Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Losing the Baby Weight: Advocare

Danielle and I have known each other since elementary school but we became bff level friends our senior year in high school (I'm not actually sure when/how it happened...but I'm glad it did!). We've remained close since graduation, she's actually one of the only people from high school I talked to on a regular basis until blogging came about ;) She now blogs as well, although our blogs have very different topics. Mine's all kids and mommy stuff...her's is mostly health and fitness. Um, not exactly my world right?!?!

This pic always makes me smile...we had SUCH a blast the summer after graduation!!!
Since Danielle is one of my closest friends, of course I read her blog! I read every post even though I may skim over a lot of the health and wellness parts ;) The past few months she's started blogging a lot about Advocare. The products, her results, etc. Again, I mostly just skimmed through the posts. Sure, I was struggling with my own weight goals (as you read about here and here) but I doubted it would help me. I figured it was only for the healthy/clean eater type people. I never thought it'd be something I'd be interested in until I read this post she wrote about why we need supplements in our diets. It made me start thinking about how out of whack my regular diet was and how supplements would help fill in the gaps I was missing from what I ate! It just kinda "clicked" with me and I decided I'd probably give the 24 Day Challenge a shot once I finished up nursing.

In July I planned a few days to go up to Atlanta to visit with a lot of my good friends (posts to come!). When packing for the trip I broke down in tears. I had NOTHING to wear. It's one thing to pull together an outfit when you're just going to a play date. I can use my tummy slimmer/bella band combo for stuff like that. But I was going to see some friends who I hadn't seen since high school (9 years ago!) and was going to spend the night with some of my long-term friends. I've never been one of those girls to hide in a closet to change...but for the first time I was nervous about my close friends seeing me naked. I was really, really upset about the way I looked. But mostly I was upset that I wasn't CONFIDENT in myself anymore. It was the final straw for me. I knew I had to get my butt in gear with something.

While I was up in Atlanta I quizzed all my friends about Advocare. While no one where I live has done it (at least what I know of) it seems like everyone and their mom (literally) up there has done the challenge. Everyone who I asked about it said they got results from doing it. And that the fiber drink from the first 10 days of the challenge was nasty. A nasty drink for 10 days in order to get results? Um if that was the only negative I was hearing then sign me up! I can handle a gross drink once a day!

My last night of the trip I spent the night with Danielle. I brought up Advocare and the challenge. I knew from reading her blog about it (I'm not even going to attempt to explain it all here when she has done it so well!) and talking to my friends who had used it that it's all natural and is a way to create an overall healthier lifestyle. I told her that I planned on doing it once I was done nursing and she told me that the company has actually come up with a modified 24 day challenge for nursing moms!!! I was pretty excited to give it a try. I tried to talk Zach into doing the legit challenge with me for motivation but he didn't want to spend the money. Y'all know how cheap-cheap we are!!! I told him that I'd rather spend the money on the challenge than have to spend that money on buying an entire wardrobe in my current sizes...he agreed. And we had a long talk about why I wanted to get back to myself. 

I don't think I looked horrible, but I didn't like the way I FELT. Sure I was only 6 lb above my pre-pregnancy weight. And there is nothing wrong with wearing a size 8. But I'm not done having babies. If I say "it's okay" and just let myself stay the way I am then what will happen after baby #3? #4? Even more? Letting myself hold onto a few pounds after each baby will most likely leave me a good 20-30 lb higher than I need to be once I'm done having kids (don't forget I'm only 5'1"!). I'd MUCH rather work to lose the weight between babies than have a TON to lose when I'm done having them...right??? 

Zach and I decided that I'd go ahead and purchase the challenge for nursing moms (Which only used products that are safe to take while nursing! You can see the list here!). He said, and I quote: "If your lazy butt can get results from this then I'll do it too." Gotta love that motivation right??? ;) Being a former athlete he already knows and understands the world of supplements and how much they can benefit you, he just couldn't wrap his mind around them working for me when I'm not a work-out type girl! 

Starting weight on Day 1: 6 lb over pre-pregnancy weight!
A BIG thing about the challenge is following the plan. It won't work if you don't do it correctly, duh! I was used to trying to consume as few calories as possible throughout the day. So on a typical morning I'd wait until at least 9:30 to eat breakfast. With the challenge, you have to eat within 30 min of waking up. On day one I mixed up the fiber drink (I have a blender cup...I highly recommend it if you are doing the challenge!!!) with 8 oz of oj. I downed it quick and it wasn't half as bad as I was expecting. Within a couple of days I had adjusted to it and didn't mind it one bit. I did, however, feel kinda nauseous on Day 1. For non-nursing people who do the normal challenge I don't think this will be an issue as your vitamins are already spread out for you but I had taken a lot of vitamins at once that morning and decided to spread them out (if you're doing the breastfeeding challenge I highly recommend taking the 2 omegas at breakfast with just 1 of the coreplexes and saving the other 2 cores for lunch!). Once I spread them out better I never felt nausea again! 

