**Disclaimer→ This is a personal choice that has worked for me. I am absolutely not saying that these programs and products aren’t a good alternative for many people. I just don’t find them necessary for myself**
If you are a social media follower like me, you have probably been bombarded with various healthcare programs that are intended to help you lose weight and live a healthier lifestyle. I see a lot of BeachBody these days, but I also hear from time-to-time about Advocare, Yoli, SlimFast and Isagenix, to name a few. I also totally get it– the women behind the posts I see are legit inspiring and I find myself wanting to be like them. However, for the reasons below I have never taken the jump.
Pro of These Programs: Health & Wellness Guidance
As you may know from your own research or reading my previous posts, obesity is a huge problem in Western society that leads to a slew of chronic health issues. The American diet, though it has been improving a lot over the past 5 years, still consists of fast-food and convenience foods that are filled with preservatives, chemicals, unnecessary sugar and excess calories. Our lifestyles do not promote the home-making of every meal like they used to. We are running kids to activities, have two working adults in the house and by the time everyone gets home we want to order a pizza and be done with it.
Where these programs can all help is that they often have a guideline of how to change our lifestyle habits so that we choose better options, make more meals at home and avoid those late-night fast-food runs. They tell you exactly what to buy at the store, what you can and can’t have, and often promote their own line of meal-replacement products that I would agree are healthier alternatives to some of our convenience foods such as candy, chips and frozen dinners. Many of them, including Yoli and Beachbody’s Shakeology even have added micro-nutrients to give you a boost of fruits and vegetables. Bonus!
If you follow their outlined program, you will likely be successful in reaching some weight-loss and fitness goals, as well as develop better habits surrounding food. That, my friends, is a good thing.
Another thing they often offer is accountability groups. You start a challenge with a group of other people going through the same thing you are. You check-in every day and continue to be inspired and motivated to keep working toward your health goals. If you need this extra boost, joining a challenge group and using a weight-loss/wellness program may be perfect for you.
Cons of These Programs:
I almost bought a bag of Shakeology. I thought it would be convenient for me during pregnancy and as a new mom. I am almost positive that after baby arrives because I will not feel like cooking every meal. It seemed like the perfect, nutritious alternative.
However, since I am an avid researcher, I looked up reviews of the company and the shake itself. I didn’t find anything glaringly wrong with the product, but I did find a couple of things. First, you can find very similar, delicious protein shake powders (in vegan form) for much cheaper. Personally, I like Orgain Organic Protein, which now has a superfoods option, and VegaSport. Second, many of the reviews I found (haven’t tried Shakeology myself) stated that consumers had to add additional fruits and veggies to their shake to make it palatable. I kind of feel like if I have to do all of that, I may as well just make breakfast. The other powders I mentioned are delicious just mixed with milk or water.
- Shakeology: $129.95 for 30 servings
- Yoli YES Shake: $75-80 for 30 servings. (I actually like the taste of this shake, but they don’t have a vegan option at this time)
- Orgain Superfoods: $29.99 for 20 servings (or $44.99 for 30 servings)
- VegaSport: $39.99 for 40 servings (or $29.99 for 30 servings)
2. Satiety & Excess Calories
I prefer the process of chewing and swallowing my food. There is a thought process out there that sort of explains shakes/smoothies as filler food that is full of calories but does not leave us feeling full because we didn’t have to chew it and break it down with as much effort as we may with non-pureed food.
Now, this point could be contradicted, even by myself. Here’s why: If you can make a smoothie that includes clean protein (the options I listed above), is full of vegetables and good fats, while avoiding the addition of sugar (in any form, including agave, honey and stevia) and a lot of fruit (more than ½ C.), you might be doing okay.
Personally, I do make smoothies a few times a week, especially right now with the pregnancy, to increase my veggie intake. I noticed I haven’t been eating may greens, but I want to be to support my growing baby and my immune system with all the illnesses going around right now. Unfortunately, I haven’t made a super palatable version yet, but I am working it. It is difficult without the addition of a lot of fruit or other sweetener. When I get one navigated I will certainly share!
3. If you already eat a well-balanced diet, the cost may not be necessary.
As many of you know, my husband and I have followed a Whole30 eating plan with personal modifications for the past 3 years. We go in waxes and wanes, but generally avoid dairy (sans Greek yogurt), minimize sugar (especially processed and prepackaged goods), choose whole grains in a minimal amount (sprouted, quinoa or rice mostly) and make 90% of our food at home. We are not perfect with our diet and don’t claim to be, but we do are best and I think overall, we are doing pretty well.
After doing a strict whole30 program twice, I was able to change my body’s cravings. I don’t want processed foods or sugar. It actually makes me feel like I am being preserved. These foods leave me with low-energy and foggy brain. My gut gets messed up and I just feel very blah. This change alone keeps me motivated to keep incorporating lots of vegetables, fruits, clean protein and healthy fats into my diet.
Ultimately, I don’t think I need any additional push to keep a healthy lifestyle. Plus, for some of these programs, it would be a step backward for me. I think Yoli and Shakeology are great and full of solid, clean ingredients. Some of the others, though have additional chemicals and/or ingredients that I already avoid on a regular basis including soy lecithin and whey (a dairy derivative).
Ultimately: Do your own investigating and an inventory of your own lifestyle habits. Would your health benefit from following a guided program? Then, do it! Take your health into your own hands and make a change. Any change away from the traditional Western high-fat, processed diet will benefit you. But maybe you don’t need it forever.
Happy Tuesday, all! And if you live in the MidWest, be careful on those icey roads!