Texarkana Gazette - - HEALTH BEAT -

cer, and that stuck out to me be­cause my dad had passed away with can­cer at 58 … and I thought ‘You know I can’t just con­tinue like this.’ I’ve got 17 years left. That how I thought about it, be­cause daddy died at 58.”

In that mo­ment, Lynn de­cided to change her life.

“Some­thing just clicked,” she said.. “I went into the kitchen, and I just cleaned out my re­frig­er­a­tor, cab­i­nets, ev­ery­thing. It was pretty in­tense.”

By the time she was done, she filled three trash bags with junk food.

“I just had a mo­ment. I’d been on ev­ery diet known to man. I’d done the whole thing. You name it, I’d done it. Some­thing just clicked. Look­ing back on it, I think it was a God thing,” Lynn said.

She cut sugar from her diet and ex­pe­ri­enced with­drawals as her body ad­justed to the change.

“I started out just cut­ting sugar cold tur­key, and it was a tough two weeks. It was ter­ri­ble. I felt like I was detox­ing. Phys­i­cally I just felt ter­ri­ble, but once I got over those first weeks things got bet­ter,” Lynn said.

“The fur­ther I got into it, the more I re­al­ized how much sugar was in ev­ery­thing. It’s the fluc­tu­a­tions it causes in our blood sugar … that make us sick. We’re just con­stantly chas­ing it. Our blood sugar drops, and we’re chas­ing it again. … I look at it like a drug at this point. I truly be­lieve it’s like a drug.”

It wasn’t long be­fore Lynn started see­ing re­sults. From Jan­uary 2014 to Au­gust 2014 she lost 74 pounds. She was feel­ing bet­ter than she had in years.

But one key piece in her trans­for­ma­tion was miss­ing—ex­er­cise.

“I had gym clothes in the back of my car be­cause I did carry a gym mem­ber­ship. I had the in­ten­tions of go­ing a cou­ple of times, but I just never did. Hon­estly I felt like since I was los­ing weight, what the hell do I need to go to the gym for?” she said.

She found the mo­ti­va­tion she needed when she hit a frus­trat­ing plateau with her weight loss. Cut­ting sugar had made all the dif­fer­ence it was go­ing to make with­out pur­su­ing more changes.

I did some re­search. Num­ber one, I didn’t know what to do when I went to the gym, and num­ber two, if I’m go­ing to go to the gym … I wanted to get the most bang for my buck,” Lynn said.

Her goal was to burn the most fat she could in daily 30-minute work­outs. She asked a trainer at her gym for help, and he gave her a very ba­sic plan.

“I think that’s all I needed—was some­one to give me a plan. It made me feel less in­tim­i­dated to go in with at least a piece of pa­per telling me what to do, so off I went from there,” Lynn said.

She started see­ing re­sults quickly and she was feel­ing good. She dis­cov­ered there was some­thing mag­i­cal hap­pen­ing to her in the gym, more than the trans­for­ma­tion of her body. She was chang­ing on the in­side.

“There’s some­thing about go­ing to the gym. I think a lot of it was men­tal, hav­ing bad days and just go­ing any­way and go­ing on those days I was sore,” Lynn said. “I truly be­lieve lift­ing weights is em­pow­er­ing … to know your body can do some­thing you never thought it could do, to watch your body change and be able to lift more and more and more. … Lift­ing weights was the game changer for me. I’m lift­ing and be­com­ing phys­i­cally strong, but as I’m do­ing that I’m also be­com­ing men­tally strong.”

Though she’d cut sugar, lift­ing weights showed her that her nu­tri­tion still needed work. After work­outs she was fa­tigued, and it was be­cause her diet wasn’t on point. She wasn’t eat­ing the right foods to fuel her body, so she started re­search­ing food.

Lynn said that mo­ti­va­tion boards and jour­nal­ing were also a big part of her trans­for­ma­tion. She started small, with sticky notes on the bath­room mir­ror, and grad­u­ated to mul­ti­ple mo­ti­va­tion boards she still uses to­day.

“The fur­ther along I’ve got­ten, the more in­tense the board has got­ten. It helps me stay fo­cused. I up­date it pe­ri­od­i­cally. … I’ve found what­ever ob­sta­cle I’m fac­ing, if I can make my board fo­cus on that, it helps me push past those ob­sta­cles,” Lynn said.

Bar­bell But­ter­fly

Bar­bell But­ter­fly is a name the came to Lynn one sleep­less night, and at the time she didn’t have a real plan for the pro­gram. But she was in­spired. She knew she wanted to help oth­ers dis­cover what she’d dis­cov­ered—that they too were strong enough to change their lives and be­come the peo­ple they want to be.

“I wanted some­one else to know if I can do this, they can do it too,” Lynn said.

She got her per­sonal trainer cer­ti­fi­ca­tion and wrote a busi­ness plan.

