HCG diet journey… finally losing that post-baby weight! (Part 1)

Have you ever struggled with your weightloss like me?  For some its a struggle of 75+ pounds, for others, the last 20 that just won’t come off is equally frustrating.  For new (or seasoned) mommas, the babyweight is always a daunting chore.  Well, you are in good company!  Welcome to my post-baby-weight weightloss journey on the hCG diet!!!  This entry and a few entries following with be carefully following my weightloss journey with the HCG diet.  First, I am not aiming to lose astronomical amounts of weight.  Only about 20-25 lbs.  After having my fourth son almost four years ago, I was lazy during breastfeeding and did not work to get the baby weight off, and have struggled ever since to get back down to my pre-baby size.  I have tried a number of different approaches, all healthy options, but I don’t think I was motivated enough to do something strict.  Finally, it dawned on me, I have been whining and complaining about this struggle for nearly four years now, and have given a half-effort to about six different methods, and have seen no sustained progress.  Enough is enough!!  There is no excuse for whining.  If I have a goal, I will find a way to reach it.  So, as I was shopping last week I came across some HCG drops on sale and thought, “Hmm, these are cheap, I’ll just buy them, research and see if it’s worth trying.”  I got home, opened them up and read the diet plan and was like, “hah!  yeah right!” and put them away.  But as I did research and came across friends who had had great success on this diet, I saw that doctors were giving it the thumbs up (in fact it was designed by a doctor), and the food prescribed in the diet is very healthy, I thought, “Well, maybe I could just buckle down and work hard and see some results.”  So, that’s what I did.  I bought the necessary food, prayed for grace ;), and jumped in a week ago.  And I have been so excited by my results!  So excited in fact, I thought I’d share on here with ya’ll in case any of you have found yourself in a similar frustrating situation.  First, let me give you an overview of the diet.  (If you’re looking for a good book to really understand it, this cookbook is excellent.  It explains the diet AND gives you recipes.  Two for one!)

 

Below are my BEFORE photos… Check out Part 2 to see my Week 1 results!  Keep reading to see a summary of the diet.  

 

Phase 1: Loading phase.  Two days.  

  • Take HCG drops three times per day before meals; don’t drink or eat within 15 minutes of taking the drops so as not to dilute them in your system.
  • This phase is two days of eating as much FATTY foods as possible.  These fat stores help your body more gracefully adapt to the next phase which is the Very Low Calorie Diet phase (VLCD).  I didn’t take this phase very seriously and wish I would have.  My first three days, especially the third were tough.  Plus, who doesn’t like an excuse to eat every fatty food you ever wanted?  No food is off limits.

Phase 2: Very Low Calorie Diet with weightloss. Day 3-40

  • Again, you will be taking the HCG drops three times daily, not within 15 minutes of water or food.
  • This phase of the diet focuses on putting your body into Ketosis state, which is where your body is living off your own fat stores.  You can lose 1-2 lbs of fat per DAY.
  • The calorie goal these days is to stay within 500 calories.
  • On these days you typically skip breakfast but spend the morning drinking herbal teas, black coffee or water.  At least 32 Oz of liquids is your goal.  It is good to go the way of decaffeinated drinks so you don’t get jittery.  Lunch and Dinner is created from the selected foods in the lists below.
  • No exercising for these days.  Activity should be kept to a gentle stroll.  You need all the calories you are taking in!

Foods For The HCG Diet Phase 2

This is a list of foods you can eat while doing Phase 2 of the HCG Diet.
Use this list as a quick reference when shopping and preparing meals.

