Wednesday, August 17, 2011

hCG Diet Mistakes and Meal Advice

I was recently writing a blog article for our main JulianBakery Blog about tips for people on low carb diets.  As I was writing these Low Carb Dieting tips, there were a few of them that I really wanted to get onto this hCG Diet blog as well because, as I was starting out with this hCG alternative diet, I could have used the advice for myself.  I have posted that blog article to this blog as well, but I will use this post to emphasize some of the ones that I fell victim to so that our readers can avoid those mistakes. 

When I began my diet experiment, the first thing I did was eliminated everything that does not fit into the diet from my kitchen, and replaced it with healthy food that does.  This is a vital step to changing your eating habits.  Having junk food lying around while you’re trying to cut calories is like sitting on a pool float in a wave pool and trying to stay dry.  It’s just too easy to get splashed!  This was not the tough part for me.  The tough part for me is continuously stocking my kitchen with fresh food.  Since I have centered my diet on fresh greens and fruits, I constantly have to go to the grocery store.  The reality of it is that fresh food just doesn’t last that long.  Meat isn’t as bad because you can either freeze it or get canned meat.  I often utilize canned fish, but also eat a lot of chicken breast as well.  I have found a couple brands that make a pretty good bagged grilled chicken that can be found both refrigerated and frozen.  The problem that results from not being able to keep fresh food stocked is that I am not able to pack my lunch at times, or get stuck trying to grab a meal on the go with no luck.  This often results in me breaking the diet protocol, or settling for only a snack as opposed to eating a meal and receiving the real calories that I need.

Snacks are the easiest part of the diet, and often times my favorite part of the day.  Sometimes I find myself not feeling hungry around lunch and settling for a snack as opposed to a meal.  I like buying light cheese sticks in bulk and a lot of greek yogurt.  These items are very easy to transport, have around and eat at anytime with no preparation.  I have found that cutting out so much cheese from my diet has been tough, because I usually put cheese on everything! 

Another one of the diet tips that I wrote about and personally fall victim to is not ‘mixing it up’.  I found a handful of meals that worked well in the diet and tend to only eat those meals.  I have a tough time getting off of the few tasty meals that I created on my own and discovering new meals.  MediPro Direct gave us a sample daily menu in our introductory packets, but not quite a full 30 day meal plan to follow.  After doing some research, I found that none of the other weight loss clinics that offer a hCG program include anything like this in their service.  A number of sites like this one have 30-day meal plans, but only give you a sample of what they have to offer without making you pay for the full plan.  If you aren’t interested in paying for a service like this one, perhaps it would be wise to combine as many of the sample meals as possible so that you can get some other meal ideas and grocery shop appropriately. 

I completely understand the challenge in deciding what to eat while dieting, and the fact that this dilemma causes many people to break their diet.  For one of my next posts, I will try to put together a list of meals I use, combined with ones that can be found on the internet for our readers so that there is a free reference online for dieters.  Also, check out the previous post for more helpful low carb dieting tips.

10 Best Low Carb Diet Tips

1) Start Off Properly
When starting a low carb diet, make sure you complete your due diligence and know what you are getting yourself into. There are a lot of low carb myths out there that could potentially ruin any attempt at losing weight, or even worse compromise your health. Find out as much as you can about each low carb program so that you can pick the one that you think is best for you. Learn the difference between simple and complex carbohydrates, and which foods contain each type. Discover what ketosis is, and how to achieve a ketosis state. When initially starting a low carb diet, your body will go through some major metabolic changes. There are some great references like this one that will help you cope with these changes and adjust your diet as necessary.

2) Don’t Give Up
Starting a low carb diet is not always easy for everyone. Some people may experience physical differences that will indicate that there are adjustments that need to be made.
Many people completely cut carbs from their diet and then experience fatigue and irritability within the first week. These types of unpleasant responses made by your body often times cause people to discontinue their diet attempt. By easing yourself into the diet and learning about these changes before they happen, you can preemptively avoid problems or quickly resolve them to keep you on track.

3) Eat Enough Fruit and Vegetables
A common misconception about low carb dieting is that because fruit and vegetables contain carbs, they shouldn’t be eaten. Avoiding fruits and vegetables in the long term could have some serious health repercussions. You’re better off thinking of fruit and vegetables as the basis of your diet. The micronutrients in fruits and vegetables will help you prevent fatigue throughout the day. Learn which fruits and vegetables are the best during low-carb dieting.

