Saturday, August 4, 2012

IsaBody Finalist Tiff Dodge's Entire Story!

Let's all get behind Tiff!  
We received IsaBody Finalist Tiff Dodge's permission to share her story in its entirety, she sees how she can uplift others and make a difference.  She is so authentic, I love that about her.  She's going to bless so many lives. Here's what she said, "I appreciate your sensitivity to the matter, but do feel free to share the story in its entirety  to whoever you feel. The Lord has been prompting me for quite some time now to open up, but I have been hesitant because of my fear of coming off as arrogant and bragging, and I didn't want all the "sympathy attention."  It was what it was, and I have moved forward in my life.  I don't dwell on it, and I didn't want others to.  I am now ready and willing to share.  I count it a blessing to have been able to share it with you and your family, because I know your reach is much farther than my own."  You can find Tiff on facebook by searching for "Tiff Dodge Isabody"  

Name: Tiff Dodge 
Start Date: 12/12/2011 
End Date: 5/27/2012 
Height: 5'3 
Start Weight: 157 lbs. 
End Weight: 125 lbs. 
Total Weight Loss: 32 lbs. 
Starting Fat Percent: 28% 
Ending Fat Percent: 13% 
Total % Loss: 15% 
Starting Measurements: 
Arms- 12.5" 
Chest- 37" 
Waist- 31.5" 
Abdomen- 38" 
Buttocks- 42" 
Thighs- 26" 
Ending Measurements: 
Total Inches Loss: 
1 inch 
3.5 inches 
5 inches 
8 inches 
7 inches 
5 inches 
Total: 29.5 inches 
Maintenance Weight: TBD 
Additional Weight Loss: TBD 

Disclaimer: The purpose of sharing this story is not to seek for sympathy, pity, or recognition. I share my story because as the Dalai Lama once said, "Our prime purpose in this life is to help others." I share with the hope that perhaps my story may fortify another who is searching for the strength to overcome their tribulations. None are exempt from the trials and pains of mortality. It is a frequently believed misconception that having trials makes us weak. On the contrary, it is our trials that make us strong. The strength we gain from trials should be used to help others to bear their own. It should not be hidden in an attempt to conceal the fact that we are now, or have already, experienced hardships. We often try to convince ourselves that our trials are unique, that "no one else could possibly know what I am going through," that "I am strong enough to do this on my own," and that accepting help somehow makes us inadequate. Somewhere in our mind we are told that making our trials known to others somehow makes us weaker or less "perfect" than everyone else. We want to believe that "this type of thing doesn't happen to people like me." But the truth is that it takes more strength to say "I need help" than it does to pretend like you don't. We are not strong when we try to disguise our need of assistance. In actuality we inhibit each other from fulfilling our purpose in this life--to lift and help others. So it is that I share my story; to let others know even the "strong" go through hell, and even the weak can make it out. I am not the first to experience despair, and I won't be the last. I share my story in hope that someone who reads it will know that they are not alone; that others have gone before them, and they survived. I share in the hopes that my story might lift another--even if it is only high enough to get a glimpse of the light at the end. I share to let others know, there are people out there waiting, and wanting to help. 

I am a control freak. I grew up a hard-nosed, determined athlete that thought I could do anything I wanted, no matter how hard it might be to achieve. I was known and recognized for my strength physically and mentally. Although I was small (5'3), I was confident and knew that I was in control of my own destiny. My "controlling spirit" helped me to prove I was strong enough to play with the big kids. It earned me four varsity athletic letters, an athletic scholarship to a prestigious college, Bachelor's degrees in Mathematics and Secondary Education, and a scholarship to Graduate School in Washington, DC. 

I graduated with my Masters degree at the top of my class. I felt on top of the world--the future filled with unlimited possibilities. By all definitions, I was a "happy, successful individual." Then, a few days after graduation, I experienced a traumatic experience that sent me instantaneously spiraling into a deep depression, facing relentless anxiety. For weeks I was incapacitated--unable to sleep, eat, or leave my room. For days I sat expressionless on the edge of my bed, rocking back and forth, trying to convince myself to not carry out the suicidal thoughts in my head. Alcohol and self-mutilation became my tools of suppression. Eventually I succumbed to the idea that death would be less painful than what I was experiencing. After attempting suicide, I was placed on multiple medications to relieve the anxiety and depression. However, the anguish and feelings of worthlessness did not desist. Even with the medications and self-stimulation, memories of the trauma I had experienced were triggered by everything I saw, heard, or smelled. It was too much for me to bear. After another near attempt of taking my life, I was diagnosed with PTSD. Even more meds were added to my daily regimen. I felt like a walking pharmacy. I now relied completely on synthetic chemicals to function day to day. Without them, I couldn't control my thoughts or actions. With them, I was demoralized. No matter how you rolled the dice, "strong" was no longer an appropriate adjective to describe who I had become. 

