So the outcome of this could only have gone 2 ways- good or bad. I don’t think I’ll be spoiling the article to tell you I came home after being out of town an entire month weighing LESS than when I left. Now you’ll want to read on and find out how I did that! When I left I weighed about 125-126 lbs. When I came home I weighed 124.4, the morning following that I was 123.6. Woa. I’ve been back home for a little over 2 months now and I am consistently around 123-124lbs.
It’s been a little over 14 months since I finished my last round of the hCG protocol. My last personal update was at the 9 month mark off hCG – you can check out the things I was doing then to keep things in balance as well.
Why I Weigh Myself Frequently
Some might consider this overkill or an obsession that’s unhealthy. And for some, weighing every day could be that. But for me it’s like a flying instrument- it just helps me find my way- it’s a way for me to find out if what I’m doing day to day is working for me or not and allows me to make adjustments to the ensuing days if need be. As an instrument that tells me in one respect where I’m at I can then decide if I’m going to allow a possible indulgence the following day should the opportunity for something enjoyable come up, or if I am going to be be cutthroat and leave anything remotely sweet out for a few days.
It’s been over a year now since I finished my last round of hCG (1 year anniversary video coming soon!) – during that time I weighed most days. There were times when I skipped a few days, and times when I skipped a week here and there, but always I come back to it just to check in.
1 Month With No Scale
I had to go out of town for an entire month in November- the longest I’ve been away from home since I was like six. I could have brought my scale with me, and I could have purchased one at the local walmart at our destination.
I’d like to say there was something very purposeful in my going without the scale for 4 weeks, but there wasn’t.
Basically we had no room in our luggage and I was feeling too frugal to plunk down 30 bucks for something I already had back home.
I figured now was as good a time as any to test myself a bit and see what happened when I lost one of my main guidance instruments.
I knew I could always make a midnight run to Walmart if I got too antsy (word to the wise- NEVER weigh yourself at any other time than the mornings– you always way 2-4lbs more at night than you do first thing in the a.m.)
Factors That Were Different/Possibly Not Good During the No-Weigh Month
1. Ummm…. no scale! That just changes everything.
I had no number to help me decide if I was eating too much or too little from day to day. As much as I’d like to be able to say I eat perfectly to hunger at all times and never overeat or make a less than stellar food choice, I’m just too human to be that perfect. I DO eat too many carbs some days. I DO eat too food much some days. I keep watch of the scale in addition to how I feel usually and then make corrections (keep reading to learn about these) to compensate. Without the scale, making decisions about when I might possibly need to make a correction without the scale felt a little like I was blind.
2. Ate at restaurants a lot more.
At home, I rarely eat out. The calories and carbs in restaurant food are notoriously higher than homemade food AND who of us doesn’t end up eating stuff we didn’t plan on because “its there” and oh so tempting?
We probably ate at restaurants at least 3-4 times a week. We ate out at thai restaraunts several times during the month, where I ate their gluten-free Green Curry (which contains some sugar) and an entire side of white rice along with it, each time (once I find a meal I like I tend to stick with it). I also had some yummy spring rolls with their sweet dipping sauce. I tried an Italian place that had gluten free pasta (tasted like dog food- bummer- huge waste of carbs that could have been savoured deliciously on something else). I ate quite a bit of Whole Foods ready to go crab sushi. We went to a steakhouse type place where I got literally stuffed with a hamburger patty, green beans/carrots, salad, and huge baked potato. The food itself was quite healthy- but as I was stuffing down the last of the large baked potato and felt quite uncomfortable because I was so full I definitely wasn’t feeling too confident about how that might affect my waistline later.
I ate quite a few bags of potato chips. They became my yummy indulgence during the trip.
At a mexican restaurant towards the end of the trip, after being off corn for almost an entire month, a HUGE basket of corn tortilla chips was set in front of just me and my 4 year old son. HUGE. I had no intention of eating any, but in the end I ate at least half the basket, PLUS my steak fajitas with corn tortillas, refried beans and guacamole. As I was driving home feeling very uncomfortably full I thought to myself- wow that was SO NOT WORTH IT. Especially as I was considering the fact that I had intended to go to Crossfit that evening but because of timing missed it by a half hour so decided to go to dinner with my son instead. The awesome feeling I get after finishing Crossfit and the overly full YUCK feeling I had as I left the mexican place full of chips were feelings from different planets.
3. I was on antibiotics for 2 weeks.
Even being on antibiotics for this fairly brief period of time, I noticed a very perceptible difference not only in my digestion, but my cravings. It has been quite some time now since I’ve had actual cravings for sweets or sugary foods. After I got off the antibiotics I not only found myself feeling the need/desire to eat more, I found myself really craving sweets- like for instance, being at whole foods and having to will myself the entire shopping experience not to purchase some gluten free cookies or cupcakes. I have not had this experience in a LONG time- not since I was getting off my previous addiction to sugar almost a year and a half ago. I find this very difficult to deal with- cravings make the chances that you’ll be make good food choices a lot less likely- if it’s happening all day day for days on end, it’s basically impossible (read on to find out how I fix the cravings problem).