4) Eat Enough Fiber
Cutting carbs usually means that you’re cutting fiber from your diet as well. Additionally, because fiber is considered a carbohydrate many people stay away from it on a low carb diet. It is important to know that fiber is not digested like other carbohydrates and therefore not counted in total carb intake. Fiber plays a major role in digestion health, so knowing these facts before you start a low carb diet can prevent issues in the long run. By eating enough fruits and vegetables, your fiber intake will remain sufficient. Julian Bakery Smart Carb #1 is a perfect food for low carb and high fiber intake. If you eat gluten free, check out Smart Carb GF #3. There are other great low carb, high fiber foods that can be utilized during low carb dieting to maintain a high fiber intake.

5) Count Calories
In addition to counting your carbohydrate intake, it is also a good idea to keep track of how many calories you are eating as well. Low carb dieters often have the misconception that they can eat as much as they want, and as long as it’s all low carb food, they will still lose weight. We must keep in mind that other macronutrients, if eaten in abundance, will also be stored as fat. It is important to stay tuned to your appetite. Only eat if you feel hungry and stop eating when you feel satiated.

6) Plan Your Diet
One of the biggest issues that dieters experience is not planning their meals. By having diet friendly foods on hand and packing your lunch, you will avoid referring back to bad habits. Before starting your diet, cleanse your kitchen of foods that do not fit into the diet and replace them with foods that do. Surrounding yourself with healthy food is a great way to develop better eating habits. Nothing is worse than being hungry, not knowing what to eat, and settling for the drive through.

Always have Julian Bakery bread in your refrigerator, order 6 loaves today and take advantage of our summer shipping promotion.

7) Mix It Up
When dieting, it is very easy to pick a handful of meals that work and stick to eating the same ones every week. This is a sure-fire way to get bored of your diet. It is important to eat a variety of foods so that you don’t become a slave to the same foods. Different foods offer different nutrients and combine to provide a well-balanced diet. Do not settle for food you
don’t like just because it fits into your diet. It is possible to still eat your favorite meals, just look for the low carb versions.

8) Monitor Ingredients
Some ingredients used to replace sugar and starch should be completely avoided. Low carb or sugar free meal replacement and dessert products are often red flags for dangerous ingredients like maltitol, xylitol, and sorbitol. These sugar alcohols are actually carbohydrates that are not completely absorbed and can ferment in the intestines causing bloating, gas, or diarrhea.

9) Avoid The Carb ‘Ramp Up’
After successfully losing weight on a low carb diet, it is easy to begin adding small amounts of carbs back into your diet. Some people seem to do it as a reward for successfully losing weight, others do it subconsciously. Either way, continuously cheating on your diet will increase carb cravings and eventually cause weight gain. Dieting should be thought of more as a lifestyle change, or else it could result in a vicious cycle of weight gain that becomes tough to break.

Keep your carbs low with Julian Bakery’s Smart Carb Bread!

10) Exercise
There is a very common misconception that if you are on a low carb diet, you don’t have to exercise. Many people can be successful at losing weight while staying sedentary. However, I can not stress enough how important exercise is for more than just losing weight. Exercise increases metabolism, improves cardiovascular and respiratory health, as well as improves overall sense of well-being. Whether dieting or not, exercise is a very good lifestyle habit to form.

Monday, August 8, 2011

hCG and Exercise

After our weekly Wednesday meeting, our Diet Professional, Kelly had alerted me that because I have been exercising more, my protein intake may not be enough to protect my lean muscle as much as I want to.  Immediately after discovering this risk, I purchased a Whey Protein Supplement from Quantum Nutrition to add to my MediPro Slim shake.  This was a great relief, as I have always loved supplementing with whey protein and feel that it is a very healthy supplement for anyone.  I had a good friend of mine in town over the weekend, so I did not make any time for any type of exercise, and additionally came off the diet for a couple days.  I plan on continuing a light exercise routine and have returned to the diet today.  I have had such a great response to this diet and certainly plan to continue this lifestyle change to maintain my progress.      

