Today is my last day of HCG protocol (Phase Two). I finished the injections on Monday. As I reflect back over the past 44 days; it went by really fast. There were a few days when I was sick and really wanted something other than my protocol food. I was definitely more lackadaisical about the food than I ever have been in the past. I honestly ate chicken and cucumbers (or pickles) pretty much every day. Expediency and ease took precedence over taste and variety. Turns out it worked for me, because I can report 100% compliance! That's right. No cheats. No off days. No beer. I am, however, ready for some new tastes, and a beer!
My goal was to lose 40 pounds. . . I lost 39.4!! I will take it. Here is a before and after. It isn't that obvious in the pictures maybe, but in my wardrobe, you can't miss it. Almost all of my work clothes are making their way into the garage sale pile. Every time I do laundry I have to re-sort because I ended up wearing pants that were falling down that week!
Now that I look at these two pictures side by side, they don't do the changes justice. I will post something more illustrative over the weekend.
As I said, I mostly ate the same things. My basic strategy was to cook up batches of chicken, seal them up in Food Saver bags, and grab one for each meal. For veggies I did mostly cucumbers, some tomatoes, radish and cabbage. Fruit consisted entirely of apples for the first half of the protocol, until I found a love for frozen strawberries warmed up in the microwave. YUM!.
Now What? Phase Three - Maintenance
Phase Three starts tomorrow. I will add more of the foods I am already eating, as well as a few things I haven't been eating (like eggs & watermelon! - not together). No simple sugars and limited simple carbs are allowed on P3. This is the scary part for me. I can lose weight like a champ! It's the maintaining where the hard part happens.
Most recently before starting HCG, I was eating based on a plan that my trainer put together for me. I haven't planned my own full menu since April. As much as I am looking forward to the variety, I am a little apprehensive about the freedom. My food plan is below. My weight plan is to weigh every day, and do a Steak Day (more on that in another post) or Apple Day any time I have a +/-2# variance. I know that sounds intense, but it's only a few weeks. After such rapid weight loss the body needs to be carefully monitored while adjusting to the new you. . . . or weight gain creeps up fast!
Today is shopping day, with at least a little cooking required tonight. Ultimately, I will end up with a menu that starts on Monday and do my cooking on Sunday. This week is a little peculiar with the mid-week start, but maybe that's best. I can warm up my cooking muscles slowly.
I am off to Costco!
Have a brilliant week!
If you haven't heard of KonMari, I highly recommend that you check out this philosophy on "stuff", clutter, and organization. The author and champion of this system is Marie Kondo, of KonMari fame. She has a book, and the webs we weave have countless blog posts outline the details of the system. So, I am not going to get to in depth with it here. I am to give you and overview. Then if you are inspired. . .get her book or check out her website for all the specifics.
The basic idea is this: keep only those things that spark JOY. Yes, joy. Pick up each item you own (in a systematic series of categories); decide if it brings you joy; and keep it or pitch it. Rinse. Repeat. With every single piece of every single thing that you own or have dominion over. The challenge is also to get it all done "in one shot". Work through everything you own as quickly as possible. Do not lose momentum.
The categories are designed to go from easiest to hardest:
I did start out with my closet, as directed. It wasn't quite as simple as it could have been. Because of my rapid weight loss, I had to not only sort things that don't fit right now, but I also kept a few things that don't bring me joy. . . so that I wouldn't have to run around naked until I lose another 20#! I went ahead and integrated my "skinny clothes" into my closet. Now it is all together. Every 10# or so, I cull through it again and weed out a the big stuff.
Here's is a little idea of what the process looked like. You have to bring the entire category together and sort it all at once. So in the case of clothes and accessories, that mean dumping it all in my closet floor. I was prepared with my sorting containers:
This whole process for clothes and accessories took about two days, not counting the time listing items. . .which is a WIP. I will say that it went much faster than I thought it would, and the results were dramatic! I know that my closet is still huge and there are still a lot of clothes in there, but it is so much easier to deal with! I can see everything. . . I put things away because I actually know where they go. I have been wearing clothes that were previously out of sight and mind.
I did the books, but I did not bring them all into the same space as recommended. I worked in the different rooms and boxed up most of them for the garage sell. I was worried about books because I have. . .err. . had so many. But with JOY as my barometer, it was very easy to get rid of the lion's share of my books. I saved a few cookbooks, two or three art books, and maybe 10 miscellaneous books. This from the bibliophile. All of my books would actually fit on one shelf now. . .provided I wanted them in the same room.
I was really dreading this category. I hate paper. No seriously, I hate it. Mail, paperwork, records, taxes, all of it. . .yuck! So, because I have been so bad at managing it. . .I tend to cram it someplace and forget where I put it (or that 'it' even exists). There was lots of paper. I got it narrowed down to this:
Komono - Everything else.
This is a HUGE category. I started with the kitchen and then the garage. I still need to do the living room and my studio/office.