4. Not having as many productive things to do.
I am used to having a lot more things in my schedule to stay productive. Being out of town without my regular activities, having my son with me full time, while going through a medical treatment that made me feel quite fatigued at times made for a lot of down time. I ALWAYS find myself eating more when I don’t have enough to keep my brain satiated. I mean that. That’s why it was so easy to lose 6 lbs when I was working on my website redesign, because my brain was full. People are probably different, but for me if I don’t fill my brain with things that feel fulfilling and creative I seem to lose my contentment and somehow I start eating more to fill the gap, even though it doesn’t actually work. When I’m sewing, working on videos (for you guys!) or typing a simple blogpost, time flies by and I have no need to eat for hours. This is why I have never been a person who could enjoy lounging on the beach for vacation- my brain gets bored almost instantly and then I start reaching for the oreos.
Since I didn’t have as much to do to keep my brain busy I found myself snacking on fruit a lot more (several tangerines here, several persimmons there, etc.) Still not horrible I know- you’re probably thinking, sheesh! She’s getting worked up over a few tangerines!! Much better to overdose on whole fruits than tubs of ice-cream yes, but still, you can overdo it with anything. It has nothing to do with what the actual food is, it has more to do with my ability to control myself I guess and how that makes me feel.
5. Worse than usual days emotionally.
I’ve actually been quite proud of myself that during the past 2 years I’ve slowly learned not to rely nearly as much on food as a comforter when things are bad. I used to be an I’m-emotionally-upset-so-I’m-going-to-Safeway-just-t0-buy-a-huge-slice-of-chocolate-cake-to-eat-in-the-dark-in-my-car person. Which of course happened all the time because I was overweight, which often made me feel emotionally upset, and I was addicted to sugar and thus couldn’t control my eating, which also made me very upset. It doesn’t feel good to not have control over your own self.
While I’ve made great strides (the only actual sugar I ever consume now is what might be in a thai food dish and the only grain I’m eating is occasional rice), this particular trip had some difficult days since I was having a medical treatment for what I believe to be Lyme Disease. It really jerks your emotions around when you don’t know if you’re getting better or worse from one day to the next when what you most in the world is to GET BETTER. When I think about how much my son, my husband, my family, my friends, and my own happiness would benefit from me being WELL, the way I remember I was, it’s a dark place to be in to feel that perhaps nothing is working and you will continue to slide down this hill into complete incapableness.
So I did grapple with wanting to eat more, even though I was often already full and I DID eat more in general, than at home, as far as it seemed to me anyway.
Measures I Took to Counter Balance
– Intermittent Fasting.
I was brainwashed by the newsstand fitness magazines in the late ’90’s (and they might still do it today, I don’t read those mags anymore) to think that skipping meals is starving yourself and that you need to eat 5-6 small meals every day to lose and maintain weight or your metabolism will suck. Which if you think about it is a huge pain in the butt. It’s hard for me to imagine when people were out working on the prairie that they stopped every 2 hours to eat a small meal. You CAN do that if you want and it feels good, but I now see that’s not a necessity for good health for everyone.
Here’s how I came to this conclusion for myself. I came across a book some time ago called Eat Stop Eat by Brad Pilon, a fitness body builder dude with a degree in Applied Human Nutrition. His book opened my eyes to the truth about intermittent fasting- he cited so many studies and explained things logically and all of a sudden I felt so free! You’ll have to read his book if you want the details but in short, by taking a 18-24 hour fast, 1-2x’s a week, you create a calorie balance (or deficit) for the week, allowing you to more easily maintain your weight (or lose some!). This made SO much sense to me after thinking about it. My son’s pediatrician assured me not to worry when my son went through periods of eating very little- she told me rather than looking at what he ate day by day, look at what he’s eating overall over the period of a week or weeks- if that was balanced, then there was no need to worry about individual days. If this is okay for a growing boy, why not for a no longer growing 5’1″ adult woman? I’ve been intermittent fasting on and off for the past couple years now. There have been several months at a time were I haven’t done it at all, but anytime I’ve needed to make some weight corrections, it works for me superbly and I do mean sue-perb.
I actually look forward to fasting now. I feel clean, light, and have more energy than usual. It also makes me crave healthy food at the end of it too. I never finish a fast craving junk food. I’ll be craving a hearty healthy meal instead like grassfed steak and broccoli or something. Seriously, what sane person craves broccoli?? If you fast, you’ll see……
I do think that your body adjusts to fasting in the sense that it was probably a little harder for me at first than it is now. I think my body knows what to expect now so I find it quite easy and like I said, I actually look forward to it because I literally don’t have to think about food at all for the entire day- I can go about my business and focus on other things entirely, then have a lovely dinner that tastes way better than usual because my digestion has had a break.
I hope I don’t get any flack for mentioning this- obviously there are true eating disorders out there, and that is NOT what I’m talking about- eating disorders are a problem with the mind. So please don’t take this to mean I endorse any type of unhealthy view of eating and binge/starve type cycles.
