Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving in the Zone

We had a great Thanksgiving weekend, as I hope you all did as well. I was worried about the holiday for all the obvious reasons...there was so much food! And then there were leftovers! Turkey, treats, drinks, & desserts.... it was all so good! If there was one Holiday that could derail me, it would be this one

The morning of Thanksgiving I weighed in at 4 pounds under my LIW, so I knew I had a little leeway. But I also knew I'd be eating a ton. I didn't plan on skimping...I'd done enough of that over the past few months while my body was reprogramming itself.  I figured I'd be gaining but I was nervous about how much. I didn't really want to do a Steak Day, at least not the day after Thanksgiving. I was trusting my body to stay in the ZONE.

Luckily, I woke up the Day After and I had gained 3 lbs...but still one pound under my LIW! I ended up gaining another pound the next day and then lost one by Sunday morning. So a net gain of 4 but still under my LIW.  Not too bad, considering how much food I ended up eating.

I should explain about the ZONE....

Remember back to all the other times you tried to diet and no matter what you did, your body always seemed to stay at the same basic weight. I would lose some weight and then bounce right back to that same weight again. Or I would gain some over a few days and then somehow I would always drop right back to that same 'magic' weight. I call this the Zone, I've heard it called the Fat Thermostat as well. One of the beautiful things about the HCG diet is that it helps you drop your 'magic' weight and reprograms your body to your new Zone. This is what the 3 week Phase 3 is all about.

 I spent a lot of the holiday weekend trying to convince my mother, who was visiting, to trust in the Zone. She has been doing HCG as well, and has lost almost 70 pounds, but she is still dieting, even though she is in the Maintenance phase. I think she is doing what a lot of us do, which is to get scared of putting the weight back on, so we keep doing what worked to take it off.  The trouble with this approach is that your body will kick back into "Starvation Mode" and start hanging onto the pounds again, so that if you eat anything at all, you have a major weight gain and it messes up your Zone.  She'd had this happen a couple times and so I was trying to get her to understand that she needed to eat a little more and trust in her body to keep her in the Zone.

I haven't spoken to her yet to see if she was able to make this breakthrough, but it has been working for me. If ever I do break out of the Zone, I do a Steak Day and it puts me right back in there. I've only had to do this twice now and the rest of the time I've stayed exactly where I wanted to be!

I love the HCG diet! Our bodies are crazy and complicated machines. I'm glad someone finally discovered the trick to making mine work right! I hope it is working for you too. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them here! I love hearing from you!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Questions About Sugar Alcohols