I thought there would be more to get rid of in the kitchen, but it didn't seem like I created that much room. The garage however, is going to be empty after my big garage sale! I put almost all of my stored kitchen stuff in the sale. I figure if I am going to live in a skoolie one day, I'd better first learn how to cook with just a kitchen full! (it is a big kitchen too!).
I will post a progress update in the coming weeks.
I look forward to seeing just how organized I can get!
Have a joyous week,
At weigh in this morning (day 30), I have lost 30.6 pounds. Sometimes the change comes so fast that you don't even notice it. That is the case with weight loss at an average of a pound per day. Half my laundry is too big for me and ready for the garage sale by the time I get it washed. In fact, I noticed walking in to work this morning that the pants I am wearing now are too big. I either need to re-purpose them or send them to a new home.
I try really hard not to get to attached to the numbers, and to focus on the process and taking care of business. Still, I have been a little frustrated lately because I was having a few stall days here and there. An apple day helped, but it still seemed like the numbers were moving kind of slow. Well, I guess not. I can't complain about losing an average of a pound a day. I will take it.
I don't have proper "before & after" pictures yet (obviously, since I am not finished), but I think these two pictures show quite a difference in just a few weeks. The picture on the left is from a few days before I started. The one on the right is from two days ago. (oh, and isn't my ginger just about the coolest teenager ever? Hanging out with her mom and having adventures.)
For a foodie / creative cook like me, the selection does get a little abysmal after a while. One of the reasons I haven't been posting many food pictures is that my food looks the same most days: chicken, cucumbers/celery/tomato, apple. Rinse. Repeat. I do try to invent something now and then or mix it up, as you'll see in the gallery below. I did manage to create some soups with my ingredients last week while I was sick. But mostly I have been lazy with my cooking. I have so much going on in so many areas of my life, I have been enjoying the vacation from menu planning and weekly cook-ups. It has been great, but I just decided it's time for some fresh options. Today I picked up radish & onions in addition to my weekly cucumber haul. I also grabbed some lean ground beef. . .as I have been craving these cabbage roll thingys that my BBF makes, so I am going to try to duplicate.
See below, a smattering of what I have been eating this round. (strawberry "ice cream", chicken & tomato salad, pickles and more pickles, strawberries, and one of the many soups.
I find it is important to try to keep enough variety to at least be palatable. I love my refrigerator pickles, but 7 servings a week is a bit much. I also have to grill chicken again this weekend, so I can spice those up all kinds of ways. Last time I wanted more servings of the curry flavored ones.
With a little effort, I think this next week will at least be more stimulating in the food department.
Here's the soup I made. Very simple:
Chicken Celery Apple Salad
This is a basic recipe that works great for on-the-go meals. I take this to square dances often. I've also been known to pack it in the car on retail arbitrage trips. So Easy!
Chicken, cooked & shredded
Celery, shredded or diced
Apple, shredded or diced
(these are all in measurements of your HCG protocol)
I shred all of mine in my Salad Master machine. It is super quick.
Squeeze the juice of half a lemon over ingredients. Toss to blend.
You can add a little stevia, or herbs of choice. I like mine plain. The celery's strong flavor with the apples sweetness works really well.
Have a fabulous week!
This is a story about eye brows. Until this year, I never would have know that eye brows (and their ensuing behavior) can be intense. This has been a year of learning even in that. In May of this year, I participated in my first Pin-Up girl modeling event. I love, love, loved it. In looking at my pictures and the general look of things, I decided I needed to make the leap to growing out my too-thin eye brows and getting a more intense/retro look going.
I did what I often do when I decide to start something that I have no clue about. . .I asked my good buddy Google. Blog after blog told me that I needed to grow my eyebrows out from 12 - 16 WEEKS! That's more than a quarter of the year! Were they serious? There must be a better way. . . alas. . . there is not. So, I buckled down my resolve and put away my wax pot.
This from a girl who was tweezing her unibrow to to the theme song of Simon & Simon 30+ years ago. (I could often be found on the couch, tweezers and mirror in hand). For the love of . . . . why didn't the adults in my life tell me about/take me to WAX?! Anyway, I spent hours, and hours trying to tame my eye brow beasts. Years later, when I lived in Africa and salons were not easily accessible, I would use this was tape stuff that you cut out, tape on, and rip off. My point, in one way or another, these beast have been tamed for over three decades. And now. Now I need to leave them alone for 3+ months. Okay, I think I can . . . I think I can. . .
Those of you on my social media accounts may have noticed a lack of selfies or close-ups posted recently. . .it was getting crazy.
My eye brows over the years. It is amazing how different I look in some of these.
So, I waited. . .and waited. . .and tried concealer, eye shadow, creative use of bangs. . .anything. Any bizarre look I got when talking to someone was credited to them noticing my eye brows. Surely they noticed. Well, hopefully not.
