Tuesday, May 6, 2014

How Shakeology changed my life for the better, and why I'm no longer drinking it- Part One

It was a year ago exactly that I first tried Shakeology.  I became interested in it after seeing friends' posts about it helping with their migraines, inflammation, mood, weight loss and more.  I was desperate for weight loss, yes, but I knew the accountability of a challenge group was what I needed for that.  Sure, the challenge group had a requirement of needing to drink the Shakeology each day so that may have nudged me a bit more toward the commitment to it.  Ultimately though, it was different reasons that really led me to try Shakeology.

Reason numero uno:  My allergies were out of control.  Seriously, it was terrible.  I park in our driveway and it isn't far from the front door to my car in the driveway.  Even still, I found myself completely unable to function during allergy season if I so much as drove my kids to school.  In that short distance to the car, I found myself gobsmacked by a roaring headache and completely wiped out for the rest of the day.  Then there were the times I couldn't see much through my watery eyes or that I found myself wheezing just standing outside.  Yah, it was BAD.  I mean, I knew that I was about as allergic as you can get to every pollen in the area (that was a fun test to take) and I'd heard that allergies generally get worse as you get older, so I guess it only stood to reason.  I reached a point that I finally broke down and asked my doctor for those allergy shots he had mentioned two years prior.  Guess what?  I was denied.  That's right.  He said NO.  Apparently, having to use Epi Pens on two separate occasions and the severity of my most recent anaphylaxis disqualified me for immunotherapy.  It was just too risky.  So I was left to my own devices, some nasal spray, and Mucinex D (because I'm allergic to all the other allergy meds).  Yah, that's real.  Point being, I was desperate.  It stood to reason (in my mind at least) that if Shakeology helped reduce inflammation and allergies were and inflammatory response, then Shakeology should help me with my allergies.
Result:  A year later I can unequivocally say that nothing has helped my allergies more than Shakeology.  I have been through two allergy seasons with barely a flinch while friends are 'dying' from their allergies.  I haven't had a sinus infection either.  Well, maybe one.  I think.  After a race it seems like.  Or maybe it was right when I started eating clean and my body was getting rid of junk.  I can't tell you how freeing it has been to live my life during my favorite weather seasons- fall and spring.

Reason numero dos:  Girl problems.  Guys, if this is TMI for you then just skip past this section.  Ladies, imagine having your period twice a month.  Cravings, mood swings, and all.  Yep.  That's what was happening to me.  It had been for about a year but I was too embarrassed by the fact that I looked pregnant when I was not to get myself to the OB/GYN.  I finally worked up the courage to as part of this new found commitment to my health.  Test results revealed multiple ovarian cysts disrupting my cycle and confusing my hormones as well as other endometrial abnormalities.  This was particularly shocking for me as prior to all this I was so regular from the day I started at 11 years old that I never even got a break after having each kid of mine.  The doctor tried to convince me to go back on birth control (never my friend) or to consider discussing hysterectomy.  We had to follow up in a couple of months anyway to see how they changed and determine what types of cysts they were as the reports gave varied guesses.  Remember, a year I'd had mid-cycle bleeding, cramping, and a crazy obsession for chocolate.
Result: By 6 weeks into drinking Shakeology I had no more irregular periods.  No more mid-cycle bleeding.  No PMS cravings at all.  It became such a back part of my mind that I even found myself completely unprepared at a theme park even though it was the right time of the month.  I just didn't even notice it approaching.  Follow-up testing after 2 months of Shakeology showed a 100% completely normal uterus.  No more ovarian cysts at all.  I thought it was just a fluke but it continued.  During the holidays and another time, I became inconsistent in drinking Shakeology- having it maybe 3x a week instead of every day.  Sure as night and day, those mid-cycle problems came right back!

Reason numero tres: Energy and weight loss.  Okay, what mom doesn't want this?  I have 4 kids close in age and I have hypothyroidism and low Vitamin D levels.  Seriously, some days it's like a miracle that I function at all!
Result: After just a week of drinking Shakeology, I had the weirdest thing happen.  It felt like a fog had been lifted from my brain.  A fog I didn't even know I was in.  Feeling that clarity gave me joy and excitement, which translated to more energy.  Did the Shakeology help with weight loss?  Well, yes and no.  It's still a huge struggle for me.  What it did help with was cravings and mood swings by giving my body such a dense dose of nutrition it desperately needed- things that could easily turn to uncontrolled and unhealthy eating.  Getting a handle on those definitely helps with weight loss.  It also provided a daily reminder of a commitment to health, which in turn led to better behaviors.  Plus, having it be so convenient and the same cost as some Lean Cuisine or fast food, meant I would regularly forego the temptation to eat that stuff in favor of the Shakeology.... with so many more nutrients, it isn't even comparable.

All of these are just some of the reasons I have been drinking Shakeology for the past year.  I'm not kidding or exaggerating.  I really mean it when I say I love it and I noticed a real difference in how I feel with it (sidenote: my vision and thyroid have also improved over the last year).  My kids love it as well and beg me for it.  It serves as a nice bribery tool.  My kindergartner hates to eat lunch but would never complain if I offered Shakeology.  It is such a convenient meal when on the road or on vacation.  It's a great pre-race meal for me and keeps my blood sugar steady through the long triathlons.

So why would I stop drinking something so great, something I love, something that has truly changed my health for the better?  Well, that part is much harder to share and I will in Part Two.

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