Thursday, December 30, 2010

Some of my favorite P3 foods!

Somehow it just occurred to me while I was at the grocery store the other day that I can have Caprese salads again. I love me a good Caprese salad.  Tomatoes aren't exactly in season right now, but there are still plenty to be had at Shoprite, albeit, not the big, tender, juicy ones I generally prefer.  So, I got my mozzerella cheese, my tomatoes and a big bunch of basil, and headed home.

Two days in a row, now, I've had a Caprese salad for lunch. (I should mention, Caprese salads used to be an appetizer for me. My stacks of mozz, tomato and basil would be quickly followed by a rich yummy pasta dish. Or something deep fried and drowned in a cream sauce.  Now? A Caprese salad fills me up.  Astounding.)  This has led me to want to make a quick list of some of my favorite meals and snacks that I've been munching on Phase III. So, in addition to the aforementioned Caprese salad, I've also been gnoshing on:

  • Strawberries with sugar free whipped cream. Sometimes chocolate sugar free whipped cream. I'm not a big fan of artificial sweeteners, so I make this myself, and add a few drops of liquid stevia for sweetness.
  • Ice cream! Again, I make my own, by combining frozen berries with some cream and a little liquid stevia in  my food processor. I actually started making this on Phase II, using my tablespoon of milk, instead of the cream. I like it both ways.
  • Tomatoes with melted mozzerella. Close to a Caprese salad, I know. But it's WARM. And sometimes I need something WARM. 
  • Tea and/or Coffee with Irish Cream. I did an experiment the first time I did it, to see if I'd gain. And I didn't. Woohoo!
  • Cheese and pepperoni. I used to eat this with a cracker, but I can't have crackers right now. I've come to see that I like it just fine without the cracker.
  • Turkey kielbasa and sauerkraut. This is the only non-protocol meat I've added in regularly. I've missed kielbasa a bunch. Well, I am part Polish, you know. I'm also part Irish, which explains the Irish Cream above.
  • Cheesecake.  Oh I am so not kidding. I've got a few slices of strawberry cheesecake (again, sweetened with stevia) in my fridge, hoping I'll snarf it down after dinner. I will not disappoint!
  • Soda. Homemade soda, derived from seltzer and FLAVORED liquid stevia
You know, a word about stevia, before I wrap up. (That is in no way a complete list of what I'm eating. Just giving you an idea LOL) If you go to the supermarket and get that powdered stevia crap, it is GODAWFUL. Powdered stevia is the reason I'm not munching on snickerdoodles and peanut butter cookies. Because I baked them. But I used the powdered stevia and they are GROSS.  However, the liquid stevia is amazing and I use it for all my sweetening needs. I doubt I'll go back to sugar in my tea and coffee when this is all over. I also doubt I'll go back to cans of coke, when I can make awesome root beer, cream, and even grape soda out of flavored stevia and seltzer.  

A few drops is all it takes, no lie. AND WHATEVER YOU DO.... DO NOT TRY THE LIQUID STEVIA STRAIGHT.  Your eyes will roll back in your head and you'll send me hate mail. Make sure you put a few drops in some tea or coffee or something to try it. It is SO sweet that you just cannot deal with it straight up.  Please trust someone who was stupid enough to do it for you.

In other news, I am feeling very munchy, which can only mean one thing.... Almost time for my monthly inconvenience, which means, ALMOST TIME FOR MY NEXT ROUND! WOOHOO!!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Cheating on Phase 3 and Stabilizing on Phase 3 Or: What not to do.

Sorry I've been MIA. The holidays are something else with a pair of kids running around, man.  I spent the past couple weeks trying to wrap and hide presents. Good times. Or, like, not. At all.

I'll spare you guys my tirade about how much I hate Christmas, and jump right back into the diet.

Which is what I'm planning on doing soon, anyway.

So, first, let's talk about ending Phase II, and how not to do it.  I'm an expert on this. Trust me.

The first thing you don't want to do is celebrate the end of Phase II with a big holiday dinner out.  You definitely don't want to order a steak with a cheese "thing" that turns out to be breaded and deep fried.  If you do accidentally order such a thing, you should immediately remove it from your plate (along with the mashed potatoes that you also accidentally ordered) by either dumping them on your husband's plate, or asking the waiter to take it back and bring you something that you are allowed to eat.  Don't be snotty about it. He doesn't know what you're allowed to eat.

Order a glass of wine with dinner. Go on. It's allowed in Phase III. Enjoy it, savor it. Don't use it as an excuse to then order four beers AFTER dinner.

Skip dessert (this I did right. The ONLY thing I did right that night!).

When you get up in the morning, don't head to the diner for a nice nutritious breakfast. You won't find one. And just because you CAN eat bacon now, does not mean you HAVE TO eat every single piece of bacon in the entire place.  Also? Educate yourself a little better while you're in Phase II as to what actually has sugar in it. Lots of bacon has sugar.  The bacon I inhaled at the diner probably had sugar.

