Bill Phillips’ #Transformation Program—Chapter One (The Base and Summit)


Now it’s your turn.

1. Introduction—The Mountain-Climbing Metaphor

Bill Phillips comes from Colorado, so it is no mystery why he chose mountains as his metaphor for the journey you must go on in order to experience Transformation of one’s body.  He talks about how his Dad’s taking his family on mountain climbing treks was his way of transmitting “life lessons” on to them.  This is the reason for the “base and summit” title of this first chapter of his book which outlines the 1st week of the Transformation program.

I’m somewhat envious of his mountain-climbing adventures when he was younger, because I was born in Illinois which is very flat. However, the key life lessons he learned from his trips with his father are applicable to anyone who is undergoing a major personal project:

2. Life Lessons from mountain climbing and their application to Transformation

Life Lesson

Application to Transformation

1 Know your base and summit Admit the reality of where you are, visualize where you want to get to
2 Never climb alone Join a Transformation group for moral support
3 Know that you will face setbacks Do not blame yourself, start seeing mistakes as lessons learned
4 Don’t hold on to fear—let it go Fear should be seen as a traveling companion, and not someone blocking the way
5 Good old-fashioned hard work There is no “magic”, just the miraculous transformation that comes one week at a time

Let me talk a little bit about these “life lessons” that Bill describes briefly in his book and relate my understanding of them from the first time I did the program last fall.

I think the first one, from which he takes the title of the chapter, is very important. If you want to lose weight, you probably already have admitted the reality of your situation to some degree. But you need to explore it in its physical, mental, and emotional ramifications to REALLY tap into your motivations. And visualizing where you are going is VERY important, especially in those times when you face adversity (see lesson 3).

The second lesson is really where Transformation differs from Body for Life, his previous, wildly successful fitness program. There is some point later on in the book where Bill identifies the reason for this program. He was doing comparison of various types of diets and seeing which one did better overall in terms of results. Buried in a footnote was the observation that the one factor that was common among all diets was the fact that those who were in a support group along with the diet experienced significantly greater weight-loss results than those who tried to “go it alone.” Hence, the creation of the online Transformation community.

The third one is the realist portion of the mindset for this type of journey. Yes, focusing on your success is important, but if adversity comes you need to deal with. If something knocks you off your exercise schedule, get back on the horse first and then figure out what went wrong. And don’t make those mistakes that you made something to feel guilty over, but rather see them as lessons learned that will point you further in the direction of your eventual success.

The fourth one is to realize that fear on taking up anything new and challenging is normal. Aristotle once said that the brave man is not the one who doesn’t feel fear; he is the one who feels fear and yet still musters up the courage to go in and fight anyway. Fear has to become something which rather than paralyzes you and prevents you from moving forward into something that is domesticated that ends up accompanying you on your journey, like a rabid wolf that challenged man in his early years who then became his faithful companion.

Finally, old-fashioned work is what will get you there. This is probably one of the things some people don’t want to hear: hey, doc, give me a pill that will cure my ill! But the trick here is to plan the work, and the workouts, and then work the plan. It takes 21 days or 3 weeks to establish a new habit. After 18 weeks of this program, the habit will establish a new you.

3. Base and Summit (challenge exercise)

For those who want to take the Transformation challenge, go to the Transformation.com website and sign up—it’s free!

For the first week, you will be going into analyzing the base (where you are) and the summit (where you want to be in 18 weeks). Here are the elements you need to explore:

Elements Base (now) Summit (18 weeks from now)
Heart and Soul Give 3 heartfelt reasons for making the decision to Transform your health and life Give 3 changes you will have made that show you’re aligned with what’s important to you
Emotions Give 3 most predominant inner feelings you are experiencing related to your health and life Give 3 most predominant inner feelings you will be experiencing related to your health and life
Mindset Give 3 patterns of beliefs which may have limited your ability to change in the past Give 3 new patterns of beliefs which expand your ability to make healthy changes for the better
Body Give 3 objectively verifiable statements which reflect your physical condition Give 3 objectively verifiable statements which will describe the new and improved condition of your body

This is one of these “open mode” exercises where you have to give yourself an hour to do the exercise in such a way as to get to your inner motivations. Once having done that, however, you can refer to this “road map” again and again. I recommend actually printing it out and putting it by your computer, or your refrigerator or if you prefer.

I’m starting the program itself tomorrow. I find that doing the preparation on Sunday, the day which is normally the “day off” in terms of both exercise and diet, is the best way to get all the paperwork done and to have time for these motivational challenge exercises.

I hope that those reading this will realize that they are worth doing something this good for themselves.

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