More on Isagenix

See Part One of my review here.

So, what can’t you eat?  Not too much, really.  No dairy, red meat, minimal fruit (only if you are following the strict 30 day program), white foods (white potatoes, white rice, white bread), carrots and peas (high sugar).  That’s about it!  You’re encouraged to drop coffee or use their low-acid version.  Honestly, I’m finding my coffee dependence greatly lessening.  I’m down to just half a cup a day now.  I used to drink 4-5 cups a day!

Here’s what I ate yesterday: thick chocolate shake for breakfast with a Natural Accelerator; mid-morning snack of egg whites, avocado, and a brown rice cake (all things I like – I have a long list of snack options); lunch of another shake (I could have had vanilla, strawberry, or mixed berry but grabbed chocolate by accident), an IsaDelight chocolate, and another Accelerator; afternoon snack of a small apple and raw almond butter; and dinner of savory sweet potato waffles , poached eggs, and a side salad with balsamic vinegar.  Hardly a deprivation diet.  And water.  A LOT of water.

What about cost?  The initial start up package cost me $342 for the month (there was a “new year” benefit that offered free enrollment – the initial cost may be higher/lower for you) but, here is a comparison of our average grocery bills for the past few weeks (yes, we spend a lot on groceries.  We live in an expensive area and never eat out. Don’t judge me :D)

Before Isagenix: Trader Joe’s $162
Giant $77
Total $239
After Isagenix: Trader Joe’s $124
Giant $57
Total $181
Difference $58
Savings per month $232

That monthly $232 savings is just on groceries. It does not include Starbucks, migraine medicine, or other things I no longer need.  Based on just grocery savings along, it costs me less than $30 per week extra to use the base system!  That’s pretty reasonable, if you ask me.

 

Can I lose xx lbs in a month??  It’s hard to say how much you will lose.  Everyone is different.  I’m not being dodgy but there isn’t a clear answer to this. Don’t expect a magic pill, though.

Can I use this and train heavy? Yes.  There are actually quite a few pro-athletes that use Isagenix (I did not know this) and there is a large Facebook group dedicated to runners who use the program and are willing to share their experience and perspective.  It includes people just starting to those who run ultras and Boston.  I’m sure there are also other groups for weightlifters, cross-fitters, etc.

How much are you exercising? A shit-ton.  In addition to my running, I am walking two miles at work almost every day (one of my goals was to walk more during the day #nailedit) plus cross training at least twice a week. That said, only the walking is beyond my training plan.  I didn’t suddenly go into overdrive to make the diet work —  but you will see better results if you exercise and try to move more.

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Run The Year Challenge

Is the science valid? I am not a scientist nor a nutritionist. They are using studies from, and are publishing in, main-stream, peer-reviewed journals.  Take that as you will.  They do cite everything so you can easily read the source articles.

Isn’t it just a MLM that’s only looking to make bank?  Eh, I don’t think so.  Sure, you are encouraged, and compensated, to sign people up but you are not penalized if you don’t.  You can easily use the program successfully and never talk to a soul about the products.  There are a lot of various coaching/support groups.  Some may be more high pressure than others.  The ones I am in are seriously low key.  If you are in one that is too sales-y, move on.

What will you do different this month?  Like I said, I like the cleanses but they are rough since I don’t have two “off” days in a row in my training plan.  I think I am going to try just cleansing on just Monday’s for this next month and see what that does for me.  They say that 80% of the fat loss is on the second day but if it helps with the inflammation and I can stick to my training schedule, that will be okay with me.

I am also going to try a “belly buster” option – it is basically a scoop of their straight protein (not the meal replacement shakes) with a scoop of their “fruits” mix and you take it 30 minutes before bed.  The idea is that you will sleep more soundly, enhancing weight loss, and your body will be able to burn more fat more easily.  Here is what it is based on.  I’m willing to give it a month.

Is that all?  I think so 🙂  Overall, I like the products and I like how it’s encouraging me to focus more on my nutrition.  I feel it is working quite well with my training goals.  Feel free to comment, if you have any questions that I didn’t cover!

(Nuts, I didn’t get talk about the the AMPED performance line.  I think that will have to wait until another post)

 

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Review: Isagenix and Marathon Training

Today I finished my first 30 days with Isagenix. I’ve alluded to it on Facebook and Instagram but I’ve kept a bit quiet until I could see what it was all about.

