** Amber's Belly Fat Cure Shopping List - Download or Print HERE **

Friday, September 30, 2011

Is Fear Holding You Back?

Today I want to talk about fear and how it wiggles into our lives and encourages us to give up. For me, fear often shows up as stress. I'm stressed about this and stressed about that, but really I am afraid of those things. Did you know that often, the FEAR of something is more powerful and paralyzing than the ACTUALITY of the thing itself.  Fear is your subconscious wanting you to give up, the devil on your shoulder that says you're not good enough to succeed. You don't deserve more than this. Fear is the bully on the schoolyard of your mind. And if we let it, it can keep us from our true potential.

Do you avoid starting a diet, because you think you might fail? Why bother? Or don't try something new because you think you may look dumb trying? Do you not set new goals for yourself, because you already know you can't meet them?

Do you set your expectations of yourself (and those around you) low, so you won't be disappointed? Three years ago my News Years Resolution was to "Wear more jewelry" because I knew I could do that. The years' before resolutions of "Lose 20 lbs", well I knew I couldn't do that so why try again. But that year I proudly wore necklaces, bracelets and even a toe ring a few times and was proud I had stuck with it. Fear won that year, and I didn't even know it.

Do you not open a bill or listen to a voicemail, because you think it might be bad news? If you just don't hear or see it, it can't hurt you right? Do you avoid a person because you're are afraid of conflict? Or avoid letting people get too close, afraid they won't like the real you? Or call out other people's faults, before they have a chance to see yours?

Then fear, like Charlie Sheen on a bad day, is winning in your life.

I am struggling with fear right now, this very moment. Fear I've spread myself to thin, and let the people around me down. Fear I can't finish this race on Sunday and fear I can't manage my kids and household with my Husband on a long business trip. Fear that I don't look as good as that After photo.

So today I am recognizing that fear and calling it out by name. You don't own me. You're not going to control me. I CAN do these things, and I WILL do them well. I AM that women, no matter what the mirror or the scales say today. Move over fear, I'm about to pass you by...

You gotta love Stuart Smalley with his simple message about self acceptance. See, he listened to his own message and is a Senator now. A little humor always helps me in a tough situation and I hope if fear has a grip on you, that this helps you call it out too.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Crazy Lady on Aisle 5 - Sprouts Farmers Market

I spend a lot time shopping around for foods that are good on the Belly Fat Cure and Fast Track. Yesterday I was at Sprouts Farmers Market (located in California, Colorado, Texas and Arizona) and overheard this from two women shopping together:

"This is SO great! It doesn't have any calories, any fat, any carbs or sugar. It has NOTHING. It is so great! I don't know what it DOES have".

I immediately answered "It has sucralose, that's what it has".  Mind you, they weren't talking to me.

They turned and stared at me like who the hell is she with their mouths open. And one finally said "Oh, right sucralose... it does have that, but it's really good".  I scampered away to the next aisle, embarrassed that I couldn't hold my tongue and I'm sure they said "Who asked her anyways". And they were right, they weren't asking me.

Sprouts is a great source for hard to find specialty products including:
Nature's Hallow products, including jelly and syrups
Jay Robb protein powders and other stevia sweetened protein powders
Probiotics & other supplements
Clemmy's ice cream
Unsweetened almond, hemp, rice, coconut milks
Zevia, Hint water, Metromint, Activate
Coconut flakes and flour
Almond meal
Flax seed (ground, whole and oils)
Coconut oil and coconut water
Bulk nuts and grains
Many low carb breads and tortillas, including Ezekiel products

Remember these are not products the must have to do the Belly Fat Cure, they are not the mainstays of the diet for me. But they can be very difficult to find and a few are nice to have on hand. And if you run into a crazy lady reading labels on aisle 5, just wave and say "Hey!"... she means well.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Belly Fat Cure Fast Track Book

I finally found a copy of the Fast Track (Target $15), but only had it for a few days before I loaned it out to a friend! I will tell you honestly, I don't love my After photo. They had professionals to do the hair/makeup/photo, and everyone wants to put tons of eye makeup on me. But I can only be so critical of the small stuff, because you can't argue with the true difference in these photos! I used to get sad when I would see the old photos, but I am learning to feel proud. Proud that I took the steps to improve my health.

