Earlier this month, I participated in something called the Advocare 24-Day Challenge. A weight loss system in nature, I took the challenge because I was curious if it would:
a.) Improve my sugar cravings
b.) Improve my excema (since the diet forbids sugar and gluten)
c.) Improve my muscle tone and physical performance
d.) Reduce belly fat
This Challenge is composed of two parts:
Cleanse (10 days) + Burn (14 days) = 24 days.
Here is what I looked before and after the Cleanse.
The Cleanse was my friend; I felt confident and in control.
And then it was time for the Burn.
The Burn was not my friend.
The Burn was the Nazi regime.
All I was allowed to eat was protein and vegetables. Then I had to take roughly 16 pills a day, most of which had to be taken at very specific times. (So specific, in fact, that I kept forgetting to take them!) These pills were a mixture of multivitamins, omega fats, appetite suppressants and “thermogens.” (These “thermogens” are the key to the Burn because they help increase metabolism.)
Nevertheless, I felt nauseous, shaky, emotional and out of control on the Burn. During this time, a friend asked me if this Challenge made me feel any healthier. My answer was, “Well…NO!”
So I revolted!
After a week of hanging the costs and enjoying carbs and dairy, I caught a bad cold. Not wanting to compromise my immune system, I stopped taking the thermogens and technically never finished the Challenge.
So, in short, I crashed and burned.
Or burned and crashed.
Here is what I looked like after the (unfinished) 14-day Burn phase:
Despite my less-than-ideal finish, I learned many things about myself and my body during this 24-day experiment. In all, I discovered that:
-Cutting sugar out of my diet for a period of time did not obliterate my sugar cravings, but it did reduce my sugar cravings. Now, instead of eating an entire box of Junior Mints, I am satisfied with a handful.
-Removing gluten and sugar from my diet did NOT improve my eczema.
-I simply do not value pills and supplements no matter how helpful they claim to be. I want my health to be dependent on a healthy diet and exercise, not a pill. As for vitamins, I’m still not sure how I feel about their effectiveness.
–I cannot stick to something I do not believe in.
-A complete lack of starches makes me feel nauseous and depressed.
-Boundaries are very helpful. Too many boundaries, however, and I revolt.
-Eating is an emotional experience. I don’t eat in restaurants or share a meal with friends simply because I need to refuel my body. I do these things because eating and sharing all kinds of food is fun.
-Eating for fuel, on the other hand is boring and lonely (even if it is efficient).
–I love food.
-I will always love food.
-I will always have dessert, I will always try a bite, I will always partake. Period.
-I will always keep trying to be healthier because I like being and feeling healthy.
-And I like wearing bikinis.
So here’s to my health and yours!