Forming a Figure

I’ve been stalled around 135lbs for several months now. But I have come to terms with being a size 6. Forty-three pounds ago I thought fitting into an 8 was an unrealistic fantasy! My new fantasy is to rock a perfectly flat belly with some ab lines, but not over the top and increase the dents between my leg muscles so they become visible to the naked eye. And tighten my arms and hips. I have a family reunion next month and while my family doesn’t care if I’m fat, skinny, smelly or alien, I want to wear a bikini so I can tan the midsection.

Experimenting with different exercises, I’ve come upon some useful data. There are certain exercises that will puff up the body, some that will slim it down and some that just suck.

Puff it up:
Puffing up requires expanding muscles through high resistance strength training. This is the key to a beautiful butt. Unfortunately, strength training can also puff up areas we don’t want puffy, like the belly. Strength training in the abs increases the size of your belly. The phenomenon is no different from bicep curls making the biceps bigger; bicep curls do not make arms smaller. If your belly (or whatever) is already thin, by all means strengthen it. Any strength training that creates an intense burning or gentle tearing in the muscle is essentially causing it to expand and get more buff. I learned this the hard way. My abs are really tight and ripped – just below this thick layer of fat that keeps hanging around. In fact the fat layer seems to protrude more than it used to because its base is further out, atop the now expanded abs. First world problems. Strength training combined with slimming exercises and dieting will handle this.

Slim it down:
Low resistance motion for some duration burns fat without puffing up the muscles. Heat the body and fat will melt. Run on flat land rather than uphill. The greater resistance up hill is enough to tear/expand muscle. Low or no resistance stationary bikes are great, elliptical machines are great, jumping jacks are great, Zumba is amazing. The goal is to heat the body and sweat without ripping yourself.

Exercises that suck:
Any activity is better than none, but if you don’t feel your muscles tightening, they aren’t tightening. To see fast results, push your body to feel tired and sore as these are indications of change. Also remember that the more fit you become, the more strenuously you must exercise to create change. Walking while you weigh 150lbs is less of a workout than when you carried around 170lbs. To defeat soreness, drink tons of water. CalMag (a calcium-magnesium drink) helps too.

Find your happy medium:
Most of us want tight arms, legs and waists with nice round breasts and butts. The most ground I’ve made on this was by jockeying strength (in the back, legs and butt) with low resistance cardio. What I recommend is “Ninja Running.” It’s a combination of running, then jogging up and down hills and on flat ground. Start off on flat ground, maybe around a city park. Jog for a couple minutes to warm up the body. Sprint for about five minutes with all your might then reduce to a comfortable jogging speed once you start sweating. To speed up the heating process, wear tight clothes with additional thick clothes on top such as spandex pants and a tank under sweats. Hoodies are great to make your face sweat. After about ten minutes of steady jogging on flat ground, head for the hills. San Francisco is the best for Ninja Running. When you run uphill, try kicking your own butt with each heel. It really tightens up the lower back, butt and hamstrings. Always maintain good posture in exercise. When you get back to flat ground, jog normally. Going down hill, do high-knees. That means pull each knee up so your thigh is perpendicular to your torso. You’ll be moving pretty slow and might look dumb, but the high-knees make going downhill easier on your joints and tighten the lower abdomen. I’m not going to lie, I love showing off my butt-kicks and high-knees as I cruise past doormen and trolleys. The fact of someone watching encourages me to kick my own butt all the way up the block.

I hope this helps!

Love, Dana

P.S. Tomorrow is Mother’s Day. I love my mom. She’s fun, kind, beautiful and she’s mine.

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Shrink Wrap Shrinks Fat

Shrink Wrap Shrinks Fat

I’ve seen several of these magical body wraps on Instagram and Pinterest. You may have heard of the Belly Bandit for postpartum belly reconstruction. There are many variations of body wraps, but basically they’re bandages or Saran Wrap tightly wrapped around the belly (or any trouble area) to tighten the skin and shrink fat. I tried it last night. It worked. I didn’t take before and after measurements, but I took pictures and saw results. Please pardon my heaps of (clean) laundry and shoes in the pictures.

Step 0. Drink a liter or two of water throughout this cycle. Drink a liter before the exercise step and as much as you need during and after exercise.