You’ve probably noticed sugar alcohols before in chewing gum, candies, baked goods, ice cream and diet drinks. These products are also often labeled “sugar free”, “low in calories”, “diabetic-friendly”, and even “tooth-friendly”. Suspicious? We don’t blame you—when you see the words sugarand alcohol together, there’s plenty of reason to start asking questions. However, upon learning a little about these ingredients you’ll find they have unique benefits.
Sugar alcohol sounds worse than it is because chemists create names based on structures—it’s not the alcohol that makes you drunk! Sugar alcohols are so named because they are little carbon rings with OH (oxygen-hydrogen) groups on them, also called polyols. These polyols are naturally found in many plants and are easily recognized by the human body (in fact, human cells produce their own sugar alcohols such as sorbitol).
Fewer calories, greater flavor
The truth is that sugar alcohols, when used in correct amounts, can be safe, natural and healthy. They do provide sweetness and energy, but they have fewer calories than sugar (1-3 per gram versus 4 per gram). This results in a low impact on blood sugar and insulin levels, which is why sugar alcohols are often used in products intended for diabetics.
Some sugar alcohols can also be fermented by friendly probiotic bacteria that make up a healthy intestinal flora. A healthy intestinal flora helps support your immune system and can help improve digestion. In addition, sugar alcohols are seldom able to be metabolized by oral bacteria, which is why they’re “tooth-friendly”. They avoid promotion of tooth decay and cavities.
When used in foods, sugar alcohols can be especially useful. They provide bulk and texture that makes foods and candies more enjoyable to consumers. They enhance and deliver a lasting flavor of sweetness as well as provide a “cooling effect”. Particularly in baked goods, they help prevent browning when exposed to heat and also help those foods stay moist over time.
Not all sugar alcohols have the same type and or level of attributes. Maltitol, for example, acts in a different way than, say, xylitol. Maltitol is a disaccharide like sucrose (table sugar) and has almost the same level of sweetness and other properties. This makes it very useful for replacing table sugar while offering fewer calories and avoiding promotion of tooth decay.
When consumed, maltitol is broken down by enzymes to glucose and sorbitol. The glucose is easily absorbed, but the sorbitol is resistant to digestion. Because of its resistance to digestion, sorbitol works in similar fashion to prebiotic fiber, fermenting and feeding that helpful intestinal bacteria.
With maltitol, however, there is a concern about overconsumption, especially in people who are unused to sugar alcohols. Consuming an excess of 10g may cause bloating. And, in absence of soluble fiber, consumption of 20g or more can cause loose stool or diarrhea. You’d have the same laxative effect from eating too many fruits like plums, prunes, apples, pears and cherries. These fruits are all high in sorbitol. (Note: No Isagenix product contains sorbitol in nearly these high amounts.)
Xylitol and Erythritol
What about xylitol and erythritol? These sugar alcohols are not quite as sweet as sugar or maltitol. And they have a stronger cooling effect than any of the other sugar alcohols. You’d recognize their flavor from sugar-free chewing gum. Like maltitol and sorbitol, they offer fewer calories than sugar and don’t promote tooth decay.
Unlike their counterparts, however, xylitol and erythritol are unlikely to ferment and cause bloating or diarrhea. They are considered non-fermentable because  intestinal bacteria have difficulty digesting them. After consumption, most erythritol is absorbed easily into the bloodstream while xylitol is absorbed more slowly.
Xylitol is notable because it’s found to be more effective than other sugar alcohols in reducing cavities. According to recent studies, primarily from Finland, xylitol may not only reduce potential cavities from forming, but even strengthen teeth. Its mechanism is thought to occur by attracting and “starving” cavity-producing bacteria. The Finnish were the first to extract xylitol from birch, but it’s found in many plants, fruits and vegetables, especially berries, plums and raspberries.
Erythritol is naturally found in grapes, melons and mushrooms as well as in fermented foods like wine, beer and cheese. Because of its ultra-low impact on blood sugar, you’ll also find erythritol often paired with sugars to lessen its blood-sugar effects in foods, with other sugar alcohols, or with natural sweetening herbs such as stevia in natural sweetener packets.

(This article is reposted from the Isagenix website, which I do not use or endorse. See original post here.)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Another Steak Day

I have felt this coming on for a while! I should have followed my own good advice, but alas! I succumbed to the temptation of the Halloween Candy. It's been a slow climb, but today I hit exactly 2 pounds over my LIW.

One of the things I like the best about the HCG diet is that it has restructured the way I think about food and it gives me a checkpoint at which I can stop my slide into old habits and re-evaluate my eating patterns.  I like knowing that I can survive without food for a couple of meals (there was a point where I didn't believe this) and that I get an immediate reward-the dropping of 2-3 pounds- for doing it.

I have noticed that whenever I start to go up, it's because I'm slacking off on my veggies and I am eating way too much sugar. A Steak Day is a good time to look at those patterns that set you off! If you are in Maintenance, make sure you are keeping a food journal and if you see something that is triggering a gain, make a change! Let us know if you have any good advice for avoiding these food traps! Wish me Steak Day begins...

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween Holiday Helps

Halloween is here! A dreaded day for dieters. Donuts, cider, cupcakes, chocolate and candy abound and can tempt even the most strong-willed people into straying. For those of us on the HCG diet, it may be even harder since the diet itself doesn't allow for any variance from the strict rules. Even one Tootsie Roll can put you off track! And once Halloween is behind us, that's just the beginning of the Holiday Season, where the goodies never seem to end.

But don't despair! There are some things you can do to make today and the next few months a little easier!