I wanted to share a little surprise I found in the back of Jorge's new book. I was read the book cover to cover and was so pleasantly surprised in the Acknowledgments section to find a very sweet shout out to ME! The funny thing about this is that when I very first started the BFC I was SO freaking excited about it I could not sleep one night. I was thinking to myself "I am going to be the best client Jorge Cruise has ever had!!" (Yes, I'm a total dork). Then I thought, so ridiculous, I only have 50 lbs to lose and he has people with hundreds to lose. Then I heard a voice in my head that said "Well then, I'll be the best client he has ever had with 50 lbs to lose!!" and (dork that I am) emphasized it with a fist pump in the air. This was my 3am epiphany... and here is how that paid off:

For me, that little blurp means the world! I was surprised that he would want to include my photo and story in the book to begin with (pg. 16-17 ya'll). And then really honored that he would put me on the back cover. Very cool. But this felt really personal and from the heart, and I really appreciate it. Just so you know, I am not buddies with Jorge (but I have met him a few times now). I am just a dieter who googled "low sugar diets" one day and realized his plan was what I was looking for.  I signed up for one of his online classes and later bought the book at B&N just like everyone else. There is nothing special about me or different (except the dork part), and I haven't received any help from Jorge or his team. If I can do this, YOU can do this. The idea that I might inspire someone else, like I had been inspired, is why I agreed to be in the book.

Me and the book
I have met so many other awesome dieters on this journey. Some leave comments on the blog or Facebook, others send me emails and we communicate that way. But a few I have been able to meet in person and we have become true friends. One of those is Anthony (pg.18 &19) and he has gone through an incredible transformation with his body. He is also an extra in the new series The Playboy Club on NBC, hangin' out in his skinny suit. If my measly 53 lbs doesn't inspire you, then read about Anthony's loss of over 200 lbs right HERE. He is also starring in a new production of Rocky Horror Picture Show in Chicago starting this Fall, so check it out if you are nearby!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Winner and Favorite Posts

And the winner of the Belly Fat Cure Fast Track Book is:
Which is Saira Noman! Congratulations Saira! Ithink the Fast Track will be perfect if you only have 25 lbs to lose. Please let us know how the plan works for you. You can send me an email at meandjorge@gmail.com and I'll get your book ordered on Amazon ASAP!

Thanks to everyone who entered! If you don't have a copy yet and still want one they are $15 at Target $12 at Costco and about $11 at Amazon. I have already loaned out my copy, or I'm holding my breath for a signed copy from Jorge ;-) I will be doing more Fast Track posts in the coming weeks and then after my big race on 10/2 I will be hosting a FT Challenge and would love for you all to join me!

Extensive Belly Fat Cure Shopping List. Go ahead, print it off an take it to the store! I've spent lots of time scouring the shelves to find products and foods that fit the plan. It includes many products from Jorge Cruise's book, but other products that are new or just not mentioned in the book.  If I missed something good,  please leave a comment to let me know!

A low carb diet where we get to eat bread? Yep, as long as it is the right bread! Best breads on the Belly Fat Cure is a post I point people to all the time, I hope you find it useful too. There are lots of breads that work on the plan, not just Ezekiel. (You can also check out the Best Crackers and Best Cereals on the BFC too!)

Cauliflower Crust Pizza, this pizza changed my Sunday nights (which is Pizza Night in my house). That's right, the crust is made of shredded cauliflower and it doesn't have any wheat. It's filling and yummy and perfect for the Fast Track. If you don't love it the first time you try it, try it again after awhile.

