Under African Skies

(song: Under African Skies/artist: Paul Simon)

A few months ago, I finally joined Crunch, my local gym. Now that I hold myself to a higher standard, I realize that my best workouts happen in a class environment, with other people around, so that I wont half-ass my way through the workout. I still do Brazil Butt Lift moves at home, at least three days a week. I remain a devout Leandro loyalist...

My new favorite class is Tabura. The Crunch website says, "Tabura is a Swahili name for training used in improving military endurance and strength in Africa. This intensely fun class uses kickboxing combinations and basic West African dance moves set to hot Tribal House music and a live drummer. Get ready to burn massive calories and become a true powerhouse warrior." I describe Taubra as Tae Bo, meets Insanity, meets Alvin Ailey. 

The creator and instructor is Reign Hudson. She is equal parts drill sergeant and sassy best girlfriend. (Also, she's a mom, so that makes me love her even more.) She'll engage you in fun chat before class, but once that drumming starts, she is all business, and you better be ready to sweat! Reign will literally sit on you (me) if she knows that you (I) can squat lower, but you (I) are just being lazy. She gets right in your face and counts - loudly - while she spots your jabs. I love her energy! She makes you want to kick higher, jump longer, go harder. 

That's Miss Reign. She don't play...

The first time I did Tabura, I felt like I did on the f
irst day of the Brazil Butt Lift test group, because of the intense cardio workout, and the "choreography". I have never felt whiter in my life! I was a total spazz, but I loved the workout! By the end of class, I was dripping with sweat. I love the powerful grace of the West African dance steps, combined with the straight-forward workout. If it was exclusively dance, I'd feel so awkward, but the blend of dance, kickboxing and high-intensity drills, somehow help me forget that I have no rhythm.

Here's a little taste of Tabura.

Reign has been profiled on the
Today Show, on New York 1 and The New York Times. (Click the links to her footage.) I think the stars are aligning, and 2013 is her year to explode. Tabura would be an excellent addition to a fitness company that wants to target the African American females aged 25-50+ market.  If there's a fitness company or a business-savvy celebrity (P. Diddy, I'm talking to you!) looking for an investment in the next big fitness craze, look no further than Reign. I'd buy her DVD faster than you can say TABURA! 

Getting my Tabura on in Central Park.
This s the Taburo demo at the Self Magazine Workout in Central Park. I was on the stage, but too far to the right to be seen...thankfully.

I can't wait to say, "I knew her when..."

Say, Do You Remember September

(song: September/artist: Earth Wind & Fire)

Where did the time go y'all!? I promised I'd write at least one post per month, and I'm keeping that promise. Even if it means writing a fluff piece like this one.

On the home-front, my son just started pre-K which means he now goes to school for a full day! It's like a reward for putting in 4.9 years of hard labor! I am officially NOT one of those moms that laments the start of school. Yeah sure, it's been challenging getting him back on an early morning routine, but we're getting there. And now, he seems to actually enjoy seeing me at the end of the day, whereas, with his 12:30 dismissal in nursery school, he always had that, "Oh crap, you again", look on his face. And now I have tons of "free time"! I can clean AND do laundry...to completion. Lucky me!

On the exercise front, I registered for the Rock 'n' Roll 10K again this year, so I'm running at least four days-a-week, and trying like hell to beat my time from last year -- 57:11. Last year's goal was to beat my husband. I didn't achieve that goal.  This year, the best I can hope for is at least being able to see him running ahead of me for the entire race. I'm not, by nature, a runner, and right now, I'm not in great running shape. I've been "training" for three weeks, and only last week was able to run the entire 3.5 mile loop without walking. I'll have to settle for beating myself. The race is October 13. I've got 16 days to shave five minutes off my time. No problem...

