a story about a 30 day shred

the worst part of my pregnancy was stepping on the scale very doctors appointment. it was hard to see my weight go up and it was really hard to accept that it was good and normal and healthy. although i only gained 25lbs with ava, i didn't lose hardly any of it until i was finished breastfeeding and i breastfed for about a year. i had these expectations that breastfeeding would magically melt off all my baby weight and i waited and waited and waited for that to happen and it didn't. for whatever reason, my body needed that weight to support my milk supply and while i loved breastfeeding, i kept counting down the days until i could fit back into my skinny jeans.

so after ava was weaned, i got serious about losing the weight. and i've always been pretty good at losing weight. i generally have a decent amount of natural muscle mass and in the past, when i wanted to change my body, i just changed my diet and that was enough for me. i am not athletic and i hate to work out...those people who talk about how they need to go on a run or else their day is ruined, i just don't get those kinds of people. i was the chubby girl who cried in p.e. when we had to run the mile on fridays, ya dig?

so when i started to lose weight, i had this magic number in my head. my goal weight. and i dieted and it took about six months or so, but i reached my goal weight! but here's the thing: all of the sudden my goal weight didn't really look like my goal weight. pregnancy changed my body. i am softer and a lot of that natural muscle mass had somehow disintegrated.

and i know what they all say..."your body bounces right back after your first baby" yada yada yada and ya know, that just wasn't what happened to me. and i thought jeez, if my body isn't bouncing back after my first baby, it sure isn't going to bounce back after my second. so if i don't get it back now, is it never coming back?

so i decided to be proactive and to do something about it. and i don't remember how i got the idea to look up the jillian michaels 30 day shred, but i remember somewhere i read or heard that it was a pretty legit workout. so i set myself a goal and when ava napped, i started to work out.

i still remember that first workout and feeling like there was no way i would be able to finish it. the warmup was a lot for me, because like i said, i'm not athletic and the last time i worked out was before i got pregnant with ava...just about three years ago. but i'm a stubborn little thing and when i set a goal, i will do just about anything to not let myself down.

this is me at week one and my "goal weight" before i complete my first week of workouts.

and this is week 2! (i worked out six days a week and took off sundays.)

and you can definitely see there's a big difference, especially in my legs and stomach.

i'll be honest, it would have been really hard for me to continue this program if i didn't see fast results. it is probably because i hadn't worked out consistently ever in my life, but after even just one week, my body started to change.

this is week 3.

(i apologize for the inconsistent lighting/surroundings...we live in hotels, people.)

and this is week 4.

the biggest difference from weeks 3-4 is starting to see better definition in my stomach.

and finally, this is week 5. the end of the 30 day program.

so here are my side-by-side comparison shots from start to finish:

and hey, maybe you guys aren't blown away by these results, but despite the loss of body fat, i feel so much better and stronger. going up stairs or chasing ava down the halls is that much easier. my stomach feels hard again, my butt has never known muscle like this, and it is pretty cool to set a goal and reach it and to do something just for myself. those 30 minutes of working out never really got easier and i was dreadfully sore the first four days or so, but the feeling of finishing something that is really hard makes all the pain and sweat worthwhile.

and i get it, not everyone can workout. some people have injuries or illnesses or whatever, but if you are full of excuses, let me give it to you straight. i did this program in my hotel room, with very limited space. it took me less than 30 minutes per day and it didn't cost me a single dollar. i had a baby 18 months ago and i hadn't worked out in three years. so if you're saying you don't have enough time or enough space or enough money or you're too out of shape to get to the gym, you're out of excuses.

there's a reason jillian michaels makes millions of dollars coaching people to healthier lifestyles. this program is no joke and left me sweaty as hell after each workout. there are three levels and i did each one for ten days. at the beginning of each, i had to do some of the moderated workouts, but usually by the third day i was able to do the full workout and it's pretty fun to watch your body get stronger so quickly. level two was the hardest for me and level three went the fastest. i didn't lose any weight, in fact i am three pounds heavier at week 5 than i was at week 1. (so screw you, scale!!) jillian michaels also has an eating program that she recommends to follow during the program, but i have pretty good eating habits as is (under 120 grams of carbs per day, no white food, lots of fruit, protein, salad, green tea) and i have one cheat day per week where i eat whatever i want. (sundays are the best days.)

so here's the endgame: your body is yours. to shape and mold and feed and push. and i think that sometimes i get so complacent with my body and forget that it's made to do hard things. like run miles and make babies and do jump-squats. our bodies are the most magnificent tools and gifts we have and there is something pretty empowering about finding out how far you can push it. and being amazed at just how strong you really are.