My body fat was reduced to below 10% after being in phase 2 for 3 weeks.  We discussed that the next step is the maintenance mode; however I do not think I am quite ready to make this adjustment.  I have decided that I would like to continue to lose body fat for a little while longer before I make the actual transition to maintenance mode.  I believe a 7-8% body fat goal is exactly what I would like to achieve from this diet experiment.  I dropped to below 10% very quickly and believe I can achieve my goal of <8% by the end of August if I continue the diet properly.

Back to exercise for a moment; last week was the first time that I tried jogging while on the diet.  Knowing that I have had such limited calorie intake, I only jogged about 2 miles, which is about 1/3 of what I usually jog.  The whole time I was jogging I felt as if my heart was a little bit out of shape from the lack of cardio.  What I began to think about was the fact that my heart is also a muscle, a very important one! 

I hope I can portray this next part as well as I want to:
Thinking about heart health during this time made me want to tell all of my followers that if you are attempting the hCG diet, taking your heart health seriously is very important, especially because you are restricting calories from your diet.  Unsaturated fats are great for heart health, and these fats are allowed on the MediPro diet plan in the form seafood.  I believe that continuing a small amount of cardio exercise is also extremely important to ensuring heart health.  I would not push any cardio activities as hard as you normally would while on calorie restriction, but I have the feeling that many people take advantage of the hCG diet because they do not want to exercise.  Staying completely stagnant and cutting out an extreme amount of calories can’t be good for your circulatory health, nor your respiratory health for that matter.  I’m not saying that everyone has to go on 2 mile jogs, but getting out and walking around, maybe playing some tennis or even golf would go a long way in getting your blood flow going and some fresh air in your lungs.  I have thoroughly enjoyed the yoga classes I have been regularly attending and would suggest this activity to anyone.

Elisa and I will have another weigh-in this week, so it will be interesting to see how coming off the diet for a weekend affected me, as well as to continue to see Elisa’s progress.  Thanks for reading, and keep checking into the Julian Bakery and MediPro Direct hCG Diet Experiment!     

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Results Say: Winning!

Elisa and I both took another round of measurements yesterday and the results are again stunning!  We have both lost 7 pounds since the beginning of the program!  That’s averaging a half a pound per day.  Further more, as you will see in the tables below, we have both maintained, if not gained muscle mass.  Losing my muscle mass was the biggest concern for me when starting this diet, and as time has told, the Homeopathic hCG Alternative drops from MediPro Direct have worked as perfectly as we were told they would.  Check out these amazing numbers recorded from the first day of phase 2 to yesterday:

Weight (lbs)
Body Fat Lbs
Muscle Mass (Lbs)
Total Body Water (lbs)
22.0 (11.5%)
18.1 (9.8%)
+15           -6.6                 -3.9                      +0.7                               -1.6     

Weight (lbs)
Body Fat Lbs
Muscle Mass (Lbs)
Total Body Water (lbs)
44.6 (29.7 %)
40.7 (28.1%)
+14           -5.2                 -3.9                     +0.6                                -0.5

As you can see, we have both had positive weight loss results with minimal exercise.  I have participated in 5 exercise activities, each an hour long, through the duration of the study so far.  My physical activities have ranged in intensity, including tennis, yoga class, a resistance training session, a Pilates class, and the most rigorous being a ‘Core Shock’ class.  Each of the activities was easily managed with the exception of the Core Shock class which was a non stop, circuit focused class that included some enduring exercises like burpees, mountain climbers, stackers, pushups, ab and glute workouts, and then some!  Towards the end of a class that usually wouldn’t have been so hard for me, I could feel my body starting to shut down from a lack of energy.  Luckily I brought a gallon of water because half way through I began getting very dehydrated.  All things considered, I made it through the hour long class with no serious issues, and recovered fine, feeling great within an hour afterwards.  The other, less rigorous exercises were easily managed, and have certainly contributed to a great muscle tone throughout my body.

