Hungry Like the Wolf


So here's the deal with the food.  The first six days of the Brazil Butt Lift program is known as the "Six-day Supermodel Slim-down". So in just one more day, I'll be runway ready! It's the guarantee that "you'll notice results in the first six days or your money back!"  You'll also notice that you're really hungry because, if one follows the menu that comes with the program (or in my case, eats the bland first-week meals), one is allotted a measly 1100 calories per day. One also only eats "green and white" food. Meaning: chicken, fish, turkey, spinach, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, get the picture. In conjunction with eating like you're in a prison camp, you do hour-long workouts for the first week. I'm on day 5 of this starvation kick-start and let me tell you, I AM ONE HUNGRY BITCH! 

Green & White Grub
It doesn't help that my husband thinks it's hilarious to talk about mac & cheese, burgers and other off-limits foods, during this really hard first week. Last night he made this delicious (okay I had ONE bite) bone-in lemon chicken breast with crispy skin. The house smelled so good! And he washed it all down with a growler of dark beer, while I ate a tiny fist-sized portion of taste-free turkey cutlet with fennel (I hate fennel) and a glass of water. Tonight he's thinking of cooking up some steak for himself. I hope he chokes on the gristle.

Yesterday I did my Saturday homework, which was to do two workouts from Leandro's DVDs: Cardio Axe (pronounced A-SHAY. Don't ask me, I'm not Brazilian.) and Bum Bum (pronounced BOOM BOOM.) I woke up energized and so relieved to be working out at home in the comfort and privacy of our dingy man-cave instead of the gym where I would have to actually put forth effort since the Butt Master would be there screaming at me in his thick accent...which is kind of dreamy. I pop in Cardio Axe and prepare to shake my money maker. When Leandro appears on the screen, I actually miss seeing him live. It's just not the same when the Butt Master is only 12" tall. It's really weird to watch the video after being in the class with Leandro. He's more playful on the videos and the workouts are a billion times easier because he "marches it out" between sets of butt blasting exercises, so you get a break. Not the case in class where stopping is an offense punishable by death. I find myself giggling every time he says "bum bum". Oh Leandro, you're so cute.  

My son and husband come downstairs while I'm doing  the Bum Bum workout. "Mommy are you practicing for exercise school?" I sweetly answer my son then bark at my husband, "I don't want you to see me doing this!" For god sake, I just started these workouts and I look like I'm having a seizure when I try to do the dance moves. I'm the Elaine Benes of home workouts. It takes a VERY long time for me to get the moves down...

Don't Call My Name, Don't Call My Name...Leandro

2.25.11 - Day Three

I feel so much better this morning!  I slept well, no more jitters, my soreness is manageable. I think I can do this. Drink breakfast. Kiss son. Out the door.

Thirty-minute run on the treadmill with The Paul Butterfield Blues Band rocking in my ears. I'm so ready for this. I'll be awesome in class today!

Time for our 3rd workout with The Butt Master. He's really cheerful today. It's Friday; the room's abuzz with TGIF glee. Leandro leaves the lights on. Weird. There's some guy standing in the back of the room with a pen and notepad. Not sure if he's observing us or Leandro - or both. I hope he's not blogging about me! Cue the Brazilian music and away we go! 

I am positioned between two beautiful and statuesque blonds. One of them has an accent so she's automatically the prettiest girl in class. And even though they have the requisite gluteal flaws, they have flat bellies and are a thousand times more coordinated than I. I feel like Chris Farley in that skit with Patrick Swayze. 

Suck in your gut..but don't forget to breathe. My flailing arms are throbbing. Class was way more dancy today. I'm terrible at coordinating my arms and legs. Leandro corrects me a couple of times. I'll get better, I promise. At one point, he says - to me - "You have to get your arms..." I nod and smile and keep going. Please don't kick me out for sucking so bad.  The usual body-numbness and tingling sets in at the 40-minute mark. I jog in place for a second - we're strictly forbidden to just stop. Jog it out. Breathe. Breathe. Jog it a little more. Now go! 

I Feel Hurty. Oh So Hurty!

2.23.2011 - The First Work-out

As suggested, I arrive at the gym 30 minutes early to do some cardio before class. I mount the treadmill, plug in my ear buds and crank up the only gal that knows how to get me running - GaGa. Look at me Leandro. I'm running! I work up a good sweat, then head into class. So excited, so scared, so unprepared for what was about to happen.