When you pick your children up at your inlaws' and drag them to the mall for some last minute Christmas shopping, don't expect that you're going to get out of there without eating again. And let me tell you a very simple math equation. Mall Food=BAD. Even the mall food you think=good. No. Bad.

All of this is why I gained four freaking pounds nearly immediately after starting Phase III.  I had lost two more pounds at the end of Phase II, after my last blog. At the end of Phase II you stay on the VLCD for two more days, so the HCG has a chance to work its way out of your system. At the end of those two days, I had dropped two more pounds. But you "count" what you weighed on your last day of drops, not anything you lost after that.

So, the plan Dr. Simeon gives us to deal with unwanted weight gain is simple. It's a steak day.  Basically, he says, if you gain more than two pounds of your weight back, you should immediately, on the same day that you show the two pound total,  skip breakfast and lunch, and for dinner have a ginormous steak with either an apple or a tomato. Sounds rough.  Wasn't too bad. I drank enough water to sink a battleship, and enjoyed an AMAZING steak (Thank you Joe, butcher to the stars) with a chopped up seasoned tomato. And I was fine all day.

The next day? Weight was the same. Curses.

The day after that, those two pounds were gone. Woot!

Since then, I did gain one more pound, but I've been holding steady with absolutely NO fluctuations.  None. Despite trying some of Jaime's amazing brownies last week, and having a bit of breading on the eggplant parm my brother in law made for Christmas.

I do believe I have stabilized.

And I'm ready to get started again, and lose some more pounds. Since I'm not ever going to do a round of HCG while I have my period again (I'm not even linking that. You can just read any of the blogs from the past month or so to learn the reasons behind that), I'm anxiously awaiting it for the first time since my last pregnancy scare.

Before I can start losing again, though, I do need to load again. The menu for loading this time is pretty simple. Pizza with a side of chips and dip. Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner.  And maybe some buffalo wings with an amazing amount of blue cheese dressing.

And a whole bunch of Jaime's amazing brownies.

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Next Step

This marks a first for me, my sweets.  I'm blogging without a computer. I'm actually sitting in a (very) hot bath, relaxing, reflecting, and detoxing.

Yesterday was my last day of my first round of Phase II. I could stay on P2 for up to 40 days, but I decided to end it at the minimum of three weeks, instead.

Couple reasons.

1. The holidays. I know I CAN do it (proved that to myself at the Gingerbread Party), but I don't WANT to do it. There will be Christmas Eve with my parents, Christmas Day with my inlaws, and, possibly, the day after Christmas with more inlaws. I don't want to be trying to stick to 500 calories on these days. It will be interesting enough avoiding sugar and starch, forget about packing my grilled chicken and spinach.

2. I want to load again. Hey, don't judge me. Haters.

3. I want to see big losses again. And this is really the crux of the issue. I'd deal with everything else, if I was still losing a pound or so every day.

I had an awesome first week which was very motivating and exciting. Exciting enough to start blabbing all over Facebook and Twitter. Exciting enough to start a blog.

Then...dun dun DUNNNNNNN! I got my ever loving period. I know, I know. Shut the hell up about it already! I will--right after this.

So, I totally stalled while my fertility was again confirmed. (Really--can we stop this now? I promise, I'm not having any more kids. For realz.) and I never really recovered. Consider, my water percentage is still at almost 55%, despite sweat inducing detox baths, and three metric tons of liquid consumed. I've avoided caffeine. Heck, I've even resorted to Smooth Move tea. (Not such a smooth move, if you catch my drift.) Cut back on salt consumption, which wasn't too huge to begin with. Still, I retain water.

Almost done with this, stay with me. Just one more mention of my Aunt Flo, I swear.

And so, I will take a few weeks to encourage my hypothalmus to reset (Read the book and you'll know), and after my next round in the ring with TOM (last mention! I promise!) I will begin my second, and probably last, round.

So, where do I stand at the end of Round I Phase II?

I stand 15.2 pounds lighter, which averages out to about 5 pounds a week. (That's up a little bit. I ate half a Danish butter cookie yesterday. Half a Danish butter cookie equals a pound, apparently. Let this be a lesson, no cheating on HCG).

I stand in size 12 jeans, only because I only own one pair of size 11 jeans. (Size 10 mommy-waist jeans! Woot!)

I stand with my ENGAGEMENT RING back on my finger.

I stand in the dress department at Kohl's, looking for something A-MAZE-ING to wear on Christmas.

And I stand confident and relaxed. Ready to recharge, eat some cheese and prepare myself for my next round.

For now, though, I'm going to stand and get the heck out of this tub, before I turn into a prune.

Next time, let's talk more about the end of P2. Sound goood?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Stress Makes Me Want To Eat My Face Off

I promised a friend a blog about what I'm planning on doing over the holidays. I'll get to it. As Joey says "I never give up on my promises."  She lies by the way, she keeps promising to put her dirty socks in the hamper, but I keep finding them on her floor. Liar.

No, right now, I am blogging in an effort to murder the Munchster, who is picking away at my gut, at my brain, at my very soul.  Why is the Munchster so strong this morning? Well, this is the first day I've had lots of significant stress since I've gone on protocol.  And, as it says in the title, stress makes me want to eat my face off. Or your face off. Whichever is more convenient, really.

