Monday, August 31, 2009

Transformation Tuesday!

You all are too sweet!! Thank you for your comments on our dress up pics with Ms. Maddie ;) She's the best :)

And thank you all for your support with my recent eating habits and stress... I'm definitely taking it one day at a time! I think that's the best thing for me to do right now!

Did everyone survive their Monday? Mine actually went very well... not the norm... I'll take it! I am getting ready to start my work out here (if the hubby will ever get up and get down stairs!)... I slept HORRIBLY last night, so we'll see how this goes!

Now on to Transformation Tuesday!

Lisa's back! She's kickin' some tail and takin' names people!! Showing Jillian what she's made of :)

If you are new to the blog...One of my very best friends, Lisa, started a challenge to take on Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred! She has been keeping us updated on her progress with each level. I can't even tell you all how amazing the change in her has been... emotionally and physically so far! Actually, I won't even try... I'll let her tell you :) Check out her Level 1 recap if you missed it! Hi y'all! First, let me thank everyone for all the encouraging feedback on my Level 1 experience. If you've battled your weight as much as I have (or at all), you know that encouragement and support is I thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Level 2 proved to be a killer for me and you'll find I'm not as wordy this time around. I, honestly, felt as if it were a reminder that, while
I finished Level 1 strong, I'm not the bad ass I'd started to think I was, hahaha! (I heard you loud and clear Jillian!)

Lisa vs
Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred: Level 2

I didn't journal my thoughts on each day like I did w
ith Level 1 so I guess this will be more of a summary than a day by day; I hope that's cool. Truthfully, I feel like I struggled so much through this level that a day by day would prove to be really repetitive. Hopefully, for y'all, it means this one will be shorter than my last, I mean, guest blog.

I was so excited to start Level 2. I woke up eager to prove to th
is level that I was strong and I could do it. Yeah, about 2 minutes in, it laughed in my face. Loud. I was cussing Jillian again, hating her with a passion, swearing that if she told me one more time "not to phone this in," I'd rip her face off. I'm embarrassed to say, I meant every word. :) I am stronger, more capable than I've been my entire life...but Day 1, Level 2 made me feel like I was back at the very begining...or worse. I was elated when I completed it. I don't know if that was from being proud or just the fact that I was still breathing. It was insanely hard. Day 2, holy hell! I hurt in places I didn't know existed. My shoulders stung, even when they weren't moving, my abs were screaming and my legs felt like noodles. There are these V - Squat things...I think the devil gave her the idea. Nothing has ever hurt so bad. Ever. I struggled all the way though. I tried to cuss less and pray more over days 3, 4, 5 and 6...lucky for me, God is good. I can't say that it really ever felt like it became easier...but He always gave me the strength to endure. I cried a lot through this level, where -in level 1- the crying was minimal, and on several occasions, I seriously wanted to quit. I'm telling you, there were more days than not, on this level, that I had to ask "who are you kidding?" I kept waiting for that breakthrough I had on level 1 but I can still say that it never really came.

Day 7 set me off. It was my weigh in day for Weight Watchers and was also the second week, in a row, where I didn't lose a single pound. In spite of promising myself, and several very informed people, that I'd focus on the changes in my body and the way my clothes fit, rather than the scale (as muscle weighs more than fat) was heartbreaking and I found myself very bitter and angry. I felt like I'd been killing myself for 3 weeks...all for nothing. Logically, I knew there were changes taking place but it hurt so much to get on that scale and not see it go down. Especially when I have so far to go to achieve my goal. Everyone says "once you start working out and gaining muscle, the weight seems like it's melting off so, three weeks in, I'm screaming inside...okay, and out...wondering when the "melting" begins. I didn't think it would be a massive amount of weight...but I expected SOMETHING. This day was bad...BAD...BAD! I was ticked all day long, negative all day long, and thought I'd throw in the towel all. day. long. I thought stupidly "seriously? I lost more weight when I wasn't killing myself every day! What the hell is the point of this?" Somehow, I was able to stay on track with my food...which is quite the big deal when you're the emotional eater I can be. And the next morning, I got up...and I did it all again. I was cussing again, not praying, but I was doing it. I cried the entire way through, for my heartbreak of no loss, for my muscles that were screaming...either way it was because I was in pain. But I did it...and then day 9 was better. Hard as hell, still. But better. Then day 10...I thought I deserved a party! I didn't let my emotions get the best of me and I didn't give up. A year ago...I honestly think I would have.

So this was me vs
Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred: Level 2. Lisa: 2 - Jillian: 0. Hell to the yeah! I'm winning...and I'm never, ever, going back.

Mandy here again...I thought we'd keep going with the Transformation Tuesday and brag a little on myself... which honestly, I never do! That's quite a hard thing for me to do at times! I never give myself enough credit... so while I am feeling like I should, I'm gonna go with it!

If you have ever checked out the links I give you for the workout videos I do, I almost always link to my favorite workout dvd website, Their website is always up to date with the latest new workout dvd's... and even better, you can always find a clip with a preview of any dvd - so helpful!

I sent in my "story" to Collage's website... and got a request from them to send more pictures to use in the monthly catalog that they send out every month! I was so excited! It came in the mail today... they put me on two different pages!! Okay, same picture on each page... but I'm okay with that! Here are the pictures :)
I'm so excited! This is the first time I have had anything printed in a magazine :) I am in an informercial for the Firm... JR (my husband) and I were their first "couple" ever to be featured in their infomercials! My co-worker still to this day won't leave my husband alone with what they quoted him saying... "I literally watched her butt lift"...LOL! Oh the joys of editing! If you are interested in seeing this, we are all throughout the infomercial... gotta watch for us! :)

Firm Wave Infomercial Part One

Firm Wave Infomercial Part Two

Firm Wave Infomercial Part Three

Whew... that's enough for one day, I think :)

See you soon!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Such a great weekend....

