30-Day EC Challenge WINNER and AN ANNOUNCEMENT

NOTE: This is now a static page, accessible at all times via the black, menu bar at the top.


 “…if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the NOONDAY.”
~Isaiah 58:10


Noonday thumbnail

PIN THIS for future shopping, y’all!

Adventures in Womanland, in the spirit of increasing our influence for God’s glory and the good of mankind, is proud to announce its partnership with Noonday Collection, both in “create[ing] economic opportunity for the vulnerable” and in supporting adoption and orphan care around the world.

Photo: Noonday Collection

Photo: Noonday Collection


“Heather, what in the world have you gotten yourself into NOW?” you ask.

Y’all know me and my adventures. This one is one that thrills me to NO. END. The thrill is endless, people! Though I am not/have never been/will probably never be a fashionista (are yoga pants and a top knot a fashion statement?), working with Noonday Collection combines two things I AM passionate about: assisting the impoverished in carving roads out of poverty in sustainable ways (versus a hand-out) and helping loving families graft orphaned/abandoned children into their families through adoption.

Check this action (grab a tissue…or a kid’s shirt or something). FULL-SCREEN it, man!

I. Can’t. Even.

I mean, if we’re going to buy stuff anyway (and Lord knows we are!), why not purchase with purpose, knowing that the money goes directly to these artisans (in exchange for their WORK), rather than a maniacal Sweat Shop owner somewhere who cut a deal with a Big Box Store?

Noonday collage

After passing a rigorous application process, Noonday Collection has become a member of The Fair Trade Federation.

fair trade federation

The FTF certifies that Noonday Collection meets all the following standards in working with the artisans:

1. Create Opportunities for Economically and Socially Marginalized Producers
2. Develop Transparent and Accountable Relationships
3. Build Capacity
4. Pay Promptly and Fairly
5. Support Safe and Empowering Working Conditions
6. Ensure the Rights of Children
7. Cultivate Environmental Stewardship
8. Respect Cultural Identity
9. Promote Fair Trade

There’s nothing I don’t love about this.


Besides, these artisans from-around-the-world make some really cool stuff. In Ethiopia, for example, the artisans go out into fields formerly used for battle, collect artillery shells that have been left behind and create a gorgeous necklace, taking something that was meant for evil and using it for the good of supporting their families ON THEIR OWN.

artillery shell necklace

Have you ever? And there’s puh-lenty more where that came from. Check these out.

noonday necklacesOn the left up there, seeds that have been thinly sliced, dyed and threaded together BY HAND. On the right, water buffalo horn, again sliced and threaded. After a good polishing, of course.

Infinity scarf

The bracelets! The earrings! The HAND-WOVEN scarves! I die.

bagsAnd these. Stop it.


Christmas shopping? Birthday shopping? Anniversary shopping? Treat-Yourself-Because-You-Finished-All-30-Days-Of-The-Shred shopping? Anytime shopping?

Be intentional. Increase your influence. Help others.

In addition to supporting the artisans, 10% of your purchase could be supporting an adoptive family! Too cool.


There are a few ways to shop Noonday Collection:

1. Click here for direct online shopping if you’re not local to my area. If you don’t see ‘Heather Lewis’ in the address bar at the top, just choose me as your Ambassador in the drop-down menu when asked. Noonday Collection ships your product right to your front door, and you never have to change out of your yoga pants. Maybe that’s just me.

2. DFW Area/North Texas/East Texas/South Oklahoma Locals: complete the Contact Form below to schedule a Trunk Show. Super fun for a cause! You invite some people over and make some food (GOOD food, please!), and Noonday (read: me) does the rest.  And I promise not to show up in my yoga pants.

3. ADOPTIVE FAMILIES ANYWHERE: complete the Contact Form below to connect with me to learn about how Noonday Collection can help fund your adoption.

4. Friends and/or Family of Adoptive Families: Gift them with the proceeds from a show, from wherever you are. What a beautiful picture of extended community involvement in the adoption process. Contact me below.

5. PIN THIS PAGE for future shopping.

6. If you live in Hawaii and want a personal visit from me for a Trunk Show, just fill out the form below, and I’ll be on the first plane out of here, man. For real.

TOGETHER, WE CAN CHANGE THE WORLD!

