5 January 2018

A Month On Herbalife

I have started this post quite a few times over the last month and every time I seem to get a quarter of the way through it but have to stop, delete it and start again.

It has been one of the hardest posts I have ever had to write actually, not because I struggled with what to write, but more a case of how to write the post.

The subject is weight loss you see so naturally, it's a subject I 100% wanted to get right, and then with the product I have used being Herbalife, well, to be honest, I've always been quite skeptical about it myself as I have previously heard negativity about the products over on social media, making me want to make sure the post comes across just right.

When I do see such negative things though, whilst I don't read too much into them, favoring a more "I'll make my own mind up" approach I still think it is important to look at why and where the negativity has come from and then take the subject a lot more seriously then I may have done before.

Right, so before I get into the reasons why I started my weight loss journey I want to tell you a little about how my own followers on social media reacted when I first posted pictures of the products and told them that I would soon be using Herbalife.

Yep, you guessed it, it didn't go down well but to be honest, I kind of knew that reaction was coming.

It would have been nice for people to wish me luck and show a little support if I'm honest but as always people would rather focus on the negatives...well their own perceived negatives anyway.

Hopefully, this post will give me the chance to tell my story.

So in July I hit the ripe old age of 35 and a couple of my friends who I played football with in the past were bugging me to play again, but not for any old football team - it was for a veteran football league. 

At first, I was like, "Yes! This sounds great" but then I realised "Holy crap! What am I doing? I AM OLD!"

And to be perfectly honest I wasn't in the best shape of my life and was feeling quite down about it which wasn't something I would share with others and I didn't really tell my wife how bad I was feeling. 

I mean she knew I wasn't happy about my weight but I don't think she knew just how unhappy I was. 

I was in a really vicious circle which I just couldn't get out of and I became very lazy at home.
I didn't do any sort of physical activity and found I was beginning to make excuses when it came to helping out at my son's rugby training sessions which isn't something I would have done before - I loved getting involved.

I couldn't even walk up the stairs at home without being out of breath and - slight TMI moment coming up - I even started to sit down a lot of the time to have a pee just so I could have a breather after walking up the stairs.

Not good, but I had no motivation at all and the negativity was something that I just couldn't shake. 

And I was beginning to say the same thing to myself every Sunday evening - after just demolishing a Chinese...

"That's it! The Diet Starts Tomorrow!"

But come 8am on Monday morning, there I would be, sitting in my work van tucking into a Greggs bacon and sausage butty with a sugar-laden latte on the side.

No point dieting this week then so the cycle carried on into Tuesday and Wednesday...

It was almost like the ever famous Craig David "Seven Days" song, only swapping the "lovemaking" for the Greggs.

I was feeding myself with super quick, super unhealthy convenience food and because I was working quite long days grabbing a quick, unhealthy snack seemed like the easiest thing to do.

What I should have done was make a hearty, healthy flask of soup at home a night time to keep me full and warm well into the long workdays but I had just had no motivation and was always too tired.

This is quite embarrassing to write and my wife who will be reading this post before it goes live may fall out with me for it but it got to the stage where I had no motivation, no energy, and was just so tired that I would set off earlier to work in a morning just so I could leave the house,  pull up somewhere and get an extra half an hours kip.

I do feel so bad about this though because I could - and should - have been at home helping out with getting the kids ready in the morning but this is just how bad things were and shows just how bad I was feeling. 

I had started to feel quite insecure about how I looked too - clothes that would normally fit me started to feel really clingy and some didn't fit me at all. 

It definitely wasn't one of the best times if my life but I knew that if I didn't change something soon then I don't think I would have ever got myself out of the cycle. 

And final straw came when I had to get some new work pants because the ones I had became really uncomfortable and made me feel really agitated when I was wearing them but the only ones which would fit me were a 38-inch waist.

A 38inch waist

It didn't seem that long ago when I could slip into a pair of 34inch waist 501s.

Where had this extra 4inch come from? 

I already knew the answer to that one - it came from Greggs!

But this was the turning point I needed and it is the moment my life took a turn for the better. 

I wanted to feel confident, I wanted to look good, I wanted the clothes I had had for years to fit me, I wanted to feel full of energy and motivation and I didn't want to feel so tired anymore. 

And this is where Herbalife came to my rescue.

I was talking to the people at Herbalife for a good couple of weeks before I took the plunge and said yes to reviewing some of their products - I really took my time and looked into what they could do and it wasn't until I spoke with the rep who was assigned to me (who had a similar story to myself) and had an hour or so phone conversation with him that I realised I wanted to feel how he now felt. 

We spoke about the products and decided upon the products most suited to me to allow me to reach my goals. 

As I mentioned above, my biggest downfall was the food I was eating whilst I was out at work because it was all convenient food that fit around my busy work life. 

The products that I was sent were to help with this, they were going to be as convenient as the food I had been eating but they were going to be a million times better for me. 

I was sent a good selection of meal replacement shakes - which all had some great-sounding flavours - and I was sent a tub of beta heart powder so I could add fiber to my morning shake. 

I was sent some male vitamin tables to take once a day so my body didn't miss out on the vitamins it requires. 

I also received a selection of different snacks, some roasted soya beans, and some protein bars, and also some meal replacement bars which I could eat on the go if I didn't fancy a shaken drink. 

I've done the whole meal replacement shakes diet in the past and to be honest, I did lose weight but it turned me into a right miserable git - if you don't believe me ask my wife and my ex-boss - and the shakes were disgusting too and I had to force them down my neck. 

Which was one of the main reasons I had second...and third...thoughts about starting this plan. 