The things we as parents do for our kiddos....Maddie decided to play "dress up" with mommy and daddy... I thankfully got the cute pink bunny ears ;)And then Maddie pulled out her head bands... and thought mommy needed two... or three in her hair...How was your weekend? Friday night, Lisa came over! If you did not catch her guest post a few weeks ago, check out it here!! I had not seen her in a couple of weeks... and let me tell you, the girl is shrinking right before my eyes. She looks incredible! :) I was so glad to see her... I missed my Lisa time! Lisa will be back on Tuesday with another guest blog to recap her experience with Level 2 of Jillian's 30 Day Shred! Be sure to check back for that and cheer her on!

Saturday, we spent the day lounging around doing a little bit of laundry and dishes. JR and I watched Spider Man 2 while Maddie napped... it's so nice to sit and relax with my hubby! We don't seem to have that opportunity often anymore so I really took advantage of some cuddle time with him!

As for today, I got to sleep in thanks to my amazing hubby... did a TON of coupon clipping (anyone else a coupon clipper?!), a quick run to Publix for a yummy turkey and swiss sub... and now I'm sitting here watching "The Notebook"... can I just say, I LOVE this movie?! I kind of have a girl crush on Rachel McAdams... and a TOTAL crush on Ryan Gosling AND James Marsden... Ca-Ching!!!

James Marsden's wife has family not too far from where we live... a friend of ours would see him at Panera almost every day... and JR and I saw him and his son at Kroger some time earlier this year, too!

Anyways! Food has not been great this week at all. Since returning home from Florida, there has been nothing but drama that my family has been dealing with. I don't usually get caught up in it all... I learned the hard way that they have to take care of themselves. But this time, it was almost hard not to be a part of it. How did I deal with it? Instead of some great work outs, yoga or long baths... I binged. Worse than I have in years. I won't fully go into details obviously... but it's been pretty scary. I have tried not to beat myself up over any of it... which gets hard at times.

Normally, my work outs help keep me Florida, it was impossible to get a work out in... and since coming home, I was so exhausted from our trip, I said I would give myself a few days to sleep and de-stress before getting back into it. I kept delaying it, though! I kept saying... tomorrow I'll work out... tomorrow I'll eat better... and thanks to my good Firm infomercial buddies, Lindsey and Tammy P...they inspired me to get off my tail and do SOMETHING. So I did I did a yoga video from Crunch... with Sara Ivanhoe. I really like her videos... her voice is very soothing and she's easy to follow! Great instructions on this DVD if you are a beginner, too. This video is two videos in one... one is called the "Joy of Yoga" and the other is "Fat Burning Yoga". I did "Joy of Yoga"... nice and relaxing. I felt 200% better after only 35 minutes!

I have my work out routine now mapped out for the week! Lisa is finishing up her last week of Level 3 with Jillian... and then we are going to start a new Firm rotation together! I'm so excited to start another challenge with her!

So what did everyone do this weekend? I need to catch up on blogs to see how everyone is doing and check out all of your yummy eats! Anyone have a favorite meal of the week? I did... mine was my "oats in a jar"... allll filled with some yummy dark chocolate PB!!! Chocolately-goodness in EVERY bite!!!!
I am heading off to get Maddie up from her nap and get dinner going. I am making this recipe from Cooking Light that sounds yummy... it's Meatballs and Peppers. I hope it's good! I'll report in tomorrow with the review!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Home sweet home!

We are finally home! I had a great time in Florida... but happy to be back in Tennessee!! It was SO hot in Florida! August in Florida is always the worst month weather-wise! It was TOUGH getting back into work, though! I had pretty much NO motivation! I wanted to be hanging with my little girl all day long. I got used to being with her all day long this past week :( You can bet I was bolting out the door to go pick her up when work was over!

It was definitely a week of mixed emotions... Happy for my brother who is now a married man - still can't believe it! Sad for JR's family with Granny's passing and trying to adjust to a "new life".

Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers for JR's family!

We drove last Wednesday down to Florida and made it in great time, thankfully! Maddie survived the car trip up and down. I was really afraid that she would go nuts in the car for 11 hours straight... but thankfully we kept Taylor Swift playing on the IPod and plenty of books and My Little Ponies to keep her happy :)

I had almost a full afternoon with one of my closest friends... we have been friends since middle school! Her daughter is only a DAY younger than Maddie. Crazy, huh? She is one of those friends that no matter how long it's been since we've talked or seen each other, we pick right up where we left off... she's amazing! Our girls had lots of time to play this trip!

My eating was not great, though. I normally can balance vacation eating pretty well... but not this time around. Along with my "monthly friend" showing up TWO weeks EARLY (what the heck is up with that mother nature?!?) and a little bit of family stress over the trip... my eating was pretty off for me. TONS of sugar - I mean tons, tons, tons! I normally splurge on a trip... this was kind of beyond. And since we were on the go from the moment we got up until we went to sleep each night (we drive an hour each way between visiting our families... sometimes two or three times a day!), I had no time to fit in a work out! I thought I would jump right back into healthy eating today... but I think my body got so used to gorging on sugar, that it was craving it BIG time! I'm thinking I may need to go cold turkey or close to it to ween myself off of it!

But enough of that... Here are a few pictures of my brother, Justin's wedding...

Justin and our Dad....

