The 30-Day Shred: The Results Post

20 Apr

Note: This post is long, and I’m sorry about that.  Hang in there. You’ll be at the end before you know it.

Thirty days ago, Jillian Michaels and I entered into a relationship, the outcome of which I could not know. While she promised me weight loss and a healthier me, I was just sure she meant pain leading to death.

Yesterday marked day 30 of The 30-Day Shred for me. Today, I outline the results for you.

The Background

First, though, let me take you on a little weight-related trip.  Since the day I was born, I have fought the battle of the bulge. Five years ago, when I moved to California, I looked like this.

I had just lost about 40 pounds or so prior to moving and was feeling great, though you can’t tell by my facial expression. Oy.

However, after four years of southern California hospitality, I looked like this.

Why, yes, that is me happy to be helping myself to another serving of something not-good-for-me. Why do you ask?

Obviously, southern California was good to me. I particularly enjoyed their avocados, comida Mexicana (that’s Mexican food, for those of you who don’t habla), and the Greek Chicken place.

Oh, and Filippi’s Pizza Grotto in Little Italy, downtown San Diego.

And In-N-Out Burger.

And avocados. Did I mention that already? In and of themselves, they are not bad for you. En masse, not so much.

The bottom line is that I had to do something, and 2011 was going to be my year to do it.  I started the year on a Weight Watcher-y type plan, using The Biggest Loser dvd’s, and that worked. For awhile.  Then, this thing was born, and I got off track.

Once I returned home from taking care of him and his mother/my sister, I decided to attack my New Year’s Resolution with gusto, which is what led me to seek out the help of Jillian.

Over the past 30 days, I’ve been subjected to exercises the likes of which my body had never done. Nor ever wanted to do. But I did it. And I have the sweaty yoga mat to prove it.

On day one, I was sure I was going to die. By day three, I was hoping I would. My muscles quivered. Everything hurt. My self-esteem lived in the toilet. However, as I progressed from level to level, I felt myself getting stronger. I could keep up her pace and do more reps. I exercised along with the high-intensity modifier, rather than Beginner Girl. Then, when I began to see results around day 10 or so, I was hooked.

Plan Specifics

Complete The 30-Day Shred each day, excluding Sundays. If the Good Lord needed a Sabbath, then so do I.  Three levels; ten days on each level. Weights used vary between 2 and 5 pounds. Move up to the next level even when the current level is not at perfection. Perfection is not necessary. Just keep moving. Imperfect movement is better than perfect couch-sitting.

Wipe sweat as necessary.

Eat around 1500 calories per day. Included at least one serving of fruits/veggies at each sitting. Three meals, one afternoon snack. Nothing after dinner. No processed sugar. Almost. The Diva had a birthday, and there was cake. Very limited amounts of fast food (like one or two-ish Wendy’s Double Stacks the entire time). Lots of chicken and other lean meat. No eating until after I’ve exercised in the mornings. Small portions. Turns out, my body didn’t need nearly as much food as I was giving it.

The Results

Lost Inches
Waist: 5
Hips: 5
Bust: 3.5
Upper Arms (combined): 2.25
Thighs (combined): 5.25
Calves (combined): 1.75
Total Inches Lost during The 30-Day Shred:  22.75

But wait! There’s more!

Lost Weight during The 30-Day Shred: 12 lbs.

I had previously lost 7.8 lbs since January and 12.2 lbs. before that over the course of several months, so my total weight loss to date is 32 lbs.

Clothing Size: down one pants size. This is really an understatement, as the size I was previously wearing was very tight, and the size I now wear fits great.  In reality, down one-and-a-half pants sizes. Not bad for 30 days. (Down one bra cup size, too. Sorry, but you had to know.)


I’ve debated the picture situation. Agonized over it, in fact. Anyone who knows me knows that I haven’t voluntarily appeared in a photograph since my dance recital when I was 3. That’s what the battle of the bulge will do for a person. However, when I began The Shred, I foreknew it was going to be difficult and that I would need inspiration.

I was right.

Several times in the last 30 days, I have been so thankful for those pictures. The visual learner in me needed to see the difference. On days when Shredding was especially difficult or I didn’t ‘feel’ like I was making a difference, I’d get my computer, pull up one of the pics, look at it, then stand in the mirror and compare. I always felt better.

