Monday, December 2, 2013

Herbal Life: 4 Week Challenge

Today is Day 1 of my new 4 week challenge, and depending on how you look at it, it couldn't come at a better (or worse) time.  This is the perfect time because I spent all my Christmas money on getting the products I need for this challenge.  The worst time because it means saying no to all the Christmas baked goodies, but the best time because it will carry me through the holidays (my last day is December 30th) and ensure that I not only avoid gaining weight, but lose it during this treacherous time.  I am 14 pounds away from entering my healthy weight range and every fiber in my body is buzzing with anticipation and excitement.

Just a note right from the start: I do not recommend this for someone who is just starting out because you would have to make too many changes too fast.  This is a great way to lose the last 5 or 10 pounds that stubbornly refuse to come off, this is a great way to overcome a plateau, and it is a great way to boost your health.

What I like about this plan is that first it only lasts 4 weeks, and second you work with an Herbal Life representative (in my case my brother-in-law) who takes your weight and measurements beforehand and helps you with your nutrition as well.  Here is how it works.

First you are replacing your breakfast and lunch with Herbal Life shakes (made from formula 1 and protein drink mix (both herbal life products).
The first time I heard this all my red flags started raising, because I do not believe in fad diets that effect short term changes.  However, this is not a diet, but a health boost and again, only lasts 4 weeks.  Here is the rest of the plan: You can eat as many fruits and veggies as you want.  Your Herbal Life rep will tell you what your daily protein target is (mine is 106 grams) and they will tell you what your daily Caloric goal is for days when you do work out and days when you do not work out.  You need to exercise three times a week (that's it!) but your exercises need to include cardio and strength training (drats, strength training is my weakness).  The reason why this is not a fad diet is because it does not eliminate any of the necessary food groups and you actually learn and focus on nutrition and make sure that you eat enough of each food group daily. 

After your breakfast shake, you can have a snack of lean protein and healthy carbs.  Then your lunch shake, and then another snack of lean protein and healthy carbs.  Dinner consists of a larger portion of lean protein and veggies.  You are not supposed to eat very many carbs for dinner, ideally you will have consumed all your carbs earlier in the day. For today, my first time I hit a brick wall in the afternoon and felt like I was going to fall asleep on the spot.  Not good since I have two little ones running around.  I finally attributed it to not eating enough even though I was eating some snacks.  I decided to have a cup of mixed veggies and one tsp of olive oil with some seasoning to give it a little more flavor.  After that I felt much better and I will make sure that tomorrow I eat more substantial snacks earlier in the day.

Another thing I like is that you get a paper that tells you what are good sources of protein, and how much protein is found in each source.  Also it gives you good snack ideas.  I have a little notebook I found lying around my house where I am keeping track of all the protein I am eating.  I am also tracking my points plus values to make sure I am within my healthy points plus range and I don't over or under eat my points.  Today I hit my protein goal of 106g and I ate about 29 points plus, which is under my allotted points for nursing but over my allotted points if you don't take into account my nursing points. 

Here is my healthy dinner for tonight.
chicken, asparagus, salad, and the tomatoes and olives are supposed to be on top of the chicken but they all fell off.

Anyway, the program focuses on making healthy choices and the healthy choices you make for dinner and snacks need to become your lifestyle choices, so although after 4 weeks you ditch the protein shakes you have still built up healthy eating habits.  It will also help me transition into eating smaller portions, which is something I need to start doing again since Chloe is not nursing as much now.  That is why I like this challenge as opposed to other programs out there, as long as you use it correctly.  This would be great for someone wanting to slim down before a special occasion (like my sister-in-law's wedding coming up in March) or just wanting to build muscle, get healthy, and lose some weight!  My older sister did this program and she was already thin, and she lost several inches and really toned up.

The hardest part of this challenge: Giving up chips and diet soda.  Chips are not healthy, low in carbs or fat so I am tossing them out for the next 4 weeks.  Diet Soda is a controversial issue which I am not getting into here, but it is not recommended during the 4 weeks so it too is getting tossed.  Also I am giving up desserts and candy again, but I have done that once already and I am not worried about that part. 

So I am excited to get started.  Here are my before pictures, can't wait to show them with the after pictures on New Years Day!  Here is to a rockin' December and reaching my goal of 150 by 2014!

P.S. my official weigh in at start was 158, I will get my measurements from Robert and post them at the conclusion of this challenge with my end results

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