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Monday, January 31, 2011

Me and Jorge and Rachael Ray

About a year ago, I had just started the Belly Fat Cure and it was all beginning to click for me. I couldn't sleep one night, I was literally so excited about this plan, and I thought "I'm going to be the best client Jorge Cruise has ever had!" (I even punctuated it with a geeky fist pump in the air). Then I realized how silly it is, since there are so many people with more to lose, that my little goal is nothing. And then a little voice said "Well then I'll be the best client he has ever had that lost 50 pounds".  I think I put something out in the Universe that night which came into fruition this week...

A week ago I was flown to New York City for two days by the Rachael Ray Show to appear with Jorge on an upcoming episode (It's TODAY, Monday Jan. 31, 2011). I only told a few friends and my family about this before hand. I was very nervous and I needed to process it all. I wasn't quite ready to share it with the world yet. I kept thinking something would fall through and they'd call and say "Psych!".

Once I was at the studio the team made me feel so special and at ease. It really, as you can imagine, was a surreal experience. I expected to be in a waiting room, much like the dentist office, but instead they had a Green Room just for me with my name on the door! I mean, come on! They brought me a fruit tray, that I quickly ate all the berries off of and a tub of drinks. The room had a live feed of the studio where they were filming. I had full hair and makeup done (which you can clearly see which photos were taken before/after!) and Jorge was down the hall.  The producers and everyone on the show was so incredibly nice, helpful and just plain wonderful. They couldn't have treated me better if I was Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman (After Richard Gere takes her shopping and minus all the hooker stuff)

Jorge really hit it off with Rachael and the segment was really good I thought. He helps another dieter who has reached a plateau by going through her grocery cart. It was a cute idea! I am in the audience and they show a few before photos of me. Rachael asks me a couple of questions and I tell a little of my story. I was a nervous wreck before hand, but I feel really good about how it all worked out. I put my best face forward (or a borrowed face for the day) and said what I wanted to say.

Then I was literally whisked away to a waiting car and rushed to the airport. I was probably sitting on my plane exactly an hour after being in the studio!

Friday, January 28, 2011

More From Before

I realized while getting ready for the Rachael Ray Show that I don't really post many before and after photos on the blog. I have my Timeline photo, but that is pretty much it. Well, I had to dig through years of photos for the show so they could show a good before photo. That was such an experience! I felt so sad looking at the photos. I can remember how I felt in the those moments. Mostly I noticed how I am just absent from photos. Or if I am in a photo, I hide behind the Hubby or my kids. Positioning them strategically in front of me!

When I was asked to be on the Rachael Ray Show, I really thought about why I would do such a thing. What is my purpose for that and my intent. My intent is that a women who is overweight, feeling helpless or hopeless can relate to me and know there really is a solution. You can take back control of your life and weight, from wherever to disappeared to. You really can! It may not look like it now, but I was desperately unhappy for a time. And I was officially OBESE, not just overweight. So in the spirit of that, I wanted to share some before photos with you all. My weight in these photos is about 196 and I wore a size XL, 14-16. They were taken in the year leading up to starting the Belly Fat Cure.

Your solution may not be the same as mine. If it's not the Belly Fat Cure, maybe it's Weight Watchers, Atkins, Jenny Craig, Paleo or whatever.  But YOU can do this.

This is my AFTER photo taken last night. This was my alternate outfit for the show, in case my first choice was too dressy. I am now 143 lbs, size 8 jeans and Small shirt. I had to rebuy an entire wardrobe, because not even my underwear fit anymore. Notice a difference in my smile from all the BEFORE photos? That is real difference here... not sizes, weight and charts.

 Can you imagine what your AFTER photo is going to look like?!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Travel Food on the Belly Fat Cure

I am traveling this week for something that is so special, I'm hesitant to share it with the world quite yet. I'll share more once I get my head around it. But traveling on a diet is difficult, so I have packed up lunch for myself on the long flight. I find it a little harder to be out and about when I am grain-free like I am this month, so I am trying to be prepared.