OH. MY. GOD! This is so freaking  hard! Leandro had the Brazilian beat pumping and it didn't stop for an hour. "Lift your legs! Arms up! Leap to the right! Squat! Lunge! Jump! Don't stop! Higher!" Oh God, I'm going to die! There was this spazzy girl in front of me that must be a dancer or a contortionist because she was kicking her quadruple-jointed Gumby legs all over the f*ing place. I was trying to dodge her blows and still see myself in the mirror - which was horrifying since EVERYTHING jiggled. Every time I did a side-kick, the fat rippled down the side of my thigh like a milky-white wave. We never stopped moving our arms! His moves are kind of dancey and he incorporates ballet-type arm movements. Up-and-down, over-and-over. My triceps waving like the American flag on the 4th of July. If I had been doing this at home, I would have paused the DVD eight times by now! I hate you spazzy dancer bitch! Out of my personal space! Okay, breathe, focus, don't give up, don't stop. Oh God, my calves are cramping! I've got a wedgie. My spare-tire is going rogue. I think I'm gonna puke. How will I survive the next two months?! And then...the cool-down. Every single girl in the room had a face the color of ripe watermelon. And now we know what to expect tomorrow. Holy shit.

We collect our cooler with the first day of food and crawl back to our lives on the outside.
That shirt was light green before class.

2.24.2011 - Day Two
I slept so poorly last night. I don't know if it's the excitement, change in diet, throbbing ass muscles...or a combination of all of that, but I woke up jittery and TIRED. Get it together sister, you cannot fail! I drink my breakfast, get my kid ready for school, pack up my stuff and head out for another day of torture.

Treadmill and GaGa, water break, time for class. I move away from Spazzy McGee and opt to be in front. I say hi to a fellow test-subject and notice she looks...awful. I ask her if she's okay and she replies that she has a fever. Get the F away from me Typhoid Mary! I give her the old, "Oh no, I'm sorry," as I quickly back away hoping I didn't inhale her cooties. I position myself near Leandro. He tells us how proud he is of us for yesterday. Yeah, right. He tells us that this whole week will be all cardio - like yesterday. Oh goodie! Then he introduces a special guest; His good friend Sandra Alvim. She's super cute, super fit and almost 60-years-old! AND, she's working out next to me. Just when I thought I couldn't feel more dumpy. Well, let's get this party started Sandra.
Sandra Alvim

Getting to Know You

My blog is almost current!

Oh, by the way, I am not getting paid for this experience. (A few people have asked.) Nor, am I paying for it. It's a TEST GROUP. We're lab rats. Only we probably won't die during the experiment. I hope...

Moving on!

2.22.2011 - Orientation Day!
Today we gather at the gym, clad in workout gear with notebooks in hand, to get the low-down from The Butt Master. I barely slept the night before. I'm so anxious, excited, terrified, hopeful, scared out of my mind. This is the first time I see all the ladies in my test group. Time to size up the competition.

I meet a nice lady in the locker room who has been in a BBL test group before and loves Leandro's workouts. She tells me how my body will "transform" and how fun this experience will be. I like her. She's got sort-of a protective older sister appeal and I like that she immediately engaged me. She'll be my locker room buddy. (That's my inner voice. Did you get that?) There's another girl in our locker bank that stares at us, then smiles halfheartedly. She's thin and looks fit, but lacks a butt. I decide I don't like her. She probably would have been mean to me in junior high.

Before orientation begins, we get weighed to make sure we didn't pig out like prisoners on death-row since the photoshoot day. I hop up on the scale and hope to God that all the eating and boozing I did over the three-day weekend, doesn't come back to bite me in my dimply ass. Jessica sweetly sets the the big weight on 100 and then quickly realizes she has to scoot the little weight all the way to end. I just went ahead and bumped up the big weight to 150, as I'm pretty familiar with my girth. Jessica calls out my weight to the gal that's writing everything down. "158," she says. "REALLY?" replies Jenny the note-taker. I had lost SIX pounds since rotating turntable day, seven days ago. "What did you do?" asks Jessica. My reply, "I'm in it to win it Jessica!" Seriously, the day of the photoshoot, I weighed-in at 164, which surprised me since I'm usually hovering in the 157-160 range. But I was really bloaty and PMSy so that likely spiked my weight. So while I think this miracle weightloss is a bit skewed, I'll take it...

Leandro: Master of my Bum Bum
We gather in the exercise studio that will be our training camp for the next eight weeks. I scurry right to the front and look around to check out my fellow test subjects. I see fat butts, flat butts, black girl butts, wide butts, big thighs, little thighs - all the problem areas are covered. I'd say there are about 20 of us in the group. We huddle near the Butt Master. He's so tan, so toned, so...Brazillian. I stare longingly into his piercing green eyes, as he reintroduces himself to us and congratulates us for making the final cut. Thank you Leandro. You won't regret this decision.  In his thick Portuguese accent, he begins to tell us what we can expect from this experience, and what he expects in return. Lay it on me Butt Master!

