Now Theyre Loving Life

Fred and Renée Scurti, from Parker, Colorado, were doing "okay"—or so they thought. Fred was making a good living as a manager for a computer company, and Renée was working even harder raising their four children. But they, like many other people who have accepted my challenge, were merely surviving, rather than thriving.

Their wake-up call came one afternoon last fall as Fred was standing in a grocery store checkout line thumbing through magazines. He picked up a copy of my publication and was struck by the before and after stories and photos of men and women who had completed my 12-week Program.

"At first I was skeptical," says Fred. "I couldn't imagine that kind of change happening in as little as 12 weeks. But all those pictures—there must have been 50 or 60 of them—I figured they couldn't be fake. I thought to myself, 'There's gotta be something to this.'"

Fred raced home. Excited to show Renée, he pulled out the magazine and said, "We've got to do this." Renée, too, was awestruck by the transformations. She took one look at Fred and replied, "Let's go for it."

"That decision was one of the most important of our lives. I'd been in bad shape for a long time," explains Fred. "Fifteen years ago, when I was in my early twenties, I was in pretty good condition, but a back injury changed that."

Fred drastically geared back his level of activity. The only exercise he allowed himself was the occasional jog or bike ride. But he kept eating as he always had. Slowly, but surely, year after year, he covered himself with layer upon layer of fat.

"I felt terrible, physically and emotionally. I was constantly depressed. I remember thinking for the first lime in my life, maybe I should just accept the fact I wasn't meant to be in good shape. I mean, I was exercising once in a while, eating a low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet, but I kept sinking into worse and worse shape. And I couldn't understand why.

"My kids were getting to the age where they wanted to start doing strenuous things—mountain biking, hiking, soccer—and I couldn't keep up. I was miserable. I knew I could do better as a father, as a husband, as a person."

Renée was in no better condition than her husband.

"As a wife and mother, somebody else's needs were always in front of mine," she says. "I never gave much thought to my own physical well-being."

After accepting the challenge, the couple took pictures of themselves—not an easy thing to put themselves through, as they discovered.

"I'll never forget the big day we went to pick up those developed pictures," says Renée. "We sat in the car and pulled out the photographs . . . our jaws just dropped. We just... well, you just don't look at yourself like that. . . not when you look the way we looked. I mean, there we were, in living color. But as painful as looking at those pictures was, it definitely lit a spark and motivated us to get started—now."

With four kids and Fred's full-time job, finding both the time and the place to work out together was a challenge.

"Trying to juggle everyone's schedule—Renée's, the kids', and mine—to work out a way to get to the gym, we just couldn't seem to do that. And there was no question that Renée and I were going to work out together. We were in this together."

Their solution was to fashion their own "transformation studio" in their basement. "Some free weights, a bench, just the basics," says Fred. Their workout time became the early morning, before the kids woke up, or in the evening, after the kids went to bed around eight o'clock.

"I was concerned that I just wouldn't have the energy to fit this into my life. I was already so tired all the time. But I soon found out that once I got over the initial hump of being very worn out in the very beginning, 1 had 10 times the energy 1 ever had before. Getting up an hour early was not a problem at all. As a matter of fact, it happened without even setting an alarm."

"The beauty of doing everything at home," says Renée, "was that we didn't have to depend on anyone else but ourselves. If we failed, it was going to be our fault, and no one else's."

That took care of the exercise side of the program. As for changing their eating habits, it was Fred who had the biggest concerns.

"I thought at first that I was gonna be starving on some kind of diet with this Program. But I soon saw how wrong I was. We went from eating three times a day to eating six times a day. We were never hungry. And we were eating right. It was wonderful. Right away I thought, 'Wow, I can really do this. I can really stick with this.' "

"At first, we didn't tell a soul," says Renée. "But after a couple of weeks, we began to see the changes ourselves. We realized this was something we should be sharing with our friends and family.

"And then it kind of snowballed. Everybody we told became involved with our success. They kept checking up on us, and that made it even more important to succeed. We didn't want to let anyone down."

"Commitment," says Fred. "That was one of the main reasons we decided to do this together. I knew if I quit, I was quitting on Renée as well. And I knew that as long as she was in on it, I was in on it, too."

"It starts with being in shape, getting physically fit," says Fred. "But the end result is something totally different, far beyond that. It's how you feel about yourself. The level of your confidence."

"I don't mean to sound too melodramatic," explains Renée, "but when you change your life like this, it has a ripple effect on everyone else around you. Because I feel better about myself, my children feel better about themselves."

"Renée always had confidence and a strong personality," says Fred. "But now she's more confident. She's happier, and she radiates that happiness throughout our home. I notice it. The children notice it. It's just changed everything about how we feel as a family.

"Our relationship now is night and day from what it was before. We've been married for 15 years, but we've never done anything like this before. Together we lost 98 pounds of fat (Fred lost 57 and Renée lost 41 ) in just over three months, and we gained muscle tone, strength, and energy.

"We accomplished this goal as a team, and that's been wonderful for our relationship," explain Fred and Renée.

"We were doing fine before this. We didn't have any great problems. But I can see now that we were just living life; now we're loving life."

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