Oh, Great Sharini, what could possibly be bad enough to move you from your zen like diet state to this raging lunatic who just checked the garbage to make sure her kids really ate their poptarts this morning?

There was normal morning stress. "Joey stop swinging from the top bunk and get your clothes on." "Kimmie, don't chase the dog with the broom, it is NOT a brush!" "Has anyone seen mommy's keys?"

And then, backing out of the driveway this morning, my daughter screamed my name. Or, well, her name for me. "MOMMY!" Quick, and sharp and loud. I jumped ten feet through the sunroof and my hand slipped off the wheel, and I hit the telephone pole across the street.

I decided to check the bumper when I got back from dropping her off at school, and was more than relieved to see NO DAMAGE.  Until I walked over to the side of the bumper that actually made contact with the telephone pole. Yeah, that wasn't so pretty. Cracked the corner of my bumper.


Then I get an email from my bank, to let me know that I"m below the balance threshold I indicated in my account. Huh. By how much, I wonder. Well, by almost $200, apparently!  My bank decided this would be a great month to begin charging me a $15 service fee with no warning. So, I bounced a grand total of five tiny transactions. At thirty five bucks a pop. Yeah. So, that song I downloaded from Amazon the other day? No longer $0.99. Now it's $35.99. (It was Joey McIntyre singing "The Way You Look Tonight."  I kind of think that one is worth every penny. Don't judge me.)  The $3 box of epsom salts I picked up at CVS? Right, $38.

When I called my husband to tell him about the car, I was kind of ready for a bit of a tirade.  Instead he said "Is everyone okay?" I was like, "Yeah, everyone's okay. I was backing out of the driveway, not doing 70 on 287." And he was all "Well, that's what matters. We can fix the car."

When I sent him a text message about the bank snafu, he didn't respond. He may have hit his limit of understanding. Even SuperHusband has a limit, I suppose.

In addition to this, my computer doesn't have MS Office. Which is an ongoing problem, but one that's caused me stress the past couple of days. (Santa? A Mac? Please?)

Also? My house is a disaster. The baby's nose is running away from her face, she's still in her footie pajamas (albeit with a hat and scarf on, left over from our mad dash to get Joey to school), there are toys everywhere and boxes and boxes of Christmas all over the kitchen and dining room. Because I haven't finished decorating yet.  Also? Unopened boxes from UPS on the front porch. They contain presents for my kids and my kids are ALWAYS RIGHT HERE, so I can't open them. Besides, I'm too busy digging through the garbage for poptarts.

Munchster, I hate you, and you cannot defeat me! Not even on Christmas! (I promise, that blog's next.)

Monday, December 13, 2010

Closer and closer, inch by inch

So, last week, as you all know, if you've been reading, I had to deal with my monthly womanly crap. Can I sidetrack for a second and just say; I think that when you're done having kids, God should say "Good job! No more menstruation!" Just saying, you know, it'd make it easier to take care of the little hellions, anyway. Imagine how much easier you could deal with your kids if you didn't have PMS.

Anyway, so, this hcg stuff SUCKS during that time of the month, man. I'm glad that I had a HUGE loss before my TOM hit, because I'd have hung up the towel. When it started, I had lost 10 pounds in about a week. During the entire next week, I lost 2 more pounds. It was HARD to stick to an eating plan when the scale wasn't reflecting my hard work. But, even though the SCALE was stuck, I saw some other amazing changes in my body that helped me keep moving.

First of all, I got myself into size 12 jeans in time for the Gingerbread Party last weekend. So that was awesome, and a huge reminder and motivator to stay on course during the party.

And, then of course, the next day, I tried on my size 10 "skinny" jeans and they made it up over my butt.

Then, the other night, while I was in the pit of despair over the numbers on the scale, just for shits and giggles, I decided to try on my engagement ring.

I haven't really worn my engagement ring since I was pregnant with my first daughter, about six years ago. And that really bugged me, because, man, I LOVE my engagement ring. It's exactly what I wanted, and I'm still not sure how my husband knew exactly what I wanted. It's a perfect pear shaped diamond, with five small diamonds set in a channel on either side. Love it, love it, love it. And every time I look at it, I remember that night at the Union Station Restaurant in Flemington, NJ, where I looked at my boyfriend across the table and impetuously grabbed his hand and said, "I'm happy. I'm really, really happy." A better moment for a wedding proposal never presented itself.

Of course, he didn't have the ring in his pocket at that second. It was waiting out in the truck. Come on, you can't make this stuff up. But, we did decide to exchange our Valentine's day gifts that night, the night before VDay, instead of waiting till the morning. He couldn't wait.

When I opened the box and he got on his knee, I started crying and laughing and jumping up and down, and, oh crap, I'm getting misty.

Anyway, point is, I LOVE this ring. In addition to it being exactly what I wanted, the memory associated with it just warms me right up from the inside out. Even when it's only 26 degrees outside, like today.

