Friday, March 18, 2011

Self Care is More Than Physical

Often we - especially we women! - are busy taking care of everyone around us.  Kids, parents, bosses, clients, customers, neighbors, friends... the list goes on and on and on.  Somehow, between work and children and house and loved ones, we forget about the one person we should take care of the most.


Yes, I was one who believed that you took care of everyone else first.  I'd have kids who looked nice, had handmade clothing, and were well fed while I looked like....well, like shit.  (Sorry.)  Hair unkempt, clothes that looked dreadful, no makeup, and while I ate, I ate junk food, not the healthy stuff I fed my family.  In the middle of all this, I was having babies, which created an even greater drain on my body.  Especially once I reached my 30s!  With my last baby, who's now 8, I lost over 1/2 my hair, and very nearly lost my health.

Because I was busy taking care of my husband, my 2 year old, the house, and everyone but myself.

I've learned my lesson. 

I got rid of the husband (great guy, but very demanding and not a good match for me), let the children figure out that Mom needs time to herself sometimes, started working out, started eating things that nourish me instead of drain me, and lo and behold, I'm a better mother.  A better worker.  A better homemaker.  And I released a lot of weight.

Because I finally learned to love myself. 

It's OK to put yourself first.  If you don't, who will?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


I'm finding that if I eat the wrong things, or at the wrong time of day, I can end up with blinding migraine headaches.  I used to never get migraines.  Cluster headaches, yes, but not migraines. 

Last year, things started to change. 

Now if I eat chocolate early in the day, or too much sugar before eating protein, I will pay a high price for it - and not just at the waistline! 

It's so much easier to just have good nutrition than to deal with the headaches.  Literally!

Monday, March 14, 2011

How Stress Affects the Body

I am convinced at this point that stress affects the body in ways that we can't even predict or understand.  Usually, when I'm stressed out, I end up eating more.  Yesterday and this morning, I was physically ill and unable to eat. 

Kind of unusual for me.  Nice, in a way, except for the nausea.

And it's all due to stress. 

Our bodies will react to stress in different ways, possibly related to the different kinds of stresses on the body.  One way, that every dieter has heard of, is the starvation mode.  Basically, when you go on a calorie restricted diet without HCG, your body then holds on to every single calorie, because it thinks there's a famine and there's no telling how long you'll need to go without food.

Which totally defeats the purpose, and causes more stress!

Other ways stress affects the body as pertaining to weight loss: It can lead to insulin resistance (which leads to weight gain), release cortisol (which leads to weight gain), and play havoc with your hormones.  And guess what that does?

I keep saying over and over.  Calories in/Calories out is nonsense.  There are too many other factors that lead some to eat like horses and be thin (oh, how I envy them) and others to simply smell dinner and gain weight.

How do you handle stress?

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Water, Water Everywhere

I've talked about the importance of water before, but I just can't say it enough.

Water is the #1 nutrient your body needs.  ESPECIALLY when you're dieting.  Often, dieters will restrict fluid intakes in the false belief that it will prevent water retention, or that they will lose more weight by not drinking.

Nonsense.  Dangerous nonsense, in fact. 

Water retention occurs when fluid intake is restricted.  The best way to lose water weight is, ironically, to drink more water.  While on the HCG protocol, drink a gallon or two a day.  It's best to sip on it throughout the day, rather than try to guzzle it - it gives your body time to absorb it.  The more you drink, the easier time your kidneys will have, and the more toxins your body will be able to release. 

If you're stalled on your weight loss, take a hard look at your water intake.  Are you drinking enough?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Nobody's Perfeckt.

Not even me.  Today has been  a struggle for me.  I've been dealing with some emotional baggage - almost always emotional eating or boredom is what derails my dieting.

It's so easy to think, "Well, I had that piece of cake today, I guess I'll eat everything in sight and go on a huge binge!"

Self-forgiveness works better.  OK, so you went off the diet at 8:15.  Go right back on it at 8:25!  It's ok.  Forgive yourself and move on.  There's nothing magical, it was just one little cheat, don't do it again, and keep moving forward.  Don't get discouraged.  It's just one occurrence.  It's only going to hurt your diet if you don't get right back on the diet and keep going. 

