Dani W.

# of Challenges: 4

I had always assumed I was around 275 pounds. In September of 2017, I decided to find out for sure. I stood on the scale and watched it spit out a number: 307. I all but gave up on myself and the prospect of ever living with a healthy body weight.

Honestly, I didn’t think I could do [the Whole Life Challenge]. After months of my friend’s relentless persistence, I was convinced to give it a shot. I knew I could do anything for just a handful of weeks. After my first challenge and 37 pounds, I realized the Challenge was never meant to be just a few weeks out of my life. It was meant to kick-start a new way of living.

The biggest life win was losing 110 pounds since September 2017.

Going up and down the steps at work, I used to be out of breath at the top and I’m not anymore. And travel—I fit into a seat in the airplane now. Once I had to get a seat belt extension. It was really embarrassing. Now there’s plenty of room and I don’t spill into another seat.

I’m not anything special. … It’s just hard work and determination. I was someone who thought I couldn’t do it at one point, but now I believe I can make life changes. I feel empowered. If I can do this, I can do anything.” Read more about Dany’s story…

“I was born and raised in Southern California—young and thin and in shape most of my life. In my mid-40s I was sick for a year and gained 120 pounds. One day I took a good look in the mirror and knew I had to do something.

I lost all the weight in a year’s time with Weight Watchers, but I slowly started gaining weight again when I hit my mid-50s. I was obsessed. I ate when I wasn’t hungry. I ended up gaining 100 pounds. I didn’t want to go out of the house. I could hardly get out of my chair.

Then my work started a wellness program with the Whole Life Challenge. Even though this wasn’t a competition, my older sister was joining so, of course, I had to show her up.

I was very optimistic, though I wasn’t sure I could give up sugar or cheese. But each Challenge got easier. I lost 18 pounds my first Challenge. I couldn’t believe it. I knew at that point that I would join many Challenges to come. I have approached every one as if my life depended on it. I was seeing a huge difference—in my body, my mind, and my everyday life. Aches and pains disappeared, my asthma is much better, and I can bend over and tie my shoes. I can even cross my legs again. LOL.

When I bought new clothes. people were like, ‘Wow, you look amazing.’ I am now down 80 pounds and only have 20 more to go. My cholesterol has gone down tremendously. I passed my last physical with flying colors. I’ve gone from a size 22 to a size 12. My confidence is through the roof. My marriage is better. My outlook on life is so different now. I feel and look like a new woman.

WLC has changed my life. I’ve learned that I can do anything I set my mind to.”

Kathy G., 60

Ohio, USA
# of Challenges: 9

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Hilary K., 55

Fort Worth, TX
# of Challenges: 1

“As I was taking a 12-hour drive home from New Mexico to Texas, I happened upon a podcast with Andy Petranek, Co-Founder of the Challenge. What he was describing—these seven habits—were exactly what I’ve been yearning for. He wasn’t describing Mt. Everest, he was talking about baby steps, he was talking about grace. I thought, ‘I could do this.’

Running and dancing used to be like breathing to me. Now, facing 55, after injuries, life getting in the way, and losing my mom to lung cancer, I wondered why it was so difficult to stick to a plan. I used to have discipline. What happened?

Why am I believing it is okay to be inflexible, to live with auto-immune symptoms, to NOT run, to NOT dance? To NOT make a choice for better.

Looking at my mom’s life choices as I watched her struggle in her last days, I thought, ‘This ends with me.’ I want to create a legacy of health for my family. I am not gone yet. I can choose. I can run. I can dance.

My awareness of each of these seven challenges each day went from scary to liberating. I am now eating foods that strengthen where I am at in life. I am nurturing my well-being. I pause each day to reflect on how I care for myself.

I learned to give myself the grace to sleep, and learned what my body needs. I saw my muscles waking up…they forgave me for the years of neglect, and started to show definition and range of motion I hadn’t experienced in years. It filled me up to want to do more. I can have victory in my health.”