I truly believe that giving up the artificial sweeteners (aspartame, saccharin and sucralose/splenda) has been one the most important factors in getting and keeping my weight off. It was hard to do (in theory, but not actually in practice) and I had to be convinced to do it. Have you given them up yet? For some reason I still have the last few Coke Zeros sitting my garage refrigerator. (Here is a list of replacement sodas that use Stevia instead of all those chemicals)

And just in case you haven't fallen in love with Dark Chocolate, I have tried and reviewed nearly a zillion chocolates for you. I've tracked them down complete with S/C Value and Fiber counts. My favorite is still Ghirardelli 86% Midnight Reverie, but believe it or not I still have a few more to review. If you've found any chocolates that work on the plan that aren't on my list, please let me know! I won't rest until I've reviewed them all....

Thursday, September 15, 2011

What To Do When It's All Just Too Hard

Some days are hard, way more difficult than others. On those days you may find it SO difficult to stick with your diet. Just don't do what this sign says and "Panic and Give Up"!

Here are some of the things I do on those days that are just too hard, no matter what diet you follow:

Have a Treat - What is your favorite treat that is allowed on your diet? Have it! And then be done. For me that is dark chocolate (or a Zevia), and I used to beat myself up if I had more than the 4 squares allowed. But having another square or two is a lot better than just going off plan! My theory it is better to go over your sugar/carb count a bit than completely go off the diet. (As you can see HERE I have been dedicated to my Dark Chocolate research!)

Take a Bath - Light some candles and run a hot steamy bath. Pick out a book or magazine you've been wanting to read, but never have the time. Or a face mask or hair conditioner that you never sit still enough for. And soak. If you have Epsom Salts add them to the bath too.

Drink Some Water - While you may not feel instantly satisfied, it will help fill up your stomach. Add a squeeze of lemon or lime, add a slice of cucumber. Go ahead, have another glass...

Make Some Tea - Chocolate and vanillas teas have saved me many a night time snack. It warms you up on a cool night, fills the tummy and can taste yummy. Here are several of my favorite teas. Decaf coffee can do the same trick if tea isn't your thing.

Step Away - This is a double entendre! What I mean is to get away from the thing that is causing your stress. If it is your spouse or kids, then go in another room and close the door. Read a book or call a friend and vent. I also find I have a lot less stress in my life if I am not taking time to exercise. For me, exercise is running. I don't run fast, oh no, I am super slow. But I run and I don't mind running far. That time it takes me gives me a chance to clear my head and think through a dozen little things bothering me. I don't think I ever finish a run and feel mad.

Remind Yourself - Why are you on a diet anyways? It is not just to fit in those skinny jeans (although you KNOW that is going to feel great!). It is for your health and well being, mental and physical. You want to sleep better, feel happier and recognize that women in the mirror again (she is still in there). Remind yourself that.

Just Go To Bed - Really. You can't eat while you are asleep and things might feel and look better in the morning.

And my best advice if you do overeat on a bad day is to ignore that fact in the morning. Just move on. Don't think about it and beat yourself up. Just forgive and forget. Do not cut back your eating the next day or you will start a vicious cycle that will lead to you under eating and feeling unsatisfied. Just eat normal (according to your diet plan) the next day. Trust me on this!

I hope one of these tips help you get through a bad day without completely falling off the diet wagon. Do you have a tip or trick that gets you through a tough day? Please share!

Don't forget to enter the Belly Fat Cure Fast Track Book Giveaway HERE. I am still reading through my copy and it has some great stuff in it, even if are just doing the original BFC

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Giveaway: Belly Fat Cure Fast Track Book

I thought it would be really fun to do a giveaway for the new Belly Fat Cure Fast Track book! This book has been a long time in the making, or so it seems to me. I am really excited and completely honored to be featured in the book and hopefully inspire someone else.

There are some great previews of the plan via Jorge Cruise's website and Google Books, in case you want to learn more or just can't wait to get started. You can also check out all the posts I've written about the Fast Track over the last year HERE.

