I’ve written a few times on this blog about my struggles with weight gain/loss. A few years ago, over the course of about 2 years, I gained a significant amount of weight. Before our wedding, I managed to lose about 25 pounds of it by counting calories and running and was very happy with my progress. That said, because I have hypothyroidism (and despite taking medicine to bring my thyroid hormones up to normal levels), losing weight is a very slow process for me. It took me over a year to lose those pounds, whereas it might only take 3-4 months for others on a similar diet/exercise plan.
After the wedding, running became less about weight loss and more about racing, and I put a few pounds back on. When we were training for the marathon, I wasn’t too worried about it because I was more concerned about making sure I was properly fueling my body and I figured some of it was from increased muscle mass. Since then, I’ve been trying to return to my pre-wedding eating/exercise habits to drop those extra pounds (plus a few more). This time around, though, I can’t seem to lose any weight at all, which is incredibly frustrating and confusing to boot. Suffice it to say, I’m ready to change things up and see some results.
Over the past few months, I’ve noticed a few Facebook friends raving about Advocare products. At first, I blew the whole thing off as some “Lose Weight Fast!” scam. However, additional research and spending some time talking to people who have used their products revealed that there was more to Advocare than I originally thought, and convinced me that their products might be worth trying. Of course, I should note that I had to do a lot of wading through testimonials of people who use and now sell Advocare products to come to that conclusion (it’s hard to believe there’s not a bias when it comes to multi-level marketing schemes). Long story short, Steve and I are going to be starting the Advocare 24 Day Challenge on Monday in the same spirit of our vegan challenge last winter (which was coincidentally also 24 days!).
The 24 Day Challenge is a two step program that takes place over the course of–you guessed it!–24 days. Much to my surprise, Advocare does not necessarily market this or any of their other products as a way to lose weight fast. The 24 Day Challenge is meant to be a good jump start for your weight loss program. The idea is that the Challenge helps you develop healthy eating and exercise habits that you can continue to follow after it ends, and gives you a supposed boost via supplements. Phase 1 is a 10-day cleanse that is meant to “rid your body of toxins and prepare your body to better absorb nutrients.” Importantly, this cleanse does not involve a drastic reduction in calories or the types of food that you eat, beyond trying to make healthy choices (e.g., whole grains, lean proteins, fruits & veggies). Phase 2 is the Max Phase, which is designed to “provide you with sustained energy, appetite control, core nutrition and overall wellness” and “fuel your body in order to achieve maximum results.”
Going into the 24 Day Challenge, I fully admit that the Number One thing I’m feeling is skeptical. Yes, there seems to be a good number of people who have had “amazing results” using Advocare products, but who’s to say their weight loss isn’t simply the result of a better diet and increased exercise (both of which are a part of any Advocare plan), rather than taking supplements? Furthermore, I’ve read several articles recently that claim that vitamins/supplements essentially do nothing for you and are most likely a complete waste of money. There’s also concern that some supplements can actually be harmful or dangerous because they are not FDA regulated/approved. That said, Advocare seems to be pretty up front about what’s in their products and the company has been around for over 20 years and is backed by a seemingly legitimate scientific/medical advisory board. I also played it safe and sent a message over to my doctor to make sure she didn’t think I would be doing any harm to my system (especially to my thyroid & thyroid medication) by taking these supplements, and she gave me the go-ahead. My final concern with the system is the fact that it starts with a cleanse phase. I generally think that “cleanses” are complete BS. Even with Advocare, I think most of the weight loss that people experience during the cleanse period is due to loss of water weight that’s just going to come right back when you stop taking the cleanse supplements.
All of the above concerns aside, I really am hoping for a good experience. Of course, in the end, I recognize that there is no substitute for good old-fashioned diet and exercise. However (and this is key in my mind), I don’t think Advocare isn’t trying to suggest that there is. They are trying to provide supplements that enhance the hard work you put into your diet and exercise, not replace it, and that mentality is really what convinced me to try the 24 Day Challenge. I’ll be posting updates on our progress throughout the Challenge, so check back if you’re interested in the results!
Have you done the 24 Day Challenge? Share your results and any tips in the comments!