HCG Diet: Then and Now

MY WEIGHT LOSS journey began with the HCG Diet guided by my personal physician, Dr. Justin Mager.  Not only did I successfully lose pounds and inches, I learned about my eating habits, emotions, and why past weight loss programs did not work for Book - A Shot At Weight Lossme.  That program prompted my first book ~ HCG Diet: A Shot At Weight Loss (pun intended, as the best way to get HCG is by injection).  I still refer to the entries I made to keep me on track and remind me of some valuable personal insights about myself.

I LEARNED THAT I needed to make time to be more active.  When I am passionate about my work, I can easily put in six-to-ten-hour stretches at my computer without interruption.   You know why?  Because I am passionate about what I do and time flies!  I feel good when I finish a project, get my spreadsheet to balance, write a great post, help someone launch their business — I have endless energy for work (mentally) but nothing left over for me (physically).

THE HCG DIET made me feel great about myself, because I could see I was successful, oftentimes, up to a pound lost every day.  I didn’t feel like a failure on the HCG diet, as I had on other weight loss attempts. It’s easy to stick with something when you see and feel the results of your efforts.

Path to NailsworthEVEN THOUGH I put on a few pounds, during my last year in grad school, after I had completed the HCG program, my four-month assignment living and working in England melted those pounds off again.  I was amazed that even though I indulged in one too many strawberry scones with clotted cream, I maintained my weight.  The difference?  I didn’t have a car and had to walk everywhere!  In one of my blogs, which I wrote while on assignment in England, being car-less meant burning calories and lovely walks through forests:  Car-less and Careless Free In England.

ANOTHER MAJOR ADJUSTMENT I realized in my personal weight loss and maintenance phase was that I needed to stop stressing about weight loss!  I told myself I was perfect just the way I was and helping myself to get healthier and happier everyday.

THESE ARE HUGE KEYS in improving the quality of your life and empowering yourself.  I have found that when I analyzed my stress patterns and learned to not let challenges control my living, my life (and the lives of the people around me) improved.  All the disjointed pieces of my life started to fall into place, including healthy weight loss.   I will be summarizing my experience with the HCG Diet and addressing some major players in improving one’s overall quality of living and health.

In my upcoming book, Life Works, you can expect to find topics that support you anywhere you are in your life:

Your personal best – you are perfect the way you are right now!

Smart eating without suffering from hunger pangs

Personalized movement programs (notice I didn’t say “exercise”)

Making use of technology as your personal trainer

Journaling your way through stress to peace and natural weight loss

THIS IS A BOOK that means a lot to me at this time in my life.  I just turned 59, and people say I don’t look my age.  [Even my spouse, who is on his own health and Life Works program, is extremely active and youthful.]  Why?  I have been on a mission to be my personal best in all I do ~ mind BB Photoand body and spirit.  Did I fall off the horse at times?  Absolutely.  But I had a solid program to support me when I got back up again, which understood and allowed my human-ness (occasional candy cravings followed by salty treats).  You see, I learned one diet (one pill) does not fit all.  You are a unique human being that needs a personalized program.  Only you know what you need in your life, including your partner, work, volunteer options, lifestyle, hobbies, playtime, etc.  No one is like you!  You need your own Life Works.

I PRACTICE PREVENTATIVE MEDICINE.  This month, I met with my doctor/mentor, Dr. Mager, to monitor my health progress, build on my current program, and see what was working in my life and what needed to be adjusted — Life Works!  In my book, I will be writing about what I know;  I expect my reader to fill in the blanks with proven results that worked for them; and together, I believe we can create a dynamic quality of life with long-lasting health benefits.

12-22-09 sort 967WHILE I AM BUSY WRITING AWAY THIS YEAR, you can get to know me better.  My home website can be found at http://barbarabonardi.com.  And from my “home base,” you may want to read about Living Life On Purpose and/or self-publishing at BeePublished.com.

