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Bill Phillips’ Transformation: An Insider’s Perspective

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During the first of the year, many individuals make New Year's resolutions. I am no different. My resolution this year was to lose weight and get in better shape for my overall health to increase my self-confidence and, to be honest with you, to look better in a bikini.

About ten years ago, I happened to discover, quite by accident, a book called Body for Life, by Bill Phillips. I had never done weight training, never read a muscle magazine, and frankly, was not too impressed with all those body-building competitions where the participants had enormous veins popping out all over and many of the women looked more masculine than feminine. That just wasn't my thing.

Sadly, what was my thing, was a problem with emotional eating, a lack of exercise, and a lack of any knowledge of what I should or shouldn't be eating, nutritionally. At 5'6", I had been fortunate to have been blessed with a decent metabolism, a small waist, and a seemingly pretty face, according to others. However, Body for Life forced me to really take a good look at myself and where I was physically.

My weight in ten years had jumped from 125 to 149 pounds. I refused to allow that scale to hit 150. I was wearing blazers year round (tough to do in South Louisiana) to hide my big rear end, and tried to avoid going anyplace where people I had gone to church or school with would see me. I would grocery shop across town and avoid Wal-Mart and the local mall like the plague. I became almost reclusive.

I followed the instructions and advice set forth in this relatively straightforward, easy-to-read, national best seller, and Body for Life changed me physically from a ladies size 8-10 to a 4 in a mere 12 weeks. Among other things, I learned that weight training makes women lean and toned. The stereotypes of women training with weights ending up looking unfeminine and really bulked up are completely untrue. By following a tried and true cardio and weight training program and by eating a low fat and healthy carb diet, with a free day each week to eat whatever I wanted, I reached my goals. Chocolate cake and pepperoni pizza, check. McDonald's Filet-o-Fish and a hot apple pie, sure. On a side note, I was thrilled to give every blazer I owned away!

Fast forward ten years. Like many, I have fluctuated with my weight over the last ten years, but I have never gone back to where I was prior to Body for Life. Thank you, Bill Phillips, for showing me the way. However, I found that I would follow the program temporarily, for a relationship I was in or for a commercial shoot or TV hosting gig, and then, for some reason, when the relationship was over or the job was over, I'd treat myself with bad, but tasty, food choices and slack off on exercise. I was riding this unhealthy roller coaster of ten pounds up and down and up and down. I'd miss a lot of commercial work, because my weight wasn't consistent and auditions tend to come up when you least expect them.

I needed help, so I Googled Bill Phillips and found out he had created a new program called "Transformation." Since he had more than 20 years of experience as the "go to guy" for numerous celebrities and professional athletes who desired healthy lifestyle changes and getting in the best shape of their lives, I knew I was in the right place. The mantra of the program, according to the website was, "Making healthy changes in our lives so we can make a difference in the lives of others."

A transformation seemed to be just what I needed to kickstart my 2010, so I joined at www.transformation.com and was pleased to see that it was free of charge. I went in "undercover," as a full-time school teacher and part-time TV host (I am both of those things), but my real plan was to blog about my transformation experience.

One of the first things you can't help but notice about the website are the profiles of challengers. "Challengers" are those individuals who join with the intention of completing the program. I became a challenger. The term challenger seems to conjure up images of fierce competitiveness, but there was none of that to be found. Rather, there was this amazing sense of camaraderie. The challengers weren't competing against one another. In reality, they were competing against themselves, which was refreshing. Every profile would have positive and encouraging comments to and from various challengers. The site also has active members who are former champions and several people who have various coach titles. Even Bill Phillips himself is active. Challengers may even find a special note of encouragement from him on occasion.

A new book entitled Bill Phillips, Transformation by Phillips is due out in June of this year, and I wanted to know if I could complete this transformation, while experiencing lifelong results, this time around. What was different about this program?

