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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Weigh In: Week 52 and Holding

Who stays on a diet for a year? I've never heard of such a ludicrous thing. If a diet really worked, then you'd do it for a few months, lose all your weight and be done with it. Well, that's what I thought.... but now I know better. For a diet to really, actually work it has to be more than that. It has to become a lifestyle, a Way of Eating (WOE). 

So here I am at my 1 year mark on Jorge Cruise's Belly Fat Cure. I lost 53 lbs, from 196 to 143 lbs. I lost 9 inches off my waist. Went from a size 14/16 to 6/8 and XL/L to S/M. (I used to always be paranoid that I'd leave the house in a new pair of pants with the 14 14 14 14 14 14 tape still down the leg for the world to see.) I am wearing the same workout top in all my photos,it apparently has lots of stretch to it. But I went from XL running shorts to Medium and these are Small. 

I had to buy new everything; from underwear, bras, jeans, shorts, tops, sweaters, swimsuit, pajamas, coat. Everything single thing except socks! Turns out 50 lbs is quite a difference on 5'4" body. I didn't buy much clothing during the process, I had old size 12s in my closet from years ago to get me through the months that I needed them. But mostly I just held out and let my clothing get really really baggy. I wanted to buy better clothing this time around, not just junk. I knew size 8 was my goal weight so when I got there I went shopping! I'll admit at first it was fun, shopping for new  smaller clothes. But then is was a huge pain in the ass! But sometimes I would have to laugh in the dressing room, because I couldn't believe things fit. Honestly, I deserved that since I've cried in the dressing room more then once when I couldn't get things past my knees.

I haven't lost that much weight since the last time I posted pictures (Week 30), the last several months have just been maintenance. I feel like I have toned up quite a bit though and I have set a goal for myself to run a Half Marathon (Kaiser Permanente San Fransisco in February is looking good to me). A year ago I was walking 3 miles twice a week. Now I try to do between 9-18 miles a week and try to run most of it. As you can tell from the photos I've lost a lot of weight in my rear and I attribute some of that to the running. But I believe 80% of my weight loss is the diet. The running has just toned what I had left.

You can follow my weekly weigh-ins over the year (that eventually became monthly and then periodic weigh ins as I got to my goal) HERE. I never intended to post photos of myself... never. In fact my starting photo is after I've been on the plan for about 6 weeks and already lost quite a bit. But post photos, I did! They are embarrassing to see and I'm nost sure I'll leave them up here forever either. I have to say the photos help SO MUCH. Even tonight after taking these last photos, I look at them and can see the huge difference. I can't always see the difference just looking down at myself. So take photos of yourself regularly, we need that reminder. 

I followed the book 100% and did not deviate, make excuses, or come up with my own alternative plan. Some of the things I do and blog about I got from my 12 week class that I took with Jorge. It cost me $400, and I think I got my money's worth ;-) He periodically has these classes, but they are not always the same in duration, motivation, etc. I took from the class want I wanted, and that is a huge part of my success.

I want to say congratulations to my fellow BFC Classmates who I started this journey with and a handful of us stuck it out together. They have meant the world to me this year, and will be life long friends. Love you guys! Thanks for reading and commenting. This is just the beginning of our journey, not the end...


Monday, October 25, 2010

Product Review: 34 Degrees Crackers

34 Degrees Rosemary Crispbread, 4.5-Ounce Boxes (Pack of 6 )There are lots of good cracker toppings allowed on the Belly Fat Cure plan, but very little room left for the actual crackers themselves! 34 Degrees Crispbreads are the best crackers I have found for a low carb diet. They are super thin and perfect for loading up on great cheeses, spreads and dips or any party foods. Mostly I try to use sliced vegetables (zucchini or cucumbers) for these things, but these are a great option.

