Thursday, September 10, 2015

Our 10 Day Celebrity Transformation - Progress and Results

This post is a diary of the Purium 10 Day Celebrity Transformation that my wife Marcy and undertook. I updated this diary on a daily basis (most days) during the Transformation so you can see how we felt as we proceeded.

Executive Summary
In case you just want the results:
Sam lost 12 lb, and 2 inches.
Marcy lost 5 lb, and 8 inches. Yeah, things work differently for women.
Sam enjoyed the shakes. Marcy not so much, but she stuck with it. Mixing with coconut water and Purium flavor drops helped, a lot.
Marcy experienced some stomach upset.
Sam expected to feel stiffness in his hands in the morning before day 10, since he stopped taking anti-inflammatory herbs for the 10 days, but did not. Likely cause was cutting out something inflammatory from the daily diet; further investigation is needed on this.
In preparing for the cleanse, Sam kicked both caffeine and nicotine habits, and doesn't plan on going back. Well, maybe some coffee now an then....
We learned that water is a perfectly good beverage. We learned that raw or sauteed veggies with spices are a perfectly good snack, and that flavor beats volume. Keep the food interesting, simple, and small.
Both Sam and Marcy plan to continue using Purium products for a 30-day maintenance plan, and then re-assess. Sam will be using the Daily Max PLC Pack and Joint-Flex. Marcy will continue with the Weight Control PLC Pack. Both 30-day plans include one Power Shake a day, and ApotheCherry at night. In addition, we'll be trying the L.O.V. Super Meal replacement shake and the Creamy Vanilla Meal Option drink mix as an additional meal replacement.
Bottom Line: We're both very happy with the results and want to see if we can continue our self improvement with Purium products.

Full Disclosure
I found Purium and their 10 Day Celebrity Transformation in a search for products that I could sell as part of my business, Rockin' Good Health, LLC. The business is first and foremost about therapeutic massage. I also want to include a variety of health and wellness products, and a good friend recommended Purium.

Any product that I offer must be one that I have used and can personally recommend. So Marcy and I undertook the Purium 10 Day Celebrity Transformation, and we intend to continue sampling and using Purium products, since we got the results we had hoped for.

If you decide to use Purium products, you can save $50 by redeeming gift card code rockingoodhealth at

Day -12 (Saturday 9/12/2015)
SAM: We're starting the Transformation on 9/24. There's an online support group with a lot of folks all starting together. My friend John, who introduced me to Purium, linked me into a Facebook group and I've been reading posts from other people at various points in this journey, and it's very encouraging. Still, I'm a little nervous. I like my caffeine. I like my nicotine (e-cigs; I quit the burning kind a while back). I like my candy. I like my meats. But heck, I can handle (almost) anything for 10 days, and I'm really looking forward to the results. Yesterday I only had decaf coffee, and no e-cigs, and boy, what a headache! I'm still a little headachey today, but I'm not letting this go to waste. I'll stick with decaf and stay off the e-cigs, if I can. I probably won't be checking in here again until we get closer to the start date.
MARCY: I am starting to prepare for the Transformation. Self discipline has always been a struggle for me but I know I can do this. I bought a book with some motivational quotes to keep me strong mentally. Another challenge is to prepare the house for easier discipline. I am also responsible for feeding a teenager who will not be doing the transformation this round.

Day -9 (Tuesday 9/15/2015)
SAM: Yay! The products arrived! Two 10 Day Celebrity Transformation kits, plus three different flavor drops, for some variety. By the way, my caffeine/nicotine withdrawal headache is totally gone.

Day 1 (Thursday 9/24/2015)
SAM: Marcy and I got our flex food shopping done over the last few days. We took our "before" measurements and photos, but I think we'll save them for comparison on Day 5. I started my day with my Super Amino 23 and a bowl of raspberries and strawberries, and went to the gym as usual.
It's mid-day now, I just finished my second Power Shake, and I feel great (same as usual, actually). I love having the flex foods, and I was really excited to see sauerkraut on the list. It's not vegan sauerkraut, but I think my Kosher sauerkraut is just fine! It made a good lunch. I'm not hungry, 'cause I'm eating all day long.
Now it's time for my third Power Shake today, and I've decided that I actually like the stuff. I mix it up right after I finish one, so it has a couple of hours to cool in the fridge. Something tells me Marcy doesn't feel quite the same as I do....
End of the day, and Marcy and I just shared a snack of sliced cucumber with a blend of Himalayan salt with garlic, and cayenne. Finish with the ApotheCherry, which is really, really tart. One thing's for sure; there's no shortage of flavor in this plan.

