Or what I’ve lost thanks to Naturally Slim! (Thanks to friend and fellow NatSlimmer Brad for helping!)
I originally wanted to do this with tubs of Crisco but just never got around to it at home. Then I told Marcia about it and we were going to stop by Sam’s Club but we just never seemed to have enough time!! So after lunch at Ida Claire, I asked my Brad Uber if there was a Costco between the restaurant and the airport and if we had time…and he said yes! We did get a few strange looks while we were unloading and rearranging the buckets, but not one single person said one word!
So we had our Naturally Slim Dinner at Venezia Pizza Cafe—there were 10 of us including Marcia, one of her daughters, me, Bryan and his wife, and then Brad (another Tivo NS person), Jannie and Rich (a married Tivo NS couple), someone from Bryan’s church, and—SURPRISE!—Andrea! I’ve been online friends with her for years now and when I knew I’d be coming to Texas and she lives in Texas AND IS A NATSLIM MEMBER, I told her she HAD to come to the dinner. She has a lot of stuff going on, but she said she’d try to make it. Then she said she likely couldn’t. So I was thrilled to see her when I walked into the restaurant!! YAY!
And Tivo friends Jannie and Rich who I hadn’t seen in almost 10 years!
The most interesting thing we got to hear was some of the backstory about how Naturally Slim came to be. NatSlim as we know it really only came to be in the last 10 years or so. We knew her mom came up with the TrueThin philosophy 30 years ago and she taught classes in person and then Marcia taught classes in person (and still does), but the online video part didn’t really start until 2003 or so. And back then it was like “We really need to put these videos online, but there’s really no good way…” (For a data point, YouTube started in 2005.) There’s more to the story that I actually heard during some of our drive times over the weekend, but of course my mind didn’t retain all the details.
First and foremost, I finally got to meet Bryan! I’ve “known” him online for about 10 years on the Tivo forums but we’ve never actually met. Come to find out last year—long story short—he lost 140 pounds on Naturally Slim and has kept it off for three years now. He was one of the two people who were initially responsible for me joining NS.
He is a videographer/producer by trade (617 Production Group) and had been doing the videos for the program and after many years he had an AHA moment and never looked back. His company no longer does the official program videos but Marcia does call him in for stuff like this. And especially for my testimonial since I know him!
We were recording it at Bryan’s church because it was the most convenient place. The sun was in my eyes…
…so this is apparently my look as I’m figuring out if this new spot will work.
Getting ready to start!
A pic Bryan snapped during the filming.
The whole thing was just…odd. And surreal.
First, even though Marcia was asking me questions, you won’t ever hear her asking them…so you have to rephrase/include the question in your answer. So if she asks “What was the easiest thing about Naturally Slim?” you’d have to start your response with “The easiest thing about Naturally Slim…” Of course, not every question led to a response that was that easy to formulate and I often had to take a moment to think how I was going to respond to get the question in. The good thing (which took some getting used to) is knowing that it will all be cut and edited for the best sound bite, so even though everything was recording, it won’t all be used. That was also helpful when I was answering a question, yakking on and on, and then suddenly losing my train of thought or realizing I had veered violently away from where I’d been headed with my answer and I would just stop and say “Yeah, that’s it. I lost it.” Marcia had told me to just pretend I was having a conversation with her, but honestly, it’s a lot harder to answer questions when you know someone is counting on you to give sound bite answers. That said, every so often as I answered a question, I’d see Marcia do a mini fist pump showing she loved my response. After one (which I don’t even remember what I was talking about), she said she really wanted to use it at the end of week one! So who knows, maybe I’ll actually be in the official videos!!
Second—and I touched on this above—is that I often veered totally off course as I was answering a question. I remember a time or two when I’d be talking and talking and then suddenly I was also thinking “Wait, that is NOT anything related to what they asked.” I would ask if they wanted me to start again or try another take and the answer was generally no, because even if I didn’t answer the specific question, there was still usable sections or they liked the direction I went. I did have to retell a story once because I mentioned IKEA and they said I couldn’t say that just in case a competitor ever used the program. So then I worried about telling the story again and hoping I got all the same excitement and inflections…and who knows if I did or not. Time will tell.