1 serving consists of 19 crackers for 25 grams carbs, 1 gram sugar and 1 gram fiber (servings size varies between the flavors).  34 Degree Crackers are available in a vareity of flavors including Whole Wheat, Lemon Zest, Rosemary, Cracker Pepper, Sesame and Natural. Rosemary is my favorite. I have found them at Whole Foods, Safeway and thankfully Amazon.


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Halloween Candy: A Fair Trade

We love Halloween in my family, but I don't like all the Halloween candy in our house. It isn't good for the kids and it is a temptation for me. I think the whole Candy Witch or Great Pumpkin idea is over the top: Put out your candy and it's replaced with a toy. My kids have enough toys and a birthday is just around the corner.

I read about an idea at Stephmodo, one of my favorite blogs, to trade candy for coupons. The coupon ideas were so sweet and family oriented I decided to do this myself! They are things that the kids love, but we never do enough of (a few are are just straight up bribes to get rid of the candy though). They don't all the candy, but most of it. I made most be a 5 candy trade and a couple 10 candies.

Our Coupons are:
1 Silly Bandz
Stay Up Late 30 Minutes
1 Hot Chocolate
In n Out For Dinner
Trip to the Yogurt Shop
Hot Tub Afternoon
Daddy Cleans the Playroom
1 Lunchables for School Lunch
Family Game Night with Popcorn
Family Movie Night - DVD & Popcorn
Mom Does Bedtime Reading
Mom Cleans Your Bedroom
School Lunch With Mom
Lunch at Dad's Work

Last year when I told the boys we would be doing this they were so excited. I was thinking through the ideas as I told them, and when I got to "Daddy will clean the playroom" they went crazy!! "Daddy!?!" The idea was ludicrous apparently. Mind you, Daddy was in Moscow at the moment and had no idea of this plan. So I knew it was a hit and I'd get all their candy in the end. Hahaha! (Daddy on the other hand, was not thrilled. But that coupon finally came out he did clean the playroom.)

I just thought this was a great way to sneak in quality family time AND get rid of your candy. I once overheard them plotting to give me only "bad candy" or try and trade empty wrappers, but over all it was a big success. 

Monday, October 18, 2010

Halloween on a Diet

Halloween officially kicks off the holiday season, making it even MORE difficult to stay on a diet. I wrote about getting through Halloween last year, when I had just started dieting. I was really determined to get through it without binge eating those tiny chocolate bars, and I made it through! Last year I didn't buy any candy to hand out and we spent the whole evening out with the kids Trick or Treating. I plan on doing that again. That solves problem #1 - Candy I Buy.

Last year I read about letting your kids trade candy for other things and my family ended up loving this idea. That solves problem #2 - Candy The Kids Get. I will write about it here later in the week, it is a really fun family-centered idea. I want to be just as determined this year to stay away from the candy as I was when I just started dieting. 85% Dark Chocolate Bars and Chocolate Teas will be the keys for me when a craving hits.

Most importantly, don't buy those bags of candy! Don't have them in your house. For me, that is key. If there really is no way to avoid them in the house, try one of these ideas:
  • Don't buy candy at all - spend the evening going house to house with your kids.
  • Buy candy you don't like or are allergic to .
  • Wait and buy it early evening on Halloween - the less time it is in the house, the less damage it can do.
  • Great alternative to candy this year was passing out Silly Bandz. This is such an excellent idea and your house would be more popular than then house with Full Size Snickers Bars! Amazon has a great deal on them, but Target, Walgreens, Walmart and everyone else carries them too. Best part is, you can't eat them!
  • Have a low sugar treat in the house you can eat when/if the cravings come.
This year we are planning on doing a Star Wars family theme. Yes, that's right... we all dress up! That is us two years ago. My costume is a twin flat sheet I sewed up for Princess Leia. I will have to take it in a bit this year and my hair is much shorter, so not sure how I'm going to do the buns. My youngest was Han Solo. He had a black wig and I taught him to say "I know" when I said "I love you".

How are you planning to survive Halloween on a low sugar plan?


