Hello lovely hCGers. This interview is part of what is now a plethora of weight loss success stories with real everyday women (and men! There’s a few dude interviews in there) who have used either hCG injections or drops with the hCG diet protocol to lose between 20 and 150 lbs. You can see the current episodes available here.
Stephanie was an operating nurse, teaches nursing, and has even worked in the bariatric field of nursing. She saw and was very aware of the complications that can occur with bariatric surgery like gastric bypass. When the tables turned and she was pondering bypass surgery herself, her friend who was a nurse practioner responsible for follow up care of bariatric patients suggested she compare the pros and cons of surgery vs. the hCG protocol. This woman was helping patients who AFTER weight loss surgery, where having issues losing weight, with hCG.
You will get to hear about her 3 rounds of hCG as well as her fitness program – Crossfit! Ahh….a woman after my own heart. :)- We all know I could talk about that all day.
Age: 45 years old
Starting weight: 256 lbs
Current weight: 186 lbs
Total weight loss so far with hCG: 70 lbs
Clothing size change: Size 22 to Size 12 currently.
- Round 1: 40 days
- Round 2: 30 days
- Round 3: 30 days
These rounds were done between September 2013 and August 2014 – of course she wasn’t on hCG the majority of that year- just those 30-40 days at a time.
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Rayzel: Hey guys! hCGchica! Guess what? We’re on Episode 21 now of the hCG Diet Interviews. I have Stephanie with me today. She’s lost 70 pounds so far with the hCG Protocol and we have a lot of interesting stuff to talk about. One is she as a medical background in nursing and she’s actually been a part of seeing bariatric surgery and stuff like that so we get to ask her some questions today, just comparisons because some people have considered weight loss surgery but then they happen to hear about hCG so we can kind of hear her feedback on the 2 options today. So welcome. Thanks for being with me.
Stephanie: Thank you. Thank you so much.
Rayzel: I’m excited to have you. So give us just a few little basic stats like your age and height and all that stuff.
Stephanie: Okay. I am 44. I’ll actually be 45 years old this coming September. I am 5’6’’ and my current weight is 186.
Rayzel: Okay. 186. And what weight did you start at?
Stephanie: I started at 256 pounds.
Rayzel: So how does that weight loss there, that 70 pounds, how does that translate as far as your clothing size change?
Stephanie: I think that’s been the most dramatic. I’ve gone from a size 22 down to a size 12 now.
Rayzel: Wow. That’s so amazing. That is awesome.
Stephanie: It’s huge.
Rayzel: Yeah that is huge. So tell me how many, with the 70 pounds, how many rounds have you done so far to lose that?
Stephanie: I have done 3 pounds. I started at the end of last September. I have done 3 rounds currently as of August 2014.
Rayzel: Cool. That’s really neat so basically from September to now, which of course you haven’t been on hCG the whole time you’ve lost 70 pounds.
Stephanie: Yes, it’s been amazing.
Rayzel: Was it 40 day type rounds? That 3 rounds?
Stephanie: The first round was the longest round that I did and I did do 40 days my first round but my 2 subsequent rounds have been 30 days each.
Rayzel: Oh cool. Great. That’s a really good accomplishment then. Maybe you could tell me about the low point that you had reached before you started the hCG protocol?
Stephanie: I think it started almost a year prior to when I decided to do hCG. I had gone to Walt Disney World with my daughter and I remember trying to squeeze in to the airline seat and the entire time, of course you walk hundreds and hundreds of miles while you’re there and my knees hurt, my back hurt the whole time that we were at Walt Disney World and the same thing of trying to squeeze in to the seat for my rides and I’m 45 but I also have a 5 year old and a 13 year old. So really the low point was thinking about my future with them, quality as a parent can I be, and how active I could remain as a parent.
Rayzel: It’s interesting you mentioned that too cause I think that’s actually one of the things that kind of makes a lot of woman, myself as well, start to think that we have to make a change. I remember when my eating habits ad gotten so bad for a while and my son, he was like 9 months old, so he’d be in his car seat and I’d go to Target and I’d buy this whole package of cookies and I’d be eating them in my car and it’s like he’d be like “Eh, eh”. I’d given him one or two cookies and I knew that was good enough for him for now but I was thinking to myself in another year or two, he’s gonna be aware of what’s going on. He’s gonna want to be eating like me and I was like I can’t teach that to him.
Stephanie: I know. My 5-year old daughter always sits next to me at the dinner table and now that I’m eating very, very healthy, she’s so happy to be eating whatever I’m eating and so even my son had picked up good habits as well. They use to see me go for seconds and even thirds at the dinner table and I think about that now, I don’t want those habits passed on. On top of that, as a nurse, and teaching nursing in the clinical setting, I take students in variety of hospitals every week and I see our population of overweight, Type II diabetes and hypertension are skyrocketing. It’s through the roof. So I knew it was just a matter of 1 or 2 more pounds. God had been gracious that I knew at any time I was gonna cross over and I was gonna be hypertensive and I was gonna have Type II diabetes. It was inevitable.
