Days 11-24

The Max Phase.

In all, the Challenge went really well. I lost about two pounds and my energy was through the roof.  I don’t have the quintessential before and after picture because there wasn’t a huge transformation. My goal was not to lose weight; I wanted to gain more energy.

There was only one real drawback throughout this phase. The amount of supplements I had to take was a little obscene, and I felt compulsive when I had to leave each meal to grab a pack of pills.

My advice? If you want to challenge yourself, then this is a good way to start. Nothing is better than exercise, drinking plenty of water, eating correctly and sleeping enough. No challenge can teach you that; you have to motivate yourself to pursue a healthy lifestyle.

If you have any questions about my venture, feel free to ask! I will say this…I gave up coffee for almost a month, and I feel better than ever. I think I’ll stick with Spark no matter what.

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Days 7-10

Day 7, 8 and 9:

I have nothing but energy on these two days. I’m beginning to see why people love these products. At the gym, I feel more energetic. On my runs, I want to go a little bit farther. At work, I can use my brain more than before. And best of all: NO COFFEE.

On Day 9, I was staring at a computer for 12+ hours. Needless to say my energy was lacking and I decided to crash instead of hitting the gym. I’ll make up for it in the morning though.

Day 10:

I’m finished with the cleansing portion! Now for the Max Phase, where my body will be retaining more nutrients and my body will receive the “best tools to achieve my next weight-management goal.”

My next weight-management goal? I’m really not sure what they are. I know I’m feeling great right now, and I hope that feeling lasts.

Days 4-6

Day 4:

RULE NUMBER ONE: FOLLOW THE RULES.

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My Daily Guide

So I was wondering why I was feeling a little sluggish. I realized that I was taking the wrong supplements at night. Instead of using the herbal cleanse (first 7 days to clean system), I was using the probiotic supplements. Ugh.

My plan now is to use the cleanse pills throughout the remainder of this phase and use the remaining probiotics at the end of the phase (last 3 days). I’m a little aggravated with myself that I didn’t fully read the directions. In fact, the Challenge comes with a Daily Log book. If I had just paid a little more attention, I would be feeling phenomenal.

Day 5:

I used the herbal cleanse pills last night (as directed) and I felt incredible this morning. I woke up full of energy and the energy has lasted throughout the day. I haven’t had any caffeine at all, a feat for a coffee lover like me.

I’m impressed with the change I’ve felt from finally following the plan correctly. Don’t overlook the small things! The devil is always in the details.

Also, my Fitbit Flex came in today. I’m so excited to start seeing results. If you haven’t heard of this fitness gadget yet, you should look into it. It tracks your meals, your activity levels, and even your sleep patterns.

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Here are my results from Sunday, Jan. 12.

Day 6:

I felt great this morning.  I woke up and went for a run (3.5 miles) and finished a good bit of work I have to do before classes start on Wednesday.

My energy level is at an all-time high, and I know that coupling the Advocare products with Paleo-friendly foods is the best way to go.

I’m now fully cleansing, and I’m excited to finish up this phase and move into Max.

I’m no size 00

Why is the American ideal of beauty so limited?

I chose to change my lifestyle (eating and exercise habits) because I want to be able to enjoy every day I have here to its fullest and feel great while doing it. I was tired of being winded walking across campus, and I definitely wasn’t happy with the way my jeans were beginning to fit.

I read an article today about how even Victoria’s Secret models are terrified of facing their body image issues. I would also be terrified knowing that the world was about to witness the inevitable…jiggling thighs and whatnot. (That’s called gravity, my friends.)

As a 21 year old woman, I have witnessed how much these women are idolized physically. Sure their faces are totally symmetrical and their hair looks voluminous times 100 on stage…thanks to stylists…but where’s the substance?

You might be thinking, “Sex sells. So what?” Therein lies the elephant in the room. We should care more than any other generation. We are influential and we are powerful as the Y Generation. We can take to the streets of social media and make things happen, if we have the desire to.

I don’t look like a high fashion model, and I never will. Sorry folks, but the “emaciated” look doesn’t work for me most days.

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I genuinely want to know why we continue to congratulate unhealthy weights. It’s exhausting growing up in a culture where perfection is just around the corner with the help of expensive beauty products and possibilities of eating disorders.

Paleo on the geaux

Let’s talk about lunch packing.

I would always get super pumped when my mom packed my lunch—which was rare—because I expected a sweet note reading something along the lines of, “Have a great day, kisses.”

My mom never said “kisses” so that didn’t happen. I think what I loved most about my mom packing my lunches was the fact that someone else was doing the work for me, which makes it taste that much better. Now I’m older and a little wiser, therefore I’m aware of the prep work that goes behind each brown bag lunch.

How do I stay Paleo-friendly when my days usually start around 5: 30 a.m. and end (meaning I’m at home and cooking dinner) around 7:30? It’s all about preparing, y’all!