Oh, and I love y’all, man!


winner

And in the celebration of the end of The Shred, our winner is…

Daveandcarolyn, who said, “I lost 20 3/4″ and 8 pounds, and I did all 30 days! Woo Hoo! And hats off to you for posting pics…I have them but haven’t been brave enough to post them!”

Here’s your prize…a bracelet of gorgeous handmade paper beads! PM me on Facebook or complete the contact form above to let me know how to get it to you!

paper bead bracelet edited

 

The 30-Day Shred: My Results

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This VIP (Very Important Post) contains my results from my most recent Jillian experience: The 30-Day Shred. Before we go very far, I’d like to take a minute and do a little recap of my weight roller coaster, so you can be up to speed. Would that be okay?

100_0698 disneyland

In 2006, I looked like this. This is the smallest I can ever remember being in my adult life.

100_0553This level of skinniness is legit in my world.

Summer 2010 croppedBy 2011, I had eaten and couch-sat my way (back) up to this. Scary on all accounts. So I started Shredding.

Side View

After I’d done one month of The 30-Day Shred and looked like this (above, right).

Side ViewI followed that up with 30 days of Ripped in 30 and looked like this (above, far right).

cropped-dsc_1298-edited.jpgThen, I had this (above, who’s now 2 1/2) and looked like this (below).

familyFat girl, far left…hiding behind as many family members as humanly possible.

Awhile ago, I decided it was time (again) to do something about this. I asked around about anyone who might be interested in joining me in supporting and encouraging each other in The 30-Day Shred and anything we saw fit to do exercise-wise after that. To date, nearly a thousand women have answered the call.

You are now up to speed.

The Shred

Here are my results from The (current) 30-Day Shred.

Inches Lost
Neck: 1
Bust: 3 (awesome…on Opposite Day)
Waist: 3
Lower Belly: 5.5
Hips: 1
Arms: 2.25
Thighs: 1.5
Calves: 1

Total Inches Lost during The 30-Day Shred: 18.25

Total Pounds Lost: 9.6

And, as promised, current (afters taken today) before and after photos:

  Before After Shred front view collage

Sorry about the scariness. I hate, Hate, HATE having my picture taken.

Before After Shred back view

Sorry about the butt shot. I didn’t know how else to capture this. And also, the back fat has GOT to go.

Before After Shred collage side viewOverall, I’m happy with my results. Had I been more diligent about my eating, I would have done better, I’m sure. One of the things I’m committing to myself is to eat better during the current Challenge, Ripped in 30.

I’m excited about The Big Collarbone Comeback of 2014.

This time, it’s about redemption.


Now, enough about me…how about you? Sound off about your results in the comments 30-Day Exercise Challenge peeps! If you (honestly) comment that you completed all 30 days of The Challenge, you’ll be entered to win a prize! I’m thinking jewelry…

I love y’all!

Update: Ripped in 30

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As we round out the inaugural 30-Day Exercise Challenge, I bring you this from The Keep-Calm-O-Matic (yes, that’s a real thing…apparently):

keep-calm-and-finish-strong-31

And now, in the interest of moving forward and forgetting that I haven’t yet Shredded today, I bring you glad tidings of great joy:

Jillian Michaels

We are less than one week away from starting the NEW AND IMPROVED 30-Day Exercise Challenge!

51AFniCXtYL__SL500_AA300_

This time, it’s about redemption.

And sweat. Probably mostly sweat.

Here are a few helpful pieces of information:

1. Order the DVD here. During the last Challenge, some Challengers relied on YouTube, which petered out on them in the middle of the last level. Talk about panic! They were left watching a bootlegged version of Jillian in Mandarin Chinese and trying to keep up. If you don’t speak fluent Mandarin, give serious thought to ordering the DVD.

If you’re planning to do The 30-Day Shred, here’s the link.
If you’re taking it back to The Beginner Shred, here’s that link.

2. Here are FREE printables: a calendar that you can color/mark/X off/cut the heart out of as you go, and a weight and measurement chart. You’ll notice I’m moving my rest-day from Saturday to Thursday. I have found that, if I give myself two, consecutive days off, I’m more likely to not go back at all (read: I get stuck in the couch watching Rocky…again.). One day off at a time for me. Period.