One tough part for me was that usually after some good physical activity I usually flood my body with a whey protein supplement to contribute to muscle rebuilding.  If not whey protein, I down about 3 eggs or rice and beans for complete protein.  For the duration of the diet, I have been unable to do that after working out, and instead have come home to a 5 oz chicken salad with spinach and tomatoes.  It’s not that the difference effects me all that much physically, as much as it does mentally, knowing I could be helping my muscles more with a higher protein intake.  To suppress those thoughts, I keep in mind that I am dedicating this time period to fat burning, and not muscle building.  In the near future, I will be changing my efforts to building muscle mass, so it’s simply a matter of patience.

One of the adjustments that both Elisa and I have made since the start is that we are both now using the drops after we eat our meals.  At first we were using them before eating, which made eating our meals more of a struggle.  Since the drops remove your appetite so effectively, it was tough to even make myself eat at all when I was using the drops before meals.  Now that I have adjusted to after meals, I still have a nice appetite and can easily eat all of my meals throughout the day.  I have also noticed that if I eat a meal and forget the drops, my appetite kicks in again shortly after the meal.  This is a reminder for me to use the drops which is quickly suppressed after using them.

This morning we had another great phone conference with the ladies at MediPro Direct.  They wanted to check up on us and make sure everything was going well.  Elisa and I had a few questions for them.  One of the things I addressed was that as I approach my fat percentage goal of around 7%, how should I begin to respond?  Do I take the drops less?  Do I start eating more?  Kelly, the ‘Diet Queen’ said that I was exactly right; I can begin to eat slightly more and begin using the drops twice a day instead of 3 times.  The one thing that I expressed is that because the drops are what instruct my body to burn off fat content instead of muscle; by reducing the amount of drops, as I respond with an increase in hunger, will the muscle tissue still be as safe?  I suppose the higher caloric intake will be burnt off first instead of my muscle tissue; however I want to be very careful about which foods I eat during this transition.  I believe that starting up a supplement of slow burning Casein protein will be the best way to take in more calories while ensuring that my muscle is being protected throughout the day (and night).

As usual, thanks for reading, and stay updated as we continue pushing through this exciting journey of losing weight! 

Monday, July 25, 2011

MediPro Direct: Magic Drops!

As I get deeper and deeper into this hCG Alternative Diet experiment, the more and more I am absolutely sold on this method of losing weight!  Both Elisa and I are seeing great results in just the first week of being on these drops.  I am down to under 187 pounds and losing only fat content!  My muscle mass has stayed the same, and by doing a minimal amount of exercise, I am seeing a great muscle tone starting to appear around my abdominal section. 
It has certainly been tough to stay away from foods that are not on the list.  Not only because I find myself craving some of the old unhealthy food that I have always eaten, but also because I don’t always have the food on the allowed list in my pantry or on me at work or when I am out.  In those cases I have seemed to settle for something small, yet it’s nearly impossible to find something as healthy as what is on the list.  Another situation that also makes this diet tough is when I hang out around my friends.  They are always trying to peer pressure me into going to grab food somewhere, snack on something unhealthy, or go drinking with them.

Sometime this week we will take another round of physical measurements, and also take another step on the scale for those measurements.   

Monday, July 18, 2011

Let the Diet Begin!

We both survived the first weekend of phase 2!  I have been amazed at how well these hCG Alternative drops from MediPro Direct work to relieve my feelings of hunger.  I am usually the type of person that is ALWAYS hungry!  Now, because of these oral drops, I have had to force myself to eat, even during meal times because I am simply not feeling hungry.  I have only had one instance of nausea so far which didn’t last over 5 minutes.  I was even able to play tennis yesterday without much fatigue.

After making it through the weekend without issues, I was very curious to weigh myself today.  Both Elisa and I lost 2 pounds, as well as saw a decrease in our body fat percentages.  This is the first time I have weighed below 190 lbs since my freshman year of college!  Additionally, to see that I didn’t lose any muscle weight was extremely motivating.  Reflecting on the fact that I lost 2 pounds of fat weight over a weekend with only about an hour worth of tennis for exercise blows my mind! 

For this phase of the study I was instructed to stay away from intense exercise, and that I should focus on stretch workouts.  Therefore, I plan on utilizing yoga classes for the next few weeks.  I also plan on continuing to workout my abdominal muscles, as these muscles play a major role in creating testosterone, building muscle, and keeping away unwanted estrogen and fat.  I have also read in some hCG Dieting forums that light exercise really helps prevent muscle loss, promotes fat burning, and keeps your muscles toned throughout the diet.  As a fitness freak, I certainly plan on continuing some type of light workout plan to ensure I do not lose any muscle.

