It Started With A Little Black Dress: My 28-Day Detox Adventure

There's a little black dress that has been hanging in my closet for 5 years.  I have never worn it.  It's not because I don't like the dress.  On the contrary it is one of the most beautifully simple little black dresses I have ever seen.  Gorgeous enough that it hangs in a place of honor, prominently and all by itself on the corner of my shoe rack.  I bought the dress to take on our first anniversary trip, but it was just a little too snug.  While I thought I could just drop a few pounds and slip into it for the next fancy thing I went to, that never happened. 

Over the years I tried a few diet methods; none of them were easy to stick to, none of them tasted good, my counter was a sea of yellow sticky notes scribbled with calories and points.  I tried to just 'eat healthy,' but I couldn't make it a habit.  And I felt like I was spinning my wheels.  We go out to eat and drink a lot, whether it's social, for business, or because we're just exhausted (or lazy) at the end of the day and don't feel like cooking.   

A couple months ago my dear friend Erin invited me to a little party she was hosting to sell a line of natural, health-based products called Arbonne.  I had never heard of it.  And to be honest I really don't like to go to these types of things.  But because Erin is a good friend, I figured I'd help a sista' out and at least go hear what they have to say.

Sandra, Arbonne's executive manager for the area, came to the party and explained a lot of the nutritional science behind their products - both beauty products and a line of nutritional products.  I had to leave the party early...go figure, to go to a delicious 3 course dinner with oodles of champagne.  And the nutritional things I learned at the Arbonne party hadn't left my mind as I stared at our table for 5 covered with plates of bread, butter and several 'for the table' appetizers...and we hadn't even ordered dinner yet. (Charleston's food scene is both a blessing and a curse).  I got a salad that night, thinking I would feel better about myself...but I didn't.  I felt gross.  And I think that was when I decided I HAD to make some changes. 

I talked to Erin over the next few days and got Scottery and myself on board for the Arbonne 28 Day Detox.  The word detox can scare some people though, so I prefer to think of it more as a 'jump start.'  It gives you the tools to make positive changes in your diet, educates you on the science of those changes, social support as you go through them, and acts as a guide for you to continue a healthy lifestyle afterwards.  There is a private Facebook group where others in your region (the group all starts the same day) are going through the same challenges, sharing recipes and nutritional info, and are there to help each other through.  While the detox is really about getting healthy and training yourself to continue living a healthy lifestyle, a great side effect is loss of weight and inches.    

You can see in Arbonne's Healthy Living Cheat Sheet above (sorry, found the PDF through Pinterest, not sure who to give image credit to!)  the basics about the detox.  Getting rid of certain toxins in your body changes how you store and burn fat, so you simply don't eat things on the 'Eliminate' list, and you focus on a healthy lifestyle.

You substitute two meals a day with an Arbonne protein shake.  Their protein is Vegan, non-GMO, and is chock full of nutrients that do great stuff in your body.  And you mix it with things like coconut or almond milk, green apples, almonds, carrots, berries (and they give you plenty of ridiculously simple recipes).  I'm not really into drinking my meals, or shakes in general, but I found several recipes I really liked. 

Dinners focus on lots of organic vegetables, and you can also have organic/grassfed meat and a healthy carb like organic brown rice.  The emphasis is to stay away from processed foods and the foods on the 'do not eat' list as much as possible, and to actually read the labels to know what's in the food you're eating. 

The Arbonne detox package also includes little snacks you can have if you feel hungry during the day, fiber, special detox herbal tea, a 7-day herbal cleanse package, and Scottery's new favorite thing: Fizz Sticks.  I've never been a big fan of soda, but he is.  He's made a complete switch to these, which are all-natural, contain no artificial sweeteners, and are filled with antioxidants and vitamins that promote energy.  Much better than aspartame!

Post-detox is the time to discover if you have any allergies or intolerance to any of the foods from the 'do not eat' list.  You are encouraged to add back in one food at a time from the eliminate list -- for example, add back in something that has gluten in it.  If you begin to feel sick, that's how you can more easily pinpoint that you have an issue with gluten.  Same with dairy and more. 

Part of the healthy lifestyle after this is to live by the 80-10-10 rule.  80% of the time you continue to follow healthy eating principles -- eat lots of organic vegetables, small amounts of organic meats and whole ancient grains, avoid processed foods.  10% of the time, give in and have that little bread roll or a slice of pizza.  And 10% of the time, go ahead and really enjoy yourself and don't think about it.  That's pretty doable to me -- basically 5 meals a week where you can stray from your 'new and healthy norm.'

Our family and several friends were very supportive throughout the detox.  Other friends were skeptical, some in part because they were afraid a 'detox' sounded unhealthy and extreme, and some who thought that we would be miserable because it sounded like we couldn't eat anything.  Actually some people even told me they felt sorry for me because I "couldn't eat good food."

Because of that, I wanted to share some pictures.  THIS is what my detox looked like.  Although I did miss some things I had cravings for, our meals were delicious!  And they were SO much healthier than what I would have otherwise eaten.

Scottery and I have spent hours discussing this from every angle.  I could write a year's worth of blogs on it, but here's a quick summary for now:  We are SO happy we have done this.  We feel healthier.  We get up early in the morning for fun (what?!).  I've never been a 'protein shake' kind of girl, but I've come to enjoy them each day, and look at it now as fuel -- I'm fueling my body with good fruits and vegetables and healthy fats, rather than empty calories.  I think more about everything I eat and am conscious of how it will affect me.  Sure, a day hasn't passed that I didn't dream of macaroni and cheese, crusty french bread or pizza.  But I also feel better about making good choices.  I reach for carrots and hummus or a handful of almonds as a snack.  We found a brand of rice crackers that I will continue to get over other snacks.  I can't lie -- we did cheat a few times on the alcohol part.  But when we did, it qualified to me as more of a necessary occasion (engagement parties, to calm my nerves during flights, etc.) than to satisfy a craving.  And I tried to keep that to a minimum.  But I am proud that we went as far as to pack our Arbonne and blender for vacation and kept up consistently with our breakfast and lunch.  Scottery even packed his cooler with shakes and healthy snacks for work trips.        

Our decision to do the Arbonne 28-Day Detox has been honestly life changing and without regret.  I lost 8 pounds and 4 inches from my waist in a very healthy way this month.  Scottery has done even better, at 16 pounds.  And we feel great!  And we're going to keep it going.

If you are in a situation now where you want to get healthy and need a jump start on a lifestyle change, I wholeheartedly recommend this.  It's not an easy battle at first, but it gets easier and it is SO worth it.  Feel free to contact me if you have more questions about my personal experience, but if you want to try out Arbonne for yourself, ask a pro!  Erin Branham, my Arbonne consultant, can be contacted here: 

Erin Branham, Arbonne Independent Consultant

Arbonne Consultant ID: 14769825

843-534-6090 or ebranham13@gmail.com

Contact Erin on Facebook

To celebrate both the end of the detox and one of my favorite French holidays, we have reservations for dinner tonight at Fish Restaurant's 3rd annual Bastille Day soiree!  I'm not quite ready for that little black dress yet (lets be honest, years of poor eating habits can't be entirely reversed in a month), but I'll be in it by our anniversary a couple months from now.  It's about time!