This challenge totally turned my experience of life around.  I really appreciate all of the support and encouragement I got through John and the other participants in this group.

Going into this challenge, I was feeling like I was "all washed up."  I felt that I had aged and that I was no longer attractive, and less valuable in my work.  I hadn't really attributed it to my fitness level or diet - I just felt that life had slowly turned me into a middle aged woman - lacking a sense of vitality and excitement for life.

I joined the challenge largely because I found out that my dad has cancer.  I tried to talk to him about how he could clean up his diet to heal himself, but he didn't want to hear it.  I knew I wanted to do this for myself as well, so when I heard about the challenge, I decided it would be good to clean up my eating with some support and accountability.  I also got a new job with a fitness app, and had a photoshoot in January to document me doing some of the exercise moves.  I admit that I generally have body image issues, but I was horrified by the videos that were shot of me.  I felt that I'd better find a new career because I was no longer young, fit, or attractive.

We started around Valentines Day, so I was still recovering from the holiday habits, and somewhat triggered by the valentines holiday and feeling depressed and that I had nothing to celebrate.  I even avoided dancing in a Valentines Cabaret show, because I felt embarrassed about the shape of my body.

Right around this time, it became clear that I was going to be going to Australia to launch the new fitness app.  This meant more photo and video shoots were to come.  Through the course of this challenge - my worldview totally shifted.  As my diet got cleaner and I started tackling the challenging workouts, I began to feel more empowered and less depressed.  My energy level became more and more steady, and my mood improved bit by bit.  I was surprised how much stronger I got so quickly, and that I started noticing results immediately.  By the 2nd week of the challenge, I was no longer trudging down the street- I was skipping. I was shocked that I was doing some things that I had told myself I could no longer do because now I was too old (like windshield wipers on the pullup bar).

In the 2nd to 3rd week of the challenge, the results were already totally drastic.  We did another photoshoot for work, and I look completely different than I had a few weeks before.  I look lighter and younger, and even my face looks less inflamed and more vibrant.  These photos and videos are most likely going to be utilized by this app for a long time, so I am really grateful for this improvement.

The most challenging part for me through this whole process was the sleeping.  I have been preparing to go halfway around the world, sublease my apartment, work extra hours, travel, find a new place to live in Australia, and launch a new fitness app.  Sleeping is like a luxury.  It actually really helped to know that I need to sleep to be successful at the challenge, but I admit that I often struggled to get over 6 hours a night, and there were a couple of stints where I got less than 4 for several days in a row.  I do believe that I would have had even better results if I would have had more rest.

I feel like I have reversed my age by 10 years.  I am living in Australia in a house with a bunch of 20 something girls, and I feel totally confident about my body even when they are complaining about theirs.  I have even worn some tops that show my midriff that I never would have dared to wear feeling that I was fat and old at age 37.  I have been going to the gym just for fun, and to play in the weight room.  I have really been enjoying showing off all the skills that I had felt that I had lost.  

Overall, this challenge really turned my view around of how my life is going.   I went from enduring to enjoying my life and my body.  I now feel like I can tackle other challenges, and that I have a lot to be proud of, and grateful for.  I don't even care if I win the money, because I feel like I have already won.  

Thank you John - in all sincerity - this really helped me :)

<3 Alexis Craig

Daniel Luiken