Posted in Health and Fitness

My Experience on the Arbonne 28 Day Detox/Healthy Eating Diet

A friend of mine is a consultant for Arbonne and had been trying to get me to do their fancy 30 day detox/healthy eating diet for a long time. I finally caved in March and forked over my $290. I was extremely skeptical with the entire thing and it was a lot of money to spend. I asked a million questions about what was to be expected, what the benefits were and what I would feel. It began on March 6th and is now completed and I have a lot of thoughts on it to share.

To begin with, lets go over the claims the program made:

  • Weight loss of with some people losing up to 25 pounds in 4 weeks
  • Clearer skin including acne, psoriasis etc
  • Regular bowels
  • Improved hydration
  • Improved energy, no more after lunch fatigue
  • Complete loss of any cravings for sugary or high carb foods
  • Expanded palate
  • Decreased grocery bill that not only covers the cost of the program but goes in excess of it
  • No hunger

I will get into how each of those applied to me in a bit, but I want to first fill you in on what the program actually was.

For $290 I received the following:

  1. Two large bags of protein powder, one vanilla and one chocolate
  2. Two boxes of detox hot tea bags
  3. Two boxes of “fizz sticks” a non caffeinated, no sugar added powder to flavor water
  4. One box of digestion plus, a probiotic formula
  5. One bag of fiber powder
  6. Seven packets of a cleanse agent
  7. A free gift – they recommend a greens balancing powder so that is what I did
  8. Access to a closed Facebook group with pointers, education and weekly meal plans

So what exactly is the plan?

Morning: hot cup of detox tea

Breakfast: protein shake. They recommend you add the probiotic, the greens and the fiber in the morning. They provide several recipes for different shake flavors and you have freedom to make your own.

Lunch: protein shake. You can also eat real food as long as you follow the dietary restrictions.

Snacks: permitted and include choice of a handful of almonds, an apple with almond butter, a single hard boiled egg.

Beverages: use of the fizz stick once or twice a day. It has vitamins in and they claim an energy boost

Dinner: A meal from their menu. You may eat out as long as you follow the dietary restrictions

Before bed: hot cup of detox tea

The third week: add the body cleanse liquid to 32 oz of water daily for 7 days and drink slowly during the day.

Restrictions: no dairy, gluten, caffeine, coffee, tea besides theirs, sugar, alcohol.


So how did I do?

I’m a rule follower to a fault, so things like this are actually pretty easy for me to do. If it says not to eat something, I won’t. I already didn’t do alcohol, coffee or dairy besides cheese. The gluten, sugar and caffeine would be the hard part in all of this. Plus I hate cooking, so there was that. Going into it I had a few concerns: the cost, being hungry and cravings. I was assured none of those would be an issue.

I was very diligent and followed all the rules: I made my breakfast shake with the chocolate powder and added frozen strawberries, lunch was a vanilla and strawberry shake. I found early on that if I didn’t eat real food for lunch, I was weak, irritable and too starving to think clearly in the afternoon so I began to eat leftovers or a salad for lunch specifically on days I went to the gym or for a ride after work. I drank my two hot teas, my one fizz stick and avoided everything it said to avoid. Even when a drug rep brought me Jimmy Johns and when we took Wyatt out for frozen yogurt. I didn’t even taste it. I was good and didn’t cheat one single time.

Ease of use: 5/5

How did everything taste?

Honestly, I didn’t mind the taste of anything. The tea is a minty flavor and was a good wake up in the morning and let down before bed. Adding frozen strawberries and ice to the shake actually made it taste like a milkshake even though I was using unsweetened almond milk. The greens powder did taste a little like grass, but added to the chocolate and strawberries it was barely noticeable. The fizz sticks were great. The fiber and probiotic were tasteless. Even the cleansing liquid was ok. It had a weird taste almost like a powdered ice tea drink without sugar added. My biggest complaint with taste was the dinner menu. Every single recipe used garlic, cumin and chili powder. Really by the end of week two I was tired of the combination and aching for some variety. All in all the recipes were really bland too. I made a turkey chili and Wyatt took a big spoonful then asked “Mom, where is the flavor?” You know it is bland when a 4 year old is asking for it to be spiced up.

As far as taste goes, I’d say it was all pretty good and definitely doable without any gagging, suffering through or forcing myself to stay on track.