According to Phillips, "Things won't change by waiting on the same old bureaucratic system to come through. The solution is up to us. It's our opportunity. We must '…be the change we want to see in the world,' as the Hindu spiritual leader Mahatma Gandhi so profoundly stated. We'll only change the big picture by accepting responsibility for the problem and rising up to the challenge as individuals. Our personal transformation becomes the message, the example, and the inspiration which helps our families, our societies, our nations, and our world."

In mid-January, I began my quest to discover the secrets behind "Transformation."

Immediately upon my posting a profile photo, various challengers offered thoughtful and encouraging comments on my profile page for the world to see. Honestly, I've met some of the most wonderful people through this transformation process and many I plan to keep as lifelong friends. Once you know someone's profile name, it's possible to view their profile page without logging in. However, unlike Facebook or Myspace, you won't find inappropriate, naughty or rude comments. Amazingly, you will only find positive ones. Many challengers even offer spiritual verses or prayers on your behalf when you tell them you are struggling.

Bill Phillips makes it known that people of all religions, beliefs, races and cultures are welcome. Transformation does not discriminate. Everyone is welcome. The unity among the challengers seems to be found in the fact that all of the participants have their own hurts and obstacles to overcome. Yet as a whole, they compassionately set their own hurts aside to provide comfort and encouragement to other challengers. It's akin to the family you always wanted.

Upon registering as a challenger and learning to maneuver around the transformation.com site, I learned about the assignments. My first thought was, "Ughhh — homework." Rather than a twelve-week program, as Body for Life had been, "Transformation" is an eighteen-week program. The challenge is broken down into weekly assignments with an emphasis on "progress and not perfection," as Bill Phillips put it on one challenge.

Eighteen weeks seems like a long time, but after a few weeks' delay using every possible procrastination excuse I could find, I did Assignment One. Wow! What an eye opener. Assignment one really made me dig deep. According to the site, "This week, Bill challenges you to reveal the truth about where you are now, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. He then helps you set goals."

One of the questions asked me to discuss three values I hold deep within my heart.

One of my values was the following: "I value my relationship with my heavenly father, through His son, Jesus Christ. My faith has taken me through some of the lowest points in my life when I've wanted to just give up and life just didn't seem worth living. My faith has sustained me when I was in relationships that completely cut me off from family and friends and put my life in danger. My faith has sustained me when I felt completely worthless and used. My faith has given me hope and is the reason I am still here and hopeful, rather than hopeless. My faith gives me a message to share with others who face the darkness, that there is light and hope."

To be quite honest with you, after the first assignment, some personal soul searching, and even a few tears, I could really see what this transformation truly meant. I was going to be transforming myself from the inside out. Only then could I have long-lasting results. I was in the process of valuing, loving and forgiving myself enough to make permanent changes. What a beautiful revelation.

I can't say everything has been easy, but I will say this for "Transformation," it has worked for me so far. I'm currently at week ten and I've gone from 28.7% body fat to 23.4% body fat, which is amazing. I'm not starving myself. I can eat six mini meals spaced throughout the day and I still get a free day once a week. Recipes are available at the site that are pretty tasty, too! Challengers are always offering their recipe advice, as well. I'm working out and I feel great! My clothes are already feeling loose!  Woohoo!

I did have a setback and started over mid-February, because I allowed someone I met on the site to discourage me on a personal level. I must say though, this was an isolated incident and without going into detail, it was addressed. Don't hesitate to get involved in the community. Don't become an island unto yourself, because you just won't achieve the same results without the love, tips and encouragement from the community.

However, for women who are vulnerable, just be on guard that there are certain individuals who may show interest in you on a personal level but do not have your best interest at heart. Exercise caution on the Transformation site, just as you would on any open forum social networking site, especially when you are going through the healing process of many of the exercises and posting them in a public forum.

Overall, my transformation, thus far, has been an incredibly healing and empowering experience. I'll be posting progress pictures on my profile page in the next week. Posting the original ones were pretty humiliating, but a vital step in the process. I challenge you to join me in transforming yourselves, inside and out. You have nothing to lose but fat, fear, and low self-esteem. You will gain strength, confidence, and the ability to truly love yourself and to love others. What a beautiful gift you have given us, Bill Phillips. Thank you.