I decided to buy enough of the meal replacement shakes for my entire 24 days. I was used to drinking shakes each morning for breakfast when doing Slim Fast so I figured it'd be easiest just to keep doing shakes. The difference in the Advocare Meal Replacement Shakes vs Slim Fast is huge! I compared labels and while Slim Fast has sugar as a first ingredient, the Advocare ones have a protein blend. Much healthier for you! It doesn't taste as good as the Slim Fast ones but once I figured out a good consistency of water and ice I now LOVE them (I blend 8 oz water, the shake powder packet and 2 cups of ice cubes! YUM!).

Day 1 was pretty tough. I was NOT used to eating as often so I felt SO FULL all the time (kinda the opposite of what you'd expect to feel on a "diet" huh? I quickly realized this is NOT a diet!!! I never ONCE felt like I was starving which is what I was used to feeling like while "dieting"). By Day 2 I felt SO much better. I had to force myself to eat at each meal but I was so full and satisfied that I didn't even want ice cream which is HUGE for me!!! All of this was going on around the same time that I went to the dr and found out I was having milk supply issues while nursing (post to come!). I asked on Facebook for advice about upping my supply and EVERYONE said to drink water. Prior to the challenge I never drank water throughout the day and most of my meals I drank milk. The challenge recommends drinking a minimum of a gallon of water a day. I noticed my supply increase within a couple of days!!! I woke up with my breasts feeling fuller and I got more (back to 6-8 oz!) when pumping! YAY!!!

Drinking that large amount of water was a BIG adjustment for me. I'm so thankful for my Bubba Keg! I just had goals throughout the day for my water intake. I drank 1 Bubba Keg before my 10:00ish snack, another before lunch, another before the 3:00ish snack, and another before dinner. Anything I drank at meals or after dinner was just bonus water! It AMAZED me how quickly I adjusted and how THIRSTY I'd feel if I hadn't had water in awhile. Not getting enough water is a big cause for decrease in supply so I'm thankful I started the challenge as it got me focused more on my water intake :) 

The big things I have heard that people like from Advocare are the Meal Replacement Shakes (I love the chocolate ones!!!) and Spark. I wasn't too sure if I'd like Spark or not...with breastfeeding it's fine to drink one Spark a day so I decided to have it prior to my afternoon snack. It's an energy drink with 21 vitamins, minerals and nutrients. I was blown away by how much I enjoyed it. It really helped give me a "pick me up" to get me through my afternoons and evenings. It helped me feel more focused and less stressed. I'm a high anxiety type person and I feel SO much less anxiety while doing the challenge. I bought some Rehydrate as well and I would mix it with the Spark every other day. That combo was super yummy and made my headaches nonexistent. I have had headaches forever. I typically get 3-5 per week. When I decided to start using Advocare products I was only doing it in hopes to lose weight and look better...I wasn't even considering that it could help me in other ways too!!! Out of the entire 24 days I only got a headache ONCE!!! Once!!! That is AMAZING!!!! I went to Walmart (where I am always, 100% guaranteed to leave with a headache) and no headache! I was in the hospital with Zach up all night with little sleep and no headache!!! Kye would play his instruments and sing really loudly and Britt would be yelling right along with him and...no headache!!! I am SHOCKED at that result and it makes me a true believer in the products for sure!!!!

The first three days were the toughest for me. It was hard to get adjusted to drinking all that water, eating so often, and thinking about what I was eating. On day three I noticed I was bloated. It frustrated me and I couldn't figure out why. It lasted a few days and during that time I actually took a pregnancy test!!! Zach and I were FREAKING out. Decreased milk supply...bloated belly...maybe somehow I was pregnant?!?! The test was negative and when I visited my dr for my yearly check-up she said I was probably bloated from the fiber drink and that it would go away once that phase of the challenge ended (sidenote: I asked her about Advocare and she said it was totally fine to do while nursing and a healthy way to lose the baby weight. She also said the moms she knew who had done it had kept the weight off!).

