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A Self-Proclaimed Diva: Ayanna Henderson

Welcome to WABC TV’s Reset Your Life: The Revolution Blog!  I am a huge fan of the brand new ABC Daytime show, “The Revolution.” It is dedicated to transforming every aspect of your life from health and fitness to your home and your style.  Each Friday, this blog will address the transformation of the “heroes” on the show.  It also includes daily meal plans, exercise routines and playlists of music contributed by experts in the tri-state area to help get you motivated to reset your life! 

I wanted to start this blog, because like thousands of women in the tri-state, I too have struggles and triumphs with weight.  I have had major weight losses and gains in the last 11 years. The highs and lows on the scale correspond with the highs and lows I've experienced through school, work and the natural progression through adult life.  Currently, I have found myself once again in the middle of a weight loss journey.  I feel social pressure about weight surrounds us every day and can add or take away from our self-esteem.  I also feel it’s important for women to talk about it in an open forum.  I would like to open up this space and encourage you to share your weight loss struggles and success stories with me. I would also love to hear about the music that motivates you!  Please leave your comments below. 

I want to share one other personal note with you this week.  I'm even crying as I write this right now.  My precious kitty suddenly passed away three weeks ago and it really created a detour in my own revolution.  He was only 2 1/2 years old and I just found him in the middle of my living room floor one night after I took a long nap.  The veterinarians don't know what caused his death.  It's been a shock and I've gained weight over it. I'm an emotional eater and this was VERY upsetting.  I went to my doctor last Tuesday and shared with her that I've been so hurt, I haven't really paid attention to my meal plan or exercise routine.  It felt good to talk to her about it. It also gave me the encouragement to keep going on with my fitness goals.  I'm slowly feeling better about it and do plan on getting back on track and even adopting another little darlin'.  DEEP BREATH. 

On another note, this week, I met an amazing woman who is going through her own revolution and wanted me to share her story with you.  She didn't want me to use her real name, so I'll call her "Sarah."  She is 30-years-old and lives in Chelsea in Manhattan.  She's lost 80 pounds over the last six years.  Her goal is to lose another 20 pounds.  You go, girl!  "Sarah" says she knew she was overweight for years, but tried not to focus on it.  She was even an athlete in high school, but told me she tried to do activities that didn't require a lot of running. 

Then, one incident sparked her revolution.  She was at the airport in Miami, ready to travel back to New York City, when she suddenly felt nauseous.  She told the folks at the airport about it because she was traveling alone and the next thing she knew, she was on a stretcher heading to the hospital. She was pumped with fluids and began to feel better.  Still, they made her stay for two days.  Turns out, nothing was medically wrong with her except she had low blood sugar and then an anxiety attack when she was whisked away to the hospital.  That experience was a turning point.

When "Sarah" got back home, she contacted a nutritionist and immediately changed her eating habits.  She started eating fresh and preparing her own meals.  Before, as a single girl with a demanding job, she did what many of us do and turned to pre-packaged meals full of preservatives for lunch or dinner. She lost 30 pounds by changing her eating habits, without exercise.  She says she's now in touch with her body and has learned how her body reacts to certain foods.  She said, "It's about being aware and present about what you're putting into your body and when."  She also recommends the book, Eating Mindfully.

Then came the exercise.  She says she is so blessed to find joy in spinning.  "Sarah" shared this tip: Schedule your workouts in your planner like you would any other appointment.  She added: You wouldn't cancel a meeting for work, so don't cancel a workout either. Thank you "Sarah!"  She now works out six days a week. She says to find something you love and make that your exercise routine.  She says if your exercise includes something you dread, you won't do it.  So true.  She also added if you see someone join your class and they seem uncomfortable with their weight or fitness level, encourage them!  Most of us have been that girl at one time or another.  The first step in success in exercise is just that, taking the literal first step.  Just showing up is HUGE!   

Thank you, "Sarah," for sharing your story.  I look forward to sharing an update on your future success!

We followed an interesting story on ABC's "The Revolution" this week.  We met a married 36-year old mother of one,  Ayanna Henderson. While she seemed "all in" on the first day, Harley quickly realized she was not following the meal plans and fitness routines created for her.  Ayanna's weight loss was very slllloooowwww.  While that made Harley very frustrated, he did acknowledge it was something.  This is a picture of Ayanna, the self-proclaimed Diva, on her first day.