I was so surprised when I had my first shake from Herbalife - it tasted amazing.

The plan I intended to do - and hopefully would keep to - would last a month and I had more than enough products to see me through this time.

So, basically for a month, I was going to be replacing my breakfast and lunch with Herbalife products. 

You may think that I would be missing out on a lot of goodness going into my body by not eating "meals" but with the vitamin tablets, the fiber added to my morning shake, and then the shakes themselves being packed with protein - 18g per serving - and being calorie-controlled - each shake has approximately 220 Kcal per serving - I'd say it was much better than a greasy fry up or a drive-thru meal.

Week One. 

I knew this was going to be the hardest because it was going to be a total change but I was 100% committed and focused on the task ahead. 

Before work, I got my little cooler bag ready and made a morning shake with the added fiber and then after a quick clean of the Nutribullet, I made my lunchtime shake and stuck that in the cooler bag along with a protein bar and a bag of soya beans. 

The morning shake was the toffee apple and cinnamon one which I chose because I was really intrigued by what it would taste like and let me tell you, it didn't disappoint - it was by far my favorite.

For dinner, I picked the cookie and cream shake because, well why not right and once again the flavour didn't disappoint. 

So at around 7am I had my first shake - I had been up since around 6 so I was really ready for it and then two hours later I had a protein bar, which again surprised me because normally bars of this sort are quite bland and dry but these weren't too bad and tasted quite nice. 

I probably should have mentioned it earlier on but water is a key part of this diet too, you're probably not surprised though because water should be consumed in every diet - even if you're not on a diet.

Drink more water guys! 

Then, at around 12pm I was beginning to feel ready for my lunch shake and my cooler bag had kept it nice and cold - it wasn't as thick as my morning shake due to having no fiber in but it tasted just as nice.

And then two hours later I enjoyed my bag of soya beans - I'm not going to say they were the best thing I have ever eaten but it was nice just to pick at them for 30 minutes or so.

Throughout the day I kept up drinking water and then once I was home I was so ready for my tea.
I can't say I struggled through the day though but the thought of tucking into a nice healthy meal really did have my mouth watering - I ate things like spiced chicken breast, whole grain rice, and a huge salad full of colour - and it went down a treat.

I was so full that I didn't even think of grabbing a snack from the sweet draw which was a norm for me.

I won't do a whole day-by-day food diary because every day was basically the same I just mixed up the flavour of the shakes I was having and also added a little ice to the morning one to make it really refreshing - a top tip there.

I changed my tea too and had different lean meats and fish - I'm not usually a massive salad fan but as the week went on I couldn't get enough of it.

So after a week of this total change of eating habits how was I feeling do you ask?


Have I noticed any change in my energy levels?

Hell Yes.
I was feeling great - I was working the same hours at work but found I was waking up feeling a lot better and not as tired at all.

Honestly, I did think I would have really struggled but I had no setbacks at all and was loving the plan and couldn't wait for week two to start.

I know this is not all about weight loss and more about how I am feeling but I had already begun to notice a few changes in the fitting of my clothes - especially those 38-inch work pants...

Week Two.

 Much more of the same as week one and again I didn't struggle throughout the day because I was prepared.
I took a few pieces of fruit to have on the longer, earlier start days - I wanted to have the healthy snack there rather than be forced towards the unhealthy.

It was midway through this week when I weighed myself for the first time because I noticed my pants had started to feel really baggy and I wanted to make sure I hadn't lost a dramatic amount - I knew that wouldn't be good for my body.

I had lost about 7lbs in a week and a half which was more than I ever expected and I was feeling fantastic - my wife even commented on how jolly I had been.

I was really happy with the way things were going and I was still mega motivated to stick to it and push on and see what happens.

Week 3.

Now, this was a lot tougher, especially at the weekend because I attended a family wedding.
As you can imagine there was a lot of party food on offer and the temptation to have a few beers was high so I decided to stay away from the beer and enjoy a bit of the food on offer. 

I didn't go crazy but I did eat quite a lot but it didn't bother me because that morning I found I fit into my new 36-inch work pants and they fit really well. 

So what's a little party food blowout - it was definitely earned. 

Week 4. 

I was still loving the shakes and mixing the flavors up each day meant that I didn't get bored.
I had finished up all the meal bars though but was having a shake for breakfast and one for lunch too with a snack in between and it was still enough to see me through the day.
I was still keeping up with my water intake too - even though I had to use the toilet every 30 minutes or so

I was still loving all the healthy teas in the evening and it really helped that my wife was eating the same things too. 

I will admit that I did have a cheat night though, but when you really crave a Chinese, what on earth can you do but have one...! 

And I really enjoyed it too. 

I am so proud of myself for being so motivated and sticking with this plan, despite the negativity and the initial reservations I may have had...

I felt great and even signed back up to the gym and began training with my local rugby union team
(I decided the veteran's football team wasn't going to cut it and I would have probably been sent off for some sort of two-footed tackle anyway) 

And it wasn't just the fitness I was feeling motivated with, I was back to planning family days out whereas before I would have preferred to stay at home and just slob out. 

Those new, smaller 36-inch waist work pants were getting baggy too and I downsized again to a 34-inch pair. 

I even managed to fit into a few pairs of my really old jeans again and my t-shirts were fitting a lot better too.

On my final weigh-in, I found I had lost around 1 stone 3lbs and dropped two trouser sizes.

This was a weight and a size I was really comfortable with and I know I don't want to lose much more and definitely don't want to put it back on, so maintaining my current progress is my next plan. 

But I will save that for another post.

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