Ripped in 30 Calendar

Ripped in 30 Weight and Measurement Chart

I provided them in Word format, so you can edit them if you so choose. It’s YOUR plan, man.

Let’s DO this!

~Heather

30 Day EC: Spotlight on Mara

  We’re on Day 26 of The 30-Day Exercise Challenge, and I’m so excited to introduce you to Mara! I love, love, love her name! And also this: Mara blogs at Super Savings, so y’all get over there and check her out!  A few days ago, I brought you an inspiring update from Deborah. Before that we talked with Estefanie from Arizona, and before that, Toni from Auckland, New Zealand. These girls bless my heart!  If you’re not a part of this group, now is the time. The new challenge begins on September 15…plenty of time to get prayed up before Jillian takes ahold of you. Bless her heart. Bless my heart. Bless all the hearts.

PIN THIS, y’all!


AinW: Hi! Mara! Would you mind sharing the city where you live, your age, and a little about your weight loss/health/fitness journey before The 30-Day Exercise Challenge, including your fitness level before starting?

Mara:
City: Muskegon, Michigan
Age: 34 (turning 35 right after the end of the challenge – this is my birthday present to myself!)
Fitness Level:  I’m a busy mom of 6, but lately I’d consider myself pretty sedentary.  I blog, so I’m at the computer a lot, and am not nearly as active as I should be.  I exercise very sporadically….maybe doing Zumba for a few months, then nothing for 6 months.  Age and having babies has definitely put on the pounds.  Before the challenge, I’d notice that I’d get winded just running upstairs for something….one flight of stairs – ridiculous.

Here’s my story…..over the past couple years our family has been working on eating more whole foods and eliminating a lot of processed foods. Sort of a “real food”/Paleo approach. I’ve felt better by cutting out the junk (artificial colors/chemicals/most wheat…etc.), it’s helped some of the kids’ skin issues (eczema/psoriasis), and we’ve all been healthier….but I wasn’t seeing weight loss like I expected. Which was really frustrating, to be honest.

I’ve now been following the Trim Healthy Mama (THM) way of eating for a couple of months and have been seeing great results (their closed FB group is an incredible encouragement)! I’m using a lot of the same foods we’re already used to, but just in a different way, and eliminating sugar from my diet. (I can still have sweets and chocolate though, which is what makes this way of eating doable – this coming from a major sugar addict, lol!). Sugar is so addictive, but also toxic! If we can get that out of our diets it’s crazy how our health and weight can improve!

I’ve been really happy with my steady weight loss (1-3 pounds/week) over the past couple months, but recently have slowed way down. I think it’s because I started the 30-Day Shred though and am building muscle while I kick the fat to the curb. I took “day 1″ and “day 15″ pictures and can tell a difference already! So I’m basically maintaining (losing a little) at the moment, but I’m feeling stronger, am losing some in inches, have tons more endurance and flexibility and am excited to see what happens by the end of my 30 days.

AinW: Would you be so brave as to show us your pictures?

Mara: Sure! Here you go!

Mara front collage

AinW: Wow! Your face! Your neck! Your waist! Your everything! Wait, what? The Shred works, man.  What do you like about that program?

Mara: It doesn’t take very long each day – less than half an hour and I’m done!  But it’s definitely challenging, and I’m quickly seeing results!

AinW: What do you hate about it?

Mara: Jillian!  Lol, I really don’t care for her, but she does get results!  It’s a tough workout (especially at the beginning of each Level), but it’s easily modified to your abilities too.


Pre-Order Messy Beautiful Love by Time-Warp Wife’s Darlene Schacht NOW!

messy beautiful love

Hope and redemption for Real-Life Marriages.


AinW: What are some of the obstacles or challenges you’ve overcome in completing The Challenge daily?

Mara: The kids are always around, and they can be pretty distracting. They either seem to “need” my attention during the time I workout, or they want to do it with me in our small office.  It would be helpful if I worked out before they woke up, but I am not an early riser.

AinW: Same here. I’m Shredding with a toddler using me as a bridge when I’m in the plank position…which seems to be quite alot. What benefits have you reaped from exercising daily?

Mara: I feel stronger, leaner, and more flexible.  I definitely have more endurance, and am not winded after a flight of stairs!  I’m also fitting better into my clothes – shirts are smoother, pants are buttoning easier! By Day 15 of the Challenge I had lost 1 pound, and 3 inches overall. I expected to see more of a difference in the numbers, but by the way I feel, I know great things are happening in my body that won’t necessarily show on a scale or measurements.