Saturday, October 16, 2010

Food Addiction

I always enjoy reading Dr. Mark Hyman's articles at the Huffington Post. This week he wrote about American's addiction to food, and again I could really relate. The article Food Addiction: Could it Explain Why 70% of Americans Are Fat? even goes so far as to compare our obsession with high sugar and fat foods with serious drug addiction. Awhile back I called myself a Carboholic, only half tongue in cheek, but this article helps me understand the link even better.

In summary, it talks about how we overeat, even though the end results puts us on outs with society and causes self loathing. Multiple attempts to correct the behavior and frequent relapses are another common thread. It also says we develop a tolerance for sugar and need to increase the intake in order to get the same effects.  He also quotes a study that talks about the withdrawal symptoms from sugar, which all of us experienced the first week on the Belly Fat Cure. A quick read of Jorge Cruise's Facebook page any day and you will see a dozen newcomers complaining of headaches and dizziness. If you stick with it, they quickly go away. Much like the detoxifying affects drug addicts experience. But most shocking, it says brain imaging PET scans show sugar works on the brain the same as heroin.  It is an excellent read, but a little long. I hope you will check it out!

These are are few of the books quoted in the study. I'm putting these on my library list and hope they will help me better understand my body in weight loss maintenance:

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Product Review: Jennie's Macaroons Unsweetened Coconut

Jorge Cruise features Jennie's Coconut Macaroons in the Belly Fat Cure book. I found them to be a nice sweet little snack or dessert, even if you are not a macaroon fan. They are regular sized macaroons and very moist. They were sweeter than I expected, but no too sweet. The package comes with 10 macaroons, or 5 servings. They are a nice way to end a light meal, or have with a cup of tea. They are also perfect to serve at a party!

They are sweetened with Matlitol, which can upset some people's stomachs if you over eat. Maltitol is a Sugar Alcohol and considered a natural sweetener. They have 1gram Sugar/13grams Carbs/1gram Fiber for 2 macaroons for an S/C Value of 1/1. Almost all the Carbohydrates come from the Sugar Alcohol. They are also Lactose and Gluten Free. I loved the fact that they are made with only three ingredients: Unsweetened Sulfate Free coconut, maltitol, egg whites.

They also come in Chocolate and Carob flavors, which I have not tried or looked at the Nutrition Facts for, so I'm not sure if that are Belly Good.  I would put them right up there with the Joseph's Sugar Free Cookies, as great BFC snacks. They can be hard to find, but I got mine at CarbSmart, which also sells through Amazon. If you have found them at a retailer, please leave a comment and let us all know where.

Disclaimer: This product was provided to me free of charge. That in no way effected my opinions on this product.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Book Review: The F Factor Diet

The F-Factor Diet: Discover the Secret to Permanent Weight LossWhile I strictly follow the Belly Fat Cure by Jorge Cruise for my weight loss, sometimes I find holes in the plan. One big hole for me was FIBER, and the F-Factor Diet by Tanya Zuckerbrot was a big help. It is only $10 on Amazon and a good resource for anyone eating a low sugar/high fiber diet.

The F Factor Diet book is a great book, one where I gleaned several ideas that I used on my weight loss journey. The "F" stands for FIBER and I found it at exactly at the time I needed it. I used the book to find good low sugar/high fiber sources. I was introduced to the wonderful GG Crispbreads through her book and CarbSmart. She suggests using them everyday, and getting 45 grams of fiber or more. I'd have to have a delivery truck constantly backed up to my house to bring in all the GG Crispbreads I need on the F Factor Diet!

I also enjoy her website "Skinny in the City" where she has a guest blogger who is documenting her experience on the plan. I offered to do something very similar for Jorge when I started, but they didn't take me up on it ;-) But it is a real person, not Tanya herself, talking about her experiences and struggles on the plan. She also has lots of recipes and ideas there.