Maddie was the flower girl :)
Justin and I

First kiss as a married couple!
My baby sister Ashley and her boyfriend George (I have the most gorgeous sisters!)

JR & I
All four of us kiddos....I swear I'm the oldest! They all outgrew me =P

And this was TOO cute...Justin and his wives daughter, Katelyn... who is now 7 months old... was so worn out from the wedding, she crashed and they put her out on these pillows... adorable!

As for food today - it was not the best! I have a pretty empty fridge due to being gone for a week! Dinner tonight was pull out whatever is in the freezer! I had some frozen leftover grilled chicken breast, some Arnold's Thins in the freezer... pulled those out... then grilled up slices of pineapple, swiss cheese, Annie's smokey maple bbq sauce... loved it :) Crispy fries on the side...
totally veggie-less :( Oh well... I'll do better tomorrow on that one. We got our CSA delivery tonight!

We got 1 yellow squash, some grape tomatoes, a patty pan squash, 2 corn on the cobs.1 green bell pepper and a cantaloupe (all for JR... not a big cantaloupe fan here!)...

Any ideas on what to do with our produce?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Heading to Florida!

Thank you so much for all of your thoughts and prayers! JR, his family and I appreciate every one of you!

We are heading to Florida this morning for Granny's funeral service and my brother's wedding this weekend. I don't know that I will have the chance to blog while there... but I may sneak a picture or two in just to say hello :)

Hope you all have a wonderful week!!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Sad Evening....

Hey everyone...

Sorry for the lax in posting. It's been quite a whirlwind weekend!

I thought I would let you all know that JR's grandmother passed away this evening. It's a bit of a relief for the family. She has been in a lot of pain the past few days that has seemed unbearable. We now know she's no longer hurting...

Please say a prayer for JR's dad and the rest of his family. Although this is over, it's never easy!

Hope everyone had a great Monday

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Go, go, go Saturday!!

Hey everyone! How's your weekend shaping up so far?

Heading back to last night - we had some home made pizza. We used a whole wheat premade dough from Whole Foods... my side was grilled chicken, green peppers, red onion and tomatoes with part skim mozz cheese. JR's was the same with some added some pepperoni. I had a yummy glass of Shiraz on the side!
Today has been busy from the start! I got up at about 6:30 to be sure and squeeze in my work out before Maddie woke up and before my crazy cleaning adventure today. I have been itching to do my Firm work outs... so I did one of my all time favs! Total Muscle Shaping!This one is about 45 minutes long, which can be very convenient on days that I do not have a lto of time work out! It also has lots of combined movements, keeping the hearat rate up. You have bicep curls while doing leg presses on a 14 inch step, lunges with an overhead press, dips and hammer curls, etc. Today for most of these, I used 10-12 lbs weights, depending on the exercise. You also do some step aerobics using 6 inch step or using the step on an incline.

After, I was crraavvviiingg some yoga! I popped in The Biggest Loser's Weight Loss Yoga DVD. Now I LOVE this DVD for many, many reasons - one because I adore Bob (and LOVE having ANY excuse to post pictures of him doing different yoga poses... haha)...Two because I love the fact that this work out is broken up into three different time segments! You have the 5 minute warm up - then you can choose between doing a 20 minute yoga routine, 15 minute routine or 10 minute routine. Today, I did the warm up and the 10 minute routine. Just what I needed! I burned 444 calories today.

After that, it was seriously breakfast time! I don't know why... but I was desperately craving my oatmeal pancakes!

Today's combo:
1/4 cup oat bran
1/4 cup oatmeal
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tbsp protein powder
1 tbsp cottage cheese
1/2 smooshed naner
a couple of cut up frozen cherries
1/2 cup egg whites

Allllll of those ingredients to give us this (and I took like six shots of this and NEVER got a clear picture! I'm so sorry!)I topped one pancake with 1/2 tbsp PB Loco's Jungle Banana PB and the top pancake with 1/2 tbsp PB&Co's Dark Chocolate Dreams. I also sliced the rest of the banana up and sandwiched it between then. Perfecto!

The cleaning started after... I had to get my clothes situated in our room. Shamefully I have to say, our room was a mess. And it's about 85% my fault! I still think I'm a kid sometimes and um... my clothes kind of end up on the floor. So then it gets so bad that we can't walk in the room... and yes, I'm saying this in public! Embarrassing but true! Maybe it will help me change things! Probably not, unfortunately! My hubby is shaking his head while he's reading this, I know it! :)

Anyway while going through and hanging up clothes and putting them away in drawers, I also went through my closet to try to reorganize things a bit. I haven't wanted to face the closet for awhile now. Knowing that most of my clothes don't fit me at all because of my weight gain has made it hard to stomach looking at some of my fav shirts or jeans that I can't get into! I divided things into two sections... what I can wear now and what I can't. At least that way, I know exactly where to go to in the closet to get stuff out for the day and won't depress myself by going through all the others! Here's to hoping!

I got rid of some things I don't wear anymore. I've had things in the closet for a few years now saying I'm going to have them altered that haven't been touched. Out they went!

Did anyone tune into the live streaming of the Healthy Living Summit at all today? I thought it was awesome they made that available to us! I had problems with the sound throughout some of it but thought it was pretty fun to listen to and be able to get to know the personalities a bit more of the ladies there. I thought Zesty's part was great info! He mentioned getting your own domain if you plan to blog for awhile... I'm not sure if I'm ready for that - nor can I afford it right now. I do hate that I feel so limited in what I can do with my page right now, though. I want to add extra pages with before and after shots (which by the way, if you are interested you can check some out here), an info page, etc.