Step 1. Rub TONS of lotion onto the belly. I used Jergens Skin Firming lotion. Once it’s soaked in, add another two layers so it’s really globbed on there like monster venom.
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Step 2. Roll Saran Wrap around the waist tightly. You want to breathe, but consider it a homemade plastic girdle.
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Step 3. My plastic kept riding up with my fat bulging out at the hips so I taped all the way around the top and bottom with packing tape.
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Step 4. Put a bunch of clothes on top. I pulled my exercise pants way up and put on a t-shirt, sweatshirt and sport jacket.
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Step 5. Do sweaty exercise for 45 minutes. I did 45 on the stationary bike and was dripping sweat.

Step 6. Remove the shrink wrap by cutting down the middle, the way paramedics remove shirts. It will be very sweaty and gross with globs of lotion rolling off. You might want to do this part in the bathroom. Then scrub the hell out of your body in the shower.
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Next time I’m doing my thighs and arms too. I might try the neck. According to an article I read, the heat and penetrating lotion loosen up fat. I guess that’s how it works. Sweating is always a good thing in my book. My stomach stayed flat all day. Some girls use mud instead of lotion, others add lemon juice, tea tree oil, cayenne pepper and other ingredients. I might try some of those if I get adventurous and willing to wash a bowl. This was the fastest belly shrinkage I’ve experienced. It took less than an hour. Shrink wrap.

Love, Dana

Fat Girl Playing Skinny

My brother made a diabetic vanilla mousse tonight. That means sugar-free jello pudding made with half and half (less sugar than milk) and whipped. I was able to avoid a taste, though I did watch him eat it like a creeper. It was thick, creamy and oh so light. Once a fat girl, always a fat girl. I love that shit.

I’m on the HCG diet again. After the launching gorge I shot up to 142 lbs and this morning, on day ten I weighed in at 134 lbs. I’m determined to stick with this diet until I hit 127 putting my total weightloss up to FIFTY POUNDS. Fifty pounds is a lot of weight. That’s two and a half of our obese tuxedo cat.

I’ve found some good diet foods you should try. Hebrew National has these DELICIOUS 97% fat free all beef kosher hot dogs. They are only 45 calories each and taste like Slim Jims without that awkward paper wrapping- is it edible? Another GREAT diet food is gobhi chicken curry. It’s cauliflower and chicken breast pieces in an orange curry sauce with no sugar. You can find recipes on Pinterest or go to your local Indian-Pakistani restaurant and order it like I do three times a week. The owner is very proud of me. I’ve been eating there since my chubby days and he swears it’s the gobhi chicken diet that took my weight off. I love gobhi chicken. Spicy foods burn fat. Avoid rice and naan. The last fat burners are blueberries and grapefruit. Both satisfy the sweet craving and they are full of antioxidants.

Drink water. Take your weight in pounds divided by two for how many ounces of water you should consume per day, i.e. 134 lbs/2=67 oz.

I took some revealing pictures before this round of HCG and will post them with the after shots when my belly is camera ready.

Love,
Dana

I Cooked

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I just cooked two cauliflower pizzas and three stuffed bell peppers. Low fat, low carb, low sugar and diabetic friendly for my big bro.

Cauliflower pizza
2 cups grated cauliflower
2 cups mozzarella
2 eggs
Minced garlic to taste
Thoroughly combine and form into a flat dense circle on parchment paper. Bake at 450 for 15 min. Add whatever sauce and toppings you want and bake another 10 min.

Stuffed bell peppers
1/2 lb ground turkey fully cooked
5 small chopped zucchini
1 1/2 cup jarred marinara sauce
1 cup barely steamed broccoli
1 cup barely steamed cauliflower
Sprinkles of cheese
And of course three large or four small bell peppers
Combine and stuff into hollowed peppers. Bake peppers standing upright at 350 for 15 min. There will be leftover stuffing that you can store in fridge or eat immediately because you’re awesome.

Love,
Dana

Diet Failure and Changing Strategy

Diet Failure and Changing Strategy

Most dedicated dieters have crashed and burned at least once. I’ve failed countless times! This last round of HCG was another bungee jump. I started around 137lbs and got down to 133lbs in a week. Then cheated and cheated and quit. I didn’t weigh in for a while but when I finally did I was 140lbs. No big deal! Time to change strategy.