VEGETABLES
– Any kind of lettuce, spinach, beet greens, chard, cabbage
– Any kind of onions
– Any kind of tomatoes
– Fennel
– Cucumber
– Radishes
– Celery
– Asparagus


PROTEINS
Your meats/poultry cannot be cooked on the bone. All meats should be trimmed of all fat (and skin)
– White Fish
– Lobster
– Crab
– Shrimp
– Extra Lean Beef (steak, 96% premium lean ground beef, pot roast)
– Chicken


FRUIT


– Apples
– Blue Berries, Blackberries or Strawberries
– Lemons


DRINK & OTHERS
– Herbal Tea
– Bottled Water
– Melba Toast
– Sugarless Gum
– Steevia (natural sweetener, any flavor)
– Braggs Liquid Amino (this is a soy sauce type of product)
– Mustard
– Apple Cider Vinegar
– Any natural herb or spice, salt and pepper, garlic

Vegetables Portion Calories
Asparagus 4 ounces 20
Beet Greens 1 cup 25
Broccoli 4 ounces 30
Brussel Sprouts 1 cup 50
Raw Cabbage 1 cup 25
Raw Cauliflower 1 cup 30
Celery 1 stalk 5
Collard Greens 1 cup 25
Cucumber 8″ 15
Dandelion 4 ounces 50
Endive/Escarole 1 cup 10
Green Beans 4 ounces 40
Raw Kale 1 cup 40
Leeks 1/2 cup 16
Lettuce 1 cup 15
Romaine Lettuce 4 ounces 25
Green Onions 6 small 25
Raw White Onions 4 ounces 40
Green Sweet Peppers 1 medium 20
Red Sweet Peppers 1medium 25
Radishes 4 small 8
Spinach 1 cup 10
Squash/Zucchini 1 cup 40
Tomato 1 medium 20
Turnips 1 cup 55
Turnip Greens 1 cup 45
Watercress 4 ounces 25

Fruit Portion Calories
Apple 1 medium 80
Grapefruit 1/2 40
Strawberries 1 cup 55
Black Berries 1 cup 62
Blue Berries 1 cup 83
Lemon 1 medium 17

Phase 3: Stabilization phase.  3 Weeks.  CRUCIAL TO YOUR SUCCESS!!

  • The first three days of this phase you keep eating the VLCD but withOUT HCG drops so that you can give your body time to get the hormone out of your body before introducing new foods.
  • On the fourth day you can begin introducing new foods SLOWLY back into your diet.  The reason for this is because your body has trained itself to such limited calories and types of foods that to go back to regular eating straight away would shock your system and put the weight right back on.
  • In this phase you bring your caloric intake up to 800-1000 calories, gradually working your way up to 1500 calories.
  • Go to this page for a detailed food list.  http://www.hcgdietdrops.com/hcg-phase-3-other-food-list.html
  • This phase is characterized by three daily habits:
    • you must weigh yourself every day
    • you must remain within 2 pounds of your last injection weight (over *OR* under) and,
    • you cannot eat sugars and starches (which is carbohydrates minus the fiber)
  • Exercise: You can re-introduce exercise in this phase.  Your goal should be 30min-1 hour 3-4 times per week.
  • For more details on this phase, go here.
  • For success tips and menu samples, go here.

Phase 4: Maintenance phase. The rest of your life!

  • This phase you can bring your calorie intake up to 1800-2000.
  • In phase 4 when your weight has become consistent and stable you will start to re-introduce sugars and starches back into your diet. Starting off slow is always good. Don’t go binging!
  • To maintain your weight, you will have learned a lot of healthy alternatives, so use them in this phase!
  • For the first three weeks you are watching very carefully and very slowly working sugars, like chocolate or bread, into your diet.  But do only one per day to see how your body responds.  As your body gets used to this foreign object and learns how to metabolize it, you can settle into a nice little routine.
  • Use your natural sugar subsitutes and develop a habit of having a splurge meal only once or twice a week.  Be careful still though, as you can rack up on calories if you’re not mindful of how much is going in.
  • Focus eating still on fruits vegetables and proteins, and let grains and sugars be the smaller portions of your meals.  Keep sugar in moderation.

Links to help: 

Phases 3 & 4:

So that’s the overview of the diet.  The first few days are the most challenging, but as your body adapts, it will become much easier.  Let your thinking about food change WITH the food, so that after you’re done, you don’t return to old habits.

