Wednesday, August 27, 2014

366 Days And Counting

I’ve heard it said that the definition of insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result”.  Feeling the need to write a follow-up blog to a post I did six months ago, I was going to lead with this little verbal tid-bit.  Being the stickler for fact-checking that I am, I decided I should probably verify this definition with my good friend Webster.  Imagine my surprise when I found that the definition of insanity is NOT, in fact, “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result”.  

According to Webster, the definition of insanity reads something like this:

Insanity:  1 a: a deranged state of the mind usu. occurring as a specific disorder (as schizophrenia) and usu. excluding such states as mental deficiency, psychoneurosis and various character disorders b: a mental disorder  2:  such unsoundness of mind or lack of understanding as prevents one from having the mental capacity required by law to enter into a particular relationship, status, or transaction or as removes one from criminal or civil responsibility  3 a: extreme folly or unreasonableness  b: something utterly foolish or unreasonable.

3b: something utterly foolish or unreasonable. . . . hmm. . . 

6 months ago, I wrote this little blog post in which I admitted to all 3 of my readers that I had been secretly using this product called “Plexus”.  I was a bit embarrassed that I had been lured into the overly-hyped world of “network marketing”, (more commonly referred to as “pyramid scheme” or multi-level-marketing).  I thought it was all a bit intense. . . this whole concept of sucking your friends into buying something so you could make a few bucks off them.  It’s never really been my gig. However, it was hard for me to deny that in 6 months, Plexus had helped me shed the 20 lbs that I had been carrying around for over a decade.    It was with great trepidation that I admitted in cyberspace that I:  1.) actually had 20 lbs that I really needed to lose, and 2.) hadn’t been able to do it using the standard mantra “eat less, move more”. 

As a side note:  who are these people that say this, anyway?  Buncha skinny girls that never have any fun and have never been seduced into eating half a cake in one sitting—that’s who.  But I digress. . .

Fast forward to yesterday.  Yesterday, August 26, 2014 was exactly 1 year to the day that I got mad enough to actually do something about my overall health and well-being.  One year ago, yesterday, was the day that I woke up and realized that, according to the CDC definition, I was officially overweight with a BMI of 25.0.  One year ago I vowed I would take my life back, stop making excuses about my weight and finally get back to living the healthiest life possible—both for me and my family.

Now, I have to admit, when I wrote my original "confession" about Plexus six months ago there was this small voice in my head chirping "Hey, Vanessa!  What if this whole thing was a ruse?  What if you look up in 6 months only to find you have gained all of that weight back?  What then?  You have just declared to the world that Plexus is the greatest thing since sliced bread.  What are you going to do to save face?"  Yes, I was terrified that I had just put my personal reputation on the line for some crazy multi-level scheme that was going to be a flash in the pan.  Can you say 8-track, beta max and laser disc?

3b: something utterly foolish or unreasonable. . . . what if I end up looking "insane"?

Well, I have to tell you, since February I have "fallen off the wagon" a time or two. I have indulged in all sorts of fancy desserts, all manner of intriguing dining establishments, and lots and lots of evening ice cream parties with my kiddos.  I have fluctuated up a few pounds and then right back down as I have learned to enjoy all things. . . in moderation.

So, all that to say, one year ago yesterday, I set out on a journey to lose 10 lbs.  As I sit here, 366 days later, 20 lbs lighter, 6% body fat slimmer, 90 seconds faster on my mile, and a WHOLE heck of a lot healthier, I am more than confident that I will never be overweight again.

A number of my friends have asked me to tell them the secrets to my success.  I have to admit to you, Plexus alone did not remove the extra pounds from my body.  You will hear a lot of claims from people about how all you have to do is drink this little pink drink once a day and the pounds will miraculously melt away.  Well, I'm here to tell you that if it sounds too good to be true, it is.  There is no such thing as a magic drink.  There is no quick fix.  THAT would be the definition of "insanity"--3b: something utterly foolish or unreasonable.

I will tell you, I'm a little bit nervous to call people out about the efficacy of Plexus. On more than one Plexus forum, Ambassadors have been "warned" to tread lightly on the negative speak.  There have been veiled "threats" from higher up the food chain (or mlm pyramid, if you will) that only "positive" comments are to be posted.  While that's all well and good from a marketing standpoint, the reality is: there is not a product on the planet that has 100% positive reviews, or 100% success.  There is no one-size-fits-all approach to anything.  That being said, I feel a little bit like Jerry Seinfeld standing in front of the Soup Nazi right now.  I hope I don't get the "No Plexus For You" from the powers that be. . . because I have to admit, I'm a little addicted and dependent on their products at this point.  I believe in being open and honest about pretty much most things in life.  You aren't going to get a bunch of unicorns and rainbows shooting out of my butt, and I'm not going to intentionally misrepresent how Plexus products work.  Plexus does not work for everybody, but I have found that when people begin Plexus and are intentional about getting back to a truly healthy lifestyle, they have much, much better success.

