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Eighteen months ago, both my wife, Denise,  and I were leading a life just a bit too sedentary for our own good. We spent most nights sitting around watching TV while eating cookies, and our waistlines were showing the fruits of our (lack of) labors.

That November, my friend Tim got us an early Christmas present. He paid for our signup fee at the local YMCA.  Denise and I dropped our cable service and started going to the gym five nights a week to play racquetball, volleyball, run and lift weights.

A year later, I had dropped down from a high weight of 235, to a low of 205.  I’ve been there since, not able to shed the last 15 pounds I’d like to lose. 

Early this year, a number of co-workers started a 90 day challenge using Visalus called the Body by Vi challenge.  Each one of them had great results. They’ve seen losses of 25 to 45 pounds over a 90 day period.  Some of them picked up the exercise while they did it, others just switched over to the food plan and lost the weight without any additional exercise.

I decided to start it myself on May 16.  It’s been really easy so far.  I weighed myself on the 17th, and I was at 210.  On the 24, I was 206.  Yesterday, I was 200.5!  I haven’t been below 205 since I was a sophomore in college 14 years ago.

I am surprised with how easy it has been. If you know me, you know I love to eat. I thought I’d be starving and craving more food.  The first week was a bit tough, but week two was simple. The cravings have just gone away. Here’s how a typical day goes.


I make two shakes by adding 4 scoops of Visalus and a teaspoon of unsweetened Hershey’s Cocoa with fat free milk. I put it all in a Nalgene bottle and shake vigorously. Then I head off to work.

I drink half of my shake (which is one serving) at 8 am.  It’s less than 200 calories, but has lots of protein and nutrients.

At 10am, I have a Danon light and fit yogurt. They are delicious!  If I find myself hungry again, I drink a glass of water and eat a few raw almonds.

At 11:30, I drink the other half of my shake. I then fill my Nalgene bottle to the 16oz mark with water, shake it up to clean out the shake, and down the water. It cleans the bottle and hydrates the body – the ol’ two birds with one stone.

(Some days I eat lunch at work, and have a shake for dinner instead.  That actually seems easier to get through the day.)


Around 2pm, it is time for more almonds and water.

4pm – I grab an applesauce, a carrot, an apple, or more almonds. Almonds are pretty good. I found some Emerald almonds that have a light coating of dark cocoa and mint. Tasty.


Time for dinner!  I haven’t shied away from anything yet. I’ve done 2 chicken cordon blues, Buffalo Wild Wings, Ucellos for pizza, a Memorial day cookout, and pancakes. Pretty much whatever I typically would do for dinner. I’ve even had soda a couple of times.

Snacks in the evening

Did you know a whole carrot only has 35 calories?  I’ve been munching on whole, unpeeled, organic carrots. Yum.

My new favorite snack is slicing an apple and sprinkling cinnamon and sugar on it.  It’s lovely.  We’ve done popcorn, rice cakes (which are pretty good, actually), a slice of ham or a hunk of cheese.

That’s it. 10 pounds in two weeks doing that.

I used to dig deep in the house for chocolate every night. Just before I made the decision to try this out, I found myself melting bakers chocolate to drizzle on ice cream. That’s what we call a low point.  (It didn’t work that well, either).  Since I’ve started this, my sugar cravings have dropped to almost nothing. I may cave in for a tootsie roll once in a while, but I find myself getting sick of the soda I’m drinking half way through a can.  Interesting.

If you’ve had trouble losing weight or sticking to a diet, I think you should give it a try.  The shakes cost about $1.67 each, so it is not expensive, especially if you are cutting out going to lunch like I am. Oh, and they taste like cake batter.  Tasty cake batter.  And if you want, you can blend it with a scoop of peanut butter and half a pouch of sugar-free, fat-free chocolate pudding to make an amazing meal while only adding about 100 calories to it.

You can learn more here: http://aaronbrander.bodybyvi.com