Wednesday, June 16, 2010

What is Eat to Live?

I've had a lot of questions from friends about this Eat to Live diet by Dr. Joel Fuhrman. I talk about it a lot, and for those tracking my weight, you know I lose .5 to as much as 2 pounds in a day when I actually follow it (which is mostly during the week).

Eat to Live is a scientifically proven lifestyle diet that reduces and eliminates disease, and restores the body's natural ability to heal itself. Based on clinical studies, this way of eating can prevent cancer and remedy most diseases including Diabetes, heart disease and even cancer. I'm not saying it will cure these, but according to clinical studies, and based on thousands of patients of Dr. Fuhrman, this way of eating has been proven to do just that. Which is why I even stumbled across it at all.

Last year was a sad year for me because I lost several friends and acquaintances to cancer, heart attacks or stroke. Mostly cancer though. It was a surreal and heartbreaking year for me, and something that I'd rather not see a repeat of. It was also a wake-up call for me. Two of the women that died of cancer were both young, beautiful and vibrant. They were both what I would consider healthy, and losing them was a shock to me.

Anyway, this was what made Eat to Live appeal to me. I wanted a lifestyle that would see my body healthy for a long and active life, and according to what I read in the book, this was it. All based on clinical scientific data.

Okay, with that said, the diet is so simple. People who follow it are called Nutritarians. Not vegetarians or whatever, but actually Nutritarians. A Nutritarian is someone who eats a nutritionally dense diet, which is what Eat to Live is.

You should read the book, Eat to Live by Dr. Joel Fuhrman for yourself. You can start at his website, or pick the book up on Amazon. It's a little technical, but it's worth the read. He covers every fad diet there is and the facts and science that relates to them. It's not just a weight loss diet, it's a lifestyle that prevents and eliminates disease of the body. But you can lose a LOT of weight on it quickly, too.

On a typical day, I eat fruit for breakfast (like a fruit bowl from Publix) or I make my own with bananas, watermelon, strawberries, grapes, blueberries, oranges, tangerines, mangoes, pineapple, apples, etc. Any fruit I want in my fruit salad really. There are no restrictions. Just the recommended minimum of 4 fruit servings a day.

Most days I have a green smoothie, though. It holds me through to lunch better than just the fruit by itself. Don't knock it until you've tried it. Trust me. I will take some frozen banana, frozen strawberries, frozen blueberries, and a big ol' heaping mound of fresh baby spinach (yep) and blend them all together. You can not taste the spinach and the smoothie is delicious. Sometimes I make it with frozen peaches, mangoes, pineapple and banana (always with the spinach though!)

For lunch I make a BIG salad. Seriously. Not some mealy little wimpy side salad, but a BIG-ASS salad. The salad is the main course of the meal for me and it varies from day to day, depending on my mood.

It might be romaine lettuce with tomatoes, red onions, banana peppers, roasted red peppers, sprouts, sunflower seeds, avocado or a bit of low fat feta cheese (though Dr. Fuhrman does NOT recommend cheese whatsoever) . I put a capful of balsamic vinegar or red wine vinegar depending on the flavor I want.

Or I might feel like something more summery and have a salad with mixed greens, cucumbers, strawberries, cranberries, apple slices or mandarin orange bits and crushed walnuts with a capful of balsamic vinegar.

Or I might have a more traditional salad.

Regardless, I always have a ginormous salad and I eat it first because it is the main course of the meal, and it is usually quite filling.

I also have black beans. I love them and there are plenty of vitally healthful reasons to eat them! I make them with chopped white onions, dices tomatoes, cilantro, garlic and cumin. Most days I do not eat them with brown rice, but some days I do. I eat at least a cup of beans each day.

I have a similar salad for dinner as well. I might have a Caesar instead, without croutons though.

Or I might have some cooked veggies and grilled tilapia or chicken.

I will have chicken or fish a couple times a week, but that's about all. I will eat red meat on the rare occasion only (as in once every couple months maybe).

If I'm really craving sweets, I'll have some fresh fruit that is in season, like strawberries or cherries, or I will make a smoothie with frozen mango and frozen peaches and banana (OMG, YUM!!!). That smoothie has the texture of ice cream sorbet and is scrumptious.

Lastly, I will have a small handful of raw sprouted almonds as well. I don't feel deprived at all.

I buy nearly everything organic when possible, especially spinach, strawberries, blueberries. My chicken is free range, anti-biotic and hormone free, and when feasible, organic.

My only weakness is eating out with my hubby on date nights or double dates with friends, but that's getting better the longer I eat this way, I make healthier choices when we eat out.