Lynn said she in­tended to launch Bar­bell But­ter­fly in Septem­ber 2015, but life had other plans.

Eli Sapharti, the au­thor of “Fat Boy to Fit Man,” con­tacted Lynn on Face­book that sum­mer want­ing to know more about her story. “He was some­body I fol­lowed on Face­book. … He wanted to run my story on his page, and I was just over the moon about it. I was ec­static. It was a pretty big na­tional page, so on July 9 (2015), my birth­day, he runs my story. He put a mon­tage of (be­fore and af­ter) pic­tures to­gether. … In the email I had sent him I also gave him a blurb about Bar­bell But­ter­fly and what I was do­ing in case he wanted any in­for­ma­tion on it in the fu­ture. He put that in the story, and … be­cause it came out early and I had so much in­ter­est, I went ahead and launched Aug. 3.”

The pro­gram fo­cuses on how to make changes— nu­tri­tion­ally, men­tally and phys­i­cally.

“It’s very in­ten­sive. It’s a life­style change. I’m teach­ing you how to change your life­style so that at the end of six months you can do this for­ever. I’m giv­ing you a tool kit, ba­si­cally, and then you can go from there,” Lynn said. Women work in groups of five or six. The pro­gram starts with four weeks of nu­tri­tion ed­u­ca­tion be­fore mov­ing into the gym and hit­ting the weights.

The em­pha­sis on nu­tri­tion is an im­por­tant part of the pro­gram and even in­cludes a trip to the gro­cery store, where Lynn teaches the women how to shop for healthy food and read nu­tri­tion la­bels.

“My whole plan was I want to teach peo­ple how to eat be­fore they get in the gym, so when we get to the gym they’ll see bet­ter re­sults,” Lynn said.

To work out and make phys­i­cal gains, the body needs fuel, and that fuel is nu­tri­tious food eaten in the right way at the right time, she said.

“Food is fuel. You’ve got to fuel your body to do the things we want to do. We can’t ex­pect to change and trans­form, lose weight, build mus­cle and be­come strong and healthy by starv­ing it. And as women that’s what we do. The first thing we do on a diet … is cut back on food. We con­grat­u­late our­selves for mak­ing it un­til 1 or 2 in the af­ter­noon with­out eat­ing. We’ll have some tiny salad and won­der why by 4 o’clock we’re starv­ing to death, and we’ll eat any­thing that’s not nailed down. It’s just a vi­cious cy­cle. Nutri­tion is just so im­por­tant,” Lynn said. Fear of carbs is a real chal­lenge. “I try to get these women not to be afraid of carbs. Carbs are im­por­tant. Com­plex carbs are very im­por­tant,” she said. “It’s like putting gas in your car.”

Ex­am­ples of com­plex carbs in­clude brown rice, sweet pota­toes, quinoa and black beans.

“It’s re­ally about fre­quent small meals, pro­teins, com­plex carbs and get­ting that sugar out of your diet,” she said.

Beyond, diet, tak­ing care of them­selves men­tally is an­other as­pect of Bar­bell But­ter­fly.

“I en­cour­age them strongly to jour­nal, be­cause that’s been a huge part of my jour­ney and my suc­cess. Mo­ti­va­tion boards also played a huge part of my suc­cess. … We can’t re­ally get where we’re go­ing un­less we can see where we’re go­ing,” Lynn said.

Next there’s a two-week weight-train­ing tran­si­tion and then a four-week be­gin­ner pro­gram. In to­tal, the pro­gram lasts six months.

“You get a new rou­tine ev­ery four weeks. Each rou­tine is a lit­tle bit more chal­leng­ing than the pre­vi­ous one. Our goal for most of the women that come here is still ul­ti­mately to burn fat,” Lynn said. “I try to write rou­tines for them where they can burn the most fat in the short­est amount of time.”

Lynn’s first group lost 95.75 inches be­tween them.

See­ing their suc­cess is emo­tional for Lynn. She chokes up talk­ing about it.

“I can’t even de­scribe it. It’s pow­er­ful. They’re em­pow­er­ing them­selves. It’s not just about eat­ing right and ex­er­cis­ing. It makes them feel strong. The same thing that drove me and drives me to this day, the thing that makes me stronger and makes me feel good for go­ing to the gym, that’s what’s driv­ing these women. That’s the whole point of this thing. That’s what I wanted to share with them,” Lynn said.

For more in­for­ma­tion, search for Bar­bell But­ter­fly on Face­book or call Lynn at 903-280-0371.

Staff photo by Jerry Habraken

ABOVE: Lynn Cofield, cre­ator of the Bar­bell But­ter­fly pro­gram, em­pow­ers women through health ed­u­ca­tion and fit­ness.

Sub­mit­ted photo

LEFT: Lynn Cofield, right, be­fore she started her life­style makeover. At her heav­i­est, she weighed 266 pounds. She’s lost 123 pounds.

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