Bill E. Branscum ©2001
When I wrote the first article in the Dead Man Walking
series, I researched and evaluated most of the better known
weight loss methods. I felt that Bill Phillips' book, Body-for-LIFE,
was remarkably straight forward, a very different approach
than most of the garbage and gimmickry that is so pervasive
in the weight loss industry.
Just today, I received another advertisement from some
huckster who claims that his "natural" supplement
makes it possible to lose "75 pounds in a month."
They have testimonials to support that claim and letters
of reference signed by various doctors. Don't these clowns
just make you tired?
It's very simple - they are liars out to defraud you of
your money, just do the math. Since a pound of fat contains
3500 calories, you would need to burn 262,500 calories more
in a month than you consumed to lose 75 lbs. That amounts
to burning 8750 calories a day more than you ate - every
It's an utterly ridiculous claim, but as long as some people
will believe this nonsense, these characters will keep promising
Having lost 56 pounds in 84 days (I burned off 2333 calories
a day), I can tell you for certain that there is only one
way to lose 75 pounds in a month. Here ya go!
Please don't share with me your before
and after pictures.
The reasons why the Body-for-LIFE approach works are not
complicated; in fact, it couldn't be more simple. Diet and
exercise is common sense and this program couples sensible
diet recommendations, as propounded and promoted by the
ADA, AHA and the ACS, with a sound exercise regimen consisting
of the latest theories in weight training and aerobic training.
Those wishing to read an in depth review of the Body-for-LIFE
program may visit Dr. Hussman's website at http://www.hussman.com/eas/bfl.htm;
you'll get more information than you probably feel like
you want, or need, to know.
I personally am not interested in the biochemistry and
physiology involved - I survived that in college and I don't
need to revisit it any more than I need to understand the
principles of thermodynamics, and the fuel air mixture stoichiometry,
involved in the operation of an internal combustion engine,
if all I want is to drive my car to the grocery store.
I'll tell you how I visualize it - just based on how it
feels. Think about a submarine that springs a leak and picture
the damage control people as using up energy when they respond.
No matter how big a leak, you can only get so many damage
control people to work on it BUT, if you have a lot of small
leaks all throughout the submarine, a greater number of
people can respond, and a lot more energy is used.
I have lifted weights on and off throughout my life, but
I always did what I wanted to do and avoided exercises I
didn't like. I never, ever, did crunches, squats, lunges
or any of those things I didn't enjoy.
No matter how hard you hammer the bench press, the number
of little damage control guys that respond to repair those
pectoral muscles is limited. Once you start hitting all
your muscles, and your heart, on a regular and organized
basis, all your damage control guys get involved.
Following the Body-for-LIFE exercise regimen consumes lots
of energy and repairing the muscles afterward requires lots
of energy too. Like a growing teenager, your whole body
is working and building - you ever see what a healthy teenager
can eat without gaining weight!? Come feed this skinny teenager
I believe skepticism is healthy; Lord knows I'm am as cynical
and skeptical as anyone. Although we received nothing but
positive comments from those who visited our website, and
nobody asked us about cheating, or suggested that we might
have misrepresented anything, I do want to address some
of the questions that I think we all have had in looking
at the results claimed by others.
Q1: How do we know that the people in the ads are
As I said in the first article I wrote, I own an Investigative
Agency (www.OracleInternational.com). It was a simple matter
to identify the people listed as winners and locate them
- that satisfied me.
Imagine the magnitude of the problem BfL/EAS would face
if anyone they identified as a winner were to turn out to
be nonexistent. This is a "money maker" for them
and their entire program would be ruined.
BFL/EAS claims that more than 200,000 people compete in
this Challenge every year. Since the use of some EAS supplements
is mandatory, come up with a number - your estimate on how
much each contestant spends on supplements - and do the
I spent $500 myself - if every contestant spent $500, BFL/EAS
would be bringing in $100,000,000 a year. You read that
right, one hundred million dollars. I would think that figure
would be wildly on the high side as most people who enter
do not finish the Challenge.
Let's say the average Challenger spends $100 - that's about
enough to buy the book, a box of Myoplex and some Creatine.
In that case, BFL/EAS would be bringing in $20,000,000 a
year from this Challenge. I think twenty million dollars
represents the absolute bottom of the low side.
Whether their Million Dollar Giveaway brings in twenty
million dollars, or a hundred million dollars a year, bear
in mind that this figure only represents the direct sales
to Challengers. Since the Challenge is a promotional thing
calculated to promote the sales of their products at health
food stores and so forth, we can only guess at the total
My point is, do the math - what kind of fools would these
people have to be to compromise the integrity of this program
by getting involved in some bogus nonsense?