Rayzel: Yeah, just like that clock ticking. You knew where it was headed if you kept up. I remember thinking the same thing when I would just be eating a lot of sugar and I had a blood sugar meter and I would check my blood sugar after I had consumed a huge amount of sugar and it was like 140 something, way too high for me. It scared me because I couldn’t seem to stop myself though but I knew where it was leading. My whole family, the whole side on my mom’s dad’s side, they all have died from complications of diabetes. They’ve all had it. So I was like I have to make a change. And like you said, I love now that pretty much all my son knows is healthy eating. We don’t have junk food in the house. He gets treats now and then but it’s pretty much set.
Stephanie: It’s a fun healthy treat that he has no idea if it doesn’t have a cup of sugar in it so then it’s still fantastic.
Rayzel: Well you know since you mentioned with your nursing background, why don’t we talk about that now? Tell me like what you’re background is and then what you’ve seen as far as those different type of weight loss surgeries.
Stephanie: My background is as an [upper?] I teach nursing now in a university setting in a Baccalaureate program. I’m working on my doctorates. But my background has been actually as an operating room nurse. I’ve worked everything from general surgery to open heart surgery and one of the first hospitals that I worked at actually did bariatric surgery. Not only did I see the bariatric surgery but I saw the complications that went along with some forms of bariatric surgery. Let me [inaudible] this up by saying you can have- anything can go wrong with any type of surgery but I would like to [purpose?] this by saying I considered bariatric surgery. I was to the point in my weight loss journey before I found out about hCG, I didn’t care about the side effects. I didn’t care about the complications that can occur with a gastric roux-en-y. You’re going in and you’re having major abdominal surgery let’s just keep it simple as that. So anytime you have major abdominal surgery you can have bad things that can happen. You can have adhesions in your bowels. You can have bleeding. But long-term and what we have seen in nursing and in nursing care is the side effects from the bariatric. Some forms, but not all forms, but some forms of bariatric surgery have led to low mineral levels which have a whole another side effect and side effects eating side effects. So when we talk about bariatric surgery, most forms not every form but it’s permanent. You’re thinking about doing a permanent change in your body that is not irreversible for most forms of bariatric surgery. So when we have the option now of hCG to get such dramatic results and not temporary results but permanent result. I think that you owe it to yourself to always investigate both sides.
Rayzel: I agree with that because like you said with the surgery is not being irreversible. In certain cases you may need to consider it but that is the nice thing about hCG is that may work for you and you will still be able to eat a normal amount of food when you’re done. It’s a big difference.
Stephanie: Another portion of looking at bariatric surgery and the permanence of it, I actually do hCG under the guidance of a good friend of mine who is a nurse practicioner and an RN first assist and she actually worked hand in hand with a general surgeon and did many, many bariatric surgery and then ahs been responsible for follow up care. Well her role now is she is helping this people that have had a permanent weight loss surgery who still cannot lose all of their weight and so what is she helping them with? hCG.
Rayzel: There you go.
Stephanie: Yes. And so it would benefit you to investigate both side before you ever decided to do something as dramatic as bariatric surgery.
Rayzel: Yeah I agree with that. As far as you know with the background and everything that you’ve seen, what types of medical conditions do you think would basically go away if people could lose weight from being overweight.
Stephanie: Type II diabetes, hypertension, you can see dramatic reduction in hypertension with losing 10 pounds and so what we’re talking about it really is, especially when you think about what we talked about, and I’m sure you have some recorded issues in the first rounds. The first round is always significant. It’s always an amazing round. You have a lot of weight to lose. You have a lot of fat to lose and so you’re looking at 20 to 30 pound weight loss. That can reduce your hypertension dramatically. Almost, not every person, and of course you have to follow the advice of your physician but you may very well be able to come off of your hypertensive medication if you lost 20-30 pounds. Depending on what type of weight loss you need, you can definitely see and the same if you’re Type II diabetic and need to lose weight that you could actually get your body back into where it can self-regulate.
Rayzel: That’s so amazing too. There are so many side effects with taking medications as well, aside from the actual condition. So it’s kind of compound so if you can eventually get away from that, you know.
Stephanie: Oh, absolutely, you owe it to your body definitely to try to lose the weight to get off of the medications if those are the reasons that you’re in medication is because you’re obese then by all means. The side effects alone from your blood pressure medication can be constipation. You can actually develop low blood pressure, standing and rising, based on the medication. So any times that we can get our body in back into being able to self-regulate, we owe it to our bodies to try.
Rayzel: So tell me now with your personal experience with losing this 70 pounds, how has that changed things for you, like how you were feeling then and how you feel now?