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About unconventionalpamelakay

  • Caroline West

    Good on you Pamela!

    I think it is really important for people with weight issues to understand its not dieting that works but lifestyle changes.

    Thanks for reminding and inspiring me.
    Caroline

  • unconventionalpamelakay

    My apologies to the punctuation police… I seemingly missed doing my final corrections and revisions, when I cut and pasted my final draft!Eeek!!! Please don’t let my punctuation errors distract you from the positive message of the Transformation process! God bless!;)

  • unconventionalpamelakay

    Thank you, Caroline! I appreciated your encouraging post! xoxo

  • Shonda

    Hey PamelaKay, I can’t tell you how much you have inspired me with your article. What a wonderful feeling to be part of something so great! I would like to be a part of this family too! I can see that you are transforming yourself even more, even after your incident. Remember, what doesn’t kill you will definitely make you stronger:) Be strong and keep up the good work and thanks again for being an inspiration to me!!!

  • joey mc

    Interesting and informative read on the transformation process. Definitely gonna check it out. jmc

  • Lillianne

    I am a transformation participant and I will say… My life has not changed much after I began my transformation journey but I HAVE and that makes me see the world in a different way. I am empowered!

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    “My life has not changed much after I began my transformation journey but I HAVE . . .”

    How do you distinguish the two?

  • Ann P

    I am on a similar journey. Thanks for sharing your experience!

  • robertm

    thanks for sharing your personal journey.I’d like to check out Body for Life and eagerly await the new Transformation book.

  • Theresa

    I had never heard of Bill Phillips when a friend recommended “Transformation”. I was told, “It will change your life.” She gushed on about it so much that I bought a copy without realizing it was mostly a diet and exercise book. From my reading, it seems to be AA meets Catholicism with some Buddhism thrown in, and that’s just not my thing. There was nothing new in the book and the majority of the “assignments” are exercises I learned in Comparative Religion and Psych 101 back in college. I need neither a sponsor nor a confessor, and I find it very difficult to believe that most people don’t regularly take stock of where they are and where they plan to be in the future. Am I really the only person with a regularly re-evaluted five-year-plan? Is it really so hard to figure out what’s good for you and then just do it? I was expecting more.

  • http://www.fullstrengthlife.com Shawn Phillips

    First, Pamela… what a well written and thoughtful sharing here. I wasn’t sure what I was in for coming into it. The thing about Bill, or anyone who consistently stretches and puts himself “out there” is they can be polarizing. And while people who appreciate Bill do so, at times some are less enthusiastic.

    But that’s the name of the game–that’s the risk.

    Like I said though, your words strike me as pure and authentic. I appreciate the words of warning–which are true for every social media location–always watch and be prudent. There are people who aren’t as skillful as others.

    That said, I’m a BIG belief that the power to change, the Strength to Change is found largely in community given that we are social creatures. We do more for the commitment to others than we would ever do for self.

    That’s part of the magic of it.

    I’ll also say as a fitness expert and author my own right, with a vast experience in many areas for psychology and motivation and more… I found myself falling into the trap of “I know this stuff…” and “I don’t need to go through these ‘steps’ to get where I want.”

    I know this defense pattern in myself and I wanted to really embrace the work, the process… and while I didn’t need to lose weight or even change my fitness, the experience of stepping through and addressing my shadows was incredibly freeing and powerful. I invite, no challenge everyone to take this process on… you’re worth it. It’s a true life changing process… or better yet, a Transformation!

    To Your Life @ Full Strength,
    Shawn Phillips

    author : Strength for LIFE, ABSolution
    (Yes and Bill’s brother)

  • http://www.fullstrengthlife.com Shawn Phillips

    To Theresa…

    I appreciate that this is NOT your cup of tea. Fine… well enough. Hopefully the friend who loved it is still someone you respect and you’re able to see where the community and process may be a powerful support for him/her.