30 day shred level 1

30 day shred level 2

30 day shred level 3

the scoop on skinny wraps

i am sure your facebook newsfeed has been really cluttered with a ton of itworks propaganda lately and you may or may not be kind of over it. if you're like me, you know that losing weight doesn't happen by magic, it comes from hard work. but then there's all those pictures of miraculous inches lost with these "skinny wraps"? how exactly do they work? are the people in the photos just sucking it in in the "after" photos? what are these skinny wraps??

i was sent a wrap from itworks free of charge to try it out. so let me make this clear: i do NOT work for itworks, i have not been compensated in any way for this writeup, and i do not plan on signing up to work for them in the future. this review is about as unbiased as they come, people.

i imagined the wrap to be more wrap-like, if that makes sense. imagine a piece of parchment paper with lotion smeared on one side of it. it does stick to the skin, but not like you'd imagine when you picture a "wrap." i suppose if you had some saran wrap handy, you could use that to really secure it and that would be better. i didn't have saran wrap (hi, i live in a hotel) so i just put on a tight shirt and went with it.

the directions say to leave it on for 45 minutes, but i talked to this cashier who works at sally's the other day, and she swears by this itworks stuff and told me to keep it on the 24 hours. so that's what i did! it kind of shifted a little bit, and i would fix it, but overall i think it did a fairly decent job staying in place.

overall, i am pretty as peace with my stomach. i have a little bit of light stretch marks on my side and the skin on my upper stomach used to be tighter, but i had a baby and my body did a whole lot of stretching and i am pretty proud of how it's adjusted. my jeans are size 27 and i am generally a size 2/4 and one wrap barely covered my stomach and did not cover my hips. so if you wanted to do your whole stomach and your sides, someone my size would definitely have to order two wraps.

NOTE: i had sunless tanner on my stomach (obvi, my skin is not that color in real life) and the wrap rubbed it off...making my stomach kind of splotchy.

so here's the thing: does my stomach seem a little bit flatter in the after pictures? yeah, probably. but do i see a huge difference? no, probably not. and is this difference enough to get me to drop $100? again, probably not.

granted, this is only after one wrap and the recommended treatment is four wraps, but i just don't know if this is worth the itworks price. itworks charges $99 for four wraps, unless you want to sign up as a loyal customer and pay the initiation fee of $50 and then the wraps are $60 for four. you can also sign up as a "loyal customer" and pay something like $100 a month for three months. but you guys! that's a lot of money. maybe i am just a cheapskate, but if i'm paying $100 for something, it better knock my socks off. 

so the bottom line: my stretch marks are still there, my stomach doesn't feel any tighter, i doubt i've lost any inches, maybe it's a little flatter, but overall i'm just like wah-wah about it. the whole itworks thing just doesn't really make sense to me and no one has ever been able to explain the "how" of it all...they all say it has super natural awesome ingredients that absorb into the skin and make people lose inches...but no one says how?? where is the science of this? like the actual breakdown of how those super natural ingredients seemingly suck out your fat? what the heck?

i am no stranger to losing weight. in fact, i think i'm pretty good at it. i know what works for me and i know that it isn't easy; it's diet. you can't eat bonbons all day and then do a skinny wrap and expect to drop pounds. losing weight is a simple science: intaking fewer calories than what your body burns. that is how it's done, my friends. no tricks or magic wraps or easy ways out. salads and water and fruit and grilled chicken.

it's a hard knock life, i know.

thank you to barbara for sending me a wrap! to visit her site, click here.