If you haven’t heard of it before, Isagenix is a nutritional support program.  The model I follow has a protein shake for breakfast and lunch, morning and afternoon snacks around 100-200 calories (I up my calories on heavy training days), and a healthy dinner that’s around 500 calories.  There are also two sets of two “cleanses” where you just consume the company’s products and are in a semi-fasted state for 48 hours.  For me, day one of the cleanse days were easy but the second was a bit of a struggle because I was still running around 5 miles.

Like I said, I just finished my first 30 day program and I’m pleased with my results.  I have lost  10.6 lbs and 15″.  The bulk of the pounds were lost in the first week but most of the inches were lost in the last two weeks.  I have not had my body comp calculated but those changes clearly show that I’ve been gaining muscle while dropping fat!  While my visual results aren’t crazy impressive, I can see a difference and – bonus – pants that were almost too tight to zip at the start of the month are now quite loose!

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30 day progress

I think I was eating fairly healthy before starting this program but, really,  I was allowing a lot of junk in and I was not as meticulous about planning my meals as I should have been.  It wasn’t unusual for me to find myself starving when I got home, eating handfuls of this and that, and then never eating a real dinner.  Not good.  With Isagenix, I plan every meal and every snack and log it on MyFitnessPal.  Before, this would have kicked off some unhealthy attitudes but I haven’t had any problems with my mental game this past month.  I’m also really enjoying finding and sharing new recipes!

Since I am marathon training, I do eat more than the standard plan.  I try to eat back about half of my exercise calories but that means an extra piece of Ezekiel bread with raw almond butter and maybe a smidge of honey.  Not a big bagel with extra cream cheese!

I am also a migraine sufferer (since I was 7) and I know my diet affects my migraines but I easily “slip off the wagon”.  Since I have been on this program, I have only had one bout of a headache and that was after eating two (planned) pieces of pizza at a work function.  That kicked off a headache that then hung on for a few days as a weather front moved through.  Other than that, I have taken zero medication for headaches or even body aches.

Another big, and surprising, benefit came on my cleanse days.  I’ve been dealing with a ton of chronic pain in my lower back and hips and would have to get up in the night to take Advil or use aspercreme with lidocaine so I could try to sleep.  When I started doing the cleanses, the pain totally disappeared!  Since I haven’t done a cleanse in two weeks, the pain is starting the creep back in just a bit so I am looking forward to my next cleanse on Monday!

One kind of big tweak I did was to add in extra protein to my shakes.  They do have a “pro” line that has extra protein but a) it is more expensive and b) my initial package only had the regular shakes.  No problem, though! I just added two tablespoons of dry egg whites or collagen (not gelatin so it does not thicken anything) to my morning and lunch shakes!  Instant protein 🙂

The shakes themselves are quite good!  Not too sweet, no weird after taste, and if you mix in your blender with ice, they become quite thick!  There are a bunch of “recipes” to change the flavor but I’m too lazy so I just use them as-is.  I wasn’t sure how they would work with my finicky stomach so I chose regular whey protein as well as some dairy-free flavors. I use the dairy-free at work since they are in packets but the regular ones don’t bother me at all so I will be just using straight whey from now on.

One thing that has taken some time to get used to is the Ionix Supreme.  It is basically a “tonic” that you take every morning that has extra vitamins in it and is to help with stress and fatigue.  Some people love it.  They dilute it in water and have it either cold or warm, like a tea.  For me, it is a necessary evil so I just slam my 1 oz shot every morning and follow it with a tall glass of water!

This is getting pretty long so I’m going to save the cost, their “fuel” line (AMPED), and what I’m doing next for tomorrow.

** I am not going to turn this into an all-Isagenix, all the time blog. It was hard for me to find honest feedback before I started the program so that is why I am posting this.  That said, if you want to try it, I can totally hook you up 😉 **

December Hard Reset

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I’m still alive.  I am working on my race report from the Richmond Marathon and it is taking for-ev-er!  Also, with a busy second half of November, loss of daylight, and other “stuff” going on, I’m finding myself slipping into my annual December slump.  This month kills me every year – and not always for the same reasons. I’m trying a new approach to even things out this year, though. A little preemptive strike, if you will.

It’s always risky to try “challenge” events during heavy social months but I think this is the best way for me to approach the month.  Tomorrow is December 1 and, from then until December 24, I plan to to do the following:

1. Walk at lunch at least 3 times a week.  I find myself chained to my desk for the entire day and that is not healthy.  I will walk at least 20 minutes, at least three times a week.  If the weather is decent, I will up the frequency.