They also talked on the importance of photographs, which I agree with. As y'all have seen, I am definitely NOT the best food photographer at all. I am still working on that! The worst part is that as many windows and lights as we have in our house, there is NO light. I fight with that daily! So... need to figure out that angle. Thanks guys for hanging in there with me on the photos!

Finally had lunch around 1:00... I knew I needed to use up the rest of the turkey I had and a pear sitting in the fridge. So I "peared" (haha... okay maybe not as cute as I think it is) on a sandwich!

I mixed some light mayo and dijon mustard... put that on the bread with some thin pear slices. Added the turkey, swiss cheese and pressed it in a pan for a few minutes. Presto lunch! I served it with the rest of the pear, some strawberries and a few blue corn chips.
I also had a square of Ghiradelli intense dark chocolate that I found wayyyy at the bottom of one of my (many) purses while cleaning it out. So yummy!

Okay, I am off to get ready for some more errands! Gotta head out to Target and Walgreens...dinner will most likely be pizza (and wine) leftovers.

Thanks everyone for the comments on the dress! I have to say I loved the dress on in person... but when i saw the pictures, I almost cried. I haven't seen pictures of myself since gaining weight. My face is so much fuller and I'm just not as toned as I once was. But I made myself post them anyway... I need to be proud of where I am regardless! It's been a struggle today... putting on a dress tonight and knowing how it used to fit... I am trying to stay positive!

Just curious again on taking photos of food.... anyone have some great advice to pass along to make it more appealing to the eye?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Dress Success!

Sorry I haven't been around this week!!! Between working late and trying to find a dress... it's been quite busy!

I haven't had a ton of "blog-worthy" food to share. Which really, I hate saying! My meals are pretty simple and I think there's nothing wrong with that. I'm not one who can bust out the most creative meal in five minutes at lunch. I'm happy with simple stuff... so why change that because of a blog? I sometimes let myself feel like my food is not worth sharing because of this... but it's MY food and MY blog and if I'm making it my "own", why wouldn't I? I think I put too much pressure on myself to live up to a lot of other blogs out there... I don't need to do that!

I hope that makes sense!

So first of all, thank you ALL for you awesome comments on Lisa! Isn't she incredible? I am so, SO proud of her - obviously! I told her that the most rewarding part of this whole process is for her to see what I knew she had in her all along. It's exciting! She's kicking some booty big time on Level 2 already... she'll be checking in again with us after her next 10 days are up!

As for JR and I - we started Level 3 yesterday... HOLY freaking cow! I can start out doing some of the advanced moves but after a few reps, end up in the beginner moves. Level 2 was hard as heck... but I could at least do the advanced moves! This one is definitely different!

I have to say, after almost a month of doing Jillian - I LOVE the challenge it has been on me. Some of the cardio moves are KILLER and different than I've done before. I think that I will keep the shred and Jillian's new work out dvd's in my weekly rotation somehow - but I REALLY miss my Firm videos. I miss my "heavier" weight lifting! I think after we get back from Florida next weekend, I will be starting a Firm roation for the month... then we'll see where things lead me from there!

Back to the dress... last night, I braved the dressing rooms again! It took all night... and it definitely wasn't easy... but I finally found a dress! What do you think?? Be honest!!!
Five minutes after taking the pics... JR and I changed into work out clothes to take on Jillian for Day 2 of Level 3! Maddie decided she wanted to join us...

Here we are getting ready to work it (and um... please excuse my white legs!)!
By the way, thanks for all the thoughts and prayers for JR's family. Granny is still hanging in there but we're not sure what's coming over the next couple of days.

That's all I've got, folks! Hope you all are having a great week!!!

PS - did you all know it's national apple week?? Must be why apples have been my top snack choice every day so far :)

What is your favorite way to eat apples? I think mine is tied with in oatmeal or with some dark chocolate peanut butter!!!

Have a great night!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Transformation Tuesday! A Guest Blog :)

Before I get to today's post, I thought I would update you all on JR's grandmother's condition. Unfortunately, they have said she probably will not make it past the next couple of days. Her body seems to be shutting down at this point. It's been so rough on JR's parents! Please keep his family in your prayers!!

I had to share this picture, too... it's too sweet. This is "Nurse Maddie" checking on Granny with Grandpa...Grandma & Grandpa bought Maddie a little nurse's outfit and some doctor "tools" to help them keep an eye on Granny. She's been a great little helper!

Sorry for not posting yesterday! I picked Maddie up from JR's parents after work (they watch her for us while we are working), then we headed straight to Kohl's to look for a dress for my brother's wedding. We came home at 7:00... finally ate dinner at 7:30... and I had to do some work for the rest of the evening! My meals weren't exactly blog-worthy yesterday anyway - except for the amazing omelette JR made me for dinner!! I just couldn't get a good shot of it with the camera :( It had a whole egg, two whites with chopped ham, tomatoes and onion.... I then put it in a TJ's spinach wrap with some fresh spinach inside... had it with some hummus. GOOD stuff :)

My friends... I am SO excited about today's post! Back when I mentioned we had started Jillian's 30 Day Shred, I mentioned that our best friend Lisa was taking the challenge right along with us!

This is Lisa and I on July 4th...she's on the left :)
Taking on this challenge is a HUGE step for her - and I jumped on her saying yes before she could change her mind! :) Folks, she has done the most incredible job. The transformation I have seen in her emotionally and physically in just these first 10 days is beyond words! She is practically beaming with excitement over her new found confidence in herself... exactly what I was hoping she would find! I knew she had it in her!! She deserved to know, too! I'm like a proud mama ;)

I thought it would be awesome if she kept track of her progress and did a little guest blogging for us after she completed 10 days of each level!