“I was not a very healthy person. I ate all sorts of junk food and consumed mass quantities of bad beverages… sodas and beers, mainly. When I was at my worst, I was at 242 lbs. and 5′ 9″ tall when I was 34 years old. I could not seem to get the nutrition right. I tried Weight Watchers, bought “Body for Life”, Jenny Craig. Then someone told me about the Whole Life Challenge. That changed my life… Its nutrition guide has worked best for me. I have just finished my ninth WLC. I’ve been doing it now for about three years—I really appreciate all that WLC has done for me.”

Rich E., 50

Chicago, IL
# of Challenges: 9

Walter M., 35

New Jersey, USA
# of Challenges: 1

“I’ve been struggling with weight loss since I was 15. I’ve done every diet under the sun. A few years ago, I started having stomach problems and ballooned up to almost 242 lbs. Going to a paleo-style diet…I lost about 20 lbs over the course of the year, with no exercise, [but] I was still missing something. Got back up to 230 and started again.

I saw [Food TV Chef] Richard Blais was starting a Whole Life Challenge team… and this time I knew I was ready! I took the Whole Life Challenge and restarted my passion for cooking and planning healthy meals and mental focus. It has really changed my perspective. … Having a community and camaraderie is key. It was something I always missing in everything I tried. I thrive when I have a common goal with others. I took this challenge to heart and really poured my heart into the process. My rewards were priceless. My mental fitness has never been stronger, which helped my self-esteem and emboldened my dedication.”

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Kirstin L., 36

Wisconsin, USA
# of Challenges: 4

“I did my fourth Whole Life Challenge this summer. I wasn’t initially planning to sign up again, as I was entering my third trimester of pregnancy and wanted to just chill. Then I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes days before the sign-up deadline. I was super discouraged and my sister suggested that we sign up together. [Well], I am a few weeks out from having my second baby and weigh 10 lbs. less than I did at this stage of my first pregnancy. I am much more mobile, have good energy, and have been getting better sleep than at this stage last time.

I would never have thought to do WLC during pregnancy, but I’m so glad I did. It also made the gestational diabetes feel more like an opportunity than a burden.”

“My son introduced us to the Whole Life Challenge about 8 years ago. My husband and I have always lived a healthy lifestyle but the WLC helped us take it up a notch.

It was a real family effort. I was even more motivated to make changes in my activities of daily living, especially related to nutrition and exercise, as my husband had just had cardiac surgery for heart disease. Even though we have always been careful about what we ate and exercised regularly, we knew it was time to step it up.

When the next Challenge began, three of my children were visiting us for my 80th birthday, which was just after my husband had his quadruple bypass surgery. My husband was in early recovery from his surgery, but my children and I began the challenge together.

They were all helpful and inspiring in different ways. My son has a lot of dedication to his exercise program, while his sister has recently changed her diet to vegan along with two of her children. My daughter-in-law found good programs online for all of us to do. It was a team effort.

Now my husband is in cardiac rehab at our local hospital. We are walking together as well as eating a more plant based diet. Thanks WLC.”

Goldie W., 80
Florida/Colorado, USA

“I used to get a chocolate croissant every time I went to Starbucks before work—3-4 days per week. When I did the WLC in 2012, that was the one thing that was very challenging for me, but I did it… I didn’t eat a single chocolate croissant during [the entire challenge]. This completely broke my habit still to this day. Now whenever I get one, it’s because it’s a treat, not an addiction!”

Emily S., 30

Los Angeles, CA
# of Challenges: 12 or 13

Angela A., 63

Georgia, USA
# of Challenges: 7

I have yo-yo dieted for decades and the pattern has been very consistent, regardless of the diet: all-in with frenzied determination and a lack of any kind of a sustainable eating plan. Getting close to my goal, stopping, and then over the following months, regaining the weight and sometimes more. The feelings of frustration and failure were always sharp and painful.