To Enter the Belly Fat Cure Fast Track Book Giveaway:
1. Leave a comment here on this post with your weight loss goals. 

For extra entries you can also:
2. LIKE my Facebook group - leave an extra comment here to let me know you did that. It is great way to communicate with other dieters.

3. Follow me on Twitter @meandjorge and send a tweet about the giveaway. Twitter is also a great way to connect with like minded people! Leave a comment here to let me know.

I will use Random.org to choose a winner on Monday morning Sept. 19th. The book will be shipped directly from Amazon to you at my expense.

I wanted to also share Jorge's video from the Yates family who talk about their experience on the Fast Track. They are also featured in the book and are a really cool family who all did it together!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Belly Fat Cure Fast Track Preview

Google Books has a HUGE preview of Jorge Cruise's Fast Track book available right now. Even if you think the Fast Track sounds too restrictive for you, I recommend reading it.  This book is different from the original Belly Fat Cure, in that it has tons of research and information behind the plan (where as the BFC was mostly meals ideas). It's more meaty ;-)

I was very hesitant to try the Fast Track, since when it was first presented to me I was having such success on the original Belly Fat Cure. If it ain't broke... But as I got closer to my goal weight my loss slowed down. I had been keeping my mind open to the ideas of the Fast Track and doing my own research on all this no grain, paleo, primal dieting.

So I did the Fast Track, to get off my last 10 lbs and then again during maintenance, and both times my weight flew off. Seriously! But personally I cannot maintain a no grain diet fulltime at this point in my life. Or I should say, I'm not willing to do a no grain diet 100% of the time. What I have done is incorporate so many things I learned from the Fast Track.  With the BFC I sought out grain products (breads, pita, tortillas, brown rice, etc) that are lowest in carbs, no sugar and have very high fiber. They were the main source of my fiber intake and help me get at least 25 grams of fiber per day. On the Fast Track you get your fiber from vegetables and non-grain sources, and it encourages you to have green veggies with every meal. Jorge Cruise says he developed this new take on the BFC to make the plan more simple. There is no counting (no S/C Values, no 15/6) and no hard to find products (bye, bye Zevia, Ezekiel and trips to Whole Foods). And the food plan is very simple, but the reasoning behind it will be difficult for many to accept initially. I encourage you to keep an open mind and look at grains in a different light. Carbs do not equal grains, and there are so many grain substitutes out there that I bet you never considered.

The book does get a few things wrong about me: I am 42 years old and am 5'4", so I'm shorter and older than it says! It also features my friend Anthony who has lost an incredible amount of weight following the Fast Track. The book is only $11 on Amazon right now, but check out the preview and see if it is a good fit for you. Google Books Previews change all the time, so check it out quickly before it is nolonger available.

ps. I understand Jorge Cruise will be offering an online course in October, not sure if it is Fast Track focused or not. But I will be doing the Fast Track again after my half marathon in early October. When I am running long distances (9 miles and up) I think I need some grain carbs so I'm waiting until after the race! If you would like to join me for a Fast Track Challenge, remember to check back 10/4. I promise it will be fun and you we will eat such great foods we won't miss those grains!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Catching Up

Fall is in the air here! Northern California seems to have an Indian Summer thing going on with foggy mornings, very hot afternoons and a slight chill in the evening. I have (probably foolishly) signed up for my 2nd Half Marathon. It is less than a month away, and I don't feel as ready as I did last time. But I'm going to up my miles and make sure I go running 3-4 times a week. I've even collared a friend into doing her first ever Half Marathon with me. Hopefully we will still be friends AFTER the race. I even ordered a new pair of running shoes since I had put more than 200 miles on my old ones. I'm counting the days until these beauties arrive.