Taste: 4/5


Results:

Now for the real deal. Did the program, even when followed completely to the letter without any cheating at all, live up to its claims?

  • Weight loss
    • My initial weigh in was 134.4 lbs. I’m 5’4″, so that puts me at a normal BMI. To be fair, I didn’t have a ton to lose, but I wanted to get back to 130 lbs by the end.
    • I weighed myself at the same time and on the same scale wearing the same clothes each week. Its easy to do when you wear scrubs and weigh in at work.
    • Week 2 – 134.2
    • Week 3 -134.0
    • Week 4 – 132.8 (after a week of colon cleansing)
  • Clearer skin
    • I saw no difference in any aspect at all. Again, I wasn’t fighting much of anything major. I do have rough pathes on my arms which a lot of people claim is secondary to gluten, but after a month on this diet, I saw no change for better or worse
  • Regular bowels
    • Got worse. I tend towards slower than normal and was looking forward to more regularity. Even with the added fiber, probiotic and drinking a ton of water each day, my bowels were slower and worse at the end of the month
  • Improved hydration
    • This did occur. I was happy with the forced water intake as I am bad at this on my own.
  • Improved energy, no more after lunch fatigue
    • I will say that I never had a crash after lunch, but by 4:30 pm I was done. I was hungry, weak and tired. It made working out really difficult because I was just too energy depleted to do it.
  • Complete loss of any cravings for sugary or high carb foods
    • I missed bread the entire time. Sugar and caffeine not so much, but I missed eating sandwiches and never found myself happy to not indulge.
  • Expanded palate
    • 50/50 on this one. Eating out became a challenge on finding what fit the rules, so it did expand my palate in that I ate things I typically wouldn’t have otherwise. I didn’t enjoy them any more at the end versus the beginning and I certainly wouldn’t go around claiming they were my favorite foods.
  • Decreased grocery bill that not only covers the cost of the program but goes in excess of it
    • Big fat NO. In fact, not even including the initial $290 out lay for the program, my grocery bill went up for the month nearly double. I was buying foods I wouldn’t typically buy, produce is always more expensive than not and I couldn’t sale shop and plan my menu around what was on sale. Instead I had to buy what was on the list. While I didn’t buy any junk foods, lunch meat, bread or pop, the offset was not enough.
  • You won’t be hungry
    • I was starving. The entire month. No addition of different fats, fruits or veggies to my shakes made a difference. I was even hungry after eating dinner. Healthy foods just don’t stick with you, or at least not the ones in this program, and I was so hungry on many days I felt nauseous.

In addition, the dinner menu was not varied. As I mentioned above, the same spices were used in every single dish. Quinoa was used in almost every dish as well. It just got a little old eating the same flavors and most things were under spiced. I learned quickly to double the recipe in terms of amounts of spices called for and it improved.

Claims met: 1.5/9


Concluding thoughts:

So, I’m torn.

I didn’t lose weight real weight as I don’t consider the 1lb 4 oz during the cleanse weight loss since it was all water loss and pretty much found every claim to be false, for me anyway. Why? I think part of it is that I already ate pretty well to begin with. The only restricted items I had to eliminate were cheese and gluten. I’m sure someone who had to radically change their diet would see a much more radical change in body form and function. I also think that I ended up consuming more calories on a daily basis than before although they were healthier and more nutrient dense calories.

Beyond that, what I missed the most was convenience. I had to cook pretty much every night since the food did not allow much for left overs and eating out was expensive and took longer since I couldn’t go to a fast food place. No breakfast for dinner or throwing in a frozen pizza. Healthier? Probably although that depends on how you determine that since I weighed and felt the exact same at the end as in the beginning, but more stressed for sure.

But….

I enjoyed the products quite a bit. Everything tasted really good and helped solve some of my diet issues: what to drink that isn’t sugar loaded but better tasting than water, what to eat for breakfast that isn’t loaded in carbs or sugar.

I had the ability to get a refund of all but shipping costs – somewhere around $270. All you have to do is ship back all part used and empty containers of the product. I could have, but I chose not to. I want to continue drinking the fizz drink, tea and shakes until they are all gone.

Would I recommend it? It depends. I do believe it opens your eyes to your own eating habits and where you can improve. If your current diet includes everything on the elimination diet and you can stick to the plan, I believe you could see some fantastic results with it. I was really disappointed at the end when I looked, felt and weighed no different than had I ate pizza and sandwiches instead, but I did enjoy eating everything and the most surprising thing….I learned to like cooking by the end. I even researched and made my own honey mustard dressing to replace the extremely fattening ranch I typically use with my frozen chicken nuggets (which I found gluten free ones I like better than the regular ones too).