Then I reminded myself to move out of my emotional core into a more rational frame of mind. I’m a girl. We have to remind ourselves sometimes.

Since 70% of you are visual learners, too (my education pays off, baby!), I’m guessing that those measurements up there are just numbers to you.  For that reason, I’ve decided to post some before and after pics here, though I’m not courageous enough to post them in color yet. Turns out, courage comes in stages rather than all at once like the Cowardly Lion got his. That Wizard is full of it.

Deep breath. Here we go.

Mug shot. Not so bad. The look is scary. I apologize. That’s my ‘I’m-getting-ready-to-face-Jillian’ face. As for the hair, well, it’s best not to do it until post-Jillian.

Number two. Side shot.

Five inches off the waist and hips apiece are very visible here.

The back. My personal favorite. That’s just me, though.

Before too long, I’ll be saying good-bye to that pesky back fat altogether.  My waist is taking shape. The hourglass is appearing.

It seems that my body is stronger than I’ve ever given it credit for.  I walk more upright and hold my head higher. My muscles are more defined. My blood pressure and heartrate are lower.  My appetite has decreased. My cravings are gone.  My skin is clearer, brighter, and smoother. My clothes are falling off of me, and I’m okay with that. I like to shop.

About midway through The Shred, we went on a 6-mile hike up and down the mountains of East Tennessee. It was hard, but I was not dying. I even ran part of the way. Running is new.

I can fit my purse in between my stomach and the steering wheel a little lot easier when I need to get money out of it to pay for my daily treat of Sonic ice. No calories. Low cost. My dentist is not speaking to me, but she’ll get over it.

My jawline and collarbones have reappeared, proudly standing out after their lengthy hibernation.

Double blessing: A number of people (more than 10) have emailed, called, Facebooked, or otherwise contacted me to tell me that my transformation has inspired them to do something similar. Many of them are now Shredheads like me.  I had no idea the sphere of my influence. I can’t help but wonder if I had been influencing them towards In-N-Out Burger before.

Next Steps

While my results are amazing (or at least I think they are), this is just the beginning of my total transformation. Therefore, there must be more steps. In the immediate future (like, starting today), I will be working out with Miss Jillian using her Ripped in 30 dvd.

This dvd is very similar to The Shred, in that it uses the 3-2-1 method: 3 minutes of strength training, 2 minutes of cardio, 1 minute of abs, 3 circuits plus a warm-up and cool-down. It’s still only about 30 minutes long and lasts for 30 days. I’ve learned that both 30 minutes and 30 days are the extent of my attention span, so this plan works for me.

I’ll be eating about 1400 calories per day: 400 for breakfast, 400 for lunch, 200 for an afternoon snack, and 400 for dinner. I’ll be estimating these, and some days I’ll go over. Some days, though, I’ll be under, so it’ll all work out. I’ll still not be eating sugar as much as is possible in America. There are no birthdays on the horizon in my family, so it should be a little easier. Lots of fruits and veggies. Lots of lean meat. You know, the regular fare. Oh, and water. Gallons and gallons per day. Since all I drink is water, I intake no caffeine. Ever. And one cup of decaffeinated green tea per day. I read somewhere that it’s good for weight loss. I don’t know how true that is, but I’ve been drinking it these past 30 days and have lost weight. If something’s working, I’m not one for rocking the boat.

I have more long-terms plans, too. I’ll spare you those for now and keep you updated as I progress.  I’ll report back here in 30 more days to let you know how ripped I am. Although I’m still not convinced that, at my age, ripping stuff is a good idea.

Officially Shredded,


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50 Responses to “The 30-Day Shred: The Results Post”

  1. Gram April 20, 2011 at 10:29 am #

    Congratulations to my baby girl. I love you Honey and am so proud of you!!!!

  2. Mary Anthony April 20, 2011 at 10:31 am #

    I am very impressed, and I am actually considering getting that dvd after your summary. WAY TO GO!!!

  3. the domestic fringe April 20, 2011 at 10:39 am #

    Holy Moly! Your transformation is incredible. You’ve done such an amazing job and have SO much to proud of. You look not a bit less than totally AWESOME! I admire you for your commitment even when things got hard and you wanted to die because Jillian was killing you. My hats off to you. Can you hear me applauding? So, I actually looked for the 30 Day Shred for a second time, but no luck. I’m giving up and ordering a copy online. Thank you for the inspiration, for the pictures so I can your success, and for the encouragement. I’m ready to Shred! :-)

    • adventuresinwomanland April 20, 2011 at 3:30 pm #

      Thanks so much for the affirmation! Go, girl! If I can do it, anybody can do it, and that’s the truth! Let me know how it goes. I’ll be sitting on the edge of my seat in anticipation!