Overall they said it went very well—even though I felt I was completely ridiculous and out of my element—and we talked for about 30-40 minutes. I know Bryan’s company can work magic, but I am still crossing my fingers that I come off natural.
Afterwards, I asked Marcia and Bryan who wanted to get in my pants. Seriously—I had brought my FAT PANTS and had thought it would be fun to get two people into the one pair of pants. (This did not surprise them—they had both been forewarned.) Marcia is SUCH a good sport and agreed to do it. First, though, Bryan recorded a snippet of me trying on the pants, so hopefully I’ll get to see that in the end. And then this happened…they were stretched out a bit more than when I actually wore them, but STILL. Two of us in one pair of pants. Good times. Again, SUCH a good sport.
I have no idea when I will see a finished product, but you know I will let everyone know as soon as I see something. And don’t get your hopes up that it will be a 20-minute piece. It is likely to be a 20-second snippet here or there in a compilation of other testimonials. Fingers crossed!!
It didn’t take long to get used to eating with Marcia…but I did watch her. This was the remnants of her brunch order this morning. I told her people would love to see this as proof that she does practice what she preaches. (I didn’t take a picture of mine because I ate everything—but I just ordered one biscuit with sausage gravy and a side of bacon. And I may have had three bites of her hash browns. )
The offices are in an unassuming strip mall type office park.
The decorating is absolutely gorgeous. Marcia is actually a little sad that they’re moving to the other offices next year because they JUST finished redecorating these (well, that and her commute goes from five minutes and no traffic lights to 20-30 minutes on the highway).
Sitting in Marcia’s chair. FEEL THE POWER.
Getting ready to be weighed on a $10k Tanita body composition analyzer (Marcia is programming it for me):
I think there was a mistake during programming—she didn’t enter a target body fat, but I remember her entering a 1-6 at one point and then it stopped, so I assume that’s where that came from; so, disregard that stuff.
I was SHOCKED to see that I weighed 167 because before I left I had weighed 171 at home! I told her I couldn’t believe I had lost 4# in two days (though, honestly, it is entirely possible with Naturally Slim…especially if I was following the principles). And that’s when she told me she was pretty sure her $10,000 calibrated scale wouldn’t be wrong. I told her that may very well be the case, but my weight loss is tracked via MY scale, so I had to weigh on my scale for it to be official.
The kitchen, where Marcia loaded me up with a bunch of Naturally Slim peanut packs. She was going to send home some more insulated tumblers but I just didn’t have the space!
First we had lunch at the Neiman Marcus Cafe with her two daughters and the two employees who helped with the Facebook event. I actually introduced them all to the delicious wonder that is Green Goddess salad dressing (it came on two dishes and no one had ever tried it so I asked the waiter to bring a sample; they all loved it) and they let me in on the secret that the little cup the waiter brought was not tea, but chicken stock. Sounds odd, right? But it was DELICIOUS. At dessert time we hoped for something chocolate and surprisingly they didn’t have anything! But! The waiter said “Let me see what I can do” and he came back with a huge slice of chocolate cake! (Turns out he got it from another NM cafe on another level.) Then the table sang Happy Birthday to me.
Then it was off shopping at the mall. I had complimented her daughter Candace on her gorgeous necklace and she said she actually got it at Chicos…so we headed there (I usually get something “big” as a souvenir instead of a tchotchke). So I was looking at all the jewelry and Marcia and her daughter were looking at clothes. I was trying to decide between pieces to just pick one and Marcia offered to hold them for me while I was looking…and I turned around and she was buying all three for me!
What?! I told you she’s awesome.
