Ab-solution (A Whale of a Belly Tale)

I am going to switch gears for a moment and take a break from posting about the dream home construction.

The idea for this post came from my hunk of a husband!  When I started losing all of my weight back in May and June, I began to see the beginnings of a six pack!  Well, I didn’t physically see them, but I began to BELIEVE, which belief is a powerful thing, that I just might be able to have a six pack!!

Now, I’ve never actually been able to physically see my six pack! Like ever!  I know it’s been there, but I’ve never had “the six pack abs” that you see on the trim women in the exercise magazines.  I’ve always thought they were lovely, and I might have longed, covetously, to transplant them from her belly to mine, but I always thought that would never be me!

Growing up and really up until I had our third child, I’ve always had a pretty trim waist.  In fact, I remember in high school I actually had a 21 inch waist!!  Yeah, I know, tiny, right?!  I had always stayed trim and fit through swimming on the high school swim team…a love and a passion that I still have!  But time and age and marriage and kids had slowly and gradually thickened my waist, not by a lot, but definitely thicker!

Obviously, when I was pregnant with the twins my belly was ginormous!  So, as I began to lose my belly fat while on the AdvoCare 24 Day Challenge, Mitch came up with a fun idea for a post, here on my little blog.  I thought he was brilliant and so, I decided to run with it!

I love to see progressive pictures.  For example, when I was pregnant, I always liked to take a weekly picture of my belly as it grew!  I liked to see the pictures side by side and always was so fascinated by the human body and how it can accommodate a new life within a woman’s belly!  Heavenly Father is truly amazing!  It’s just phenomenal, all of the teeny, tiny, minut details that must occur in the miracle and perfection that is pregnancy and child birth!

So, this is what I have for you…a visual journey

From twin pregnancy belly, to the beginnings of a six pack

I will begin at 17.5 weeks and 19 weeks:

17w4dbellyR_thumb5               19wksbelly_thumb2

To 21 weeks and 22.5 weeks (This is about the biggest I ever got with my singleton pregnancies) :

21wks_thumb[3]           22wk5dbelly_thumb3

To 23.5 weeks and 27 weeks:

23wk4dbelly_thumb3          27w+2dbelly3_thumb[4]

To 33 weeks and 34 weeks and 2 days (4 days before I was released from the hospital and 5 days before the boys were born):

33weeks_thumb[3]            34weeks+2daysfront_thumb[3]

This is also 34 weeks and 2 days:

34weeks+2daysinbed_thumb[3]

Every time I see this picture, my belly starts to itch and my back starts to hurt!  How can that possibly be my belly?  If I wasn’t staring at it right now, in front of my face, I wouldn’t believe it!!  I was stuck in that lonely little hospital room and bed for 5 weeks without my husband and 4 girls…man that was tough!

Then they were born:

newborntwins

announcement_thumb[5]

Awww, so little and sweet!

Three months after the boys were born, I looked like this (February 2011):

sidefeb2011                  front feb2011

 

These were taken 1 year ago on September 11, 2013, almost exactly 1 year ago:

20130911_0372           20130911_0371

 

This was just this year on May 23, 2014, the day I started my total body transformation with the AdvoCare 24 Day Challenge:

beforebelly

 

 

 

And this was Day 25 after I completed the 24 Day Challenge on June 2nd:

bellypicday25

 

 

Here is what my  abs look like now.  This picture is from this morning:

abs1

 

 

Pretty amazing that I went from this:

34weeks+2daysinbed_thumb[3]

 

to this:

abside

You know, I look at this belly journey of mine and I am amazed, first of all, that my belly was ever that big! Second, I look at my abs this morning and I am amazed that I was able to shrink my belly to what it is now!  I NEVER in my wildest dreams thought that I would ever have a six pack!  To think that I almost do have a six pack, and after having 6 kids, the last two of which are twins…it’s nearly unfathomable to my little brain!

How did I do it?