But that's an example of a day for me following Eat to Live. I lose weight and I very much enjoy it. There are weird random benefits that come with eating this way, too. Besides the easy weight loss, I mean. Like the fact that you will have healthy bowl movements at least twice a day (I do anyway), or the fact that your sh*t won't stink (seriously). Because of all the healthy raw fruits and veggies, the need for water seems greatly diminished, yet I'll go pee like I'm drinking lots of water. I sleep better than when I used to eat whatever as well.

Anyway, I do recommend it.

HCG Diet Done! Pass the butter please...

So, I finished off round one of the HCG Diet the weekend of May 2nd. I remember the date without checking a calendar for two reasons:

1) It was the 21st anniversary of the date my husband and I were married (not our wedding date, but the date we eloped at the County Courthouse).

2) We were in Daytona at the International Speedway for an endurance race that my husband was in.

I remembered both these points because all that cause for celebration really screwed up the end of my mostly perfect diet. Here's how it all played out:

I finished that Thursday at 205 pounds (yay! That's a 15 pound loss in 27 days). Anyway, you're supposed to continue to eat the 500 calorie diet for 3 days after your last dose of HCG. Yeah, well, that did not happen. Instead we ate out and drank some alcohol (wine one night, margaritas another night - to go with the Mexican food, of course!) Oh! And did I mention Cracker Barrel?

By Monday when I stepped on the scale I was 212 (holy sh*t!!). No big deal though (cross my fingers), I went right back to Eat to Live style eating and by Friday I was down to 208. Not so bad, I guess.

So I misbehaved over the weekend again, and by Monday I was up to 210. Damn. Fine. I went back to eating right and following Eat to Live, so by Friday, I was down to 207. YES!! (You're supposed to stay within two pounds of your last dose weight which was 205).

To celebrate, we splurged over the weekend and by Monday I was up to 209. Oops. I really seem to have a hard time with weekends. Back to eating right throughout the week, and by Friday I'm back to 205 again. Whew! That was close! Time to celebrate yet another victory!

By Monday, I'm back up to 208. Well, at least I'm not off the rails on the weekends anymore, just eating out some. And I have been going out of town most weekends for one reason or another and I find Cracker Barrel pancakes really hard to resist. Let's see, how else can I justify this behavior?? I can't really, so back to eating right for a week and by Friday I'm at 204.6 - Booyah!

Time to really celebrate...

Welcome to my "stabilization and maintenance" phase of the HCG Diet.

The truth is, I'm fine with it. I love eating the Eat to Live way throughout the week. It's easy, tastes yummy and feels right. I will usually drop anywhere from half a pound to a full pound in a day, and I don't even have to worry that it won't happen. You can see from the pattern above that each weekend I gained, but I progressively gained less each weekend, and throughout the week, I'd lost what I gained, and another pound or so, leaving me weighing less than when I started the Monday before. If I only weighed myself once a week on Fridays, I'd say losing a pound a week or so is reasonable, especially because I DO NOT feel deprived, especially on the weekends.

But seriously, even last weekend when we went Miami-Homestead Speedway for another endurance race, we ate out (at Cracker Barrel on the road) and even at the concession stands for lunch one day. I crave better foods, so I didn't ever bother with desserts and I ate reasonable portions without the compulsion to finish all my food and by Monday I was at 208. It's Wednesday and I'm already back down to 205. The point is that my taste in foods has changed and I'm not even remotely worried about gaining after I lose all the weight.

Why not just follow Eat to Live if I lose so much weight on it instead of bothering with HCG? That's a great question. The answer is twofold. First, the HCG diet burns up abnormal fat, starting with the visceral fat (the fat that is dangerous and accumulates around the belly). Second, the HCG Diet is not so forgiving for weekend binging and I have not had the discipline to follow Eat to Live seven days a week, so I want that extra accountability. I actually have an app on my iPhone called iFitness which graphs my weight as I put it in each day. You can see during HCG it's a steady and steep graph with only one minor rise through the course of the diet, but since I ended HCG, it's erratic, but in the end, the same range. Plus Eat to Live is easy after HCG as a general way of eating and I'm looking to creating a lifestyle I can live with.

This weekend I start round 2 of HCG, so I'll be loading over the weekend. Then I will do my 40+ day round. I'm getting there!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Say Hello to Our Little Friend

This is Spike. I know, right? Pretty damn cute.
He's been a member of our family since early fall last year, which just happened to coincide with the departure of one of our last kids at home.