ANOTHER GREAT LINK to get to know “my authentic self” is throughout the pages of HCG Diet: A Shot At Weight Loss.  It is a painfully honest, sometimes embarrassing, account of my personal weight loss journey and what I learned about dieting, food, emotions, how stress plays a huge role in sabotaging your progress, and more!

FINALLY, IF YOU CAN’T WAIT and want to get started on your path to health and wellness right away, FANTASTIC!  Let me introduce you to Dr. Justin Mager via his e-book, MOVE to a Great Body. It’s the next best thing to a personal visit with Dr. Mager in his office.MOVE to a great body - Wellocracy

Enjoy!

Barbara Bonardi

One Pound of Muscle = 20% Less Space

The HCG Weight Loss Program is also referred to as Pounds & Inches, and thank goodness, because when the scale isn’t displaying what I want to see, my favorite belt shows me that I lost another notch and instantly lifts me out of my downward spiraling mood.

I bought a very long, thin black belt with multi-colored specks in Beverly Hills on Rodeo Drive in the year 2000.  One of my jobs at the time included flying with my client’s daughter to Los Angeles for “back to school” shopping.  When I was young, my mom used to take my brother and me to Woolworth’s or Sears department store for school clothes.

It was the first time I ever stayed at the The Peninsula in Beverly Hills.  It was so elegant that the room we stayed in had her mother’s initials monogrammed onto the pillow cases and two humongous shower heads to wash both sides of your body at the same time …. and we wonder why we have a water shortage.

Anyway, back on track, I have been battling with my bathroom scale for the last few days.  I am struggling with the last 8 pounds; they just don’t want to leave my curvy hips just yet.  Meanwhile, I’m late for a meeting and hop in my one shower head bathtub (1/8th the size of the one at the Peninsula).

I am dressed in no time flat, but the belt I chose did not match my necklace or shoes.  I had already been beaten up enough by my bathroom scale and well aware of the negative mind chatter quietly perched on the edge of my brain waiting for an opportunity to trip me.  I had nothing to lose, so I pulled out the out-of-date Rodeo Drive belt.  It must be about 54-inches long and supposed to be worn wrapped twice around the waist.  I have not been able to wear it for nearly 11 years.

IT FIT!

I was confused.  Elated.  Didn’t trust what I saw in the mirror.  Took the belt off and put it on again.  Sat on the edge of my bed.  Stood up.  Patted down my dress and looked in the mirror again, and I finally left the house for my appointment with a little spring in my step.

WHILE IN THE DENTIST’S OFFICE last Friday, I was thumbing through the February, 2011, issue of SHAPE magazine (page 20) and came across the following information regarding “weight-loss math:”  1 lb. M = 20% less space than F (M=muscle; F=fat).  This certainly explains my Rodeo Drive Belt experience:

“If your weight loss was largely due to exercise, especially strength training, you’ve probably built more muscle as you’ve trimmed body fat, says Glenn Gaesser, Ph.D., a professor and director of the Exercise and Wellness Program at Arizona State University.  ‘A pound of muscle takes up 20 percent less space than a pound of fat does,’ says Gaesser, a SHAPE advisory board member, ‘so you can weigh more but fit into a smaller size.’ It’s important, though, not to get too hung up on numbers–especially since clothing sizes at some manufacturers have changed over the years.  ‘A dress that once was considered a 12 may now be labeled an 8,’ says Gaesser, ‘which could also be adding to your confusion.’  Instead of focusing on the number on the tag, be excited about how healthy and energized you feel now.”

I know we all know these things, of course, but it is a good reminder for all of us and helps to keep us from being so hard on ourselves.

Barbara Bonardi

The HCG System Works

I realized that I have not posted in a while and want to take a few minutes to give you an update on my progress with the HCG Weight Loss Program.  The demands of grad school, my business, and taking care of my family temporarily nudged in front of all the fun things I like to do, including inspiring others to wake up and live their lives on purpose and sharing a life changing weight loss program that has worked for me!