So, I've really been missing it for the past six years. Which is why, when I slipped it on my finger the other night, I shrieked and jumped up and down and cried and laughed. It was kind of like the first time it was slipped on my finger all over again.

Incidentally, I haven't taken it off since.

Yesterday, getting ready for church, I decided to take a chance and try on my size 11 jeans. If worse came to worst, I'd put them back in the skinny jeans pile and put those size 12s back on and be happy. But, guess what? THEY FIT!

Joey made a comment about my muffin top. I decided to let her live, because, muffin top or no, I was WEARING SIZE 11 JEANS.

When it was time to lie down with my little monkeys to get them to sleep, I took off my size 11 jeans and threw on a pair of lounge pants I'd gotten from Old Navy about six years ago. I was pregnant with Joey, and wasn't quite into maternity clothes yet, but I couldn't fit in my regular clothes, either. So I went to Old Navy, and found these awesome pants, that have a fold down waist, so I could fold it UP and it could cover my little baby bump very effectively, and still stay on my butt.

I have never been able to wear them with the waist folded down. I gave up trying a long time ago. My belly was such that, if I wore them folded down, they'd fall. Also? They made my belly look that much bigger folded down. I didn't need help in that department.

Last night, I folded those suckers down, looked at myself sideways in the mirror, and said "Crap, I wish I'd taken photos from the side instead of just the front." Because, y'all, I see a HUGE difference from the side. HUGE.

I walked out of my bathroom and into the kitchen and said to my husband, "Look at this! I never could wear these folded down before!" and he looked up from the very important envelope stuffing he was doing at our dining room table and said. "You are doing, really, really well." Uh. Thanks? "No, I mean it, like, you wouldn't think 14 pounds would make that much of a difference, but really, it's a HUGE difference." Huh. That's just what I was thinking.

Okay, all this WOOHOOing has to have a point, yes? Point is, the scale stopped moving, but the fat didn't. HCG doesn't just help you lose weight and lose fat. It also MOVES the fat you've got. It redistributes it, so that your clothes fit again. And your rings. MY RING. I'm watching the light bounce off my gorgeous engagement ring as I type, right now. I am amazed that I have it on my finger.

Oh, and. The scale is moving again. Not as hugely as it was moving originally, but that's too be expected. As of this morning, I'm down 14.8 pounds. Halfway there, folks. Halfway, in a little over two weeks.

Oh, and, one more and. This morning? I'm wearing size 10 mommy waist jeans. Still can't button the size 10 hipsters. But they're next.

And then?

Crap, I'm going to have to go buy new clothes! ;-)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Where do you order HCG?

This question has been coming up. I'm not here to advertise for anyone, but I'll be happy to tell you where I got mine. They are homeopathic HCG; sublingual drops, called EVOKE. Clicking on the name will bring you to their website.

These homeopathic HCG drops are working for me. I can't speak to any other brands because I've never tried any others. Also? Super fast shipping. That's great, so you can get it in your hot little hands while you're still all excited to get started.

Another HCG drop specific question I've been hearing is: What do they taste like?

Well, they're not yummy. I'm not tempted to down my bottle or anything. But I don't find them horrible. They actually have a kind of alcohol-y/medicinal taste to them. I know that this bothers some people. One friend I have who is also following the HCG protocol absolutely HATES them. But, not enough to stop using them. Since she's losing weight fast.

I take the same stance, actually. I mean, really, if they tasted like dog poop; they're under my tongue for a couple minutes and then they're gone. But I'm down 12 pounds in less than two weeks. With results like that, who cares what they taste like?

Yes, sweets, that is the truth. I'm down another 1.6 pounds as of this morning, and that makes my grand total 12 pounds. In less than two weeks. Looking for fast weight loss? I found it.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Discouragement and Skinny Jeans

Yesterday, my family and I participated in one of our favorite holiday events. Every year, for the past twelve years, my cousin and his wife and their two sons have hosted a gingerbread party. My cousin is a superb baker, and he's made everything from houses to cathedrals, to treasure boxes to mailboxes out of gingerbread. My family's been going since 2005, after Joey was born. I'm looking forward to the day my brother and his wife reproduce so he can come, too.

Anyway, the table, as always, was decked out in festive Christmas colors, and resplendent with candy of every type imaginable. I stuck to the living room and kept away from the candy. When it was time to decorate the gingerbread, my husband took the girls in and helped them out. I stuck to the couch, with lots of bottles of water, and my aunts and cousins coming and going.

After the decorating, the pizza got there. Ack! There were half a dozen steaming hot, yummy smelling pizzas. I was expecting this, of course, as this is part of the tradition. But, man, the smell about knocked me off my feet. But, I had, as you know, just lost 10 pounds. And here's the thing, on HCG if you cheat a little, it shows up immediately, and in a big way.

For example, the day before the gingerbread party, I'd done a little experiment, involving prepacked roast beef, instead of measuring and cooking my own. I was up .6 on the scale the next morning.

I told my cousin, "You couldn't pay me to eat a slice of pizza right now." And it was true. But they sure did smell good. I'm looking forward to eating pizza again in Phase IV.

