There's something about deprivation that immediately has me lusting for whatever it is that I can't have.
And over the years, I've worked hard to build a good relationship with food and exercise.
Like most women, I've had my battles with weight and beauty. Ironically, at the time when I was fittest and leanest, I was also at my most insecure. And there were times when I didn't eat enough, and/or exercised too much, and still beat myself up about it.
Being a Mum has definitely encouraged me to have a healthy view about exercise and nutrition. I don't want my kids growing up worrying about everything they put into their mouths, or whether their butt/tummy/thighs look big in that.
So for me, diets are not the answer. Enjoying food and good nutrition is.
Yes, it's true, I'm no longer the slim, muscled gym junkie I was in a lifetime long ago, and I so would like to have that body back. But I'm more confident and at peace with my body than ever before.
It's grown and nurtured two children. It's kept me here. It gets me to where I want to go.
So fad diets have been out for some time now.
It's no secret what the formula for weight loss is: Energy out has to be more than energy in.
But still, I have weight to lose, for reasons of vanity as well as health. Most of all, I'd like more energy. I seem to constantly battle with exhaustion.
Who wouldn't like an easy fix?
When my old school friend Viv Temple began telling me about a nutritional lifestyle she'd begun, I was pretty sceptical.
She'd lost 5 1/2 kg on a 30-day nutritional cleansing program, and discovered loads more energy as well.
A year later, she's not only kept it off, but she's lost more weight. (A total of 10 kg, which was her goal.)
Catching up with her recently, I could see for myself that she looked healthy too. In fact, she was a glowing endorsement for the product.
The product is called Isagenix, and Viv now sells it to supplement the family income.
I'm as wary of network marketing as the next person. However, Viv is not the type of person to rip anyone off, let alone a friend, so I knew she truly believed in this stuff.
And, fighting the usual fatigue as we caught up over coffee recently, I found myself agreeing to trial Isagenix for a month.
I looked into the science behind it, and there's loads of information available online, and it seemed to make sense to me.
I know there will be those of you who disagree, and that's fine.
I'm not selling it, and I'm not suggesting you try it. I'm just giving it a go, and sharing my findings.
With Isagenix, you're only required to do 20 minutes of exercise a day - Viv mainly did walking. I do some form of exercise daily. Some days are more active than others, particularly gym days, which is at least 45 minutes.
I started my Isagenix cleanse on a Monday morning after a fairly celebratory weekend.
To be honest, I was dreading it.
You replace two meals a day with Isagenix shakes - which the company claims contain loads of nutrition. They are meal replacements with protein, carbs, enzymes, fibres and essential trace minerals.
There are two flavours, chocolate and vanilla. I loved the chocolate shake, didn't think much of the vanilla one, but it was okay. Then you have one 'knife and fork meal' a day, which I decided to have with the kids.
The first thing that hit me was that this was more than I would normally consume in a day. I've gotten into a bad habit of inhaling coffee instead of eating breakfast, while I see to the kids and make their lunches.
Often, I don't get any fuel until lunchtime. That's if I get time to eat! I hadn't realised how much I'd been neglecting my diet. Dinner is always light, and again, sometimes I'm so tired, I skipped it, unless eating out with friends and family.
I love my food, and I hadn't realised how my busy lifestyle had resulted in me depriving myself of it lately.
Sure, when I do eat, it's usually healthy. But I was kidding myself, that I what I was doing was good for me. I think I thought that by eating so little, the weight would drop off. But it was at a standstill. In fact, there hasn't probably been a lot to keep the metabolism going and fuel my body. No wonder I was so tired!
With Isagenix. the shake is quick and easy for breakfast. I can make it in seconds and drink it while I'm doing the mum stuff. All the while knowing I'm getting some decent vitamins and minerals and enzymes at the same time.
(I'm not a doctor, but there are notes you can take to your doctor or medical advisor for approval or otherwise. My GP thought it was fine, though my Chinese Medicine practitioner had a lot of negative stuff to say. I'll give him a chance to air his thoughts later. Meanwhile, if you want to find out more, you can go to www.isagenixhealth.net)
Vitamin and mineral supplements are included. All up the initial pack I needed cost about $7 per meal, but that included everything - including the supplements and a blender.
I can honestly say that for the first six days I was an angel. Nothing prohibited touched my lips. I had my two shakes a day, and a small meal. (I was allowed snacks as well, but I found I didn't need them). To my surprise, I didn't have any inital detox issues, like headaches or withdrawls, because I guess I eat quite well anyway. But by day three I was dreaming of a coffee at breakfast time, and a wine before dinner. I ignored the cravings, with the help of some moral support from Viv.
I was tired too, but I started on a week when I had what was being treated as an upper respiratory infection, later diagnosed as asthma, and finally pneumonia. So I'm not sure how much of the weakness had to do with the Isagenix and how much was due to being ill.
After four days of shakes, I did two days of cleansing. The idea of the Isagenix cleanse, isn't that your body is dirty and needs to be 'cleaned. It's that on the first cleanse day, your body takes sugar from your liver, then the colon. By day two, when your body is still looking for sugar, it goes to your fat, removing the toxins and impurities from the fat around your organs.
This actually allows you to burn the pesky fat that has been hanging around for so long.
You don't have to do two days of cleanses in a row, or any cleanses at all. But if you want to lose weight, it's recommended. And I wanted to lose weight.
During the cleanse, you take a powder up to four times a day - I drank it in purified water as a tea. In between, there are little chocolate flavoured tablets to snack on. Plus your supplements and loads of water.
The tea tasted nice, and although the tablets tasted like cardboard on the first day, they were delicious by day two!
There weren't any horrid side effects, as there are in some cleanses. Yes, I needed to go to the loo a little more than usual, but nothing to write home about. (Or blog. LOL).
I didn't actually feel hungry either. Or weak. At least on day one.
It was surprisingly easy. I even cooked the kids a roast pork meal and didn't even feel tempted to taste it.
However, I found cleanse day two really hard, and felt really hungry, tired and deprived.
I'd been encouraged by Facebook support group that I'd feel good when I woke up after the cleanse, but I still felt crappy. (But hey, pneumonia will do that to a girl).
The day after cleanse 2, my son was eating chocolate croissants as a weekend treat, and I had one too.
The thing is, I never eat chocolate croissants! It's a treat I don't allow myself. But because I'd been on a 'diet' and I guess feeling deprived, I gave into temptation. And I beat myself up about it! (Because you're supposed to burn more fat the next day if you continue on the Isagenix program).
I gave myself the day off after that. I didn't eat crap - just salad for lunch. It was a super-hot Queensland day, and I drank a low-carb beer with a friend in the afternoon. (I didn't feel like dinner).
Viv, my coach, was encouraging, and said it was fine to take a break and resume the next day.
Which I did.
I thought my slip-up might have ruined everything.
However, by the end of day seven, I had lost 2 kg, plus 1.5 cm off my chest, 1.5 cm off my butt and 1.5 cm off my thighs.
I felt really encouraged, because despite eating little in the past, and exercising, it was the first time I'd lost weight in ages.
I was still waiting for the energy hit (but bear in mind I was still quite sick). However, my eyes were clear, and my skin looked good.
People who didn't know what I was up to were telling me I looked great.
I wondered if the Isagenix fans were onto something ...
A slimmer, fitter, less-stressed Bronnie ...
Sorry for crap selfie. Just before starting the Isagenix thingy
Have you ever tried Isagenix? Or a cleansing or diet/nutrition program? How did it go?