Slow and steady, wins the race...against myself.
 The good news is, all the cardio is revealing a lot of the definition I gained during a summer of only doing strength-training DVDs. Which is great because...I'm going back to QVC! I'm so excited to make my triumphant return to West Chester, PA with Leandro! April, the uber-chiseled fitness model is also on board, as are several other women of varying ages and body types -- a smart marketing move on the part of The Butt Master. We'll be squatting our way into the hearts and homes of America on October 11. Our 15-minute segment will be on between 7:00 - 9:00 AM (EST) on the "Mornings Made Easy" show. And again between 3:00 - 4:00 PM (EST) on the "Problems Solved" show. DOUBLE-HEADER! In case I'm stuck behind the pricing info, I'll wear jaunty sneakers. Just look for the bony ankles in the red New Balance. 

Wardrobe for 10/11 QVC appearance. Note the ankles.

So, I've got 14 training days till QVC, and 16 training days till the race. And THREE weddings in-between. Talk about bad timing! It's not so much the booze I'm concerned with, it's the food...and the sweets. I love sweets. (I'm drooling right now at the thought of cake.) Cocktail hour buffets are the kiss of death for a former fatty who loves to graze. But, I know I possess the willpower to enjoy myself in moderation. Question is: Will I use it? In my on-going pursuit of healthy physical and mental balance, this will be the ultimate test.

(I'll post my wedding trifecta successes and/or failures on my Facebook Page and Twitter)

Goodbye Normal Street

(album: Goodbye Normal Street/artists: Turnpike Troubadours)

A few weeks ago, I posted this side-by-side photo of a Victoria's Secret ad and a Dove "Real Beauty" ad on my Formerly Fat Mom Facebook page. I posted it with the caption, "Which do you  prefer, and why?"

I chimed in with the first comment: Personally, I appreciate the intended message, but I don't like either body-type. I find the two sets of bodies to be such extreme opposites. To me, the top photo says: "To prepare for this photoshoot, these very tall MODELS ate less than 800 calories a day. And any flaws they have (they DO have them), were removed by skilled graphic designers." The bottom says: "Don't workout. Just settle for a size 12/14." In between those two types, are women that exercise and eat right, and are smart enough to know the top photo is fantasy.

My sentence about the Dove models offended more than a few folks.  Some felt I was being judgmental and/or that I was calling the Dove girls fat. I want to be clear that in all of my blog and Facebook posts, what I say is not meant to to offend, it's simply a reflection of how I see (or saw) myself. Got it? Good, let's get back to business.

I later commented that I wanted to see the body between the uber-thin VS models and the toneless Dove models.  That prompted my friend Nick to say: "Body type in the middle? That worries me a bit because the women below look normal..."

So, what is a "normal" body? And who defines that? When I weighed 193 pounds and wore a size 16, I wanted desperately to look like the Dove models. I worked really hard for an entire year, and I achieved that goal. I lost  35+ pounds, and ended the year a size 10/12, with a weight between 155-160 pounds. I was normal, at long last.  I was normal in that I could shop at any mass retail store and find my size. I didn't have the word "teen" in my size, but, like most normal women, I was still a double-digit size. I was no longer fat, but I still had "curves". People noticed my weightloss, and congratulated me on becoming normal

193 - size 16                                                      160 - size 12 -- NORMAL!

After a year of maintaining my normal size 10/12 figure, I decided I wanted to look...better. I wanted to look fit. Not a Victoria's Secret model mind you, but rather a fitness model. Why not? Then, as dumb luck would have it, I got into the Brazil Butt Lift test group. As most of my long-time readers know, I dropped another 20+ pounds, and now I'm a size 6, with a weight between 136-140 pounds. After a year of maintaining this figure, it is MY normal. I believe that my current body is the body between the VS models and the Dove models.