Q2: How do we know when the pictures in the ads were
As I said in my first article, I placed my order for my
"Challenge" materials a little late. Although
they shipped it out immediately, I was three days into the
program by the time I got it.
In looking the materials over, I saw that some people had
taken pictures with newspapers as evidence of the dates,
but that seemed pointless to me since there is no way to
identify the papers, or the dates, in most of those pictures.
EAS/BfL might be able to analyze the pictures, but those
of us looking at the prints cannot determine much of anything.
Instead of a newspaper, I took before pictures with a Newsweek
magazine cover to document the date they were taken. You
don't need to be able to read the dates - you can simply
look at the Newsweek for the date I say it is, and see if
the picture on the cover is the same.
It's not real clear but anyone looking at the September 24th
Newsweek can identify the picture.
In the after picture, Dook held a light to the side of the
December 17th Newsweek while Jeremy took the pic. Any public
library will have back issues of Newsweek
That's what I did - but it isn't mandatory. The program
itself has no such requirement and apparently relies upon
polygraph examinations to screen out those who might cheat.
Readers may not be familiar with polygraph testing - during
the course of my law enforcement career, I formulated a
definite opinion on the subject. If I was innocently accused
of serious wrongdoing, there is no way in the world I would
allow my fate to rely upon any "lie detector"
test unless I knew the examiner was competent. Many of them,
perhaps most of them, are not.
I think the BFL/EAS program could stand some improvement
in this area - I don't know what the answer is. Taking a
photo with a magazine cover was the best thing I could think
Q3: How about the use of steroids or other illegal
Like many of you that we talked to, the pictures in the
BfL ads made me wonder about the use of steroids, or other
illegal drugs too. I understand that BFL/EAS tests for that,
and subjects winners to a polygraph examination, but I still
I cannot say what others have done, but I can say that
I spent my law enforcement career here in Naples, FL, and
I was involved in a number of local drug cases including
some involving steroid importation. If I was inclined to
use illegal drugs, and had the extra money to pay for them,
I suspect that I would have a difficult time finding anyone
willing to sell them to me. The reality is, most people
who want them can get them though.
In this challenge, I took BetaLean HP, Betagen, Myoplex
and aspirin - I mention the aspirin because I have read
some things lately indicating that aspirin may have a thermogenic
effect as a fat burner when "stacked" with the
other things in BetaLean HP. I don't know if it does or
doesn't - I took two aspirin every day because my blood
pressure scared me to death.
In my experience, if there is way to cheat, there will
always be those who will cheat. I don't know what the answer
is. I think BfL/EAS must either accept the fact that some
people will have an unfair advantage or use competent polygraphers
and accept their results.
State and federal law enforcement officers all over the
country pursue their careers knowing, and accepting, that
their employment, and employability, depends upon being
able to pass a polygraph examination at any time.
BfL could follow the model adopted by many Internal Affairs
units and subject potential winners to two separate polygraph
examinations administered by two separate examiners, each
with impeccable credentials. Neither examiner would know
what the other examiner reported, and any difference of
opinion would be resolved in favor of the examinee. You
take both even if you pass the first (for obvious reasons).
Fail both tests and your done - period.
Q4: Men Vs Women - isn't this Challenge unfairly
biased towards men?
I think the answer is as obvious as it is undeniable. Women
cannot lose weight or develop muscularity as fast as a man
can. Personally, I think it is unfair to have one Grand
Master Champion and I think it is inconsistent with the
way the rest of the contest is run.
In all age categories, men are judged separately from women.
If BfL/EAS followed that pattern with regard to their Grand
Master Champions, they would either need to split the prize,
or absorb increased costs by awarding two prizes. I know
the Challengers we talked to would agree that either approach
is preferable to the way they are doing this now.
Eventually, I suspect they will do one or
the other as the existing situation is not fair - to men
or women. If women never win the Grand Master Championship
prize, it isn't fair to them.
When the day comes (and it must come) that
someone decides it is time for a female winner, that will
be unfair to the men who competed that year since they weren't
going to win no matter what they did.
Those are the issues and concerns that trouble those of
you who have been corresponding with us, and those are my
thoughts as honestly as I can express them. I am sure you
understand that it is awkward for me as a Challenger to
critique their program, but that's what I think for whatever
it happens to be worth. If Bill Phillips is still in control
of things at BfL/EAS, I don't think any honest thought I
expressed would be held against me.