The night of Day 3 I ate a fudgesicle. Like I mentioned before, I'm an emotional eater. I was upset and frustrated and I needed something "bad for me." I figured a fudgesicle was still better than my normal ice cream routine so I ate one. And it wasn't even enjoyable!!! I felt discouraged and asked Zach for a pep-talk to keep me going. He said "You BETTER stay with this because we paid for it!" Not really the kind of motivation I was looking for but it was good incentive ;) Once I got past the first three days everything got easier. By day 5 Zach said he could already tell my face was thinner! On Day 7 I got my hair done and my hair dresser asked me what I'd been doing as my hair was healthier than she'd ever seen it!!! I weighed in on Day 7 just to see and here's where I was at:
By Day 7 I was 100% committed. I was used to the routine and I never even felt tempted to "cheat." I didn't WANT ice cream. How is that even possible for me?!?! When doing the challenge they list foods to avoid. Those foods include: alcohol (um no problem there!), fried food (also not tough for me), dairy (bye-bye milk!!!), sugar (ice cream!!!), and white wheat. I did my absolute BEST to stick to the plan and avoid these foods. Did I do it flawlessly? No. But I did my best and tried to make smart choices (I only ate something fried twice, never drank a glass of milk, and only had ice cream maybe 3-4 times?). I'm not a huge fan of fruits and veggies so I bought all the ones I do like (legit...all I bought was apple slices, purple grapes and carrot sticks haha). I also bought whole wheat bread and bagels. I got into a good system. I'm a routine eater and like to eat the same thing every day. Here's how my days broke down:

Breakfast I drank a meal replacement shake; morning snack I ate 1/2-1 cup of apple slices; lunch I ate a whole wheat bagel toasted with peanut butter and 1 cup of grapes; afternoon snack I ate carrot sticks or (if I was hungry and wanted something more filling) a whole wheat tortilla quesadilla with re-fried beans and a little cheese; dinner I ate whatever I cooked for the family but avoided white wheat when possible and ate larger portions of whatever veggies we had; nightly snack I ate carrot sticks or if I wanted something sweet I'd eat an Advocare Snack Bar (satisfied that sweet craving when needed for sure!!!). It made me feel good to be eating healthier...instead of hiding in the pantry to eat a cookie or some bites of ice cream that I didn't want Kye to see I was eating apples and grapes and carrots and could gladly share them with him :)

When I ate out I did my best to order healthier options. Pretty much everywhere has grilled chicken so it was never an issue really! Even when we went to Olive Garden (post to come!) I asked if they have whole wheat pasta and they do!!! Goes to show it never hurts to ASK :) I even had one bread stick. It's crazy to think that I could just eat one...but honestly it wasn't even that good to me anymore. My desires for those types of foods went away BIG TIME thanks to the challenge!!! I don't know how that's possible but it's legit!

On Day 7 my bloating was down some. My last day of the Fiber Drink was Day 10 and my bloating was completely gone by Day 13! I weighted in on Day 13, I had actually been on a weekend getaway vacation to the beach (post to come) and was surprised how well I could still follow the plan while on the go. I just brought along a little cooler with my snacks and it was a breeze!!! I hadn't planned on telling ANYONE I was doing the challenge as I don't like feeling pressure, ya know? But while at the beach with Courtney, Casey and Mrs Charlotte they (duh) asked me about what I was doing so I filled them in about it all and they were pumped! It made me feel good to see their excitement about the results I was already seeing. Here's what I weighed on Day 13:
Like I have mentioned before, I enjoy having a PLAN to follow with pretty much all aspects of my life. I LOVED having a print out of my challenge (if you are a nursing mom and want the info on the breastfeeding challenge it's here!) to be able to mark off each day as I did each thing. I am a perfectionist and typically try to do things exactly the way I'm instructed to do them but with this I decided early on just to do MY BEST. I wasn't going to freak out and try to eat clean or eat 100% healthy all the time. I wasn't going to stress out about working out. I was just going to MY BEST. I ended up swimming laps twice in the 24 days and doing the elliptical twice as well. I know that's not that great and I should do better. Exercise is one of those things I need to make time for but manage to find a million excuses not to do! Like Zach said if my lazy butt could see results then this stuff must really work...guess it works ;)