For those in P2 & P3-- There's not a lot you can do as far as the food is concerned, but you can find ways to take your mind off all those lurking treats. When the munchies strike, try one of these distractions:

  • Read a good book! Lose yourself in a good mystery or romance. There's nothing like reading a compelling story to take your mind off your rumbling tummy.
  • Go shopping! Take a stroll through your local mall and take a look at all those cute clothes that are going to fit you right off the rack very soon.  I love to go window shopping so I can keep my eye on those stylish fashions and snatch them up the moment they go on sale. Just stay away from the food court! Focus on shoes and bags!
  • Get into nature! Take a day trip to the park or go on an easy hike! 500 calories a day doesn't make for a lot of extra energy, but just getting some fresh air into your lungs can help you to see the big picture and restore you for another day!
  • Get Creative! No sugar or carbs allowed, but you can check the recipe sites on this blog or do a google search for lots of good recipes with alternative ingredients. I just posted a great Pumpkin Pie recipe and will be posting another for Apple Crisp soon. So yummy for the fall season!
For P4 maintenance dieters-- If you have followed the HCG protocol up til now, you have a few more choices as far as your food is concerned. You can eat almost anything you like, but that is the danger. Be sure that you are keeping track of the foods that help you to gain weight and avoid those when you can. Watch the scale and if it hits that 2 lb. mark, do your Steak Day! To help you stay on pointe, try these tips:
  • Take advantage of sugar-free snacks! There are plenty of alternatives out there, Splenda, Nutrasweet, Truvia, and more. I have found that these snacks are tasting more and more like the real thing but they do not affect your weight level like sugar can. My favorites are Blue Bunny No Sugar Added Bunny Tracks Ice Cream, Jell-o Sugar-free Pudding and for fall, I am loving, Alpine Sugar-free Apple Cider and Swiss Miss Sugar-free Hot Cocoa mix. Warm and tasty!  
  • Track your Treats! Don't let yourself have free reign. Set limits before you head to the holiday bash and stick to it. 
  • Choose Wisely! Stay away from sweets if you know they do you in and go for the cheese ball and crackers instead. Find the veggie tray and leave the caramel popcorn alone! 
The holidays can be hard, but you can be strong! Remember that the treats you pass up today are helping you make permanent changes for the future! Help us all to do our best by sharing your best secrets to success here! We'd love to hear about any recipes, treats or ideas that are working for you! 

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Pumpkin Pie

Here is a yummy recipe I found for the Phase 3 (no sugar, no starch phase) of the HCG diet. The perfect treat for fall!


  • 1 can pumpkin (be sure it's 100% pumpkin and not pie mix)

  • 2 eggs

  • 1 can evaporated milk

  • 1 c zsweet

  • 1 t cinnamon

  • 1/2 t sea salt

  • 1/2 t nutmeg

  • 1/4 t ginger

  • 1/4 t cloves

  • unbaked pie crust

    1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
    2. Combine all ingredients and pour into crust.
    3. Bake 15 mins.
    4. Reduce heat to 350 & bake 45 mins.
    5. Cool completely before serving.

    TIP: You can make this pie completely crustless, by pouring into a PAM-sprayed pie dish and following the same cooking instructions.

  • To view original post, click here.

    Tuesday, October 20, 2009

    My First Steak Day

    After 2 rounds of HCG, I finally had my first Steak Day. I weighed in the morning on the 15th of October and I was exactly 2 lbs over my Last Injection Weight (LIW). To tell the truth, I was kind of excited to try this out and see if it really works.

    I fasted my first two meals of the day, drinking only water or Crystal Light, and at dinner time, I cooked myself a big old Petite Sirloin Steak, about 7 oz., and ate a HUGE apple. I almost didn't make it through the meal. The only hard thing about the day was that my school had a BBQ at lunch that I had to miss and we were celebrating someone's birthday at work too. That's what I get for overindulging in the days before. :(

    The next morning I woke up and I was down 3 lbs!!! Back under my LIW and in the zone again! I've been eating pretty liberally since, but I have been trying to make sure that I am eating balanced meals. I think I get into trouble when I lighten up on the Salads for me are a must!

    I'm so glad that this worked! I feel like my body just needed to be reminded that it has a new weight now. I'm super glad that I can eat pretty normally and make adjustments as they come up.

    I'd love to hear about your Steak Day experiences! Let me know if they are working for you and keep checking back for more tips and diet helps!

    Sunday, October 11, 2009

    75 lbs and counting!!!

    Here's the new me (so far)! I am so glad I found the HCG diet. Click here to see my before photos. (Proceed at your own risk!)
    Posted by Picasa

    Thursday, October 1, 2009

    Artificial Sweeteners

    Are you using Truvia as an artificial sweetener? If so, you may want to look at this article.  It talks about the different brands of rebiana-based sweeteners and how they may be affected by additional ingredients. It also speaks to some of the science and marketing behind the products The comments were especially interesting to me, but keep in mind that they are purely subjective.

