So how was yours? Did you get your fill of turkey and wrapping paper?
Personally, and pardon all the bah humbugisms, but I am not really a huge fan of this time of year. I find it over commercialised, overpriced, over stuffed and loaded with expectation that you will enjoy it, at peril of being labelled a miserable git if you don’t. Feel free – I have been called worse things.
I actually start not looking forward to Christmas as soon as the adverts appear on TV – usually at the end of August. There was a time when I used to really love going into big stores where all the Christmas stuff would be on display at the start of December, Christmas tunes playing in the background. Now, we are bombarded from the end of summer as a by-product of companies vying for our custom and thereby growing their profits. I wouldn’t mind, but I only just get over the vanishing act of the Cadbury Crème Egg by August. For me, and I make no apologies for this by the way, the pleasure of Christmas shopping is doing it all in mad panic the week before Christmas, with wrapping paper last on the list. It really bugs me that marketeers have taken this pleasure away from me by making me feel guilty if I don’t start my seasonal mad dash in August. How very dare they! I am going to ruin all their plans next year by doing it by Park.
Christmas is, and should be, a time for family get togethers, eating too much and playing Charades or Trivial Pursuit; not a time to compete on who spends the most on their kids or buys them the most presents, and posting pictures of mountains of wrapped up presents blocking the view of the Christmas tree it took hours to decorate. I mean, do kids really need 30 presents or more each or at least £1,000 spending on them for them to feel loved/worthy? Is it really worth blasting the credit cards that much?
Maybe my bah humbugism is related to one Christmas as a teenager, when I was treated to a £25 (or equivalent value) Kodak pocket instamatic camera (without the built-in flash), whilst a sibling received a BBC computer (one of the first commercial computers I might add). It felt very unfair at the time – being treated very differently. I remember, or maybe dreamt, being told later that it was felt that my sibling had potential in computing and that was the reason for purchase and gifting of the high spec BBC computer. I am not sure what a Kodak pocket instamatic camera says about my potential photography skills though!
Anyway, it is done for another year and now we look forward to 2018 with glee hoping that the next year brings promise of better and more prosperous times.
So now, just in time for the Midnight ring ‘o’ bells, I am really going to pee you all off. Just before Christmas I won something. I entered a raffle put on by a couple of networking colleagues, Anneen and Kate – two energetic sisters who are on a mission to succeed. When you are in business you have to network and many businesses use a raffle as a tool to get their business and their products known. So, I enter as many as I can, never expecting to win, just trying to help my networking buddies. Well I did win. Yeehaa. Read on McDuffs.
Kate and Anneen are marketers for a company called LeVel which bases their philosophy on building a premium lifestyle brand. Their products are sold through direct sales – they have promoters like Anneen and Kate who market the brand and products in the usual ways. Now I am really not one for DSM, network marketing or that ilk at all. There are so many companies selling stuff out there making their money by getting other people to work for them selling their stuff and then getting those other people to get more other people to work for them selling their stuff. This is the bit I don’t like – I find the concept hard for me to deal with personally but it does work for some people. So, you might wonder why I even considered entering the raffle or even considered trying the products.
LeVel offers lifestyle products – aimed at weight loss, mental acuity, aid for sporty people, anti-ageing, better digestive performance, appetite and craving reduction – sound familiar? Well, one of the LeVel products is different. Don’t get me wrong, they promise some of the same things that other DSM companies do – great products with great results and, of course, it comes at a price. However, LeVel has developed something called Derma Fusion Technology (DFT) and this is what really interested me.
Not sure what DFT is? Well, it’s a method of getting stuff into a body through the skin by means of a patch – LeVel calls it ‘wearable nutrition’. Of course this type of technology is not new; there are other more well-known types on the market – Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) for quitting smoking, and Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) for us poor gals going through the heat of the menopause. My working background has involved NRT for over 10 years and I have seen great success, along with dreadful results, usually because NRT needs a combination of products as well as will power to work effectively. It has always fascinated me and having spent most of my life struggling with my weight, I always hoped that this technology could be used for dealing with this. That old ‘magic pill’.
The LeVel products come as part of a package of called Thrive; marketed as an eight-week experience aimed at improving your lifestyle and nutritional uptake – it is designed to fill any nutritional gaps. There are various packages and different patches – DFT, DFT Ultra, DFT Duo and DFT Black Label, various other supplements and shake mixes. Some of the patches are brightly coloured (pink, purple, leopard print) and have motivational wording on them such as “I am bold”.
In the raffle, I won a week’s sample of the Black Label package consisting of a seven Black Label patches, seven packs of capsules and four sachets of the shake mix. When it arrived, the excitement took over and rather than starting my week in the New Year, for some reason I decided that there was no time like the present and I therefore started it Christmas week! Bonkers I know, but, in my mind, this was going to present quite a unique challenge for this product range. On top of that, I promised an honest review of my week, even though it would be difficult to rationalise any results of what is designed as an eight-week package.