– Low carb days
– Drank stevia soda (Zevia or Blue Sky brand) on occasion
– Started eating more organic rotisserie chicken from whole foods
This was a counter balance to getting away from some of the higher carbs I found myself eating.
Things I Do in Everyday Life Anyway That Help
Crossfit is just about everywhere now- even in Ecuador! (recent travel research project) I found one just 18 minutes from where I was staying and attended it 2-3x a week the entire month. It felt great and kept me going in my healthy way of living. And I believe the effects on metabolism and insulin sensitivity and thyroid health are different than just any old exercise.
– Cooked at home when able
– I don’t eat breakfast in general
You’ve read the articles and studies showing that people who don’t eat breakfast gain weight? When I was high school and smaller than I am now, I never ate breakfast- I got thin, fit, and could hike a 26 mile mountain in a day, and yet because of what I read, I kept thinking to myself “oh I better start eating breakfast soon or I’m going to gain weight!” Nevermind that I lost all my excess fat and maintained it easily by doing what I was doing which included skipping breakfast- I just didn’t feel hungry for it and my energy was perfectly fine without it.
It has been found now that the studies backing these pro-breakfast claims were actually misconstrued.
It’s not that I’m against breakfast- I do eat it on occasion- but I no longer feel in danger of ruining my metabolism or my body by not eating it. I’m back to having the best body and metabolism of my life, once again, and once again, I’m not eat breakfast. If something is working, why change it!
– I often don’t eat at all until 2pm
Not only do I not eat breakfast, I often don’t eat anything till 2pm- this is because I feel great working out fasted at crossfit, I often go to crossfit at noon, so by the time I get home it’s already close to 2pm before I’m ready to eat. But this pattern of eating is actually used by a number of fitness and body building enthusiasts, often referred to as a daily 14-18 hour fast, where you eat only in a 6-8 hour window each day.
– I eat heartily when I do eat
After reading the two above points you might start thinking that I just don’t eat that much, but that’s not the case at all. To give you an example, today I had my first meal of the day after I came home from crossfit at about 2pm. I had 1 large porkchop with all the fat on it and a rather large mess of green beans with butter and salt. Later I had a gluten free turkey club sandwich from a local shop I like. Then I had 3 persimmons and at least 5 clementines. Then another gluten free sandwich. None of these meals made me overly full- I felt just about right after eating this. I don’t how many calories it is- it’s a higher carb than usual day because of the rice bread in the 2 sandwiches- 6 pieces of bread total in fact, which I only do on occasion- but my guess is I ate maybe 2500 calories or so.
– I recently removed dairy, nuts, and corn from my diet (in addition to gluten which has been out for over 3 years now).
– There are certain boundaries I just don’t cross anymore.
Not all of you may have to get so strict as I had to.
I don’t eat ice-cream anymore PERIOD. I don’t eat cookies anymore PERIOD.
What I DO eat is my own concocted recipes that serve as my desserts and comfort foods now- here’s some of my favs:
- P3 Thai Lemongrass Smoothie Recipe
- P3 Carob Vanilla Bean Smoothie Recipe
- P4 Four Minute “ice-cream”
- P3 Kale Salad Recipe – okay it’s going to sound like I went off the DEEP end when I say this, but I actually do crave this frequently.
- P3 Mashed Cauliflower Recipe
When I do overeat or reach for what has become my “cheat” type food, the food is invariably a MUCH cleaner version of the original, meaning the damage that might be done is far less serious.
The reason I did this is that it’s actually EASIER for me to live my everyday life this way. I found it too difficult to try to eat only a couple of cookies. I’m certain I could maintain my weight while still having some cookies and ice-cream here and there. The problem is not normal amounts of sugar, for instance the way my husband eats his and stays around 185lbs for the majority of our 13 year marriage. It’s that I can’t eat normal amounts of sugar. A couple cookies invariably led to this voracious need and desire to eat an entire package and I’d spend the entire evening being miserable, trying not to give in. Once I removed these trigger foods from my life completely 100% the cravings for them completely went away and I don’t give them a second though at all anymore. While it sounds hards on the outside, it’s actually the easier choice.
Not everyone has this problem because I’ve discussed it with my husband and he says he doesn’t know the feeling I’m describing- he says he can eat one piece of pie and be done and move on. I have never had that sensation of being “done” with any baked good until the whole pie was gone etc. and I felt totally sick.
My “done” sensation meter got calibrated wrong somewhere down the line I guess and I think it’s genetic because I have one entire side of my family line who all died from diabetes or complications thereof.
If you are one of those like my husband, YAY for you! You can eat sweets in moderation after you finish the hCG Diet. If you are like me, you might be surprised to discover how EASY life is when you remove these foods completely from your life.
It really doesn’t matter what others do, or what you perceive as what others GET to do – DO FOOD in a way that you can most easily keep it in balance – even if that means people look at you weird because you are scarfing down 2 big bowls of kale salad while the rest of the group is eating Rocky Road.
Well, that sums it up! If you’re still with me, I’d love to hear what you have done successfully to keep things in balance during Phase 3 and Phase 4 while maintaining your weight loss from this protocol.
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- pep talks by yours truly
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