Snack Pack:
Salame slices
Cheese sticks
Parmesan Crisps
Raw Pecans
Amazing Grass Wheatgrass packet - it mix with water on the plane

I am not going to stress over food on the trip, just do the best I can. I will also say that I have lost 6 lbs in Jorge's Belly Fat Cure Fast Track Class in these two weeks, so I am back to my goal weight. I am very surprised by the quick results, I was not expecting it to go so quickly. Let's just say, this has been a week of surprises for me!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Getting Rid of a Few Holiday Pounds

I am really enjoying the Fast Track Class! I'm surprised by that, but I feel a real dedication to keeping my weight off and to Jorge Cruise's evolution to the Belly Fat Cure. I don't really miss the grains, but sometimes have to rack my brain for what I can eat. I don't think about "Can I be grain-free forever?" I'm just thinking about this month. I lost 1.5 lbs the first week, my goal is 5 lbs for the month. There are lots of people reporting HUGE weight losses this first week in the class. I hope they keep it up, week after week.

So far I am keeping my food very simple. We have a bunch of recipes from the new book, but I haven't made any of them yet.

Fage Greek Yogurt or Straus Family Yogurt and a few Blackberries
Amazing Grass Shakes - I make them with Unsweetened Hemp Milk & chia seeds lately

Eggs - scrambled, quiched or over easy
Cheese - Cheddar, babybels or Laughing Cow wedge
Cottage Cheese - with a little flaxseed on top for fiber

Dinner: The last few days I have been having on of these
Cauliflower Crust Pizza - Forgot just how good this meal is!
Grilled Chicken and Zucchini

Snacks: I reach for one of these in between meals
Celery, often with Tzatiki (from Costco)
Raw Pecans

Sweet Reward: a few squares of 85% Dark Chocolate and a pot of tea. Sometimes I have more then the allotted amount I have to admit!

I was making dessert for my boys, when I was hit with a craving for pudding, of all things. I got to thinking how there are no approved puddings on BFC or FT, they are all loaded with sugar or artificial sweeteners. And then it struck me out of the clear blue that my Hubby, our household Vegan, sometimes brings home pudding made with an Avocado and cocoa powder! It also has banana and honey in it I think, but I bet I could substitute a few things to make it low sugar enough to fit the plan. If you think it sounds gross, I thought so too. Until I had my first one and licked the bowl clean! Look for that recipe in a few days!! I swear, eating a grain-free diet really makes me creative in the kitchen.

I was really happy to see a combo offering of Jorge's Belly Fat Cure books at a reasonable price (both books for less then $17). I mostly use the counter book to look up fruits and veggies. Or to look up foods I used to eat, and marvel at how much sugar they have. But it is good for a beginner or someone who likes details.

I have also heard the Fast Track book is just around the corner! It is currently still unavailable for pre-order on Amazon, but I will let you know when it is again.  My 1/2 Marathon is just a few weeks away too! SO excited about it! I have upped my training, as scheduled (I follow Hal Higdon's Intermediate training advice) and am running just over 20 miles a week. Crazy, but I enjoy it.... okay not every single minute of it... but it is a real sign of the changes in my life over the last year!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Straus Family Yogurt

I usually have a bowl of high fiber cereal for breakfast on the Belly Fat Cure. But this month I am grain-free on Jorge Cruise's Fast Track plan. Fage Greek Yogurt is great, but I found Straus Family Creamery European Style Yogurt fits the plan really well too. This yogurt is more like a drinking yogurt, because it is very thin. Or like the ones I've had in Europe that come in a milk cartoon. It is incredibly tart and has no sweetness to the taste at all. I add a few blueberries or blackberries to it to help round it out.

As an added bonus, it is loaded with probiotics such as L. acidophilus, L. bulgaricus, S. thermophilus and bifidus. Probiotics as crucial to a good diet and I am always looking for ways to get it in my foods and not just in pill form. They put the "good bugs" back into your digestive system, which are so important.

The serving size is 1 Cup and has 7 grams Sugar/14 grams Carbohydrates. I divide it in half and have a 1/2 Cup for breakfast to get an S/C Value of 4/1. If you are feeling adventurous or getting bored with your normal breakfast or snack, give it a try! Remember most brands of yogurt are loaded with either sugar or artificial sweeteners. Be sure and check the INGREDIENTS for the following items that you should completely avoid: Aspartame, sucralose/splenda, saccharin.