  1. 24 Day Challenge from AdvoCare: cleaned the toxins from my body so that my body could actually utilize the nutrition that I put in.  Picture your dryer, it’s like I cleaned out the “lint screen” in my body and by doing that my bodies metabolism naturally increases AND it is prepared to receive the nutrition that I put into it through the foods I eat and the health supplements that I take!
  2. Nutrition: changed to clean eating and became more conscious of what I put into my mouth.  When I did this the foods I craved changed…I don’t crave the sugary sweets or white flour products or highly processed foods anymore.
  3. Exercise weekly: my thing is lifting weights, I love to lift weights! So, I try to lift and do abs 3-4 days each week, and cardio when I have time.  I love this 300 abs workout!
  4. Supplementation: this is the thing that I was lacking for so many years!  I thought that i could eat everything that my body needed in order to be lean and have muscle, but I was wrong!  In order for me to have the muscle definition and the leanness, I needed to put more amino acids and protein into my body.  We need to fuel our bodies with the correct nutrition in the right ratios, and I couldn’t do that on my own!
  5. Belief in myself: if I hadn’t seen the changes that the 24 day challenge made to my body in the short 24 days, then I never would have believed this was possible!  But the challenge changed so much more than just my body… it changed how I viewed on things, it changed how I felt about myself, it changed my attitude and perspective, it changed who I was!  It was not just a body transformation, it was a whole person transformation!  It sounds strange, I know, but it’s hard to explain in words!  Just this afternoon I received a message from a friend of mine who also completed the challenge and this is what she said, “I never felt pretty, but I like me better than when I was 20!”  (she’s in her late 30’s now!)

It’s hard to explain it if you haven’t experienced it yourself, but those who have, totally get it!!

If you feel like you are stuck in a body rut, that’s where I was, and you are serious about transforming your body, look at the above list and see what you can change in your life to help you get to where you want to be.  Maybe it’s what you eat, maybe it’s a lack of consistent exercise, maybe supplementation confuses you like it did me, maybe you just don’t think you can change your body, or maybe you just need the jumpstart that the 24 day challenge provided for me. Maybe it’s several of the above!

Whatever it might be, figure it out and change it!!  YOU have the power to change what you don’t like!  Believe me, it is worth whatever sacrifice you have to make…the reward is worth more than you can ever imagine!!

24 Day Challenge COMPLETED!!

So, yesterday was the last day of my 24 day challenge with AdvoCare and can I just say a huge “HOLY AWESOMENESS!”  Okay, so I don’t usually talk like that, but man, I am blown away by my results!!  When I started this journey with AdvoCare less than a month ago, holy cow, I still can’t believe that it hasn’t even been a month since I started, I never would have imagined that my body could change so drastically!  I achieved more than I ever imagined possible and now I am looking forward to even more amazing results as I continue with their wellness products!

I am here to tell you, that when we rid our bodies of the toxins that we knowingly and unknowingly put into our bodies, we are doing our bodies a huge service.  Our bodies were not made to be garbage disposals, but a lot of what we eat is just that, GARBAGE!  Once we clean out the gunk that slows our metabolism and makes us feel sluggish and tired, we need to put the right nutrition back into our bodies!  When we do this, naturally, our bodies will begin to function the way they were supposed to function, efficiently!

From day 1, I made a conscious effort to know what I was eating.  I didn’t eat for convenience or because I “just had to have it” (temptation), I ate, and continue to eat, for the nutritional value and benefit of my body.  You might be thinking, “but there are so many good things out there that I should be able to enjoy!”, or “I don’t want to think about what I eat, I just want to enjoy it!”, or other such sentiments.  That might seem fine and good now, but from my many years in the fitness and health industry, and even since leaving it to become a mother, this is my observation, if we don’t take care of it now, we will pay for it later! I know people who are suffering from health issues and daily pain because they haven’t eaten well for decades!  It breaks my heart that it could have been prevented had they taken better care of their bodies and their quality of life right now would be leaps and bounds above what it is now!

Anyway, I digress, sort of!

This challenge was different than most “diets” out there, mostly because, well, it isn’t a “diet”…it is a lifestyle change! They did not provide me with meals, I was in charge of preparing my own “clean” meals, drinking plenty of water, and being active!  They were in charge of providing me with the proper nutritional supplements to aid in my goals to lose fat and gain muscle.  That is it in a nutshell.  I like how it is described on the “choose the challenge” website,

The Trim Challenge is an innovative 24 day program to help you with healthy, sustainable weight management. It features several of AdvoCare’s carefully formulated nutritional products. There are no complicated meal plans and this is not a “fad diet”. You will see positive results when you follow the simple directions.

