me why I was no longer involved with his website, Transformation.com, I wouldn’t talk about it. I knew that I didn’t want to take away from people the possible benefit that they may have gotten from using his program. I knew that people were counting on him to be what he was presenting to the world because I had been in their shoes once upon a time.

My intention was to just start feeling better, to start feeling like myself again. Because I wasn’t speaking about what had been such a big part of my life, I wasn’t able to show up in my world honestly and authentically, something I had worked extremely hard at the previous four years.  That was a major part of the process of losing the 100 pounds and keeping it off, being honest with myself and others.

Since I put my story up on this blog, I’ve had the opportunity to speak with many others who’ve had similar experiences with Bill over the years. For the first time in over a year, I’ve been able to speak freely and  I’ve been able to step back into my community of support. I do feel better. I’ve started to heal from what should have been a truly remarkable experience but alas was not.

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Although he said he would on more than one occasion, Bill has not been in contact with me directly. He personally has not been in contact with any of the people he said he would be in touch with since the main blowup on T.com back in September. His lawyers, however,  have been in contact with at least three of us, in the form of emailed Cease and Desist Letters.

The way I see it, I have several options. I can leave this blog up with all the comments, knowing full well that this is information that others need and want to see so that they will know they are not alone.  If I leave it up the way it is now, I’ll probably be looking at hiring a lawyer. Free speech isn’t free and he’s got the ability to make my life quite uncomfortable. The man’s got millions, and me, well, not so much. He can put a lid on just about any negative information about himself out on the web and now I understand how. 

Second option - I can remove only the comments that the emailed cease and desist letter specifically highlights. 

Third option - I take the blog down entirely and be done with this.  That means the next Michelle Treichel or ***** ***** or ***** ***** or **** *******or ***** ****** or *** ********* (names have intentionally been left off to protect the identities of others that have had similar dealings with BP that I’ve spoken to personally) that goes looking for information to see what kind of a guy Bill Phillips is since they’ve been offered a job working for the man won’t have a clue what he’s been like to so many people. 

If I lived in a world where I had unlimited resources, I could fight for what  is right.  I know what I’d like to do and yes, I know I’ve given too much head and heart space to this already.

My intention was to feel better.  I do feel better.

On Tuesday, November 23 I was advised I have 10 days to cease and desist. From the looks of the email I received, he’s concerned with two particular comments made by one person to Linda’s Guest Blog. 

And to think… all of this could have been taken care of with a simple phone call on Bill’s part. No grandiose gestures.  A simple phone call. 

When Bill said he felt the country could be completely transformed in 10 years—one person at a time – who would have thought he wasn’t including himself?

 

 

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