Day 2 (Friday 9/25/2015)
SAM: Holy whole foods! I weighed myself this morning and I'm down 3 lb. since yesterday morning! I'm just sticking with the plan, and going to the gym as usual. This is not hard at all. I'm really looking forward to Day 5 to compare my "before" and "during" photos.

Day 3 (Saturday 9/26/2015)
SAM: Bump, Bump, Bump, da DA da da
I woke up this mornin', da DA da da
Got on the scale, da DA da da
Said I'd lost 6 lbs, da DA da da
Still ain't had no kale - and I'm glad for that!
Pineapple and raspberries for breakfast, just awesome. My taste buds are so grateful.
MARCY: Woke up this morning and I am down two pounds.  Two pounds in two days.  I'll take it. I am having trouble with the aftertaste of the shakes.  It takes me a long time to get it down.  I love the ApotheCherry. Sam thinks it's tart, but I love finishing my day with it.

Day 4 (Sunday 9/27/2015)
SAM: Down 8 lbs. so far, feeling great. Today I'll be doing massage at a charity event, so I have to plan ahead and pack a cooler. I've been enjoying savory (cayenne spiced cucumber, garlic spiced squash), but today just feels like a fruit day.
Marcy:  I woke up today and found that I lost 3 pounds.  To get the shakes down I am using pineapple flavored coconut water with the Purium flavor drops.
The spiced cucumber slices are a nice shared snack with Sam.

Day 6 (Tuesday 9/29/2015)
SAM: After 5 full days I am (still) down 8 lbs., and lost one inch from my hips. Today I started out feeling a bit low energy, but I dragged myself to they gym anyway, with an apple and my Super Amino 23 for breakfast. About half way through my cardio I felt the energy coming back, and the rest of the day was great. I just needed to get the blood pumping again.
MARCY: So far I have lost 5 lbs, one half inch off my chest and two off my hips. I found that the chocolate raspberry flavor drops are really good and just about counter the extreme green flavor, so that's a big help.

Day 7 (Wednesday 9/30/2015)
SAM: Today down 9.3 lb! Marcy hit a bump and is back to 4.6 lb down. She's reporting some stomach upset over the last few days, kind of like the ache she gets from caffeine, but we know there's none of that in here.

Day 8 (Thursday 10/1/2015)
SAM: Woo Hoo! I met my personal goal of losing 10 lbs! It wasn't my goal for this transformation, but I've been wanting to lose those 10 lbs for a while now, and I'm really exited to have done it. I guess I can quit this thing now.... just kidding. I'm gonna see how much more I can lose in the last two days, so I can make room for BACON! And I'm NOT kidding about that!

Day 9 (Friday 10/2/2015)
SAM: Marcy and I are both holding steady, me at -10 lb. and Marcy at -4 lb. Frankly, we're both ready to be done with the cleanse, but it hasn't been a bad experience. Marcy tells me she felt better in the stomach yesterday and today, and that's good. I'm still full energy, except in the evening after I drink the ApotheCherry, when I get sleepy. There's one really cool thing that I noticed, though. I normally take supplements to relieve joint stiffness and aching in my hands in the morning. It's really important for a massage therapist to not have achy hands. I stopped taking the supplements when I started the transformation, and I expected my hands to ache by the end of 10 days. Well, no, they don't ache at all, and haven't the entire time. I expect that something in my normal diet must be inflammatory, and the anti-inflammatory herbs that I use are fighting that. Either I've cut out the irritant in the cleanse, or the Purium products are anti-inflammatory... not sure which. I'll be adding foods back again, and we'll see. I also plan to try out the Purium Joint-Flex in place of my usual supplements to see how that works, along with the other anti-aging products from Purium.

Day 10 (Saturday 10/3/2015)
SAM: Today I'm at -11.3 lb, Marcy at -5 lb. I'm looking forward to doing the "before" and "after" photos and measurements first thing tomorrow morning, followed by a hearty breakfast! Wise? We'll see. We've got a bunch of post-cleanse food suggestions, from Purium and from friends who've done cleanses before or are just sharing veggie recipes. For our last flex-food dinner together we shared some veggie spaghetti (sliced by Wegmans) fried in coconut oil with onions and garlic. Yum, yum.