My one problem with her book is that she includes items with artificial sweeteners, like Sucralose and Aspartame, in many recipes. Honestly it is sometimes the only way to get recipes to be low in sugar, but I don't use them and feel very strongly about that. She allows more fruit than the BFC and doesn't give a specific number of carbs/sugar we can have. But it is a great supplement to any low sugar diet plan. I frequently read other diet books to glean new information and help me get over hurdles. You can check out a preview at Google Books to get an idea if fits into your plan too.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Weigh In: Month 11 and Maintenance

Aren't diets supposed to get easier? Isn't anything you do day after day, week after week, just supposed to become routine? I have to admit, I've had a pretty easy time of it for the last 11 months of weight loss. The plan I chose, Jorge Cruise's Belly Fat Cure, really clicked with me and I have been in the zone for almost a year. It isn't that my weight loss has stalled (which it has) or that I've gained a little back (3 lbs to be exact). It is that I expected this to be the easy part... I expected to coast by on maintenance.

Tanya Zuckerman's book The F Factor Diet talks a lot about how the Maintenance Phase of a diet is actually the toughest part. Maintaining your weight is more difficult than losing weight? Sounds crazy, right? But if you think about it, it could take a while to lose weight. Six months, a year or longer? That is a long time. But we have to maintain that weight FOR THE REST OF OUR LIVES. It also asks the question "How many times have you lost the weight?" For me, I've never lost all the weight before, but I've gotten half way there twice before this. Then she asks "How many times have you kept it off?" Well, none or else I wouldn't be reading this diet book.

Just yesterday picking up the Husband's granola, I saw a brand next to it that looked perfect for the BFC. I read the label, ingredients and decided to buy it. I even opened it in the car and ate a handful since I'd missed lunch. It was so good, I had a few more handfuls throughout the day amazed that it was low in sugar. I ever reread the ingredients. But the Husband took one look at the package and pointed out it had 10 sugars per 1/2 Cup, not the 5 I thought I had read. D'oh!

So where do I go from here? For now I am just chugging along, doing the Belly Fat Cure exactly as I did all along. Maybe I should start tracking again, maybe I should change things up a little. I think mostly I am feeling lots of stress right now that have nothing to do with my diet. When I am stressed I turn to food, and so that is the problem.

How do you handle maintenance and stress on a diet? I'd love your input!


Monday, October 4, 2010

Product Reivew: Virgil's Diet Black Cherry Cream Soda

Virgil's Diet Black Cherry Cream Soda - 4 per packBeing a former Coke Zero addict, I am always on the lookout for Soda's that are low in sugar/carbs and are made without artificial sweeteners. A BFC Buddy mentioned last year that their favorite Diet Virgil's was made with Stevia, but it has taken me months to locate some! I finally found it at a local gourmet grocery store, and thankfully Amazon.com has it too (of course)!

Up until now, if I haven't really loved a product, I tend to just not mention it. But I didn't love this stuff. It was actually TOO sweet for me, almost like cough syrup. I shared it with my BFC Buddy Dave and he agreed, too sweet. I decided to go ahead and review it, since it is a great option on the Belly Fat Cure, and different strokes for different folks. That could also just be a characteristic of Cream Sodas, which I'm not sure I've had before. I didn't hate it, I just didn't love it either. Transitioning from sugared and regular diet sodas is really difficult, I know that, so I wanted to introduce this product to my readers any way. If you are early in the transition off of sugar, you may like this one more. I would love you hear your option on Virgil's Diet Soda and where you found it!

Virgil's Diet Black Cherry Cream Soda has an unbeatable S/C Value of 0/0, with 0grams Sugar/2 grams Carbs. Those 2 grams of Carbs come from Sugar Alcohol Xylitol that is used to sweeten it, along with Stevia. It is marketed as a Supplement and has just a handful of ingredients in it. This soda is pretty pricey, I thought, but its good for a treat every now and then.