    I used Truvia in the 2nd round of my Phase 2 and I was extremely happy with the taste and texture. I didn't notice any adverse effects on the weight loss and it made a nice change of pace from Splenda & Nutrasweet, both of which have a bit of an aftertaste to me. I haven't noticed this with Truvia so far.

    Remember, you can use artificial sweeteners at any time during the HCG protocol. It's the carbs you want to stay away from, so read your labels and if you see any carbs, put it back on the shelf.  Truvia can be found at most retail grocers, but if you are looking for the stevia extract itself, you may need to go to a whole foods or health food store.

    Monday, September 21, 2009 - KSL 5 News investigates Utah's HCG diet deals

    So despite the sensationalized spin, I think this report got it pretty much right.  The details of the diet were right on...and their concerns about what people who order HCG online are really getting echoed my own.  I disagree that there is "no scientific evidence" as there have been several studies done, many supporting the HCG protocol. (See my previous post for more on this.)

    I would hope that this report does not damage the availability of this protocol to those who really need it.  It's been an amazing solution to a lifelong struggle for me! I, too, encourage the involvement of a physician as yo begin and the cost of the overall diet has been a bargain compared to some boutique-type health clinics and online sellers that have offered the diet at outrageous prices.  If you do order your HCG online, you might want to verify that it is coming from an authorized physician or pharmacist.

    There is a lot of information posted on the KSL website, including the complete report. Check it out and post your comments....tell us what you think!! - KSL 5 News investigates Utah's HCG diet deals

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    KSL Investigative Report

    Tonight, on KSL 5 at 10pm, there is going to be a story on the HCG diet. I'm interested to see what they have to say about it. The commercials make it seem very controversial, which they tend to do, but I really hope they give it a fair evaluation.  I am especially interested in the "drug dealing" aspect.  It appears from the ads that there is a person buying HCG online with serious consequences, and while I think the rules are fairly ambiguous about buying this stuff on the Internet, I'd like to hear more about what the rules are.

    I've been concerned about where people get their HCG, and whether it is really safe. I never really felt comfortable beginning this diet without medical supervision. I always recommend seeing a doctor when you begin this protocol, so that you are sure about what you are doing and are not putting yourself at any unnecessary risks.  However, since the rules for this diet are so straightforward, it is something that can easily be followed without regular visits to the doctor's office. I guess you should weight the pros and cons before you decide. It will be interesting television tonight!  Tune in at 10pm to see it and check back here tomorrow for my review. I'd love to hear your comments as well!

    Tuesday, September 15, 2009

    The Science of HCG

    Before beginning the HCG diet, I did much research concerning the safety and effectiveness of the HCG diet. There are arguments for and against. Critics say that you will lose just as much weight on a Very Low Calorie Diet (VLCD) without the HCG as you will with, and that the HCG has no effect on weight loss.  There is a much cited double blind study in which two groups followed a VLCD, one with a placebo and one with the HCG injections. In this study, both groups lost weight and there was no significant difference between the groups.  However, this study only looked at weight loss.

    I just finished reading a very interesting study which did a similar double blind study, but measured more than weight loss.  It looked at BMI, loss of fat tissue, body circumference and irritability. In this study, there was a statisitically significant difference in the HCG group compared to the placebo group.  The HCG group was found to lose more fat tissue and to be less irritable, although no difference was found in body measurements.  It was an interesting article.  You can read about it here.

    At any rate, my own experience has been this...I have tried and failed many times to reduce the number of calories I ate and to increase my activity; in short, eat right and exercise.  Before the HCG diet, this only led to increased hunger, frustration, and ultimately a depressing rebound in any weight I had lost.  However, with the HCG, I had a couple days of irritiblilty at the beginning of phase 2, but overall there was very little hunger. I did not feel moody or frustrated at not being able to eat, in part because the pounds dropping off was very emotionally satisfying.  The study showed, and it was true for me, that weight loss is a result of lost fat rather than lost muscle mass as in other VCLD protocols.  There is just something about the way the HCG works on the hypothalamus in the brain.  And, no study has shown any side effects from the use of HCG.