Here are some tips:

  • Plan in bulk and plan ahead each day (if there is something in particular you know you’re going to want at hand constantly, buy a lot of it—reasonably, of course)
  • Cook dinner and lunch at the SAME TIME (make an extra chicken breast, another turkey burger, pack a bigger salad with lots of veggies, etc.)
  • Work at it: this will be a transition, but when you realize the amount of money you’re saving in the long run and when you start feeling that excess energy that seems mystical at this point, you’ll be extra happy
  • Make your meals fun—add a different spice or seasoning, pack breakfast for lunch, etc.
  • Always bring extra veggies! (Don’t focus on the nuts and fruits)
  • Ask your friends to prep meals with you that will last a few days in your fridge
  • Play awesome ass music while you’re packing enough vegetables to feed an actual cow…or if you’re anything like me, a herd of cattle

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I promise that if you stick with Paleo or Whole30 for a solid month, you will see and feel the results. It’s worth feeling a little lame and bringing your lunch to school/work. It’s worth the hour you’ll spend prepping for a total of 9-12 meals. It’s definitely worth the funny looks you’ll get because you look like a plastic container hoarder.

I feel like a bonafide cavewoman most days. And I kind of dig it.

A little “beast mode” every day goes a long way

Yeah…this is another post about healthy living. 

I have been approached by several people about my “transformation” recently. Most of these people are women, and some put me through the ringer with questions. I’m realizing that several tips I’ve given are so innate that they probably make no sense. How do you explain something that just comes naturally to you? 

I’ve noticed somewhat of a pattern. 

  1. Excited phase (questions galore, tip-seeking, etc.)
  2. Epiphany phase (realizations that there is more to tackle than what’s on the surface)
  3. Disheartened phase (feeling as though goals will never be accomplished within a certain time frame)
  4. Anxious/Unwilling phase (lifestyle changes don’t take place in a week…)
  5. Peace out phase (we are creatures of habit, so this is understandable)

The point of this post is to give (hopefully) valuable information about how to get rid of the phases and like Nike, just do it. 

It’s a day to day process. The decisions you make today will affect you tomorrow, next week, next year, etc. Baby steps are key. Make simple choices that will lead to a healthier you. For example: 

  • Give up the salt; I promise there are better tasting seasonings/spices
  • Use extra virgin olive oil to cook with instead of butter
  • Drink more water 
  • Make diet drinks your worst enemy; they’re doing nothing good for your body
  • Limit your fast food intake 
  • Take the stairs, park far away from your destination, take a long walk to clear your mind, etc.
  • Sweat a little more
  • Stay positive
  • Buy cute workout clothes (seriously!)

Most importantly, don’t give yourself a limit via time frames. Of course, you want to reach reasonable goals in due time and physically see results because of the hard work you’re putting forth. That will come with consistency. I noticed changes a couple of months into working out daily and eating clean. It took about 3-4 months for others to notice. 

So if you’re waiting for an epiphany or for some motivation because you feel as though you’ve hit a rut, remember that good things take time and nothing worth having ever comes easily. Keep at it a little each day, and it will benefit you tenfold in the long run. 

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(Left: senior year of high school when I weighed about 185; right: sophomore year of college when I weighed about 190.) 

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For the record…I hate selfies. There’s no better way for me to elaborate on the tips I’m giving people than to provide definitive results. People like pictures, so here are some pictures ha ha. This is from earlier today after the gym. I now weigh 155. 

Personal Motivation

 

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Who knows? Maybe only 5 people voted. Thanks for voting anyway!

The results of the poll I posted earlier show that most people feel as though they have a lack of motivation, a lack of time or a lack of energy to take the next step toward a healthy lifestyle. Honestly I expected this. These options are the “me” options. They have to do with what we think of ourselves as individuals versus taking a look at external variables.

This begs the questions: how do we motivate ourselves, give ourselves enough time to devote to our health, and become energized about the idea of working out daily and preparing meals? The answer isn’t clear-cut. I can only speak from my personal experience.

I became motivated to pursue a lifestyle change instead of participating in a crash diet when I noticed I was losing my breath walking across campus or up a flight of stairs. Pictures didn’t help either. I knew that now was the time to change my habits (while I was in college and, by definition I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-T. I had the ability to try new things without asking for permission. Motivation for me came from something that scared the hell out of me while simultaneously lit a fire under me.

As far as time goes, this is a pretty simple answer. MAKE TIME. Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today. Sacrifice an hour watching Netflix to prep your meals or figure out what you want to eat for the rest of the week. MAKE TIME to get up a bit earlier and go for a 30 minute jog or walk. MAKE TIME to go to a Zumba or Spin class twice a week. Pencil it in your planner, set a reminder on your phone, etc. Just do it with no excuses. If you don’t start today, will you next Monday? How about next month? How about right before the holidays then slip a little then not have any time at all? Just do it…with no excuses. A little bit a day goes a long way.

Energy. This is a tough one because every body is different. I have more energy for the gym in the morning before class or work, and that metabolism boost lasts throughout the day for me. However, you may be completely different and the afternoon or even late night is what suits you. I can promise you this though—as soon as you start exerting more energy each day through exercise, you will in turn gain more energy to use for the rest of the day. It’s a simple but beautiful concept.