Attention Dieters: There is NO Magic Pill.

After being snowed in for 4 days and having nothing really to do outside of working out, I watched more TV than I have in the past week. What started as being sucked into yet another Law & Order: SVU marathon turned into the biggest research project I’ve done since college. At least one out of every 5 commercials was for something weight loss related, either diet plan or diet pill, that promised “miraculous results” in just a few short weeks.

Before I was introduced to AdvoCare, I tried just about every diet pill and weight loss plan on the market. I had no idea how to eat right, how to have a proper exercise regiment, or,most importantly, the confidence to move forward. SlimQuick, Hydroxycut, Alli, and OxyElite Pro were the main products that I used & expected to fix my weight problem. I saw commercials for 3 of the 5 while watching TV over the past 4 days, and it amazed me how much they make the products seem like a magic pill.

NEWSFLASH: There is no such thing.

I’m no doctor–I have no professional medical or nutritional training. What I do have is personal experience with yo-yo dieting, diet pill popping, and lots of disappointment with both. This entry is by no means to give an expert opinion, but rather to give a personal account of why I believe these are not only a waste of money, but even dangerous if used improperly.  So, anyone who is looking to lose weight and looking to OTC Diet Pills for help–this is for you.

SLIMQUICK
I tried the pills, the powder packets, and about everything else they put on the market. Nothing. At the time I began taking the pills seriously, I was working with a personal trainer and eating right. I lost maybe 5 pounds over the course of a month. I wasn’t impressed at all. Outside of just not working, it really didn’t have any major issues with it.

Verdict: Waste of Money

HYDROXICUT
I used several of the pill products (Regular, Max, and Hardcore) over the course of several months. The chiseled abs and toned physiques the company promised were enticing, and they made it seem so easy! After about 8 months and hundreds of dollars spent, I lost a mere 6 pounds. I wasn’t eating right and wasn’t exercising much at all, so that’s probably why I had such poor results. I had few side effects, the two biggest being nausea and restlessness. Once again, not impressed.

Verdict: Meh.

ALLI
This was potentially one of the worst decisions ever. Like most diet plans, the Alli system required a low-fat diet. While other diet pills will simply not work if you eat too many fatty foods, Alli has a nasty way of reminding you that you screwed up. You poop yourself.

I’m not even kidding, side effects include “Changes in your bowel function often occur because of the unabsorbed fat. Fatty/oily stool, oily spotting, intestinal gas with discharge, a feeling of needing to have a bowel movement right away, increased number of bowel movements, or poor bowel control may occur. These side effects may get worse if you eat more fat than you should. If these effects persist or worsen, notify your doctor promptly.”

I don’t know about you, but the idea of leaking oil out of my butt-hole was enough to make me stop using that junk ASAP.  Luckily, the only problem I had was needing to make a dash for the bathroom at Ussain Bolt speed.

Verdict: Absolute Crap……pun intended.

OXYELITE PRO
I found this product while on a vitamin website and saw this description:

“The proven formula of OxyElite Advanced from USP Labs boosts your energy levels and burns stubborn belly fat. This formula also reduces hunger pains, cravings and late night snack binges while giving you the energy needed to gain muscle and burn fat. Build up your dose gradually to achieve your desired weight loss.”

I didn’t even get to the point of building up my dose gradually because I felt so bizarre when I took the pills.  I honestly felt like I had been drinking each time I took a dose. Sweating, dizziness, tingling in my hands and feet–it was borderline awful. I also got EXTREMELY nauseated the majority of the time I took it. Most website reviews I read said that all the side effects were caused by the caffeine. My guess would be, for me, from something outside of that. I do not have a sensitivity to caffeine and was used to being full of it throughout the day.  I only used one bottle and never purchased it again. I hated not feeling in control because of a diet pill!

Verdict: Not for the weak–not something I’d recommend.

With all this being said, I realize that everyone is different. My honest suggestion to anyone who has a desire to get healthy or lose weight with the help of a nutritional company is to try AdvoCare. This isn’t a plug, this is truth. I tried just about everything on the market to try to lose weight, but it was not until AdvoCare was introduced to me that I found my answer. The products are amazing, the support is incredible, and the results speak for themselves.

One year (and 50+ pounds) later, a whole new person has been uncovered!

One year (and 50+ pounds) later, a whole new person has been uncovered!

Through the support of my team, the dedication I gave to my transformation, and the quality of the products, I discovered the champion I had hidden within.

There is no such thing as a magic pill that will allow you to eat a Big Mac and become a size 2 overnight. Weight loss takes education, dedication, and a lot of hard work. This is why I chose to become an AdvoCare distributor–so that I can BE the support for others who are in the desperate spot I was a year ago.