Onwards!  And let the scale move downwards!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

How to Deal With A Cheat Day

OK, so you've stuck to your protocol.  The weight has been shifting, coming off, you're so excited!  And then, something derails your plan.  (Like, oh, your son's birthday and your adult daughter's overenthusiastic purchase of a huge chocolate cake.) 

Dang it, now what do you do?

Well, the first thing you do is forgive yourself.  You're human!  It's ok, life moves on, keep moving forward, tomorrow is another day. 

And then - you have an apple day.  6 apples over the course of the day, with water only to drink.  For some reason, this will help you overcome your cheat.  And if you do what I do, and buy big apples, you'll end up eating plenty! 

You can also have an apple day when you've stuck to protocol and the weight just isn't coming off.  It jump-starts things again.

And then, keep moving forward.  A cheat day is a cheat day.  It's not the end of the world.  It's not an excuse to wolf down the rest of that chocolate cake.  Pick up right where you left off, and you'll be able to keep releasing weight with grace and ease.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Dealing with Special Occasions

Today is my youngest child's birthday.  He's 8.  Guess what that means, dieters?

Cake and ice cream.

(Dun, dun, DUNNNN!  Cure horror music.)

Let's face it.  food is at the center of most of our social occasions and holidays.  We really can't get away from it.  No one wants to hide in the closet.  We all want to have a social life!   How do you stick to your diet or P2 protocol when you're celebrating? 

Well, since I'm in charge of food, the first thing I'm going to do is make sure there are foods there I can eat.  Sliced apples, strawberries, celery sticks, grilled meat or a salad.  If you're attending a function where you're not in charge of food, ask if you can bring something.  Your host will appreciate it. 

At a restaurant, tell the server you're on a special diet, and they'll bend over backward to help you.  I had servers at Texas RoadHouse bring me an extra salad since I couldn't have any of the other sides on the menu - once I said "I'm doing HCG" the girl perked right up and told me she would take good care of me.  And she did, too! 

If you can, eat before the party so the tempting foods aren't so tempting.  Fill up on lots of water.

And, most importantly, if you do have a slice of cake, forgive yourself and move on.  It's not an occasion to eat the whole cake and all the leftovers.  Just accept the stall, and keep moving forward.  Really, it's not the end of the world.

You can stick to it with a little preparation!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Making Sense of the Grocery Store

Have you ever wandered aimlessly around the grocery store, reading labels and wondering what's really good for you?  What will help accellerate your weight loss?

Here's a trick.  Stay away from the aisles.  The fresh food you want is around the perimeter of the store.  Produce, meat, seafood, dairy.

My favorite grocery shopping tip is simply this:  If your great grandmother wouldn't recognize it as food, don't eat it.  It's probably had all the food processed out of it.

I eat lots of salads - and I grow my own veggies on the back patio when I can (I live in an apartment) or arrange with a friend to grow some in their garden.

Fresh fruit.  Apples, grapes, peaches, nectarines, melons.  I try to avoid the pre-cut relish trays and fruit bowls as I'm not sure of their freshness, but then again, my kids love them - and anything to help them eat more fruit and vegetables.

Meat, poultry, and seafood.  I always kind of cringe when I hear women talk about being vegetarians - ladies, we need the protein!  Get the highest quality you can afford.  Watch for chicken packs with lots of juices in the tray - they've probably been frozen and thawed.  I have had to look hard to find stores that keep their chicken truly fresh - here in Utah, good meats can be had at Sunflower or Harmon's.

Dairy.  Soy milk is a processed food - I avoid as much soy as I can (with occasional exceptions for tofu and tempe).  Milk should come from a critter - cow or goat, usually.  (I prefer raw milk, but often don't have money for it.)  Eggs should be as fresh as you can find them.  Cheeses and yogurt make wonderful snacks - just so long as it's not that silly yogurt that's had tons of sugar dumped into it along with edible fruit-like chunks.

I don't really fuss much about the "organic" label - it seems like that's just a way to push prices up on foods - and prices are rising too fast anyway.  My friends who own CSAs tell me that the organic label these days is meaningless.