I am going to stop blabbing here and let Lisa talk.... Here we go! Please make her feel welcome :) I know you guys will enjoy this!

Hey Y'all!

First let me introduce myself...I'm Lisa, the girl fortunate enough to be called the best friend of Mandy and JR Arostegui. I'm originally from Texas and have been in Nashville, TN for 9 years now. I'm 35 and feel like the last year of my life has been a rebirth of sorts. July 28th was my year anniversary in the Weight Watcher's program and I've lost 52 pounds so far. I'd be lying if I said I didn't wish I'd lost more in a year but, at the same time, I really want this to be a realistic life change for me...not a quick fix. Lord knows I've tried every one of those offered! The ups and downs on the scale have been a nerve wracking and, sometimes, heartbreaking learning process but, I think, what's important is that I haven't given up.

In order to keep this as short winded as I am capable of being, I will just say that this battle with my weight has been a life long thing. Like most everyone with a weight problem I grew up with all the usual heartbreaks. Falling for the jocks that wanted the hot, tiny, cheerleaders, the moo's as I was walking down the hall, and sitting in all those fitting rooms, in tears, because I couldn't fit into anything that was considered cool. I was 29 before I woke up and realized that beautiful comes in every shape and size...and that I was enough, period. They should make this a required course in school, starting as early as possible...self worth, and self love, are the most important tools we can have. They change every aspect of your life. Every single one.

Stepping off my soapbox...I'm not sure what finally clicked into place for me last year? I just woke up one day and decided my big, bold, incredibly happy, spirit had lived in this heavy shell of a body for far too long. For the first time in my life I wasn't doing it to catch a boys eye or to meet societies standards of beauty. Maybe it was because I'd been denied insurance because of my height/weight ratio and I found it completely embarrassing and horrifyingly awakening all at once. I thought "I want to be around...and if I continue down this road, I won't EVER meet Mr. Right and be the Mom I've always dreamt of being...cause I'll be dead." Suddenly it all became clear and my head just zoned in on what was important.

Thankfully I have Mandy! She is my champion. My constant source of inspiration and encouragement. It's a real blessing to have this living, breathing, proof that your goal can be reached. I think I was a little bit bigger, at the beginning of my journey, than she was...but it's so close that I really can look at her and see where I can end up if I'm dedicated and love myself enough to stick with it. She's been my confidant, my cheerleader, and my personal nutritionist. She's also pushed, and challenged me, physically. First it was Zumba and now, it's Jillian's 30 Day Shred, which is the real reason I am here...

This is my personal take on Jillian's a person who's primary workout routine would be an occasional Walk Away the Pounds video - 1 mile and no weights. This recap of my last 10 days, Level 1 of the Shred, is as honest as I can be and I hope you find it as humorous as I did at the end of each well as inspiring.

Day 1- Rough. Seriously rough. I told Jillian I hated her, for the first time, just 15 seconds into my second set of jumping jacks...and I meant it. How did she expect a person my size to continually heft myself into the air for 30 seconds. I laughed at the idea of push ups, I grunted, groaned, and had cussed up a blue streak by the time I finished...but I finished. Me. I've never been more proud in my life...except maybe when I got up and did it again the next day.

Day 2- Ouch. What muscle is this and how have I not noticed it before? Yes, I was sore in places I didn't know existed...yet, I somehow felt stronger and was feeling pretty confident as I completed more push ups than I had the day before. I couldn't believe all I was able to acheive through the pain I'd already inflicted on my body!

Day 3- Near defeat. I hadn't slept well the night before and woke up with a pretty bad head ache but, in spite of almost talking myself out of it, started my work out anyway. Mid way through, I was crying like a baby, begging God for it to end. I felt like I weighed a ton and negative 'who are you kidding, fat girl, you can't do this' thoughts were SCREAMING through my head. My push ups were embarrassing and every jump into the air caused my head to feel like it would explode...and, when I thought I couldn't go a second more, I pushed on. Needless to say, I survived. I may not have been in best form but I gave 100% of what I had. I laid in my floor for 10 minutes crying, and recovering, when it was done. Funny enough, the rest of my body hurt so bad that the headache was gone. Go figure. :)

Day 4- Breakthrough. I had everyone I know praying for me on the evening of Day 3 because I was so scared I wouldn't be able to make it through Day 4. God showed up because I was stronger and my endurance was shocking. I felt amazing. Now, this does not mean I didn't cuss or proclaim my intense dislike for Jillian for an entire 20 minutes...but I felt in control and could literally feel my muscles working through the soreness. I KNEW I could do it!

Day 5- Halfway Point. Really? Me? I'd made it five days and hadn't had a heart attack? Impossible. Day 5 was much like day 4 in the sense that I just felt really strong and confident in my ability to make it through. I was nervous for the weekend though. The plan was to take Saturday and Sunday off and then start back up on Monday. Being a person who had never worked out, I was unsure of what to expect with two days without the workout. Would I be setting myself back? Would I have to kill myself all over again? I was really nervous about this.

I woke up Saturday morning and found myself actually missing the workout. This is a complete change in my way of thinking! When I say complete, I mean COMPLETE. That being said, I did a Walk Away the Pounds mile with weights. I then went to the mall with JR, Mandy and Maddie. Mandy made me promise I would let my body rest the next day and, for the first time in my life, I really had promise I wouldn't. I WANTED to exercise. I feel like this program is not only changing my body...I feel as if I've had a full blown lobotomy--and I like it!