    In my own UNscientific research, I found enough information to give this diet a try. I have seen it work for myself and for many others.  They say that if something is too good to be true, it usually is, which is not bad advice. But, after 75 lbs. lost, I've decided that this diet really delivers.  I am my own science project.  If you are serious about losing weight and are willing to follow the protocol to a T, you will see the same results I have.

    Do some science of your own! Let us know how your experiment turns out! I would love to share in your success!

    Friday, September 11, 2009

    Jodi's Favorite Cream of Chicken Soup

    Effortless Cream of Chicken Soup

  • 100g cooked chicken

  • celery (allowed amount)

  • 1-2 c broth

  • 3 cloves garlic

  • 1 T dehydrated minced onion

  • 1/2 t parsley

  • 1/2 t basil

  • ground white pepper (to taste)

  • salt (optional)
    1. Preheat saucepan over MED-HI heat.
    2. In food processor, combine all ingredients and pulse until reaches desired consistency.
    3. Pour into saucepan and bring to boil.
    4. Reduce heat to simmer, cover, and heat 20-30 mins.
    5. Serve.

    TIP: For the cooked chicken in this dish, I use the chicken I boiled to make the broth.

    I usually start out by adding 1 c broth to the food processor, and then gradually add more broth until it's the soup consistency I prefer.

  • Wednesday, September 9, 2009

    More Phase 3 Tips!

    I am just ending my 1st week of Phase 3 (no sugar, no carbs) and I'm finding myself questioning everything I'm eating, even though I have been pretty stable on the scale and I thought I had all this down from the last time. In my research, I found a page from HCGDietInfo that has quite a few good tips on it and thought I would share it here.

    It's important to remember that Phase 3 is for stabilization and it is also important to pay attention to which foods affect your daily weigh-ins. A food diary can help with this. Now that I have a little more flexibility in my schedule, it can be easier to lose track of how much I've eaten during the day and I need to make sure that I am keeping my protein intake high--at least double what it was on the VLCD--and a diary or a calorie tracker can help with this as well.

    A great food tracker site which I've used is It offers free membership and an comprehensive list of foods. It can also be customized and keeps track of activity, weight goals and other health indicators.

    If you have other great tips for Phase 3, or for any of the phases, please share them here! I'd also love to hear how you are doing on the diet! Tell me your overall weight loss, so we can share in your success!

    Wednesday, September 2, 2009

    Two of My Favorite HCG Recipes!

    Strawberry Smoothies
    6 large strawberries, sliced
    16 oz. favorite Crystal Light beverage (I like cranberry apple.)
    1 pkg. Truvia (Stevia)
    Liquify all ingredients in blender until desired consistency. Enjoy!!!!

    Ginger Chicken Lettuce Wraps
    3.5 oz Chicken cut into cubes
    3 large cabbage leaves
    chopped cabbage to equal 3.5 oz
    3 T. Balsamic Vinegar
    1 T. Ginger
    1/4 t. onion powder
    1/4. t. salt
    1/4 t. pepper
    Garlic to taste
    In a bowl combine cut chicken, vinegar, seasonings, cook on med-hi until done. At end of cook time, add in chopped cabbage and 3T water. Lower heat and continue cooking until cabbage is cooked. Place chicken mixture into cabbage leaves and roll into wraps. So YUMMY!!!

    Tuesday, September 1, 2009

    Phase 3 of the HCG Diet

    Also known as the first three weeks of the Maintenance Phase, this is the most critical phase of the diet. Your hypothalamus is being reset to your new weight during these three weeks.  It is important that you do not consume any sugars or carbohydrates since they interfere with the hypothalamus' control of your metabolism.  You can eat any foods you like, at any time during this phase, but you cannot have sugar or starches.

    It is also important for you to weigh daily during this period. You should note your weight on the last day of your injection, this is your target weight. You will also need to continue the 500 calorie diet for an additional 72 hours from the time of your last injection.  It takes about 72 hours for your body to rid itself of the HCG in your system.  At the 72 hour mark, you can begin to increase your calories. As you weigh daily, you don't need to worry about any increase unless you go 2lbs over your target weight, even if it is just by a few ounces.  You should also be careful not to lose more than 2 lbs either since this may be a sign that you are not eating enough calories and may put your body back into "starvation mode."  

