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Friday, December 21, 2012

In the Interest of the Public Good

    Back in July I posted an entry (“Weighing In On Weighing In”) about my attempt to lose a bit of real estate around my middle-aged middle.  I was pretty good about posting regular updates in the beginning, but that fell by the wayside after about eight weeks or so. I hate leaving projects unfinished, so here’s the final report on how my attempt at taking on the Vemma 12-Week Bod-e Transformation Challenge ended up.

    The plan calls for a carb-cycling meal program, regular exercise, and the Vemma product supplementation. I dutifully followed the program for the first 8 or 9 weeks, and saw a weight loss of about 3 to 4 pounds and little less belly.   During this time, I also kept up my already-established exercise regimen of 2 hours per week of weight training and some walking.  The biggest change for me was adhering to the meal schedule, even more than portion size and food choices recommended for this program.

     I actually enjoyed the taste of the Vemma Bod-e Burn drinks, and found it easy to drink one shortly after rising, along with the prescribed small carbohydrate-rich breakfast. That was usually a whole grain English muffin, a toaster-style waffle, or a bowl of instant oatmeal with a few sprays of liquid butter and some sugar-free syrup.  This meal is designed to get your metabolic furnace heated up for the day. It worked for me; maybe a little too well. I was as ravenous as a termite within 2 hours. In fact, I stayed pretty hungry on this plan, as in almost all the time. Three hours to the next meal seemed like an eternity to me on some days.

    What gave me the most difficulty, however, was trying to eat the other four small meals per day, spaced 3 hours apart. I found that in order to get the five meals actually eaten, I had to start reasonably early, like by no later than 7 a.m.. Otherwise,  I would be eating the last meal of the day well after 7 p.m..  Since I’m a night owl by nature, I don’t do “reasonably early” very well, truth be told.  So I often ended up eating four smaller meals more often than the called for five meals. You would think that missing a meal would not be a problem on a weight-loss plan, but it actually runs counter to the Vemma program.  The Bod-e Challenge is designed to help you get a  hefty amount of protein into your diet day in order to help you build lean muscle. A missing meal equals less protein consumed for the day, and one less log thrown on the ol’ metabolic fire.

    About two-thirds of the way down the road to “body transform-ation,” I hit a major pothole. Issues with my lower back sent me back to my doctor and the physical therapist.  Walking usually helps me with stiffness and pain, but not this time. Walking began to aggravate my condition, so I had to cut that out of for a while. When I did venture out - on days the weather was just too wonderful to stay indoors - I kept my route along flat areas in the neighborhood, and avoided chugging up inclines. All this to say, my activity (hence calorie-burning) level dropped off.

    My enthusiasm for carb-cycling took a major dive, as well.  I realized there was no way I was going to adhere to this meal strategy on a permanent basis. Around the 9-week mark, I didn’t think I could look another cup of low-fat cottage cheese in the face, and I didn’t want to see anymore turkey until Thanksgiving.  I grew distracted.  I began lingering too long in the snack aisle of my local Publix. “Oh look, Cape Cod potato chips are on sale, two bags for $5! I could get the reduced fat ones....but then the regular ones have an extra ounce of chips in the bag. Hmmm.....” I'm afraid I never met a potato chip I didn't like. Discipline began to give way to the siren call of the salty snack.

    In short, I staggered to the end of the 12-week Bod-e Trans-formation Challenge not exactly transformed. By Thanksgiving my “after” photo, if I’d bothered to take one, looked almost like my “before” photo. But my experience only gives credence to the policy of weight loss companies of printing somewhere on their glowing promotional material, in tiny print, “Results not typical.” This statement always appears on a photo of Big Bertha Schmitt after she drops the equivalent weight of a grand piano. I suspect that my results are actually very typical.

    I like the Vemma product, for the most part. Each Bod-e burn drink has 20 grams of protein and 7 grams of fiber, and their proprietary blend of vitamins. I thought seriously about repeating the Bod-e Challenge. However, after considering the additional expense, I balked. Bod-e product is almost 4 bucks per serving (2-3 daily) by the time you figure in shipping. Vemma would not be my path to renewed sveltness.

    So there it is. I give you my final report in the interest of the public good, as promised. I have no amazing Bod-e Challenge testimonial to give you. They do exist; I’m just not one of them.  Then again, I wasn’t in need of a major transformation to start with.  The Vemma Bod-e  Plan wasn’t the best fit for me, but a lot of their customers swear by it.

    Healthy lifestyle changes are like pairs of shoes. Sometimes you have to try on a few different styles to find the one that truly fits you. In fact, I'm trying on another one now. There's a copy of Dr. Joel Furhman’s book, Eat to Live, on my iPad and a very large container of organic baby spinach in the refrigerator.  Large plate of greens, anyone?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

It’s Beginning to Look Somewhat Like Christmas

   Sometimes I think my neighbors must believe that I’m a Jehovah’s Witness. You see, I never get the outside of my house or the yard decorated for any holiday, not even for Christmas, the mother of all decorate-your-property holidays.  There are no icicle lights hanging from the eves of the house, nor twinkling on the bushes.  I have no electric candles shining from the windows at night. There’s not one bit of greenery on my mailbox. I do own a wreathe hanger for the front door that I purchased a few years ago, but no actual wreathe to hang on it. My house’s exterior practically screams, "Bah humbug!" at Christmas time.

    Now, I’m not against decorating. I’m not one of those “Christmas trees are pagan” kind of Christians.  I would be truly disappointed if no one else strung lights all over their landscaping, made their gas lamps look like candy canes, or set up a nativity scene.  I honestly enjoy and appreciate everyone else’s efforts. I just don’t want to do all that work myself because, frankly, I don't enjoy it. Besides, decorating outside for Christmas invokes the law of gravity - what goes up must come down and preferably before summer arrives.

    Believe it or not, there is a positive side to being an exterior decorating Scrooge. No one has ever tripped over any guy lines anchoring down a tacky Santa Claus inflatable anchored in my front yard. The mailman can get my box open without shredding his knuckles on a pine cone.  Best of all, I’ve never been rushed to the ER because I fell off a ladder trying to hang a string of lights from the eve of my house (or while taking them down again in July). This is an important point, as I’m already in physical therapy for the stuff I manage to do myself with both feet on the ground.  My medical co-pays are high enough right now, thank you very much!

    “Come on, Lynn, show some Christmas spirit,” you say. I know, I know - I should at least go find that festive wreathe for the front door.  Don’t be too hard on me, though.  I managed to get a few Christmas cards out for the first time in a long time. And my Christmas tree is up and decorated inside the house. So it is beginning to look somewhat like Christmas around here.

    Merry Christmas, ya’ll!