He talks about the food we'll be getting. Fresh, healthy food from
5 squares™, a delivery service that specializes in this sort of thing. Check them out here:
(The cool thing is the food we're getting, mirrors the recipes and foods in Leandro's program, so that when we're released into the wild, we can continue to eat this way. It's not processed crap. It's real food, from real grocery stores, and it's pretty simple. And since I really hate cooking or thinking about cooking, I need simple. So what I'm getting at is, YOU can do this too. You don't need to be a lab rat in Leandro's test group. Just stop buying shitty food and instead, buy fresh food. You don't have to shop in a farmer's market or a specialty organic food store. You don't need a fancy, expensive food-delivery service. You just need to go to your own damn grocery store and shop smarter. Okay, I'll step down from my soap box.) 
Leandro tells us not to cheat or skip the meals. He asks us to push ourselves and not give up. "You gonna feeeel yo bodee changink," he tells us. He says he "...sometime gonna yell, but ees not because I'm mad. I wan you work haard to get reesults!" (Like my Brazilian accent?) Yell at me Leandro! I can take it! He also suggest that "some of the bigger girls, that need to lose more weight, and not just lift the butt" come at least 30 minutes before class for some "hard cardio." We know who we are...

We also learn that there will be prizes each week at weigh-in. Woo hoo! It's like The Biggest Loser
© for not-so-fat people! I want prizes. Thankfully, it'll be percentage-based so already-skinny people don't have to compete directly against big-bootied-mommas (like me) who will lose a lot of weight in the first few weeks. (I hope.) The prize could be a massage, a private session with Leandro, new workout clothes. I WANT IT ALL!

Okay, so we kind of know what to expect from Leandro and the food, now it's time to learn the basic steps we'll be doing in class. Let's do this!

We stand in our lines, facing the mirror - something I never do when exercising at home, so this should help to either motivate me or make want to puke. Or both.
Here's some pictures of stuff I'll be doing:



Let It All Hang Out

So, I'm officially in the test group for Brazil Butt Lift®! Yay! But what does this all mean, you ask? 
It means, for the next 8 weeks, my ass (literally!) belongs to Leandro and his team at Beachbody.

I will be required to:
  • Attend one-hour  Brazil Butt Lift® classes - taught by Leandro of course - Monday through Friday, at a super swanky gym in the city. (An awesome perk is a temporary membership to said gym.)
  • Do an assigned BBL workout at home on the weekends, using the  Leandro's DVDs. (Currently available at Subtle right?
  • Give up all booze, sugar and other foods that make me happy but chubby. UGH!
  • Eat delicious, fresh, healthy meals that will be prepared and delivered to us daily for the next eight weeks. Since I am the person that eats three heaping spoons of peanut butter while trying to figure out what to make for dinner, this is so great for me!
  • Journal our experience weekly and submit our writing to Jessica, Leandro's right-hand gal and a spit-fire of a trainer.

But first, the "BEFORE" Photoshoot. You can imagine how pumped I was to read:

"This is the time to bring in your favorite pair of jeans that you've been trying to fit into and that cute bikini that's been sitting in the back of your closet!" HA! That cute bikini's still on the rack in a store I've never been in. But, I follow directions and head to my local Target to buy way-too-short workout shorts, a jazzy new pink sports bra and yes, a bikini. I do not own "aspirational" jeans and refuse to buy new ones till Leandro has re-shaped my tookus. So there.

2.15.2011 - THE PHOTOSHOOT:
Just when I thought giving birth in a teaching hospital would be the single-most exposure I'd have in one day, I got to wear a bikini in front of a production crew...while standing on a rotating turntable. Yep, there I was - dimply thunder thighs, flabby alabaster belly, rotating slowly under the bright studio lights, like lamb on a Gyro spit - for all the world to see. Awesome.

At least the make-up guy was kind enough to airbrush the regrettable tramp-stamp I got in Florida in 1996. Too bad there was nothing he could do about my thighs.

God I Hope I Get It!

(I know my fellow musical theater nerds will appreciate the title of this installment.)

Okay, so I get the notice about the Brazil Butt Lift® audition in NYC.  Brazil Butt Lift® (or BBL as I'll be calling it) is yet another program in the Beachbody® family. Created by Brazil native Leandro Carvalho, it's a workout program designed to target the ass and all it's many complex parts. (How's that for dumbing it down?) 