After completing Phase II of the HCG Weight Loss Diet and series of shots, I am now in maintenance (Phase III) of the program.  In Phase III, I am no longer on the 500 calories per day menu that is supported by the physician prescribed injections, which makes the weight loss process SAFE.  I am on my own now.  Pretty much I can eat anything I want in Phase III of the HCG Diet besides carbs and sugar (no pasta, potatoes, pastries, etc.) and continue losing weight throughout the next phase.

I am hovering at 152 pounds on my 5’3” frame. For perspective, I weighed 150 pounds 29 years ago after giving birth to my first child, except today my stomach is flatter, and I am much more fit, thanks to the Bar Method exercises as well.  I am so happy at my current weight.  I look and feel healthy and have lots of energy.   I have not reached my initial goal of 144 pounds yet.  Realistically, I think I may be too skinny at that weight.  I don’t want to look like my daughters – I’m 56 and have had three children.  I like looking like a woman, complete with curves.

The HCG Diet has been an incredible journey of transformation not only physically but emotionally as well. Losing well over 30 pounds on the HCG Weight Loss Program under the guidance of Dr. Justin Mager at Clear Center of Health, reshaping my body through regular exercise at The Bar Method, and quitting my job to find meaningful work was part of that transformation.

I have not had any side effects from being on the HCG Diet, except healthy weight loss, an education in my personal eating habits, energy to start and maintain a core strengthening exercise program, and lots of attention from people who cannot believe how great I look.  Most people don’t recognize me and just stare.  I am sure they are thinking, “Do I know that person?”  I had some medical issues and many aches and pains in my body prior to being on the HCG Weight Loss Program, which have all disappeared.

I will write another post again, soon.  Right now, I have to jump to other tasks: homework and taxes.  In my next post, there are a few things I want to say about all the bad press that the HCG Diet is getting and emails from concerned friends. The HCG Weight Loss Program works!  It is safe, effective, and has helped to put be back in control of my life.

Barbara Bonardi

HCG Meets HBG

I pride myself in being a pretty good writer, which is highly supported by my personal experience, honesty, and integrity.  This is the criteria I have given myself to be able to say, “I am a writer!”  With that being said, I must embarrassingly share the following entry.  Not doing so would not be honest as to my experience on the HCG Weight Loss Program, and I would have to take myself out of the writer’s lineup.

It started Monday afternoon.  I was extremely low on energy, and I wasn’t really sure why.  I had worked all weekend, but my work was energizing and engaging.  I ate lunch and flipped on the television to watch a Sherlock Holmes rerun, while I checked my email.  I clicked on one of the MSN videos of the tsunami that hit Japan several days ago and watched intently.

The images replayed in my mind and throughout the evening.  I tried to focus on my upcoming class assignment; however, getting some homework done was out of the question, because it would only add fuel to the natural disaster that had occurred.  I am enrolled in the GreenMBA program (Sustainable Enterprise) at Dominican University of California.  In our last session, I sat through two, four-hour classes of the state of our world.  I came home wiped out and overwhelmed.

It was late at night.  I gave myself a shot of the HCG serum in my left thigh and jumped in bed with a hot cup of CALM, a great stress reducing drink while on the HCG Weight Loss Program that supplies my body with calcium and magnesium.  My stomach grumbled and my mind instantly traveled back to the kitchen to rummage through the shelves to look for comfort food.  I picked up the novel I had been reading for the past three nights, which was delivering exciting passages and a great distraction away from my evening food habits.  I also knew within a short period of time, the growling in my stomach would subside, and I would be sound asleep in bed and the novel slumbering on the floor.

I woke up depressed.  It took everything in me to drag myself to The Bar Method to workout.  After class, my instructor asked me if I was okay and if there was anything she could do to help.  I tried to hide my low point, but I guess I didn’t do a very good job of it.  I didn’t know what was wrong.  I had not been that low in a long, long time.  I usually caught myself before I fell too far, but my mood was slowing getting out of reach.