Nick also said, "The ideal body type is what works for you..." And he's right. How we perceive ourselves, and how we are perceived by others, are two completely different animals. My perception of myself has changed, and with that, my perception of what's normal. I respectfully disagree with the folks that see the Dove models as normal because that's not what works for me. To the people that have known me for most of my adulthood, the curvy size 12/14 figure I sported for years, is my normal.  I've heard it all: "She's tall. (I'm 5' 9") She carries her weight well." "Rubenesque figure." "Big girl." And my favorite, "Normal." Now, at an average weight of 140 pounds, wearing a size  6, I am called "skin & bones", "anorexic", "too thin", "boney", "gaunt". Nevermind that none of those labels are remotely applicable to a woman that eats five times a day, and exercises an average of five days a week. That's not really the point is it? The point is, to the royal "them", I am no longer normal. I am supposed to be a big girl. That's simply how I am perceived by some people.

Well, I hate to disappoint the folks that worry about my new-found frailty, but I am not a big girl. I never loved being a big girl. I was never proud of my curves. I always wanted to be fit, I just didn't have the drive or the will to change. If I had loved my normal size 12, you can bet your ass, I'd be on that Dove ad with those other beautiful and proud women. But I didn't feel that way about myself. Now,  I love my size, and that's what really matters. Personally, I'd love to see those Dove models drop a few pounds and gain a little muscle tone, but if they are truly happy with their bodies, then who am I to judge? Same goes for the VS models. Calling the Victoria's Secret models "skeletal" is no more acceptable than calling the Dove models "slightly overweight". 

I applaud the size 14 gal that loves her curves and isn't afraid to flaunt them. And I stand in awe of the size 4 supermodel that can wear 6" stilettos and strut down a runway in a diamond encrusted bra and thong. I don't want to look like either of you, but you damn sure make me proud to be a woman that also loves her body. Love yourself, love your sisters.

Yo Dove, I got your real beauty right here!

Hot Fun in the Summertime

(song: Hot Fun in the Summertime/artist: Sly & The Family Stone)

Hey y'all! Greetings from coastal Georgia.  I'm enjoying my annual visit to my childhood home, St. Simons Island. I've been here for a few weeks, and am enjoying visiting with my family -- especially my pretend-mom and my cousin -- reconnecting with childhood friends, exploring the natural beauty of the Georgia coast, and...eating & drinking. I'm in the south y'all! I love southern food. I love fried oysters, sweet tea, peach cobbler, an excuse to eat ice cream every day, and sipping a cold beer on the front porch, right after I tuck my sweet son into bed.

But don't you worry your pretty little heads; I am, and always will be Formerly Fat Mom, and as such, have stayed true to my commitment to exercise and diet. Yeah, there's been a lot of little indulging during my trip, but, I've stayed very active.

For starters, while my hubby was here, we ran in the annual July 4th 5K. (I'll skip the part about how we both had better times last year. Extraneous details...)

Post-race stroll with our biggest fan. 
I make time for daily workouts too. I brought my Brazil Butt Lift DVDs, ankle weights, and booty bands, so I can continue the pursuit of a bagless saddle...if you will. I'm also using pool time to work on those pesky inner-thighs. All you need is a pool, a thick foam noodle, and the dream of seeing light between your thighs. Remember to lead with your heel and keep your toes pointed inward (pigeon toe). Three sets of 30 reps per thigh should do the trick. 

Tot and Jacuzzi sold separately.
I also brought my favorite non-cardio workout, Tracy Anderson Method - Mat Workout. Since I have the DVD pretty much committed to memory, I've been doing the standing portion in the pool. The added resistance from the water, is great for my thunder thighs, plus, my cousin (with whom I reside during my visits to Georgia) gets to make fun of me for being a swimercise dork. Everyone wins. 

Tracy Anderson's arm series  goes aquatic.
I'm enjoying myself, but staying focused. I still log all my meals and stay conscious of my water intake. And when I'm not devoting an hour-a-day to The Butt Master or Tracy Anderson, I'm chasing my very active four-year-old son all day long. A leisurely vacation, this is NOT. And I am loving every second of it. 

If only I could get everything to stay in place when I'm on the ground. Damn gravity. 

And Those Who Are Successful, Be Always on Your Guard.