    There are actually two procedures that I am aware of at this point.  The clinic I went to suggested a Grace Period if you are going to do another session. Basically, you are advised to stick to the VCLD menu & only increase your portions to about double what you had before, roughly 1000 calories.  This Grace Period lasts about 3 weeks at which point you would start Round Two of Phase Two again.

    Dr. Simeons' original protocol and the majority of the research I've done online recommends a period of at least 6 weeks before you begin Round 2 and the only limitation is the sugar and starch rule that I explained earlier.  After the 3-week no sugar/starch period, you would then begin to add back in some of the sugar and carbs you would eat normally and continue in this maintenance phase for the rest of your life, unless you planned to do a repeat round of injections.  This period is sometimes referred to as Phase 4, but it is still the Maintenance Phase.

    At any point during phase 3, should your weigh exceed your target weight by more than 2 lbs, you will do a Steak Day.  A Steak Day calls for you to skip both breakfast and lunch and then eat a big steak and a big apple for dinner.  I'm thinking at least 7 oz for the steak and a fairly large apple.  This will result in an immediate drop of 1-2 lbs the following day.   It seems kind of magical, but those I know who have tried it say it really works.  As of this post, I haven't had to do a Steak Day since my weight has stayed well within the target range.  If you have tried it and want to share your success, post a comment here.

    It is also important to note that if you plan to do more than 2 rounds of Phase 2, the wait period between rounds increases each time.  For instance, it is suggested that you wait 6 weeks between Rounds 1 and 2, and then wait 8 weeks between Rounds 2 and 3, 12 weeks between Rounds 3 and 4, etc.  This is to avoid developing HCG immunity.

    Monday, August 31, 2009

    Dr. ATW Simeon vs. Kevin Trudeau

    I am finishing up my last week of HCG injections for Round Two this Wednesday!! In my research--I'm trying to prepare again to take on this very important phase--I came across a very different protocol than the one that I was familiar with.  It turns out that the original HCG protocol that was designed by Dr. ATW Simeon is much simpler and less overwhelming than the one outlined by Kevin Trudeau in his book called The Weight Loss Cure (or something like that).  I have never read the book, but the websites that cited his version call for a much longer list of foods to avoid including things like preservatives, ice water and artificial sweeteners--anything man-made or chemical.  It may very well work, but my experience has been that Dr. Simeons protocol works just fine and is much easier to follow.

    In short, Dr. Simeons' protocol, which is available as a free download in the sidebar, says that you may eat any food that you like only avoiding sugars and carbohydrates.  You do need to weigh yourself daily and if an increase of more than two pounds occurs, then you do a Steak Day which results in an immediate drop of 1-2 lbs.  A Steak Day is when you skip breakfast and lunch and eat a big steak and big apple for dinner.  Supposedly, it works like magic!  I never had to try it after my 1st round because I never gained enough to warrant it.  In other words, the diet worked for me without all the bells and whistles that Trudeau's diet calls for.

    I suppose it is up to you which diet protocol you prefer. As for me, I look forward to the Jello Sugar Free Pudding and Blue Bunny No Sugar Added Bunny Tracks ice cream-in moderation, of course-as my reward for making it this far!  I'd love to hear which protocol you are using and which you like best! Leave a comment and let us know!

    Eating out on the HCG Diet

    Even if you love to cook, sometimes food just tastes better when it's prepared by someone else! But frequent restaurant outings are part of what got me into trouble in the first place. In the beginning of the HCG diet,  I tended to avoid Girls Night Out and other social activities because these things almost always involve FOOD and lots of it!  But soon I found that there were several local restaurants that offer an HCG menu and that I could adapt several menu items at my favorite restaurants as well.  It's true that options are still limited and temptation is high, so if you need to eat out, firm your resolve and make a plan ahead of time.