Stephanie: Oh my gosh, I had gotten to the point where I didn’t want to get off of the couch. I was literally exhausted. I teach nursing as I said and I’m very active with that but I’ve also had a passion of riding horses my whole life and it had gotten to the point where I just couldn’t advance any further in my riding because I have gotten so heavy and my knees had started to hurt and my ankles were swelling all the time. I was just carrying a lot of—because of the excess weight I was carrying a lot of excess fluid all the time and so my knees hurt and my back hurt. I hadn’t wanted to move. Now that I’ve lost 70 pounds after the first round I started boxing and kick boxing. I needed to add activity back at the end. So I got that weight off and I thought I could do this. I started working out and I started feeling great. Through my 2nd round of hCG I did boxing and kick-boxing and then at the end of this 3rd round I started doing CrossFit. And that’s 2 months ago.
Stephanie: Yey! Go CrossFit!
Rayzel: I can’t stop talking about that. Everyone knows.
Stephanie: So love it. I have worked out through my last 2 rounds. I did boxing and kickboxing 5 days a week on my 2nd round and on my 3rd round I was still doing the boxing and kickboxing and then I looked over to doing CrossFit and I’ve done that 4-6 times a week and I did that through my last round.
Rayzel: Wow. So that’s pretty significant. Maybe we can delve into that a little bit more because I get that question a lot like can I exercise on hCG or not and what I’ve found is it really varies from person to person. I could not handle it but in your case you were actually doing quite a bit of exercise while on hCG. So tell me when you did that how did you experience the rest of the diet while you’re doing that? Did you eat more than 500 calories? How is your weight loss? Can you explain that?
Stephanie: My weight loss through the 2nd round was still very significant, I think, I might have had, maybe we all go through stalls when we have it but I don’t think I ever saw a significant stall from working out. Being a woman, I think I had a more associated weight stall of course during menstruation. Right before you start your period is basically when you would see that time for weight stall but I didn’t really see that with the hCG. If anything I increased my protein a little bit. I might have gone up to 130-140 grams of protein at a time. If I felt really down, for me, I get by with using Jay Robb whey protein. I might have that in the morning if I was feeling a little bit low [inaudible]
Rayzel: So you have a shake of the Jay Robb, would that be like a 3rd protein then?
Stephanie: That would be a 3rd protein for the day.
Rayzel: Good. That’s what I often suggest to people who do want to keep trying to exercise through hCG is something like that, like adding a 3rd protein or something or so.
Stephanie: I think with the hCG and with the exercise like you said, I know you’ve talked about in several times is You have to listen to your own body and you know when you’re kind of exhausted and you’ve pushed it a little bit too far then you just step back a little bit. But I think at least get up and start walking. Don’t just do the hCG, next the time get into your 2nd rounds. It’s time to get up and start moving.
Rayzel: Yeah. It’s true on different rounds, like some rounds I felt very fatigued but other rounds I actually felt pretty good. I had good energy and at those times I could do stuff like that. At least do walking and stuff. That’s good. So overall when you did the exercise your energy overall was fairly consistent. You felt okay.
Stephanie: I felt okay. I never felt really, really bad ever. I think I I feel really good actually I have always felt great during the hCG rounds. I slept good and I’ve felt really good.
Rayzel: It’s interesting to hear people report various things of how they feel on hCG. Some people feel great, other people feel like, “I feel like I’m pregnant again and I feel like irritable” so it’s kind of interesting. So how long have you been crossfitting now?
Stephanie: 2 months. 2 solid months of crossfiting
Rayzel: So I want to hear a little bit more about CrossFit now. When you started- I know it’s only been 2 months but have you seen any improvements from start to now yet?
Stephanie: I have a same dramatic improvement, range of motion. You don’t even realize the range of motion that we lose in our everyday life of just living and what you don’t do anymore. And when you see a little toddler squat with their knees apart and their bottom down, you’re like, you don’t think anything about it until you try to do it. Then you’re like “I can’t do this.” So the range of motion, the strength that I’ve gain, my overall fitness level has increased dramatically. I look at some of the people in my gym and of course I’m like “Oh my gosh, I’m never gonna be there”. But I also look at the fact that I did a 135 pound deadlift this week and I started out at 55 pounds 2 months ago. So I see dramatic improvement with strength, flexibility, range of motion, and overall cardio level because of course there is- every day is different too when you go in to do CrossFit so you never know what you’re gonna find on the board. The support in there that you can get especially if you’re on a weight loss journey and we find it so, so, so intimidating being overweight and trying to even contemplate working out again that I believe most of the CrossFit gyms, the Box, has a very, very supportive environment. I have gotten nothing but support and encouragement. I’m usually the last kid on the block finished in my gym. Occasionally not but I get cheered on all the time and I get dramatic support so I don’t know, I’m a huge CrossFit fan. I see doing it for life. I love it.