The toughest part for me so far has been that my sense of smell seems to have increased by 500%.  Every time I am out, I seem to be much more sensitive to food smells!  I have been to almost 10 San Diego Padres games so far this season, and not until this weekend have I ever really noticed all of the great smells of garlic cheese fries, pizza, and popcorn around the stadium.  It was absolutely torture knowing I couldn’t even think about ordering those great smelling garlic cheese fries!    

I have found it very interesting to see what I have come up with for my meals.  So far I have not gotten too creative with the allowed ingredient list, but am finding that I like sticking to the seafood for my protein.  I have stuck mostly to making salads with either romaine lettuce or baby spinach mixed with grape tomatoes and then some strawberries, an apple or an orange on the side.  So far I have only done the supplied chocolate slim shakes for breakfast, which taste great!  However, I am excited to eat an egg with a slice of Julian Bakery bread within the next couple days.  For snacks I have been enjoying greek yogurt or a chocolate slim shake, and of course I have been drinking my usual hot teas throughout the day.

As always, thanks for reading, and keep checking back for more hCG Alternative diet updates!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Fat Loading: Almost Over!

Today is our last day of fat loading!  Yesterday we started out the day extremely excited to eat donuts, and eat fatty all day.  After each stuffing down a donut from Krispy Kreme, we both regretted having donuts for breakfast immediately!  We were even warned by the wonderful MediPro Diet Queen, Kelly, from MediPro Direct Slim that we should try to stick with only healthy fats.  After recovering from our ‘Dough(not)’ mistake, we quickly learned to stay away from sugar.  The remainder of my day included a steak burrito and pizza; each topped an entire avocado.  After the breakfast mistake, the rest of my food digested stomach ache free.  I am generally a healthy eater, so it was very nice to splurge a little bit before beginning such a challenging diet.  We also started the oral drops yesterday so that the homeopathic substance can begin building up and working in our bodies.  Other than the slight vodka taste, they are fine, and actually seem to have already started working.  Today by lunch time when I am usually ready to scarf down a salmon sandwich or steak burrito, I wasn’t hungry at all!  I am going to have to force myself to eat some healthy fats for the remainder of the day, as those fats will be necessary in helping me throughout the diet process.

One thing I want to clarify that greatly improves the value of this blog is that Elisa and I have two completely different goals in this diet experiment.  As you have seen from our measurements, the two of us differ vastly in our body compositions.  From what we have been told by the ladies from MediPro Direct, Elisa is the epitome of the typical person that attempts the hCG Alternative diet program.  Elisa has jumped on board to lose some weight and get into what I call ‘bathing suit shape’. 

I on the other hand have only 11% body fat, and am generally in pretty good shape.  I consistently exercise and stay very active, which is why I chose this particular MediPro Direct program in the first place.  So a lot of people have been asking me, “Why are you doing this?  What are your goals?”  I am doing this for a few reasons.  One of the biggest ones is because I was so intrigued after reading all of the information on hCG diet programs that I wanted to write about it myself.  However, because the original hCG diet is rather controversial I couldn’t recommend doing it unless I actually tried it myself to see how it works.  Furthermore, due to my body proportions, I believe I am a perfect candidate to determine if the hCG really does direct my body to start burning the 11% fat, or if I begin losing muscle mass.  Lastly, in my opinion, there are a lot of guys similar me, who seem to plateau in their body shape goals.  It’s not too tough to lose weight, gain muscle, and stay relatively thin in terms of body fat, but it has proven very tough throughout the years to really get to that next level of being ‘ripped’ and having a solid 6 pack.  If this diet really burns off the small amount of excess fat that I have, I will have a great lean muscle base to then improve on and begin gaining healthy muscle mass while maintaining a healthy diet.

After discussing these goals with the MediPro Direct Certified Nutrition Consultants, they mentioned that they actually do work with a good amount of body builders and athletes, who come in and use their programs to balance blood sugars levels, among other things.

We will be taking one more set of measurements tomorrow to determine how much weight was gained during our fat loading phase, and we also officially start step two, “The Weight Loss Program”.  Dun-Dun-Dun!