AinW: What do you believe about yourself and your body’s capabilities that you maybe didn’t know/believe before beginning The Challenge?

Mara: I now know that I can stick to something even when it’s hard.  I believe that I’m stronger mentally to be able to keep on going (and facing Jillian!) each day.

AinW:  That’s powerful, isn’t it? What are you hoping the second half of The Challenge will bring for you/your health and fitness?

Mara: I’m hoping to feel even stronger and leaner.  Really hoping to see more inches lost!

AinW:  Give us a Challenge funny.

Mara: My 20 month old is my fair weather workout buddy.  He’ll walk in the room and jump around while I do jumping jacks….or take my weights, and walk out again…or belly flop on me while I’m doing crunches, lol!  One day though, he watched me for a while, then got down on the floor into a starfish kind of plank pose….and just held it!  The chubby little curtain climber is stronger than I am, ha!!

Oh, and since I’m using the 30-Day Shred on YouTube, sometimes commercials pop up.  Once during the Level 2 workout, an ad for Hot Pockets came on…well played Hot Pockets!

AinW: Indeed, Hot Pockets. What has been the most encouraging or motivating factor in this process for you?

Mara: Knowing that there were so many women in the Challenge experiencing the same thing (being tired, sore, busy…) was SO encouraging! I wasn’t alone in my misery, lol!  And when they’d share how they pushed through a tougher situation (travel, sickness, house guests…) to workout anyway, it made it so much easier to kick my excuses to the curb and get my lazy self in gear!

AinW: The excuses can KILL us, can’t they? How has being a part of The 30-Day Exercise Challenge on Facebook spurred you on to persevere?

Mara: The Facebook group has been the entire reason I’ve stuck with the challenge!  Not kidding, if I wasn’t part of that group I totally would’ve quit by now.  I’m so thankful to Heather for starting the group, and her sense of humor that keeps all of us engaged.  Community and accountability are incredible motivators! I did not want to check in and say, “yeah, I was just feeling tired…..so I didn’t do it.”  It kept me excited and motivated to keep going strong.

AinW: I am so glad you joined us, Mara! You are such an encouragement!


COMING THIS WEEK ON AinW:

An update on the upcoming Challenge which begins on Monday, September 15. Ripped in 30: This time, it’s about Redemption.

There will be FREE printable calendars and weight/measurement charts, so stay tuned!

And also this: An end-of-The-Shred GIVEAWAY…I’m thinking jewelry.

 

 

30-Day EC: Spotlight on Deborah

  Day 22 of The 30-Day Exercise Challenge brings Deborah to the forefront! A few days ago, I brought you an inspiring update from Estefanie from Arizona, and before that, Toni from Auckland, New Zealand. These girls bless my heart!  If you’re not a part of this group, now is the time. The new challenge begins on September 15…plenty of time to get prayed up before Jillian takes ahold of you. Bless her heart. Bless my heart. Bless all the hearts.

PIN THIS, y’all!


AinW: Hi! Deborah! Would you mind sharing the city where you live, your age, and a little about your weight loss/health/fitness journey before The 30-Day Exercise Challenge, including your fitness level before starting?

Deborah:
City: Adairville
Age: I’m 40 years old.
Fitness Level: Fitness level before the challenge was pretty low. I wasn’t doing anything before I started the challenge.

AinW: One of the things I love about this Challenge is that you can make it your own. Choose whichever program or plan works best for you! Which exercise program did you choose (i.e. 30-Day Shred, T-Tapp, other) during The Challenge?

Deborah: For this month’s challenge, I chose the C25K program but adapted it to where I could do it.

AinW: My next goal is to learn to run. I have heard good things about that program! What do you like about that program?

Deborah: I like the small challenges it has put before me. I tried this same program the first of the year 33lbs heavier than what I am now and wasn’t able to do any of it.

AinW: What do you hate about it?

Deborah: I don’t really hate the program, but what I don’t like is [getting frustrated with myself when I try to push harder and can’t do it yet]. I am  learning I need to slow down and not rush it. It will all come in due time and over these past 3 weeks it has! My running has improved tremendously.