This particular brand may be difficult to find outside of California, but if you check your dairy section you may find a similar product. You can also special order it from Diamond Organics HERE.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Belly Fat Cure Fast Track Class Day 5

I am on Day 5 of being Grain Free. That means no pasta, breads, rice, or fiber supplements like Benefiber. In other words, it leaves quite a bit out of your diet. When I tell friends I'm grain-free the first thing they ask is "then what DO you eat?"  So here is what I eat on Jorge Cruise's Fast Track:

Coffee with Heavy Cream
1/2 Fage Greek Yogurt
Blueberries (handful)

Snack:  I usually have one of these as a snack in the afternoon or evening
Iced tea or hot tea with 2 squares dark chocolate
Celery plain or with 0 sugar Taziki (its a Greek yogurt based dip)
Sliced Salami

Lunch: This sounds like breakfast, but I cant stomach this kind of food too early in the day
Eggs (sometimes egg salad, sometimes over easy with cheese)
Bacon or sausage patty
OR some type of lunchmeat with cheese, sauerkraut & pickle
Spinach salad or sauted spinach, or celery

Grilled Fish, Chicken or Tofu* (see below)
Sauted asparagus or zuchinni or other green veggie

*My household is a little complex with food now days, so I don't cook red meat much. The Hubby is Vegan, and while he doesn't care what I eat, I just try and simplify.

A few important things to note about the Fast Track and how it differs from regular Belly Fat Cure:
1. Eat loads of green vegetables, fill up on them. They are where you get your fiber and nutrients
2. There is no counting anything and very little measuring. Its KISS - Keep it simple stupid.
3. No grains of any kind
4. There is next to no talk of sugar alcohols on Fast Track. I think is smart, they can really impede on weight loss and I thought it was a mistake to include them so liberally in the BFC. (IMHO)

Surprisingly, or not, Jorge has added more fruit to the program. But actually they are a tiny amounts that I'm sure are 5grams or less of sugar a serving. So technically they were really allowed before. You can have 1/3 of a banana, for example.

Jorge has invested in a new website for the class, which is far superior to anything he has had before. Each member has a profile where others can get to know us and a great community dashboard. I have noticed the tone and attitude of the group is extremely positive and up beat. The setup really encourages lots of chatter among the members. So much chatter, that I can't even keep up with it! But that sense of community will really help with people's success.

Jorge has a short video every day for us. Mostly they are tips, tricks or product recommendations. His team is pretty active on the community answering questions, and several people have had calls from his staff this week. Jorge has a new look too! Gone is the Blue American Apparel t-shirt that we always see him in, and I say good riddance ;-)

So, I am feeling great 5 days into no Grains! It is certainly easier this time than it was last time. I really struggled with breakfast last time and ended up skipping it a lot. But not this time. I don't know if I could/would give up grains forever, but a month or so is a good start. I do not feel deprived (although I longingly walked down the cereal isle and found a one that fit the BFC...) or hungry really, but I do feel like I am being VERY strict with my food intake.

I'm very excited Gary Taubes new book is out! I just put this on my library list and will review it once I'm done. Jorge frequently references Gary's research on his diet plan. It is said to be sort of a condensed version of Good Calories, Bad Calories.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Product Review: Blue Sky Free

Blue Sky Free Rootbeer, 12-Ounce Cans (Pack of 24)I only discovered that the Belly Fat Cure didn't allow traditional Diet Soda after I had signed up for an expensive class with Jorge Cruise in 2009. I was shocked! Doesn't he know they are the staple of every dieter?! Doesn't he know they are our saving grace?! Apparently, he does know and he thinks they are part of the problem. And after giving them up myself, I have to wholeheartedly agree. (But seriously in that moment, I almost quit right then and there when he told us that. I actually told my Hubby "I don't think I can do this" and I may have cried.... over soda...)

I was introduced to Blue Sky Free sodas from a good friend that is also on the Belly Fat Cure. She pointed out that they were just as good as Zevia, but less expensive.  It is sweetened with Stevia and Erythritol. Erythritol is a sugar alcohol and is considered a natural sweetener. It is the source of of the carbohydrates in the cola. Turns out Blue Sky is a product from Hansen's which claims the product is 100% natural. If you are just starting the program, they take a little getting used too. If you have been on low sugar/no artificial sweeteners for awhile you will find them too sweet and need to cut them with sparkling water.

These sodas are not "free" on the BFC and need to be counted along with all other foods. I have found that I can't have one a day, if I do I don't lose weight that week. So if you are having any of these drinks and have stalled on weight loss, step back and take a look at how much you are having. I have them as a special treat, just on occasion. That means about once a month nowadays, but in the beginning when I was weaning myself from sugar and artificial sweeteners I had them much more often. Each flavor varies a little bit on their count but most have 0 gram Sugar and 11 grams Carbs for an S/C Value of 0/1. They are also allowed on the Fast Track program, but in a much more limited quantity.

