Category Archives: Health

14 Day Cleanse + Gallon a Day {RESULTS}

So…remember when a bunch of us decided to eat nothing but clean food for 14 days WHILE drinking a gallon of water a day?

Yeah, that.

It’s been a few weeks since the challenge ended, so I thought I’d give you an update on how it went down.

I was going to do a high/low report, but really, it was all good.

I thoroughly enjoyed my meals, just like I did with the 10 day cleanse back in the spring, and I didn’t really miss sugar, bread, or anything else I wasn’t allowed to eat.

There were about 130 of us over on the Facebook accountability page, and I loved having all of the feedback, encouragement, recipe suggestions, etc. I’m pretty sure we did nothing but support the research that makes big claims about how much more likely you are to succeed if you take on a challenge in a group setting.

Honestly, as far as I know, none of us did the cleanse perfectly (I’m just speaking from those who piped up on the page; if you nailed it without a single cheat, then I’m not trying to cast a slur on your impeccable clean-eating character). But, for the most part (for me it was about 97%, if we’re going to attach a random, totally made-up percentage to it), those of us who actively participated in the cleanse stuck to the guidelines.

I also managed to drink all of my gallon every day except maybe 3 (and on those days, I only had a few ounces left).

So, the big question: did I receive any benefits from all of this clean-eating/water-guzzling madness?

Yup.

At the end of the 16th day (I’d started a bit earlier than the rest of the group and decided to continue until everyone was done), I’d lost 3 pounds and 3 1/2″ overall, which returned me to my pre-Theo weight/size. Now, I will admit that there’s this “post-Della” size that I kind of consider my ideal weight, but I haven’t been there in 4 years, so I’m pleased with where I am right now (for now :) ).

Just in case you’re a visual sort, here are some Before + After pics for your perusing…I was going to say “pleasure,” but let’s just go with “information,” shall we? I don’t think anybody particularly enjoys staring at my headless body. I know I don’t.

(The far left pic is from before my 10 Day Cleanse in the spring, the 2nd from the left is immediately after the 10 Day Cleanse, the 2nd from the right is right before the 14 Day Cleanse, and the last is immediately after the 14 Day Cleanse. (Clear as mud?) 14dayaftercollagefront

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The difference from left to right is approximately 12 pounds and 16 inches! And all of that is from eating healthy foods and plenty of them (I never feel unsatisfied or hangry when I’m on a cleanse).

Full disclosure: literally the day after the cleanse ended, it was the twins’ birthday, and since then, it’s been birthday season up in here. So, between the girls’ birthday, my birthday, and friends’ birthdays, we’ve been partying for the last 2 weeks. Needless to say, the eating has not been especially clean. I may have backslid on some of my results. I don’t know. I haven’t measured/weighed (something I almost never do anyway).

But this week has been back to life as usual, and I’ve already adjusted my eating back to within healthy parameters (with a few cheats here and there; note to self: having fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies in the house is a bad idea).

And now for the WATER!

I’ve heard some pretty drastic and fantastic claims from those who have started drinking a gallon a day, but I can’t say that I can lay claim to most of them. I will say that I was already drinking a fair bit of water each day before I started the gallon challenge, so maybe the awe-inspiring results came from people who were chronically dehydrated.

In any case, I can say that I experienced the following:

1) Increased milk supply. Theo is still nursing (and will be for a while, I think), so, even though my milk supply wasn’t low before usually, there were days when I would be too busy or distracted to drink enough, and I could tell that Theo was working harder (aka: hurting me) to get his fill. That completely changed when I drank my gallon a day.

2) Fewer cravings. Drinking all of that water definitely helped me stay full. And I didn’t feel a strong need for sugar like I do when a) I’m eating it regularly and b) I haven’t had enough water.

3) Increased energy. I’m sure a lot of this could be attributed to the good food I was eating, but I definitely didn’t get as much of the 2 PM crash that I feel when I’m not as hydrated.

4) Increased mental clarity. Again, I’m guessing the food helped with this, but I definitely felt less foggy than I do when my diet/hydration are not as good. (Case in point: I’ve been ridiculously busy over the last two weeks AND my diet/water consumption hasn’t been as good, and there have been multiple times that I’ve walked into rooms and then just stood there, trying to work out the cosmic question: “WHY AM I HERE?” Hello, premonition of my 80-year-old self).

So! There you have it. And just so you know, I heard from several cleanse participants who had great results as well. One had clearly lost several inches in her before + after pics. Another lost 7 (!!!) pounds and was loving the way she was eating so much she planned to continue. And multiple others reported how much they enjoyed both what they were eating/drinking and how it was making them feel.

Obviously, I highly recommend clean eating + lots o’ water drinking. (Just FYI: the recommended water consumption for a woman is 88 ounces, so the gallon challenge definitely put us over the top on that, but I need the extra because of my levels of exercise, and I didn’t hear complaints from anyone else about any adverse effects. It’s always good to do your own research before you attempt anything like this, though, so be sure you know what you’re getting yourself into if you decide to take on this challenge).

