AdvoCare 24-Day Challenge Results and Review

Over the weekend, I finished the AdvoCare 24-day challenge and I’m about to burst with the results.

I haven’t posted regular updates about the last 24 days.  I’ve savored and struggled with those closest to me.  During the challenge, I kept private video diaries and pictures on tumblr for my coach and friend Dani. I’ve unprotected them and you can check out all the nitty gritty details over here.  I’m very happy to share a summary of the final results now.

First, I will let the photos speak for themselves.

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No pushing out, no sucking in, no photoshopping (except for lighting).  Just 24 days of change. I can see changes in my upper back, stomach, legs, backside and I really just feel FANTASTIC.

So, let’s jump in and review the past 24 days.

 

AdvoCare Intro

I posted a little introduction to AdvoCare here, but let me rehash a few things.

What is AdvoCare?

AdvoCare is a nutritional company.  The idea is to add things like probiotics, Omega3 fatty acids, vitamins and cleansing products to make your body function properly.  For some, it’s a weight loss program, but for many, it’s simply a way to make your body perform at its highest level. Practically speaking, AdvoCare is composed of pills, fiber drinks, energy drinks and meal replacement shakes.

What is the 24-Day Challenge?

The 24-Day Challenge is a sort of kick-off to the AdvoCare program.  You can get products and use them without doing the challenge. The challenge puts a set of products together for you in two phases that puts your body into high-gear (forgive me, this is my newbie explanation).  The first is a 10 day cleansing cycle to cleanse your bodies of toxins and then the second is called the Max Phase where it really ramps up your metabolism.

Can I do this without AdvoCare?

I wrote this answer before the challenge:

Absolutely.  I’ve eaten clean before and stayed on a good exercise routine.  However, this time I need help.  I can’t seem to kick it on my own.  This will put me on a regimen that will keep me accountable and give me extra tools to be successful.

I would now answer this yes and no.  Yes, you can eat clean and exercise on your own but I truly do not think I’ve ever experienced the level of energy and clarity before and do not think I could do that without AdvoCare.  Also, I don’t think I could or would have done the cleansing phase without AdvoCare. So, yes, I think it’s possible to lose weight but not feel as great.

What Else I Did Along with AdvoCare

Beyond taking the AdvoCare products, I quit sugar. I still have things like BBQ sauce and ketchup and put brown sugar on my sweet potato but I gave up things like cookies, cake, and ice cream which I was eating with abandon.

At the beginning of the challenge, my main goal was just to eliminate the desserts.  Towards the middle, I started tracking calories and then, towards the end, I started paying attention to protein, carbs, fiber and sugar through MyFitnessPal.

A normal day before I started would be Starbucks and a banana for breakfast, waffles mid-morning, Taco Bell for lunch with a large Mountain Dew, two cookies in the afternoon with some chips, a decent dinner with the family and then chocolate ice cream with peanut butter for dessert.  I can’t even imagine the number of calories.  Oh, but I do miss my Mountain Dew!

Think about the exact opposite of that and that’s what I’m eating at this point.  Basically just meat, nuts, veggies, fruit and dairy.

In addition, I started the 30 Day Shred so I was exercising just 20 minutes a day.

I also sometimes in front of my new light therapy box in the morning but wasn’t consistent.  The light is also supposed to help with seasonal mood issues.

 

My Results

First and foremost, I must, must, must talk about how I FEEL.  Before AdvoCare, I wrote in my notebook I felt:

  • Tired
  • Lack of energy
  • Zombie-ish
  • Bad memory
  • Hard time concentrating
  • Hungry – afternoons/evenings
  • Crave sugar!
  • “thick” (feeling, not physical looks—almost like living in molasses)

Now, I have more energy than I know what to do with at times.  And it’s not just the caffeine in the system.  I used to have coffee every morning even when I was eating clean and I have NEVER felt as good.  I’m no longer drinking coffee but feel as if I have sustained energy throughout the day.  I have normal tired days when I don’t get enough sleep but overall, I feel COMPLETELY different.

I wake up easier.  I’ve been waking up in the mornings without an alarm and ready for my feet to hit the floor.  Before, I was sluggish and tired in the mornings.  Now I feel refreshed in the mornings.

My brain fog has completely lifted.  I am thinking more clearly.  I almost feel like I physically see the world more clearly.  You know those allergy commercials where everything is fuzzy and then they swipe the screen for it to look more clear? That’s the way I feel at all times now.  My head is clear.

I no longer feel lazy and unable to exercise, or even move to the next room.

I no longer feel hungry all the time.  I don’t crave food and am not always impatiently waiting on the next time I get to eat something with carbs and sugar.

I feel peaceful and overall have a clean feeling of wellness.

I would do what I just did for the last 24 days many times over and pay double to feel how different I do now.