Blue Sky Free sodas are available at Whole Foods, Sprouts, Sunflower Market, Vitamin Cottage and similar health foods stores, and of course on Amazon. Find it where you live HERE. It comes in several different flavors: Root Beer, Cola, Lemon-Line, Cherry Vanilla Cream and Jamaican Ginger Ale (the only one I haven't tried). Make sure you pick the Blue Sky FREE, with out the FREE at the end it's a totally different product.

For more drinks there are allowed on Jorge's Belly Fat Cure and Fast Track plans click HERE!


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Belly Fat Cure Fast Track Class

Jorge Cruise is offering a 4 week Belly Fat Cure Fast Track Class that starts next week. He does a few of these online classes each year and that is how I first came across his program. When I first heard about this class, I didn't think much of it, except to wonder if any of my readers might be doing it. His Client Success booklet that you can download from his site mentions my weight loss story and my blog. After seeing that, I realized I wanted to participate in the class too! Sounds kind of weird, right? I mean, I know the program pretty well and am at my goal weight now (minus a few holiday lbs). But I thought it would be a great way to kick off 2011 and remind myself of all the basics.

Maintenance turns out to be really tough and I can use all the help I can get! Right now I am training for my first 1/2 Marathon with 1 month left to go. I think all that running is really helping me to maintain my weight loss. But I also think that I am adding more muscle in my thighs. I have let a few things sneak back in over the holidays and I am less strict with myself then I was before. For example, I had a Chocolate Martini for New Years Eve even, which is something I never do (should have just had a glass of champagne!).

Here is what I hope to get out of the Fast Track class:
  • Reminder of the basics, what foods are allowed on the Fast Track and which aren't
  • Interact with others struggling with their weight and sugar addiction
  • Get back to getting my fiber from green vegetables instead of from grains
  • Get more Fast Track/grain free recipes ideas
  • I weighed this morning and I am up 5 lbs from my low, so I am hoping to drop those during the 4 weeks
Are you signing up for the class too? More info can be found here, and I'd love to hear with anyone else considering it! It is $197 for the 4 weeks and starts January 10th, so make sure that is workable with your budget. You can download the Client Success guide here. It also features my friend Anthony's wonderful story (Jorge actually met him through my blog!) and Jessica.

The Belly Fat Cure Fast Track book itself has been delayed. I don't know the details of that except that we should expect it closer to the end of the year. Currently you cannot even pre-order it on Amazon anymore! You can read more about the Fast Track HERE.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Product Review: Fage and Greek Yogurts

Fage Total Greek Yogurt, (500g) 17.6ozWho would have ever guessed yogurt is high in sugar? After all, it is the staple of many well known diets. Well it is high in sugar, or if it isn't then it is made with artificial sweeteners such as Splenda/sucralose, aspartame, saccharin. Jorge Cruise recommends switching to a Greek Yogurt called Fage on his Belly Fat Cure plan because it is the lowest in sugar and stays within his S/C Value guidelines.

Fage is just one brand of Greek Yogurt, but it is the one specifically recommended by Jorge. Most Greek Yogurts I have found (Pavel, Oikos, Greek Gods, etc.) about the same low sugar count as Fage.  What is the difference in regular yogurt and Greek Yogurts? Greek Yogurts are thicker, more tart, and less sweet. The whey has been drained from Greek Yogurts, making them less runny. I had been a fan of Greek Yogurt long before I went Low Sugar, and I already enjoyed the taste. But it may be hard to switch for some used to regular yogurt.

Fage has an S/C Value of 5/1, so how does that compare to regular yogurts? I was shocked to find that the brands we are most familiar with have between 16-30 grams of sugar per serving. I was aggravated at this, since I had always thought yogurt was a great snack on a diet. I used to substitute non-fat yogurt for sour cream at home when I cooked Mexican meals. I thought that was a better "diet" choice, but I was wrong!

Jorge has several different recipes that use Greek Yogurt in the book and I have tried a few and they are delicious. But I found that my package of Fage usually went bad before I could finish it and it is pretty pricey. When I want yogurt, this is what I buy. But I would not say it is a staple of mine on the Belly Fat Cure.

Have you tried Fage and other Greek Yogurts? What did you think?