Most of our kids are grown, leaving just one at home since last year. I had my first son at 18, and since we didn't have cable, we continued to have children over the next few years. After being blessed with two boys and two girls, we finally figured out what was causing the continual reproduction and we got my husband "snipped". That was 14 years ago, and in the last few years, the house has gotten a little too quiet for my taste. Though sometimes stressful, I really loved the sounds of a home full of kids and I still get a little choked up when I realize how grown up they all are. Anyway, back to Spike.

So, there we were in our quiet home, wondering what we were going to do to liven up the household a bit. Yes, we considered having kids again, BUT I firmly believe that every home should have at least two kids, and since I already have two grandchildren, I didn't think I really wanted to start all over having kids again. Can you imagine? Having kids who are younger than your grandkids?

Sure. I can see it now:

Me: "Mia?" (my granddaughter)
Mia: "Yes Oma?" (Oma is what she calls me, like grandma only not as old sounding)
Me: "Can you please pick up your uncle and bring him over here for me to nurse?"

Ummmm, I don't think so.

So, what then? Well, we decided to do what most middle aged, semi-retired people seem to do when their children leave the nest: we bought an expensive, high maintenance pure-bred lap size dog. Okay, not really. Well, kind of. Actually, we bought Spike, who is a purebred Silky Terrier.

I decided that I wanted a Terrier, but wasn't decided on a Yorkie or a Silky. I wanted a smaller dog that we could take with us when we traveled and that wouldn't mind snuggling up to me while I write. He had to be old enough to already be house trained and not too hyper. He had to be good with children and have some kind of personality of his own (there are plenty of dogs who are so NOT home, and I wanted a dog that would be a companion and part of our family). Since our family are fairly witty and all have endearing personalities, we needed a dog who would fit in :-)

After a bit of research, we decided to get a Silky and I just happened to know an excellent breeder who specializes exclusively in Silky Terriers. In fact, she has produced more than 40 champion Silky Terriers and has her own champion Silky Terrier line. Sounds impressive and expensive, huh? Actually, after telling Sandy our criteria for a dog, she told us she had the perfect match and he just happened to be available if we wanted him. He didn't cost as much as we expected, and after meeting him, I would say that we got a great deal!

Boudoir Shot - Taken by yours truly :-)

Spike is charming and wonderful and good-natured and quirky, and we LOVE him. He sleeps with us and snuggles with me when I write. He seems infinitely interested in everything we do. He's great with the grandkids and despite his 12 pounds of furry cuteness, he sounds like a beast when he's guarding the home. He LOVES empty water bottles and gets a little neurotic about hiding them in the house (he seems pretty certain that the cat, or maybe one of us secretly wants to steal them).

Spike and my husband, Grant.
"Thou shalt not covet thy owner's water bottle."

Okay, so now that you've met Spike, you will know who I'm talking about when I blog about him. He does some pretty funny stuff at times, plus he's also a champion and we went to his last dog show, which was fascinating and much like the mockumentary movie, Best in Show, so I will be blogging about that one, too.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Look How Skinny I Am. Not.

Okay, so the title may seem a little misleading, but it's not. Just follow me on this one, okay?

So, on Mother's Day I'm with the whole family (the moms, my kids, my grandkids, everyone) and with everyone there and all dressed up, we start taking pictures. You know, pictures of each of the moms with their kids to commemorate the day. Soooooo, of course my mother-in-law takes a picture of me with my mom. I look it over, and my first thought? "Oh-my-god! I look so fat!!" and I proceed immediately to delete it. Then I sigh with relief. Boy, that was close. God forbid should anyone see me looking fat, right? Because that is so not how I really look.

Now here's the problem with that: generally speaking, I'm a good looking woman. I am aware of this and have never had a problem with my self image as far as that goes. However, I have greatly tended to have my own image of what I think I look like to others. In fact there have been many times when I have gotten myself all dressed up (or made up), and I'm pretty sure that I look fabulous based on my waist-up reflection in the mirror. Then, quite unexpectedly someone takes a picture of me and shows it to me, or I find myself looking at a full-length reflection, and I get taken aback by the image I see. Because in that moment I see that I have over 80 pounds to lose, and to me it's as obvious as it must be to others. And for that instant I feel my confidence waver and I doubt myself. So I quickly delete the picture and put on my friendliest smile as I say to the offending would-be photographer, "That was a bad angle." Nervous laugh, then: "Here, take it again, but this time from above and slightly back...Oh! And try to just get me from the waist up, okay?" Big smile. "Thanks so much."