    We each have our path… and there is no single answer for everyone. Thank goodness that fact doesn’t make it wrong for that would mean virtually everything is wrong. For it’s not right for all.

    I mentioned before, I’ve found myself in resistance to this process for many reasons–not the least of which it’s my little brother’s words… so try that one on. Ha…

    But I also have such vast experience with feeling into my own resistance and knowing how deeply my ego can protect me from opening.

    Hence, I stepped in any way… expecting nothing but taking it on with openness and without critical inner speak.

    I was more than pleasantly surprised, I was stunned by the vast openness and freeing.

    Transformation isn’t about losing weight, it’s about living lighter and being brighter… what prevents most of us from shining our full brilliance to the world is our shadow, our fears, or secrets…

    And fortunately there’s a very cast body of science and real world “research” that’s proven effective for breaking down these barriers, and helping us reveal our full and true selves with Strength and courage.

    And you’re wise to recognize that much of it does come from 12- steps and some psychology and some religion… but then again any ritual, including brushing your teeth can seen as a “religious ritual” if that’s how we view it in our own lens.

    As for the “nothing new” — you’re right. And with the possible exception of quantum physics is there anything really new in the world? No… you got it.

    Most all life wisdom is recycled… religion is not new, music is borrowed, words rewritten… it’s all about the integration, how the whole works because all the parts are borrowed.

    Yes, on this matter you are absolutely right. Nothing new!

    But as for your comment, “…I find it very difficult to believe that most people don’t regularly take stock of where they are and where they plan to be in the future. Am I really the only person with a regularly re-evaluted…”

    Really? You ask… or believe MOST PEOPLE REGULARLY TAKE STOCK OF THEIR LIVES?

    Seriously?

    I salute you for you deserve applause and recognition for your life precision but I find it very challenging to believe you’re serious.

    No, most people do not take stock. Take a survey, look around. I spend my life working with people in all walks of life and even those most would suspect are living with goals galore are at best faking it along…

    I hope more people live like you… and perhaps Transformation is a gateway some can use to find the Strength, make their way to a brighter, more enlightened future.

    To Your Full Strength,
    Shawn Phillips

  • Kacie

    Dear St. Theresa,

    Believe it or not, you are not the only one with a five year plan. And kudos to you for being self-sufficient and not needing a sponsor or a confessor like the rest of us muckie-mucks. I assume your affinity for posting online is no form of self-confession…

    Kacie – a recovering alcoholic, confessing Roman Catholic who excelled in both comparitive religion and PSY 101, 102, and 201 at the university she attended and graduated from with honors.

  • Bailey

    Theresa,

    Just wondering why your friend would recommend Transformation to you? Doesn’t she know you’ve already got it all together??

  • Chris

    As someone who is well schooled in psychology and human behavior (all the way to a doctorate), I have to say that it is easy to find my way off plan as I move through life. That said, I have recently discovered Bill’s Transformation work and find it ‘nothing new’ but still well done with some really great steps to follow. It has certainly helped me get back on track. I think people should use what works for them, but also recognize my own tendencies to be closed down to things when they can actually be helpful or just what I need. Shawn, thanks for the stuff you have done and your brother too. It’s been helpful to me.

  • JohnnyR

    Wisdom is usually understood before told. Yet so few go through life wise.
    it’s not that I didn’t knew the stuff Bill writes about. It’s the way it’s conveyed. Every time I read stuff from either Bill or Shawn, I get empowered. So I spend some time each day reading online or in old Muscle Media magazines or wherever I can find things that helps me focus on the life I want to live.

    To Bill and Shawn Phillips, thanks.

  • David C

    To the nasty commenters–Always negative comments–they’d rip Jesus if he came back and organized a self-help group. Just appreciate the fact that the guy has helped zillions of people–get a life–you don’t like Bill? then move on and find something to do with your life except criticizing.