Rayzel: That’s cool and I’m glad to hear you say that too because sometimes people do, like you said, feel intimidated so it’s good to hear you say that you feel supported in there because that’s really what I’ve observed as well. Some people feel like they have to wait till they’re thin to work out at CrossFit. Cause there are a lot of really fit people on CrossFit. When I go there, there’s a lot of really muscular, amazing like athlete looking people. So you feel like, “do you I have to be like that or am I gonna feel weird?” But actually there is a whole other set of people that are just regular everyday people who are still losing weight. Who is still might be overweight. And I feel like I see the same thing that they are supported. The other day, she’s trying to lose weight, she’s been coming, she’s probably in her mid-50s and with burpees like things like that sometimes you have to modify and that’s totally okay. Nobody makes you feel like a loser. She has joint issues and so she has to kind of be on her knees but, like you said, she was finishing last but she went til the end and it’s like the trainer guy who’s this young fit guy, he did it with her, with her like at her pace to finish- to support her.
Stephanie: I can’t tell you how many times like out on some of the longer runs where there is a young high school cross country girl. She’s come back out finished hers and come back out and run my running with me. I can’t tell you how many times that has happened that somebody has stuck it out and they’re always like “You can do this” and “You can finish”. There were some movements at first where he gave me a piece of PCV pipe just to learn the movement and occasionally I’m still stuck with the bar and learning proper form and movement and granted my weight hasn’t moved up with that but I just can’t beat CrossFit, you can’t, hands down for overall fitness not just one piece. One other thing my body loves CrossFit. I have already developing muscle. I always wanted to be that skinny girl. I always saw all this skinny girls, I wanna be skinny. I look at the CrossFit girls and I’m like, my family laughs, my husband he’s super supportive and my mom, my dad are like “You want muscle?” I was like, “Yes I want muscle like that”.
Rayzel: It’s true; it changes your perception right? I thought the same thing. I used to always look at the fitness magazines which have very thin people in the front and some people do have that body type. I don’t really have that body type. I’m sure I’m stockier and I agree I used to be actually very thin and I still felt I was fat because I still didn’t look like those models. Now, those women there like I think at first I would have though “Ooh, they look a little muscular” but now I think it’s very attractive because you know what that muscle can do. The guys think it’s cool too. So I feel so confident in my body now like I feel like I love how I look and yeah it just change my perception of myself and my body which is just so healthy for my body image.
Stephanie: Yes. I’m the same way. I’m like my lower legs have never been beautiful and so I started doing the CrossFit and I was like “Wow! I’m already laying down muscle on the inside of my leg where I’ve never had muscle and on the outside of my leg. I’m like my body does really does love this, for me, for my shape, for my body type. It’s gonna change me dramatically. I can’t wait to even see a year from now.
Rayzel: One more question then I’ll move on. I can talk about CrossFit all day. Do you feel safe there when it comes to cause you know I tell people there’s heavy weight lifting that is involved, some people thinks CrossFit is extreme, so do you feel safe? Do you feel like they’re teaching you proper form? What are your thoughts on that?
Stephanie: Absolutely. Actually the place that I go is called- I guess it’s fine to say the name of it- I know they don’t care. It’s Forfeit. It’s owned also by people that owned a physical therapy and so it’s owned by physical therapist. My CrossFit gym is very, very attuned to proper form and so I’m supported 120% when it comes to proper form and taking care of myself. You know there comes a time too where you had to know your own limits but you also have to know how to push yourself. I think for somebody that’s been overweight and out of shape. You get both in a good CrossFit gym. You’re gonna be pushed. Every day I think you’re pushed out of your comfort zone when it comes to fitness at CrossFit, when you’re new to it because you’re like “I started late today, I was tired when I went to the gym today and I looked at the board today and I thought Hmmm, I don’t know if I can do that today.” I thought that to myself and then I thought hmm, well okay I felt this way one other time but we got through it and I did it. So you have that support there and I think nobody should be intimidated. Go try a CrossFit gym. And don’t just try one because every gym is gonna feel a little bit different. You’re gonna find one that feels like home when you walked in. But I haven’t seen anybody walk into our gym that wasn’t just embraced and part of the team.
Rayzel: That’s cool. Thanks for sharing all that. Let’s move one. When it came to Phase 3 how did stabilizing go? You’ve had a couple of Phase 3 now. Three Phase 3s now. How did those go?
Stephanie: Yes. They’ve gone great. I’ve pretty much followed protocol for me and added things back in very, very slow but after my first Phase 3 I pretty much kept my 2nd and 3rd Phase 3 the same and so for me I, the end of my Phase 3 the first time. I realized I had a gluten sensitivity and so my weight became unstable every time I would have something with gluten so I ended up taking gluten completely out of my diet and my weight stabilized. For me I kept a little bit of dairy in my diet and so it took probably about at the 10th to 15 day mark I’ve been able to have a little bit of cheese. I’ve had a little bit of sour cream and yogurt and I’ve done fine with. But then I stick mainly just to the proteins and my go-to vegetables of broccoli, cauliflower. Cauliflower is my go-to vegetable now for mashed potato, casseroles or whatever I’m eating. I use a lot of bison. I used bison in P2 and so bison just increases in P3 as well as my chicken. I do some pork tenderloin in Phase 3 and my weight has stabilized every time with no problems but I am very, very careful and try to go very, very slow. That is the hardest thing and that is the best advice I can give is be patient. It’s not that you’re hungry “hungry”, you’re just hungry for taste of other food but be patient and it’ll come.
