Here's the thing: I have a weight that's my "back to weight." When I've lost weight in the past 9 years (geez), I always lose enough to get back to my pre-baby weight (I weighed exactly the same at the beginning of both pregnancies)...then I stop. Even 7 years ago when I talked James into letting me do the Quick Weight Loss program (how could I go wrong??), I got back to that weight, James got the job at Germania and we began a year of eating out and living on the fly...and my weight went right back up, even higher than when I started the program. I lost that weight with diet pills so I could fit into the dress for Mandy's wedding, then I started having gall bladder issues and eating clean so I kept the weight off until I got pregnant with Noble. And then I lost weight again a few years ago (remember the 2nd time I tried diet pills? Geesh.)...and gained some back...then I lost weight when I was working out with a personal trainer and watching my diet (kinda watching my diet)...then I put on weight last school year and just never lost it...and gained a few pounds this year. Bleh.
The picture below was the best one James was able to get on Easter--while I definitely don't look slim and trim, it's the only one where I didn't look 9 months pregnant. :/ (James was looking a little puffy, too, if we're being honest). It was disheartening to see these pictures--but it made us really LOOK at ourselves and how out of control our eating had gotten. I was eating whatever, whenever...drinking sodas, drinking beer, eating dessert at least once a day if not two or three times...and the sad thing is, life was GOOD. I was just being LAZY, and didn't stop to realize it.
A couple weeks later, we went to Ronny & Amy's birthday party and James snapped a few pictures of me. I was surprised when these popped up on facebook--I honestly didn't realize I looked that bad.
So, when the opportunity came up to do the Advocare 24 day challenge with our yoga teacher, I was ready to jump on it. In between seeing the pictures from the party and starting the 24 days, James and I each lost 3 pounds (which still put me 10.6 pounds above "that weight").
Here's how it went down: for the first 10 days, we took the products as scheduled and ate clean...very clean. I have to note that I cannot stand artificial sweeteners, so I was struggling with the breakfast shakes and energy drinks. After the 10 day cleanse, I talked James into going to a greek yogurt smoothie (same protein as the breakfast shake product without artificial sweeteners). I still felt great and wasn't having trouble being hungry, so that was that.
Over a couple of days I also realized that I sucked at taking vitamins at set times, so I pretty well gave up on that, too. But I still had energy and wasn't having trouble with appetite or cravings (that is a God thing, friends--I have been too weak to do this on my own in the past, so I know it must be Him!), so we kept on with eating clean and staying away from the foods we were supposed to stay away from (dairy other than the smoothie, bread/flour, added sugar, artificial sweeteners, etc.).
We were both discouraged after the 10 day cleanse--I've wanted to do one for the past couple of years but was too chicken, and I really thought there would be this HUGE difference. I thought we'd lose stomach bloat and a significant amount of weight. Um, no--both of us were WAY bloaty and uncomfortable most of the time, we assume from the fiber (but could also have been the artificial sweeteners--they just don't like me!). Once we got off the artificial sweeteners, though, I felt better almost immediately. But, I still wasn't experiencing the weight loss the other people doing the challenge were--they were already seeing a difference in their clothes. Me? Not so much!
Here's what I'll tell you: for everyone we know who's taken the products, Advocare WORKS. I don't mean this to be a testimonial against the products...just walking through what works for me. We're pro-Advocare, because we've seen amazing results (and lifestyle changes!) in many friends and family members. :)
But back to it...after the first 10 days, we started doing Greek yogurt smoothies (with no sugar added frozen fruit and a little milk--we started with orange juice, but it seemed better to add more dairy with milk than sugar with juice) for breakfast every day (with veggie omelets on weekends sometimes--yum!), then salads for lunch and meat & veggies for dinner...we were eating a lot of tuna for lunch, chicken/fish/turkey/pork for dinner. And I tell you what, those next two weeks we DID notice a huge difference. Our clothes were fitting differently, we both felt better and had lots of energy...we were very encouraged. We stuck to the clean diet, with nuts or fruit for snacks (neither of us is good at stopping to snack during the day, when we need to...but at night we LOVE to snack while we watch something together. This has been a big challenge, but we're sticking to the nuts or nothing at night!).
I will say this, too...after the initial 10-day cleanse, we decided that if we were at a birthday party, we'd have a small piece of cake but not overdo it, etc. I didn't want to be that guy at parties who's like, nope, none for me. Seriously, y'all, every hostess HATES that guy. Our thought is that if this is going to be true, lasting change, we have to be able to eat clean at home and splurge every now and again. And so far, it's working (see the P.S.--mostly working!). At the end of the 24 days, we were each down 11 pounds, and I'd lost 10.75 inches. If you haven't seen him, James looks great--he looks like himself again! Having a belly just isn't natural for him. :)
I wore the dress I wore to Ronny & Amy's party this weekend, and I meant to have James snap a picture of me but I forgot. So, at the end of the day (post-makeup and hair), I remembered. You can see some difference. It's not drastic, but I feel a lot better in my clothes and I'm just a little less puffy all over. It's a start!
P.S...while we were at Garner last weekend, we fell off the wagon. Like, beer & s'mores each night (for me, James didn't go for the sweets), tortillas & Julio's, we even tried a couple of Cokes (couldn't even drink my favorite, Mexican Coke--thanking God that craving is gone!)...then we got home and the cravings came with us. All last week I craved sweets and bread. :/ We got out of the salad for lunch habit, too...not that we ate badly, just differently. Then Thursday night we had Smashburger (chipotle buns!), Friday we had salmon burgers at home (with buns), Saturday we had frozen yogurt to celebrate Kayci's birthday, then ice cream at the ice cream social...you see how it sort of spiraled. Yesterday was Kayci's birthday so we had pizza AND ice cream AND pasta AND bread AND a small piece of birthday cake...it's kind of sickening to read, but honestly, this is still better than I was eating before the 24 day challenge. Before the 24 days, I was drinking a LOT of calories, between Cokes, juices, beer and wine...and yep, I was having sweets several times a day. Jeepers! So, today we're back ON the wagon--salad for lunch, clean dinner. Wish us luck! We've made a little progress, but I have a LOOOOOOOOOONG way to go before I'm healthy again!