Juice Plus- Fact vs fiction from Birmingham’s biggest diet craze.

Have you seen the sudden craze of girls getting out there, getting healthy and trying to get you involved too? So had I and being a sarcastic cynic I didn’t know what to make of it…but I knew I was jealous of the slender silhouettes I was seeing on my morning newsfeed so I got curious.

As women get older some of us reach that point where we look in the mirror and realise we have begun to look like we have eaten our former selves. Washed down with some stale house white and coated in cheese. Or maybe that was just me. I wished I could go back to the size I was when I first thought I was fat- I was a size 8 and had a few inches of fat on my stomach. Oh what I’d kill to go back to those few inches. Though I was a podgy kid I was lucky enough to be a skinny late teen, a small girl, even in my early twenties I could fluctuate quite quickly by making a few small changes but at 26 I found clothes shopping an unbearable farce and thanks to an untreated wheat allergy could often be offered seats on the tube for a gluten pregnancy which was in it’s 60th month…

Maybe it was because I’m getting older but over the past year or so social media brought to my attention lots of women who had gone on their own slimming missions and are looking fabulous. While I my friends had missed the boat….

When I accepted defeat (after a battle with a size fourteen dress and E cup boobs in the Oasis changing room) I realised I was going to have to reluctantly join the party. When I asked for advice from slimmers on facebook I was overwhelmed by the response. Slimming world, Weight Watchers, Aloe Vera, 5-2, Arbonne detox , good old fashioned blood sweat and vegetables the options were endless. As a creature of habit who hasn’t been able to stick to a routine since 2006 where do you even start?

I realised all advice is good advice but not necessarily all of it would work for me. But it might work for someone else and so I started a blog to share what’s out there and work out the good from the bad. Kate Moss said ‘Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels…’ but  has she tried a few chunks of blue stilton on an Aberdeen Angus with a large Bellini? It’s so difficult to be well behaved in London with temptation on tap every night of the week and even more so as a journalist. Complimentary booze and canapés are hard to turn down but played a huge part in my weight gain. I foolishly thought that I could carve my own ‘paint by numbers’ style diet and be fine. But with no direction, plan or support it was always going to fail. My posts in ‘Slimming in Soho’ were encouraging and uplifting but I didn’t really have a clue where I was going from one day to the next. Finally after receiving some pretty difficult health news I packed up my bags to move home and sort myself out. I let myself go back to eating what I wanted because I was just so low. It wasn’t comfort eating as such because I didn’t binge I’d just fallen  down the rabbit hole, into a land with toast on tap- moving back into your family home with a constantly stocked fridge is lethal even for the most stable and vigilant of people.

Slowly but surely as I spent my days Facebook stalking and idly entering into a long term relationship with the cheese counter I noticed a craze sweeping over the women of sedgley like locusts, forget Pogs, Pokemon cards or Beanie Babies, this infection was big and you couldn’t escape it. But instead of raping your pocket money for useless items that would end up cluttering your nans loft for the next decade- this scheme wholly indorsed by some of my former school girls, promised a life of health, weight loss and general well-being, and if you divided the cost of the products across the month it worked out at pence, not pounds per day- sounds too good to be true right?

I thought exactly the same. I thought ‘Juice plus?!’ so you just drink juice right? Of course you’ll lose weight but it’s an unrealistic fad – get your arse to the gym, eat proper food and drink water like a normal person! But as the weeks went on I noticed these girls were not only getting slimmer but they were posting photos of tasty home cooked food, going for work outs and making breakfast shakes that quite frankly looked a lot more appetising than my stale toast and soggy cornflakes. Vanilla and almond milk shake blended with whole earth peanut butter to taste like Nutella? Ooh that sounds almost as naughty as munching down a choccy croissant! So curiosity killed the cat and I decided to get more info… just to make sure I wasn’t missing out of anything of course 😉

I’ve done diet shakes before and they are no picnic – even with Slimfast I had to hold my nose, neck it down and hope for the best so I wasn’t exactly optimistic infact I hoped my gagging reflex had died off… so when I took out a trial I expected to last about two days and for the powder to go to the back of the cupboard along with the gluten free cereal that tastes like cat litter.