So now I search through my massive photo library for pictures to accurately chronicle my journey of redefining my body, I find that I've pretty much been mildly overweight for years. Certainly nowhere near 80 pounds! Except that it's not true. I'm quite the master at taking great pictures that accentuate the best of me and hide the worst of me. After all, I've been close to this size for more than a decade, so I've had plenty of practice. As an artist I understand how to use angles and shadows to my advantage, so I know to take the pictures or videos from slightly above, so it creates the illusion of a thinner face. It helps that I'm one of those people that is "morbidly obese" in a balanced way.

Here's an example.
This is the picture I've been using for my profile. My husband took it from above while we were just hanging out on our bed right after we'd moved into our home and set up the bed. The camera was to the side and he grabbed it and clicked away. We looked at the pictures and were thrilled to see that the angles were just right to make us both look young, tan and healthy. Perfect.

Well, we were under 40, and tan, but I was actually the same as I weigh now (about 210 and only 5.4"). But you can't really tell by the picture (which is the point I'm trying to make).

All I'm saying is that I have deleted nearly every unflattering, "fat" picture of me because I chose to deny that the picture was an accurate rendering of what I looked like thereby making it nearly impossible for me to properly chronicle my journey visually. But I've come to realize that contrary to popular belief: deleting fat pictures, or avoiding full length mirrors does not actually make one skinny. Damn. And it had all seemed so easy before.

Well, I am trying to restrain myself from deleting these pictures in the future. It takes a bit of getting used to because decades of ninja-like deleting skills have to be neglected, and no one likes to look less than their best, if possible. But I did take some good before pictures this time. So I will have some pictures.

In the meantime, you'll have to settle for how skinny I look in my pictures and videos now, and just imagine that I'm shrinking even more on my diet journey ;-)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

HCG Diet - Final week Round 1

You can watch my v-log or read below (or you can do both!) There are a couple before/after pics on the v-log though!

Okay, so this has been a rough round for me. I ain't gonna lie. I started out at 220, and as of today am 205. I know. Fifteen pounds is nothing to sneeze at. It's just that the average weight loss in a round is more like 20-26, with most of my friends closer to the 26 mark. That would have been way more up my alley.

Here's what happened this week:
I took "progress" pictures Monday morning. Then went to the clinic and got measured (see previous post here for how that went) and came home and then kinda stalled out.

I actually gained half a pound on Tuesday, dropped back to where I was before on Wednesday and decided right then and there to take an apple day (where you eat nothing but 6 apples for the day to break the plateau). So I woke up this morning all ready to see a couple pounds released to get me back on track and motivated. I prepared myself for the worst and figured I could live with a pound loss. As it turned out, I lost only .4 after a day of nothing but apples (which brings me to my present weight of 205). I'll be honest, I tried hard to stay positive. I did. Really. But then I tried on my size 14 jeans and when they wouldn't go past my thighs, I let out a roar that was primal enough to startle both me and my dog. Grrrrrrr! Yeah, THAT was not a good idea. At all. Then there were the tears and the few moments of feeling sorry for myself.

My husband was downstairs and I texted him the following:

205 :-/

I'm cheating on Friday or Sat night, just so you know. I'm done with this. I'll ride it out, but I don't believe the injections were ever right for me.

You never heard feet coming up the stairs so fast! He was upstairs in less than a minute with his phone in hand and a look of concern on his face. That made me smile for a second. He was very understanding and said all the right things and was hugely supportive (which was good because I was really in no mood).

So I called the clinic and spoke to Tamora (an awesome lady) and explained that I was hungry the whole time and that I'd lost only 3 pounds in 9 days, and that it did not seem right and I just felt like my body was holding onto the fat, like it would if it was starving. I told her I had not cheated at all, and that I felt cheated as a result (at least let me indulge and not lose weight!!) and that I did my last injection this morning and was done with this round. She listened patiently and was very cool and understanding. She asked me to wait while she pulled my chart because she wanted to look at my bloodwork because it didn't sound right and she agreed that the weight loss should have been more. I waited while she got it, and when she came back to the phone, she asked about my thyroid being circled and the note from the nurse beside it. That's when I had one of those moments (oh damn, damn, damn!!!).

See, on my second visit, the nurse went over all my bloodwork, etc. with me. My thyroid wasn't bad, but it needed a little support or she was worried that I'd not lose adequately. So she checked out what my body needed and found that I needed a thyroid supporting supplement called Thytrophin PMG by Standard Process (not a drug, but a natural product that is available by prescription through alternative health care practitioners). This clinic is a medical clinic that also offers full alternative care. Anyway, THAT was two weeks ago that I was supposed to get it and take it. The problem was that I thought I'd had some at home, so I declined buying it (even though it was only $12). However, when I got home I found that I didn't have it after all. I was supposed to run by and pick some up from the clinic, but I completely forgot about it. Well, that was two weeks ago and probably explains why I've lost so miserably. My bad.