So, I made it through the gingerbread party unscathed. I didn't cheat at ALL. I couldn't be prouder of myself.

When I got up this morning, I was excited to get on the scale. The excitement faded, though, as I saw that all I lost today is the .6 that I gained yesterday. Sigh.

For what it's worth, I'm glad that my scale also measures fat percentage and water percentage, because I am so retaining water. Thanks, again, Eve.

To say I've been in a bad mood today is an understatement. Between it being my "Time Of Month", and retaining water so the scale shows no progress, along with the memory of the pizza I didn't eat yesterday and the fact that both my daughters have gingerbread mailboxes stuffed with all kinds of candy in my dining room, not to mention that it just feels like everyone is out to get me today, I am ready to chop heads. Or pull out the shotgun.

We're pulling the Christmas stuff out of the basement and my skinny jeans came up with them. This was by my request, because I figure I'll need them soon(er or later). Because I figured nothing could make me feel any worse today, I decided to go try them on. Let's see how much further we have to go before I can fit in my clothes again, shall we?

I brought my computer into the bathroom with me for moral support. Instant messaging is so awesome, by the way. So, I took off my pants. Which are maternity pants, in case you were wondering. Good, stretchy ones. And I pulled on my favorite skinny jeans.

The last time I tried these stupid jeans on, I couldn't get them up past my thighs. Today, they sailed past my thighs, right up over my butt!

I can't button them yet, but this is leaps and bounds ahead of where I was just a week ago!

I was so excited, I called the friend I was chatting with on Skype, so she could see my ass in my skinny jeans. I'm pretty sure I said, "LOOK AT MY ASS!" which is a sentence I may have never uttered before in my entire life.

She was sufficiently impressed and congratulatory. When I showed my husband, he said "Cool." That's why I involved a third party, in the first place. I counted on that.

So, yay!! I'm well on my way to buttoning my skinny jeans! I've lost ten pounds in a week! I only have 20 more to go! I'm almost half way there! IN A WEEK!

I'm not feeling quite so crabby any more. ;-)

Friday, December 3, 2010

Ten Pounds Released Forever!

TEN!! TEN!!! TEN!!!!

And I'm fitting into my size 12 jeans again!

That happened in less than a week. It's shocking. It's also shocking that, losing weight at the rate that I am, I am learning a HUGE amount of stuff about myself and my relationship with food.

For example, did you know, that I HATE going into a convenience store for a gallon of milk or deodorant or something and walking out without a "treat" (soda, candy bar, chips, etc.)? And guess what else? I figured out where that came from! Anytime I went to the store with my daddy when I was a kid, he'd always get me a "treat" (soda, candy bar, chips, etc.).

At the grocery store last night, with my onions, tomatoes, and apples on the belt, my husband gave me a really weird look when I lunged around the corner and grabbed a bottle of Diet Dr. Pepper. It was my treat. That was when I realized something was weird there.

Then, later, at CVS, to get the deodorant I had forgotten in ShopRite, I was lunging for the sugarless gum and stopped myself. "Do I really need gum?" the answer was no. In fact, I have a pack in my purse already. So, that was when I started thinking about where this compulsion to pick up a little something extra for me came from. And there it is.

Well, now that I know about it, I can see it for the silliness it is and knock it off.

Ten pounds since Saturday. Astonishing.

Questions I've heard lately:

Are you feeling okay? Or lightheaded, etc? I. Feel. Great. At bedtime, I'm tired and ready to sleep. But, that's fine. I mean, it's bedtime. LOL Throughout the day, I'm doing my normal stuff. Working with clients, chasing after Kimmie, walking Joey back and forth to school. And then, of course, there's laundry, cleaning, cooking, etc etc etc. I'm clearheaded (well, as clearheaded as I normally am), and I'm certainly not falling down exhausted.

Did you detox coming off sugar? Not much. The first day, I had a slight headache. I ended up killing it with a diet pepsi and an ibuprofen. It hasn't been back. I guess that's the extent of my sugar detox.

What are you craving? Nothing. There are a few foods that I miss, but nothing that I'm like, "OMG I NEED CHOCOLATE!" Chocolate is a food I miss. The other, of course, is cheese. But, here's the thing, I know I'll have them both again. Soon. This is a temporary parting. And with all the things I'm learning about myself here, in Phase II, I'll have a much healthier relationship with both of them, when I bring them back into my life.

Jitters? Nausea? Rapid heartbeat? This isn't a stimulant. It does nothing for your metabolism. It doesn't "speed" or "boost" anything. It just tells your body it's okay to burn your fat. So the short answer is no, to all three.

What other questions are running around out there? Post them in the comments and I'll address them in the next blog, or a future one.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

There's More Than One Reason We Start With Loading!

Well, my loss has stalled. Temporarily. Thank you, Eve, for eating the apple and cursing the rest of us with monthly issues that cause us to soak up water like a sponge. The good news is, when this is over, I'll probably show a huge loss.