Bill Phillips' program is what it is because, unlike the
liars and scam artists that dominate the weight loss industry,
he is in the honesty business. Diet and exercise is a hard
sell to people who don't want to hear it, but it is the
truth and he preaches it.
If you're paying attention, you will note that he preaches
the truth even when it is adverse to his own financial interests.
It is Bill Phillips, not me, that tells you in no uncertain
terms that young people should not take the supplements
they sell to adults. I invite you to test them on this -
I did. Call EAS and tell them your 15 year old son is working
out with you and wants the best possible results. I called
three times and three different people told me the same
thing - the only thing they were willing to sell me was
protein powder. I was impressed.
It is Bill Phillips, not me, that tells you that you don't
need supplements unless you are competing in the Challenge.
He says to approach this as a life long undertaking, and
you'll get the same results without the supplements over
time. In other words, if you checked his book out of a public
library, or borrowed it from a friend, he is telling you
that you can enjoy the full benefit of his work, without
him receiving so much as a dime for his efforts in return.
It is Bill Phillips, not me, that spends a fortune distributing
movies intended to inspire people, hoping that some of them
are honest enough to send his favorite charity, the Make-a-Wish
Foundation, a meager $15.
On that note, I want to point something out to you. 1
Corinthians 4:4 pretty much describes my mentality - my
conscience is clear but I don't claim to be an "innocent"
man. It is entirely possible that Bill Phillips is a much
"nicer" person than I am.
If I sent a tape to people competing for a million dollars
of my money, trusting them to send a children's charity
a few bucks, I'd make damn sure nobody who'd deny those
kids a mere $15 had a chance to win anything from me.
I'd send that tape with a postage paid envelope and a
card requiring identifying information from the sender
and I'd have Make-a-Wish develop a roster from the envelopes
they got back.
I'd compare Challenge packets against that roster and
circular file anyone I sent a tape to whose name was not
on it. Like I said, Bill Phillips is probably a much nicer
person than I am.
By the way, if any of you do as I did and hunt down any
prior winners, you might ask them about that. If you find
one who did not send in his check, please let me know.
I didn't find anyone.
I'm an investigator by profession- in this industry,
we call that a "CLUE!"
Finally, there are three points I would really like to
drive home to anyone involved in this Challenge:
First, use the EAS representatives they make available
to you. Don't post to the Body-for-LIFE Guestbook seeking
the advice of other competitors or solicit your Aunt Bertha's
opinions. Get your information from the people who know
the most about this program and have the most incentive
to see that you succeed.
From the correspondence we got, I know that some of the
EAS reps are pushy sales people who want nothing more than
to sell you the most product in the least time possible.
Going by your mail to us, I could name several of them who
should be doing something else for a living. They are the
exception rather than the rule.
If your rep stinks, call back until you get one who knows
the program and wants to help you. I had a marvelous experience
with April, I heard great things about Eric and Tate, and
many of you have mentioned others you were very happy with
I called and asked - EAS employs more than 60 reps and
anyone unhappy with their rep will be assigned to someone
else. If you ask for someone specifically, you'll be assigned
to them (CLUE!).
The EAS manager I spoke to assured me that they want to
know which reps are doing nothing more than trying to push
products. I don't know the specifics, but I was advised
that their incentive system is not based upon sales. I was
told that they deliberately set up their system to encourage
their reps to educate Challengers, not push products.
The information I was given is no secret - if you call
and ask those questions, you can expect to get the same
If you understand that this whole "Challenge"
is a promotion, you can see why they want their reps to
focus on helping you, and teaching you, rather than pushing
products. The object is to use you, and your results, to
persuade the world to buy their stuff. The success of the
promotion (and their company) depends on what you accomplish
with their products, not how much of their products you
It seems very basic to me, but every week I see some knucklehead
write in on the BfL Guestbook asking if they can use Brand
X supplements when competing in the Challenge. It never
fails, if you read their Guestbook, you'll see that at least
once a week.
God Bless their pointy little heads - some people truly
have no clue!
The second point I would like to make, is to encourage
you to commit to the full 12 weeks. Many of those who wrote
to us were not happy with their results in the first few
weeks and some reported that they saw nothing really encouraging
until they were halfway through the program.
One of the big issues is scale weight - many of those we
corresponded with (especially women) seemed fixated on the
scales. I would encourage you to get your body fat tested
independently by a personal trainer, nutritionist or university
before you start. That way, you will have meaningful, objective
criteria to go by in trying to evaluate your progress.
Call your local gym - they can tell you where to have your
body fat accurately measured.
My program was modified pretty extensively by my EAS representative.