One of my favorite quotes is one that I heard at Success School last August from Tyler DeBerry. He said “Live your dream and share your passion. You will not accomplish anything unless you become intolerant of where you are.” It took me less than a year to uncover a whole new person, and I’m still going strong.

Be brave, be bold, and become what you were meant to be. Are you ready to find your inner champion?

Mass Hysteria, Lightning Strikes, and 8 Gallons of Water

It’s a known fact that Indiana weather is about as indecisive as a woman in a shoe store. In early April, it went from 80° and sunny to 30° and snowing within a matter of days. Our springs are like a roller coaster, our summers are hot and stormy or hot and dry, our falls are…well….ok they’re alright..and our winters are usually mild.

It’s June 12th…..welcome to storm season.

After the tragedy in Moore, OK last month, everyone’s been on high alert whenever severe storms pop up. Today was one of those days. ALL day, all anyone could talk about was this Derecho line that was supposed to sweep the entire state of Indiana off to Oz. I’m talking tornadoes, VW sized hail, winds, flooding, the works. Since I’ve lived in the beautiful Hoosier state my entire life, I’m used to the threat of severe weather. Do nights like this still scare the bajesus out of me? You betcha. Do I pace around like a mad woman? No.

That’s my mother’s job.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my mother dearly but the woman is constantly paranoid over things she can’t control. She began freaking out this afternoon around 1 pm when the NWS put Northern Indiana in the “High Risk” category for “the first time since 2012!” (I then reminded her that was last year…so, no big deal.) I get home from work and the woman has 4 flashlights equipped with emergency strobes and laser pointers, a bag of dog food, and 8 gallons of water to put downstairs to prep for the night’s storms. She then proceeded to send my brother and I (ages 19 and 24, respectively) to go pack things in a duffle bag to prepare.

Mass Hysteria is something that is inevitable when the news is trying to prepare a large group of people for an event. 95% of NE Indiana was completely psyched out of their mind for this storm. My father, a very wise man and a veteran firefighter, looked at the radar and said “It’s going to weaken as it comes across…it’s nothing to worry about.” He called it. He completely called it.

As I’m waiting for the last of this line to pass through, I can’t help but think about the “what if’s”. Thank god my mother prepared in case we would have had a tornado. Thank god we knew what the worst case scenario would be before the storms hit. Thank god I still had power to blog.

The lightning is intense outside, the rain is soothing, and I’m going to fall asleep knowing I’ll have a house to wake up to in the morning.

Counting My Blessings

I grew up in a Christian home. God has been a major part of my life since the day I was born. I have been beyond blessed in my endeavors, always giving God the glory. My reasoning is simple: God is good. Every moment of the day, he is my link to sanity. Early this morning, I felt his presence and his protecting hands wrap around me.

He kept me from death’s door.

Around 5:55 am this morning, I was traveling eastbound on CR 15 in Goshen on my way to work. I was just coming up over the crest of a hill when I suddenly saw 2 headlights coming towards me–in my lane delivering newspapers. The vehicle had its brights on, so I couldn’t see how far over in my lane it was. Letting instinct take over, I swerved to the right. I went down an embankment, took out 2 full grown poplar trees and maimed a third, spun around and flew backwards through a fence 100 feet into a field. I was going 50 mph in a 55 mph zone. Any slower, I would have plowed into the trees and stopped violently. Any further left, I would have hit a large oak tree head on. Had the ground been dry instead of saturated with rain water, I would have flipped and probably killed. The pictures of my car speak for themselves.

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At the entrance to the accident site, there was a cross that said “Jesus loves you” and beneath it, a sign with scripture. I should not have been able to get out of my car and walk away from that accident. It was only by the grace of God that I escaped with only minor injuries. I have whiplash, possibly a mild concussion, bumps, bruises, & cuts. I SHOULD have had a broken nose, fractured jaw, fractured neck and broken face. My Lord & Savior protected me from horrible bodily harm. Glory be to God!

After realizing how close I came to losing everything today, I vow to count my blessings every chance I get. God must have great plans for me since he pulled me from that wreck, and I will trust in him whatever it may be. My favorite hymn is “When Peace Like A River Attendeth” It was written by a man who lost his wife and young daughter in a tragic accident. Even in the darkest moment of his life he turned to the Lord for comfort and strength, creating this beautiful hymn.

When peace like a river attendeth my way

When sorrows like sea billows roll

But whatever my lot, thou has taught me to say

‘It is well! It is well with my soul!’