As for the numbers, I think you’ll be surprised to know I only lost 4.5 lbs. It doesn’t sound like much but between my chest, waist, hips and thighs, I lost a total of 6”!

Now, everyone asks if it’s AdvoCare that did it.  I honestly don’t know. I did make quite a few changes at once.  However, I can tell you I’ve done the other things before and have never felt this good.

Other Notes About AdvoCare

Here are some other general thoughts about AdvoCare products specifically:

  • It’s A LOT of pills.  You take hundreds of pills over the challenge.  This TERRIFIED me when I started.  I’m an awful pill taker and I really wasn’t sure I could get them down.  My throat would tighten at just the sight of some of them.  Over the 3 weeks though, I got REALLY good at taking pills.  I now no longer fear taking pills.  Just sit up straight, tilt your head up, breathe deeply before taking them and focus on something in front of you while you’re swallowing.
  • The fiber drink in the cleanse phase is pretty disgusting but if you can handle pulpy orange juice, you can get this down.  Just mix water and OJ with the fiber drink and guzzle with a straw!
  • I didn’t use the meal replacement shakes because they are not gluten-free.  We used a protein shake from our local health store. (Check out my full post on AdvoCare and Gluten)
  • Neither Scott nor I could handle the RAW bar.  It must be the oats that are not truly gluten-free.  Thankfully, it’s not part of the regular system. (Check out my full post on AdvoCare and Gluten)
  • We love the Rehydrate recovery drink.
  • Fruit punch is my favorite Spark flavor—I LOVE that stuff.
  • We did add in the optional Catalyst and ThermoPlus to the 24 days.
  • I did have a very bad day where I felt shaky, anxious and as if I was going to faint.  I did not eat according to the instructions and really paid for it.  You have to stick to the program.
  • AdvoCare is not made up of magic diet pills.  You have to change the way you eat.  That said, Scott changed very little about what he ate (he eats pretty well), did not exercise any more and still lost 1” in his waist.

After the Challenge

I love how I feel so much that I’m continuing on with AdvoCare.  I’m going to do one more Max Phase and then probably go into maintenance with just ThermoPlus (promotes metabolism) and Catalyst (protects muscles).

I’ve talked to some people who hated AdvoCare, couldn’t stay on the system and didn’t like the way it felt.  That is totally respectable.  Not everyone is going to experience it the same.

While I had ups and downs, my experience turned out GREAT and when you feel GREAT you want others to feel GREAT. If you want to poke around at the products, link over to our shop.

I hate to sound like the plethora of weight loss schemes covering your Facebook wall but if you are battling weight loss or feel any of those terrible symptoms I had, I highly recommend you at least looking into it. I’d love to chat in the comments with questions or send me an email!

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This post is not sponsored—just my results and personal opinion!

Just Give Me a Pill Box

Why do bloggers feel a need to share such private information as their medical history?  I don’t know.  But we do.  Or I do.  I complained on Twitter Monday of having to do blood work and my results came back today.

Turns out I have hypothyroidism.  And guess what?  It makes me happy.  And I’ll explain why.  I’ve had so many of these symptoms, two of which I specifically talked to her about on Monday.  Many of which I was simply blaming my aging, personality, stress, work load, even the season.  And I’m sure that contributes but now, with a diagnosis and a prescription, I have the hope of change.  Before today, I was really trying to deal with the fact that I was just getting older and I was going to live with how my body is different.  And I know, my body is and will continue to change.  But maybe this can slow the process down a bit and return me to a bit of normalcy. 

My Vitamin D was very low as well and that scares me a bit knowing a deficiency can contribute to cancer or cardiovascular disease, two that are a big concern in my family.  Scott already had some at the house since his is low as well.  I’ve already started my dosage.

The good news is all my exercise has paid off and my cholesterol has decreased.  My LDL has decreased from 135 to 115!  I’ve gone from Borderline High to Near Optimal.  Yay for C25K!  No cholesterol pills for me!!

Overall I’m really happy that nothing else was of concern and that the things that were brought up were correctable.  I still think I’m showing my age though…I’m gonna need one of those pill boxes for every day of the week now!

Couch to 5K – Just Hand Me a Cap and Gown

I think I graduated anyway.  Today I went to finish up week 8 of 9 with 28 minutes of running.  I’m still kind of slow with all the running, usually running about a 12 minute pace so I knew when I got to the final week 9 it was unlikely I’d actually make the 3 miles (5K) in the 30 minutes it had set. 