Rayzel: So when you say going slow do you mean both calories and food groups in Phase 3. Gradually adding both or?
Stephanie: I think just food groups? I have increased my calories dramatically in that 1st week and not had any problem with it. It take some effort I think to get in 1600 calories that 1st week. You’re just not that hungry. So I track, I used Loseit.com, that’s how I track my food and then the other cool thing about that if you track your food like that, you have that to-go-back to [inaudible] phase and so you can go back to those months and still look at those days and look at your food. It keeps a record of your food that you enter, it keeps a- it’s right there and so easy.
Rayzel: So now you mentioned that with the dairy you added that in sometime around day 10 or 15 of P3 is that right? So when you would start P3 what are the main food groups you were eating at that point?
Stephanie: Okay. I stick to my vegetables and my protein.
Rayzel: So it was just vegetables –
Stephanie: The vegetables, protein and adding coconut oil in everything.
Rayzel: Okay, gotcha, cool. Were you eating any like nuts or fruit or no?
Stephanie: I have. Almonds have been a go-to for me and I’ve never had any problem with them and so there’s a couple of brands of even chocolate infused almonds. It’s just dark chocolate and they’re just infused with that. Those are kind of my go-to snack.
Rayzel: Do you remember what brand those were?
Stephanie: I do, well, Sprouts in your whole foods will carry some on their both section. They’re [inaudible] to get. I just can’t remember the name of the nut, kind of, one of the major nut producer made really good ones as well.
Rayzel: So you leave those tricks for like a treat or something.
Stephanie: Absolutely. When I want something. Another thing I add back in at that time, I think I had told you about that they are packed with virgin coconut oil, it’s by Hail Merry, it’s little chocolate macaroon and very healthy packed with lots of coconut oil and I eat those. Those are my go-to snacks too.
Rayzel: Are those P3 friendly?
Those have been P3 friendly for me. I have not any problem with those.
Rayzel: What is these sweetened with?
Stephanie: I wait till probably at the 15th day, the end of my 2nd week for those but then I easily add those back in.
Rayzel: It sounds like you’re very strict the 1st week and a half, two weeks of P3 where it’s like meat and veggies and then you started adding in a little dairy or like you said you add coconut oil and then you started adding in a little bit of—
Stephanie: And eggs, I also add back in avocado usually that first day. I usually do eggs and avocado for breakfast and so I add those back in and had no problem with those.
Rayzel: And so in doing all of that your weight has stabilized within a couple of few pounds of your LDW, is that how it went?
Stephanie: Yes. I have stabilized this time it’s so funny, you’re already cool in CrossFitting and stabilizing was perfect 100% timing. Because I did stabilize about 3-4 pounds over where I ended up at but I was CrossFitting and so I was like, “I will not panic, I will not do another steak day, I will be okay” and so it’s remained very, very stable from that point. But this last time after the CrossFit, it peaked just a little bit and I went back and read that article and I thought “Okay, CrossFitting and those go together.”
Rayzel: Yeah, it’s so true. It’s like that’s the whole purpose of it, so it takes such space on your body weighs something. It’s funny how we can end up fighting ourselves sometimes because of the number on the scale but-
Stephanie: I think- I don’t know if it’s the words at in your asking questions but so I started out by the book as far as my body fat percentage or my BMI. I never had it tested when I started but I went back in I looked at BMI and our weight and so I had started somewhere in the area of 39-41 for a BMI and then I did the DEXA testing at the end of this round and I think I told you 29% body fat which is amazing.
Rayzel: It is. That’s fantastic. For anyone else who’s not aware of what a DEXA scan is, it’s basically the most accurate way you can have your body fat tested outside of being dead and you know. It’s cool, so it’s like this thing I had a couple done before. It scans your whole body, usually they’re actually is to check your bone density but now they can use them to check your body fat and it will actually tell you how much fat you have everywhere eon your body like your right arm, your left arm, left side, it’s really interesting. One thing I have found is that since I’ve done a lot of Hydrostatic Body Fat Test too, I found that the DEXA scan is higher, like I would get a higher result as far as the body fat percent and I know mentioned this too-
Stephanie: That’s good news for me.
Rayzel: Yeah. I mentioned that too because it was actually a few percent higher so it’s actually very possible that your body fat percent is 27% according to like hydrostatic so kind of interesting. But of course DEXA’s more accurate. It’s just that as far as the way the industry on line compares they use the hydro more as the way for comparison. But yeah that’s great 29%, that’s doing great.