Before I go on to tell you what happened, I should perhaps explain a couple of things about me. I hate having to bare my soul for all the world to read, but needs must in this case. I have an under active thyroid, psoriasis, alopecia and a Vitamin B12 deficiency. All appear to be related to my auto immune system (#knackered), although no real root cause has been found. I do know that I don’t absorb vitamins through my digestive system very well. I have been told by various members of the medical profession that I am just unlucky. For these irritating ailments I take various medications – levothyroxine for the thyroid issue, and, as I am big girl, I have blood pressure issues for which I take another pill. I also have knackered knees due to the weight thing and because I deemed it a good idea to start running in my 40s (Judith Mills, we have a lot to answer for). It is important to be aware of these sorts of things and possibly before going on an eight week plan, discussion with a GP should be had. However, the ingredients in the patches etc are clearly noted on the product specifications and all are natural things so, in theory there should be no adverse reactions. I didn’t speak with my GP before starting though (they close at Christmas you know).
So, I started Thrive on 23 December. First off, I weighed myself. I am not going to give you the full figure (not that figgin brave) but I weighed in at ** stones 11lbs. As instructed, I took two capsules first thing each morning with plenty of water, had a shake half an hour later (first four days only) and put a patch on for the day. The shake mix is a bit powdery but mixes easily with no powdery globs. I had the vanilla flavour which is a sweet vanilla flavour (!); one day I added a spoonful of coffee to it which was jolly nice. There are other flavours though if vanilla is not your bag – strawberry, chocolate, apple pie (very American) and at times, seasonal varieties. I was told to drink plenty of water – the system has a detox effect and as a result I would lose hydration, so needed to keep my fluid levels up. I was not told to alter my diet in anyway and had absolutely no intention of doing so. I wanted to really challenge this product and it was Christmas after all!
For the first couple of days I didn’t really notice all that much. I was weeing more, as expected. I didn’t notice any change in my appetite, but I was not noticing being terribly hungry or having any particular cravings either. I drank a good amount of water – I always have a sports bottle full of the good stuff with me. In the mornings when I took the patch off (I wore them for 24 hours), there looked to be a rash. I had heard about this from a discussion forum. It didn’t itch, and I was not worried about this – common in this method of getting stuff into the body. However, it turned out to be residue sticky stuff from the patch and washed off in the shower. Each day I alternated the area where I put the patch – different side of body, arm, leg – that sort of thing. I did shower with the patch on a couple of days and it stayed in place, although I will be honest, I did not scrub it into submission. It did not come off over night in bed either.
Over the festive period I carried on with the same regime. Hubby and I did not over indulge in the food department anyway – we just had a normal turkey dinner but no pudding, Christmas cake, mince pies or oversized tubs of chocolates; we hadn’t bought them in and didn’t miss them. In the evenings I drank alcohol – cider, the occasional G&T, and one evening I had a full bottle of Irish Cream (nom a nom) – not Baileys but a similar. I didn’t reduce the amount I wanted purely for the sake of Thrive Black Label, so any calories I might have missed by not having cake and chocolate I more than made up for in alcohol. There was the occasional bag of crisps though. Big bag I mean. Not bragging, just being honest.
After Christmas day, I carried on just eating and drinking as normal or as I wanted. No change. I was hoping for improved sleep but after a week this has not happened – I am not disappointed or surprised as I would not really have expected that after just a few days, that would take longer. As the week has progressed I have noticed more of the detox effect – more pooing (oh yum) and bucket loads of weeing (note to self – put Tena Lady on shopping list as my ability to run to the loo has diminished drastically – see above re knackered knees). I have not felt any ill effects at all as a result though.
Again, it is too early to notice any change in how my clothes feel – it does not happen within a week for my body. But – wait for it…
… at weigh in at the end of the 7 days I am ** stones 2lbs – I have lost 9lbs. Now of course some of this is the result of the detox effect. But, considering I made no change to my eating or alcohol intake patterns, I think this is pretty bloody amazing over the festive period. Told you I was going to pee you off.
Normally, when you do a detox or follow some sort of diet plan, you have to at least cut out alcohol and, as you can read from above, I did not do that; specifically because I wanted to see what this product would do and whether the claims made could be justified. There are weight loss plans out there that, if followed to the letter, you can drop a stone in a week; but they are hard to maintain and that is the whole problem with them. But, I have done nothing to aid and abet this 9lbs drop, other than using the Thrive products.
Of course, it is still very early days; to get a full and proper review would need the full eight week experience being completed. What this has done though is to have really piqued my interest to the point where I want to do a full eight weeks. Trust me, I do not advocate anything easily – I am a sceptic through and through. I am not sure whether I would do the Black Label or one of the other DFT plans – this would take a conversation with Kate and Anneen to ensure I use the plan that is most suitable for my own specific wants and needs. I do quite fancy going purple though; those who know me well will get this.
If you’re interested in giving this a try – have a look at the LeVel Thrive website link below or let me know and I can put you in touch with Anneen and Kate for a no obligation chat.