Along the aisles?  I use stevia as a sweetener when I'm on protocol.  Plain oatmeal that I can sweeten to taste over pre-sweetened ones - you can get Quick Oats, which have been cut into smaller sections for faster cooking, and save a ton of money over pre-sweetened oatmeal.

Of course, food itself is loaded with emotion.  I have strong, strong feelings about food - and they start with "If I'm going to limit my calories, I'm going to make sure what I spend those calories on is the highest quality and has amazing taste."

So there you go!  Start in the produce section and work your way around the outside perimeter of the store.  Find foods that either came from the earth or had a mama, and avoid processed foods.

(H/T to EXL Fitness for the idea.  Mat Gover conducts a monthly grocery store tour.  I haven't gone yet.)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Mind Body Connection to Weight Loss

First off, let's throw out the whole stupid notion that fat loss is just "calories in, calories out."  If you're working with HCG as a method of weight loss, you already know that's just not true.  If that was true, I'd be about 84 pounds of skin and bones.  Really!

In the past, I have tried everything to lose weight.  Now, I'm not "obese" (except by those ridiculous BMI measurements - I carry a lot of muscle so I "weigh heavy" for my size), but I've always wanted to slim down and feel trim and sexy again.  After five kids, there's some extra belly weight.  I'm concerned about my health, and I want to be strong.

So, I tried everything.  I would work out twice a day, five days a week.  I ate next to nothing,  I'd subsist on salads and no protein.  I'd basically starve myself down, and then struggle to maintain.  The first real emotional issue that would come up, I'd go right back to food to medicate myself. 

I'm starting to understand that part of the reason I gain weight when I'm emotionally distressed is that fat provides a layer of "protection."  Granted, that protection is emotional rather than physical.  I've been told all my life that I'm fat (even when I had a 24" waist), and gaining weight is a way of "proving them right."  There are so many emotional issues tied up in weight and food!

Right now, I'm considering what I need to do to release the emotions related to food, so I crave healthy food and stop eating when I'm satisfied.  Even as I write this, I'm struggling with a craving for ice cream - and I know I can't have sugar. (I get headaches when I eat too much sugar.)  I don't want the ice cream for any reason other than emotions!  I want to fill an emotional void.

I also know that the void will still be there after eating a half gallon of ice cream.  So the thing to do to fill the void is consider why I want ice cream.  And to do EFT to release the craving.

The setup would be something like this:  "Even though I want to eat ice cream, I deeply and completely accept myself."

Then I can work through, tapping the reasons why I want the ice cream.  Even though I feel empty inside, I deeply and completely accept myself.  Even though I don't think I deserve to lose weight.  Even though I want to hide behind my fat.  All those reasons can come up and be worked through. 

And once you work through what is keeping you fat, you can release the weight with grace, and ease, and HCG.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Still struggling - working out helps!

You know, the first round I did was so easy.  I was able to stick to the protocol with grace and ease and quickly and effectively take the weight off.  This round has been a grind!  I'm sure a great deal of the challenge has to do with being put through the wringer emotionally.  When you're emotionally struggling, it's much harder to remove an emotional crutch, such comfort food. 

I am finding that a solid workout does a great deal to help with the depression and emotional challenges.  It doesn't have to be a huge, strenuous workout (and if you're in Phase 2 - VLCD, don't start a strenuous workout), even a walk around the block can help release endorphins and raise a low mood.

Before children, I'd use walking as a way to raise my mood.  There's nothing like a long, brisk walk to help you process a down mood or negative emotions.  (Once I had children, it was a bit more challenging, but I still work out in some way regularly.)

Currently, I'm in P2, and going to boot camp three days a week (my goal is to not lose muscle, always a concern on low calories).   I'm also starting to add more cardio to my workouts.  The more I can get my body moving, the better.  Keep in mind, however, that I'm fairly athletic to begin with, even with the extra weight I'm carrying around.  If you're not working out to begin with, try adding a 15 minute walk around the block at an easy stroll to begin with, and work up from there.  It'll help with cravings!

I made a Top Ten list!

I am so pleasantly surprised to find myself rated #1 at HCG Diet Recipes' Top Ten blogs! I was just writing this to help others as they work to lose weight using HCG.  A big thank-you to them for the link!