Below are my BEFORE photos… Check out Part 2 to see my Week 1 results!

 

 

Advertisements

Homemade Sausage Egg Mcmuffins

image

Here is a favorite I have been utilizing a lot!  It is easy to make-ahead and have a quick breakfast for on-the-run mornings.  It has nearly half the calories of the macdonalds version!  It is a fabulous and sustaining meal with much less fat when you use the turkey meat varieties. 

Compare to macdonalds:  450 calories, 27 grams fat, 21 grams protein.
Homemade sausage/egg/cheese: 270 calories, 17 grams fat, 18.5 grams protein.

Here’s what you’l need:

Ingredients:
-sliced cheddar cheese (I use and calculated calories on Sargento’s thin sliced sharp cheddar cheese)
-eggs
-english muffins
– sausage patties (I used jimmy dean turkey)
-salt, pepper
-parchment/wax paper (optional)
-sandwich baggies (if making multiples)
-muffin pan (if making multiples)

1.  Toast your english muffin.  (If you’re doing a large amount of these to refridgerate for later, skip toasting. That should be done right before eating.)

2. Use a small pan and cook one egg, seasoning to taste.  For multiple sandwiches, spray a muffin tin (medium or large size) and drop one egg in each spot, break the yolk, salt and pepper, and bake for 15-20 min (or until done) at 375.

image

3.  Warm up your sausages the preferred method.  Most are already cooked and just need to be warmed.  I used the microwave for mine.  If refridgerating extra sandwiches for bulk prep, save the warming of the sausages since they are already cooked until right before eating.

image

image

4.  Get your cheese out of the fridge and prepare to assemble!  For one sandwich: lay out your toasted muffin, place in the egg, the cheese, the sausage, close it up and enjoy! 

image

*for multiple sandwiches: lay out your muffins all open in an orderly fashion.  Scoop an egg out of each spot in the muffin tin and lay it on the bread, top w cheese and a sausage patties.  Close them all up, wrap in wax paper if you prefer, and place in sandwich baggies, and store in the fridge.  (Note: if you should choose to freeze them, move to the fridge 24 hrs before you will be eating them so the egg can thaw.  A frozen egg warmed in the microwave ends up resembling a sponge full of water…its a mess.  It must not be frozen prior to eating.)

image

5. *if you made multiples:* Before eating: remove from baggie and wrapper, toast the bread, microwave the sausage/egg/cheese combo.  You can microwave the whole thing on the bread but I just prefer mine toasted.  (Sorry for the lack of pictures for making multiples, I wasn’t making that many this morning.)

And voila!!  Healthier and convenient sausage egg mcmuffins!

If you don’t like the sausage or its a tad on the pricier side for you, you can also use this turkey lunchmeat below (its sliced to look a lot like bologna) and its just as easy to use, with 30 fewer calories!!

image

Credit: got this idea from here: http://www.theyummylife.com/blog/2012/04/300/Make-Ahead%2C+Healthy+Egg+McMuffin+Copycats+–+a+grab-and-go+breakfast+with+reduced+calories+%26+fat

Healthy Homemade Cornbread mix

If I had a dollar for every time one of my kids complained about something I set out for a meal on the table, well, I’d be in Tahiti living it up.  🙂 So, when I decided to make cornbread a main dish for dinner for them tonight, and heard cheers all around, I knew this was something I needed to add to my “staples” in the kitchen… and somehow leave Jiffy’s crippling ways out of it.  (Don’t get me wrong, I love Jiffy, but I am so crippled when I don’t have some in the cabinet!)  So, I went on the hunt for cornbread mix I could make in bulk at home to have on hand.  This was harder than I thought since every recipe called for some sort of unhealthy lard-like substance.  Then I found this one, here, and decided to share it with all of you, with  a fun picture to make it all the more appealing.  🙂  I hope you enjoy the convenience and health of your own homemade cornbread mix!

Cornbread from Scratch

Homemade Cornbread Mix

¾ cup cornmeal
¾ cup all purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt

Mix all ingredients together. Store if needed.