Day 11 (Sunday 10/4/2015)
SAM: Final results are in. I lost 12 lb, and two inches removed from my hips. Marcy lost 5 lb, with a total 8 inches lost. You can see it all in the "before" and "after" shots at the top.
And now it's off to our favorite diner for breakfast! But we won't forget the lessons learned, and we will maintain our benefits with better eating and with Purium products.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

The Visibility Challenge: Free Online Business Listings

It can be hard to be noticed as a new business. I'm learning just how hard it can be since I opened my new office last week. I'm running into some obstacles and avoiding some traps. Let me tell you what I'm trying to get low-cost online presence. Maybe you can get back to me with some ideas of your own.

First, A Shameless Plug
As I mentioned, I just opened my new office:
Rockin' Good Health LLC
559 Main Street
Suite 216
Bethlehem, PA 18018
... right upstairs from the Aardvark Sports Shop. I'd love for you to stop in and see the new office. Give me a call to let me know you're coming, and I'll put on some coffee.

Every Free Listing I Can Find
When I have a few spare minutes, I find another place to post a free listing. Places like Yelp,, Yahoo, and plenty that don't start with Y. When I find one that treats me well in the process I link back to them, and you can see those links on my website. Then there are the ones that treat me badly from the start. They SAY it's a free listing, but then they make it impossible to figure out how to post for free, and easy to see how to pay for "premium" status. At that point it's buh-bye for me. I may come back later and throw some money at the nice ones, but the others don't seem worth my time.
A standout in this category - great features, easy to use: showmelocal

...And The Annoying Result
Almost immediately after starting to post free listings I started getting phone calls. "Maybe it's a potential client," I thought. No, but it's amazing how many services can "get you on the front page of Google." At this point I know their patter, and I shut them down right away. But the first few times I took the time to listen, and while they spoke I put their company name into a search engine. Invariably, what came up were complaints, complaints, complaints. Do yourself a favor and don't give your credit card info to these folks. I suppose there are some reputable services like this out there, but so far I don't think one of them has called me.

My Next Hope: Thumbtack
Thumbtack looks like a good deal, and I hope it turns out to be that. With Thumbtack, you create a profile to describe your business. They don't just post your listing online in a big list, like the others. Instead, when a potential client comes looking for your service, they ask the client questions about their needs. If the client's needs match your profile, you get a request for a quote. You (and a few other providers) send a quote back through Thumbtack, and the client picks the deal that works best for them. There's a small charge to send a quote, but it's for a pre-qualified lead, and that's worth a lot. I'm just getting started with Thumbtack now; here's my thumbtack listing: Rockin' Good Health LLC. If you're already using Thumbtack, let me know how it's working for you. Meanwhile, I'm looking forward to sending out my first quote!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

What's the Rockin' Difference?

It's the holiday season, and your friend just gave you a coupon to a massage franchise. Enjoy it! But remember... we give you what massage franchises cannot.

Quality based on Caring.

First and foremost, we care about your well-being. This caring drives everything we do, from the time we take to understand your needs, to the attention we show you during your massage. Our caring leads to a "quality of touch" that you will surely recognize. And we also care about our self! We take time to rest, eat, take a break, exercise, and to continue learning about health and massage. Can you say the same for the therapists at the franchise?

60 Minutes Make One Hour.

When you go to a massage franchise, your "hour" is really only 50 minutes, at best. Your therapist will cut that further if your intake includes actually listening to your needs. And considering that your therapist has about 10 minutes between rigidly scheduled appointments, you can expect the hour to be further reduced as they change the sheets, or spend time trying to sell you on a contract or some other product.

We advertise a 60 (or 90 or 120) minute massage, and that's what you get in hands-on time. We set aside time for you before and after the massage for intake and post-processing, not to mention our own time for clean-up and changing. We understand that every client has different needs, and we make time to discuss your unique history and goals for the massage. We understand how important it is to listen, and that's especially important in this age of rushed healthcare.

No Contracts.

You decide when you come in, and how often. We'll never pressure you to sign a contract or to come in at fixed times for a year. If we think you would benefit from a series of massages, we will make a recommendation in the interest of your well-being. But we won't pressure you and we won't charge you a monthly fee, use it or lose it. You're always in charge of your schedule.  

No Surprises.

When you sign a contract with a massage franchise, you can't be sure who your therapist will be from one appointment to the next. You may find a therapist you like, and the next time you show up they've moved on. When you're rockin' with us, you'll always know your therapist. If anything changes, we'll be sure to let you know, and you'll always have the option to schedule with your preferred therapist.

Our Commitment.