Then. . .the day came. I decided it had been long enough. Had it actually been the prescribed number of weeks? I have no idea, I didn't count. I just decided it was time. So I made my appointment and went in to The Glam Room for my little makeover. Even though I was going to a great salon with an impeccable reputation, I was still afraid. I was having flash backs of the roll-the-dice kind of service that I have received in too many salons. Eye brows are an art, and so rarely treated as such. Elissa immediately put me at ease. I knew right away that she "got it". She would create her version of my vision and I completely trusted her. I showed her a picture of Elizabeth Taylor's eye brows from the 1950's. That is the guide we worked from.
Elissa had a good vision of what to do. She first died by brows (to make use of the blond baby hairs. Do I really have baby hairs? Then she waxed and shaped and waxed some more.
Next we went up front to the makeup area. She showed me how to use a couple of products (eye brow pencil and concealer) to complete the look. You see, my eye brows still have some growing to do, so I really need the help of a pencil to fill in. I am a self proclaimed lazy girl. . . so less is really more for me,
I couldn't be happier with my new look.
And I have managed to do a decent job of recreating it at home.
I am ready for my next pin-up event now, eye brows and all.
Blessings and Brows,
Today I am doing an Apple Day. After weighing in this morning, I am on my 4th day of a stall. Normally, I would have done and Apple Day on the third day, but I was sick yesterday and thought that might be why the scale didn't move. I still think that may be true, but I do much better with taking action than I do with staying the course and letting things fix themselves (that sounds like a therapy session waiting to happen).
It's much easier to write about successes than stalls, but I would be doing a disservice to my readers if I give you less than the whole story. In the event that you ever decide to do HCG you'll need the whole story.
The basic idea of an Apply Day is that you eat only apples (up to six) in a 24 hour period from noon-noon. The point is two-fold, to reduce water weight and to allow for a mental reset to prepare you to carry on with your protocol after a stall. Dr. Simeon believed that this was an important part of the process, and would prescribe this ritual to participants who stalled for more than four days.
This is one of those things that makes non-HCG people think that those of us who do it are crazy. "What?!" "You're only going to eat apples? Won't you die?" But you know what? It works. And it's totally worth it. I will try not to jump on a soapbox about a culture that would be much more comfortable with me getting a jumbo combo of fat & garbage, with a bucket of refined sugar on the side than in me taking my own health into my hands and making changes. . . but I digress.
Here's what you need to know to do an apple day:
I can almost hear you asking, boring apples all day long? It's not has bad as it sounds. Here are some of the methods that I used to keep my apples interesting:
In other news, I converted this skirt last night. It was a remnant of a longer skirt that one of my square dancing sisters gave me in hopes I could give it new life. I removed one tier and put in a new waist. I did a button hole inside the waistband to allow for adjusting the elastic as I lose weight. . . and of course when I sell it. Tonight I plan to make some type of accessory to wear with it. I am leaning towards a scarf, or possibly a headband. Look for this outfit in my etsy shop soon.
Happy Friday and thanks for stopping by.
Today is day 12, and I am down to 229 already. Things are going well with nutrition and strength training. . .cardio is a bit more of a mission. Today was my weigh-out day for the 60-Day Challenge at Lifetime Fitness. I lost 16 pounds, all in the last 12 days. I am quite pleased with my progress thus far. I did have some hunger this past week (which is normal as your body fat reduces), so I adjusted my dosage up from 30 units to 35, which seems to have worked.
Here are official my before & after photos for the challenge.
Before: June 1. 247#
After: August 3. 229#
Body fat reduced by 5%
Waist reduced by 7"!
So what is this HCG thing anyway?
According to Wikipedia:
Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) is a hormone produced by the embryo after implantation. The presence of hCG is detected in some pregnancy tests (HCG pregnancy strip tests).
So why is it a type of diet? What does it do?
I first learned of the HCG Protocol when it was recommended to me by my doctor, yes, my doctor! People are shocked to hear that, but my doctor is actually a proponent of the HCG Protocol, and I understand why. It is intense, it can be dangerous.. . .and yes, you WILL gain the weight back if you go right back to your old life. . . BUT, it works. And I do not believe that a few short weeks of severely reduced calories is more dangerous that carrying around all that extra weight (and the side-effect that go with it!).
Basically, the injections of HCG help your body to mobilize the stored fat. You burn that fat as energy throughout the day. If you are on the correct dosage of HCG, you should not have hunger. Your fat should be providing what you need.
People look at what I eat (see last week's post), and wonder why I don't die of starvation. It's the HCG. I am telling you there is no way I could eat like this without it. Is it hard some day, yes. . .but oh so worth it.
If you are interested in learning more, I highly recommend the Weight Loss Apocalypse. This book by Robin Phipps Woodall gives a great overview, as well as a sobering look at the emotional work that needs to be done alongside the weight loss, if it is lasting change you are after. Check out her blog and videos.
Dr. Simeons' protocol is available for FREE from multiple internet sources (PDF). I highly recommend reading it and not relying on companies that are selling you HCG to learn about it.
I look forward to updating you again next week. . .when I will be almost at the halfway point of my 42 days.
Jules Warner - Author
Thanks for reading my ramblings.