Stephanie: I think I’m gonna do another round probably in October. I will have been off from like the middle of June, of course to start off the 4th round and so in the September first of October I’m gonna do my 4th round and I’m gonna do the DEXA again right before I do that, with the CrossFitting and I’m gonna continue to CrossFit through that round as well.
Rayzel: Good. I hope it goes good. Can you tell me how you’re eating habits have changed from then to now? How’s that different?
Stephanie: Absolutely. That’s probably been the most dramatic change. I used to be hungry all the time and so I will drive through the drive-thru and it will be nothing for me to order hamburger, 2 orders of fries and eat that or to eat fast food anytime I was hungry and since I did my 1st round of hCG I don’t eat fast food at all, anymore. I don’t drink any Coke, I don’t drink any soda, I don’t do any of the additives anymore in my water even except for a natural oil that we’ll talk about in a little bit but I eat clean and so what does that mean? It means I personally make all of my food. I’ve got 1 restaurant that is a go-to back up by my work that they make fresh food and so they’ll grill up some chicken and peppers for me and then avocado and I can have that but if it’s not fresh and it’s not made fresh I don’t eat it. I’ve taken out all of my- I’ve been experimenting a little bit with no grains and so I’ve taken out all of my pastas and stuff. I use spaghetti squash as my go-to for pasta now. I just eat clean, no refined sugars, when I want a treat I have the Hail Merry, I have Lily, other brand Lily makes a chocolate bar with stevia. I do have that occasionally but I’ll have a few pieces of chocolate and so my chocolate almonds. It’s like having an almond joy. So I just eat clean and if I don’t have something to eat clean I don’t grab something. I’m not gonna die if I don’t have food within the 5 hour period. I don’t leave with that constant pressure of I have to eat all the time. I used to have that just constant hunger, that’s gone away and I don’t have that mental fatigue of I have to eat, I have to eat, I have to eat. Today in fact I was trying to get a paper done working on my doctorate, I need to do some cooking and so I’m low on food and so it’s like Okay what do you have to eat? Well I have some eggs and some avocado until I can get some cooking done this evening. It’s just about eating clean and being busy in being a nurse it does mean that I have to do food prep now.
Rayzel: Yeah, talk about that.
Stephanie: So I might make up 2 pounds of ground bison. I’ll use that in stuffed peppers, I’ll use it for spaghetti, I’ll have it with salt in it, and I’ll just make it with tomato paste. I’ll have it a variety of ways and I might make it with a soup with it, the broth. I might make up a pound of chicken. I might cook up onions and peppers. I always try to have something or my grill is right outside the door. I always have something I can throw in the grill. Can I throw on a lean flat iron steak? Yes. And so a steak, a porkchop, anything. I think I told you the 1st time we spoke that I’ve been starving that day? I got up, I cooked up, I have boiled squash. So my squash was already made up. I threw a steak on, made that steak and that’s what I ate when I was hungry instead of I used to would have eaten a frozen burrito, thrown it in the microwave and that’s what I would have had.
Rayzel: Gotcha and you know it’s kind of funny even though in some cases it does take more time to cook healthy food. In other instances I found that it actually is the same or even less time in certain cases. The time it takes me to go drive to a fast food place and get the food and come back or you know I can make my kale salad that I love, I timed it, it took me 2 minutes and 40 seconds and that was to chop up an entire head of kale, add pine nuts in and I actually do dry cranberries the type with little sugar but I’m in Phase 4 so it’s okay and my dressing that’s homemade and I literally like 2 minutes and 40 seconds and it’s very filling and I love it. So sometimes it’s just making that transition and like you said finding what you can do like with the grilling the meat thing. Cooking a steak actually doesn’t take that long.
Stephanie: It’s so funny because I have never eaten a lot of fish and one of my very good friends is a gourmet cook, wonderful cook, and she’s told me, she’s like “We will go shopping this week, we will pick out 3 pieces of fish, a salmon, white bass and something else. I will show you how to have that made in 10 minutes and you will love it. I can even show you how your kids will love it over rice. You don’t eat it over rice, not a problem; you can steam some broccoli with it.” But she was like “Give me this week, spend 2 hours with me and I can show you how to make 3 pieces of fish in 10 minutes.” 3 different kinds and so I’m looking forward to that I have a – I think- probably I don’t know there is fully on both sides- for me I’ve never cooked much or had time to cook and so here I am at 45 learning how to cook healthy but I’m completely okay with that.
Rayzel: Yeah, when you were eating fast food before hCG, could you picture yourself like taking that time out to cook on a regular basis, could you have picture that then?
Stephanie: No, never. Our [inaudible] in the middle of my Sunday afternoon after church maybe for me when I’m working for my doctoral work or something that I would also have the oven, the stove going and I could be cooking up 2 different types of meat at one time while multitasking. I would have never have done it. Now I do it all the time.