I got to 10 minutes today and really thought I might have to walk for a bit.  I hadn’t eaten much today, didn’t take any Advil, didn’t have an Energy gel and haven’t been stretching well so things were stacked against me. But if I’ve learned anything over the last 8 weeks, it’s if I push through, I can do it.  Shocking revelation, I know.  I guess Nike was right all along, Just do it!  So I did. I slowed the treadmill down from a 5.7 (10-11 min pace) slowly down to a 4.8 (12 min) and ran through it.  By 25 minutes I realized I was feeling great and decided I would run longer than the scheduled 28 minutes.  Week 9 you run 30 minutes I guess in hopes you are at a 10 min mile by that point but I wasn’t quite there.  I was already over my time though and really nothing hurt.  I was tired but my breathing was regulated so I just kept going. And for the first time, I had legit ran 3 miles.  Over 3 miles in fact.

It all started with an inspiring and INSISTENT friend

Continued with the help of an awesome iPhone app

About all ended with a tough week 4

And actually ended unexpectedly early.  I’m calling myself a graduate.  I have gone from my Couch to a 5K.

I don’t HATE running now.  I don’t love it like I do spinning still but it’s amazing how my body has adjusted.  Everything on me used to hurt when I ran but today, nothing but a little pain in my left hip.  My ankles which always felt like they might dislocate my feet from my body are now stronger.  My shins which would ache don’t give me any trouble.  The burning in my calves is gone.  My breathing is easier to control.  I guess it figured out that I was serious about this running thing.

Now I haven’t won any races or even signed up for any races but I really want to do a few thank-you’s for getting this far.  Just imagine me on-stage with the music playing and Kanye sitting in the crowd ready to interrupt.

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I want to thank Melissa and my dad for being the runners they are and inspiring and encouraging me.  C25K app creators for making all the cues easier and TrySports Charlotte for setting me up with some fabulous equipment and doling out spot-on advice.  I’d like to thank my family for letting me have time away to take care of myself.  And yes, God, thanks for the well-being, means, and strength for getting me through.

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So what’s next?  I think a spinning class is in order to be honest!  Melissa promised me a piece of chocolate cake at graduation back in week 4.  And yes, I think I’ll keep running.  Maybe even run a few races this Spring.  But even if I don’t know, at least I know for a fact I CAN!  And more importantly, if I can, you can too!  Go get started!

Couch to 5K – 6 Week Check-in

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Thought I published this yesterday…

What you see there is all I have left to do before graduation.  The walk breaks are over.  I am running.

Week 4 was hands down the turning point for me.  That week we began 5 minute runs and it beat me down pretty bad.  I would kill for 5 minute intervals now.  But I guess that’s what training is all about.

I know I said it here before but stretching, hydrating, energy gels and podcasts (and Melissa) have all saved me in this program.

I did do something different today for my first 25 minute stretch that I wanted to throw out there.  You seasoned runners will be pleased. I know I said I hated running outside but today I went to run at the local walking park.  Scott and the kids packed a lunch and played on the playground and I ran.  It was 55F and just a beautiful day.  I found the time went faster and it was easier to adjust my pace (from really slow to much slower).  And of course, I loved having my family nearby.  Emma even ran out to give me my water bottle once.  With the weather not permanently nice, I’m sure I’ll be going back to the treadmill but I have to say I’ll definitely be giving it more of a chance come Spring especially now that I’m doing longer runs.

I can’t say yet that I like running.  I like that I’ve completed 6 weeks of training. I like that I’ve improved during those 6 weeks tremendously.  I like that I’m exercising consistently.  I like that a 5K doesn’t seem like an unachievable goal.  I especially like that I’m not gaining weight anymore (although I’ve only lost 1.5lbs in the past 6wks).  But running?  Nah.  Give me a stationary bike in the dark at the Y for an hour any day.

Couch to 5K – Halfway Done

I know I just posted about this but I wanted to officially declare myself halfway done with the program.  Yesterday morning I had a great run, finishing up week 4 of 9.  And after the first of week 4 I really didn’t think I’d say that again.  I did make a few changes that I thought were worth talking about.

  1. I stretched and stretched and stretched and used The Stick liberally for the 2 days prior to the run.
  2. I used these energy goo things Melissa bought me for Christmas 15 minutes before the run.  It’s hard to tell if it helped but it is one thing I added.  I also determined that vanilla gingerbread probably isn’t my favorite flavor.
  3. I listened to a podcast versus music during the run.

I think the last surprisingly made the biggest difference.  I love music and I love spinning/cycling to music.  It’s the main reason I love my favorite spinning instructor.  He always makes sure we are peddling to the beat of the music.  But running to music?  It has just NOT been working for me, especially since I’m switching between run and walk all the time.  I found with listening to the podcast, I simply listened.  It was easier to not pay attention to the running and I wasn’t using a ton of energy trying to keep up or slow down with the beat of the music.

For you runners…what else am I missing?  What flavor of the energy gel is your favorite?

For you non-runners, when are you starting C25K??