Pre-Order Messy Beautiful Love by Time-Warp Wife’s Darlene Schacht NOW!

messy beautiful love

Hope and redemption for Real-Life Marriages.


AinW: What are some of the obstacles or challenges you’ve overcome in completing The Challenge daily?

Deborah: I would rather do my walking/running outside (not as boring), but these past 2 weeks it’s been too hot and humid here for me to do it outside. That means either the dreaded treadmill, or as I’m learning to call it the Shredmill, or the track at my local rec center.

AinW: The Shredmill! :) What benefits have you reaped from exercising daily?

Deborah: I’m now able to walk and run and able to walk longer distances without being out  of breath, and it’s helped the scales start moving again. I’ve gone down another 2-4lbs since starting this challenge.

AinW: That’s great! What do you believe about yourself and your body’s capabilities that you maybe didn’t know/believe before beginning The Challenge?

Deborah: I’m learning to be more comfy with myself and learning as I’m losing weight and my body is changing to love myself more. Before, when I would workout I hated working out in front of people, and I’ve always hated running in front of people because of me being overweight….well, not anymore! Losing these first 33lbs, I’m loving myself more and becoming more comfy with myself. Now I could care less who sees me running etc.

AinW:  I love that attitude. I believe many women can relate. What are you hoping the second half of The Challenge will bring for you/your health and fitness?

Deborah: I’m hoping in the second half of the challenge to be able to jog/run at least 1/2 a mile or more and would like to lose at least another 7lbs which would put me at 40lbs gone. :)

 AinW: What kind of eating plan have you followed during The Challenge? Do you feel like it’s helpful in the process or not and, if not, what is your plan moving forward?

Deborah: I’ve been very loosely following Trim Healthy Mama plan.

AinW: Me, too…emphasis on “loosely”. What’s the one piece of equipment you could not exercise without?

Deborah: Hmmm, I don’t really use any equipment, but I guess I could say my phone for my music when I’m working out alone.

AinW: What has been the most encouraging or motivating factor in this process for you?

Deborah: The most encouraging thing during this challenge is that as soon as I started doing it, I had several ladies from my church jump on board with me, and now we all try to walk/run together as much as possible.  We are all doing a walk together in September and then a 5K in October.

AinW: That’s awesome! You’ve increased your influence! How has being a part of The 30-Day Exercise Challenge on Facebook spurred you on to persevere?

Deborah: Seeing the daily posts from all the other ladies is one thing that keeps me going.


And now this:

winner

Please join me in congratulating the winners of The Bolder Band giveaway!

Winner #1: Karen~”The only reason I’m exercising right now is because of this challenge!! It’s getting me out of bed early and I have so much more energy!! Thanks, Heather!!”

Winner #2: Alexis~”I’m encouraged by the fun vibe of the group. Whether it’s silly slogans, encouraging each other when it’s tough or having others comment on my posts. I love to see the results. I love hearing all the glory going to God. Xo”

Y’all PM me on Facebook for instructions on how to collect your prize!


Don’t worry if you didn’t win this time…there’s another giveaway coming up on Day 30, and this time I’m thinking jewelry…

30-Day EC: Spotlight on Estefanie

  We are now 20 days into The 30-Day Exercise Challenge…Level 3, here we come! A few days ago, I brought you a Day 15 update from our forerunner, Toni. Today, I give you Estefanie. Y’all wait until you see her pictures from just FIFTEEN days with Jillian! Unbelievable!  If you’re not a part of this group, now is the time. The new challenge begins on September 15…plenty of time to get prayed up before Jillian takes ahold of you. Bless her heart. Bless my heart. Bless all the hearts.

PIN THIS, y’all!


AinW: Hi! I’m so glad you’re in the group! Would you mind sharing the city where you live, your age, and a little about your weight loss/health/fitness journey before The 30-Day Exercise Challenge, including your fitness level before starting?

Estefanie:
City: Casa Grande, AZ
Age: 24 (turning 25 in about 2 months)
Fitness level, etc. before The Challenge: Before the challenge, I would go to a Zumba class about once a week sometimes twice a week if I woke up on time. I also tried another challenge and to be honest I didn’t get that motivated with it as I am with this challenge. So the fitness level I was at before this challenge was pretty much nonexistent.

