This is the last in a 3-part series of articles recounting my weight loss experience. I feel lucky to have succeeded in my journey by reaching and holding a healthy weight. I have lost (and kept off) 50 lb. in the last eight years. But the path wasn’t a straight one.
In Part 3 of my weight loss journey, I find a program that speaks to me. But it takes me more than one try to get it right. I learned what it felt like to eat like a healthy person, but that feeling didn’t sink in the first time, to where it became my own nature. After three attempts I finally achieved the change that really matters, and it’s not in your diet or exercise. It’s in your mind, and in aligning your goals and desires. My goal was to be healthy, and my diet desires finally match that goal.
My First 10-Day Transformation
I finished massage therapy school, got my license, and opened my business (while still working full time). I was doing massage part time, and I knew that I eventually wanted to expand and sell health products. Considering the awful health I was in only 3-4 years earlier that seemed ironic. But I was feeling better than I had in years, and I was really doing well, health wise.
I started looking for product ideas, and found that a good friend, John, was selling Purium products. Their main product was a “cleanse” called the 10-Day Transformation. I asked John about it, and we met to talk. If the product was good, and they’d allow me to sell in a retail establishment, I’d consider it. I found that they had a program for health professionals, massage therapists included, whereby I could sell to clients at retail. So I decided to give the stuff a try.
Purium is all about clean, real food. This video explains their nutrition philosophy well. The video was my first exposure to Purium; John gave me the link to watch before we talked. When they said, “Frankenfood”, I immediately thought of Nutrisystem. I was relieved to learn that their approach uses simple, whole foods and not unrecognizable, lab-created, foodish product.
Marcy and I committed to doing a 10-Day transformation in September 2015, to really try the product. The record of our effort is forever enshrined in digital glory in a blog that I wrote as we went through the transformation. You can read the day-by-day description there, if you like. Here I’ll give you the details of what’s in a 10-Day Transformation.
The 10-Day Transformation is a short-term diet, but it’s really much more than that. The goal is to break your addictions to… everything. For a few days before you begin, you need to lay off sugar, meat, dairy, tobacco, and alcohol. You’ll have none of that for 10 days, and you’ll be radically changing your dietary intake, so it makes sense to tackle some basic cravings, even before you begin.
Purium keeps updating and expanding their offerings, and today there are several variations of the 10-Day Transformation. At the time, there was really only one version, and the daily rhythm looked like this (I’ll explain everything, below):
- Wake Up – Super Amino tablets, Super Lytes capsules, and a Flex Food, plus WATER
- 2 Hours Later – Power Shake, Super Cleans-R capsules
- 2 Hours Later – Super Amino, Super Lytes, and a Flex Food, plus WATER
- 2 Hours Later – Power Shake, Super Cleans-R
- 2 Hours Later – Super Amino, Super Lytes, plus WATER
- 2 Hours Later – Power Shake
- Before Bed – Apothe-Cherry
So What is All This Stuff?
Super Amino – these are tablets that contain a mix of amino acids, which are the building blocks for proteins. You take five, three times a day, during the Transformation. You’re not eating any meat or dairy, and protein is minimal in the Flex Foods. The Super Amino tablets give your body everything it needs to keep building muscle, instead of breaking down muscle for energy during your Transformation. The problem with a lot of “cleanses” out there is that they starve your body for protein, and you end up losing muscle mass. Not so, in the 10-Day Transformation. If you wanted to use Super Aminos as a protein supplement outside of a Transformation, it would just be 5 tablets, once daily, usually before exercise.
Super Lytes – these are capsules, basically just Himalayan rock salt. You take two capsules, three times daily. You’re drinking a lot of water during the 10-Day Transformation, and it’s important to maintain electrolyte levels, to keep your muscles working properly. The Super Lytes make sure of that. Think of the Super Lytes with all the WATER kind of like Gatorade, but without the sugar.
Power Shake – this is a green shake mix that you can blend with water, coconut water, almond milk, or whatever you like (as long as it’s in the Flex Foods list). You drink three shakes a day during the Transformation. I’ve only had the Apple Berry flavor, but they also make a plain version. I enjoy the Power Shake with water or 50/50 water/almond milk. Marcy doesn’t like the grassy flavor much, but can tolerate it when mixed with coconut water.