Whatever the path, it is well with my soul. Count your blessings, hug your loved ones, and praise God always.

To Women Everywhere: It’s Not Your Fault

Today’s blog isn’t going to be about pageants, fashion, sorority shenanigans or job interviews; today is much more serious. A brief warning that this is going to be an intense entry with detailed personal trauma, extreme opinions and shocking statistics. It’s not meant to be insightful, funny, or witty. It’s just something I feel needs to be shared.

September 2007. I was a naive 19 year old college freshman about a week into my first year at IU with way too much trust in the people around me. I lived on a co-ed floor, with one hallway for men and one for women. I had friends on the guy’s side so my gal pals and I frequently visited them. One warm Friday night, I was invited to go to a Playboy themed party on Greek Row with some of my dormmates. I hadn’t been to many fraternity parties before, so I was both excited and cautious to go. I had a couple drinks, danced with my friends and had a great time. At about 1:30 I decided I was ready to go home. I told my roommate and a couple of my other close friends that I was going to head out and when 1 of the guys from our floor offered to walk me home because he was ready to leave too, they thought it was a good idea. I agreed, feeling safer not walking home alone. We talked on the way back about our majors and how we liked our classes so far and where we were from, the usual freshman chit-chat. When we got back to the dorm, I thanked him for walking me home and headed to my room. He was still walking behind me, which I didn’t think anything of because the guy’s bathroom was near the door separating the guys’ & girls’ side of the floor. When he followed me through that door, I started to get an uneasy feeling. I turned around to ask him what he was doing and he asked if we could hang out sometime during that week. I told him my class schedule and told him to just let me know. He turned around and I thought he was heading back to his room.

I was wrong.

I unlocked my door and as I was entering he forced his way in behind me. I told him to get out, that I just wanted to go to bed and he said that “I owed him for leaving the party early to walk me home”. I told him “You said you were leaving anyway….please just get out of my room.” and he shoved me on the bed and locked the door. I tried to push him off of me but he was too big. My first thought was “Oh my God, this isn’t happening….not now, not to me.” It got to the point where I stopped fighting—I just wept. This wasn’t how my college career was supposed to start off. The pain was excruciating. I had only been with one man before this and it had been almost a year prior. It felt like he was tearing me apart from the inside out. When he was finished, he got up and said “Do not tell anyone about this. I’ll be around every corner and you’ll pay for running your mouth. I promise you that.” When the door shut, I curled up in a ball and cried harder than I ever had in my life. I took 3 showers and washed my bedding more times than that. I just wanted to forget this horrible moment.

The following Monday, my best friend from the floor asked me what was wrong when I had missed the class we had together. I broke down and told her everything. Somehow word got back to him that she had found out and he said that I threw myself at him and I had asked him to come back to my room with me. I heard the whispers and felt the stares as I returned from my classes later that week. Less than a month into college  I had already been labeled, and I was terrified to walk alone anywhere for fear he’d be there. I went to counseling, spoke on some panels, and tried to move on with my life as best I could.

I, like 60% of women attacked, did not report my rape to the police. I was scared, ashamed, and somehow felt that in some way it was still my fault. Maybe if I hadn’t gone out to the party, maybe if I had walked home alone, maybe if I had just stayed until one of my friends left then none of this would have happened. I struggled with what-if’s for several months after the assault and battle depression for the next year.

Every 2 minutes, someone in the US is sexually assaulted. Approximately 2/3 of rapes were committed by someone known to the victim. 73% of sexual assaults were perpetrated by a non-stranger. 38% of rapists are a friend or acquaintance. 80% of all victims are under the age of 30, with girls ages 16-19 being 4 times more likely than the general population to be victims of rape, attempted rape, or sexual assault. In Indiana it was legal to rape your wife until twenty years ago. Only twenty years! And yet, somehow….it’s not the attacker’s fault…..

Yeah….so what about the offenders?

Shocking statistic, isn’t it? In today’s society, women who are attacked feel far too often that it’s their fault. They drank too much, the flirted and gave the wrong idea, they were dressed too provocatively, etc. I saw this picture on Facebook a couple weeks ago and it’s shockingly accurate

I’m choosing to speak up and not be another unreported college statistic. I’m choosing to take a stand and let others know that regardless of what you said, what you wore, or what you had to drink, that rape is NEVER ok. It all goes back to “no means no”. If a man (or woman) forces themselves on you and you say no but they continue, THAT is non-consensual sexual contact and THEY are the ones in the wrong.

I suffered in silence for far too long. It’s time to stand up, fight back, and speak up. I refuse to be a victim any longer—I am a survivor.