However I was pleasantly surprised. Unlike normal diet shakes, while you can’t mix them with dairy you could add fruits, flavoured essences, seeds and whole earth peanut butter – I discovered that vanilla shake mix with a peach and coconut milk tasted like pina colada and for chocolate fans out there you could make an Areo tasting delight with a bit of peppermint essence. Then came the food. There was an allowed food list which included different types of meat, carbs and veg to make tasty meals that were clean and filling and while the snacks were no patch on a grab bag of walker’s cheese and onion there was a big enough variety of healthy food to pick at rather than processed chocolate tasting bars you get on so many diet plans. *Note to ones self , 4 slim fast nutty chew bars does not equal one dairy milk….*

So I gave it a go with an open mind, I didn’t expect to be a size 8 over night but I figured I had nothing to lose and with food options that included my fave sweet potato and tuna combo, spag bol and a healthy take on the chicken curry all with ingredients that were easy to by in the local supermarket I hoped I wasn’t about to fall face first into the frozen pizza isle. A lot of the mums on the plan feed the shakes to their children and get free chewable vitamins for the kids for buying theirs so I decided to be a ‘brave girl’ because if kids like it must be nice right?

Now I’m not going to lie to you, I don’t wake up like Cinderella, singing down the stairs and farting rainbows  everyday but I DO feel a thousand times better. My energy levels are higher, my skin is clearer and both my mental and physical health are in are far better shape.  Of course there are days when I’ve slipped up – having spent this week away being off plan left me feeling bloated and sluggish but I knew the moment I got back into the good habits I’d feel better and I do. Catching up with a friend the other week who’d started the plan before me, we agreed it’s the most banging breakfast and girl can have… and this is coming from two extreme toast lovers.

It sounds clichéd but it really isn’t a diet but a life change.  If you want to drop a stone in days or crash diet a few weeks ahead of a big event, go starve yourself on a cleanse or pump your body with raspberry ketone…. But if you want a healthy and realistic plan to stick to with support along the way then this could be just the ticket. If  a self confessed beer bunny like me can roll themselves out of the gin scented gutted and away from KFC there is no reason why you can’t too.

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I’ve always hidden my podge well but it’s lovely to be able to wear nice clothes again and see the results as shown in the before and after shot above. I’m still not an ideal weight for me, I’ve got a long way to go and need to work on my discipline but my body has started to change, along with my health for the better with my size 12 jeans starting to go baggy round the bum for a start 😉 I, like a lot of people out there was dubious but when I noticed pregnant women taking it for nutrition along with children, diabetics and epileptics like myself I wanted to see what the fuss was all about.

As with a lot of diet schemes nowerdays the products are only available through a trained representative who follows the products themselves, again that initially but me off as I thought it was just going to be some sales scheme but as I tested the products and was given daily support along the way as and when I needed it, I realised that I was far better off than I was going in blind at the sliming isle in super drug or attempting to follow something from a book. Online support forms helped my lifestyle as I’m a lazy git who is likely to bail if meetings involve going out in the cold or worse weighing myself in front of a group of people and having nightmares of breaking the scales.

So if anyone reading this wants any further information feel free to drop me a message or send me an email – ‘Laurapatriciajones@gmail.com’ –  I’d be happy to ask the team of health babes who got me on my new wellbeing  bandwagon any ques you might have, I don’t bite, will be honest with what you can expect and won’t try and get you to sign your life away because we’re all human and what works for one doesn’t necessarily work for it’s all about the tweaking J

For futher insights into my hilarious former diet attempts visitSlimming in Soho- Confessions of a secret eater –  https://slimminginsoho.wordpress.com/

LPJ

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