Shaking it up

February 19, 2016

Story by Sammy Scheman

In social psych, we discussed a concept called cognitive dissonance. Cognitive dissonance is the discomfort people feel when two cognitions (or beliefs or attitudes) conflict, or when their behavior conflicts with their attitude. This theory claims that there are two basic motives to how people see the world, through self esteem maintenance and social cognition.

I recently experienced dissonance between two of my fundamental beliefs: my mom is always right and diet trends are always bogus. My mom is my best friend. She always has been. I call her everyday and I don’t do anything without telling her about it. I take her advice as fact, her suggestions become my actions, and I would be completely lost without her. The last time I vehemently disagreed with something she said was when she claimed that Harry Potter should have ended up with Hermione at the end of the series instead of Ron. That was in eighth grade. Our latest disagreement was about her publicly endorsing a nutrition program that I could not begin to understand.

Isagenix is a nutritional program based on meal replacement products, such as shakes, bars, and vitamins. The meal replacements are high in protein, and they are advertised as the highest nutritional value possible per the number of calories you are consuming. There are four main areas Isagenix seeks to improve: weight loss, energy, performance, and healthy aging. The weight loss option seeks to achieve and maintain results. The energy option works at improving your level of natural energy through nutrient dense products. The performance sector enhances quick recovery, powers performances, and helps athletes achieve their fitness goals. Healthy aging refers to the flexibility of this long term program, as it is meant to help you over any span of time as you create an overall healthier lifestyle.

One way to reduce dissonance is to attempt to justify the behavior by adding a new cognition. Creating a new cognition requires undergoing a new experience. According to social psych, my choice was clear. I needed to try Isagenix to form my own opinion, or at least attempt to understand my mom’s point of view. I decided to undergo a week long trial of the program.

Throughout the week, I followed the nutritional program that Isagenix recommends. This includes having two protein shakes, one protein bar, and a dinner that you cook yourself everyday. The protein shakes and bars come in many different flavors. You can also add fruit to the shakes, making them like a smoothie, which adds even more flavor options. When I first heard about the program, it didn’t sound sustainable. Surprisingly, I found it easy to do for a week, and I am considering continuing.

I learned that deciding what to have for lunch should not take longer than lunch itself. One of my favorite parts of following the program was the convenience and the ease. My meals were planned out for me. Each day I would have two shakes and one protein bar, along with a dinner that I would choose for myself. By limiting my choice to only dinner, I found I was making more satisfying choices for meals for myself. I also felt like I had at least an hour more of free time each day, which had been used previously as I walked laps around my kitchen deciding between a sandwich or a yogurt.

I also found that my body functions differently based on the nutrients it receives. I have always considered myself a relatively healthy eater. By relatively healthy, I mean I eat a lot of salads, but admittedly, I love chocolate. However, this week, the Isagenix shakes and bars left me feeling more full than I normally do after breakfast or lunch, and I was more satisfied throughout the day. I didn’t find myself craving chocolate to the same extent I normally do.

I still am not convinced that dieting is worth it, and I know that there is no definite way to ensure health and happiness. I don’t believe that Isagenix would work for everyone. However, I was shocked by how well it worked for me. The most important thing that I took away from this week is the importance of doing what is best for you, individually, that allows you to feel healthy and confident in your body.

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