So, I wanted to talk about loading today. Because it sounds like it should be a big lot of fun, no? Eating whatever you want. Hey, eating MORE than whatever you want. I'm not kidding, I ate chips and dip with a spoon. And polished off almost an entire pumpkin pie on my own. My brother made the pumpkin pie, by the way. He is FULL of surprises.

I'll tell you what, the first day was awesome. It was Thanksgiving. I ate while I cooked. I ate while I watched the parade. Then we went to my brother and sister-in-law's house. They got a whole wheel of brie for me. Because I love cheese. Second only to my family. I ate almost the entire wheel myself. And of course, there was turkey, and green bean casserole, and stuffing and pies and tarts, and all kinds of yummy yummy fattening food.

Yeah, Thanksgiving was kind of awesome.

The day after Thanksgiving, I was still loading. It started to lose some of the luster. I was kind of sick of gorging myself. I felt bloated and fat, and uncomfortable. And my body was making unpleasant noises and smells. But, I set a goal for myself on Friday, to polish off anything in the house that would tempt me come Saturday. So, I downed half a case of cherry Coke, as well as a couple cans of ginger ale. I finished off the Thanksgiving leftovers. And hit those chips and dip. With a spoon.

Let me tell you my favorite part of loading. Giving myself permission to just eat whatever I wanted to. For years, I've been silently judging myself for every single bite that passed my lips. Not on those two days. I had permission to eat and eat and eat some more. And not just to eat, but to eat the absolute worst foods I could find. So, when I dug into that dip with that spoon, I wasn't feeling guilt, or anger, or shameful. I was feeling joyful and hopeful. I remember thinking to myself, "The fat in this dip is going to help fuel my body tomorrow." I wasn't just eating to eat. I was eating with purpose.

That was my introduction to eating with purpose. It was the first time I've ever done that. I mean, aside from purposefully drowning my feelings in a bag of Cheetos and a gallon of soda.

And the eating with a purpose continues. On the HCG Protocol, you can't mindlessly eat. I mean, you can, but you'll put weight on faster than you can say "Oh crap! I accidentally ate a box of chocolates!" You have to remember that the HCG is releasing the fat on your body, IF you need it to be released. If you don't? It'll hold on to it, as well as the food you overate. So, it's beyond important to stick to the diet in the protocol. This cannot be stressed enough.

I never realized how many mindless calories I dump in my mouth throughout the day until I started the protocol. When I cook dinner, I'm a taster. If I pass a box of chocolates in the pantry, I'll stop and grab one. I mean, what can one chocolate hurt? When my kids don't finish their dinner, I do it for them. Because, I mean, what am I supposed to do? Let it go to WASTE?

I'm more aware of my natural tendency to munch. And being aware of it is the first step to overcoming it. So, I am OVERCOMING my natural tendency to munch.

See, this is how this is working. Because I can't munch when the urge presents itself, I have to, instead, deal with whatever's going on that's causing the Munch-ster. (That's the Munch Monster. Just, shortened.) I have to identify my feeling, then identify what's causing the feeling, and deal with it.

Guess what? When I do that, the Munchster goes away.

When you're limited to 500 calories a day, you really start to pay attention to your body's cues. If I feel hungry, I check to see if I'm really hungry, or if my body is trying to deal with something that my mind should be dealing with.

The other day, I got into a, um, "disagreement" with my Joey. Poor Joey disagrees just like her mom. Loudly. So, yeah, we yelled at each other. For a while. She hates me, wants a new mommy, I'm mean, yadda yadda yadda. This stuff hurts me. She doesn't mean it, but oh my God, it hurts. Now, we've established in previous blogs that I'm an emotional eater. Although, I kind of recently figured that out myself. So, it still surprised me, when, after yelling at my daughter to "Stay on your bed until your father gets home!" (which was five hours away. I don't mean the crap I say when I'm mad, either.), I found myself standing in the middle of my kitchen, literally spinning around, trying to figure out what to do next.

I needed to calm down. I needed to calm down and go take my baby in my arms and love on her and apologize for losing my temper so we could begin to heal from this latest dent in our relationship. But, how could I calm down when I couldn't grab a soda from the fridge, or a chip (or 18), or a cookie (or 12)? I was at a loss. Spinning around in my kitchen, at a loss as to what to do next.

It suddenly hit me that I am an adult who has no control over my emotions, and it's kind of ridiculous to expect my daughters to be able to reign themselves in, when I can't do it without a popcorn covered brownie.

I wasn't hungry. But I wanted to eat. Because I was angry, and hurt, and upset. And I didn't know what else to do.

I did calm down, eventually. And that's kind of a dramatic example. But that type of thing happens all day every day for me. I'll suddenly want to eat and then need to step back and ask myself, "Wait, are you hungry? Or what else is going on?" I found myself reaching for Kimmie's baby carrots when a friend told me she had to cancel a trip we'd been planning together. I wasn't hungry. I was sad. I went for Joey's leftover oatmeal while I was hurrying around to get her out the door to school. I wasn't hungry. I was stressed.