My last day was this past Friday so I weighed in Saturday morning...I could SEE a difference in myself and felt SO great. No headaches, more energy, better sleeping (like I am back to dreaming all the time which I haven't done since having Brittlynn!), increased milk supple and even though I don't think I look completely how I want to look...I FEEL like I do. I feel more confident. I feel better about myself. And I love it!!! When I weighed in I about died...EXACTLY my pre-pregnancy weight!!! In 24 Days I lost 6 lb!!! I think that's super awesome especially considering I didn't even do the full challenge (typical results from the full 24 day challenge are 12 lb, 10 inches and 4% body fat). I wish I would have known about Advocare sooner...then it wouldn't have taken 8 months to see this number ;)
When I started the challenge I wanted to take some before pictures. A friend on facebook mentioned that her husband took some before pictures of her to motivate her to work out more...I thought it'd help keep me motivated throughout the challenge. I was right! I'm SO glad I took pics as getting to try back on those outfits was awesome!!! You can click on ALL of these pictures to make them bigger ;)

The first outfit I tried on was something that I felt looked good on me at my start weight. Size 8 pants and a medium top. I'd wear this pretty often as it was comfortable (no bella band or tummy slimmer needed!). Here are my before and after pics in that outfit: 


For Christmas this past year my mom bought me a really super cute one piece bathing suit. I planned on wearing it this summer. It's actually one of those bathing suit meant to make you look skinnier and it TOTALLY depressed me that it was too small when I tried it on earlier this summer. Something made to make me look skinny didn't even fit?!?! It was a goal of mine to have this bathing suit look GOOD on me!!! While it's still a little bulgy at the thighs I'm betting it'll look great by the time we go to Orlando for Labor Day!!!!
This was the before picture I referred back to most often throughout the challenge. Look at my STOMACH. So gross. It shocked me when I first saw it. It really, really bothered me and I would try on the bathing suit throughout the challenge just to look at my profile in the mirror to see if it was getting better than my before picture...I was jumping up and down like a giddy little kid when I took this after pic!!!!

This was my goal outfit. I bought these jean Bermuda shorts a couple summers ago and loved them. They are a size 4. Obviously I NEVER wear them like they look in the before pic. I always wear them unbuttoned and unzipped with a bella band to hold them up and a tummy slimmer underneath. I hatttte the muffin top look. Yuck! When I put them on for the after pic and I could button them comfortably I was so pumped :) I still have a bit of a bulge but, again, I'm confident that with continued use of Advocare products and continuing my healthier eating habits that it will go away soon!


Prior to the challenge Zach took my measurements so we took them again the day I ended...I lost a combined total of 5.75 inches in only 24 days!!!!1/2 an inch around my calves, 1 inch around my thighs, 1 inch around my hips, 1.5 inches around my waist, 3/4 an inch around my chest, 1/2 an inch across my shoulders and (my fav result as this area is my BIGGEST insecurity...) 1/2 an inch around my arms!!!  I can barely believe it myself!!!!

If you can't already tell...I'm SO excited about my results!!! I used to semi-roll my eyes when reading Danielle's blog thinking that it was crazy that she loved these products so much, but now I see why!!! My personal plan is to continue using the products until I'm finished nursing then I plan to do the full 24 day challenge. Zach could see my results early-on and he is starting his challenge this week!!! MANY of my family members and a few friends too are also starting challenges this week. I'm super excited to see their results because I had such great ones without even doing the full challenge so I KNOW they will see mega changes :)

The products I use: snack bars, meal replacement shakes, spark, rehydrate, probiotics, coreplex with iron, omegaplex and I bought some catalyst to try out too!
I will be the FIRST to say that this stuff is not cheap. However, it has helped me cut out some other costs. The coreplex with iron replaces my prenatal vitamins (and actually has more dha than my prenatals did!) so that cuts out the amount we were spending on that each month. When I went grocery shopping our total bill was $150 lower than our budgeted amount for groceries. Not buying a ton of junk food REALLY helps save us money. No sodas, no ice cream, no tubs of sprinkles (which were almost $6 a tub btw...), no Cinnamon Toast Crunch, less milk, no Poptarts, etc etc. Even though Zach wasn't pumped about spending the money on my products at first, he's now completely on board. He's ordered stuff for himself and is 100% cool with me continuing to stay on the products in the future! He even agreed to do the challenge again (it's safe to do every 90 days!) with me once I wean Brittlynn so we can do it together!!! Wouldn't it be awesome if we both reached our wedding day weights but in a healthy way this time where we can actually sustain them?!?! 

I know this post is super long but I wanted to share my experience and excitement with everyone! Also I know when I was google searching trying to find some personal experiences people had with Advocare products while nursing...I had a hard time finding some. I hope that when other people google search it they can find this post with a realistic look at what to expect ;) I like to be legit!!! 