Super Cleans-R – this is a capsule containing a variety of herbs that do a good job of cleaning out your intestines. You take two capsules, twice daily. I found them pretty powerful. Not like, can’t trust yourself for a short car ride powerful, but quite effective. You’ll notice things are really moving on day 2 or 3.
Apothe-Cherry – this is concentrated tart cherry juice, pure and simple. You mix a tablespoon (I like a shot glass) of Apothe-Cherry with water (I like it with sparkling water), and drink it a little while before bedtime. The cherry juice is a natural source of melatonin, so this helps you get a good night’s rest. And the concentrated cherry juice also contains anthocyanins, powerful free radical scavengers. These have been shown to accelerate recovery after stress (including exercise) by reducing inflammation.
Flex Foods – These are fruits, vegetables, and beverages that are OK to eat during the 10-Day Transformation. Purium provides a list of Flex Foods and their serving sizes, and recommends three Flex Food servings a day.
By the end of my first 10-Day Transformation I lost 12 lb. and I saw 199 on the scale for the first time in over 20 years. That felt like success.
Stuck at 201
I called my 10-Day Transformation a success, and immediately went out for pizza. I had learned some new habits. Some of them imprinted, and some faded over time.
One habit that stuck to this day is how I start the day. I like to exercise, first thing. I can’t get away from work mid-day, and I can’t motivate myself to exercise after a day of work. During the Transformation, my day started with a big glass of water, Super Aminos and Super Lytes, and an apple, which I ate on the way to the gym. These days, I start my day with a big glass of water mixed with isotonic vitamins and supplements, and I still eat an apple on the way to the gym.
The habit that faded, unfortunately, was of eating small and frequently. When you have a little something every two hours, your oven stays stoked, and you don’t feel hungry. But I slipped back into the routine of three fixed mealtimes. So, of course, I re-gained some of the weight I had lost.
I kept using the different Purium shakes as meal substitutes fairly frequently. And on a day when I didn’t pay attention, and missed eating enough vegetables, I’d drink a Power Shake for an after-dinner snack, so I knew I was covered.
I didn’t gain back too much of my pre-Transformation weight, a few pounds. Still, there was a long-term 10 lb. I really wanted to see gone… eventually. My weight stayed in the 200’s, but I was unable to break the 200 lb. barrier again for a while.
About a year later, Marcy and I said we’d do another 10-Day Transformation. I say we “said” we’d do it, because we definitely didn’t decide to. I think we both made it 3-4 days before we admitted we weren’t committed this time. So, no progress for another year.
The One That Stuck – So Far
So now it’s the end of 2017. In another month or so, I’d open my new, bigger shop, doing massage and selling retail products, Purium included. I still had that long-term 10 lb. to lose, if I wanted to. I decided to schedule a 10-Day Transformation for March 1, 2018, and to invite the world to join me. That would get me committed, and work as a promotion, too.
I created a website, opened a Facebook Group, and a handful of people joined to learn more about the Transformation. Ultimately, one other person committed to join me and Marcy in the 10-Day Transformation, starting March 1.
I decided to do the Athlete’s Transformation. The rhythm is identical to the original version I described earlier, with different products. You drink a vegan protein shake instead of the green shake, and there’s a different mix of supplements. There’s also a pre-workout drink mix called Can’t Beet This that tastes great, if you like beets. It’s got naturally occurring caffeine, too, so it’s a good alternative to the morning coffee before heading to the gym.
I was already familiar with the rhythm of the Transformation, and I was committed to keeping it. I was thrilled with the flavor of the Chocolate MVP Sport Shake, subtle chocolate, not in-your-face-creamy chocolate. I was ready this time… with a slight adjustment.
You may have figured out that I don’t always do things exactly by the book. It was more important to complete the 10 days with a good attitude and good results, than to follow the rules exactly. I set a house rule for the 10-Day Transformation: Flex Foods are Free. C’mon. A double or triple serving of cucumber isn’t going to blow my diet, and I’m not going to fret about it. I’m willing to stay on the Flex Foods list for 10 days. Just don’t tell me how much of it I can eat. I can eat as much of it as I want. If you decide to try a 10-Day Transformation, I encourage you to think likewise.