2. Engage in at least one group exercise activity a week.  With my marathon training on hold for a few more weeks, my exercise schedule has been spotty, at best.  It has also been very lonely.  I plan to join at least one group activity (either a group run or cross training) a week.

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So sad

3. Complete 1,600 miles for the year.  I’m currently at 1,466.  By the 24th, I plan to have only a reasonable amount of miles left for the month.

4. Do a modified Whole 30.  I’ll drop added sugar and processed foods but I won’t be super militant about every tiny ingredient. For, perfect is the enemy of good.  I’ll be more along the line of cutting out Candy Cane Joe-Joe’s and no more bites of my kid’s meals.  Oh, and if you haven’t tried it yet, don’t even bother trying Trader Joe’s Candy Cane Joe-Joe Ice Cream.  It’s horrible.  Honest!  😉

5. Add magnesium back into my diet.  I started adding some this morning.  I think it will help with my mood and my migraines.  If you decided to try it, too, just be careful to start with a super small (1/2 tsp) dose or you will have stomach problems.

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My supplement of choice

So, that’s my Big 5 for the reset.  Nothing too crazy.  Nothing unmanageable.  I plan to check in here once a week, to let you know how it’s going.

How are you handling the holiday stress?  Are you planning some sort of “reset” of your own?

Nutrition Plan: Week 3

I just finished week 3 of my Eat All the Things nutrition plan and my body seems to really appreciate it!  I had a couple off “off plan” meals due to extenuating circumstances but I tried to follow it as close as I could.  Overall, other than this lingering cold that has been going on for two weeks, I feel great!  I feel like I have more energy for my runs and I am recovering more quickly.  I’ve gotten over the feelings of guilt when I eat as planned on a rest day and I’m not feeling as tied to the scale as I was the first couple of weeks.  I also being careful to refer to this as a nutrition plan and not a “diet”. When I’m on a diet, it all about what I can’t eat.  Everything is off limits.  The food is bland.  I can’t have chocolate.  Guess what!  On this nutrition plan, I can continue to have my Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Honey Mint every day with lunch and NOT FEEL GUILTY!  And that one is all I need.  I’m not even tempted by the bag of Oreo’s that I buy my son!  Previously, I would definitely sneak one three whenever I could. I think I’m finally getting the swing of the idea of giving my body high quality fuel and not a bunch of junk!

Hardly a deprivation diet
Hardly a deprivation diet

Even though I have a couple more weeks on my free plan, I went ahead and signed up for the 12 week special Max Muscle was offering (buy 6 weeks, get 6 weeks free).  Twelve weeks will get me through the Marine Corp Marathon and into the first few recovery weeks.  I’ll be curious to see how my body reacts when the mileage isn’t quite so insanely high.

The Numbers

Week 0 – 196 Starting body fat: 31.3%

Week 1 -194 / 30.3%  and gained .5 lbs of muscle

Week 2 – no data

Week 3 -191 / 29.3% but lost just a smidge of muscle

Week 1

Week One is done!  I am still struggling with knowing what/when to eat on my long run days but, overall, it has gone well.  It’s a bit odd to not be hungry all of the time and I have not done any mindless nibbling. I confirmed with my nutrition counselor today that the calories consumed and burned are viewed cumulatively for the week so I think I need to cut back a bit on non-run days so I have more for the long runs

My typical menu includes:

Breakfast – granola, banana, protein shake

Snack – 3 hard boiled eggs and almonds

Lunch – meat, rice, 2 cups of veggies.

lunch
I often go with a homemade lean hamburger patty and a mix of tomatoes and fermented sauerkraut

Snack – apple, almond butter, jerky

afternoon snack

Dinner – meat, veggies, 1/3 c. beans

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Fajita chicken and onions/peppers that I made for my husband. I just omitted the tortilla on mine

Late evening – protein shake

The Numbers

Starting weight: 196 Starting body fat: 31.3%

Week 1 194 / 30.3%  and gained .5 lbs of muscle

Fuel options

I mentioned the other week that I was trying Generation UCAN on my longer runs.  The idea is to take a serving 30 minutes before the run and then another mid-run, if longer than two hours, and a third (one of the protein mixes) when you finish.  I chose the Tropical Orange.  I drank a glass before my long runs (including both my successful 17 miler and my failure of an 18 miler). I also made a super concentrated mix (with 3 oz of water) and bagged it up so I could take it mid-run.  I’ll be honest, the flavor and texture is rough.  Using very cold water helped but I can see that being a problem for a lot of people.  On the plus side, I did not get an upset stomach from it, not even cramps.  My stomach was growling towards the end of my run but I didn’t feel like I was flagging too much.  I felt like I got a little boost of energy right after I took it but didn’t really notice a major change during the run.  It wasn’t really bad but I’m not sure it was worth the $2 per service price.