I’ll just be over here plugging along eating (mostly) clean and chugging water, but I’ll be sure to let y’all know if I do another cleanse. (I’m sure I’ll need one after the holidays).

Thank you so much to all of you who participated. It was a blast to get to know you better and be encouraged by you!

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Beautycounter Review + a GIVEAWAY!

Way back in the spring, Erin, a sweet reader-friend, contacted me about trying out some products from a company I’d never heard of: Beautycounter.

Pretty much right from the get-go, though, I was intrigued, since Beautycounter’s mission is to provide safe, effective skincare products for the entire family. I had been on the lookout for a great skin care regimen for a while but, after trying out various samples of this and that, I was still pretty underwhelmed and undecided.

But with Beautycounter’s commitment to banning over 1,500 harmful chemicals and products that are regularly allowed into American skincare lines (whereas the European Union has banned the use of over 1,300 ingredients, the U.S. has only banned 11, so clearly Beautycounter exceeds both of those limits), I literally figured, “What harm could it do to try it?”

So, I sampled two of their lines: The Essentials and The Countertime.

I tried the Essentials first, but, while I thought the product was fine–gentle and soothing–I didn’t see a huge difference from any one product (except the Gentle Exfoliator, which I luuuurved). So, I wasn’t necessarily expecting too much from the Counter Time line either. I wasn’t even paying much attention–just going through the motions of applying the products faithfully each day in tiny amounts (I’ve been known to make samples last for a good month).

The thing was, without even looking for it, I was noticing that my skin looked brighter in the mornings. And then, several days later, it was undeniable: my skin tone was more even, my pores were smaller, my fine lines around my eyes diminished. A friend at Body Pump exclaimed, “Holy Cow! Your skin looks amazing! What are you doing??”

And then–the gold standard of all proofs–even my husband noticed and expressed his admiration.

So, I emailed Erin quick, fast, in a hurry and said, “Dude! This stuff works! How do I get more??”

She very patiently dealt with all of my questions and waffling until I finally decided to just bite the bullet and order the entire Counter Time line–a really big investment for me and the most I’ve ever spent on skincare (by a long-shot; I received no special discount other than that Erin was sweet enough to order it at cost for me)–because it provided a significant discount to each individual product to buy them all together.

Plus, I knew that there was a 60 day money back guarantee if I was at all unsatisfied with the products.

I’ve been using the Counter Time line for almost 3 months now, and I can honestly say that I really like it.

I cannot say that I’ve seen quite the drastic results that I experienced in that first week of samples, but I have been pleased by my consistently brighter, more even-toned skin + smaller pores.

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{While I will freely admit that this is super-flattering lighting, I would also like to point out that I have not edited this picture in any way or added filters or any such fancy work}

Honestly, I think that my skin needs regular exfoliation, and the Essentials Line exfoliator, which I was using in combination with the Counter Time samples back in the spring was the Holy Grail of product combos for my skin and really helped it glow.

Also, Erin ended up sending me the Essentials Line cleanser (since that line is her personal favorite) to try in combo with the rest of the Counter Time products, and I could see a significant difference after I added that in. AND I would like to point out that one of the products that came in the Counter Time line (the Enlightening Treatment Pads) did not work for me at all. It broke me out in tiny little bumps, but since Erin had specifically recommended it as doing wonders for her skin, it clearly depends on your specific skin’s balance whether it’s beneficial or not for you. That said, since I ordered the entire line as a unit and was happy with the other 5 products, I couldn’t return the Enlightening Pads by themselves. I understand why (none of the items were priced separately), but that was still a bit of a bummer.

So! I guess the biggest takeaway from this review is that, if you decide to try out Beautycounter’s products (which I heartily recommend!), try to sample different combos of lines first to see what works best for you because a) what works for me (or anyone else) may not be the ticket for you (duh) and b) it may not be the best idea to order one whole line, even if it’s significantly cheaper. Mixing and matching the best products for your skin is definitely the way to go!

Next up, I’m going to look into their kids’ lines for soaps and lotions–especially the sunscreen.

Oh! And speaking of lotions, Erin is being kind enough to give away this decadent-looking body butter, which contains zero synthetic fragrances and is really moisturizing for dry skin without leaving any greasy after-feel.

body butter

All you have to do to be entered to win is “the usual” round here at M is for Mama.

Simply comment below with either A, B, C or D (just as a heads-up: if you pick A or B, Erin will follow up with you with more info, per your request).
A) I have heard of Beautycounter, but I would still like more info
B) I have not heard of Beautycounter, and I would like more info
C) I have heard of Beautycounter, but my interest ends with the giveaway
D) I have not heard of Beautycounter, but my interest ends with the giveaway

Happy entering! May the woman with the driest elbows win!!

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