    In St. George, you can find the following options:

    • The Palms restaurant, located in the Holiday Inn on Bluff Street, offers a simple phase 2 menu for around $5.00.  They offer all the available options from both the meat and veggie list. 
    • Rise and Dine, located next to Costco,  offers a great HCG menu for both Phase 2 and Phase 3.
    • Green Valley Spa has an HCG menu that can be delivered to your door. I haven't tried these, but they look delicious.  A little more expensive, but they'd be a great option for a busy schedule. A link to their menu is in the sidebar or visit
    • Also Signature Suppers, located in the Boulevard Commons across from Smith's, has specially prepared meals for pick-up or delivery.  Check out their menu at
    Other restaurants can customize your orders to fit the HCG protocol as well.  Just be sure that they are not using any oils, butters, or marinade in the preparation.  Ask for vegetables to be steamed and bring your own Walden Farms dressing or use vinegar and lemon on salads.  Don't be shy about asking for a custom order. I have found people to be very helpful and a lot of times the server has recognized that I am on the HCG diet and it leads to a great conversation as well.  
    Good Luck! Be sure to share any tips you have learned or new places you've found in the Comments section! 

    Saturday, August 29, 2009

    Tips for Spicing Up the P2 Diet

    When I first heard about the 500 calorie diet, my first thought was that I can eat that in 2 spoonfuls of my Cold Stone Creamery Peanut Butter Cup Perfection with chocolate dipped waffle cone!!! (Yum, btw.) It was a surprise to me that I could actually handle the VLCD with little to no hunger while on the shots.  I admit, again, that I was hungry (and grumpy) the first few days, even with my Phase 1 binge, but I soon adjusted and handled the diet just fine.  

    A couple things I learned to make this phase a little easier:

    • You will need a good digital scale that measures in ounces.  Accurate measurement can make the difference between frustration and success. 
    • No anti-stick cooking sprays allowed on this diet.  The best way to keep your food from sticking is to de-glaze your pans with a bit of water while cooking.  It also keeps the meat tender and moist, and with steak, it makes a yummy gravy like sauce too!  
    • Invest in spices, but check the contents. Some spices also contain sugar which is a no-no.  Vinegar, garlic, salt, pepper, ginger, onion powder, basil, oregano, and many others work great!
    • There is a line of products called Walden Farms which is allowed on this diet.  They contain no calories, no carbohydrates, no sugar, no gluten, but they are pretty tasty and a little goes a long way.  I really like the BBQ sauce, the Raspberry Vinaigrette, and the Asian dressing.  They also have jams, chocolate sauce, caramel sauce, marshmallow cream, and peanut butter.  I have a link to the Walden Farms website in the sidebar or you can click here. Many health food stores also carry this line.  Harmon's food stores also carry a fairly complete line of Walden Farms products.  
    • I found several good recipe websites which I have also posted in the sidebar.  Be sure that the recipes are for the phase you are in though. Some of the sites I found did not differentiate between Phase 2 and Phase 3 recipes, but you can tell by the ingredient list. If it includes items that are not allowed in Phase 2, don't try it or save it for later. I will also be posting my favorite recipes.
    • Grissini bread sticks and Melba Toast are optional as snacks or for use in recipes.  I never enjoyed them as snacks but you can crumble them up to make coatings for chicken or to add some crunch to a salad. 
    If you have any great ideas, or tips on making the diet easier, please leave a comment.  Remember, phase 2 is when your brain is relearning how to process fat in your body.  You are making changes now that will ensure your future success!  Be strong and stick to it!  

    Friday, August 28, 2009

    Phase Two of the HCG Diet

    Phase Two is the Very Low Calorie Diet phase, also referred to as VLCD.  During the VLCD phase, you are limited in the foods you can eat.  I thought this would be super hard, but I was surprised to find that it was only moderately hard.  In fact, I really liked the structured lack of choices.  I knew what I was going to eat every day and exactly how no menu planning, or going back for seconds, or coping with the guilt of making the alfredo sauce with heavy cream instead of half and half.

    The basic daily diet is as follows:

    No Breakfast.
    Although, you can drink Crystal Light, or coffee/tea (2 T. of milk as creamer), or 2 cans of diet soda throughout the day.  I usually drink Crystal Light first thing, followed by 16 oz. of water.

    9am- Snack--Fruit options are: 1 apple, 1 orange, 6 Strawberries, or 1/2 grapefruit.
    To me, apples are the most filling and I stuck with them for the most part.

    12noon- Lunch--3.5 oz (100 grams) of protein, 3.5 oz (100 grams) of vegetable.
    Meat options include: lean steak, chicken breast, white fish such as tilapia, cod, haddock, halibut, also shrimp, lobster, crab.
    Veggie options include: cabbage, celery, onions, tomato, lettuce, broccolli, cauliflower, asparagus, spinach.
    Only one kind of veggie at a time--no mixed vegetables.