Day 6- I was nervous to see how I'd feel after the 2 day break but was happy to see the strength I'd gained the previous week hadn't run off and left me. It was a little more difficult than day 5 but I still felt strong and able to succeed.

Day 7- Is it still working? So, it's still hard. It's still Hell...while I'm working. After that, I can feel the change in my muscles and there is a little ache but nothing like in the begining and I can't help but ask Mandy, "am I doing this right? What's up with this?" She assures me it's still working and REassures me that there are days it will still kill me and days when it will feel like I'm a pro. I'm finding great peace in that knowledge. Even people who've been doing this for years feel like it's hell sometimes. I'm feeling like maybe I can do this...for a lifetime.

Day 8- Dejavu. It was Day 3 all over again, minus the crying. I didn't rest well and just felt all around achy and draggy as soon as I crawled out of the bed...late. Now, the old Lisa took every possible opportunity to cancel some exercise. "Oh, I overslept, I'll do it tonight..." and then figure out a reason why I couldn't do it once I got home. This new "who the heck are you?" Lisa said "you can squeeze 20 minutes in here and still make it to work barely late...DO IT!" Huh? I couldn't help but keep asking myself that as I laced up my shox. You know what, though, I'm loving this new me. That same morning, as I was hopping down and back up the steps at my apartment (the same ones that used to leave me breathless, with aching knees) to get to my car, I thought to myself "my body is amazing. You are doing amazing things for yourself" and at that very moment I realized that for the first time in 35 years I loved myself. I loved my body and the things it allowed me to do even after so many years of abuse, neglect, and self loathing. I love and respect my body. Even this very moment, as I say that aloud, it brings tears to my eyes. I truly never thought I'd say those words.

Day 9- Are you kidding me? Tomorrow is Day 10! Day 9 felt much like Day 4...I was elated to feel rejuvinated and strong after such a hard day just 24 hours before. The soreness wasn't as intense and my stamina was shocking. I'm down to a very minimal number of "i hate you Jillian's" at this point. :)

Day 10- Elation, Shock, Pride and Fear. I made it. I'll say it again, I MADE IT! This, never worked out before, scared I'd literally die if I pushed myself this hard, girl made it! I've never been so proud of myself. I am shocked. This is me...and Jillian Michaels...and she didn't break me. It was another rough night in the rest department and I woke up late, again...but there was no way I was putting off day 10. This particular 20 minutes was a hard one for me. I had to struggle to maintain my balance and the push ups were extremely hard for me this was the cardio. Another day of feeling like a weighed a ton...but I pushed through and it feels better than anything else I've ever experienced. I never thought I'd be able to do this and I am so proud of who I am becoming!! And I'm scared. Level 2 starts Monday and I know this means a whole new set of things I've never asked my body to do. Will it work with me? Will I be strong enough? Those questions are constantly running through my head right now. The old me might bail...but this is the new me and I will not quit. Somehow, someway, I'm gonna make it through level 2, just like I made it through level 1...twenty minutes at a time.

Good gracious this is longer than I hoped it would be. Level 2's blog will not be so long, hopefully, because there will be no need for the introduction, etc.

I want to say one more thing before I go. I didn't take measurements before I started the Shred but I wish I had. My clothes are obvious signs that it's working and I just had to share that, this weekend, I had to get some new jeans. I started at a 26 and am now, ecstatic to share, that I'm wearing an 18. I had a pair of jeans prior to this workout that were fitting better and better each week but there was still just a little too much flab here and there to feel really comfortable in them. Last week, after just 5 days of the Shred, I put those jeans on and wore them confidently for the first time. 5 days and I already had a drastic change. My heart is soaring. I'm including a before and after pic here. This is the first time I'd looked at a before and after side by side and I'm blown away. I cannot believe how much I've changed in 52 lbs. I can't wait to see what I look like after another 50.
Thanks to Mandy, again, for all your never ending support, encouragement, knowledge, and unconditional love...and for asking me to share. Thanks, again, to y'all for sticking with my wordy self and caring enough to hear my story! For those of you who are just starting this journey, I know it's scary. It's the most frightening thing you'll ever do to take that first step and try...but you CAN do it. Trust your body and will carry you through. And in that moment where it feels like you have nothing left...look to Heaven, He will show up and you will go further than you ever imagined you could! I'm proof...and I believe in you!

Off to bed for an early start to Level 2...pray for me! :)

Hey y'all! Mandy again! Isn't she amazing? Thanks for reading!

Thanks Lisa!!!

Have a great Tuesday!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Great Weekend!!

You guys are so awesome! Thanks so much for all of your sweet words! I think the frustration part of it all is really coming from the fact that I feel like I'm working hard (minus my treats this weekend)... and seeing no results. I guess I need to sit back and REALLY look at my food... because I feel like my workouts aren't where I'm hurting with this. I go home next week for my brother's wedding and last time I was there, I was at my happy weight... so it's kind of embarassing to go back to see everyone. I feel frustrated and also like a failure! And honestly, I don't know how but I feel like I'm getting BIGGER. I put on three pairs of my bermuda shorts today and they were too small... I could wear them just fine a month ago!!!!??? I don't get it.

Anyway, my rant is over... I'm REALLY trying not to let it get to me. It's kind of come in waves this weekend! But thank you all for your support!

I have had such a great weekend! i hate that it's over! I got to spend lots of time with the hubby and the kiddo. Funny how doin' a bunch of nothin' can be the best time spent together.