(song: Celluloid Heroes/artist: Kinks)

June 13, 2012, marked the one-year anniversary of my graduation from booty school. For ONE YEAR my size has been measured in the single digits. And what an incredible year it's been. In November, my butt -- in both its old and new iterations -- made its national TV debut in a segment of the new Brazil Butt Lift infomercial.

Then in April, Leandro chose me as one of two fitness models during his live segment on QVC.

And finally in May, my thighs got the starring role they so long deserved in one of Leandro's fitness webisodes.

And What's More, Baby, I Can Cook!!

(song: I Can Cook Too/artists: Comden & Green)

Whether you've known me for fifteen minutes or fifteen years, you know two things about me: I love to eat, and I hate to cook. I mean, I HATE, with a white-hot passion...cooking. I've heard it said that I don't cook. Not true - I cook at least five nights a week. I just don't enjoy it. Nor, do I do  it well. I simply cannot relate to people that love to cook. What's to love? Prep, assembly, making a mess, cleaning it up. All for twenty minutes of satisfaction? It's so much work. And the idea of coming up with a new dish every friggin day?!  Plus, I have a crap hole kitchen with next-to-no counter space and no flow. I mean, would you cook here?
My kitchen: Where culinary dreams go to die.

If your answer was yes, feel free to come over ANY time.

But since we are not Oprah, we can't hire a live-in chef, so I HAVE to cook. And since I love being fit, I have to cook healthy fare. So I'm officially in the "acceptance" stage of the seven stages of cooking depression.

I need simple recipes. And I mean S-I-M-P-L-E. Don't give me that "only 20 minutes" crap, if you have to chop and sauté and prep for 45-minutes before you actually start cooking. Twenty minutes must equal twenty minutes, or I'm out.

So, the other night, my hubby tells me he's craving meatloaf. I guess after 11 years of Monday chicken night, a guy gets bored. So I set out to make his meatloaf dreams come true, while staying healthy. I referred to my cookbook collection - my very dusty and rarely used, cookbook collection - and settled on Jessica Seinfeld's Deceptively Delicious and Monica Lynn's 5 Square Low Carb Meals cookbooks. Jessica is known for hiding veggies in her recipes so that kids will eat it but not know it's good for them. Monica is known for sucking all of the enjoyment right out of eating. I kid, sort-of. Monica's company provided the food for the fitness test group I was in last year. Thanks to Monica, I learned a lot about balanced nutrition. I still follow a 5-meal-a-day plan, and I still eat a relatively low-carb/low-sodium diet. It's what works for me, and how I've maintained my weight and size for nearly a year now. So I took a few ideas from Jessica's meatloaf recipe, a few from from Monica's, made some of my own tweaks, and voila!  My first recipe!

You'll notice, there's no added salt, no eggs, no breadcrumbs. You can thank Monica Lynn for that. It's a low-carb, low-sodium, low-fat meal. If you want real meatloaf, go to a diner.

Formerly Fat Mom's healthier-than-regular-meatloaf Italian Meatloaf! 

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.

  • 1 pound very lean turkey {I've used all breast, and it was just fine. Not dry at all. If you want something heartier, try 1/2 pound lean pork, mixed with 1/2 pound of lean turkey}
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1/2 cup carrot puree, or butternut squash puree {I've tried both and had great results. The carrot was a bit more visible and a little harder to get past the 4-year-old...}
  • 2.5 tablespoons of oats {That's right, whole oats. No breadcrumbs for you!} 
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped garlic {I buy it pre-chopped. Feel free to press fresh cloves if you're so inclined.}
  • 2 teaspoons parsley {Again, I hate cooking/prep. It's recommended you chop fresh parsley. That's not for me. I scooped it right out of the spice jar.}
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil {If I sauté my onion in olive oil, I skip this. It's your call.) 
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese {This is your salt. Trust me, it's yummy.}
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning - divided {That means 1 teaspoon now, 1 teaspoon later. Seriously, I just learned that...}
  • 1/2 cup chopped or diced canned tomatoes

In a mixing bowl, combine:
  • Turkey
  • Onion {Optional prep: sauté the onion first. I know I promised no prep, but some people like the onion cooked first. I've made it with raw onion before. It was okay to me, but if you don't want that crunchy texture, sauté the onion in a bit of olive oil first. You might as well throw the garlic in there too...}
  • Carrot puree
  • Oats
  • Garlic
  • Parsley
  • Olive oil
  • Parmesan
  • ONE teaspoon of the Italian seasoning
This time, I cooked the onion first...
  •   Mix it all up, then dump it into a meatloaf pan.