  4. Big Daddy April 20, 2011 at 10:58 am #

    I am proud of you. You are an inspiration to me. I hope that Jillian gets a copy of this blog post.

    Praise God for you…

  5. Bernadette April 20, 2011 at 11:23 am #

    WOW! Thank You so much for the Pics. I know how hard that was for you. Probably much harder than the SHRED. You are, of course, are worth so much more than words. How did you go about deciding you calorie count? Thanks agin for you post they are so encouraging.

    • adventuresinwomanland April 20, 2011 at 3:28 pm #

      Hi, Bernadette,
      The calorie count is one that is recommended by the illustrious Ms. Michaels on her website: She has a downloadable mealplan, which I have downloaded and some of which I will use; however, I know what keeps me from feeling hungry, and those are my ‘go-to’ foods, typically. And, heck, they’re working! If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Eventually, I will probably have to decrease my calories again, but for now, this is what I’m using.

  6. Am April 20, 2011 at 11:43 am #

    Congrats!!! U look FABULOUS!!!!!!!

    • Nicole Batten April 20, 2011 at 12:39 pm #

      You look great. Thanks for sharing. I guess it’s time for me to quit talking and start walking!! You are an inspiration. This was supposed to be the year…I turned 40….lost weight…got in healthy…only thing so accomplished so far is the turning 40! Guess I better get busy. Thanks Heather.

    • adventuresinwomanland April 20, 2011 at 3:26 pm #

      Thanks, Sis!

  7. Maria Keckler April 20, 2011 at 1:06 pm #

    Yeah, Heather!! You inspire me.

  8. jami April 20, 2011 at 10:41 pm #

    Bwaaahahahaha. Is it bad that I am still laughing at your “me eat food. nomnomnomnom” pic at the beginning? Cuz I am…
    Love the transformation pics. You did awesome and ARE awesome.
    You must remind me to show you my pre-yoga/pre-vegetarian phase/pre-health kick phase pictures. I was fat. hahaha…sigh.
    Can’t wait to see the results of RIPPED!!!

  9. jane nason April 21, 2011 at 9:58 am #

    Just wanted you to know that I have enjoyed reading all about your shred. You look great. Even an old lady like me is considering this. I need to mix up my exercise and I think I will give it try.

    Thanks for your openness and honesty.

  10. Pam April 26, 2011 at 1:10 pm #

    Wow Heather, I loved this newsy update! Thanks so much for sharing!! (I MEAN IT!) I have lost 20# since Jan, but I feel pretty flabby. Need to add something, but I don’t like to sweat LOL! :) I still have 30# left to take off, (if Bob will let me; he doesn’t like me to be what he calls “skinny”). . so maybe I will need to step up my exercize. . and even sweat a little. . :0

  11. Mads May 17, 2011 at 11:37 pm #

    Thanks for inspiring me! I just bought the DVD and can’t wait to start my transformation. Hopefully I’ll be looking as smashing as you are!
    I linked to you on my blog too :)

  12. Jan Armstrong October 13, 2011 at 10:10 am #

    Wow, you are truly inspiring….I started my journey to health in Nov 2009, was a smoker, and weighed 221 pounds. Since that time I have quit smoking, started working out with WII Fit graduating to Tae Bo, Power 90, and many others and now am at 187 pounds. I am starting the 30 DS tonight and hope to tone up a bit as I am still a bit jiggly. Also I want to get down to about 170 pounds for now, one small goal at a time………………………You have inspired me to get to that goal and keep going. Am so very happy for your success and hope that I can do the same.

  13. Esperanza October 28, 2011 at 12:02 am #

    Get it girl! I am getting into Shred (day three) and your pictures are great! Good for you, and thanks for your inspiration! :D

  14. 30dayshred November 2, 2011 at 10:39 am #

    Great post! I’m going to share this post along with some other success stories I’ve found on my 30 Day Shred results page. I hope to inspire others to try it out.

  15. crystal November 28, 2011 at 5:55 am #

    you look amazing!!