The Fast Track Book is finally coming out! If you pre-ordered it from Amazon it should be arriving right around 9/13. This book is very exciting for me since I am featured in all my Before/After glory on the back cover. It is Jorge Cruise's follow up to the Belly Fat Cure and it really takes the plan to the next level. It has been more than a year since that photo shoot, but I know a lot of work went into the book and I know a learned so much about my body and food by being involved in this project. I'll talk more about the Fast Track next week and I'm going to do a giveaway for the book too! It is all about swapping out grains for proteins, green veggies, small amounts of fruit and nuts. I know a lot of you are experimenting with coconut flour and that is a great Fast Track swap! It will really make you rethink grains.

School has started for my boys again, but my little one seems to have discovered the Stay Home Sick Trick. Either that or he has some serious allergies. He also doesn't like his teacher yet, so I think that is more the problem. (I say yet because I am determined to change his mind on this!) But as I type, he is asleep in bed in the middle of the school day! With this new behavior I have learned to get done what I need to get done NOW. If I hesitate and think "I'll do it tomorrow, I have the whole day" sure enough I do not have tomorrow at all.

I've had a few people ask how maintenance is going, given that my weigh-in log hasn't been updated in ages. I don't weigh myself now, unless I notice a difference in my clothing. Right now my weight is up a little bit, 7 lbs to be exact. I'm totally good with that, because I see the behavior that has caused it. I am a binge eater, it is an addiction for me, and I struggle with it more sometimes than others. It is brought on by stress usually. There isn't a quick fix for it, but I understand it really well now. It disgusts me and upsets me greatly, but I understand it. I am so glad to have the tools to rein it back in.

I would love to do a Holiday Round Table, like I did HERE. It is a great way to share recipe and menu ideas that fit a low carb plan like the Belly Fat Cure or Paleo. If you are a blogger and would like to participate, please leave a comment or drop me an EMAIL. I swear it is a lot fun!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Product Review: Coconut Oil

I was first exposed to Coconut Oil nearly two years ago, but I've resisted trying it until recently. Jorge Cruise recommends it on the Belly Fat Cure as a good source of fat on a low carb diet. Many refer to it as a "magic oil" and claim that it makes you feel more full and satiated. It also contains a high percentage of lauric acid and has antibacterial properties that may help your digestive health and prevent things like the common cold.

The first time I tried coconut oil I spread it atop a sprouted flaxseed bread, as you would butter. I thought it was fabulous and it had a distinct creamy coconut flavor. I was having trouble figuring out how to get coconut everyday, until I came across a posting by Diabetes Warrior where he suggests adding it to your morning coffee. That sounds gross, but after a few days I gave it a try and now LOVE it! After a week of it, I don't really notice it You should choose an unrefined and organic coconut oil to get the most benefits. It can also be used in cooking, but check the packaging for temperature limitations. (Just a note on Diabetes Warrior, he has reversed his Type II Diabetes and lost 70 lbs and is insulin free! He challenged the conventional wisdom on his disease and weight loss and he is a SERIOUS Paleo dieter and I hope to do a Q&A with him soon.)

Still, the Vegan Husband is unwilling to use the Coconut Oil. I got him to try it and he said "Yuck" (really?) and then went on about the saturated fat. I'll keep working on him, but it has grown in popularity in Paleo and Primal diets and people are really starting to see it's benefits. Super Model Miranda Kerr also made recent news by naming coconut oil as her beauty secret. "Experts" were quick to jump all over that endorsement with pointing out its high calories (120 calories per tbs) and fat content. But we don't count calories or fat on a low carb diet and I'm not going to start now.