Back in the fall of 2017, Outside Magazine offered up a chance to join the WLC in January 2018—I jumped on it.

I was a high energy person before the Challenge, but about halfway through the first Challenge, I was amazed by the surge in energy I felt. My friends commented that I certainly didn’t need more energy, but I lead a very active life, so I was happy to have it!

I have felt for the first time in my life that I am putting some very important parts of myself first, and it feels great.

Could I successfully continue on my own at this point? Probably so, but the WLC changed my life in such an awesome way I want to continue to support it and the people trying to navigate their way through this powerful, life-changing challenge.

And by the way, my manager’s meeting treats that used to consist of cookies, cakes or donuts are now fruit bowls, and they love it!”

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“My husband invited me to do the Challenge with him and I wanted to encourage him toward a healthier life, so I said yes! Because of the WLC, I now exercise and stretch every single day. This was huge for me mentally. I am a Head of School, and the job is stressful. The exercise each day has been so beneficial for my attitude. What’s more, doing the challenge with my husband brought us closer together after 22 years of marriage. It got us exercising together, comparing recipes and communicating more, which is always good.”

Patty E., 50

Chicago, IL
# of Challenges: 1

Robin L., 62
Oregon, USA
# of Challenges: Many

“I always feel successful with each Whole Life Challenge. I like the six-weeks-on and six-weeks-off regimen. Truth be told I am eating a small bowl of ice cream with peppermint sauce on top as I type this. I love food. Thus far it has prevented me from having to be on medication for blood sugar, as I have been pre-diabetic for my adult life.

The longer I can keep myself on track—during the WLC while following closer to the same regimen even in the off-seasons—and enjoying the camaraderie of great teams, the longer I can stay drug free, and hopefully forever.”

“I didn’t expect much from the Challenge, actually. A friend sprung it on me two days before it started. All I knew at the time was I needed to make a change and I liked that the WLC didn’t demand I drink a gallon of water a day…which was the hot thing to do at the time.

I didn’t expect to be so successful. I didn’t feel different until I ate something non-compliant or didn’t go to yoga that week. Then I felt it. It was the first before and after photo comparison that sold me. My clothes seemed to fit the same, but seeing that first photo made all the difference. I stayed pretty strict for the first off-season, and by the time I finished my second Challenge, it had been 24 weeks total and I had lost a total of 30 lbs., I looked strong due to yoga, and I was completely off my blood pressure medication. Couldn’t have asked for more.”

Christina H.

Kansas, USA
# of Challenges: About 6

Crystal R.
Santa Fe, NM
# of Challenges: 10+

“One year, early in my participation I decided to go all-out and really adhere to the highest level. As a result, I was able to surpass my goal of losing 100 lbs.—which I had been working on for years but couldn’t quite reach.

The thing I least expected…is how I have opened up to life. So many things that seemed impossible are now possible. So I have had the opportunity to consider … If I didn’t think health or fitness—I mean I pulled a damn pick up truck—was possible… What other things are possible?!?!

[I discovered that] it takes following through all the way…and BAM! ALL the work finally shows up.”

“It was Christmas of 2017 when I decided to do the Challenge. I had not been happy with my blood work—for a while—and my recent vegan diet wasn’t enough. My mom had done the Challenge in 2015, so I figured we’d try it together.

My mom was experiencing dramatic results. It was not about exercise, losing weight, or having better blood work. For her, it was about a whole body feeling—and learning habits like meditation, sleep, and mobility were changing her emotional, spiritual, and physical self. Problems like anxiety that she suffered from most of her life were becoming more manageable without medication.

It was in the Fall Challenge that I saw all the work that we put in during the year come to fruition. I was eating much better, exercising, and, most of all, feeling better!

A big unexpected win that actually became a goal during the Challenge was that I got off thyroid medication. I had been on medication for 7 years and after the Fall Challenge, I did blood work and found my numbers to be good enough to drop my medication! I think even my doctor was surprised.