When ready to use, mix in a separate bowl:

1 egg
¾ cup skim milk
2 tablespoons vegetable or Canola (healthier) oil

Add the wet ingredients to the cornmeal mix and stir until just incorporated.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Cook for 20-25 minutes if using a 8×8 baking dish, or 15-20 minutes for muffins, removing the muffins or bread from the oven when the center is no longer jiggly and the edges are slightly browned.

Serves 6

TIP: I like to also add, OR substitute applesauce for the oil.  Try it both ways, see how you like it.  For extra moist and less crumbly, use Canola oil AND applesauce.  I usually throw in about 1/4 to 1/3 cup of applesauce.  For a touch of sweetness, add a little honey (a couple Tablespoons) to the batter before you bake it.  Enjoy!!

No-bake energy bites!

So I found this recipe on pinterest and it has become my new favorite go-to snack when I am on the go!  I have adapted it a bit and that’s half the beauty of it, you can mix up the ingredients to your liking!  I can’t find the original recipe unfortunately, so you will just have to run with my adaptation.  🙂  its just as yummy, if not better, I promise. 🙂

image

Protein Energy Bites
Ingredients:
1 cup oats
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (my fave part!)
1/3 cup coconut flakes (unsweetened if you can find them)
1/2 cup flaxseed (or I use flaxseed meal)
1/3 cup sliced almonds (or plain sunflower seeds, shelled)
1/2 cup peanut butter (or try almond butter!)
1/3 cup honey
2 tsp vanilla extract

Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl, and set in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes.  If the mixture is too dry, add a little more honey or peanut butter.  If too wet, add more oats! 

image

image

After 30 minutes, take it out and roll (or squeeze in your palm) the mixture into bite size balls, and lay them out on a lined baking pan to freeze.  Set them in the freezer till they are hardened enough not to stick together (another 15 min or so) and then you can transfer them to your preferred sealed container to be stored in the fridge for up to a week; in the freezer they will last longer.

Now, after doing this a few times, I found that I like to keep mine stored in a ziploc in the freezer!  It makes the chocolate extra crunchy and they are just that much more refreshing when they are cold. 🙂  they are not too hard to bite thru and a couple friends of mine also commented on how much they liked them frozen.

**Extra ingredients to consider:
-use raisins and add cinnamon for a connamon raisin oatmeal cookie taste. 
-Try adding chia seeds to make them more filling! 
-In one batch I used shelled sunflower seeds and that was yummy too. 
-If you don’t prefer peanut butter, substitute almond butter
-also try: nutella (high in sugar though), craisins, butterscotch chips, white chocolate chips, chopped walnuts, other dried fruits, peruse your baking aisle and get creative!

image

Enjoy!  Eat 3 or 4 for a quick healthy breakfast on the go, an easy snack in the afternoon or even a healthy after school snack for the kids.  These babies are loaded with all the good fats, protein, healthy carbs and antioxidants you need for a health-conscious pick-me-up.  Ok, now go make some.  You can thank me later. 🙂

Decadent breakfast bagel

image

I made this for breakfast yesterday and it was soooo good! Here’s how: Directions: Blueberry whole grain bagel toasted Peanut butter spread on each half Sliced strawberry placed on top Sliced banana placed on top Drizzle lightly with honey Sprinkle lightly with cinnamon. …And eat!! Yumm! **Cinnamon curbs your appetite and is full of antioxidants! **Strawberries, also full of antioxidants and vitamins, help aid in weightloss and are rich in fiber. **Peanut butter is full of healthy fats which help to target the burning of belly fat. **Whole grain is always better for you than white more processed breads and are richer in fiber and nutritional value. Eat up!!

No bake Energy Bites

image

No Bake Energy Bites

So easy and delicious!  Loaded with protein, complex carbs, good fats, these things are a healthy energy boost waiting to happen, and so easy!

