Habits: Like Brushing Your Teeth Everyday

Faye Mellos (52-year-old financial advisor)

It was spring 2008, and I noticed my friend Betty just kept looking better and better every time I saw her. Finally she told me what she was doing in hopes that I could get my extremely overweight husband into shape. She had been working with Jerzy and Aniela's Happy Body program. I thought about it and figured if I went first, my husband might then be willing to go, too.

When I first arrived at Jerzy and Aniela's home the first thought that went through my mind was, "This isn't a gym. What's up with this?" First rule when I arrived: Kick off your shoes.

I sat down in the den with Jerzy, Aniela, and a hot cup of tea and started a fantastic journey toward having a happy body. At first the whole idea of The Happy Body sounded so trite, but I have to say after about 30 days of light weight lifting and eating right, my body started talking back to me. If I ate food that was not "good fuel" for me, my body let me know. If I ate the right food, I really felt like my body was "happy."

The weight lifting and stretching is a whole other issue. At first I thought, "How stupid is this to do 30 minutes of light weights and stretches? Dumb, dumb, dumb." But I kept reminding myself that Betty looked great, and every time I saw her she seemed a little younger. So, I thought, for the money and time I should just suck it up, and do it. If it didn't work I could quit at anytime.

A year before meeting Jerzy and Aniela I had purchased a road bike and spent 3 days each week in an endurance cycling class, riding two hours per session. I thought I was in pretty good shape, except that during that year of regular endurance cycling I gained 8 pounds and damaged one of my knees to the point where I could hardly walk. I knew that this was not working, but what else could I do?

It is funny when I think about it all. The endurance cycling center had a lot of sophisticated machines to hook you up to after each 3-month session and give you your percentage of body fat and level of endurance. It was all very impressive, and I never questioned what the trainers said or told me to do.

The first day of The Happy Body program Jerzy pulled out a bikini and said: "Put it on; time for pictures." I was horrified but went along. He measured a few places on my body, took my pictures, and ended up with the exact same results as the high-tech gadgets at the cycling club.

After a week of light lifting for only 30 minutes, listening to music afterwards for 5 minutes, and giving up the guilt of not going to the gym, I dropped both my gym and my endurance cycling memberships. I did not feel guilty doing it, as I knew then that I didn't need those memberships to be strong and healthy. Basically, all I needed were a few free weights, some space on the floor, and I was in business.

I went from a tight size 12 to a perfect size 6 in just 9 months and I'm currently holding steady. I have been at this weight many times before but never at this size. I am toned and feel very strong. It just goes to show that a happy body is not always a skinny body.

My body and level of fitness has changed from what I thought was not so bad to very good. I still have a ways to go, but I don't feel the frenzy of having to do it all today. One of the first things that stuck with me was when Jerzy told me, "This will become a habit, like brushing your teeth." He was right. Now if I don't lift everyday, something feels out of synch. I feel just like I would if I didn't brush my teeth.

I am not perfect yet, but I trust myself that I will eventually get there and reach my goal. I have all the tools I need right in my own home.

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