The body is kind of tricky. It seems like doing the same thing over and over stops producing change or becomes impossible at a certain point. This last time, I was really suffering on the 500 calorie per day HCG diet- beyond acceptable suffering. So I’ve changed strategy!

I have a couple friends at work who are also very dedicated to getting into shape. We are doing healthy eating and exercise with cash penalties for cheats! Here are the rules:

Three square meals a day of mostly meats, vegetables and fruit. Some very small amounts of lean carbs are okay- like a sprinkle of quinoa in salad or whatever. Snacks can be fruits, veggies and if we are dying, Think Thin bars. Quantities of meat, veggies and fruits are unlimited, any time of day. All fruits and vegetables are approved. Salad dressings or other condiments should be low or nonfat and low or sugar free. If it takes a good dressing to make a salad edible, use it. This diet isn’t meant to make us suffer.

No nuts, but low-fat nut/seed/peanut spreads are okay in moderation- like 2 tbsp once in a while. No dairy except a dash of cream in coffee or a tiny bit of cheese on eggs if you skip the coffee cream. No alcohol. One cheat day per week allowed! You choose which day and it doesn’t have to be the same every week.

At least twenty minutes of exercise per day five days a week.

Each and every diet and/or exercise cheat costs either one dollar paid to each of the other girls next time you see them (no avoiding!) or twenty additional exercise minutes paid the same day as the violation. Cheats count by serving. If you eat pizza for example, you pay each girl a dollar per slice or twenty extra exercise minutes per slice.

Once we get down to our realistic goal sizes we are going shopping! No shopping until then- why waste money on temporary sizes anyway?

So far I’ve lost 5lbs in this game and I’ve made a positive balance of $1. Can’t beat that! It’s such a relief to be back to 135.2lbs. That puts my total weightloss at 42.5lbs! I want to get down to a loose fitting size 4 and I think I can do it within two weeks. I’d love to weigh 127.6 to make my total weightloss over 50lbs. I know I can do it; I’m only 7.6lbs away!

Let me know if you want to play the game. You’ll need a local partner. In choosing a partner try to find someone who is already into dieting rather than making your husband do it, if he has no personal interest. Should your husband want to do it, trade back rubs or some currency other than money from your joint bank account. Dieting partnerships are usually doomed for failure because inevitably one person will quit and then the other guy can easily give up. You might want to set a time period for the game or you can do what we are doing with the size goals. So far this cash penalty method has been very workable! Millions have paid Jenny Craig to lose weight, why not pay your best friends? Oh and the other point is honesty. I ate about twenty almonds today and I haven’t told my friends yet. Nuts aren’t allowed. So even though I have told myself twenty nuts isn’t worth the dollars and they don’t really need to know, I am going to tell them right after this blog post. Especially before they read it. And those damn nuts cost me two bucks. But it’s worth it. One lie can destroy the whole game. Don’t lie! The almonds I ate were covered in cheddar-jalapeño seasoning. Time for me to get on the stationary bike and jam out. I’d wish you good luck, but you already know you’re lucky. We are all lucky.

Love,
Dana

The Secret

The secret to my fantastic weightloss was HCG1234 by Creative Bioscience. It’s a bottle of sublingual drops that make a low calorie diet easier and more effective. The ingredients and what they do are listed at the bottom of this post. Several of my girlfriends had done the HCG diet and ALL of them achieved amazing results. Not all had lasting results. There are many brands of HCG drops on the market with or without human hormones. I went with the hormone-free Creative Bioscience drops recommended by a girlfriend who had started with a body similar to mine and ended up like a model.

The diet should be done for a minimum of 21 days and is best started right at the end of your period. It has three phases: loading, low calorie, and then maintenance. Through the loading and low calorie phases, take ten HCG drops under the tongue three times a day not within ten minutes of eating or drinking anything.

The loading phase is two full days of gorging with fat, sugar, carbs and normal foods too. Eat as much as you possibly can! Do it over the weekend so things like work don’t disturb the flow of bacon and donuts into your face. The point of loading is to get your body programmed to primarily use fat for energy. When you stop gorging and continue the HCG drops, your body will keep burning lots of fat, but now from storage.