I wouldn’t do it again, but I wouldn’t tell someone to absolutely not as long as they didn’t buy into the claims so much and did it more for education than anything else. I don’t plan to add gluten back to my diet either, well at least not when able to substitute it out. Cheese, though. Cheese is right back on the menu!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Health and Fitness

Adventures in Fitness: Cycle

Or Spin, but apparently “Spin” is trademarked or something, so the Y just calls it Cycle instead. I’ve been to a true Spin class and it wasn’t much different than this, so it is all just semantics.

A dark, rectangular room with 30 brand new, state of the art stationary bikes. Two large fans blowing on full speed flank a solitary bike in the front. The surround sound system is blaring full bore: music with a heavy beat and fast tempo. A half insane, curly haired woman is pumping away on this solitary bike, trying to smile through the pain and bring an energy level to the room that no sane person could match.  In front of her are 15-20 people, in various stages of regretting their life choices, all attempting and failing miserably to match her furious pace.

The air is heavy with perspiration and the wilting away of the human soul. You can hear the moaning of legs giving way as the instructor yells for all to get off the bike and climb the imaginary hill standing in the pedals. Everyone rises, are at least attempts to. At least a few people are left falling back on their increasingly tender nether regions wondering which is worse: the pain in their legs from standing to pedal or the pain in their crotch and butt from sitting on the rock hard and unforgiving seat.

The clock ticks off the 15 minute mark. 45 minutes to go and already all but the very best are falling way behind, stealthily clicking the tension on the bike easier and easier with each passing minute.

Turn the gear shifter to the center!! We are going up hill!

The screeching of the instructor pierces through the booming melody and all groan in despair. We are inside! There are no hills! She just laughs back at us and tells us to prepare or what we find on top of the hill.

Foolishly, we believe that we will find the downhill side and be able to coast. Instead we are told to turn the gear shifter all the way to the right (the gear shifter is a metal handle connected to the tensioner of the bike and is a quick way to increase the tension without changing gears). Maximum force. Give 110%! We have found a sandy beach! Pedal!Pedal!Pedal!  RPMS at 95. Full force!

Everyone groans again. All we want to do on a beach is sit in the sun, water lapping at our toes, drink in one hand and book in another. Instead, we are pretending to ride a bike through the deepest, fluffiest patches and hating ourselves the entire time.

Finally…finally…we reach the end of the beach and get to coast down the hill once more. Gear shifts to the left. Tensioners way down. Relax. Breathe deep. Take a drink. Surely, this is now over, but a quick glance at the clock shows we still have 30 minutes remaining. Will we survive?

The next 25 minutes are spent sprinting, climbing mountains, coasting down hills and praying that your butt doesn’t become adhered to the seat requiring a painful ripping to remove it. Why are these seats so awful? Surely some cushion wouldn’t ruin anything.

When she at last calls for the cool down to begin, everyone looks around. Has anyone else survived or have they all perished leaving you alone with the crazy woman in front? No, they are still there with you looking like half the person they were at the start of class. Now defeated, with shaking legs and acutely painful nether regions that promise to not heal for a week, they descend off the bikes and try not to collapse on the floor. Attempting the stretch is a joke. Everything hurts in one manner or another. How many calories did we burn? How far did we go? The numbers don’t matter. All that matters is that you survived. Will you go again? Will you put your fate in the hands of this lady once again?

Posted in Health and Fitness

Adventures in Fitness: Water Aerobics

We did a spin/cycle class on Tuesday (will write that up too, but this is better so I’m doing this one first) and took Wednesday off. Thursday had a few different options and I wanted to try out the indoor pool, so I sent the following text over to my mom:

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That is the type of relationship we have and why I love doing this with her. We end up burning just as many calories laughing as we do with the exercise.

She did end up showing and we walked into the pool area to get ready for some aerobics fun. I already assumed I’d be the youngest one, but as the others filed it it quickly became apparent that my mom and I added together would still be younger by about 5 years. We lined up anyway and got started.

I’d love to say that what followed was an arduous and cardiovascular intense 50 minutes, but um…well…it wasn’t.

