Thirty days ago, I was in a very different place. I was feeling lost, lacking self worth and just constantly feeling uneasy. (Though, those feelings aren't a rarity to be perfectly honest.) I am a very deep thinker (over thinker - whichever you prefer) which has all kinds of side effects such as sadness, self loathing, depression, anxiety, etc... Luckily, this go round on my cycle of emotions, I was kind of at a point where I was fed up with the lot of it. I was aching for CHANGE. Not temporary change, but a whole new outlook. It's hard, once you have a revelation, to come up with a plan you can stick to because where to start can become so overwhelming. Do you tackle the emotions or anxieties or do you tackle tangible issues?
I went for tangible issues. Going back to school has been a huge confidence booster for my mind and spirit. It gives me something to strive for and tackle. The grades given are little markers of progress. Markers of progress are huge for me and my self worth. I need them in order to push myself to achieve and create my own version of success! So, I knew my plan for change had to include progress markers. Instead of trying to tackle all my issues, I realized the best potential issue for progress markers would be weight loss. It is easily measured and has clear cut goals to achieve. Plus, our energy, emotions and overall well being are directly tied to how our bodies feel. If your body is angry with you, how can you truly be well?
So, I had an area of focus, but I needed a plan. Luckily, right around that time, I learned about a program by Juice Plus called Transform 30. I was a skeptic because it's a fairly new program and it was a "2 shakes a day, 1 meal a day" program. I've tried those types of diets and I've failed - miserably! The difference here was that it's not solely a shake at meal time. You're encouraged to eat veggies and fruits along with the shake or even blend fruits and veggies right in to make a smoothie. It was a much more appealing option for me because I hate feeling deprived or hungry. That is usually what makes me quit any diet plan by week 2. Hunger or fatigue is not a route to success. It was an easy and delicious plan! On those days when you were going to work out hard, you could add in some quinoa pasta for a carbo load. They give you a lot of information so you can create a plan that's specific to you and your lifestyle!
April 2nd, 2015 I stocked up my fridge with my favorite fruits and veggies. Purchased some Almond Milk and Coconut Water which I needed to mix with my delicious Juice Plus Vegan Protein Powder in Chocolate and Vanilla varieties. I opted to eat my biggest meal of the day for lunch. Away I went on my journey - officially starting on April 3rd, 2015. For the first 4 to 5 days I went through a detox. I was so tired and just didn't feel like myself at all. I had cut out: Coffee, Dairy, Bread, Sugar, Meat and Alcohol. Green tea instead of coffee, almond milk instead of milk, quinoa instead of bread, natural sugars found in fruit instead of sweets and not a bit of meat or alcohol. It was a huge adjustment and my body felt it instantly. About 6 or 7 days in, I began to feel so much better. More energy, better sleep, clearer skin and there was a calm to my spirit. I felt like I could do anything!!!
I stuck to my plan strictly and I quickly saw a change in my overall health. I am human and had one slip up while preparing my Demonstration Speech for school. I decided to tackle the world of Vegan baking so the topic I chose was "How to make Vegan Cupcakes." I had to make sure that what I was going to hand out to the class was not only edible, but also delicious. And it was! So moist and so yummy! I was so impressed with the way they turned out and my classmates and even my teacher came back for seconds. Half the calories and no preservatives, but all the flavor. They are still talking about my cupcakes weeks after my speech! So, when it came to that slip up, I didn't feel too badly about it. I just went right back to my Transform 30 journey. And transform I did - inside and out!
At the end of the thirty days, I had these successes (progress markers):
- Down 14 lbs
- Down 2.5 inches in my waist
- Down 3 inches in my legs
- Down 3 inches in my hips
- Down 1.5 inches in my chest
In just 30 days, I lost 14 lbs! That's an average of 3.5 Lbs a week! But it is not only weight that seems to be melting away. I feel like the work put into this entire process is helping me to be a stronger person inside and out. Preparing home cooked meals is time consuming and working out takes time as well. I chose to walk 4-5 miles a day when possible and that would tucker me out. Well, when you're exhausted from your day, you have less time to think aimlessly because you fall asleep pretty quickly. Though I'm still a very pensive person, I seem to be channeling it differently. Now, I want my thoughts to really matter. It seems to me that once you become productive in one aspect of your life it splashes over into all other aspects of your life.
When there are moments of quiet or stillness, instead of scouring the Internet because I'm bored, I get something done. When I'm at work and I have nothing left to complete, I create projects for myself. I've organized all our customer invoices as well as revamped our entire Human Resources process. Now that I'm all out of projects, I've taking up reading again. For the last 10 years I have not been much of a reader at all. (Well, I would read for school, but never for pleasure) Usually, I would put on a T.V. show in order to watch a story unfold. Thank the heavens, I saw some books at the city wide yard sale last month that looked good and now I'm hooked. It is so relaxing to pick up a book and dive into that world. It's also amazing inspiration and helps me to formulate my writing projects better. When you're a reader, you can write that much better because you know what you'd want in a book. I'm writing a lot lately too! I have been sharing each chapter as its written with my beautiful Grandma and she seems to really enjoy my latest project... so far! It's fun to have an audience anticipating your next chapter and it helps motivate me to keep writing. I'm finding such joy in that.
I've been meditating a few times a week and that helps center me and keeps me feeling very grounded. There's an app on my phone called "HeadSpace" and it's been a God send for those moments when I just need to clear out all those unnatural voices in my head. Those outside criticisms or fears vanish with 10 minutes of meditation. I never thought I would be a person who could clear my mind enough to meditate, but with this program you learn how to embrace your thoughts not solely clear them out of your head. The approach is so different from the other programs that I've tried and it's working for me. I highly recommend it. A little pricey and not for everyone, but they have a free 10 day trial and you really get a feel for what the app offers.
All these changes in my life started with my diet and exercise. Cleansing myself of unnecessary toxins and being mindful of every piece of food I put into my body has really opened me up to a new phase of life. If you can commit to something for 30 days, you won't be finished when those 30 days are up - you'll naturally want to keep going. I plan to get back to a more normal "3 meals, 2 snacks" meal plan now that I've gotten through the cleanse part of this journey, but I really don't think I'll ever eat the same or look at food the same way again. Sticking to this plan has given me a boost in self esteem, overall well being and amazing added bonus - I no longer have a closet full of tight pants. I'm not after a look, I'm after a feeling and I couldn't feel better! All that baggage I was carrying - physically or metaphorically - I'm so happy to get rid of it!
After 30 days, I have a clear vision for myself and more progress markers to reach. I have become so much more productive and I'm excited to see what my life produces. I highly recommend that if you're feeling overwhelmed or feeling like the voices outside are overpowering your inner voice, stop and take a time out. Only when we pause and regroup, can we move forward as the best version (so far) of ourselves. You can't run away from yourself - no matter how hard you try. Your best bet is to deal with the issues or obstacles you see in front of you - head on. Cry, scream, sweat, plan, find inspiration and move through it till you've moved on. If you try to avoid one of life's many stepping stones, you are bound to encounter that stepping stone again. Your path will just keep you walking in circles until you step on that stone and move through the lessons it holds. There is no skipping steps in life. Whatever you avoid will stare you in the eyes down the line. So, deal with the emotions of it as it comes and then and only then will you be able to move on. It's so much harder to venture back down the path later and heal those scars. DO IT NOW... Move along and feel what you feel...
I have more progress markers to reach, but that's life... New goals, new ideas and new ambitions to chase! Here's to working towards a richer, fuller life that is healthy from the inside out! Pumped up and ready for all life has to offer up... By no means am I finished...
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