You will also hear more about Coconut Oil from with the Belly Fat Cure Fast Track plan, which is scheduled to be released in mid-September. If you are confused with all this talk about fat, then here is a short video where Jorge very quickly goes over fats and which oils to use. (* Sorry, it looks like Jorge has set many of his videos in his ASK JORGE on YouTube to PRIVATE. I'll leave the link, in case they set it back to public *)

I'm really looking forward to the addition of coconut oil in my diet. I am in maintenance mode of "dieting" now, but trust me when I say it is at least as difficult as the losing phases. Do you use coconut oil? Why or why not? I'm really curious how other dieters are using it, so please share!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Guest Blogger: Dawn's Daily Chocolate

Today I am SO excited to share with you one of my favorite Belly Fat Cure Blogs, Dawn's Daily Chocolate! Dawn has lots of fresh recipe ideas for the plan, all low in sugar and carbs, without the artificial sweeteners. I asked her to share one of her fabulous recipes that she has baked up. If you like to bake and like chocolate AND you want to stay true to Jorge Cruise's plan then you will totally thank me later for this! (I know, you're welcome already!) I hope you will check out her blog, stop by and say "Hi". She has some very inspirational photos posted this week that will get you moving on your own diet plan!


I love to bake! Seriously, I think the reason that I’ve never made it all the way to my weight goal before the Belly Fat Cure was because I would eventually *need* to bake something for a birthday or holiday. The beginning of school apparently counts, because as I look at my history of weight loss over the last 4 years there is a correlation.  September rolls around, and my weight loss makes an abrupt U-turn.

  It would be hard to control myself and eat just a little. I would eat a small sized piece at first of course, but the damage would be done. I would eat more the next day, and the next day, and before I knew it I’d be making a new treat to replace the old treat, and the diet would go away for a while. Before I knew it, January would come around, and I’d have gained back the 20 pounds I worked so hard to lose the previous year. This happened a good 4 times, probably more.

  At the beginning of this year, though, something changed. I started the Belly Fat Cure and changed my life.  I began to replace foods I used to eat with low sugar, lower carb alternatives. One day I got the dreaded hankering to do some baking. In particular, I wanted cookies! I went online and did some research, bought some coconut flour and erythritol, which is a sugar alcohol, averted another setback, and haven't looked back since!

  It has become a game for me – if I’m in the mood for ice cream, how can I make it Belly Good? If I’m in the mood for cookies, how can I make them low in sugar? Lower in Carbs? Yummy?
Without further ado, I give you:
Chocolate chunk cinnamon cookies

½ cup butter, softened

4 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract
5 packages truvia, plus 1 more divided (that’s 6)
75 grams coconut flour – I use a food scale to measure coconut flour. It’s about 5/8 c. Please see my post here about coconut flour.
1 T cinnamon, plus ¼ divided
½ bar Ghirardelli 86% chocolate, or other chocolate of your choosing

Cream butter and then mix in eggs, adding one at a time to incorporate the ingredients.  Add vanilla and 5 packages of truvia, beating well after each addition.

Weigh and sift coconut flour into egg mixture, beating in along with cinnamon. Make sure you scrape down the sides and incorporate everything!

Scoop onto baking sheet in small teaspoonfuls.  I use a Silpat and a Pampered Chef small scooper, but if you don’t have those things, parchment paper and teaspoons should work fine.
Pour one package of Truvia and a pinch of cinnamon on a plate and mix together. The dough will not flatten as it bakes, so you will use this to ‘flour’ your fingers for the next step: Flatten the cookie dough with your fingers. You will need to periodically dip your fingers in the cinnamon mix as you go. Use this opportunity to shape (gently)  the cookies into the round shapes you like. 

Take a half a bar of high quality dark chocolate, I used Ghirardelli's 86% Midnight Reverie. Cut each square in half diagonally, and the cut each half in half, until you get around 32 equal-ish pieces. Press each triangle into the top of a cookie!

Bake for 12 minutes or so, until edges are slightly brown, at 350 degrees. Remove to wire racks. If you have leftover cinnamon sugar, feel free to sprinkle on top of the hot chocolate spot. Makes 29 cookies.
The whole recipe has 10 grams sugar and 82 grams of carbohydrates.
A four cookie serving would have an S/C value of 1/1.

Enjoy, and don't forget to

Save room for chocolate!