Even in the off-season of the Challenge, we continue to maintain many of the habits. That is the goal of the WLC — to turn these seven daily habits into life-long habits.”

Michelle K.

New York, USA
# of Challenges: 4

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Heather C.

# of Challenges: 1

“My biggest success has been healthier habits. I have been sober from alcohol for 7 1/2 months. It was very hard at first. Staying busy made it easier, however, I didn’t want to fill my time with other equally bad habits. That’s where the WLC came in. I wanted to have a healthier, happier, and overall better life. I replaced a bad, and very destructive, habit with seven positive and healthy habits. It has been an amazing journey.

The most unexpected win is the happiness that has resulted from the changes that I’ve made. I have struggled with anxiety for years. Yet, I have not had any anxiety or panic attacks since I started the Challenge. My mood is lighter and more positive. It’s unbelievable how much better I feel.

The biggest hurdle was realizing that I’m worth it and taking the time I need to take care of myself. I did the Lifestyle level and even though I very rarely exercised more than 10 minutes, I still lost almost 10 pounds!”

Stacy H.

Candace T.

# of Challenges: 3

I had beautiful twins in 2015. The lack of sleep and dedication of every waking minute to my little ones left little time for me. I was not able to keep up and take time to prepare healthy meals. In January of 2018, I got on the scale and realized I weighed 184 lbs. I was able to lose 30 lbs. on my own, but I hit a plateau and wasn’t sure what I would do to get to my goal weight of 140 lbs. when a friend introduced me to the Whole Life Challenge.

Whole Life afforded me with the accountability I needed and incorporated a whole-person approach. It was not about restriction, but about eating healthy clean foods.

I currently weigh 127 lbs. and have lost 9 inches off my waist and 5 inches off my hips. But more importantly I feel stronger, have more energy, and more confidence! I just completed my third challenge and feel stronger than I ever have. 

Thank you Whole Life for changing my life!”

I suffered  a stroke 9 years ago. This left me partially paralyzed on my right side. Thank God I am left-handed! I’m coming up on my fifth challenge—It has really helped me to expand my physical and mental abilities. We were already eating healthy and had made many lifestyle changes. This program has just upped my game! I enjoy being on a team with others, but the main reason to do this is to make improvements daily, weekly, and ongoing—for myself!”

Diane I., 68

Delaware, USA
# of Challenges: 4

Julie K., 53

San Diego, CA
# of Challenges: 1

I am a 53-year-old single mom. Five years ago I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and post-menopause. My health went into a deep decline almost overnight—intense fatigue, total body weakness, burning muscles, headaches, and hot flashes. I had to stop working and couldn’t get out of bed. After several months I was so desperate to get back on my feet that I went for antidepressants to help me return to work.

After two years, I was 45 pounds heavier and numb to the world around me. Each time I tried to get off the meds, I would get very sick and the fatigue and muscle pain returned, taking me out of work again. My doctor advised I would need to be on the medication for the rest of me life.  I wasn’t going to settle for that nonsense. The path was long and slow but I took it one…step…at…a…time.  

By the time I found the Whole Life Challenge, I was off the medication for 6 months and had lost 20 lbs. I started working with the [Whole Life Challenge] daily routine that helped me stay on track with a very easy pattern to follow. I learned that not every day is going to be perfect. I developed a much healthier lifestyle. After my experience with WLC, I have the confidence to continue moving forward to reach my goals for better health.”

“This Challenge was really appealing because it doesn’t just focus on nutrition, but your life as a whole. Before the Challenge, I would feel bloated, sluggish, and just plain heavy, but each week I felt lighter, the bloating went away, and I felt more and more confident in my body. The weekly well-being challenges were so fun as well, and really made each week exciting. Focusing on mental health, rest and relaxation, and mobility was also a huge bonus and contributed to a much happier self.

Leah T., 30

Tennessee, USA
# of Challenges: 1

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