I thought if I could get off the medications it would prove I was back in control; that I was strong again, but each attempt to rid myself of the chemicals proved to be a failure, and brought repercussions that caused more harm than good, often sending me deeper into the pit of desolation. Being on so many medications fueled my feelings of despair and helplessness. The fact that I had no control over these feelings made them multiply. It ate at my entire being, more or less paralyzing me. The one attribute that had brought me so much happiness and success in life, my sense of control, had vanished entirely. I had lost all control of my mind, my life, and consequently my body. The once strong and determined athlete that resided within the walls of my now dilapidated frame was long to be found. I longed to return to the days when I was healthy and active--back to the days when I believed I could do anything. But now, getting out of bed was a task. Performing any sort of physical endeavor would be a miracle! I just didn't have the strength, physically or mentally to get back to where I wanted to be. 

Everything began to change the day I reunited with my trainer, Aaron Ogden. I had purposely avoided having any contact with him since I had moved back to Utah. The last thing I wanted was for him to see me in the state of weakness that I was in. I was successful in averting him for five months, until as fate would have it I experienced a physical injury that forced me to humble myself and inquire of his expertise. What I thought would just be a few training sessions turned into much much more. Somewhere along the way of rehabbing my injury, I was reminded of when Aaron first introduced me to Isagenix and cleansing many years ago. I remembered my first cleansing experience. I had a lot of success. I lost 17 pounds and 9% body fat. More important than what I lost during that initial cleanse, is what I gained. I achieved mental and spiritual clarity on a level I had never known before. I then realized, the first step to getting my life and body back was to cleanse. 

I have always found the strength to overcome mental challenges by drawing on the physical challenges I have experienced. I used to often tell myself, "If you can do that then you can do this." With that in mind, I set out to do the exact cleanse I had done initially those many years ago. I figured if I could get the same cleansing results as I did before, then somehow that would mean I was strong and in control again, and could overcome all the mental health issues I was having. It was heartrending when at the end of the nine days I hadn't even come close to my goal. It tore me apart, and reinstated my belief that there was no hope for me. I was bound to remain in this state of obscurity, reliant upon medication and stimulants eternally. In my mind, the person who was once described as "strong" was now entirely extinct. 

Then fate stepped in again. Aaron began advertising the Isabody Challenge on Facebook. For reasons only God knows, I contemplated doing it, but I was scared to try to commit myself to the challenge. I thought about the mental angst my nine day disappointment caused. I couldn't imagine what six months was going to do to me if I failed? On the contrary, I didn't want to think about what the next six months could do to me if I didn't try. I still believed that cleansing was the first step to getting my life and body back, but I realized a nine or 30 day cleanse wasn't going to solve my problems. I needed a deep cleanse. A life altering cleanse. I knew the Isabody Challenge was the best avenue to do so. It was  the challenge I needed to reinstate my sense of control and determination. I decided to do it. Not for the money, the cruise, or to get a six-pack. I did it to show I could be in control of my life--that I was stronger than my mind. 

It has been six months since I started the Isabody Challenge. I will be the first to admit that I did anything but fail. I am now completely off medication, 100% sober, and actively training for a 12 hour adventure race-- an amazing feat for one who at one point couldn't leave their room for weeks. My new medications come in the form of the solace I have found in the outdoors. Hiking, cycling, mountain biking, and snowboarding are my new stimulants. The Isabody challenge gave me the tools and structure I needed to gain control of my body, and to do the things I love. By taking control of my body, I took back control of my mind and my life. When I look in the mirror at the body I've created, I am reminded of the challenges I overcame the past six months. The image gives me the courage to continue to transform my life. 

Everyone recognizes the physical changes. They see the weight loss. They notice the toned muscles. What they can't see is the real peace and clarity I possess within. To me, the physical achievements are secondary to the internal. I have my life back! My mind is clear, and I am happy again! Someone once asked me during an early morning training session, "When does your challenge end?" I responded, "Never." They laughed, but it was not a joke. There are still hard days; days when I am tempted to look to that bottle of pills or alcohol, or to contribute to the scars that remind me of where I have been. But now, because of the 5 am workouts, the two-a-days, and the months of comfort food deprivation, I can again tell myself "I am strong! If I can do all THAT, I can definitely do this!" I have reclaimed my determination and belief that I can do great things, and I AM doing great things. Thanks to the unwavering support and guidance of Aaron, and the help of Isagenix, I am once more in control of my destiny. 

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