Anyway, I picked some up today and started on it, but this was my last injection this round. I'm done with it. I will do it again in six weeks, but the sublingual instead. In the meantime, I will follow Eat to Live.

I did cheat today, though. I had a big salad with tomatoes, onions, roasted red peppers, purple cabbage, banana peppers, a squeeze of lemon and a teaspoon of balsamic vinegar. It was divine and I felt better for it. I haven't been craving the bad stuff, just more of the good stuff, preferably mixed together!

So, there ya go. This weekend is my 21st anniversary and my husband has a race so we're heading out of town. I am packing all kinds of good foods to get me through the weekend. I'll keep ya posted on how that goes.

Monday, April 26, 2010

HCG Diet - 3 Week Results (500 Calorie Day #18)

To read my overview of the HCG Diet, Click Here.

SO first thing this morning, I decided to take progress pictures (I know, brave of me, right?!). Well, turns out this was a very good idea! My body is actually changing and it was noticeable in the pictures! That was exciting for me!!

Then I went to the clinic and got measured and whatnot. Here's what we got:

Where: Wk1 / Wk2 / Wk3 / Total:
L. Arm 14.5 / 14.5 / 12.75 / 1.75
R. Arm 15.5 /15.25 / 13.75 / 1.75
L. Thigh 30 /29.5 /27.5 / 2.5
Chest 46.5 /45.25 / 44 / 2.5 (likely back fat)
Stomach/Waist 40 / 39.5 /38 / 2 (woohoo!)
Hips 50 / 49 /46.75 /3.25 (Booya!!)
Total inch loss since start: 13.75 (YES!!!)

My total weight loss is 14.2 pounds!

SO that was VERY encouraging!! AND, they upped my HCG dose to help with the hunger, so we'll see how it goes tomorrow.

I have one week left of the injections (Sunday, May 2nd is my last day), then three more 500 calorie days. We're heading out to Daytona this weekend for a race that my husband is in. It's also our 21st anniversary on the 2nd. I'm bringing a cooler and prepping my meals beforehand. I am totally committed to finishing this thing with no guilt! AND I'm excited to see what my total loss will be and still have my heart set on hitting 195 by the end of this round. We'll see! As long as I come in under 200 pounds at the end, I will be thrilled. It's been a long time since I've seen those numbers!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

HCG Diet - 2nd Week and That Time of the Month

During the second week on the HCG Diet, I stalled for a couple days, losing very little. I knew it was near that time of the month (aka TOM), so I didn't sweat it. Then I lost 1.5 pounds and TOM arrived. NOT what I expected at all.

Now, part of the strict Dr. Simeons protocol is that during TOM, you stop taking HCG completely, and you're supposed to maintain the 500 calorie diet protocol and not be hungry! I was skeptical, but stayed true to the diet fully expecting to be hungry, however, I found that I was not really hungry and my mood was pretty good. And - BONUS - I lost a pound a day for three days :-) Hell, even if I had been hungry, I would have dealt with it for that kind of weight loss!

I should mention that I was particularly bitchy just before TOM arrived. This was also unexpected as I have been pretty mellow for the past several years.

Here's my v-log, if you're interested. It covers this and a bit:

So all in all, my cycle went along smoothly. I didn't cheat and all seemed well. See my next video below detailing up to day 3 and check out the difference in my mood:

Okay, so just when it all seemed fine and wonderful, day 4 arrived and I was starving!!!! So back on the HCG I went and promptly stopped losing weight :-( I remained at 208 for three consecutive days and then on the 4th day, dropped to 207.8 and had a melt-down. Yeah. I did. Really. BUT, I didn't cheat, or quit! Instead I called the clinic that I'm doing this through and asked for help. I spoke with a nurse who was very cool and she explained that this was not unusual and that it was okay and that I would release more weight if I just trusted the program and stayed the course. Of course she said lots of other encouraging things, but that was what I mostly heard. It worked. I pulled up my boot straps and stayed the course. So as of today, I'm 206.4. So I've lost a little and am moving again.

Here's my last v-log on all that with a little detail on getting through the last weekend:

The bitch of it was that before TOM arrived, I was just getting into the groove, and it was fine without the HCG, but when I went back on it, it was like all hell broke loose. I was emotional (bitchy), hungy and tired again. But as of today, I'm back in the groove again, so all is good. Tomorrow is my clinic visit and measurements, etc. So, we'll see how that goes!