AinW: One of the things I love about this Challenge is that you can make it your own. Choose whichever program or plan works best for you! Which exercise program did you choose (i.e. 30-Day Shred, T-Tapp, other) during The Challenge?

Estefanie: I decided to do The 30-Day Shred for this challenge. I’ve tried to do this DVD before but would always quit before I got to the 2nd level. I needed that push to finish this DVD once and for all.

AinW: What do you like about that program?

Estefanie: What I like about The 30DS the most is the fact that I can feel the burn instantly, and that I am working multiple muscle groups at once. I also like that you can actually see yourself get stronger, and gain endurance in matter of days.

AinW: What do you hate about it?

Estefanie: Does JM’s voice count? Totally joking. She scares me. I find that she is a bit on the nagging side on level 1, so I had to put the DVD on mute and just blast some music for my sanity. On level 2 though, she seems a bit more encouraging. No idea what level 3 is going to be like. Also, I don’t like the fact that the DVD makes you realize just how much you jiggle haha.


Pre-Order Messy Beautiful Love by Time-Warp Wife’s Darlene Schacht NOW!

messy beautiful love

Hope and redemption for Real-Life Marriages.


AinW: What are some of the obstacles or challenges you’ve overcome in completing The Challenge daily?

Estefanie: I think the hardest part for me was the motivation to actually get up and do the DVD. But then that is where this awesome group comes in. I would see a group of wonderful ladies just encourage each other to get off that couch and put in some work. I felt like I couldn’t let these women down! Because of them, and of course Heather for creating this challenge, I’ve made it this far.

Another issue for me was finding time. I have two small children in school, I recently started school again, and work 5 days a week, plus I have to take in consideration of my “other half” schedule as well. So to say I didn’t know where I would fit in a workout was an understatement. It made me really get down to business and get a schedule going. And turns out I HAD time, just wasn’t using it properly. As the saying goes: “If it’s IMPORTANT, you’ll MAKE time”.

AinW: I LOVE that! What benefits have you reaped from exercising daily?

Estefanie: I think the biggest benefit I found is that once I started working out, I wanted to eat healthier and make better choices when given the chance. Also I wanted to work out even more as time went on. I started going to Zumba 3x a week on top of the 30DS. And it makes you realize that your body CAN change. My lower body is my “problem area”, and I never thought that my legs, and hips would EVER go down in size, but so far I have lost a few inches in that area! It’s a small change but to know that it can change pushes me to work harder. I was even able to raise my “goal jeans” past my knees and it stopped right underneath my butt. Before I could barely get them past my knees. I am determine to fit in those jeans by my birthday!

Here are my results so far:

Bust: – 1 ½ (great…I already don’t have anything there…)

Waist: – 1 ½

Hips: – 1

  1. Thigh: – 1 (don’t know how that happened)
  2. Thigh: – ½ (don’t know how that happened either)
  3. Arm: – ½ (woo hoo on my way to Jillian Michaels arms, apparently one arm at a time…)

A grand total of 6 inches overall and down 2.4 lbs!!!!

AinW: WOW! What do you believe about yourself and your body’s capabilities that you maybe didn’t know/believe before beginning The Challenge?

Estefanie: I now believe that anything is possible. I can feel my body get stronger; I can feel my body being able to push itself harder than the day before. I can see my body starting to fit in the “skinny” side of my closet. I thought I would never see all those clothes again. Before the challenge started, I’ll be completely honest with you, I lost myself. I thought I should just accept the fact that I will forever be the fat girl. I hated myself for being fat. I never thought I would ever be able to lose weight and be happy. And this challenge woke me up. I believe I can do this. I believe that my body is capable of anything, and that it can get stronger, and most importantly it is beautiful.

AinW:  I am so grateful for your candor. I believe many women can relate. What are you hoping the second half of The Challenge will bring for you/your health and fitness?

Estefanie: I am hoping the 2nd half of this will bring me strength to be able to do all 3 circuits without stopping and feeling like I’m going to have a heart attack. And the motivation to. Just. Keep. Going.

AinW: What kind of eating plan have you followed during The Challenge? Do you feel like it’s helpful in the process or not and, if not, what is your plan moving forward?

