Alright folks, you might want to grab a snack or some sort of beverage it’s about to be a long one!
When I started this, I wasn’t sure if I was going to recap this challenge. I was skeptical about the whole thing and to be honest, I didn’t want to let any of you down. However, after completing the challenge and truly changing my eating habits (and seeing the results that followed) I decided that I would share it with y’all.
First, a little backstory. My friend Katie and my CrossFit gym had done that 24 day challenge with her sister in December and fell in LOVE with how she felt. Long story short she brought the challenge to our CrossFit gym and encouraged all of us to do it as a New Years resolution. So, after a little persuasion, I signed up with a handful of my gym friends, handed over a hefty chunk of cash and hoped for the best.
For those of you that already know what the challenge is, bear with me. For those that don’t read below for my Advocare 24 Day Challenge review.
What is the 24 Day Challenge?
The 24 Day Challenge is a program by Advocare consisting of a 10 day cleanse and a 14 day “max phase.”
The cleanse ‘rules’ are as follows:
- You take a fiber drink (on certain days), a probiotic multi-vitamin (on certain days), and a fiber pill. As well as Spark (natural energy drink which I’ve become obsessed with and Omega 3’s)
- Eat lots of fruits and veggies —pretty much all that you can take!
- No caffeine, no alcohol, no sugar, no processed foods. Basically don’t eat crap. Any of it.
- They encourage you to limit your whole grains & dairy as wells (similar to the paleo diet)
In essence, the cleanse part of the challenge wants to flush out all of the toxins in your body that accumulate from all the crap that we put in it. You also drink a crap ton of water. Note: This cleanse isn’t one that has you running to the bathroom every five minutes. This may be TMI, but I did “go” more than usual during this phase, however, it was never more than twice per day.
The next part of the challenge is the Max Phase, which lasts 14 days.
During the Max Phase, you:
- Take a variety of multi-vitamins (omega 3’s, probiotics, immunity boosters, etc). Plus good ol’ Spark.
- Eat ALL UNPROCESSED FOODS. Dairy is still limited, but feel free to add in lots of rolled oats, avocados, coconut oil, brown rice (basically any whole grains) and ALL THE veggies & fruits you can eat!
- This phase is less “strict” than the cleanse phase and has you eating all good-for-you foods.
There you have it folks! Simple as that. What I found was unique about this program was that it encouraged you to eat every 2-3 hours. In fact, Katie at my gym said it was crucial. You eat a ton of food (more than I was used to), but it’s all good for you food.
I’m not going to lie to you. I was skeptical about this from the get-go. To be honest I’m not even sure what pushed me to do it. Maybe I give in to peer pressure easily.
As a person that takes literally ZERO supplements, I was afraid of putting a bunch of stuff into my body that I wasn’t used to. However, after talking to Colleen, a fellow blogger that also did the challenge, she informed me that her friend spoke with her doctor about the challenge and he gave her the ‘okay’ to do it while BREASTFEEDING. This made me feel 100x better. If it’s okay to do while breastfeeding, then it should be okay for me.
Let’s start with the struggles. The first two days I had a massive headache and was shaky, which I attribute to not eating enough calories. You see, I was visiting Ian’s family in Arizona and wasn’t sure what to eat during this time — so I ended up not eating much at all. BIG NO NO. This was stupid of me and I ended up waking up in the middle of the night to eat a LaraBar. Yep. Stellar way to kick-start a healthy lifestyle… starving yourself and then eating midnight snacks. Especially when the challenge encouraged you to eat every 2-3 hours to make sure you weren’t hungry.
That was one roadblock that I soon got over. I found meals that worked for me, and started prepping my meals when I got home (which I’ll go more into depth in on the ‘meals’ section of this post). In Arizona, after I started eating properly I had a TON of energy and felt great. I slept great every night and really felt like this would be worth my while. I should also note that I didn’t take one nap during the challenge. SAY WHAT?! I love naps, so it was weird to not be tired enough to take one.
I’m going to be honest and say that I don’t believe that completely cutting carbs out of your diet is good. While I cut out ALL processed carbs, I still ate oatmeal almost every day for breakfast. I did not eat bread, french fries, any cereals, granolas, etc. But oatmeal was NOT leaving.
I also found it hard to resist sweets the first 7 days. I LOVEEEEE dessert, so this was tough, but I ended up eating lots of apples and now turn to apples when I have a sweet tooth. No alcohol was no big deal, I don’t really ever crave it so that part wasn’t hard for me.
What I Ate
During the cleanse phase I ate a ton of kumquats while in Arizona. In fact, I ate kumquats & rolled oats for breakfast every morning. Yes, I know that we were supposed to limit our carbs, but I still ate about every other day for breakfast. Sue me. Oatmeal is here to stay.
