Monday, March 3, 2014

Maxin it Out!

Today marks day 6 of The Max Phase, and I'm still holding steady. I ended the Cleanse Phase losing 8.2 pounds. I am down another 1.2 pounds at the conclusion of day 5 of the Max Phase. That makes the grand total so far 9.4 pounds in just 15 days! Now let's not get ahead of ourselves - I still have a LONG way to go, but this is an awesome way to start my journey. And honestly? I'm proud of all that I've accomplished in this short time. It reaches way beyond weight loss. I finally have the motivation and will power to make the LIFE STYLE changes needed to live a long, healthy life with my beautiful family!                                                                                                                                                              

The Max Phase has been slightly more challenging than the Cleanse Phase, hence the delay in updating the blog. Don't fret. The ONLY reason it is even remotely "challenging," and I use that term lightly, is because I have Hypothyroidism. Before I explain any complications, let me first give you background information on Hypothyroidism, followed by a breakdown of how the Max Phase works. Then I will explain the dilemma, and how I decided to tweak things a bit to make it all work.

I was first diagnosed with Hashimoto's Thyroiditis (Hypothyroidism) when I was roughly 8 or 9 years old. I woke up one morning with a sore throat. My mother told me to put my head back so she could see if my throat was red. I did as she asked and she immediately screamed for my dad. Nice way to scare a kid, huh? Anyway, I digress. Apparently I had a huge goiter in my throat. In laymen's terms - I had what looked like a giant Adam's Apple. I quickly became the Circus Tent Freak Show at all family gatherings! After seeing some specialists in NYC, I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's Thyroiditis (Hypothyroidism) and put on Synthroid. I was told that I would likely be weaned off medication when I hit puberty, and back on again when I had kids. This was pretty much the case, although I was put back on Synthroid several years before having kids. Oh, and surprisingly, the goiter disappeared once going on medication. Thank God. I can't imagine the teenage years and dating being successful with a giant goiter in my throat!

One thing I learned from a very early age is that it is important to always take Synthroid on an empty stomach an hour before or two hours after meals. I am a creature of habit, and the first thing I do when I wake up in the morning is take my Synthroid. This means I can't eat for at least an hour. This is not a problem. I wake up around 5 am, and don't leave the house until 6:30 am. I also learned during my pregnancies that vitamins, iron supplements, antacids and certain foods interfere with the body's absorption of thyroid hormone and should therefore not be taken within 2-3 hours of your thyroid medication. This is why I took my prenatal vitamins at night as opposed to the morning like most people. Remember this last paragraph when I get to the "complications." We're almost there.

I'm going to divert your attention to the Max Phase for a few minutes. If you haven't already done so, I highly recommend viewing this YouTube tutorial on AdvoCare's Max Phase. It gives a good breakdown of what's included and how it works. Basically the purpose of the Max Phase is to provide you with the highest quality nutrients so that you can sustain energy and reduce food cravings. This will allow for you to establish healthy eating habits while "re-programming" your body to burn body fat rather than muscle. When you get your 24 Day Challenge in the mail, the Max Phase will look like this:

 Then you open up the boxes and it looks like this:
Meal Replacement Shake - Not so bad.
Vitamins & supplements - slightly intimidating!

I know, I know... you are thinking, "I have to take ALL of those pills?" Yes. Yes, you do. Honestly? It's really not that bad. The picture on the left is the Meal Replacement Shake. It is suggested you drink it in replace of breakfast. The picture on the right contains the vitamins and supplements. There are 3 different MNS packages you can get: Max 3 (overall health and wellness), Max C (pictured here - appetite control), or Max E (energy). The exact supplements will change slightly depending on which MNS Max formula you select, but the one I chose was the Max C. It includes over 50 vitamins, minerals, herbal extracts, anti-oxidents, and nutrients: multi-vitamin, calcium, vitamin d, omega 3, b vitamins, folic acid - just to name a few. It is designed to support digestive and intestinal health, and is a full spectrum system for general health, weight loss, and weight management. There is only one strip of vitamins you need to take per day. The picture above shows two. That is because I wanted to show the front and back of the package. If you look at the strip on the left, it shows that one packet should be taken 30 minutes before breakfast, one 30 minutes before lunch, then the remaining two should be taken with breakfast or with lunch.

If you've been paying attention, this is my challenge: WHEN SHOULD I TAKE MY VITAMINS AND SUPPLEMENTS? I did some research and found there are two ways to handle it: 1) take the packets before and during lunch and dinner, as opposed to breakfast and lunch. This solves the 2-3 hour down time between Synthroid and the supplements or 2) take them as instructed, before and during breakfast and lunch, just pushing breakfast back 2-3 hours after taking Synthroid.

I've been following approach #2. I take my Synthroid at 5 am, followed by a glass of Spark water. I make sure to take the first packet of vitamins and supplements at 8 am before my 1st block class starts. The Spark water holds me over until 8:30 am, which is when I have my Meal Replacement Shake. I prepare it before I leave the house in the morning, and drink it quickly at 8:30 am with the 2nd packet of vitamins and supplements. After my 3rd block (and last class of the day) ends, I take the 3rd packet of vitamins and wait 30 minutes to eat my lunch. While munching on my tasty, healthy nom nom, I take the last packet of the vitamins and supplements. The only thing left to do is  take 2 Omegaplex with dinner, and sigh a breath of relief! Easy peasy? It really does sound much more complicated than it really is. Planning and organizing is key. If you have no health issues to coordinate with, it should be a no brainer.

A quick pointer on the Meal Replacement Shake - definitely use a blender. The first few days I tried to just mix it in a glass with a spoon, but it was super thick and left chunks of unmixed powder floating around. I finally caved and used the blender and it's been SO MUCH BETTER. The drink tastes yummy, has a nice, smooth texture, and really does fill you up.

With only 9 days left in this challenge, I'm feeling great. I'm back on track with eating healthy foods, and don't have the urge or desire to cheat. We were at my dad's house last night for his birthday dinner, and I wasn't even tempted to have cake - and it was my sister's tres leches to boot! I'm really enjoying coming up with new, healthy food choices. I even ate broccoli for the first time - and if you know me, that is HUGE!
Roasted garlic quinoa, asparagus, and baked broccoli!

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