While doing the challenge, I was first surprised by how amazing I felt!  Within the first few days and all throughout, I had so much energy. I was a daily napper until 25 days ago when I started the challenge.  Another thing I noticed, is how happy I am!  It is the strangest thing and I can’t explain it, except that I am healthier and when one is healthy they are happy!  Another observation, I ate a lot of super yummy food, and I mean A LOT!  I am now eating 6 times a day!  Hah! and losing fat while doing it! Win-win!!  It’s all about eating the right foods and supplementing with the right nutrition (filling in the nutritional gaps)!

Okay, blah, blah…if you are anything like me, you probably just want to see the pictures and read the stats!!  So, here you go…

Image

Final numbers after 24 days on the challenge:

weight May 23: 144 pounds

weight June 16: 135 pounds

total weight lost: 9 pounds

Body Fat May 23: 22% (32 pounds fat, 112 pounds lean mass)

Body Fat June 16: 18% (24 pounds fat, 111 pounds lean mass)

Wow! Basically, I lost 8 pounds of fat!!! 8 pounds of pure, disgusting, blubbery FAT!  Like I said at the beginning, “HOLY AWESOMENESS!”

total inches lost: 12 1/2 inches off of my chest, waist, hips, thighs, calves, and biceps

Image

After telling mitch about my new measurements he asked, “How long has it been since you weighed 135 pounds?”  I had to think about it, but finally came to the realization that the last time I weighed this little was when I was the mother of 2!  To put it into perspective,…that’s over 9 years ago and now, I am the mother of 6!!!

…and that, my friends, is why I call it “24 Days of AWESOMENESS”!!

24 Day Challenge Update

Ok, so I wasn’t planning on posting anything about the challenge until after I had finished the whole 24 days, but sadly, patience is a virtue of which I could use more. 😉  In all honestly, I didn’t think I would have much to share until the 24 days was completed! You know, it’s the skeptic in me! 😉

At the beginning of the challenge, I decided that I would not do any new measurements or weigh myself until the morning of day 11, since the cleanse portion of the challenge was finished at the end of day 10, and then again at the conclusion of the challenge, the morning of day 25.

That being said, I did remeasure and reweigh yesterday morning…and that is why I decided to post now, IN ADDITION TO, posting once I finished the challenge!!

I am soooo GIDDY with excitement because of my results that I want to shout it from the rooftop how AMAZING these products are!! Seriously!  I’ll let the pictures and the numbers show you just how incredible these products are!!  Remember, this is 11 days from the day I started the challenge…11 DAYS!  Oh, and I am NOT, I repeat NOT starving!  I am eating 6 times a day and loving it!!

Image

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weight May 23rd: 144

weight June 2 (11 days on the challenge): 137

total lost: 7 pounds

total inches lost: 7 1/2 (3″ just from my waist)

 

First of all, i was floored!! I can’t even remember the last time I weighed in the 130’s, let alone 137!  I have been trying to break the 140 mark for over 7 years!! 7 years!!  I began to think that the 140’s was just where my body wanted to be, and I almost accepted it!  I’m so glad that I didn’t!!

I am no slob when it comes to nutrition and exercise!  I spent 4 years in college learning about how to take good care of ones body. I worked for 3 years teaching others how to get into shape and to be their best, healthy selves, before I began this wonderful journey called motherhood!  So, I know my stuff and I have always prided myself in practicing what I used to preach in my chosen profession.  But after having 6 children, it just seemed like no matter what I did i just couldn’t lose those last 10 pounds!! How many of you have felt that very same thing, I am ready to bet that at least 80%, if not more, of you have thought that very same thing at one point or another! 😉  Am I right??

Well, I am now on my way to losing that last 10 pounds!!  I can’t wait to see what happens in the last half of my 24 day challenge!!

As I washed my hands today, I was looking in the mirror and I was amazed!! I could see muscles in my shoulder/arm that haven’t made an appearance on my body since college! SINCE COLLEGE! Um…I graduated from college in 1999! So, I could actually say that this is the first time that I’ve seen these muscles in this century!  Hah! I love it!!

12 more days of AWESOMENESS to come…

24 day challenge

One thing that you should know about me is that I am a SKEPTIC.  I am a person who questions or doubts something (such as a claim or statement) : a person who often questions or doubts things… (thanks Merriam-Webster.com).

When a perfect stranger comes to my door and I peek through my window, my first reaction is a sigh with the thought, “oh great, what are they trying to sell me?” and before I even open the door I know I will be wasting their time…because I WILL NOT BUY!