Then we walked around some more and we ended up at Sundance where Candace tried on a bunch of clothes. The stuff was way too expensive for me, but I tried on a few things for fun (I mean, that’s what you do when you’re out shopping with the girls, right?!). And then they both tried on this coat—which I had noticed and thought was cute but figured there was no way I would be buying it so why tempt myself—but peer pressure got me and I tried it on and it was SUPER cute…and Marcia immediately said “Excellent! I’ll get this for you, too! Happy birthday!” WHAT?! Holy crap. I told her she couldn’t but she wouldn’t take no for an answer. So I now own this coat. And, actually, all three of us now own that coat!!
And then it was off to get all our nails done…another birthday treat! I opted for a basic French manicure. I forgot how much I LOVE them…
And then it was off to dinner at Gloria’s Latin Cuisine with Marcia, her daughter, and another coworker/friend! It was delicious, and I enjoyed a strawberry margarita and fish and brisket tacos for my birthday!
On the way home, Marcia said (paraphrasing) “I was going to get you dessert and have them sing happy birthday, but they get crazy with it so I changed my mind.” See? LOVE HER.
So the Live Facebook event was actually going to take place at the combined offices of Holmes Murphy and ACAP Health, both new partners of Naturally Slim. I was VERY anxious about the event, but Marcia assured me I would do just fine. I was put a little more at ease when she told me it would only be about 20 minutes long—I had thought it would be an hour or something! Phew!
We got there early and Marcia showed me around the offices and introduced to many, many people…most of whom were all like “Oh, wow! I know you! You’re Jennifer Hudson! I recognize you!” It was VERY surreal. They were just as excited to meet me as I was to meet them! The offices were super fun and trendy, with named meeting rooms like the Vineyard (with a wall of bookcases and wine racks) and the Bead Room, which is where we ended up filming—yes, a “room” in the middle of the office space with floor-to-ceiling hanging beads encircling four chairs and a table!
Getting ready to start!
Our view during the event:
And then we were off and running…
Live Q&A with Marcia Upson, President of Naturally Slim
[iOS users, if Safari isn’t showing the Facebook video below, try Chrome]
And suddenly it was over! What?! Already?! Wow that went fast! I had a lot of fun and the time just flew by—I probably could have answered questions for an hour! Of course watching the video later I noticed things I didn’t like (like my roll of belly fat and a few strange looks I made) but overall I think I did pretty well!
And then on the way out, I got to meet Todd (Todd Whitthorne, President, ACAP Health—he’s in quite a few of the program videos)!! And just like Marcia, he was just the same as in the videos, too. And boy was he tall (I’m 5’9″ and you see how he towers over me)!
What a memorable way to spend my 43rd birthday!!
So, it’s just as gorgeous in person…but I think it actually looks a bit smaller. The camera must work magic.
I have to say it was very surreal to be in that kitchen—and especially so when making my H2OJ in the morning (I tried Marcia’s pre-mixed strawberry banana but I didn’t like it!) and going in the pantry for Crystal Light packets and insulated cups. Yes, I just made myself at home.
We were sitting out by the pool talking after we got home from dinner and I was telling her about the kids and Pokemon and I was showing it to her on my phone and figured I might as well ask for the wifi password since I was going to be around for a few days. Of course I am always interested in what people name their networks, and hers did NOT disappoint. I love it.
Mom, this is also when I gave her your hug.
Upon the very first second of meeting Marcia at the airport curb, I could tell she was exactly like she seems in the videos—warm, welcoming, gracious (and I could go on and on with descriptors)—and we immediately started gabbing like old friends. We went to Bistro 31 in Dallas (where I had a mouth-watering spaghetti carbonara with scallops). It wasn’t until about 10 minutes in that I quick checked my email (while Marcia was in the restroom!) and saw my mom had said “So have you met Marcia yet?!?!” I had been having so much fun with Marcia that I hadn’t even taken a picture yet. ME! Not taking a picture?! Can you believe it? So when she came back I took our first selfie!
The time flew as we talked about anything and everything. It wasn’t as nerve-wracking to eat with her as I had thought it would be, and I did take home leftovers.