After being approached by a close friend & asked to put together my experiences with the Ashy Bines Clean Eating Plan I’ve now decided to share it publicly.
Being unhappy with my body & physical appearance for most of my adult life I made the change in 2011 to better my life by becoming fit, healthier & more active. Having tried a lot of the fad diets with no results I chose to join a gym & completely change my eating habits.
I stumbled onto the Ashy Bines Bikini Body Challenge fanpage via Facebook mid April & was very interested especially with all the success stories. Of course still very skeptical as I’ve become very aware of online scams & fad diets.
I approached a close friend that had recently signed up & asked what she thought, what was included & did she feel it was beneficial to join. She encouraged me to join & of course on my weight loss journey.
Upon purchasing the “Clean Eating Plan” for $49 (this was on one of the few occasions a promotional sale price was available due to the ABBBC fanpage reaching a milestone of fans) I received the email proceeded to download the PDF files as stated in the email. There was also a link to join their ‘Forum’. After clicking the link to join, I was greeted with a Closed Facebook Group. I become skeptical again as I waited to be accepted to this group. Whilst waiting I read through the PDF files which I found to be less then informative. Most information I’d already attained from my PT, through personal experience & also other fitness & health professionals I’ve interacted with on my weight loss journey. There was no meal plan as such or recipes present in this PDF, which I feel is false advertising. This was quite disappointing. But I wanted the lifestyle change & decided to push my cynicism aside & wait to see what the ‘forum’ was like.
After being accepted into the Facebook group (Ashy Bines Clean Eating Diet Plan) I noticed quite a lot of posts, images of other ladies journeys & began to feel a little more at ease. Until I witnessed a fellow member tagged & publicly told Ashy herself that was not to add people to the group. This I found to be quite rude & unnecessary. Yes, I could completely understand that it wasn’t acceptable to be adding other people to the group, however this could certainly have been addressed in a more professional or courteous manner. Little did I know what I had seen was just the tip of the iceberg.
Throughout my journey I had a question here & there to which I was answered by fellow paying members NOT a health professional or Ashy herself. I found this to be quite odd. Being that I’m sure these women while having good intentions & only want to help, they are in no way qualified to be assisting with such things. At times I’d offer help or my own personal experiences, but in no way implied that I was qualified just that it was my personal opinion or what I’d learnt from experience.
On many occasions members would be added by mistake & upon making posts on the wall they would be attacked by other members. Anything from name calling to rude & abusive comments that ‘we were paying members & they should be ashamed for trying to take advantage of Ashy & her plan’. Which now I find extremely ironic.
But again this was really only the tip of iceberg of what was to come.
We were told repeatedly that ONLY fitness, clean eating, exercise related posts were allowed, which I thought was only fair considering this was a support group for women on weight loss/healthy living journeys. However, that being said we were all demanded to vote for a friend of Ashy’s in a Facebook competition run by another page. This I personally thought was ridiculous. Yes, I’m sure this ‘friend’ while very well deserving & would benefit from winning this competition which from my understanding was to get a boob job. This baffled me as I didn’t realize that a boob job was something fitness, clean eating or exercise related, no matter how much this person may have ‘deserved’ it as we were constantly reminded of by Ashy herself & other avid group users.
From then on there were a ridiculous amount of posts with regards to boob jobs, I personally don’t see how this is in anyway helping with a weight loss journey nor is it beneficial to those looking to have a clean eating lifestyle. Each to their own I suppose. *Please note I in no way begrudge anyone or have any issues with what people choose to do to their bodies in the way of plastic surgery. I just don’t feel it was relevant to clean eating at all.
After being in the group for about 2 weeks I was absolutely ecstatic with my results & felt I needed to share them with my fellow group members as many had done. I was quite discouraged when fellow members commented certain things discrediting my hard work. That I shouldn’t be using scales & should be taking measurements/ photos as Ashy had ‘clearly stated in the plan’. I proceeded to inform the commenters that I had in fact taken measurements & photos, but didn’t feel comfortable sharing my photos & I wasn’t taking measurements until the following week. This then fizzled out, but no one was pulled up at all about the rude & uncalled for comments. This was supposed to be a support group, I can say I did not feel supported at all.
