I Don't Ever Want to Play the Part of a Statistic on a Government Chart

(song: Invisible Sun/artist: The Police)

Good morning! Today is Memorial Day. Hubby is off work and I'm on my 30th day of my 41-day test-group extension. So far, we've had 10 sessions at Leandro's studio, and we'll have 6 more before our  final photoshoot and infomercial interview. So this means I ONLY HAVE 11 DAYS LEFT! Just 11 days of prepared meals, personal training and all the resources my heart desires. Come Monday, June 13, I'M ON MY OWN! And this gets me thinking, "What the hell am I going to do?!" Well guess what, I'm really not that freaked out. I mean, I was terrified as the end of April approached and I was facing life on my own, but this extension was exactly what I needed to ease into life on my own.

Now that we only see Leandro three times-a-week, I'm responsible for the other 4 days of the week. And I assure you, I am not sitting on my much-improved ass.

5.25.11 - my much-improved ass

My average week is:
Monday - One hour of cardio - either a 3.25 mile run in the park or a DVD, followed by weighted leg work at home. During my son's bath, I do Leandro's 18-minute ab workout DVD.
Tuesday - Leandro's studio. Ab DVD during toddler bathtime.
Wednesday - Leandro's studio. Ab DVD during toddler bathtime.
Thursday - Leandro's studio. Additional weighted leg work at home. Ab DVD during toddler bathtime.
Friday - One hour of cardio, followed by weighted leg work. Ab DVD at bathtime.
Saturday - 3.25 mile park run. Ab DVD.
Sunday - Move it Momma (bootcamp class) in the park OR one-hour Brazil Butt Lift DVD. Additional ab DVD and weighted leg work.

Catching my ab theme? During these last few days, I am religiously doing Leandro's "Tummy Tuck" DVD every day. I was doing it every other day, but during a workout last week, I inhaled just the right way and I saw the slightest hint of a developing six-pack. Seriously, it was just a hint, but that was just enough for me to kick it into high gear and push harder to burn the fat off those new muscles underneath. (Plus, Leandro told me to do the DVD every day and he knows I'll do anything he tells me to do.) Working out with an exposed midriff has proven to be very successful in helping me maintain core form and breathe properly. While I hate seeing the sagging skin during my plank exercises, I know that it's greatly improved my overall posture and is the reason my ab muscles are developing so quickly.

So it's safe to say I have a firm hold on my accountability outside of Leandro's studio. I'm still submitting weekly journals to Beachbody and Leandro, in which I document all of the work I do on my own. I also tell them about my food and any cheating. Speaking of which, I've been much  better about my nighttime snacking. It's SO hard to resist the urge to quietly pillage the snack cupboard after my son goes to bed, but I already know that I possess incredible willpower, so when that little voice says, "just a handful of chocolate animal crackers won't kill you", I tell it to shut up. Then I brush my teeth and stay out of the kitchen. Because that handful of chocolate animal crackers may only be 130 calories, but it's also 29 carbs and I know better than to delude myself into thinking that (a) I can stop at one serving and (b) calories are the only thing that matters. You can't have long-term success by only counting calories. If you aren't taking nutritional value - carbs, sugars, fiber, protein -  into account, you're not learning to live differently. You're simply losing weight temporarily. Anyone can lose weight by cutting calories. You only keep it off when you completely change your way of eating.

And in that vein, I decided to do a sweep of my pantry and fridge. Part of this process for me, has been educating myself about what I'm eating and what I'm feeding my family. Now that I have the cookbook published by the company that makes my meals, I'm shopping differently - like really reading labels - and not buying things with the idea that "my son can have this but I'll stay away from it". Why is it okay to give the sugary snacks to my son and not myself?  I bought several books about nutrition and am now making smarter choices when I shop.

I'm learning!
I'm not going to start making my son eat flax cakes, but I did decide to eliminate some of the higher sugar and carb content snacks we had in the pantry. For example, instead of the chocolate animal crackers, I bought these granola snacks which he loves and calls "gruh-ola cookies". They're low in sugar, high in hippie-esque grains and fiber, and meet his need for a sweet treat. When he asks for a treat, I offer sliced apples with honey-sweetened soy-nut butter or natural peanut butter - NO SUGAR or hydrogenated oil. He does love apple juice, but I've always diluted it with water so he doesn't get a sugar overload. He's getting 60/40 water to applejuice on average and doesn't really know the difference. On occasion he goes to a birthday party or a relative's house and gets high-octane juice, but he doesn't seem to notice the watered down version he gets at home. We're lucky to live in an era (and a city) of health-conscious parenting so it's easy to police what he's eating and drinking. Of course there will be the occasional cupcake or ice cream, but if it's occasional, it's a treat. if it's every day, IT'S A HABIT. And I'd rather he have a small portion real ice cream - with cream, sugar and milk, than a large portion of reduced fat, reduced calorie crap - with chemically altered mystery ingredients. Since he's a toddler, he's a picky eater, but he happily eats chicken, turkey meat and pork. He would live on ravioli and mac & cheese if he had a choice, but I've cut back on his pasta intake and increased his lean protein. Veggies are a tough sell for a little one, but I'll keep trying. In the meantime, he gets multi-vitamins daily.

Because I've had fresh meals made for me every day since February 23rd, I've become accustomed to small portions and frequent meals. I feel completely ready to go out into the "real world" and continue this way of healthy eating and living. I'm not afraid anymore! I have the tools I need to make the right choices for myself and for my family. During this extension, I've had "cheat meals" and even had a drink here and there. The difference is, I watch the portion of the meals, and I drink significantly less alcohol. I know what booze does to my body and I won't be controlled by urges or empty calories and sugar. I'll enjoy the meal and a glass or two of wine or beer, then I'll wake up the next day and get right back to the business of being healthy. I know I can do this.

I am loving my body these days, but will still have work to do on my thighs and abs when this test group ends. Because of years of  fat build-up on my thighs, I will have to continue my weighted leg work and cardio to combat some skin-sag due to rapid weightloss and to eliminate the remaining fat. The same goes for my belly. I've sort-of outgrown my skin and when I'm in a plank position, the skin on my stomach hangs down like...smooth, pink Silly Putty. It's not fat, it's skin...and it grosses me out. Don't get we wrong, it's not like it looks like a morbidly obese person that lost 400 pounds, but you can clearly see that some parts of my thighs are fat and some is sagging skin. When I'm wearing workout gear or regular clothes, you can't tell. But I know it's there and I want it gone! I've talked to Leandro endlessly and he believes - so that means I do too - that it will regain elasticity and become a part of the lean legs and abs I've dreamed of for so long. I KNOW I WILL ACHIEVE MY GOAL. I'm not worried about falling off the wagon and gaining my weight back or simply maintaining what I've already done. Maintenance only begins when I've reached my goal. And I'm so close...

I have a picture of my size 16 self on my refrigerator as a reminder of what I did to myself by abusing my body for so many years. For me, it's important to have that visual so I can congratulate myself on how far I've come. Some people like to delete all reminders of their fat past. Not me. I look at that fat girl every day, and think, "Never again." Then I start another great day of clean living. And it gets a little easier every day.

January 2009 -  Fat mommy sporting a size 16 at 193 pounds - NEVER AGAIN!