Rayzel: It’s just like groove you get into.
Stephanie: Yes. Absolutely.
Rayzel: And I really feel hCG helps you kind of get started on that a little bit. Because you have to cook on hCG to follow the protocol.
Stephanie: I hadn’t thought about that but that is so correct. You do. It starts you back into cooking process and you have to prepare. My friends had asked or talked about or just briefly asked about hCG I’m like “For me when I’m on Phase 2 I cook up a ton of bison, cherry tomatoes, with some balsamic vinegar and those are already pre-made in the refrigerator in their little container with their little 100g and my chicken I put on skewers and I grill that so my chicken is right there and you do get you back in the habit of cooking and making your food.
Rayzel: How many meals at a time would you sometimes make on Phase 2 in advance like that?
Stephanie: Oh my God, 8 to 10.
Stephanie: Yeah 8-10 most definitely.
Rayzel: Awesome. Yeah, I totally think that and part of it too sometimes when you started the day you think I could do anything for a few weeks so like I could cook for few weeks and you might not be really thinking at the time that you’re gonna keep doing it after but after you’ve done it for a few weeks it starts to become a habit it doesn’t feel so hard anymore. So then you’re like why would I go back to what I was doing, like I’m gonna keep doing this and maintain.
Stephanie: Right, absolutely, it becomes easy. I preach that all the time to various friends about hCG that it really changes your mindset and then helps change your habits. Those are the biggest thing is it changes your mindset and it changes your habit. I have, it’s actually sitting across from me I can’t get it right now but I have a metal one liter bottle that I fill every day, I’ve got about 3 different sorts of them, actually 2 to 3 of those a day but if I don’t have that bottle, if I didn’t have it, I wouldn’t drink it. So again it’s just another habit. I stick my lemon oil in it, my young living lemon oil.
Rayzel: Oh yeah, we can talk about that now. She adds something to her water that makes it yummy and it’s healthy. So go ahead.
Stephanie: Absolutely. It’s Young Living Essential Oil. They’ve got citrus, lime, lemon and they’re fantastic. They’re pure oils made up like the purest form that you can get.
Rayzel: That’s food grade right?
Stephanie: Right. So I put in a couple of drops in all of my water so it gives it flavor. The oils are really, really good for you. Lemon actually helps detoxify your body and so it’s really, really good for you.
Rayzel: We’ll have a link to that in the blog post if you guys want to check those oils out, we’ll have a link to the companies.
Stephanie: That’d be awesome.
Rayzel: So now you’ve also dabbled a little bit now with a little bit of a intermittent fasting which is something else I’m a big fan of so I wanted to hear your feedback on that.
Stephanie: I think it has mental and physical benefits to it. I think mentally it just reiterates I do like the 16-20 hour fast when I do it. I think it just reiterates to my mind that I’m not gonna die without food, that it’s okay that you don’t wake up first thing on the morning and have to eat something so it just kind of reiterates that to me and then physically I just feel better by doing it. If I even see a pound spike or something it also gives me the mentally to eat cleaner the rest of the day so I have fasted that long so when I do go to eat I’m gonna eat something healthy. I’m just gonna continue that good habit throughout that day and so some of the days I might do it maybe the days that I don’t CrossFit on. I get up and I need to eat definitely a little cleaner that day and maybe not quite as high at calorie content because I’m not CrossFitting. I just think it’s a good physical and mental thing to do. I feel good doing it.
Rayzel: I do too.
Stephanie: Once a week probably the least that I do it.
Rayzel: I found it to be a great tool in that way too like you said once a week sometimes I might only do it once a month but sometimes once a week and I feel actually very alert on those days and I get a lot done because I’m not having to worry about making food or eating it. The other thing that I love about it, I don’t know if you’d experience this too but say I’ve kind of gotten into a thing where I’ve been eating slightly not as good as usual and it’s not as clean and I feel like I’m craving that. If I do a fast day it makes me crave clean. Like when I’m done with the fast I don’t want junk food. I want broccoli, a steak, that’s what I’m actually craving.
Stephanie: Absolutely, that is what I’m craving and that’s usually what I’ll end a fast day on is something really good. It’s like you have that to look forward to in your mind too. It’ s like I’m gonna cook up, for me, like a pork tenderloin tonight and maybe do a cauliflower casserole and so I look forward to eating clean like that especially ending a fast day like that.
Rayzel: That’s great.
Stephanie: One of the things that I want to give credit too and I think everybody needs. A fitbit.
Rayzel: Oh sure, go ahead, talk about that.
Stephanie: Absolutely. That really gives you a reality to how much you move and how much you don’t move and it hold yourself accountable and it’s just personal. You know you don’t have to share it with anyone. Then it’s fun, it becomes a game. You’re like, I’m gonna hit 10000 steps today. I’m gonna park in the back of the parking lot when I go to WalMart because I want my 10,000 steps. Or I’m gonna take the stairs at work because I want my 10,000 steps. So you just find yourself moving a lot more.