These are things I'm learning to identify, that I've never been able to identify before. And these are the things that are going to help me keep the weight off once it's all gone.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Introduction and The Protocol

So, I have the world's greatest best friend. You know your best friend? Yeah? Mine's better. How do I know? She tells me all her craziest ideas. And then I research them and decide it's an awesome idea and we do it. Like, for example, the HCG Protocol.

Now, this is not her idea. She just found it. She first read about it in a thread on and then found Dr. Simeon's book. She read it and then told me about it. So I read it. And ordered my HCG before I was even done reading.

I did a little Googling of my own along the way, of course, and found that there are lots and lots of places to order HCG from. And, seriously, if you Google "HCG Diet" a gajillion sites show up. How the hell did I never know about this before? I also found, of course, that the diet has lots of nay-sayers. But for every person who gives their reasons for not digging the protocol, there are two people who have lost significant amounts of weight and have kept it off.

Reading the Mothering thread, and the doctor's book, explaining the research behind it, was enough to get me on board to at least give it a try. If it didn't work, I was out a measly $37 on the HCG drops I ordered. I've spent way more than that on the latest diet, nutrition, or exercise products, that ended up doing nothing.

So here's a quick breakdown of how the diet works. For a more complete picture, really, read Dr. Simeon's book. Also, you can visit the Skinny Me Forum, which has the most AMAZING breakdown of every single aspect of the protocol I've found anywhere. Seriously, I give the girls over there at Skinny Me a ton of credit, because that must have taken a ton of time to put together.

So, HCG is a hormone that is most frequently associated with pregnancy. In fact, it's the hormone that pregnancy tests pick up in urine to give you that cute little pink line. It's also used as a treatment for various maladies, including, but not limited to, infertility in women, and "failure to become manly" in men. (I don't know. What would YOU call it?)

When you take HCG, either by injections, or sublingual (which are drops under your tongue. I had no idea what that meant when I first heard it. Thank you, it's like popping the lock on the fat you hate and want to get rid of. It tells your body, it's okay to burn this fat. Release it. Let it go.

Let's take a quick stroll down memory lane. Remember how I mentioned, in my previous blog, that I was sick as a dog in the beginning of both my pregnancies, and couldn't eat anything? Yet my babies grew, completely healthy, despite my eating only Fruity Pebbles and cheddar cheese for three months. (Not together. Gross.)

Turns out that's because the rising HCG was telling my body, "Burn that fat! Grow that baby!"

So, if you can introduce a little more HCG into your body, and then restrict your calorie intake, it takes that fat and burn, baby, burn.

Ah, so about that calorie restriction? Yeah, it's 500 calories a day. Shut up, because I know what you're thinking. First of all, yes, if you ate 500 calories a day without HCG you would totally lose weight. But you'd lose a lot of muscle mass and be passed out on the floor at some point, too. The HCG ensures that you're burning fat, and not muscle. Also, yeah, 500 calories a day sounds like you're going to be massively hungry. But the HCG really helps with that. A lot.

The best part about this protocol is that you're actually RESETTING your body's set weight. For the past several years, I've been hanging out around 165 pounds. Just hanging around there. Down a couple pounds one week, back up to 165 a little later. It's become my body's "set weight". That's why, even though I lost weight after having my girls, I slid right back up here, in no time.

The protocol has several phases. Phase I is called the "loading" phase, and it lasts two days. During those two days, you take your HCG and eat as much fatty stuff you can gorge yourself on. This is to give your body something to work with while the HCG works on getting the rest of the fat mobilized. I loaded on Thanksgiving and the day after. Pass the green bean casserole, please.

Phase II is where I am now. It's called the Very Low Calorie Diet phase (VLCD for short). During the VLCD you eat a very low calorie diet (duh) while taking your HCG. That's 500 calories a day. And you're restricted as to what foods you can eat. But there are also tons of awesome recipes floating around cyberspace that can help you feel like you're not eating the same thing over and over. And really? I'm not eating the same thing over and over. Even though it's restricted, I find there is enough variety that I'm okay. Phase I and II together need to be a minimum of 23 days. So, if you can't commit to 23 days of this.... Come on, it's less than a month. You can do it! The max, by the way, is 40 days. You can do another round if you need to.

Phase II ends with the suckiest idea ever. It's two days where you continue the VLCD without the HCG. It's critical to long term success, though, apparently. Maybe it won't suck as bad as I'm thinking, though. I mean, I'll be used to eating this amount of food by then. And it's only a couple days.

Phase III is the stabilizing phase. Three weeks of no starch, no sugar. Not a big deal. You haven't had starch or sugar since Phase II. This phase is where you reintroduce fats, pretty much. Like cheese. Oh, how I miss you, my cheddar. We shall be together again, soon. You keep yourself within 2 pounds of your weight on your final day of Phase II here. Keep counting calories. And you are resetting that "set weight".

Yay, science!

Finally, in Phase IV, you begin to slowly reintroduce starches and sugars. Honestly? My plan is to be done with sugar. I have no problem admitting I am a sugar addict, and not just plain old boring sugar. Give me some High Fructose Corn Syrup, and I'll drink it straight from the bottle. Just FYI, I'm using liquid stevia to get my sweet fix while I'm on protocol, and am planning on continuing that when I'm done.