Mmmm, raw meatloaf
  • Bake for 30 minutes at 375 degrees.
  • Remove from oven, then spoon 1/2 cup diced/crushed/chopped tomatoes on top. Sprinkle the remaining teaspoon of Italian seasoning onto the tomatoes.
  • Cook for another 10 minutes at 375, then remove and let it cool. MANGIA!

It should look something like this:

This time, I used the half pork/half turkey breast combo, with butternut squash puree and chopped tomatoes. Went a little canned-goods-crazy at Costco and ended up with 12 cans of organic chopped tomatoes...

This one is all turkey breast, with carrot puree, topped with crushed tomatoes. Go crazy!

Now, if you introduce this to your 4-year-old son that lives on an all-mac-and-cheese diet, he may react like this:
It was bad enough that I made him eat protein, but the broccoli sent him right over the edge.

If your husband thinks he coming home to dry chicken breast (again), but you surprise him with your fancy new meatloaf recipe, he may react like this:
The stomach truly is the fastest path to the heart.

We'll Amuse Ourselves With These Memories...

(song: Get Out The Map/artist: Indigo Girls)

I suppose the first thing I should tell you is that I was REALLY nervous about "performing" on live TV. When I was chosen by Leandro, he stressed that the models (it makes me laugh to hear that word used in reference to me) should be in sync. So naturally I was terrified, since it is widely known that I lack rhythm. And it is widely known that April, the other model, is a very talented dancer. 

Four days before the shoot, April and I met at Leandro's studio and had a marathon rehearsal session. My head is my worst enemy. None of the moves were new to me - I've been doing them in class and at home since February of 2011 - I  was just really nervous that I'd mess up (as I often do), and look like a total idiot ON LIVE TELEVISION. Plus, I love Leandro and I want him to be happy and I still can't believe he asked me to do this! So, we practice, April counts, I mess up, April tells me to chill, we practice some more, I mess up and say I'm nervous, April tells me to chill and that I already know these moves and to stop doubting myself and it's going to be fine and not to worry. Eventually I start to believe her, and I get it right. Leandro arrives about an hour into our rehearsal, and changes all the counts. I freak...internally. He wants less reps. The Butt Master has no idea how terrible I am at counting and/or how terrified I am of falling flat on my face. We do another run-through. I am starting to see worry on Leandro's face. I feel like Baby in Dirty Dancing when Johnny and Penny are trying to teach her to feel the moves in her body, but she's just not getting it.

Don't act like you didn't love this movie.

 As we approach the two-and-a-half hour mark, I feel like I've got it. April and I agree to meet for another rehearsal on Friday. We kiss Leandro goodbye. I go home and collapse. 

On Saturday afternoon, as I'm waiting for Leandro and April at the train station, I started to get a little nervous. It occurred to me that I've never interacted with Leandro outside of a gym environment. I don't really know Leandro - the man. Just Leandro, the trainer. Seconds after this thought flashes across my mind, I see Leandro approaching. He's smiling, as always, and greets me warmly with a double kiss and then he says, "I've never seen you in clothes before!"  It's true. In the fifteen months that I've known him, Leandro has only seen me in workout gear. His comment cracks me up and I immediately feel at ease. While we waited for April, we chatted comfortably and got to know each other a little better. On the train to Philly and the car ride to our hotel, he shared so much with April and me. I learned a lot about him as a person, not just the fitness guru that I worship for helping me shave my saddle bags. And frankly, after that train and car ride, I love him even more. He is such a warm and caring man. He has a light inside him that radiates and makes you happy to be around him. He's immediately likable. I'm may be a bit biased, but my position is that he's a pretty terrific guy.