Estefanie: I think this is where I had the most success out of this challenge. I started to count my calories, but ain’t nobody got time for that. So I gave up (I want to start counting again, it seems to help me lose more weight) and just started making healthier choices. I started to eat protein WITH EVERY MEAL. Plus I would have a protein shake for lunch most days. And a protein shake after working out. Those 2 shakes would give me a total of 120g of protein and not including what I would eat with my meals. I also raised my water intake. I live in Arizona, and I was already drinking almost a gallon of water a day, but now I drink that or more. I also try to eat salads, and wayyyy smaller portions. I still eat whatever I want but it’s all about portion control. I think by doing this, helped me with my bloating issues. I bloat up like a balloon very easily.

AinW: What’s the one piece of equipment you could not exercise without?

Estefanie: Right now I would say my weights. I want me some Jillian Michaels arms!! I am going to be buying a Polar F4 soon so that way I can start to see how [many calories] I’m actually burning during workouts. If only they would scream as they burned, I know I would be even more encouraged.

AinW: What’s the funniest thing that’s happened during The Challenge related to the exercise?

Estefanie: Does my thighs making clapping sounds of encouragement to push harder count? I seriously despise plank jacks and any other jumping movements.

AinW: Ugh! The jumping’s The. Worst. What has been the most encouraging or motivating factor in this process for you?

Estefanie: I think the most encouraging aspect of this process is having other people see a difference, and saying what a great job I’m doing. Only difference I can tell is in my face, other than that I don’t really see too much until I look at comparison pictures. So it’s nice to have some reassurance, especially from my other half who sees me on a daily basis.

AinW: How has being a part of The 30-Day Exercise Challenge on Facebook spurred you on to persevere?

Estefanie: I think it’s been about the accountability that this group has provided. I get a guilty feeling if I don’t work out. I feel like I let the ladies down. Everyone is so encouraging and it just makes you push yourself. Like I said before on question 5, it’s because of them and Heather that I made it this far.

AinW: Didn’t you tell me you had pictures to share with us?

Estefanie: I do!

E front

E side

E back


Estefanie, y’all! That’s LEGIT! Ain’t she a beaut? Can’t wait to bring you a Day 30 update on this lady!


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30-Day EC: Spotlight on Toni

I am BEYOND excited to introduce y’all to Toni, one of the over 800 precious women who have joined me in The 30-Day Exercise Challenge. Toni’s from New Zealand, y’all! I have a friend in New Zealand! That sounds so exotic from here in North Texas (read: I’m a dork.). We call her John the Baptist. She’s our forerunner. Because of the time difference from New Zealand to North America, where the majority of us are, she works out half a day ahead of us and loops back to tell us what’s in store for us.  By the time we’re working out, she’s fast asleep. Like many of us, she has faced obstacles to being successful in The Challenge but has persevered! She blazes a path for us to follow. I just love her, and I know you will, too. Here’s my conversation with Toni.

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AinW: Hi! You’re awesome, and I love you, but you already know that! AinW readers who aren’t in the Super Secret Squirrel Facebook group want to get to know you, too. Would you mind sharing the city where you live, your age, and a little about your weight loss/health/fitness journey before The 30-Day Exercise Challenge, including your fitness level before starting?

Toni:
City: Auckland, New Zealand
Age: 37 (38 one week after the challenge finishes)
Fitness level, etc. before The Challenge: Active enough to keep up with my kids (just) but probably among the first to get eaten in a Zombie Apocalypse.

AinW: You crack me up! One of the things I love about this Challenge is that you can make it your own. Choose whichever program or plan works best for you! Which exercise program did you choose (i.e. 30-Day Shred, T-Tapp, other) during The Challenge?

Toni:  I have been Shredding, walking and searching random workouts on YouTube to spice things up when I am bored. Does swearing at Jillian until I am out of breath count as cardio too?

AinW: You bet it does! One of our group members routinely calls her an Evil Cow. That sounds about right. :) What do you like about The Shred?

Toni: I do feel like I am getting a workout that pushes me (huh, you think?), but I can still do most of it (admittedly with all the elegance of baby bird in mud).

AinW: What do you hate about it?

Toni: Um, the exercising part.

AinW: Well, that makes TWO of us, sister! In week one of The Challenge, I went out-of-town. Talk about your obstacles! Then, my DVD wouldn’t play in my computer! Ugh! What are some of the obstacles or challenges you’ve overcome in completing The Challenge daily?