I lined up so I was chest deep in the semi warm water and got ready. The instructor stayed outside the water on the deck and shouted her instructions. We stretched. Then stretched some more. And then some more. I was beginning to wonder when the actual aerobics was going to start when my mom informed me that it already had. Oh.

About 35 minutes into it I was getting really cold and we finally added some heavy duty pool noodles for resistance. For some unknown reason, my mom’s noodle kept floating out to the 9ft deep end and she would have to retrieve it. Maybe that is why she tried to drown me at the end.

Anyway…we played around with the noodle for a while and then began our cool down stretch.

I’m not trying to sound snobbish at all here, but this was completely worthless. Even the 80 year old ladies who were attending did more chatting than exercising, but it was better than sitting on my couch eating marshmallows and chocolate so there is that.

No more water classes for me though. I’ll stick to dry land from now on.

 

Posted in Health and Fitness

Adventures in Fitness – Zumba

In my attempt to find some way to get fit without wanting to die to in the process, I am exploring all the options the YMCA has available. Thus I found myself back there at 6 pm Wednesday fighting both an on coming migraine and terrible cramps. Had I not just signed up and had I not been meeting my mom, I would have just gone home to curl under the covers and pretend the world didn’t exist for the rest of the night.

Instead I stood there and watched the cardio studio begin to fill up. I was briefly hopeful that I would survive the class when the instructor showed up in a knee brace, but that was quickly dashed once the music began to play.

I knew going into it that I wouldn’t know all the moves or look good doing them, so when the first song began to play I was happy to find that I could follow along pretty easily and that I picked up the moves within a try or two. There is a special skill that some people have and that is the ability to have someone tell you an instruction and being able to perform it. I believe most horse people are taught this due to the very nature of lessons. A person stands in the ring and tells you to put your left heel down. So you do. They don’t have to come over and physically do it for you or have to show you. You can take the words and form the action. I was praised in residency for being able to do this in surgery and I attributed this skill to my riding.

Anyway…I digress.

This skill helped me during the class. I could not only follow her lead, but could listen when she shouted out the move and follow suit.

This skill did not help my complete lack of rhythm or my inability to loosen up, ever. As the instructor, a slender and fluid moving lady of hispanic descent, upped the tempo with the next song, I fell farther and farther behind. I could either make my upper body or y lower body move with the music. But not both.

It was laughable really.

I tried my best, but the beat was beyond me. The class was an hour long, but as we went harder my head started spinning and I began to see black dots. I made the smart decision to take a breather and soon realized that my head was pounding harder than the beat and I was light headed and cramping hard.

I made the even smarter decision to call it quits half way through and try again another day. I made it home feeling like I was going to pass out at any moment, ate 5 smores with the hubby and son made over our backyard bonfire of unused pallets, and then hid under the covers until the world stopped spinning.

Zumba will have to be tried again.

Posted in Uncategorized

Meet Me at the YMCA – Day 1

With running out of the picture, I needed to find a new form of exercise to get and then stay fit and healthy. While I’m not overweight, I am definitely not fit and I want to change that. Unfortunately, my favorite spin place closed up shop and the only other games in town were either downtown or the YMCA. My mom and I enjoy working out together – it adds an element of humor not found when working out alone – and I managed to talk her into touring the Y on Sunday.

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It is a nice facility and happens to be only 3 miles from my house. They have a covered pool that is open year round (while not warm and cozy, it is sufficient in the winter while the dome is up), four rooms for class activities, one level of weights, an upper level of cardio equipment, a cardio theater that plays a feature film on a large projector screen while you workout, a gym, a cafe and free child care while you are there. They also offer tons of things Wyatt can participate in plus a free date night out once a month.With everything they offer, it really fits nicely into my busy life schedule.

My mom and I both signed up and the best part was that we got 20% off for doing so and the join fee was waived as well. This brought the price down to only $48 a month for my entire family of 3 and only $32 a month for my mom. No other place in town comes close to matching that in price.

Monday around 4:15 pm my phone goes off as I wait for my last patient to show. It is my mom.

“Be there at 5:40 pm”
“Ummm…what?”
“Guts and Glutes at 5:40. Be there.”
“No way I can make that work. I have a procedure to do at 4:30, I don’t have my work out clothes with me so I have to go home and change and then I have to make it all the way to Wyatt, get him and go to the Y. Won’t happen”

After we talked for a bit, my mom decided to pick Wyatt up for me and meet me there. I ended up with just enough time to change and catch up to them as they were entering the building. My mom also talked my sister-in-law into using a day pass to give it a try with us.