So we get to our hotel in lovely Malverne, Pennsylvania. It's about 7:15PM and we have to be awake at 3AM for our 3:30AM pick-up. I give Leandro and April a kiss and scoot away to my room, where I immediately took a sleeping pill and put on my jammies. I was delighted to see this on my nightstand:
I guess The Desmond is the hotel of choice for the QVC tourist...
After I washed my face, brushed my  teeth and called my hubby, I snuggled in my hotel bed, turned on the TV and caught a little QVC (what else!) while I waited for my sleeping pill to take hold. It was lights out by 9PM.

I woke up at 3AM, a little groggy but so excited. Took a quick shower, gathered my things and headed to the lobby where a nice lady named Peggy was there to pick up the three of us. We arrived at QVC around 4AM.
The home-shopping mother ship.
The place is massive. And remarkably busy at 4AM. There's a  lot of crew walking around, and a jewelry model reading a magazine and having coffee near the stage entrance. I knew next-to-nothing about QVC before this gig. Now I'm so fascinated by the business. But that's not what this post is about!

Peggy showed us to the dressing room and we got dressed and put on make-up. Very lucky for me, April is really good at applying make-up and I am so grateful that she covered my old lady face as well as she did. Thank you so much April!
Before you criticize my eye bags and crow's feet, keep in mind, (a) I woke up at 3AM and (b) I'm 37. So, suck it.
At 5:45AM, Peggy rounds us up and takes us to our stage. I'm so excited! I see the host on another stage, talking about the Keurig coffee maker. She makes her way over to our stage and takes a few seconds to meet Leandro. Then we are told to take our places, the show is about to begin! 

Our segment is the first one, so after she gives the audience the rundown of the upcoming products, she introduces Leandro and the Brazil Butt Lift showcase is officially underway. April is strategically placed slightly in front of me so I can follow her lead. I was remarkably comfortable. April and I had a good rapport and since we had rehearsed so much, we were totally in sync and looked like we knew what we were doing, and that we were having fun, which I totally was. The environment was very casual and since there was no live audience, I wasn't as nervous as I thought I'd be. Until the on-air interview. I knew they were going to talk to us, but I didn't know what they would ask. It was very well planned; they showed a series of before-and-after pictures, then when the last picture is on screen, the host says something like, "This is Alison. She's here with us today." She asked me a few questions and I gave rambling answers, mentioning how I hated my inner-thighs and didn't want to wear Mom Jeans anymore. 

How great do my guns look?
Of course I have now watched the segment about 50 thousand times and I wish that I had: looked at Leandro more, really emphasized the fact that I'm a mom so we could appeal to a broader market, not been so sweaty, looked at the camera more, stood in a more flattering way, kept my hands on my hips, reacted while April was talking...the list goes on. But it is very hard for me to view myself objectively. Compared to April, who was composed, comfortable and a natural on camera, I was obviously the the "model" with no prior experience. And, oh yeah, this is the first time I've ever done this! Just when I thought I had blown it, a call comes in! Susan from Pennsylvania has just purchased a Brazil Butt Lift package! When Leandro asks her what her goals are, she says, "I've got the thigh area, like the lady in the yellow..." Woo hoo, Susan From Pennsylvania related to my saddle bag conundrum! So then Leandro shows Susan a great move for inner thighs, which the adorable host Gabrielle does with us. 

Pay attention Susan From Pennsylvania, the "high heel" will melt those inner thighs in no time!

All joking aside, this was such a great experience! I loved everything about it. I'm so honored that Leandro wanted me to represent his product. I love that he's proud of me, and I think he's a genius business man for using a person to whom the Susans From Pennsylvania can relate. It shows that his product is for everyone, not just models or thin people with flat butts. I hope that my appearance served a good business purpose. Because I would LOVE to do it again!! Leandro, you know by now, I just keep getting better and better...