So, sounds nuts, right? Or maybe you've already started looking for where you can get your HCG yourself? No? Oh! You want to know how it's working for me!

Well, as I mentioned, I loaded on Thanksgiving, which was a week ago, tomorrow. So, counting Thanksgiving as Day One, here are my numeros:

11/26 165.4
11/27 164.4 (Yes, I lost a pound while loading. I ate chips and dip with a spoon. And I lost a pound.)
11/28 161.4
11/29 159.4
11/30 158.2
12/1 157.4

That's eight pounds in five days.

Yes, I know it's fat and not muscle. My super awesome scale also measures body fat percentage. I've gone from 32.8% fat to 30.4%

Do I expect to keep these amazing results up? Not exactly. The average loss for a woman on the protocol is about half a pound a day. Most people lose more per day in the beginning, and then it stabilizes out, and they start losing a little less. That's born out in my own numbers. Down 3 pounds on the first day of VLCD, I was down 0.8 this morning. Which is fine. I mean, half a pound a day is still nothing to sneeze at.

I have no "official" before picture. But I'll find something that shows me at my largest. One of my wonderful Facebook friends probably has something LOVELY posted of me somewhere. (With friends like these, who needs Facebook?) And I hope to start taking "during" pictures tonight. Like, in a sports bra and shorts. So you can REALLY see my nastiness. Prepare your stomachs and hide your children.

The Backstory

I wish I'd thought to start this before. But, better late than never I suppose. Of course, now we have to play catch up, right? Well, here, then....

I was always a skinny kid, and then I grew into a slender woman. When my husband and I got married, I was 23 years old and had a nice 135 pounds on my 5'4" frame. And I wanted to lose five pounds.

After the wedding, well, that's when things went south, so to speak. The short story, without all the whining, is that I married the absolute definition of a workaholic. And he was not only working his full-time-plus job, he was also working on building his own business on the side. He was also not the least bit interested in giving up fishing trips, late nights out, or anything else that took him out of the house even more.

For a while, I was working in a doctor's office, with an hour commute each way, and that's when it started. I'd swing through the drive thru for dinner. I was going to be eating alone, anyway. Didn't want to cook for myself. It seemed too much effort. Also, you know, I was lonely. And food helped.

Then, I quit my job and started working with my husband on that business he was building. The office was in our basement and so I found myself home, all day, every day. The only time I got to go see another living human being was when I ran to Wendy's or McDonald's for lunch. And then when I went back for dinner. And in between, there were Doritos to keep me company. Who needs a husband, when you have Doritos? Or Chester Cheetah? And Coke. Mmmmm Coca-Cola. Sweet nectar of the gods....

Well, look at that, within a year, I was up twenty pounds. I was unhappy, but didn't realize I wasn't just unhappy about my weight. I was unhappy about a lot of things. My weight was an excuse. I found that out when I went to Weight Watchers, lost those twenty pounds, plus a few more, and was still sad, and the weight slowly came back.

Just as I was thinking it would never happen, I got pregnant. I was 152 pounds the day I found out. I know, because I weighed myself every morning. And then beat myself up for gaining another three ounces, or whatever it was that day.

Our first daughter, Joey, was born in June of 2005. I was very impressed with my body for only gaining about 19 pounds while I was pregnant. What helped that was being totally nauseous for three months. I could barely eat, and lost a bunch of weight in the first trimester. I wasn't worried for my baby, because I knew my body had plenty of fat stores to draw from to nourish her. And I was right, because she is just perfect.

After I had Joey, I quickly lost all the baby weight, and was down to one-forty-something. As anyone with a newborn can attest, daily weigh ins, or, hell, daily SHOWERS, are hard to work into your schedule! So, I lost track of my weight for a while, and I have no idea what I weighed when I got pregnant with our second daughter, Kimmie.

But, I can tell you, that, again, I was sick as a dog in the beginning, and that I did lose weight again during the first trimester, and that the baby was born happy, healthy, and totally mellow.

So, I know that my body knows how to use my fat for fuel. I just didn't know how to make it do that without being pregnant. And I am totally done being pregnant, my friends. Totally done.

Over the past couple years since Kimmie's been born (she's almost 3 at this writing), I have made several changes in my life that have improved my happiness level. Well, the first thing is, I stopped working with my husband. That's improved our relationship vastly. And given me time to build my own copywriting empire. (Almost there. I need some minions.) So, I'm doing what I love, and my darling husband is around more. Well, you know, he's closer to 40 than 20 these days. Can't handle those late nights as well as he used to.

Also? You know what? He's decided that he enjoys my company. I have always suspected that was why he married me. Finally the proof.

So. Hey! I'm HAPPY! But I'm overweight. That's the last thing that's bugging me. Well, that, and the fact that I have a kid who enjoys peeing down the heating vent in her bedroom. (And people tell me the teenage years are going to be WORSE than this?)

And so, I am losing weight. And here's the awesome thing, I don't have to get pregnant to do it. Thank sweet baby Jesus.