JR and I have actually had a lot of fun lately working on puzzles together. I know we sound like some major party animals, don't we? Woohoo! No really, it's actually some good quality time that we can spend together... and it's almost meditative at times! While we were doing that, I had some dessert...Have you guys seen these new little individual servings of ice cream from Edy's??
Totally LOVE it... I'm one who normally can't have gallons or even pints of ice cream in the house because I WILL eat it... and not portion it out... haha... but this is PERFECT!!! I added a few of these bunny grahams and also 3 of these small marshmallows to make almost a smores type dessert...twas very yummy!
This morning, I got up and worked out... I did of course, Level 2 of the 30 Day Shred... and then since it's Sunday, I did some yoga, too! I don't know why.. but i LOVE doing yoga on Sundays. I guess it goes with Sunday's being a day to relax :)

I did this yoga video by Crunch... I REALLY like it... it focuses more on the lower body and you REALLY feel it when it's over!! I burned 386 calories with both work outs today.

I had a couple of work out buddies today while doing yoga... haha
While I worked out... JR and Maddie ran out and did some errands... and JR brought back some Starbucks! I got my usual skinny cinnamon dolce latte... and had it with breakfast. I decided to try something I have seen the lovely April do on her blog... add some pumpkin in my yogurt (I can hear JR gagging now... lol). It was REALLY good! I added some cinnamon and nutmeg... along with some agave and sliced banana. I had one of our new favorite blueberry muffins I made yesterday... the recipe that Jenna posted about a month ago. They're awesome... and so full of blueberries!!! I of course, slathered the muffin with a tablespoon of almond butter after this picture :)After breakfast, I got ready and headed to the grocery store for a few things for dinner tonight. Our grocery budget is done with for the week, so I'll have to make whatever we have around the house work! I have some fresh spinach and salad mix... a few apples, bananas and peaches... everything else produce wise is frozen. I'm sure we can make it work!

We planned to take dinner to my in laws house tonight so that they didn't have to worry about making anything for themselves and had a "night off" from cooking. They have been taking care of JR's grandmother... who is very sick (you can read more about it here). We're trying to make sure they're not stressing over little things and hoped this might help some! I came home from the store and while making lunch, made them a batch of the blueberry muffins for quick breakfast choices and also got things ready to make the mashed sweet potatoes.

While working in the kitchen, I made a quick lunch. A spinach wrap with turkey, hummus, turkey bacon, lite havarti cheese and spinach... there's a peach in the picture... but I got busy in the kitchen and forgot about it! By the time I saw it again, I didn't want it any longer.
When I finally got hungry again, I wanted my new chocolate smoothie... which I have no picture for...oops :(

We got to JR's parents house and JR grilled up the meats while I got salads ready... here's my salad and food once we got everything done: grilled pork loin chop with annie's bbq sauce, mashed sweet potatoes, some steamed veggies and a salad with mixed greens, blueberries, onion, gorgonzola cheese and sliced almonds...
We hung around and talked with JR's mom for awhile... and got to look at a lot of his grandmother's old photographs and letters... it was pretty neat!

We were going to head home but knew his mom needed a break... so we took her out for some ice cream :) We went to marble slab.... I got some of their fro-yo with chocolate chips... sorry for the blurry pic... I'm still not the best photographer!
Okay, I totally need to get to bed now... it's 11:30!!! I won't be getting up to work out... so I'll have to do it when we get home... which may mean it won't get done! :( I'm going to see how the day goes. I may make it my rest day, we'll see!

How was your weekend? Any fun plans this week?

Saturday, August 8, 2009

the pictureless blog....

Okay, maybe that's kind of a lie... there's at least two pictures at the end :)

How's your weekend going so far?

Yeah, so I didn't take a picture of one single thing I had to eat yesterday or today so far! BAD blogger, Mandy! Breakfast & lunch were repeats of Pumpkin Pancakes and Mellow Mushroom pizza leftovers... and dinner was out at Panera with JR & Maddie, where I had the incredibly yummy Chicken Strawberry Poppyseed salad and a multi grain baguette.I think it said on their menu that this salad is only out for another three weeks... so I am sure I'll be back to have it once more before then! The only other thing I had to eat was a larabar for a snack!

JR took Maddie home to get her to bed... and I stayed out and went to TJ Maxx and New York & Company to look for a dress to wear to my brother's wedding in a couple of weeks. Being honest - this was not a great experience :( I've discussed my weight gain recently on the blog... and have really tried not to let it get to me. I have felt like I've been trying hard with my food and with my work outs - not to try to lose all the weight I've gained... but enough to feel comfortable with myself again. I was staying away from the scale...but finally gave in and weighed last week. It had been almost two weeks... surely I had to lose SOMETHING, right??


Not only did I not lose anything - I went up two pounds.

Again, I've tried not letting it get to me... but last night, it all hit hard. I had a mini breakdown in the dressing room. I couldn't believe how many sizes I had to go up.. and how things that would normally look good on me, I couldn't even begin to wear in public.

I feel pretty defeated... I left the stores empty handed and broken-hearted.

I headed home and tried to unwind and relax a bit. I had two big glasses of wine... which hey, after a night like that, I deserved it! It definitely did the trick... I hung out with my honey and had a great rest of the night.

I do have to go find a dress still... I may wait until next weekend. I'm hoping to have a better experience!

As for today, I've been quite spoiled. I got to sleep in till 10 am!!!!! Whew! I haven't done that in a LONG time! It was great... woke up and didn't have much of an appetite. I had one small square of the coffee cake around 11 and about 30 minutes later - I had a turkey club sandwich (Trader Joe's turkey bacon, TJ's sliced turkey, 1 slice low fat swiss, Sabra's hummus, spinach, tomato on Publix Multi grain bread)....