The day before I left for Philly, my friend Chad (we went to musical theater school together) sent me a text message, saying, "...I hope you do something horribly embarrassing on live TV." Last night I watched the segment on slow-motion, and Chad, this one's for you baby:

Still, it's less humiliating than my days as chubby aspiring actress in musical theater dance class...

But seriously, what am I doing?

(Swing on over to my Facebook page to see more pics from my QVC adventure...)

Well, I Made The Big Time At Last.

(song: Shooting Star/artist: Bad Company)           

Sometime back in February, just before his Saturday class began, Leandro approaches me and says, “I might have something for you to do with me on TV.” Then he says, “I need some pictures to give to Beachbody so they can see how great you look. And you have to keep working really hard. It’s gonna be in April sometime.” I played it cool and said,  “Okay, let me know...” On the inside, I was like, “OH MY GOD!! I can’t believe it!! What could it be?! I don’t care! I’ll do ANYTHING for this man!” During the class, I was so freaking excited, I could barely keep my feet on the ground. I went home, set up my tri-pod and took a few shots of myself, all sweaty and gross in my workout clothes. I emailed them to Leandro and awaited further instructions.

Beachbody audition shot - Take1
 Two days later at his Monday swimercise class, he motions me over and says, “Here’s a little present for you.” He gives me a gift bag containing a new pair of workout capris and matching sports bra – from his personal line of branded fitness cloths. He then proceeds to scroll through the pictures I sent him and tells me how to improve the poses and make them worthy of submitting to Beachbody. Apparently the white sports bra I’ve been wearing for two years didn’t meet The Butt Master’s high fitness fashion standards. And I’m so glad, because I look super cute in my new LeandroFitness.com outfit! 

Beachbody audition shot - Take 2

So then he tells me, the April gig would be for his next appearance on QVC. Of course, I’ve watched his QVC appearances, so I know that while he’s chatting with the host, there are two fitness models in the background, demonstrating the moves that will lift and shape your droopy bum bum. And now he thinks I am good enough to be one of those models! HOLY MOLY!! Once again, I play it cool. Okay, not really. I said, “Oh my god, you think I’m good enough?! I mean, my thighs…” Seriously, I almost cried.  He reiterated that I had to keep working hard and that he would put my name on his list of approved girls from his test group, but that ultimately Beachbody would make the final decision and they would call me if I’m to be picked. It’s an honor just to be nominated!! I carry on with my life, but amped up my workouts. A few days pass…then I get the call.

A nice lady from the Beachbody offices in Santa Monica calls me and asks me if I’d be interested in appearing with Leandro on QVC. Once again, I play it cool and say, “Of course, that sounds great.” But internally I’m FREAKING OUT with excitement!! She lets me know what the next steps will be and says she’ll be in touch with details. Now, if you’re a professional model/actress, this is just another job. You book it, you do it, you put it on your resume and you move on. BUT IT’S ME! If you told me three years ago that I’d not only get in amazing shape, but that I’d also be picked as a live model – on TV - to represent one of the awesome programs that helped me get into amazing shape, I would have laughed in your face. This is an incredibly exciting moment for me! I still can’t quite believe it.

On Sunday, April 15, Brazil Butt Lift will be a featured product during the 6 – 7AM “Easy Solutions” hour. Leandro and the host will talk about the many muscles of the butt and how you need to work each one the right way. In the background will be two models. One will be a gorgeous, incredibly fit model named April. The other will be...ME! This will be April’s third QVC appearance for Brazil Butt Lift, so she’s a pro by now. And did I mention, she's got a killer body?! 
Oh yeah, no pressure at all.
I'll be the "formerly fat stay-at-home mom" yin to her "never had less than a six-pack abs" yang. I’ll be following her lead and trying not to look as terrified as I’m sure to be. I’m so excited! So scared! So amazed that my fitness journey lead me here!