A successful loading action for me was to make a list of all the naughty foods I would miss during the low calorie phase and I ATE THEM ALL. I bought everything I could at the grocery store and systematically hit the restaurants I had to visit like Bob’s Donuts, Happy Donut, Donut World, etc. During the loading phase I was eating NONSTOP. It’s no joke. A good loading phase will set you up with a high fat burning rate and help you make it through the first couple days of low calorie eating. By the end of a good gorge, you should feel like you don’t want to eat again for a while.

The low calorie phase starts on day three. There are very few approved foods. http://www.hcg-diet-miracle.com/hcg-diet-food-list.html It’s basically no carbs, no sugar, no artificial sweeteners, no dairy and very little fat. You can consume 500, 800 or 1200 calories per day. On the 800 and 1200 calorie diets, exercise is okay but not on the 500 calorie diet. My successful diet has been 500 net calories (calories consumed minus calories burned). I use the MyFitnessPal app to keep track of all foods and physical activity- I’ve tried several similar apps and it’s the best because it has the most foods programmed in. Due to the nature of my work, not exercising is unrealistic. If consuming too few calories for a greater level of physical activity, the body can get really weak and uncomfortable.

My successful HCG phase 2 diet:

Breakfast- one hard boiled egg and a black decaf coffee (caffeine is okay. I don’t drink it myself)

Two snacks a day- one apple, one grapefruit or 50 blueberries

Lunch/Dinner- one Trader Joe’s chicken sausage and two Persian cucumbers or ground turkey with steamed spinach or romaine lettuce and chicken breast with low fat, sugar free vinaigrette.

I know it seems boring to just eat those few items for 19+ days. It is boring. That’s part of why it works for me. If I have a bunch of delicious and interesting food around I easily slip back into “living to eat” instead of eating to live. I also don’t like cooking during the week and I’m against microwaves; I’m getting so little food I don’t want to kill what I do eat. Part of my life change was removing food from my top priorities. It was one of my main pleasures. In fact food was one of the few things that made me happy sometimes. After my 2013 body, mind, spirit makeover I don’t see any use for depression related ice-cream binges. I just trained myself out of food being so important. If I did it after 28 years, anyone can do it.

Let’s take this moment for me to explain those 28 years and my eating habits. My dad worked late so my brother and I would get home from school and head straight for the freezer. For years I would have an after school snack of three microwaved chimichangas with salsa and sour cream. Or three bowls of cereal. Or two Klondike bars. And we ALWAYS had chips and cookies in the house. At one point he bought a cow cookie jar that mooed when the lid lifted, but I figured out how to trick the “alarm” within a couple days- lift the lid straight up without tilting it.

My dad would serve us family meals every night and we blessed every dinner with a prayer. He made tuna casserole, steak, baked potatoes, delicious stuff. And he served dessert every night! I remember him serving two small scoops of ice cream in the beginning, but soon we were allowed to dish up our own ice cream. My brother and I were both very fat kids. Oh, and I had to pack my own lunch for school everyday which usually consisted of a pepperoni and mustard sandwich, two kudos bars and a Capri Sun. Sometimes I’d toss a couple cookies in there too, why not?

Back to HCG phase 2, there are some things to watch out for. Sugar makes you hungry. If sugar sneaks into your diet somehow in a meat marinade or salad dressing, you can start getting intense cravings. Read labels! The other thing is it’s VITAL that you drink as many ounces of water as your weight in pounds divided by two EVERYDAY. The second and third low-calorie days are the hardest. The second day is usually fatigued. The third day is craving city! Drink more water and if you have to, eat a little extra of an approved food. Do not give in and buy a pastry. By the fourth day the diet is EASY. Parties are tough, especially if you love beer. Visiting older relatives is tough. Visiting my stepmom is tough because she thinks I’m too skinny and will try her best to get pasta onto my plate. A must-be-done tip is remove all unapproved foods from your house. I live with my brother so I got his agreement to not buy any peanut butter for three weeks. Williams kids love peanut butter.

Weigh yourself everyday naked with dry hair. Log your daily weight on a paper graph or in the MyFitnessPal app to keep it easy. Some diets say not to weigh in daily, but if you follow the HCG protocol you will lose between half a pound to two pounds a day which is encouraging with no threat of discouragement as long as you stick to the plan.