If you're interested in trying out the challenge for yourself or if you have any questions feel free to contact me: deliasgoddess33@aol.com (I know I keep SWEARING I'll change my email...it'll probably never happen at this point haha) 

While I was on my challenge I was SO thankful for my support team. Like I said earlier, I didn't tell anyone I was doing it other than Zach, Danielle and Rachael. They were REALLY there for me through it all. Danielle's experience with the products helped so much and you guys know I'm all about helping people with baby questions and stuff so I'd love to help anyone out with this as well. As a mommy it's tough to get back our pre-pregnancy bodies and I've been going through that journey myself so I'm here to help you :)

If you'd like to order a challenge or any other Advocare products you can do that HERE! Also HERE is a direct link to order the 24 day challenge :)

You can also join a membership through Advocare and get a 20% discount for life on all your products (no minimum purchases or anything like that). Plus they will send you $50 worth of free Spark and Slam just for signing up! While it sounds like a no-brainer I didn't do it at first. I wanted to wait and make sure I liked the products before joining the membership, but I totally should have. Of course I loved everything so I have now joined to get a discount on all of my purchases!  :) If you want to sign up for the membership you can do that HERE and start using your discount right away!

I'm super pumped about my results and can't wait to start wearing my old clothes again!!! I'd love to hear from others about the ways you lost your baby weight! I've finally lost mine from baby #2 and now I feel SO much more confident about my abilities to keep it off and lose it again with baby #3 someday :)

SOME UPDATES:

You can read my update since doing the challenge (along with Zach's weight loss with his challenge...spoiler alert: he lost 12.8 LBS and over 8 inches!!!) HERE!

You can also see Courtney's AMAZING results with Advocare and her life changing story (along with her 14 lb weight loss in only 24 days) HERE!

And finally you can also see Casey and Jordan's Advocare Journey so far HERE!

Can you tell we are all LOVING some Advocare around here?!?! :)

15 comments:

lgutu said...

Congrats! You look great!

I have the same problem with headaches...if I were you, I would make sure to keep up with the high water intake even if you're not taking Advocare. I'd venture to say that had a bigger impact on your lack of headaches than the actual supplements did :)

Crissy said...

you go girl! I have 5 lbs to go! maybe I will join ya :)

Colbi said...

Yay!!! Dropping the weight after baby 2 seems so much harder. I must say even to be at 132 you carry it really well, I was super surprised, I thought you were way less than that in your after pics.

Danielle P said...

Whoo hoo for Advocare!

Rachael said...

Proud of you!

Amanda P said...

You look great girl!!!! I need to do some before pics so that when I finally lose all my weight I can be super pumped!! :)

Katie Roberts said...

You and your friend, Danielle convinced me! Ordering today! My husband is going to do the 24 day challenge....not sure what I'm going to do yet. Definitely getting the coreplex with iron, omegaplex, and probiotics. I'm training for a 1/2 marathon (Nov. 3), so probably getting some Rehydrate for the long run days. Thanks for sharing your experience!

emilysparker said...

Yay! That's super exciting!!! Awesome on the marathon...I WISH I could enjoy running ;) My hubby started his challenge today and he's super excited about it! Email me if you have any questions, I'd love to help!!! Deliasgoddess33@aol.com

emilysparker said...

You SO should take some before pics!!!! It REALLY helped keep me motivated and getting to try them all on again and compare the pics really helped me to see my results!

emilysparker said...

@53df50a00f436984f2fe51b52e773351:disqus thank you so much!!! I was a LITTLE nervous about sharing my weight on here but you know me...I like to be legit ;) I feel like the weight was harder to lose after #2 as well!!! I'm thankful it's gone and can't wait to see how much more I can lose ;)

Chelley said...

I did WW after both of mine and was very happy with the results (I'm 5'7" and normally a size 10/12). HOWEVER, after seeing your before and after photos, I am BLOWN AWAY!!! It seriously looks like you lost A LOT more than 6 pounds!!! I thought you looked great before, but you look fabulous now. I've been talking to Chris about trying this. I'd LOVE to be a size 8 :-).

Katie Roberts said...

Our package came today! J is starting the challenge on Monday. The downside is we're having the kids' birthday party next Sat. Not sure he can resist red velvet cupcakes!

Jill Ducommun said...

My husband did the 24 day challenge and lost 15 lbs and 15 inches! He wants to do it again. After I have my baby I may have to do it too!

Cheryl Lieder Schoeck said...

Emily- how did you decide to try the rehydrate with your modified 24 day challenge? I thought it was more for using after exercise, like a gatorade. But did you use it on a daily basis? Thanks- Cheryl

Krystle said...

Thank you so much for posting this! I feel like I can identify with you to a T. I am about to launch my 24-day challenge, and after reading your blog I feel confident I can be successful.

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