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.

Fling Up Your Hands In The Air. It's My Birthday.

(song: It’s My Birthday/artist: Ultimate)

Monday – March 26, 2012 
(Crap! I didn't publish this in time to get in the March 2012 bracket!!)

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!! Today, I am 37 years old. It doesn't matter what I do on my birthday, I love MY day. For example, today, I dragged my son and husband (who sweetly took the day off work) to Costco and the grocery store. A housewife double-header, if you will. Nothing significant, but it still felt special because IT'S MY BIRTHDAY! I walk a little taller. I sort-of believe that everyone knows it's my birthday. I'm cocky. I can be..because it's my damn birthday! I’m not one of those whiny girls that gets all mopey about getting older. Who wants to be in their teens or twenties again anyway? Seriously, I looked like this when I was in my teens…

1989 - Braces, enormous boobs and a bold floral print. Awkward teen trifecta.

Perhaps when I’m 57, I’ll long for 37, but for now, I’m perfectly content to be another year older, and most certainly, wiser. Okay, I’d like to have my teen skin, but that’s it. Mmmm, and maybe the ability to sleep past 8:00 AM. But that’s it. Really.

Today, life is pretty damn good. I may have more lines on my face than I did when I as 27, but my body is in the best shape it’s ever been in. As I said I would in my end-of-the-year post, I’ve renewed my commitment to Leandro’s workouts, and have been working diligently to maintain my weight loss and continue sculpting some of my problem areas, specifically my legs/thighs.  I exercise six days a week for a minimum of one hour a day. Most days, I do extra leg work in the evening, while my son is in the bath, cheering me on. He loves heckling me with his favorite Leandro-ism, “Shake your bum bum, Mommy!” (You can imagine the stares I get when he bellows this line in public…)

I’m lucky enough to be able to take some of Leandro’s classes in New York City. The last time I saw him, just before class, he walked over to me and said, with such sincerity, “You look so great.” It was such a proud moment for me. Really, I got emotional. I remember this time last year, during the test group, he moved me to the second row in class so I could “watch the other girls and see how to do the moves the right way”. Now, I get right in the front - goofy smile plastered on my sweaty face - and I rock those moves. With only the occasional mistake...which Leandro never seems to miss. Knowing that Leandro is proud of me, gives me an incredible sense of satisfaction, and drive. (Yeah, I'm that obsessed.) He doesn’t hand out compliments like that, apropos of nothing. I hope to make him proud for years to come. I hope to make myself proud for years to come. Oh wait, I WILL make myself proud.

Today, I am 37 years old and in the best shape of my life.
Today, my son doesn't remember having a really fat mom.
Today, I love myself more than ever before.

37 and super fit. And still a dork. Always a dork...