The Change That Matters
I’ll tell you why I think it’s a good idea to bend the Flex Food rule. This may take a moment to sink in….
I think I should be able to eat anything I want. I just needed to change what I want.
When it was time for my shake, I loved it, mixed with 50/50 water and almond milk: creamy, slightly sweet, subtle chocolate. But at Flex Food time I’d be a total outlaw, gorging on celery and hummus, apples and grapes, or sauerkraut. Anything I wanted! Over the course of the 10 days, my need to “bulk up “my Flex meals faded, as I changed what I wanted. I didn’t have to convince myself anymore.
What I wanted was to eat clean foods, a little at a time. It became comfortable. More than comfortable, it felt good. It became habit. And it stuck.
I lost eight pounds during the 10-Day Transformation, getting me where I wanted to be, weight wise: 190’s. Then something happened that worried me, at first. Over the next four weeks, after the Transformation, I continued to lose weight. I lost about a pound a week, even though I had returned to eating “regular” food. I was worried, had I kick-started my thyroid, and now my meds were too high? Crazy things you think up. I decided to watch for a little while, and see the doctor if the weight loss continued much farther.
I leveled off at 190 lb. Some mornings 188, but call it 190. Not only did I NOT gain back the weight I lost during the Transformation, but I kept on losing, for a little while. Then I leveled off, and I’m still not gaining back my pre-Transformation weight.
And the reason is, I eat anything I want. I just changed what I want.
A Typical Day
Here’s what I consume in a typical day.
Wake Up: Isotonic vitamin/supplement cocktail, herbal joint-health supplement.
Head for the Gym: Apple, coffee or Can’t Beet This.
After the Gym: Coffee and microwaved home cooked sausage, egg, cheese muffin, or a MVP Sport Shake.
Mid Morning: Medium sized container of cut up pineapple, mango, apple, or other fruits. Some days I’ll also have a coffee here.
Lunch Time: Medium sized container of leftovers from last night’s dinner, maybe eggplant parm, stuffed cabbage, or maybe Chinese takeout. One normal serving.
Mid Afternoon: Power Shake, or celery and carrot spears with hummus, or a cup of bean salad, or… whatever I want, which is usually a little something green. But some days I break down and have some pizza. Not every day, maybe once a week, but whenever I want. I trust myself to balance it out tomorrow, because I know I did yesterday.
Dinner Time: Maybe a turkey sandwich, maybe a Purium Super Meal Shake. A small, simple meal. The “sensible” meal I couldn’t see myself eating in my Nutrisystem days. Of course, if we’re out with family or friends I just eat what everyone else is eating. But for myself, that’s all I really want.
After Dinner: It’s embarrassing. I still snack on candy, cookies. Habitually. Maybe I should boost my calories during the day, so I don’t feel like snacking at night. But what fun would that be?
Before Bed: Apothe-Cherry, or an isotonic anti-inflammatory supplement.
If you go back over that list, you’ll see I’m not starving myself. Yet, I found a new set-point at a weight I haven’t been since college, and I’m happy and feeling great. I eat anything I want. It just so happens that I want to eat frequently, small amounts of (mostly) clean unprocessed raw food, not much bread or dairy, lots of fruits and vegetables, and a little meat. About once a week I’ll stop by the bar for a beer, one beer. Once a week Marcy and I have a hearty breakfast at the local diner.
Success I Can Live With
It is freakin’ awesome to be able to eat anything I want, any time I want, and stay healthy. All I had to do was to change what I want. That was the important part, and if you go into the process with the higher goal of health, not weight loss it makes it easier.
I feel like I’ve been training for this ever since my first diet with Nutrisystem. With each effort, I saw a positive result from intentional change. Each time I learned something about myself, and identified something I needed to change to solidify my commitment. Eventually I found a simple solution, in simple eating. Simple eating, mostly, with freedom to party, knowing that what I really want is to eat like a healthy person, most of the time. That seems to be working.