I’ve been going full-throttle on my workouts. My legs are looking great. My thighs are shrinking. I will not be wearing teeny-tiny shorts like April, as I do not have her cellulite-free thighs, but I will be wearing my new size 4, skin-tight workout capris and proudly flaunting the body I’ve sculpted. So set your alarm! Okay, maybe just your DVR…

Now Sugartime Is Anytime.

(song: Sugartime/artist: McGuire Sisters)
Well folks, tomorrow is Good Friday. You know what that means?


I gave up booze and sweets for Lent. I’m happy to report that I survived. The booze thing is something that I do every year. Because, let’s face it, if I can’t quit drinking for 40 days and 40 nights, that’s a way bigger problem than being a few pounds overweight. No, for me, the sweets were a way harder addiction to abandon in the name of religious fasting. You may have heard me mention, I LOVE cake, candy, icing…SUGAR. 

This pretty much sums it up...

And frankly, I was getting a little too comfortable with my sweet tooth. Justifying a nightly dive into the low-fat/low-sugar frozen treats, which were all-too-often followed up by multiple visits to the dried fruits. Not that either is awful, but, every day, in less-than-moderate quantities, is not a treat, it’s a habit. And my habit needed to be reigned in. But before I went on the wagon, I went out with a bang.

Valentine’s night 2012: I ordered my husband to come home with milk-chocolate covered caramel. (Sorry chocolate snobs, I prefer milk to dark chocolate. I like sweet, and I don’t buy into the “dark chocolate is healthy” shtick. I don’t want healthy sweets. I WANT SUGAR!) I would have happily settled for Rolos or a Milky Way bar. But my husband kept it classy and brought me a box of truffles from Godiva. Eight of the aforementioned milk chocolate/caramel variety, and eight assorted milk chocolates. So that night, I ate four of the choco/caramels and four of the assorted truffles. EIGHT enormous and crazy sweet, chocolates. The remaining goodies were stashed away, to be enjoyed during the days leading up to Ash Wednesday. On Fat Tuesday, I ate every sweet I encountered. I devoured my Godiva truffles like a professional competitive eater. Then I polished off a Hershey Bar I had stashed in the fridge. I felt sick, but I was officially ready for Lent. And guess what...it’s almost over. I made it, and I’m feeling pretty good about my sugar-free sojourn.

I even survived a few really challenging encounters with my old flame, sugar. On St. Patrick’s Day we went to a party that had plenty of booze and a table full of cakes, candies, chocolates and cookies. That was pretty torturous, but I kept saying, in my crazy head, “I don’t love cupcakes more than I love my body”. And there it was…the willpower to walk away from the table of temptation. Also, on my birthday, my son insisted I have a cupcake. I told him he could have one for me. He was happy to oblige. And even happier to let me watch him eat it. Little bastard. 

My pal Kim said it best: "Such a wonderful sacrifice from your loving son."

But that too, passed. Because, I DO NOT LOVE CAKE MORE THAN I LOVE MY BODY! Lent is almost over. I will not celebrate its end by diving headfirst into a vat of icing. Though that does sound delicious. On Saturday, I will go out to dinner with my husband for a belated birthday celebration. I will have a drink. I will most certainly have dessert. And then on Monday, I’ll go right back to my usual routine of healthy eating and daily exercise, and a three-day Shakeology cleanse to flush the Easter weekend toxins away.  And unlike last year, when I completely blew it, I know I possess the willpower to resist the Easter candy my mother-in-law will have “for her grandson”.  (Though, Gram, if he pukes…) It’s my thing, you know, staying fit, being active, being healthy, and taking care of the body I’ve worked so hard to transform. I’m invested in this for life.

During Lent, I kicked my leg workouts into high gear and have lost half an inch of my left thigh (the bigger of the two), a quarter inch off my right thigh and one inch from my hips. Yes, I measure myself! I measure and weigh myself, once a month. It’s how I stay successful and accountable and honest.

And those kind of results taste so much better than jelly beans.

...and all I got was this lousy t-shirt.