So, without further adieu, here is basically what I have done for the past 12 months.  Admittedly, it may not work for you, so read with your brain engaged and feel free to disregard anything that you consider "insanity".

1.  I have permanently reset my thought processes to eliminate the word "diet" from my vocabulary.  I will no longer "diet".  For the rest of my life I will focus on a generally healthy lifestyle.  I will eat cake, candy, pasta, and other not-so-healthy foods on occasion.  I just won't make them a daily staple in my life.

I think this graphic says it best:

2.  I intentionally move a lot.  I received a Fit Bit for Christmas, and I am intentional about taking at least 10,000 steps a day.  I also change up my workout routine.  I run 4 miles, 3-4 times per week.  But, I also do yoga and simple 10-15 minute targeted workouts as well.  There are tons of these available on the internet that focus on legs, butt, arms, abs and whole-body.

3.  I ALWAYS eat breakfast!  I ALWAYS eat a breakfast that is high in protein.  This keeps me from snacking on foods that are quick, but unhealthy later on in the day.

4.  I drink water!  A LOT of water!  Most nutritionists recommend drinking half your body weight in ounces every day.  I drink more than that.  I average somewhere between 90-128 ounces per day--128 oz is a whole gallon, FYI.

5.  I never, ever drink sodas.  I used to drink about 1 per week.  Since starting Plexus, all sodas taste gross to me.  Not a bad side effect, I must admit.

6.  I use my bathroom scale as a motivator, not a drill Sergeant.  After my initial 6 months on Plexus, I did not lose any additional lbs.  However, my bathroom scale has a body fat calculator on it and what I found was my body fat continued to decline even though the pounds did not.  This has led to a faster and better metabolism.  IE:  now I can eat more calories without gaining weight, like I used to.

7.  I recorded my food consumption for a good six months with the help of My Fitness Pal.  It is a free service with a great phone app and was extremely helpful for me when determining portion sizes, and when eating in restaurants.  I am, admittedly, not all that great about doing it consistently anymore, but the transformation in my brain that it provided has been permanent.  The biggest revelation for me, after using this app for some time, was the amount of empty and/or excessive calories I was consuming in restaurants--even when opting for the "healthy menu" options!  Once this information stuck in my head, I almost eliminated eating out altogether.  The interesting side effect of that decision was the massive amount of money that we saved as a family!  As a side note:  within 2 months of starting with Plexus, I saved enough money just from our restaurant budget to cover the cost of the products.

8.  I try to never eat anything after 8:00 at night.  Sometimes I will have an after-dinner dessert, and sometimes I will break this rule altogether.  However, I do find that I sleep better and have an easier time with weight management if I consume all of my calories for the day before 8:00 p.m.

As for the use of Plexus products, in addition to the lifestyle changes above, here are some of the products that I have used, and my opinions about them:

1.  Plexus Slim: This is the basic staple of my overall transformation.  It is a simple powder packet that you mix with water and drink before a meal.  It has a fruity flavor that I really like, and helps me with sugar cravings.  I really like this product a lot and will continue to take it over the long haul.

2.  Accelerator:  Personally, I don't think this particular product did much for me.  However, I have had other people tell me that it was fabulous for them.  It didn't make me jittery, wasn't difficult to take, and didn't seem to have any weird side effects.  I just didn't find it sped up my weight loss efforts much, if any.

3.  Boost:  Now this product is an entirely different story from the Accelerator.  I love my Boost!  Introduced in May, this product facilitates extra energy and has really helped me with my workouts.  I have gone from a solid 11.5 minute mile to a consistent 10 minute mile on my runs since I started this product.  It does make me a bit jittery for about an hour, so I don't take it before I go to work, as I need very steady hands.

4.  Pro-Bio 5:  I like this product for general digestive health.  I simply take one at bedtime to help maintain optimal digestion.  It's especially good for people that have been on heavy doses of antibiotics in the past and/or have digestive issues in general.

5.  Bio Cleanse:  It took me a long time to work up the nerve to try this product.  I eat a ton of fiber, veggies and fruit.  I wasn't sure that I needed anything to "keep things moving along".  Since I started this product, though, I actually feel better in general.  It seems to help keep me from feeling "bloated" from all of the natural fiber and fruit that I ingest.

6.  X-Factor:  I take this as my regular multivitamin.  The B-vitamins help with immunity and energy, the D helps with bone health, and the rest are antioxidants that help the body repair itself.  It has also made my fingernails grow like crazy!!!

7.  Fast Relief:  I have not personally taken any of these products.  My husband, however, swears by them.  He has suffered with tennis elbow and bursitis for a number of years.  Taking multiple Advil per day to alleviate the pain was how he made it through the day.  Since taking the Fast Relief Capsules and using the cream, he doesn't really complain at all about pain in his arm and shoulder anymore.

So, there's my 12 month story.  You may think I'm insane, but I just think I'm finally healthy!

Here's the link to my Plexus site, should you decide to give it a whirl.  

Until next time. . . 

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