Six weeks ago I took a crazy challenge.
Six weeks to lose 20 pounds. A friend did it and she inspired me.
When I called the place my friend used to hear the details, “Transform your body,” they told me.
It is THE absolute craziest time! I am moving. It is my eldest’s Bat Mitzvah and on October 30th I am producing The Advot Project’s first major event “LISTEN” at the Broad Stage in Santa Monica.
And yet, I decided to take the challenge. I knew if I didn’t, I would gain an additional 30 pounds that at some point I would have to take off.
“Transformation” - I teach it. I preach it. My organization says we do it. But have I ever really done it?
I sign up. I pay the money. I take the before pictures and I cry. What am I doing? I’ll never be able to do this, I think.
It is hard. Man, is it hard!
I had to be on a really strict food regime and I had to work out at least 5 times a week.
This was major.
They ask you to constantly post on Facebook. It’s a little embarrassing but I do it.
Weaning my existence from sugar was definitely not fun.
I didn't go into this thinking I will change forever. Actually, I know that when you lose weight fast it tends to come back, and, to be completely transparent, there is no chance that I will never ever eat chocolate again!
But when editing footage for “LISTEN” I looked at myself in the video in complete disbelief. Who is that person? She sounds like me, but wow, what happened????
So I took the challenge.
I tell my girls in Juvie time and time again that making the right choice is hard.
I watch my girls in Juvie fight to change. When they get out, I walk with them through the fire that awaits, praying every night that they have the strength to transform into the person I so believe they can be.
I talk so much about transformation.
Advot does theatre for transformation.
In the process of my transformation I learned a few really important things.
First of all, transformation isn’t necessarily about becoming something new. Actually, many times it is about finding something that exists inside and letting it come out or come back.
At the Fitness Transformation Academy, where I took this challenge, there are really nice people, down-to-earth real people, who just want you to succeed.
Everyone is constantly rooting for you. How I wish everyone was rooting for my girls in Juvie. So many, many obstacles lay in their way with no one to say, “You go, girl!”
Master Trainer Irma pushes you, but loves you. She checks up on you. She calls. She constantly asks, “What is your goal and how can I help you get there?”
Has anyone ever said to my girls in Juvie, “Where do you want to go? How can I help you get there?” hoping that the place that they are aiming for is a good place, a safe place, a place they can thrive in.
Taka, one of the trainers had such faith in us, in all of us, no matter how big or how out of shape. Again and again he would say, “You can do this,” showing us the impossible. “Now, you do it” and, shockingly, we all do it. That is what happens when someone believes in you.
Oh, how I love these people.
My daughter’s up coming Bat Mitzvah has made me very emotional, to be honest, a little too emotional for my liking. I would sit in my car after a workout, post on Facebook weeping. Overwhelmed by the support and love given to me at this gym by people I don’t even know, overwhelmed by the relief I felt working out, and just having time to myself to think, to work things out in my head and through my body.
“Ms.,” she said softly.
“I’m here,” I said. I hear her crying on the other end of the phone.
Sometimes when they get out of being incarcerated they want to go right back. Freedom, as crazy as it sounds, can be so difficult.
“I don’t fit in, it is so hard, and there are so many temptations.”
“Say NO, and find something else to do,” I tell her.
And then I ask, “How can I help?”
We talk for a long time.
I love this one. Well, I love them all, but this one crept into my heart.
I send her in an Uber to here and then to there.
We meet. I do what I can.
She doesn’t make it. She gets locked up again, and 8 months later…
“OMG! Hello hello hello!!” I am so excited!
“How are you? Where are you? What are you doing??” I ask all at once.
“Ms., stop asking so many questions and let me answer,” she says.
She is good. She graduated from high school. She is clean. Ahhh, I am so happy she came back.
“I am really trying to stay out of trouble.”
This girl was trouble with a capitol T.
We change, we stay the same, we move forward and then sometimes we fall back. Transformation is a fluid thing.
I lost 22.5 pounds in 6 weeks.
I am still me. And that red dress, the one my late father loved, the one I wore to my nephew’s wedding before I had three babies…
Well, I can zip it up, but I don’t think I can wear it to the Bat Mitzvah, because frankly, I’d rather breathe.
“I got wasted last night,” she told me.
“I know. You didn’t come to my event.”
“You mad, Ms.?”
“Nope, you’ll come next time.”
“Will there be a next time?” she asks quietly.
“Of coarse there will be,” I say.
I’ll fit in that dress in a few months I think to myself.
“Ms., you are my superwoman,” she says.
I laugh out loud. The walls of the gym where I work out are covered with super hero characters. For the past 6 weeks, 5 times a week, I have been looking at them-- superman, superwoman, batman, robin-- all of them. I have been looking them in the eye as I work out.
“Thank you, but, I am not. I just care about you and I believe in you.”
And it is quiet.
It is really isn’t very complex. For transformation to happen, you need someone to believe in you. You need someone to push you and be willing to catch you.
You need someone to simply say “You go, girl!” and someone to wait patiently while you struggle to do the 20,00000 sit-ups.
You need someone to care. You need someone help you transform, and, at the same time, let you still be you.
Are you willing to be that person? I ask you to at least try !
Save the date for “LISTEN” on October 30th @ the Broad stage 3pm - 4pm
LISTEN because stories matter!
ACT because together we will make the world a better place!
CHANGE because we can!!