Monday, August 01, 2011
GNC Total Lean Transformation – Week 1
After reading the reviews online, I decided to try GNC’s Lean Transformation system to help jumpstart my weight loss. My goal is to lose at least 7 pounds at the end of the two weeks. For about $50, it doesn’t come with much – 28 packets of GNC’s Lean Shake, 28 supplement packs – one for morning and one for evening, and a diet guide with a 14 day meal plan.
There are 14 packets of chocolate and 14 packets of vanilla shake mix in the box. The shakes don’t taste bad but have a noticeable chalkiness to them. Oddly enough, the vanilla tastes better than the chocolate to me. I’m a little disappointed that each shake only had 9 grams of protein but GNC touts it as “filling”. They base this claim on the fact that it’s an oat-based shake so the higher fiber content will help you feel full longer. I think it’s well established that protein is more satisfying and thus keeps you fuller longer.
The supplements are individually portioned in “AM” and “PM” paks. The morning pack has 5 supplements total, 2 GNC Burn 60 tablets, 2 CLA softgel capsules, and a small chromium tablet. The evening pack is a bit harder for me to swallow – literally. It has two large white tablets that they refer to as a “restoration blend” and 3 softgel CLA capsules. If nothing else, the sheer size of the pills means I’ll have to drink lots of water to wash them down.
The meal plan is usually the sticking point with me on most diets and GNC’s Total Body Transformation System’s Meal Plan is no exception. It’s supposedly based on a 1500 calorie diet but, like most diets, there’s very little to it. There are a few days where the Lean shakes are given as options for breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner. No thanks. I also have a problem with so many days of lunch being in a wrap. If it’s a burrito or enchilada, I’m all over it, but I really don’t like sandwich wraps.
Since the AM Pak is listed with breakfast, the meal plan also seems to presuppose that you exercise after eating breakfast. Maybe most people do, but I don’t. I work out first thing in the morning and eat breakfast when I get to work. The Burn 60 description says “Burn 60 is a powerful thermogenic formula clinically proven to increase calorie burning by up to 60% for up to one hour after a workout.” I get to work about 90 minutes after I work out so this says to me that I should take the AM Pak before I work out or shortly after. There is also lots of variety in the meal plans which usually spells disaster for me. I much prefer to eat the same things for at least one or two meal a day. Too many options and I get overwhelmed. Despite my issues with the plan, I am happy to see that they’ve included a note that comparable substitutions can be made.
Week 1 Observations
I started the day at 6 am with an AM Pak and a chocolate Lean shake followed by my workout, Firm Vol. 1. The meal plan doesn’t tell you what to mix the shake with but any shake mixed with just water is a no-no for me. I made mine with 4 oz. 1% milk and 4 oz. water. I had already mixed and matched some of their meals to suit my tastes so I prepared 2 eggs scrambled with 1 pat butter (the meal plan calls for “butter spread” but butter is a superior food to its artificial substitutes) broccoli, spinach, onion, pepper, and tomatoes to take with me for breakfast. I made a vanilla Lean shake for my afternoon snack and packed it in my lunch bag with baby carrots and an apple for my other snacks.
My plan for lunch was to get a turkey burger from the cafeteria. While driving into work, I realized I forgot to weigh myself to get a start weight. I ate breakfast when my stomach started grumbling around 9:00 a.m. I was starving again by 11:00 but since I already had my shake, there was no morning snack. I hung in there until noon and devoured my turkey burger. For some reason, I started feeling light-headed around 2:00. So, I drank the shake and munched on carrots and an apple for the rest of the afternoon.
I was hungry when I got home but not starving. I stopped at the grocery store to get more milk, ground turkey, and more fruits and veggies. I made dinner for the week when I got home. I baked a few chicken breasts and made Savory Balsamic Chicken with the rest. I also made my own turkey burgers so the cafeteria wouldn’t bleed my bank account over the next two weeks. Dinner was ½ cup brown rice, 1 c. steamed broccoli seasoned with Mrs. Dash, and ½ Balsamic Chicken Breast. I took the PM Pak right after and that was it for the day.
Pretty much the same as day 1. I started the morning with AM Pak and a vanilla shake, ate the same breakfast and had one of my homemade turkey burgers on a whole wheat bun for lunch. The afternoons are a struggle but I try not to focus on how empty I feel. It’s bearable because I’m hungry but not starving. Drinking hot tea also helps. My toddler did not sleep well so I ended up working out when I got home after eating first - 2 Exercise TV workouts Paul Katami’s Total Band workout, and Marco Reed’s Circuit Training workout. I remembered to weigh myself today. Not pretty.
I started the day with an AM Pak and a chocolate shake followed by my Firm Vol. 4 workout. I also had a different breakfast today. One of the meal plan breakfasts calls for ½ whole wheat English muffin with 1 tablespoon light butter spread and 2 hard-boiled eggs. I used the two boiled eggs to make an egg salad using 1 Tablespoon light mayo instead of butter spread. I also added a slice of tomato. I just spread the dry but still delicious egg salad on top of the English muffin half for a quick easy breakfast.
Lunch was a real test. I went out for a preplanned lunch with my coworkers. I think I did OK. I got a turkey sandwich with mustard, lettuce, tomato, and a cup of fresh fruit instead of chips. I only ate half the sandwich. The restaurant was nice enough to bring everyone a slice of cake on the house but I did not eat it. I didn’t really feel hungry today like I have the past two days so I hope that sandwich did not derail me. I know from history that when I actually feel satisfied, it’s pretty much assured that I’m not going to lose any weight. I may cut back on dinner depending on how I feel.
I’m down to 153.5 (a pound and half from Day 2 weigh-in) this morning so I guess yesterday’s lunch wasn’t so bad after all. I woke up with a really stiff neck and ended up doing Yoga Zone Intro to Power Yoga instead of my scheduled cardio. The meal plan for today was the same as yesterday except I ate the 3 oz. of tuna salad (with light mayo) on a whole wheat bun option for lunch. I’m writing this at 2:00 and I’m starving. I’m afraid to drink my shake now because that is it until dinner. Ugh. I have a work function tonight that I’m going to have to get out of since it involves pizza.
I decided to go to my work function last night but did not eat the pizza. Yay me! Down to 153 today. I was not as hungry today as I was earlier in the week. Maybe my body is adjusting to eating less.
Day 6 and 7
I’m combining these two days since it’s the weekend and I’m not really on a routine. I drank the two shakes and took the AM & PM paks at the usual times. Although, we were on the go most of the weekend, I managed to eat according to the plan. I did eat two of my mother-in-law’s awesome fried corn cakes for breakfast on Sunday though. The rest of the day I stuck to the meal plan. I was down to 152.5 today. That’s 2.5 pounds lost since Day 2. I don’t consider that the best progress but it’s better than nothing I guess.
So far, I’m not seeing anything remarkable about the GNC plan. I honestly think I could lose the same amount of weight in a week by just following any 1500 calorie meal plan. Then again, I have proven to myself over and over again that I just don’t lose weight quickly at 1500 calories. That’s more my maintenance calorie range than weight loss calorie range. I lose best in the 1200 to 1300 calorie range but I am just too hungry eating at those levels to stick with it.