“Accidents” might happen. I’m on my sixth day of phase 2 right now and I accidentally ate a Chipotle burrito with everything in it for lunch. “I thought it was a 4oz low-fat turkey burger patty…” Now there are degrees of badness. If you have an occasional extra grapefruit, change nothing. It’s ok. If you do like I did and eat a burrito and plan to drink three beers when you get to your best friend’s house tonight, have an apple day tomorrow. Apple days are the bandaid for big cheats. Tomorrow I am eating nothing but apples. I’ll probably have six of them, maybe seven. On cheat days and apple days, continue the drops as usual. Stay strong and don’t use one bad day as a reason to quit or do an “I’ve f’d up so bad I might as well…” This is the sixth time I’ve done HCG. Three times were very successful, the others were bungee jumps. If you stick to the approved foods, you will lose weight. The drops and water will curb your appetite enough that you won’t go crazy and you will lose weight even if you eat more calories.

The third phase can be tricky, maintenance. This is when you stop taking the drops. After being on so few calories, the metabolism is shot. One day of eating carbs, sugar and fat can pack on two or more pounds. Don’t do it!! Stick to the same exact regimen for two days. If you want to eat some extra veggies or fruit it should be okay. But be very careful. For the next week or more continue with no carbs or sugar. You can start exercising again after the first two days of maintenance. Keep using the MyFitnessPal app to keep track of your foods and exercise if the app was successful for you. In maintenance I always get religious about logging my food and calories and I stick to my net calories goal. If I eat something bad like an Annie’s street hotdog, I ALWAYS log it and exercise enough to erase the damage that night. I never wait a day to handle it. I always work off the extra calories before the day is done. Every body is different, but this method works. I highly recommend it. Some people like exercising in the morning. My basic disagreement is that I don’t want my food converting to fat while I sleep. I’d rather exercise off the food right then before it becomes fat. That’s how the body is supposed to operate: food gives energy to make the body work. If you take the food but don’t do the work, why did you take the food?? I play a game with myself to eat no carbs or sugar for the day so I don’t have to exercise. If I lose the game all I have to do is exercise. No big deal! Exercise is fun anyway- if you find a workout you enjoy.

My very favorite workout is running on Nob Hill in San Francisco. I put on a good playlist and run up and down the hills ninja style- high knees downhill and butt-kicks up hill. Since I moved to East Oakland I’ve made the best of the boring stationary bike and invented “Zumba-ride.” This is normal bike pedaling while listening to hip-hop and dancing with my upper body. I dance very vigorously like a Zumba routine. It is soooo fun. It wouldn’t work well in a gym because I would look like an utter lunatic. Whether I’m biking or running, I like to change it up every few days with some circuit training from my Jillian Michaels video along with some abs with Henry from Hasfit and the Lower-back (ass) video I posted a few weeks ago. On maintenance it is important to nurse the metabolism back up to speed by continuing to eat healthy and EXERCISING. Exercise is a metabolism booster.

In 2013 my successful weightloss came from doing a 21 day round of HCG then maintaining with healthy diet and exercise for a month or two before doing another round of HCG. It seems most logical because A) no one wants to diet for a year straight and B) you can really stabilize your gains this way. I went from 177.7lbs to 133.4. I’ve been stably a size six (size four in some brands) for the past several months. This method works.

I’m doing this last round of HCG because I want to get down to a loose size four or two. I don’t think I’m fat now, but my real goal is to have a flat stomach. It’s been the goal all along and I’m getting very close. Exercise alone does not give one a flat stomach. I know this because I have actually tried. I have done a million ab workouts. The motto is “abs start in the kitchen.” Having tried just about everything and having lost over forty pounds, I have figured out good methods for my funny little body. By late April, I will be bikini ready. This is my pledge and I promise you guys I will do it. I took pictures last week and will present a before and after comparison when I’m done. Thank you for reading this promise. I’m staying true to my own goals. Flat stomach time!

Love,
Dana

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HCG1234 ingredients:
L-Ornithine (increases the efficiency of energy consumption)
L-Carnitine (used for the breakdown of fats for energy)
L-Arginine (stimulates the secretion of growth hormones)
L-Glutamine (used for muscle growth)
Maca (for energy)
Niacin (improves circulation)
Africanum (reduces/relieves inflammation)
Beta-Alanine (for muscle performance)
Rhodola (handles fatigue)
Astragalus (increases metabolism)