JR and Maddie laid down for a nap, and I had to talk myself into working out. I did of course, Level 2 of the 30 Day Shred. I REALLY struggled through it today. I had no energy in the first circuit at ALL. I almost stopped it there and called it day... but made a deal with myself that if I kept going, I would just do what I could... even if that meant all the beginner options or just walking in place. I got a bit of a second wind in the 3rd circuit... and even wanted to do some extra cardio after I was finished. I put on a Firm dvd - Cardio Sculpt Blaster... some step and floor aerobics with light hand weights... I used some portions with a 6 inch step and some with an 8 inch step. I felt much better after I finished... and burned 505 calories.

RIGHT after, I made a smoothie...same as earlier this week... 1 cup unsweetened chocolate almond milk, 1 tbsp cocoa powder, protein powder, 1/2 tbsp almond butter, 1 frozen banana... good stuff :)

Dinner was easy.... the hubby grilled some steak, I fixed up some salads and some leftover steamed veggies with sweet potatoes.

I'm sure there will be dessert.... JR is trying to talk me into Dairy Queen - SHAME! I'm hoping I don't give in!!! :)

We are just hanging around this weekend... being lazy!! What do you guys have going on?

Thursday, August 6, 2009


Where to start?? Ah yes... finishing up Wednesday!

I didn't need an afternoon snack... and Maddie was ready for dinner pretty quickly after she woke up around 5... so I thought we'd have an early dinner and some kind of dessert later. I decided to make a bbq chicken salad. I basically threw together some leftover chicken with my new Annie's smokey maple bbq sauce (LOVE it!), kidney & pinto beans, corn, tomato, red onion, carrots, spinach and some mixed greens, topped it all off with some cheddar cheese... had some blue corn chips and hummus on the side!

And then I got busy in the kitchen... I pre-made our favorite lasagna for JR's parents so that all they had to do was pop it in the oven for an hour. This is a seriously good lasagna, folks! It's quite a bit of work... but SO worth it in the end!! Then I the chocolate coffee cake (which oddly enough has no coffee in it whatsoever) but that wasn't ready in time to head to their place. I have to say I'm happy it stayed here... haha kind of ;) As busy as I was, I never got hungry again... so no dessert or any other snacks last night!

I got to bed around midnight... and woke up again around 3 am... never got back to sleep again until 4:30.. I HATE that! I woke up at 8 to start the day. I stayed home one last day with Maddie so JR's parents could get things situated with hospice for his grandmother.

I was craving the pumpkin pancakes I had yesterday... sorry for the repeat! I didn't take a new picture... since I had on yesterdays post!

Snack was part of the coffee cake I mentioned earlier... guys, I'm not kidding.. this is SO good!!!!!!! Maddie loves it so much she has had 3 pieces today! This child is picky... so you know it's good when she is STILL asking for more! Knowing the awesome ingredients in this recipe, I was happy she was asking for more :)

I actually cut it into 20 little pieces... in an 8X8 pan! I had this small square and half of another after lunch that I shared with Maddie. Sorry it's SO blurry... I took about six different shots and it would NOT focus!

For lunch, I toasted up a flat out wrap filled with ground turkey w/ mexican seasoning, green peppers, tomato, cheddar cheese, hummus and onions... a side of pinto beans and corn and my last nectarine. Good stuff :)

Maddie and I then popped in the video of JR and I getting married! She had not seen this yet and it was fun talking to her about everyone in the video. We had a blast when it got to the reception part of the video... we did the (dreaded) chicken dance and the hokey pokey... haha...

Maddie then wanted to serenade the puppies... she got out her drum and made up a song for each of the dogs :)
After that, it was nap time for maddie and shredding time for mommy! Day 4, Level 2 of the 30 Day Shred. I was really craving some extra upper body work after... so I pulled out The Firm's Jiggle Free Arms and did some heavy lifting along with some step aerobics. I burned 488 calories between the two vidoes.

After I finished, I made a very chocolately protein shake for my post workout snackage! This had 1 cup unsweetned chocolate almond milk, 1 tbsp dark chocolate cocoa powder, 1 frozen banana, 1/2 tbsp almond butter, protein powder and some ice... again, sorry for the blurry picture!
We met some friends out for dinner tonight and Maddie requested Mellow Mushroom... we don't usually go there so close together as we did the past week... but I'll never argue if someone suggests it! I don't have any pictures... but tonight, JR and I got our own small 10 inch pizzas...Mine had grilled chicken, spinach, fresh basil and roma tomatoes. I had maybe 1 1/2 slices (there are 4)... but before that, I had some appetizers... one bruchetta and two small pieces of whole wheat garlic bread... plus about 3/4 of the salad that came with Maddie's pizza that she didn't eat. So yeah, I had plenty before the pizza even arrived! I was proud I didn't make myself stuff down the other 1/2 of that slice! I feel satisfied... not stuffed! NEVER happens with mellow mushroom!

I came home and soaked my muscles in a warm bath... My upper body is already seriously sore from my work out today! Although I have liked doing the Shred... I miss my heavier lifting! Things I would normally use 15 lbs for, I couldn't use more than 10-12 lbs today. So I am going to try working this in more for the next two weeks along with shredding!

I honestly could work my upper body every day of the week if it was safe :) I LOVE upper body work! Especially working my biceps :) I think hammer curls are my favorite bicep exercise!

What about you?? What is your favorite exercise for the upper body? Or do you have a favorite upper body routine or video?

Night all!