I also tried to eat eggs. Still don’t really care for eggs. Whatevs.
When we went out to eat I would order a chicken sandwhich (sans bun) and a side salad or cup of fruit. Another favorite of mine was grilled chicken salads with lime juice as dressing <— SO GOOD. Why did I not think of it before?!?
Dinners included LOTS of steamed veggies, sweet potatoes, grilled chicken, minestrone soup (!!!) and some other recipes that I found on Pinterest. I was also a part of a Facebook Group that was a HUGE help in terms of meal ideas and questions.
Oh SNACKS! I ate apples and almonds like they were going out of style. I may have cheated on Granny Smith apples (my one true love) and eaten lots of Gala, Fuji and Pink Lady apples. They are slowly creeping up to first place on my apple list. I also made my blueberry energy balls specifically for this challenge and ate those whenever I wanted dessert.
Drinks included lots of water, spark, tea and seltzer water with lemon and lime. I actually went to the bars a few times with friends during this challenge and ordered sparkling water with lemon lime. I still had a blast and didn’t feel like shit the next morning! Win, win!
….and cheats. Yes I was not perfect during this challenge. I ate a slice of Ian’s Grandma’s homemade cherry pie in Arizona (don’t act like you’d pass that up!) and a bean burrito at dinner one night (I craved Mexican food while on the challenge — weird! I don’t even like it that much). I tried to stay very committed to the challenge. After all, if I wanted to see a change I’d have to work for it!
What I Learned & Results
After 24 days I lost 4 pounds and 8.5 inches. I actually gained a half an inch in my biceps, woop woop! 4 pounds to some of you may not seem like a lot, but on my frame (I’m barely 5’2”) it was a noticeable difference. It should also be noted that I did not do this to lose weight, but rather feel better about myself and my health.
OH!! And I also won $100 from my CrossFit gym for losing the most inches out of everyone at the gym doing the challenge. HOLY CONFIDENCE BOOSTER.
The number one thing that I loved about the challenge is that it taught me to mindfully eat. No longer do I put random handfuls of trail mix, candy on the counter or granola into my mouth without thinking. I also don’t snack out of boredom anymore. I also learned that sugar doesn’t need to be added to things. Fresh fruit and oatmeal are so delicious and don’t need sugar. Also, I don’t reach for candy as soon as I’m done with dinner. I’ve learned to grab an apple or a big glass of water instead.
Products: I told you earlier that I did not want to believe in the products and was extremely skeptical. However, I’ve come to love the way that they made me feel and even plan on doing another cleanse in March.
If I were to choose my favorite products from the challenge, these would be them:
- Spark— This is Advocare’s natural energy drink. I’m pretty sensitive to caffeine/energy drinks, so I only took half a serving each time. I ended up falling in love with it and still drink it everyday, even a month later. MANGO STRAWBERRY FLAVOR!
- Catalyst — This product is basically BCAA’s that support lean muscle mass. How it was explained to me is that Catalyst puts a protective coat over your muscles so that you don’t burn them while working out or losing weight.
- Omega-Plex — Girlfriend loves her Omega 3’s! Plus I did not get one fish oil burp when taking these. Enough said.
I still somewhat follow the “Max Phase” diet but not as strict. I’ve taken the 80/20 approach and feel that it works with my lifestyle. I’m not going to deprive myself from going out with friends or my Mom’s overnight banana french toast bread every once in a while. It’s about balance, and as a healthy living blogger, that’s what I believe in.
I have decided to continue using Advocare and have spoken with multiple people about the Performance Elite products and believe that they can help me achieve my fitness goals. After this challenge, I am now a believer in these products and how the challenge teaches people to live healthier lifestyles.
So, I signed up to be a distributor + coach! I am going to continue using the products, so it made the most sense for me.
That being said, I would love to help any of you that are interested on this journey. If you have ANY questions about the challenge, or would like to participate, please let me know!
If you want to join the challenge, you would need to purchase a challenge kit (Or just the base products, which is what I did and a better deal, to be honest). Then, I would send you a challenge guide, add you to the Facebook Group <— seriously SO helpful, and be there for you every step of the way ( email, text, phone — you name it!).
There is obviously no pressure, and I don’t want you to think that I did this challenge to start selling the products & make money off of y’all. That isn’t the case whatsoever. I shared with you my real results and my real feelings. This challenge gave me a reason to start caring about my eating habits and stop thinking that it was okay to eat 6 cookies in one night.
If you have any questions at all, please email me at barefootcoloblog AT gmail DOT com and I’d love to answer anything you throw my way! I was skeptical too, trust me. Ask away!
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