There’s Nothing Like a Fast for Team Building

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Whether you have a business, professional practice, or you’re an author working with an ad hoc group of friends, family members and professionals, it pays to have a strong, cohesive team.

That’s what we have here at EMSI. But last month, I stumbled upon a surprisingly effective new method of team building: the company fast.

That wasn’t the end result we either sought or expected. Those of us who took the 10-Day Celebrity Transformation Challenge did it for health reasons – to lose weight, to cleanse, to re-calibrate systems sludged up by refined and processed carbohydrates. We accomplished those things and, in the process, became even more tight knit.

What an experience!

It all started back in January when we took on a new client, a California nutritionist with an ‘anabolic fasting’ regime for weight loss and cleansing. I wanted to try his program myself, both to better represent him and because, frankly, I was curious.

For 10 days, I would replace all of my meals with a cocktail of powdered spirulina algae and other dehydrated plant materials mixed with 18 ounces of water. Besides an occasional “flex food,” such as half an apple, that was it. It sounded difficult, but within three days, I felt energized and clear-headed. By Day 6, I realized I hadn’t had one my frequent migraine headaches.

And, honestly, after the first couple days, I didn’t miss food.

I felt so good, I made everyone at EMSI an offer: If you want to try the 10-Day Transformation, I’ll pick up the tab.

Ten said, “I’m in!”

The 10-day fast,, is a component of Superfoods for Supermodels, a broader dietary program created by nutritionist David Sandoval, author of “The Green Foods Bible.” It’s engineered to maintain high energy and metabolism while cleansing the body of the additives from processed foods.

“By consuming only clean and green nutrient-dense superfoods, slow-burning carbs and highly digestible protein, people lose 5 to 15 pounds on the 10-day program,” David says.

“It’s a way to fast while still consuming the nutrients necessary for prime metabolic function.”

Our team received two big boxes of supplies, including green Power Shake, Herbal Fiber Cleanse capsules, Master Aminos pills and tape measures. Seven started the fast together on a Saturday, agreeing to weigh in, measure and take a photo of themselves beforehand, as David suggests.

On Day 3, a Monday, they were back to work and enthusiastically comparing notes.

“It hasn’t been hard for me,” reported social media campaign manager Jeni Hinojosa, whose husband, Alex, our VP of media operations, also took the challenge. “I didn’t even lick my fingers when I fed the baby.”

Russ Handler, TV campaign manager, had a harder time of it.

“By Sunday night, I was ready to eat the neighbor’s kids,” he grumbled.

But they hung in, mixing their 9 a.m. green shakes together, reminding each other how much better they felt, and sharing ways to “legally” dress up half a cucumber, one of the “flex food” options.

“I think it’s much easier doing this as a group,” Alex said. “Most of the time I feel satisfied but every once in a while, I just want to bite something. It helps to have all these people around who know exactly how I feel.”

Will Candler, our marketing coordinator, agreed.

“You feel like everyone’s your buddy in this.”

By Day 11, with only a couple reports of cheating, the group had lost a total 55.5 pounds

Alex was the big winner, losing 14 pounds or 6.6 percent of his body weight. Executive assistant Marti Carlson dropped 7 pounds — and 10 points off her blood pressure.

In addition, all the cheerleading and strategizing had a noticeable effect on how everyone works together – very collaborative and supportive. And they were even more productive than usual that week, although I can’t say whether it was because they were energized or because they had no meals to plan.

Mastering a tough challenge also boosted morale.

There’s nothing better than seeing your employees, who are like family to me, looking and feeling great.

And, as it turns out, it’s very good for business!

Off for a Power Shake,


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