Rayzel: That’s cool. Does it track your calories at CrossFit.
Stephanie: It doesn’t track your calories. I think you might have a way that you can upload that but I’ve never done that.
Rayzel: Cause I thought there was some device that supposedly could track every calorie burned.
Stephanie: You get the app really quick, I have it right here, it syncs to your smartphone and yes you can track let’s make sure that it has-
Rayzel: There might be different models too, I don’t know, with the fitbit. I don’t know.
Stephanie: I think it does. I can’t find it I mean- Oh here we go.
Rayzel: Okay cause it seems like that’d be pretty hard for it to gauge accurately or not. I just had done some research that supposedly there is some device, but I don’t remember what it was, but it somehow could measure the heat coming off of your body that can then accurately translate it into calories burned or I don’t know. I thought that’s interesting.
Stephanie: I think one of the biggest things with the CrossFit and comparing it to- okay so like I would get a lot more running or miles in when I was boxing cause it usually involves part of bit of little more running even then and so much more cardio but I think what you had to remember is I’m always amazed after I do the heavy weight lifting and how spiked your heart rate is and then you’re lying on that muscle which does burn more calories on the long run and so I think you have to keep that in mind but I haven’t figured out a way to measure that. You’ll have to share if you find something.
Rayzel: Yeah, I know. It sounds so neat to me. I was curious about that. And I agree, I feel like I can eat fairly freely calorie wise because of CrossFit. I have 12 more pounds of muscle, 12 less pounds of fat since my 3rd round like I did 2 more rounds after that and then I was CrossFitting in between so it’s like that’s what those last 2 accomplished. I think it’s made a big difference. I don’t count calories, I don’t like to do that so. But [inaudible] that I don’t have to. It’ s nice if you don’t want to that you don’t have to ideally.
Rayzel: Well thanks for being with me today. I really appreciate all the feedback. So how much further are you hoping to get?
Stephanie: I’m hoping to do at least 2 more rounds. I’d like to essentially see at least another 20-25 pounds gone, theoretically in my mind. Hopefully 2 more rounds of hCG and I’ll be there.
Rayzel: We’ll have to do another re-interview and check back in with you when that time comes.
Stephanie: That’s cool. Check back with me.
Rayzel: That sounds great.
Stephanie: How many pounds did you lose- how much did you lose on the last 2 rounds of hCG that you did.
Rayzel: My 4th round I only did, for, that’s the only round that I did a 3 week round, so it’s the only short round that I did. That round I only lost like 7 pounds. I still don’t know because I actually attempted to keep CrossFitting that round and I only did it like the first 2 or 3 days of the diet but when I did that, my weight loss stopped dead right at the beginning of the round which is pretty uncommon but usually the 1st week you will lose fairly well and I literally didn’t lose any weight for like 10 days after the 3rd or 4th day. I have some health stuff so that’s why for me I think it’s possible that it was really too much and maybe my body was like too much. No. So that’ s why I don’t know if that was the cause of that round being very low but anyways I only lost 7 pounds that one but that was also the round that my legs totally changed shape. My body shape changed more drastically, I noticed. So that was interesting.
Stephanie: I myself, I have to hear that because that’s the biggest change that I’m waiting for now.
Rayzel: Yeah, the 1st 3 rounds, my legs like they were getting smaller but they still have the overall same look. After round 4 even though I was like getting over the okay 7 pounds, I’ll take it. But then I’m like staring at my legs one day and I’m wearing shorts and I’m like “Hey, my legs looks pretty snazzy.” They actually look really attractive and I’ve never though that. They actually have this curve to them because some fat had been lost that gave them a curve. So that was nice.
Stephanie: Yes. Okay I’m looking forward to that.
Rayzel: And then actually my 5th round it was a long round and I lost I think 17 pounds. But it was a little bit superficially high because I didn’t eat any fruits on that round so I did have to stabilize higher because of that, because of the glycogen store. It is true, I think, when you’re getting down to the last bits that it can come off slower but I do think it makes less pounds make so much more drastic change on your body though so I think it’s okay.
Stephanie: Yes. That change in shape you’re talking about and I think that might be a little reason why I stabilize a little higher with the CrossFitting was I took out pretty much all carbs at that point in time. I even quit, I was in the gluten-free bran crackers in my 3rd round and I quite doing those as well.
Rayzel: That’s good that you mention that because I actually have a post. I think it’s already up but maybe it’s not. I don’t know. I have so much going on. I have so many drafts to blog post but I have an article talking about if you do Phase 2 without fruits that you will most likely have to stabilize outside of the 2-pound window because of the whole glycogen store thing and that’s totally okay.
Stephanie: Absolutely, I can live with that.
Rayzel: Thank you so much! I’m really excited to check back in with you in several months or whatever. Thank you.
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