Ingredients:
-1 cup oatmeal (old fashioned oats is what I used)
-1 cup toasted coconut flakes (I put a cup of them out on a foil lined pan and put in the oven on broil for a few minutes till browned)
-1/2 cup chocolate chips
-1/2 cup peanut butter
-1/2 cup ground flaxseed
-1/3 cup honey
-1 tsp vanilla

If you are short a dry ingredient (like flaxseed, which I was) just substitute in another dry ingredient.  I did half oatmeal half choc chips.)

Try to keep the p.b. and honey accurate bc it will alter the flavor.

Refridgerate in a container for an hour and then hand press into balls.  I rolled some in powdered sugar to keep them from sticking to each other.

Makes 20 to 25 1-inch balls.

Strawberry, pineapple, vanilla smoothie!

My sons love to drink smoothies (as do I!), which is a healthy, easy, quick way to get them satisfied without having to rack my brain for a new idea!  So, a few minutes ago my middle son asked me for a “pink smoothie!” (he had tried a coffee chocolate one earlier this morning and didn’t care for it) so I looked through my freezer to see what I had on hand.  I threw it together, and it was sooooo yum, I thought I’d share the recipe! Enjoy!!

 

4 oz frozen pineapple juice (I save the juices  from when I open a can of pineapple and freeze them in small little 4 oz containers for smoothies, or whatever else I would find pineapple juice good for.  Not pineapple that’s canned in syrup, but only the stuff canned in 100% juice.  If you don’t have anything like this, which is likely, you can use a few ice cubes and double the frozen fruit, or incorporate frozen pineapple so you don’t lose the pineapple flavoring.)

-About 1/4 cup frozen strawberries. (here pictured, is a strawberry, mango, papaya mix.  I picked out the strawberries so it would be “pink”, as requested. 😉 )

-About 8 oz milk.  Use whatever you have, but I prefer to use my Smart Balance Lactose Free milk b/c its a little sweet, almost no fat per serving, and has more protein than regular milk too.

-about 1/4 cup Fat free vanilla yogurt.  I always keep this stuff on hand for smoothies, for dessert, and for baking.  Its awesome!

-If you want to sweeten it, use very little sugar, I used Stevia sweetener.  It doesn’t take much but a couple light sprinkles when you’re using Stevia!

-Lastly, this really enhances the flavor, throw in about 1 1/2 tsp to 1 TBS sugar free powdered vanilla coffee creamer!  Sounds weird, but boy does it amp up the flavor!  And if its sugar free, you’re cutting back on calories and sugar too.

Now, because I used the frozen juice, along with frozen fruit, the consistency was very thick, and with the milk to cream it up, it was nearly like pineapple strawberry ice-cream/milk shake.  My son sucked it down so fast!  The trick to making a smoothie healthier is simply to find healthier alternatives to more fattening items (like the yogurt, milk, or sugar).   This was the final outcome!

Sorry its not a better picture, or a fuller glass!  Levi sucked his smoothie down so fast, this was what Mommy got to enjoy and all I managed to snap a picture of. 🙂  Its very similar to a strawberry milkshake.  The cup is a little fogged from sitting in my freezer while I took pics of the ingredients… I didn’t want it to lose that awesome consistency!

 

Health Stats:

8 oz Smart balance milk: approx 110 calories, 0 fat, 10 grams protein

1/4 cup lowfat yogurt: 48 calories, 0 fat, 2.5 grams protein

1/2 cup pineapple juice: not exactly sure, say 45 calories, 0 fat, 0 protein, but natural sugars!

1/4 cup fruit: 15 calories, no fat, no protein

Stevia: no calories, no fat, no protein

French Vanilla flavor: 1 TBS: 30 calories, 2.5 g fat, 0 protein.

TOTAL: 12 oz smoothie: 248 calories, 2.5 g fat, 12.5 grams protein.  What a great snack!!

Other alterations: for more of a health boost, you could swap out the french vanilla flavoring for a splash of vanilla extract and cut out that fat, as well as, add a scoop of Vanilla protein powder to amp up your protein intake!