On March 10 Mark and I started the Advocare 24 Day Challenge. We decided it was time for change. I’m going to let you know how the first phase of it went.
The first 10 days is phase 1, the cleansing phase. The program is designed that when you wake up you take a drink called Spark, this is basically your jump start, energy drink to get your day going. You’re not allowed coffee for this phase so it replaces that, if coffee is your wake up call that is. We got two flavors, orange and fruit punch. They are both delicious! What we noticed the very first day only is that mid morning we both got a tad shaky, but it subsided. That was the only day we felt that. I believe it has about 2 1/2 times the caffeine content as a Mt. Dew, so that explains it! What we love about it is that there are no spikes-no highs or lows-just a constant steady energy throughout the day. You can have up to three daily if you need them. We usually only do the morning one, although once now Mark has had another at lunchtime because he is so busy and was feeling tired.
Also in the morning you also drink a fiber drink. It’s pretty thick! It’s like the pulpiest Orange juice ever x 10, and if you don’t drink it down it will start to solidify. It’s not pleasant-but doesn’t kill ya either! We did the citrus flavor. Follow that with a couple glasses of water and then it’s on to breakfast.
All breakfast meals in this phase consist of a protien, complex carb and fruit. You also have the option of doing a meal replacement shake. We did breakfasts because we work at home and have the luxury of being able to do that. (Plus I LOVE to cook!) I will do another post of the meals I made in this phase.
A few hours after breakfast is snack time. Then a few hours after that is lunch. Lunch options in this phase are a protien, vegetable and a complex carb. A few hours after that is snack time, followed by a few hours after that dinner. Dinner is a protien, vegetable and an optional complex carb if you need it, and at this time you take your Omegas. You are also allowed a snack a few hours after dinner if you need it. At bedtime you take herbal cleanse caplets. Also as far as water intake they recommend you take your weight and divide by 2 and that is the amount of ounces of water per day you should consume at a minimum.
There are a few add ons to this program is you choose, but we opted for just the basics for now. The program switches things up on some days where some days you do the fiber drink but then some days you do a probiotic pill. Some days you do both. About midway through this cleanse phase Mark did opt to get one of the add ons that supported fat loss but not muscle loss. That is pretty important for him as he works his tail off all day! I also ended up getting extra probiotics.
Now…to tell you what we think, what we felt, what we did.
First thing…Mark is used to getting up and having a big bowl of cereal only for breakfast each morning. So now that I am up with him making a real breakfast he is eating like a king! For me, that parts been a little tough. I am so unhealthy and do things so completely wrong! I am the one who wakes up, makes a pot (or two) of coffee and that is what I live on until about 2-3 in the afternoon, then I devour everything in sight. This is the time of day that no food is safe in our house. So this eating every two hours business was for the birds as far as I was concerned because I simply am not used to eating so many times a day. Also, definitely not used to that much water a day. Mark drinks tons of water so I wasn’t concerned about him not getting enough. For me, I had to fill a pitcher up in the fridge with my minimum requirement and just make sure it was gone by the end of the day. I also had reminders set on my phone to eat, snack, drink water…or I never would have remembered.
I honestly feel like I am eating to gain weight rather than lose. We are both losing…and although it never made sense to me that eating a lot of small meals a day would help you lose weight I now KNOW it to be true! I never ate if I wasn’t hungry, and when I did eat, I never ate very much. A birds portion.(unless it was candy and chips)So I always thought to myself “Man…I don’t hardly eat…I should be skinny as a rail!” Well, what I’ve learned is that I basically killed my metabolism, most days put my body in starvation mode where it didn’t know when it was gonna get food so it held on to every bit I gave it.
My biggest challenge at first was portion sizes for Mark. He’s a big guy and I just always figured I needed to give him LOTS of food! A normal weekend breakfast here would be a huge plate of homemade hash browns topped with fried onions and bacon and melted cheddar cheese , a couple of fried eggs and a few pieces of toast! Wash it down with a Mt. Dew! Ho-lee-balls!!!!! Needless to say that changed!
Both of us feel like we are definitely getting enough to eat, that we aren’t starving hungry all day, and that so far everything I have made has really tasted great! Except for one nights treat which was “mock ice cream” made with frozen bananas. NOT doing that again!
Going into this challenge Marks schedule had been very hectic, sleep schedule was off, days and nights mixed up, so there were a few days where he just didn’t have the spunk he thought he needed and was a little off. So it’s hard to really say he feels “amazing” because his body is still trying to get back on a normal schedule again. Overall he feels really good though. A few times he has thought he was really hungry-Despite the meals and snacks. I won’t say starving, because we are both far from that. What I learned though is that he simply needed a bit more calories throughout his day than what he was getting. You don’t have to count calories on this plan at all but I started a journal at the beginning and write every single thing we at, the portion size and calorie count. I did this only for my own peace of mind. If it really worked I could look back and see what we did…if it didn’t I would look back and say, “ahhh…that’s why.” What I learned is that although I was following the portion sizes and meal plan to a T, he was really only getting about 1500 calories each day. A man his size should be taking in almost 2000 to LOSE weight! Add in his huge activity level and should probably get more than that. Most of the time he never felt hungry but it sure explains his sluggishness on some days! After speaking with advisors we upped his protien some and added things like an extra boiled egg or two at snacks and that has helped a lot.
My issues are the same as when I do any cleanse. Irregularity. Doesn’t make sense right? The whole idea in a cleanse is to CLEAN YOU OUT! Well I’ve done cleanses before and the last one(not to get too personal here) was so unproductive that I went 9 days with no results! This one showed me a few challenges also. But with the help of advisors once again I learned if I upped my probiotics and tried drinking my Spark HOT, it may help. So after revising my regimen, it worked! I honestly think that my body is so used to being mistreated that it goes into shock when I start trying to do something right! I averaged about 12-1300 calories a day and most days felt like was choking down my food just to finish my portions. I’ve since modified my diet a bit and have found a happy medium.
As far as exercise, Mark is always sooo active. He’s constantly on the move, which made me wonder why he wasn’t in better shape than he was. It just comes back to what and how much we were putting in our bodies. I, on the other hand….am a slug. I don’t exercise at all in the winter and the rest of the year I like to walk a little and really love to ride bike. Our driveway is half of a mile one way so I have no excuse. To be honest through this entire first phase the only exercise I really did was two days in a row I went shed hunting ( for dropped deer antlers) with Mark, about 2 1/2 hours one day and a little less the next). So I know my results could have been even better had I got off my hind end! (That and if things were “moving” properly the entire time!)
We also overcame an obstacle where one day we had to take our dog for an emergency vet visit. (Not so emergency I couldn’t pack our days meals) With a little preparation I packed a cooler with our morning and afternoon snacks, extra water and stuff for our lunch. We weren’t sure how long the day would be. We had come so far to not want to screw it up by having to skip snacks or meals or have to eat out and make unhealthy choices. So obstacle 1-overcome!
We did take beginning weights, measurements and also the dreaded “before” pictures. I swear if anyone gets hold of my iPhone I will flip if they see my before pics! There is importance in not worrying so much what the numbers on the scale say compared to how you actually feel, how your clothes fit, etc.
It sure does help that Mark and I are doing this together and that we actually WANT to change! This could be so hard if one of us wasn’t on board! Also helps tremendously that we are both home and are able to make it work so easily. We have a grandson coming this June and I expect many more to come, so we definitely want to be able to be active and healthy and enjoy those little ones for a long time to come!
At the end of our cleansing phase we saw pretty decent results. Mark lost 8 lbs and I lost 5. Why do men always seem to lose easier? So today is day 11 and we enter the max phase. Wish us luck!