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!


  1. So sorry to hear about JR's grandmother...enjoy your time with her! Maddie looks so cute in her nurses outfit!

    Hello to Lisa and congrats on the awesome progress! Truly amazing!

  2. PS I used a different kind of cornmeal on the shrimp this time and I think that made ALL the difference.

  3. Lisa congrats! That's so awesome! You should be SO proud of yourself :)

  4. WOW! What an inspiring post from the both of you! Lisa, you have so much to be proud of and Mandy, you should feel proud, too! I really love the 30 Day Shred workout and that's another reason why: it just really works for most people. Good luck with Level 2! It's my favorite. :)

  5. Lisa - you are SO INSPIRING! Congrats to you!

  6. Mandy,
    Thanks so much for having Lisa to share her story. Lisa- amazing job! You have accomplished so much over the past year - you are very inspiring! Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. And, how lucky to have a friend like Mandy. We all need a Mandy in our lives!

    Mandy- still praying for JR's family- I know this is such a difficult time.

  7. Mandy, I'm sorry to hear about JR's grandmother; his family is in my thoughts and prayers.

    Hi Lisa, I truly enjoyed reading your story. I think you are doing great! The 30 Day Shred is a tough workout. I made my hubby do it to prove my point... :) Have fun with Level 2! And good luck on your journey!

  8. What an amazing story!! Keep up the good work!

    And she is such an adorable nurse! I'd love to have her work on me ;)

  9. Lisa: what a truly inspiring story, you look great, keep up the good work girl! BTW, I'm a native Texas girl too, I moved here to Nashville about 11 years ago.

    Mandy: Maddie looks totally cute in the nurse's outfit, and so sorry to hear about JR's grandmother, I know that has got to be hard. Grandparents are special people.

  10. Y'all are so awesome! I can't tell you what it feels like for ME to hear that I'm inspiring to someone...I'm the girl who's always inspired by other people. Thank you so much for all the love, support, and encouragement. Level 2 is killing me...but I'm not giving up!

    Y'all are seriously the best..thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

  11. I'm so sorry to hear about Jr's Grandmother! I will be praying for her and your family.

    You are looking so good! Great job girl

  12. Thanks for sharing Lisa's story, that's awesome!! : ) I love reading success stories like that, it's amazing how much confidence fitness can build up in someone, I definitely understand that!

  13. Fabulous job, Lisa!!! I love your new pic, you are seriously glowing!!! You look so good! Keep working at it, it's obvious that you are very determined!!! :)

    So sorry to hear that gmas not improving... :( still in my thoughts & prayers.

  14. LISA! OHMYGOD, you look GREAT!! You are an inspriation to ME! Everything from the person you are inside, your wonderful, loving heart and big, happy spirit to the person you are becoming on the outside.

    I'm so glad you and Mandy are sharing your journies with us!! :o)

  15. Oh my goodness Lisa; you look fantastic! I am like Mandy in the fact that I knew you had it in you the whole time. Keep up the good work and I hope to frequent the blog to get some new ideas and motivation. Emily McClure