I met Katie in 2011 when she was teaching a spinning class at my neighborhood gym.  Her spinning classes made me feel alive! When I got pregnant, spinning with her was one of the few times I actually felt like I was myself.  When I learned through a mutual friend that Katie was also a nutritionist, I was really intrigued – especially as I was gaining a ton of weight while pregnant, despite keeping up my workout routine and eating relatively healthy (hormones are vindictive little jerks, you guys).

Needless to say, I’ve been following Prescribe Nutrition’s journey from afar as I had my first son, lost the baby weight (mostly), got pregnant again, lost the baby weight again (less so and not as easily as the first time), etc – an experience I think many women who’ve had babies in their mid-thirties can relate to – all while using different programs, though none consistently, to maintain that cross section between the weight where my body wants to be and the weight that makes me mentally happy and healthy.

I’d recently reconnected with Katie through my new gig at DAO Labs when my weight started creeping back up and I knew I had to lose those same 10 pounds I’ve now lost countless times over the last 2.5 years since my youngest was born.  I saw that the PN team was doing a Prescribe 20 challenge, and it happened to coincide perfectly with life: my husband was at the peak of his busy season, meaning I was in the driver’s seat for meal planning and cooking, and we didn’t have any events or travel planned during the 20 days.  It was meant to be.

When I signed up, I knew I was committing to something for 20 days, but I didn’t know the profound impact it would have on my mood, my nutrition, and my health.

Here are the top 5 reasons this program worked so well for me:

  1. I felt personally invested because of the steep(er) price tag.

Okay, $150 doesn’t make or break the bank – but it’s enough money that I felt truly invested in “getting my money’s worth.”  I’ve done other challenges that are free or $20, and there’s not the same level of commitment that I felt with this challenge right off the bat.  

  1. Reverse detox

Instead of saying, “here’s a list of 500 things you can’t eat,” this is a week by week reverse detox to make changes progressively.  It can be overwhelming to look at a list and see all of your go-to snacks and meals on the “do not eat” side – this way, I could make a few substitutions a week, and once I had that mastered, work on a few more substitutions the following week.  

  1. Weight loss

I’ve lost 15 pounds in the 2 months since I started the PN20 – and that includes a 2 week trip to Croatia where I ate and drank whatever I wanted.  The first week of the program I lost about 5 lbs, and progress begets progress – when I saw the scale dropping, it helped keep me motivated to make those changes.  

  1. Sustainable

As I mentioned, I’m back from a 2 week trip abroad where I never once said no to gelato, bread, or wine, and I managed to come back at the same weight I was when I left.  However, my gut was a little mad at me and pretty much the minute I stepped off the plane, I was back on PN protocol. Because I felt so great on the protocol, it was much easier to get back to it.

  1. Support

The PN team was so supportive during the challenge!  Questions were answered quickly and with a ton of good information – going back to point number one, you get what you pay for with this challenge.

What kept me on track?

One of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned during my health journey is that I need to adjust my habits – instead of saying I’m going to give up coffee, the question is what can I use to replace my coffee?  Instead of giving up my glass of wine at night, how can I adjust my routine? So much of our health decisions are habits, and it’s more sustainable to replace a habit than to simply break it. Here are a few tools I used to keep my progress on track.

DAO Labs Emotional Balance

One of the most difficult rules for me was only one cup of coffee a day – I’d definitely become too dependent on an afternoon caffeine boost.  In place of my afternoon coffee, I substitute Emotional Balance, a Chinese herbal formula based on Xiao Yao San. Sweetened with just a tiny bit of honey powder, the taste is refreshing, and the herbal component is a natural mood booster.  

DAO Labs Physical Tranquility

This formula makes me feel so zen!  I used to turn to chocolate, cookies, or ice cream to eat away any anxiety I felt, but since I have discovered this formula, based on Tian Wang Bu Xin Dan, one scoop of this between work and my nightly routine is all I need to feel an inner calm and balance that food could never satisfy.  It used to be that I would get home from work exhausted, crashing from my afternoon coffee, and the caffeine would amplify my anxiety about all of the things that still needed to get done: get the kids dinner, housework, dog walking, baths, finish work that needed to still get done from the day, the list goes on.  Now, one scoop of PT makes me feel like I can handle all of the tasks that need to be completed, one at a time.

Calm

Are you seeing a theme here in what was missing in my life?!  I have a teaspoon of Calm before bed most nights. Magnesium is an important mineral that most of us aren’t getting enough of in our diets (especially for women), and I recently read Dr. Stacy Simms ROAR, which recommended it for muscle recovery and also for managing PMS symptoms.  I’ve never had a problem sleeping, but I do love something sweet before bed, so this is a 0 calorie ritual that substitutes for a scoop of ice cream.  I buy the lemon-raspberry flavor and enjoy a small glass in bed before I brush my teeth.

In short, my investment in Prescribe 20 is one I value greatly. Thanks so much to the PN team for this amazing program!