    3pm-Snack --Same as morning snack.

    6pm-Dinner--Same as Lunch.

    This can get kind of boring, I will admit.  In my next post, I will share some of the tricks I've learned for spicing things up a bit! The key to phase 2 is to STICK TO THE DIET!  There is nothing magical about the shots that help you to resist temptation, so it is up to you to stay strong.  The first 3 weeks are the most critical because this is the time that your brain is being reprogrammed to use the fat in your body for energy.  After the first 3 weeks, a mistake won't be quite as costly but it will set your weight loss back a few days.  This phase only lasts 40 days--you can do it!

    Phase One of the HCG Diet-My Favorite!

    The first phase of the HCG diet is your loading phase. I LOVED THIS PHASE! Two days of pure unadulterated indulgence. I had friends start this phase and they went out and got a shake on the second night. That was their BIG SPLURGE. Please don't waste this phase! If you ever wanted something fat and tasty and good, now is the time. Eat as many high fat/high calorie foods as you can during this 2-day loading phase. Pasta, doughnuts, ice cream, whatever. Nothing is off-limits during phase 1.

    The purpose of this is to make sure your body has extra fat stores to use while the HCG begins working. It takes up to 3 days for the HCG to kick in and begin to burn enough fat to supplement your 500 calorie diet.

    In other words, your body must have fat to burn while you begin the 500 calorie diet or you may get too hungry and give up on the diet altogether. Make sure you are following your doctor's recommendation for Phase 1.

    A Word About Cleansing: Some websites recommend a month-long cleansing period, which they also call Phase One of the HCG diet. I did not know about this until after I had completed one session and I do not think it is necessary to the success of the HCG diet. And it certainly doesn't sound like as much fun!

    My Before and After

    Here's the proof! It's hard for me to believe I am the same person!

    Posted by Picasa
    And I'm not done yet...check back for more updated photos soon!

    Why I love the HCG Diet!

    Let me introduce myself and tell you a little bit about why I've started this HCG Diet blog! My name is Tonya and I've become somewhat of an expert on the HCG diet. Not because I am a doctor or had any special training, but because I've used this diet plan and I've had GREAT success.

    Before I began the HCG diet, I weighed (deep breath as I'm about to divulge this deeply hidden secret) 320 lbs!!! Now, I grant you that I am tall (6'1"), and I carried the weight well or so I was told, but it was beginning to have very significant effects on my overall health and well-being. The final straw for me was when, not once, not even twice, but three times in my 38th year someone mistook me for my husband's mother! No offense to my actual mother-in-law, but talk about a major blow. That was it...I decided to take drastic measures. I looked into many different diet plans, I'd done Weight Watchers before with limited success, and even went to a Surgical Weight Loss Seminar, but the cost and the surgery itself put me right off.

    In my searching, I spoke with several of my acquaintances who were having great success with HCG...they looked amazing and had nothing but good to say about this diet. I did more research online and found Dr. Simeon's original HCG protocol and was surprised to find that it has been in use since 1945 throughout the world and I was intrigued. I also found plenty of controversy-but to my mind none of the arguments against HCG were very solid. I decided I would try it. I found a clinic that would give me a consultation and got started.

    Within the first two weeks, I had lost 16 lbs! And by the end of the first round of HCG shots (about 6 weeks later), I had dropped 35 lbs total. I entered the Grace period, knowing I would do another round at the end of summer, and during the initial 3 week phase 3 period I lost another 7 lbs. bringing my total to 42 lbs. Throughout the summer, I gradually returned to a pretty normal eating pattern (phase 4), albeit I was much more aware of portions and sweets, but I didn't gain a single pound back.

    As I write this post, I am just finishing my second round of HCG shots and I have lost another 28 pounds! That's a total of 70 lbs--from 320 to 250!!

    The HCG diet has given me my life back! For the first time in 15 years, I am seeing the real me in my reflection and I am so glad to be back! Because of my success and maybe my very vocal recommendations, I have been asked by many friends and family members about my experience....and so this blog is born.

    I am hoping that I can provide people who are thinking about this diet with the motivation, resources, and tips they need to reclaim their own lives and find success in weight loss. It's easier than you think, and it really works!