As the group began to grow by the 1000’s, new members would of course have questions to ask. These new members were greeted by messages like ‘Maybe you should actually read the plan’, ‘Use google’, ‘Use the search function instead of asking questions’. This again didn’t feel supportive at all. At times I’d direct these new members to where they could locate the information they were looking for in an approachable manner rather then abruptly. Yes, some of the questions had been asked time & time again, but seriously it’s about supporting others not about being rude to people that simply don’t know or don’t understand.
I then began to notice more & more members (that mind you have no qualifications whatsoever) advising others of what they should & shouldn’t be putting into their bodies. My understanding of it was it’s a lifestyle change NOT a strict diet & everyone is entitled to make their own choices about which parts they do or don’t follow. However that being said the constant stream of posts stating ‘You’re not a dog, don’t reward yourself with food’ started to infuriate me. This does not instill a very nice ideal into the minds of women, nor is it supportive in any way. Creating guilt for eating that piece of cheesecake, having coffee with the girls or a nice meal out with your partner or family, is not something I feel that should be promoted.
Now the final straw for me was a post made by another member asking whether protein shakes could be had straight after a workout instead of a meal. Of course this was not ment to be in place of the meal but waiting approx 30-45mins to have their mean after. This then erupted into a rather heated discussion. I commented that I actually follow this method as personally I don’t feel I can physically eat after a training session, but I’m aware my body needs protein. So rather then making myself sick & forcing myself to eat, I have the protein shake then eat approx half an hour to 45 mins later. I was then personally attacked by Ashy herself, informing me that this method was incorrect. I proceeded to tell her that I had been advised this by my PT, with whom I’ve been seeing for over 12 months & also the staff at my local supplement store (which was in fact ASN, a supplement chain that Ashy promotes & advises all customers to purchase from). She then continued to attack me stating that I was wrong, she was right & this method would inhibit my results (the comments were in caps & exclamation points used which I don’t feel was really needed to make her point). I was actually shocked that someone who claimed to be supportive of all women & their journeys could be so down right rude towards a paying customer. I then told her that it’s in my experience that everyone is different & what works for some does not always suit everyone. The comments continued, but by this time I’d basically had enough of being personally targeted by Ashy herself & her rather obsessive followers so I un-followed the post.
To say that I’m disgruntled about how I was personally treated is an understatement. I honestly can’t believe that a business person deems it acceptable to speak to their customers in this manner. As a business owner myself I know only too well the stress & sometimes frustration with customers. However this does not give me the right to speak to them in such a way that they feel like a third grade citizen, which is how I was made to feel. So it became apparent that if your opinion or view did that match that of Ashy’s you would be publicly torn down.
After this incident I decided it best to distance myself from the group & only entered if I was on the hunt for a recipe which were available in the ‘Docs’ section of the group (these recipes were actually complied by fellow members). Even when doing this there were a number of posts that I came across that absolutely disgusted me. Posts being made with derogatory comments towards other members, but worst of all a fellow business owner that offers a Clean Eating Meal Plan. Members were encouraged to report this person/page.
Again I found myself baffled by these posts that were actually being encouraged & started by admin of the group. Since I’ve done a little research myself via both Google (as we were constantly advise to use by the group admin, Ashy & other members instead of asking ‘stupid questions) & through close friends. Clean eating is NOT a new wave. This has been around for years. However, it’s as if Ashy & her avid followers deem it as hers & hers alone. This is not the case at all.
Through not feeling any support from this forum that I paid to be a part of I then found another group on facebook that is actually FREE. Offering similar (not the same) advise but does in fact come with the meal plan - a 7 day break down of food.
Shame that I didn’t come across this before I paid money for a forum that I no longer feel supported or welcome in. Hindsight can be very bittersweet.
Since joining the other group I’ve been made aware of more & more people that are less then impressed with the way in which ABBBC is run. The fact that customers are being removed simply for voicing their opinion, having a difference of opinion or even offering a little constructive criticism says a lot about Ashy as a person as well as those that work with for her or along side her.
I encourage anyone that is choosing to purchase this to rethink their choices. The $69 (or $49 if in promotion) could be far better spent on a Clean Eating book which are available for as little as $20 or better still towards your new clean eating fridge/pantry.
*Please Note ~ I’d like to make this abundantly clear that I am in no way attacking Ashy personally or those that work with/for her. Nor do I begrudge anyone purchasing or utilizing her plan. Each to their own. This is simply MY personal experience.