She had a serious sugar addiction and loved to bake!  Ayanna says she began to gain weight last year when it was discovered her husband had a brain tumor.  She turned to food for comfort and put on weight.  He ended up fine and even lost 40 pounds!  The tumor was not malignant.

The biggest issue for Ayanna, she was petrified of sweating.  She did not want to mess up her hair.  She gave herself a C- grade for her first month of her own revolution.  It didn't quickly get better.  Harley gave her an ultimatum.  She had to lose 10 pounds in a month, or she would be out of the program.  He said he felt as if he and the staff were wasting their time on her.  He felt he wanted her to get in shape more than she did.  He even showed up to her house for a surprise intervention and food check!  She had unhealthy foods all around.  He said even if she wasn't eating the unhealthy food, having the food present has a psychological effect on us.  He then poured two containers of ice cream down the drain.  WOW!

That sparked something in her, because she stepped up and ended up fitting into her gorgeous goal dress!  She says she really feels a change in her body and when she looks at the old video, she doesn't recognize that person.  She exclaimed, "Four Words: Look at me now!"  Her advice to fellow divas was to get a diva outfit to wear to the gym and you better burn.

This is a picture of Ayanna 120 days into her revolution.


This is a picture of Ayanna on day 150!

After following ABC’s The Revolution for six weeks, I hope you are encouraged to either start your own revolution or vamp up your own journey.  Here are some tools from local experts to help. 


Our daily meal plans are provided by Samina Kalloo, RD, CDN.  She is a Registered and Certified Dietitian residing in New York City.  She utilizes her training in nutrition science and education to convey accurate, evidence-based information to a wide range of audiences including consumers, registered dietitians and other health care professionals.  Samina has worked as a nutrition consultant, researcher and writer on behalf of USA RICE Federation, The Cranberry Institute and KIND Healthy Snacks.  Samina Kalloo’s website is: gethealthywithsamina.com.

Healthy Meal Plan (Day 6)


1 whole grain English Muffin

topped with: 2 tablespoons creamy, natural peanut or almond butter and

¼ small banana, sliced

Serve with 8 oz latte made with nonfat milk or 1 cup nonfat milk


*Healthy tip: look for all-natural peanut butter.  The only ingredients should be peanuts and salt (look for a low-sodium brand).


Tuna salad on whole wheat

3 oz chunk light mixed with ½ tablespoon light mayo, squirt of fresh lemon

Top with ¼ cup fresh spinach and tomato slices

Serve on 2 slices of whole wheat bread, toasted

12 baked chips

1 cup grapes


*Healthy tip: for a tasty and lower calorie spin on tuna salad, try greek yogurt as a substitute for light mayo.



3 oz shrimp, grilled or baked

Serve with:

½ cup whole grain pasta

¼ cup low-sodium marinara sauce

topped with 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

1 cup steamed broccoli sautéed with 1 teaspoon olive oil and 1/2 clove chopped garlic


*Healthy tip: try preparing your own healthy marinara sauce using crushed tomatoes, fresh garlic, onion and basil.



1/2 cup 1% cottage cheese with ½ cup pineapple

1-6oz cup nonfat greek yogurt mixed with 1 tablespoon dark chocolate chips

Trail mix: 11 whole, unsalted almonds mixed with ¼ unsweetened dried cranberries

*Healthy tip: frozen fruit has the same nutritional value as fresh and is typically picked at the peak of freshness.  Try adding frozen berries to yogurt for a refreshing snack.


Nutrition Facts for the Entire Day’s Worth of Meals:

1570 calories, 30g dietary fiber, 170g carbohydrates, 145g protein, 43g total fat, 9g saturated fat, 19g monounsaturated (healthy fats), 220mg Cholesterol

**If you have a specific question pertaining to your diet or weight loss goals, you can contact a dietitian in your area by visiting eatright.org.


Our second expert contributing to this blog is Penny Hoff.  She is the Mind Body Director of Exhale Harbor Point in Connecticut.  She is also a health/lifestyle/fitness coach, with two hip replacements who has more than 25 years of experience.  She is certified through the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America. You can find her website at http://newhiptips.com and Exhale at http://www.exhalespa.com/.  This week, she recommends the following workouts from Elisabeth Halfpapp.