When I see a claim about some miracle pill that will make me ready for swimsuit season with before and after pictures, I doubt their authenticity.

When I see a claim that someone can teach me to speak french in a ridiculously short amount of time, i think, “they just want my money!”

I’m just a doubter, by nature.  I need the proof.  I’m not a “fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants” kinda girl.  I need time to really look at the evidence and figure it out and piece things together.  I’m a thinker before a feeler.  I need to do my homework and research before I can jump on board with anything!

So, this brings me to the journey that I embarked on exactly one week ago. Our twin boys were born 3 years and 6 months ago.  Since their cuteness infected our lives over 3 years ago, my body has never been the same!

christmascard

Photo: taken November 2013

When I saw this picture of my oldest daughter and I on my in-laws Christmas card last year, it was a wake up call and I knew that I had to do something more to change my body.  I was disgusted by how I looked!  I know that is a pretty strong word, but we are our worst critics, right?!   The two things that stood out to me when I first saw this picture, 1) my upper arm is huge and squishy, without any definition or sign of muscles tone, and 2) my stomach is bigger than my chest!  Okay, granted it doesn’t take much for my stomach to be bigger than my chest ;), i realize that, but my stomach should be smaller than my chest!  Oh, and one more thing, 3) where is my okole (the hawaiian word for “bum/bottom”)?  I have a mommy bum, flat with no lift!  This picture was the reality check that I needed!

I have run, I have swam, I have hot yoga-ed, I have high intensity interval trained (HIIT), I have lifted weight.  I have been careful about what foods I put into my body.

I mean, I am a Health Promotion college graduate.  I was a personal trainer before I took on motherhood.  I know all about energy in-energy out.  I know the importance of weight training.  I know about what foods to avoid and what foods to consume!  I know all of that, but no matter what I did my muffin-top had no interest in being evicted!  I began to accept that it had taken permanent residence on my body, while my muscles were choosing to stay hidden.

Then, by chance, I stumbled upon my friends blog.  She wrote this:

“I decided to put the right nutrition into my body. And guess what? It works, it absolutely 100%works. Everything I have done in these short months has been a result of 4 VERY important factors:

1. Nutrition – rather – Diet. Clean eating.

2. Supplements

3. Consistent, hard work weight lifting. (For you it might be Crossfit, Yoga, Running…etc. For me it is weight lifting.)

4. Belief in myself.”

This peaked my interest.  After putting the right nutrition into her body she realized her goals for transforming her body… and that is exactly what I wanted to do, TRANSFORM my body. I have very little actual weight to lose, besides weight is just a number, what I am interested in is the transformation of what my body looks like and its composition, fat vs. muscle.  I know I am not fat by any means, but I have more fat on my body than I am comfortable having and I want to change that.

before

Photo:  taken April 2014 (5 months after the above picture was taken and no positive change)

After speaking with her, I found out that she didn’t change the way she ate, she didn’t change the way she exercised because she was already doing those things right, (just like me) all she did was put the correct nutrition in the form of supplements into her body.  However, as I spoke with her, the skeptic inside of me began to rear its ugly head.  I thought, “ok, so it worked for her, but who’s to say it will work for me? Muffin-top hasn’t showed any interest in leaving before now, so why would this be any different?”

It took me about 2 or so weeks of research before I decided that this just might be the answer to my many years of struggle with transforming my body.  I ordered my products, but, i must admit, that I still was a bit skeptical.

A week ago today I started my 24 day challenge and by about day 3, the skeptic in me was long gone!!  In fact, by day 4,  Mitch said, “I wanna do what your doing! Can you order me a 24 day challenge?”

I decided that I would not reweigh or remeasure until day 10 and day 24, but I don’t need to do either to know that my body is changing!  On day 6, I put jeans on for the first time since beginning the challenge and I was shocked, SHOCKED at how easily they went on and how they fit!  These are jeans that I bought when I only had 3 kids, over 6 years ago.  I have been forcing my body into these jeans for the past 3 years, and 2 days ago they slid right on and fit like the day I bought them!

I know the skeptic in you might be talking in your head, I get it, I was there just a couple weeks ago, but it is what it is!

I echo the words of my dear friend, for that is what she has become in this short month because she has changed my life, “I decided to put the right nutrition into my body. And guess what? It works, it absolutely 100%works.”

It absolutely does!!  100%!