The first step in the audition process is to submit an online questionnaire, and of course, attach pictures of your butt. Why not? I title my submission "FORMERLY FAT BROOKLYN MOM NEEDS A BUTT LIFT!", you know, so they'd notice me and forget about all the other big-bottomed gals. I include a little info and say things like, "I'd like to lose another 15-20 pounds and really focus on my "hip region". I've got thunder thighs and I'm ready to see those saddle bags shrink and get my booty higher and tighter! (Or just high and tight...)" and "This test group would be an amazing opportunity for me to keep myself focused on "Phase 2" of my body's transformation and to show real women that nothing is impossible if you put your mind to it and commit to yourself." That'll get 'em for sure!
We were also told to attach a "lifestyle" photo. Though I have know idea what this really means, I assume they didn't want to see me in my usual frumpy mom garb, but rather a more dolled-up version of myself, so I send this photo.
My "lifestyle photo"
I also had to attach a picture of MY BOOTY, which I will spare my blog followers. It ain't pretty...yet.

I send the application and wait. Four days later, I get an email inviting me to audition in-person with Leandro "The Butt Master" Carvalho! I'm so excited and terrified when I read "Please come in form flattering clothes and bring/ wear a bathing suit  or short fitness shorts to change into for your interview with Leandro and the casting team."  Super. Me, in a bathing suit, in February, in front of a room of strangers. What do I have to lose...besides my dignity?

2-10-2011 - AUDITION DAY:
Armed with a one-piece bathing suit, workout clothing and a bad case of nerves, I head to my big audition. Now here's the trippy part. When I get off the elevator, I immediately have that "I've been here before feeling.." (This usually happens in bars, where there's little mystery behind why I can't remember..) Then it hits me. Way way way back when I was young - in the 90s - I was in theater school (surprise!), and this studio is the exact location of our senior class' mock-audition. Fifteen years later, there I am, as terrified as I was on that day in 1997. I felt like it was the universe saying "Ha Ha" a la Nelson Muntz from The Simpsons. 

I'm greeted by young, thin  20-somethings, then asked to fill out some paperwork and change into my bathing suit for a quick Polaroid of my rump. Ugh. I do it. While I'm standing there getting my snapshots, The Butt Master is interviewing three gals who are wearing a combo of swimwear and workout wear and answering questions about their butts. I give him a quick wave, and flash my award-winning smile, which I'm sure did not distract him from the giant pair of thighs I was sporting...

Next, I change into my workout gear and move to the interview table. My heart is pounding. I'm "job-interview-nervous". Breathe, just breathe. I shake The Butt Master's hand and sit on a flimsy folding chair, which really accentuates the land-mass that are my things. We talk about my weightloss, my future goals, my butt, my butt and more about my butt. He asks me if I can commit to the entire program and I tell him emphatically "I SURE CAN!" 

Two of the moves I did in the audition. No, I did not expose my milky-white midriff.
Then, I'm paired with another Booty School hopeful and we are given a little routine to do. Pretty mortifying but, considering I have never done Leandro's routines, I did pretty well. At least he saw that I can squat, lunge and follow directions. We get the old, "Thank you ladies, we'll be in touch", and I leave. Hopeful and glad that part is over.  

I return to my life, and wait. After two days with no word, I'm sure I didn't get it, then ding! an email arrives: "CONGRATULATIONS ON MAKING IT THROUGH THE SELECTION PROCESS- YOU’RE IN!" Oh my god, I got it! I actually got it!  Holy shit, I have to exercise six days-a-week, for the next weight weeks. DOH!

The Back(side) Story

Okay, this is my first - probably only - attempt at blogging. A super cool, really funny thing has happened, and I want to share this experience with my friends, and any other web-surfing weirdos out there. So, here goes.

Most of my friends and family know that at the start of 2009, I was hugely fat. I'm 5' 8 1/2", and at the time I weighed 193 pounds and was sporting a size 16. Contrary to popular belief,  this was not baby weight; I had managed to gain it all before I got knocked up. (Oh yeah, I had a baby in October of 2007.) So, there I am in January 2009, sitting on my couch in my giant-sized nightgown, channel-surfing, when I stumble upon an exercise DVD  infomercial. It was TURBO JAM®.

Turbo Jam® creator Chalene Johnson practically spoke to me through the TV and I just knew her program was the one for me. I rushed (as fast as a hefty gal could rush) to my computer and immediately purchased the DVDs . Just 7 to 9 business days later, I had in my hands, the package that would change my life. I started slowly, very slowly, with a 20-minute workout every day for the first few weeks. I was in bad shape y'all; That was all I could do. I worked my way up to 30 minutes a day and by June 2009, I had lost 25 pounds. I would soon be ready to trade in my size 16 Mom Jeans for some sporty Land's End® activity skorts. I kept going throughout the summer and fall, and ended 2009 a size 10! Armed with my new body and some sexy Ann Taylor LOFT® Cougar-Mom jeans, I was ready for 2010.

That's me on the left before I started Turbo Jam® in January 2009. On the right, January 2010. 39 pounds lighter and loving my new size 10 Mom Jeans.