  16. meredith December 9, 2011 at 6:47 pm #

    you seriously look awesome!! I’m on day 7 right now and am loving phase one but am nervous for phase 2. i still can’t really do that side squat/front arm lift thing very well. it kills! but you’re a great motivation lady:)

  17. Shannon =) December 12, 2011 at 1:25 am #

    Well you motivated me! And I am super impressed that you posted your before and after pics… I took some “before” and I still doubt I’ll post them! lol! You’re looking great! Keep it up!

  18. Julie (A Case of the Runs) December 16, 2011 at 2:02 pm #

    Randomly found this for some inspiration after feeling hella sore after doing this DVD. Inspiring story!!

  19. Julia Lolita December 27, 2011 at 2:14 pm #

    Congratulations! I wanted to know more about the 30 Day Shred as I got it as a gift…well it’s more like I told them: Here, buy this for me as a Christmas present and they said: Okay and that was that. lol. But then I got hit by a stupid cold on Christmas day and I’ve been dying every since. I am glad to hear that you got amazing results on and off of the the scale. Once I’m better it will be my turn to get tortured by Jillian. hahaha. i wish you all the best! I will be blogging about my efforts on the 30 day shred dvd once I am better. Oh brother, let the crying begin. o.O

  20. Inspired February 28, 2012 at 7:27 am #

    I know this is a very old post but I truly am inspired by your transformation! Thanks!

  21. Courtney March 21, 2012 at 10:38 am #

    Thanks for your blog. It’s 3/21/2012 and I just started the 30 Day shred today I literally thought I was dying!! But after seeing your posts I do see that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, thanks!! I hope I get results like yours because like you I have been juggling with my weight for years. Something has to give, so with fingers crossed I really hope this works for me!!

  22. Gem April 20, 2012 at 3:44 am #

    Well done you! I’m currently on day 7. I have attempted the shred before but was in the completely wrong frame of mind. Now I have altered my diet and attempt to walk 30 minutes a day just to add to my weight loss. I have urgghh days but I just keep the results of my hard work in the forefront of my mind.

    Your story has given me more inspiration and i have no reason to fail now! You look incredible and I’m sure you feel it :)

  23. Marah April 26, 2012 at 12:20 am #

    Your results are amazing! I’m so happy for you. This is very inspirational (& I mean that!).

  24. Christina Houge April 29, 2012 at 6:17 pm #

    So excited to see that you had such great success with this! I hope you don’t mind, I included your story in my blog. I started the Shred yesterday, today is day two. I also feel like I am going to die. haha but seeing your photos today was so inspiring to me! Your starting weight is pretty much where I am starting. So I know that this will work! Thanks for posting this!

  25. Maria Sauerbrei Photography May 21, 2012 at 10:21 am #

    Amazing results! I’ve been on WW since March and have been having good results. I’ll be starting Shred today and am stoked to see the results in myself!

  26. Livvie August 5, 2012 at 12:16 am #

    After looking online for examples of 30 Day Shred results I was feeling a bit down, seeing alot of results that honestly came from people who were just doing it to get toned – which to is great, but in my situation of having nearly 40% body fat I needed some different visuals… so I have to say a HUUUGGGEE THANKYOU for your bravery in putting up your before/after photos, it’s serious motivation for me! :D Massive congrats are in order because girl, you’ve done amazing and you look amazing! :) I’m definitely going to get going with this before going back to college :) thanks again gorgeous! Xx.

  27. Chardae August 25, 2012 at 11:33 am #

    My mouth is hanging open in amazement! I started 30DS in May and fell off. Today I started again and your pics are truly gonna help me stay on track! Thanks so much for posting! Congrats!

  28. February 5, 2013 at 1:37 pm #

    This particular blog post, “The 30-Day Shred: The Results Post Adventures In Womanland” was beneficial.
    I’m impressing out a clone to present to my buddys.

    Thanks for the post-Raymond

  29. jean March 27, 2013 at 11:48 am #

    U look great!!! Would love to see where ur at today

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  32. CC June 20, 2013 at 11:19 pm #

    What inspiration! I’m fighting with myself to do it because it seems so difficult. If you get this and reply, did you do modifications in level 1, did u take breaks during the workout or go straight through. Needless to say I’m quite intimidated and don’t wanna waste time or ruin my Zumba regime with something new that may be too difficult.



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