So of late, Squee has become my favorite made up word.  I would love to say that I coined the term, but that’s not true.  I am sure I heard it on some television show or something, either way, it is now my favorite way to describe excitement via text, FB, pins, email, whatever.  It doesn’t sound as good when I verbalize it, but it sure looks good written on a screen (because who uses paper anymore, geesh.)

Something that I have recently become very excited about is the Advocare 24 Day Challenge.  I started my 1st challenge December 27th & have been truly amazed at my results thus far!  After the 10 day cleanse phase, not only had I dropped four pounds, I had lost almost 13 collective inches off my body!  Three inches off of each thigh!  The Challenge is not for the weak willed (which is usually my case) but I figured if I could stick with something for 24 days, then I just might be able to try something for the long term. It requires deep commitment to pay attention to not only portion size, which is hugely important, but what food you are eating.

The thing I love most about this plan is that it requires that you eat REAL food, not processed crap.  It’s so easy these days to run to the grocery store & fill your cart with boxes of processed chemicals masking themselves as food.  This is not good for you & will not help you lose weight.  I have always had a really hard time buying into “diet” foods because they generally contain so many ingredients that there is no feasible way they are derived from actual earth grown food.  Even if they come from something natural, they have been so chemically processed that any resemblance to their natural state is long gone.

In no way is this easy.  The two major problems I knew I would have when starting my challenge were 1. No coffee. 2. No Sugar.

NO coffee.  What kind of evil person would ever tell someone they cannot have the one thing that might make them a civilized human on a regular basis, not to mention while dieting? Sure, it’ll be easy to lose weight when I am in prison for going on a murderous rampage from lack of caffeine & can spend all day doing push ups…  No sugar, you say? Well damn, I might as well just forget it because without my daily bag of gummy bears I simply cannot live.   Something kept telling me in the back of my mind that those stupid gummy bears (& I blame Disney for brainwashing me in the late 80’s for thinking they would make me bounce “here & there & everywhere”) were not as healthy as I wanted myself to believe, but nothing thus far had broken me of the ridiculous habit.

I ordered my Challenge kit in late November, but it took me to see a picture of myself at my own Christmas party to really make the decision to get down to business.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Here I am with two of my beautiful neighborhood buddies, one whom you may know from her superfamous blog The Lunchbox Diaries.  Although I had a super-fun time, I knew that my kanga-pouch was not representing the person that I knew I could be.  So I made a decision to set my date & since I had the holidays off, decided to start immediately after Christmas.

My husband was totally on board with the plan, although not doing the Challenge himself, was ready to make the commitment to eat better right along with me.  We purged the house of any food & candy that we might be tempted to binge out on at night.  We made strict grocery lists & meal plans and on the 27th, our food lifestyle was (what I hope) forever changed.   We decided to go almost strictly organic because we wanted to rid our household of foods that contain GMOs or meats that were fed GMOs.  This decision comes at quite a cost & we are still learning how to do this on a budget.  (I won’t be blogging on the how to’s of going all organic at low cost anytime soon.)

There are 5 Advocare Products that you take during the Challenge:

1.  The Herbal Cleanse which is a series of herbal cleanse supplements, fiber drinks, and probiotic supplements.  I am not going to lie, those fiber drinks are not fun, take my advice & drink them as soon as you mix them & chug.  They will congeal & a fiber filled jello shot is no fun.  I learned this lesson on Day 1.  The 1st few days are rough.  Your body is cleansing & boy does it cleanse the 1st few days.  Once you get to day 4-5, you are a bit more regulated and can definitely notice a difference in your “habits”.  I have now added a fiber supplement to my daily routine because I liked how taking the fiber made me feel.

2. Spark Vitamin packed energy drink.  I CANNOT live without this.  It has 120mgs of caffeine, which is average with a cup of coffee & a definite necessity for those of us used to our caffeine during the day.

3.  Omega Plex is an Omega-3 supplement.  Which is good for your heart & can aid in boosting metabolism & the immune system.

4. MNS Max3 (You can choose from 3 different options suited to your needs.)  You start the “Max” phase of your challenge after completing the cleanse.  These supplements help in many ways, boosting metabolism, providing essential nutrients, and antioxidants aiding in weight loss.

5.  Meal Replacement Shakes.  Self explanatory.  Replace your breakfast during the “Max” phase with these vitamin & protein packed meals in a bottle or cup, whichever way you chose to ingest them.

When you place an order, your Coach (hopefully me) will send you a PDF cookbook & guide via email, but you will also receive this guide with your products.  You are to follow the supplement regimen in detail, as well as drinking half your body weight in ounces of water a day.  Just get a bottle that has the ounces marked on the side.  I have a 24 ounce bottle & I drink at least four a day.  It’s a little more than what is required, but I figure the more water the better.

There are resources out there for recipes & advice.  Don’t stress over the details, but definitely PLAN AHEAD.  I cannot stress this more.  Have healthy snacks on hand & know what your meals are well in advance so you can shop & pack accordingly.

The Challenge does require that you go alcohol free for the duration of the 24 day term.  This hasn’t been all that difficult for me thus far, but it sure does make it hard to want to jam out on some karaoke with your neighbors when you are sober…

There are also DVD workouts you can order to coincide with your Challenge.  Can You 24 Level 1 and Can You 24 Level 2.  I recently received my CU24 Level 1 & started this past weekend.  There are 4 different workouts on each DVD and a downloadable calendar to match your Challenge.  Each workout is 24 minutes, and are the perfect companion to the challenge.  They are geared towards any fitness level too, so the least experienced person can work out right alongside Mr. Marathon man.

I am completing my Challenge this Sunday, the 19th & will post about my results shortly thereafter.  Squee! I am planning on taking a week of (medical reasons) and will be starting my Max Phase regimen again on the 25th.  Wish me luck!