Wyatt went into the child center until Dusty arrived and took him to the pool and the rest of us went upstairs to studio #3 where we proceeded to laugh, cry and groan for 30 minutes.

Guts and Glutes – a 30 minute exercise class with dumbbells that focuses on your lower body and abs.

So there we were…we dutifully grabbed our mats, light weights (4 lbs for me) and heavy weights (having no clue what we were going to do I used 5 lbs as my heavy) and looked around the room with anticipation. This was going to be fun! And easy because…you know…it was only 30 minutes long. A good intro to the Y.

cat-workout

We began.

About 3 minutes into the warm up I looked over at my mom and told her I hated her. I was not only warmed up, but also cooled down and ready to call it a day. And we hadn’t even really begun!

The real workout began. Planks. Then twisting planks. Then planks with one leg off the ground. Then planks with one of the heavy weights tucked into the crook of your knee and pulsing that knee towards the ceiling – don’t lose your plank now! – for an endless count of 16, switch legs do it some more.

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Then came the squats and lunges. Dozens upon dozens of squats and lunges. With the heavy weights resting on your shoulders. Then point your toes out and widen the stance and squat some more. Legs not shaking enough? Go up on your tip toes and squat. Then stay on those toes and pinch your knees in and pulse. Then go back as far as you can with your knees. Stay on those toes!

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Legs shaking in defeat – the three of us looked at each other and began to laugh. The teacher giggled.

Back to the floor! Crunches, sit ups, weights, no weights. Legs off the floor, on the floor…come on…you can do it!

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By the time the 30 minutes were up, my legs were shaking, my abs were on fire and I was d-o-n-e.

Good introduction, Mother.

I wasn’t done though. I had to meet the kiddo at the pool. The 80 degree water felt more like ice and Dusty doesn’t handle cold water at all. Probably because he is like 2% body fat. When I entered the dome, Wyatt was practically begging Dusty to get in and Dusty was turning blue and chattering. So I jumped in. And immediately regretted that decision.

Wyatt wanted to jump in and I caught him easily since my arms still functioned. When he wanted to race to the deep end and I found myself having to tread water for 15 minutes as he slowly floated along, I nearly died.

I’m not sure how long we stayed in the ice bowl, but eventually we coaxed Wyatt out, changed and went home. It was a good first day at the YMCA and I am really excited for the future.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Health and Fitness

Hanging Up the Running Shoes.

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t run. Varsity track gave me the coveted high school letter. In college, I’d head out to the nearby lake and run the 5 mile track around it.

I’ve run on the treadmill, down country roads rarely travelled by cars, along busy urban sidewalks, across paved park pathways and up trails.

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Post treadmill interval run

I’ve run in the early morning as the sun was waking up and in the pitch black dark with a headlamp showing me the way.

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Running in the dark in WI

I’ve run during a frigid Wisconsin winter night and through a scalding South Carolina summer day.

I’ve run with family, friends, my dog and alone.

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The best runs I have ever had were with Bones

I’ve run listening to music, podcasts and my own breathing.

I’ve run following couch to marathon plans, interval apps, my own make shift schedule and with no plan or goal at all.

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Mile 11 of my very first half marathon. Still enjoying life.
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Mile 12. Not so much anymore.

I’ve worn high tech clothes and cute accessories only to be worn while running.

I’ve run four half marathons all in the 2:21-2:23 time frame and just for fun.

And through it all I can honestly say….

….that I stink at running.

 

It isn’t really the physical part that gets me. I’m no Olympic level runner and I tend to trudge more than fly, but my times are at least respectable and I run way more than I walk.

It is the mental game that kills me. I never zone out. I never enjoy it. I’m trudging along and all my mind does is go on and on about how I can’t breathe, how I can’t take another step, how I’m too slow.  It is defeatist and it doesn’t matter if I run a mile or 5. It is the same rhetoric in my brain.

So I am taking a break. I run for exercise and health. Riding is my stress relief. I’m joining the local YMCA and I am going to dabble in the various classes that they offer: spin to yoga to cardio dance to weights to swimming. I’m going to bounce around until I find something that I can do and mostly enjoy.

Then, once I am in better shape, I am going to try running again. See if it doesn’t fit back in in a healthier manner. We will see.