Our commitment to you is to always put your needs and well-being first. We'll never pressure you, sell you products you don't need, or make claims outside of our scope of practice or experience. We believe that you'll recognize our caring, the quality it creates, and the positive therapeutic experience that results from this quality. We expect to earn your trust by maintaining this quality and our caring. 

We know you have choices, and we're honored that you have chosen Rockin' Good Health LLC. We know that we offer what no franchise can. Our independence is what lets us put you first, and we're grateful for the opportunity to serve.

So enjoy that franchise massage coupon, and take note of everything you experience there. We're sure you'll see the Rockin' difference!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Zen and the Art of Massage Therapy

In Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance [1], Robert Pirsig chronicles his quest to understand Quality. As I consider my attitudes toward my careers, software engineering and massage therapy, Pirsig's Zen has helped me to understand and to crystalize my my goals in becoming a massage therapist.

Zen's Quality

As we follow Pirsig's daily chatauqua on Quality, we encounter a variety of near definitions.  One that hits home for me describes a craftsman's relationship to his work.  We can recognize quality craftsmanship, but what is it about the craftsman of Quality  (in this case, a mechanic) that distinguishes him from the mediocre?  It is caring. The caring is not about the machine, the object, but for the wellbeing of the machine and its owner. 

Caring is the Key to Zen's Quality

The Quality craftsman cares in a way that allows him to merge with the object as he practices his craft, without the stuttering interruptions of a novice consulting a manual.  He changes as his work progresses, flowing smoothly and naturally from one tool or technique to the next, changing in synchrony with the changes taking place in the object of his craft, until both emerge from the process. The subject-object relationship fades to nothing, and there is only the Quality of the work creating the result, the wellbeing of machine and owner, and of the craftsman, too. 

Software Quality

When I began work as a software engineer in the 1980's, the watchword of industry was Quality.  The definition of Quality was tightly constrained, to permit clear understanding by the engineers who were expected to work to that definition, engineers, many of whom live in a classical, subject-object relationship with their work and with technology. 

Fitness is the Key to Software Quality

The engineer's definition of Quality is simple. Quality is defined as fitness for an intended purpose.  A product's purpose is not only to serve the needs of its end user, but also to generate revenue and goodwill for the company selling the product.  The purpose of the product is captured in technical specifications, schedule, and price. An engineer produces a product that can be tested against specifications.  When all tests pass on schedule and at an acceptable price, you have a Quality product. 

My Journey From Software to Soft Tissue

I began my career as an engineer building to specifications.  I progressed to writing the specifications.  I crafted Quality specifications.  For years I cared, but not in the way Pirsig describes caring.

I didn't care about the product.  Consumer electronics hold little interest for me.  I cared about the process, attention to the details, and about producing Quality specifications.  Ultimately, that wasn't enough.  It reduced to seeking Excellence at something with no purpose for me, something that did not result in wellbeing.

When I came to Massage Therapy, my engineering self found comfort in the structure of anatomy, the processes of physiology.  I became enthralled in the beauty of their combination in kinesiology, and with the utility of its laws. 

But what sealed my decision was learning that I care about what happens in a massage session.  I care about the wellbeing of the machine and its owner, the muscles and the client, in a way that lets me see and feel a condition of imbalance, excess or deficit.  Posture, gate, range of motion all offer clues.  The way the skin fits, the ways a muscle feels, all add to the analysis.  Working with my hands, I adapt what I know to address muscular issues without an owner's manual, and I change as I sense the changes occur in layers, from skin temperature and tension, to muscle density and tautness, superficial to deep.  The muscle isn't object.  To be certain, the client isn't object.  And my sense of myself as subject disappears. There is only the Quality of the work, caring for the wellbeing of machine and owner, creating the result.

Quality in Massage 

In massage we use the phrase Quality of Touch.  An article on the subject says it is not so much an innate ability to attune oneself to the client, but a skill which can be taught, learned and constantly improved.[2]

It is the attunement to which I refer when I liken my experience in a massage session to the fading of subject-object relationship.  The ability to attune, and to learn and improve Quality of Touch, all arise from caring.  A would-be therapist cannot develop Quality of Touch without caring for wellbeing.  It is the caring, not the ability, that must be innate.

Understanding and Goals

Can we learn the skill, Quality of Touch?  I believe I have learned it to some degree already, and I believe that it can and will be constantly improved.  Today, as a graduating student of massage, I can recognize some common syndromes, and can sense some conditions of soft tissue and their changes as I work.  My new life goals are to learn more, to sense more, to attune more, and if possible, to care more.


[1] Pirsig, R. M. (1974). Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance: An inquiry into values. New York: Morrow.