As I said in the articles I wrote, April customized it to
meet my needs - specifically to lose body fat as fast as
Note that I GAINED 15 pounds of muscle on this program,
and you can see it very clearly looking at my back and my
legs. IF I had followed the basic program, and only lost
a pound a week (just for example), the scales would have
shown that I gained three pounds on the program even though
I actually traded 15 pounds of muscle for 12 pounds of fat.
From what we heard, it seems that everyone responds differently
to this program - it is hard to have any idea why based
solely on e-mails. Most of those who lost less than they
expected admitted to various failures to follow through.
I can tell you in all honesty that nobody we corresponded
with ever claimed to have faithfully worked through the
entire 12 weeks without seeing significant and dramatic
Have faith, work hard, do your best and ignore the scales.
The third point I want to make involves the only negative
feedback we ever got from anyone during the course of this
Challenge, and my efforts to write about our experience
I am sure we received more than 1000 e-mails from the 5000
or so people who came to our website during the Challenge,
and it would be easy to ignore the only person who had something
negative to say. I would ignore it, except that her comments
were clearly heartfelt and she genuinely found the things
we wrote to be hurtful to her.
The essence of her e-mail was that she was really down,
she was having no success and she felt like her failures
were being rubbed in her face. Our "bragging"
about our successes only served to make things worse for
The issue is Depression. It can be "Hell on Earth,"
I believe it may be the worst thing that can happen to a
There are times in life when we can look around and realize
we slipped and fell without understanding exactly where,
and how we came to get there. Falling is easy, and falling
ignored can result in a long, long drop to the bottom. One
day, you just wake up, look up, and wonder how in the world
you're ever going to climb back out of that pit, and make
your way back to the top.
When that day comes, you don't get to start that climb
all wonderfully refreshed and renewed - you don't magically
wake up as the person you once were, and want to be again.
The fog, mists and misery that blinded and confused you
don't just blow away to leave a beautiful, clear sunny day.
It just doesn't work like that.
Whatever your failures, whatever you've suffered due to
the failures of others, forget your losses. Forget "winning"
too. You're not going to do that today and unrealistic objectives
only set you up to fail.
Today, set one small goal, target one little achievement,
pursue one little victory. I don't care if all you aspire
to accomplish today is to get out of bed on time. If that's
where you are, focus on that, do that, and know that you
are regaining control of your life.
Body-for-LIFE is not just a "weight loss" book
- it is about how to get a grip on your head and your life.
I don't know Bill Phillips, I know nothing more about him
than you do, but I see a good looking young guy, in great
shape, with the world by the tail and I wonder where some
of his insight comes from.
Do as he suggests. Set goals - even if they are very small
goals, write them down, track your progress and, to the
extent that you disappoint yourself today, don't beat yourself
up. Resolve to do a little better tomorrow.
Do not measure yourself and the success of your efforts
against a benchmark set by others - do not compare what
you accomplish to what we did, or the accomplishments of
anyone else. The measure of any accomplishment is the extent
of the effort it required of you.
Just push for a little progress every day and focus on
the little victories.
A Final Question for You
I have tried the best I could to answer every question
anyone asked, and many that weren't asked. In closing, I
would like to ask you something.
If you don't believe that we are who we say we are, and
we did what we say we did, why have you wasted all the time
it took to read the things I have written thus far?
If you do believe us, why would you care if every other
picture you have seen is a fake, every other Challenger
abused steroids and the whole "Million Dollar Challenge"
is a scam where every "winner" is a cousin of
Bill Phillips? Are you searching for a life, or a winning
When I started this Challenge, I was 44 years old and I'll
be 45 in just a few days. I am older than the vast majority
of those we corresponded with.
When I started this Challenge, I was morbidly obese. A
third of me, more than 70 pounds of me, was ugly, sloppy
fat. I was in much worse shape than most of those we corresponded
When I started this Challenge, I was a single parent raising
four children while trying to make a living. I was busier,
with a lot more "on my plate," than most of those
we corresponded with.
When I started this Challenge, I hadn't received the supplements
because I ordered them late. I couldn't pay for them, and
back to school expenses too. I was more financially strapped
than most of those we corresponded with.
When I started this Challenge, I didn't join a gym or hire
a personal trainer; I worked out at home with my kids using
equipment you can buy cheap at "yard sales." I
didn't have the resources and facilities that most of those
we corresponded with had access to.
If you are younger, in better shape, with more time, more
money and access to better equipment, look at our results
and tell me what it is that stands between you and your
dreams besides you?
Good Luck and