Toni: My husband left on a 6-week military exercise, and we have no contact with him, which is hard. He also kindly gifted us all head colds before he left. Did you know that puppy pee pads are great for catching nose dribbles when doing plank jacks? Just FYI!

AinW: How lovely of him! Be sure to pay him back when he returns to his skinny wife! :) What benefits have you reaped from exercising daily?

Toni: Well I haven’t lost any weight (in fact I put on a whole bunch, but I blame the emotional eating for that), but although I weigh a little more I didn’t put on any inches. I am definitely fitter already and stronger – I can now complete a level 2 Shred and not spend the next day having to lower myself onto the toilet by wedging my arms on either wall because I’m afraid that if I don’t the impact from my free-fall will break the seat! I count that as progress!


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AinW: That first-week thigh pain is no joke. I was right there with you! What do you believe about yourself and your body’s capabilities that you maybe didn’t know/believe before beginning The Challenge?

Toni: I didn’t know I would be a “gym grunter” – you know those people that grunt or groan every time they lift a weight or get to the end of their set. *Facepalm* I am one of them!

AinW: What are you hoping the second half of The Challenge will bring for you/your health and fitness?

Toni: Some weight loss! Seriously those pounds and inches, or as we say here in NZ kilos and centimetres, can just take a hike. I won’t even try to find them again, and I won’t miss them even slightly.

AinW: I’d be willing to bet they’ll fall right off now. What kind of eating plan have you followed during The Challenge? Do you feel like it’s helpful in the process or not and, if not, what is your plan moving forward?

Toni: I have been following Trim Healthy Mama…well, I stayed in the Facebook groups and read the recipes posted (if only it were that easy) but didn’t do so great (who am I kidding? I sucked!) at keeping on plan in the 2 weeks before my hubby left. I have now started a 2-week fuel cycle to give me a boost. I’m on day 4 and proud to say no cheats!

AinW: Wow! That’s awesome! What’s the one piece of equipment you could not exercise without?

Toni: Ok there are a couple of things here depending of what level of Shred I am on…

Level one: a pillow. Seriously, I must have the world’s most pathetically weak knees! I know this because my pain tolerance is actually really, really high (the kind of high that involves stubbornly refusing to be put under and making the surgeon go ahead with your emergency C-section even though the anesthetic isn’t working because the specialist told you your baby might not be ok. I am that woman. Yes, it really hurts having your tummy cut open and, yes, my baby was fine), but when I wasn’t strong enough to do a proper pushup and had to resort to the “girly” kind, my pathetically pansy knees couldn’t handle it!

Level 2: a closed door. No-one should hear those sounds!

Finally no matter what level I am on: A good sports bra! These beasts ain’t “puppies” no more, they are full grown St Bernards, and likely to bounce up and black my eyes if they are not properly restrained!

AinW: Try not to frighten the children or black your eyes, would you? What’s the funniest thing that’s happened during The Challenge related to the exercise?

Toni: My daughter reacts worse to Jillian Michaels than most kids do towards Santa. It is like she stole Christmas or something!

AinW: She’s a mean one, Ms. Grinch! What has been the most encouraging or motivating factor in this process for you?

Toni: The Facebook group, and being the “forerunner”. Wow nothing like 800+ other people backing you up!

AinW: How has being a part of The 30-Day Exercise Challenge on Facebook spurred you on to persevere?

Toni: As above and knowing that when I have had a bad day, or not gotten the results I wanted there are others there in the same boat, feeling just as frustrated and annoyed but also willing to reach out to a stranger and urge them on. Aw, warm fuzzies!

AinW: I’m pondering future 30-Day Exercise Challenges. Any thoughts? Suggestions? Recommendations? Requests?

Toni: I am thinking of doing some kind of training that will allow me to do a charity run or triathlon type event….or survive the zombie apocalypse. Those type of things require stamina!


That’s Toni, y’all! Say, “Hey!” to her in the comments here! Told you she’s lovable!

Now, don’t forget about the upcoming challenge. This is a great time to jump in if you’re on the couch watching Rocky, eating ice cream, and feeling bad about yourself. Get up, get over it, and get on with your life!

Also, the GIVEAWAY! Entry closes on Friday, so y’all get over there and enter to win!