Fly Ups:  Sit on the floor with legs hip-width apart on seat of your chair with knees bent at 90 degrees. Press rounded lower back into floor and pull in your abdominals as you hold onto your outer thighs.  Shoulders down, elbows lifted high and wide. Either lift arms to reach toward feet or keep holding onto legs.  Do 20 pulses: curl torso up 1 inch then lower 1 inch.  Do 3 sets, hugging knees to chest to rest between sets.



Decline Push Ups: Face toward the open seat side of the chair.  Place hands on the outside edges of the seat with straight legs parallel.  Pull abdominals in and slight tuck under of the pelvis to elongate the back.  As you press down on the chair, open your elbows to the side as you push up as deep as you can go.   10x, rest, repeat 10x.



Finally, the music to get you motivated to get off the couch and get moving!  This is the sixth and final playlist provided by Eyewitness News reporter Stacey Sager. Thank you Stacey!!  You gave us some great selections along the way!  She says her motto is “motivation.”  There is usually a pattern to the songs. The first 1 or 2 are medium-pace, then it really picks up (if running, this is when you take it up a notch or 3), then it slows down more at the end. The following is a message from Stacey.  She says, “When my treadmill run is over, a great way to take it down a notch:  Slow the treadmill down to a 3.2 and increase the incline way up - to 14 percent!! Great for the rear buttocks! I do my last half a mile like that, and if there is a side rail, pump your arms to tighten them up, too. It works!!”


"Love You I Do" - Dreamgirls Motion Picture

"Angel of Harlem" - U2

"Driver's Seat" - Graham Blvd

"Right Now" - Van Halen

"Carry on Wayward Son" - Kansas

"Weight of the World" - Alana Davis

"Somebody to Love" - Usher "

Without You"(feat. Usher) - David Guetta and Usher

"I Want You" - Third Eye Blind

"Nothing Ever Hurt Like You" - James Morrison "

Stay Tomorrow" - the Eric Lawrence Project

"I Am" - Mary J. Blige

"Up Out My Face" - Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj

"Feelings Show" - Colbie Caillat "

You Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth" - Meat Loaf

"32 Flavors" - Alana Davis

"Hope" - Shaggy

"Family" - Dreamgirls Motion Picture

"That's The Way Love Goes" - Janet Jackson

This week, I also want to invite you to a special event in Lower Manhattan this Tuesday.  NEDA (National Eating Disorders Association) is hosting a screening of the film "Someday Melissa", February 28 at 7pm (doors open at 6pm).  It's at Pace University, Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts (in the Financial District).  It's the story of a young woman who lost the battle to bulimia at age 18.

A panel discussion moderated by WABC-TV's Diana Williams will follow the film screening. Melissa's mother and filmmaker Judy Avrin; survivor, activist and author Vic Avon; eating disorders specialist and co-executive producer Danna Markson, LCSW; and Kimberly Dennis, MD are scheduled to appear.

For tickets go to www.myneda.org and go to the program and events tab. Tickets are a suggested donation of $10.

For more information on the film, visit www.somedaymelissa.com.

Let me know how you're doing on your own revolution! I'll see you again next week with another meal plan, exercise routine and playlist! 

**This program is not intended to provide medical advice. Please consult with your doctor for treatment of any medical condition and before beginning any diet or exercise regimen.**




I was wondering about a certain exercises I saw on the show. I'm sure it was called the 'knee elbow rick's and they had a man in a suit do it also. Its 30 sets with 3 reps a day for 2-3 days a week. I was wondering how many calories it actually burns and I can't seem to find it anywhere. It works your core muscles though. I don't know if I've got the name wrong or what.

Carmin Marie

This is the video of the exercise! http://beta.abc.go.com/shows/the-revolution/blog/diet-and-exercise/harley-easy-cardio-exercise-elbow-to-knee

Thank you for your interest in the show and the Reset Your Life blog. :)

keylogger Mac

Go for someone who makes you smile because it takes only a smile to make a dark day seem bright....lol.

Transform You

The photo 120 days in looks really amazing. Quite the transformation!

John Cook

This post is amazong. I will try to take this as my lesson.

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