Finally… the official before and after photo from 2010

bfl-logoThe craziest thing happened yesterday. I received a message from a couple asking for pointers on how to be successful in the Body For Life challenge. Here is the kicker: They found me on the Body For Life website! Uh… what? I’m on their website? Sheesh! A year later and nobody ever told me!

Well, back when I finished the challenge I promised that if I was a finalist that I would post my official before and after photo. But they didn’t announce finalists last year for some reason. Only the grand prize winners. So I never knew! I tried to get up the courage to post them anyway but I never did. The most I could handle was posting a photo from the waist up in a sports bra.

Well, now that I know the photos have been publicly available over a year now I guess it wouldn’t hurt any worse to share them here. Hopefully I can use it as motivation to stick to my diet while I can’t work out!

So… here they are:


  1. Monica Hughes Said,

    January 13, 2012 @ 12:54 pm

    Karen — incredible transformation. I used to go to Flatirons CrossFit and I remember on my first day watching you pump out some crazy amount of pullups without stopping in the WOD. 🙂 How much time elapsed between those before and after pictures? The Body For Life website insinuates it was only 12 weeks. !? Is that true?

  2. Karen Ramirez Said,

    January 13, 2012 @ 3:47 pm

    Hi Monica! Thanks for the kind words! 🙂

    Yes ma’am. Looking at some of the before and after photos on their website I always used to wonder if people somehow cheated and took longer than they actually said they did. But for me it was exactly 12 weeks to the day between when I was at my heaviest and when I was standing in front of the camera at the end. Actually, a lot of it came off during the last 6 weeks. Hehe. Ever see the transformation of those people on the Biggest Loser? It is AMAZING what you can do in 12 weeks. It seems like forever while you are in it but when it is over you realize its no time at all!

    Do you still do CrossFit?

  3. Monica Hughes Said,

    January 18, 2012 @ 12:59 pm

    Hi Karen — thanks for the response. That’s truly incredible.

    No, CrossFit was too stressful and intimidating. I LOVED just going in for weightlifting club, though. I may pick up CrossFit again at some point but I was worried about injury at the time due to lack of health insurance. I’m doing SuperSlow Zone now and have had anywhere from 50-150% increase on the ability of weight I can lift in just 10 weeks, depending on the movement. And while I haven’t lost any weight, I’m predominantly fast twitch and my BF percentage is going down, so that’s all I care about.

    I have done paleo for 3 years but it did nothing for my body composition. I would say my body comp and weight are similar to what yours were in your before pics. For me the key is definitely exercise. (I mean, I am sure I would probably weigh about 200 lbs. if I was eating grains, dairy and sugar, but it won’t solve 100% of the problem for many people. Food is not even 50% of the problem for me.)

    I have a lot of other food intolerances (mostly plants besides grains) and GI problems I am currently working out. But so much has improved in the last three months on the diet and exercise front. So, things are looking up for me! It’s great.

  4. Karen Ramirez Said,

    January 20, 2012 @ 8:11 am

    I really believe it is a life long process of trying different things and finding what works for you in the present moment.

    I find Paleo in combination with portion control works pretty well for my personal performance but at the time of this challenge I had never heard of it. For BFL I sort of followed their diet. I had potatoes, dairy, rice, oatmeal. The key was finding the perfect combination of exercise, what I ate, how much. And, of course, the motivation to be consistent (a constant struggle for me). At that time, the ‘how much’ proved just as important or more than the ‘what’. I found the sweet spot and used the challenge as motivation to keep it going.

    I have never heard of SuperSlow Zone but I am looking into it out of curiousity. Congrats on your successes with it and I will be interested to hear updates on your progress! 🙂

  5. Monica Hughes Said,

    January 23, 2012 @ 10:26 am

    If you are currently incapacitated because of your knee or shoulder situation, you might check them out to keep up your strength. They are in Denver Tech center. Not the most convenient location for me, but I do 2 1/2 hour workouts twice weekly. Honestly, it’s harder than CrossFit in some ways: I am completely wiped out afterward, just like I was with CrossFit. The program was originally an outgrowth of physical rehab. All the machines are Nautilus or MedX… so there’s zero risk of injury. Zero.

    Totally agree on portion control, and it’s interesting that you were eating those things. I still eat potatoes and rice and think the risk of some of these non-paleo foods is overstated. Unfortunately, I find that avoiding the so-called “neolithic” foods hasn’t done much for me outside of alleviating my digestive symptoms. I mean, that’s great, but the so-called “80% of the problem is diet and just eliminating bad foods” hasn’t been the case for me. I think that can be the case for really overweight people. For people who have never been truly obese, portion control can be crucial.

    Ironically, added salt and fat are real triggers for me to overeat. The lowcarb people don’t have problems with salt and fat. (I was never a sugarholic, anyway.) I can limit added salt and fat and I find myself around 30% from each macronutrient each day, sometimes more from carbohydrate. And that makes no difference in my weight whatsoever. What has made a dramatic difference for me in the past is increasing my lean protein intake and not adding salt and fat to foods. At that time I was eating quite a bit of fruit, ironically! So I need to get back on that portion control/calorie counting wagon.

    Your transformation is nothing short of incredible. I never would have guessed you weren’t a hardcore athlete your entire life.

  6. Karen Ramirez Said,

    January 23, 2012 @ 10:42 am

    To be clear, I pretty much WAS a hard core athlete all my life. Til I whisked away to Europe for work and let it go completely. 2-3 hour dinners every night and most of my days spent in front of a computer. The athlete in you remains but the body goes quickly if you don’t take care of it. See those former Olympic athletes on the Biggest Loser? It can get bad fast if you don’t take care of yourself.

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