For comparison, I ran my long run with my “old standby”.  I had my pumpkin porridge (recipe below) and a cup of coffee about an hour before my run.  I then ate 1/4 of a Bonk Breaker every so often after mile 8.  I had raisins with me but didn’t use them.  I forgot my raw honey (Trader Joe’s raw honey is super thick. I usually just spoon it into a snack size baggie and then bite the corner off when I need it. It’s especially helpful if I start coughing or my throat is bothering me during a run).  I had a banana and packet of Justin’s Honey Almond butter waiting at the finish.  I also took two Endurolyte tabs from Hammer Nutrition about half way through. I would have taken more if it had been warmer.  I drank plain water.  Bottom line, I felt great!  I had no energy problems.  I had no stomach problems. I did not have a headache at the end.  I was hungry when I finished but my stomach wasn’t growling mid-way through.

For cost, taste, and convenience sake, I’m sticking with my tried and true method.  I might use UCAN on long bike rides but for runs, I definitely prefer real food.

Pumpkin Porridge (serves 3)

1 can of plain pumpkin

3 ripe bananas

3 eggs

2 Tbsp crunchy almond butter

1 tsp Pumpkin pie seasoning or cinnamon and nutmeg

Mash it all together and cook over low heat until it is thick. The consistency will depend on how much almond butter you use.

Top with nuts and dried fruit (I like walnuts and golden raisins, sometimes shredded coconut).

Whole-ish 30

Today is January 30 and I am wrapping up my second attempt at a Whole30. In a nutshell, it is eating extremely clean – no grains, legumes, sugar, dairy – for 30 days.  I first tried it in November 2012 but totally fell off the wagon during my son’s birthday party (chocolate cake!).  I have been following the 80/20 Primal eating style since March of 2012 but, honestly, it had become more 60/40 over the past few months.  I was given access to an online support group for the month through my coach so I thought I would give it another go.

One problem I had with the Whole30 program the first time is that it is so extremely strict and if you divert from the plan at all you are supposed to restart at day one.  This seriously triggered my disordered eating issues and I knew it would still be a problem this time.  I really did try to stay 100% compliant for the first few days but I was making myself insane by trying to find the perfect bacon (they all have sugar!) or accidentally using red wine vinegar (wine!) so I quickly changed my mindset to a Whole-ish 30.  This more relaxed stance worked well, overall.  Some days I did totally dive off the wagon (and roll down the road, into the ditch, with two cookies stuffed in my mouth) but most days I kept the course.  I was even able to handle the nights when my husband has classes quite well.  Historically, this has always been my problem night and I would wind up eating nothing but junk as I took care of the various household tasks.

Good

I was 98% compliant on dairy and have found it to be a problem area for me.  I was definitely over-consuming it before (tons of calories!) and it seems to affect my skin quite a bit.  I plan to keep it out of my diet as much as I can from now on.

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We might have a problem…

I identified my nut addiction (Hey! Mind out of the gutter!) and realized that, shockingly, if I don’t keep an open bag of almonds on the counter, I don’t mindlessly eat handfuls at a time.

I learned how to handle my solo-parenting nights and still be mindful of my eating.

I lost some weight! It’s not the goal of the program but it’s always nice.

Not Good

I need to work on my fueling after hard workouts.  I did eat a mini bagel out of desperation and had a few incidents of becoming quite light headed and dizzy while showering after a tough push.

I need to work on avoiding “just a bite” of my son’s snacks.  Overall, I did pretty well but I still ate more than I should have.

I seriously need to work on my weekend cook-ups so we have enough quick meals during the week.  Now that the whole UR family hits the gym almost every night, it’s tough to get a quick meal on the table before homework and bed.

I seem to have developed a slight Lara bar addiction…

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She’s my cherry pie… damn it!

Going Forward

Like I said, I plan to keep the dairy out of my diet.  I also miss my protein shakes.  I know they aren’t natural by any stretch but I do feel they play a part in my recovery strategy so I plan to experiment with some various brands.  I am also going to continue to play with the various fuels to prevent the crashes.

Overall, I think this was a successful month.

Have you done a Whole30?  How did it go?