I called home to tell Frank I was running away to figure things out.  He understood.  Then my dear friend, Suzanna Stinnett, called to fill me in on her weight loss challenges.  We were both wading through some very thick, murky emotional energy.  Not only did she understand, Suzanna shared some insights that I had not thought about regarding the shift our planet experienced due to the earthquake(s), which were affecting everyone on earth whether they realized it or not.  The global disasters were psychically larger than we could handle.

I wanted to be alone and drove up to Healdsburg, about 60 miles North on 101.  No one knows me up there, and I would have me all to myself.  Healdsburg was home away from home for a long time throughout my undergraduate studies.  Today, it was going to provide me the comfort I needed while I journaled my way through my emotions that were collecting in my throat.

By the end of the day, I had exhausted myself by capturing thought after thought and filling up the blank pages of my journal trying not to leave any stone unturned.  I was able to work out several things that were weighing heavy on my shoulders.  I also realized that the tragedies that happen around the world were affecting me, and I was shutting down.  My global neighbors are going through hell.  To them, it must feel like the end of the world.  I had taken in the devastation, and all I could do was pray for all of Japan.

The anger dissipated; the dark cloud of depression that my instructor had seen surrounding me earlier this morning had lifted; and I was an hour away from home.  The pit of my stomach was empty – so empty, I knew the emergency apple in my purse was not going to satisfy the nausea that was stirring from not eating and drinking too much coffee.  I was hungry and only footsteps away from the gastronomical haven of Healdsburg.

It had been raining steady throughout the day, and as I ran to my car to put my computer and journal away, I decided to go for a walk around the Healdsburg Square and do some window shopping with my camera.  My attempt to distract my hunger didn’t work, and I made a conscious decision to go off the HCG diet for the day and eat something grounding.  I knew I was going to have to write about my experience or give up my plume.  I chalked my lack of resolve to “being human.”  In a way I was celebrating life, my mountain overcome, the fact that I had lost half of my desired weight so far on the HCG diet, and letting my body know that I could hear what she was telling me, “I came through for you, now nourish me,” and I did.

As I walked around from restaurant to restaurant reading the menus displayed outside their establishments, I thought about Dr. Mager.  I have to tell him I detoured off the HCG diet.  I didn’t want him to be disappointed in me.  I don’t know where that thought came from, because he has never been anything but supportive.  Dr. Mager has always honored the “human” side of me and treated my whole being – my mind, body, emotions, and spirituality.  I consoled myself by telling myself that he would probably say go ahead and feed myself then get back on track tomorrow.

I was soaking wet from my walk when I ventured into the HBG, the Healdsburg Bar & Grill, just off the Healdsburg Square.  This is where the HCG Diet met the HBG Menu displayed outside the front door.  Cozy inside, I ordered their Black Angus Natural Beef cheese burger with grilled onions, a bucket of fries, and a local draft beer.  I ate the burger with gusto, only scratched the surface of the fries, but polished off the beer, which turned out to be a local favorite:  Boont Amber Ale.  After a few hours and another cup of coffee, I did a little more window shopping with my camera until I felt it was safe to venture back home.

When I reached home, I went straight to bed and continued reading the novel where I left off the night before, fell asleep, and woke up briefly at 4:44 a.m. still full from dinner – and it felt good.

Barbara Bonardi

WINDOW SHOPPING with MY CAMERA

Eating Sustainably

I am the daughter of a Longshoreman and avid fisherman.  When I was young, I did not realize how fortunate I was to have a dad that hunted and fished for our food.  On weekends, dad would take my brother and me in our Ford station wagon with fake wood paneling for a drive to the hills of Marin County to pick wild mushrooms, Tomales Bay for oysters, and the creeks near Point Montara Lighthouse for watercress, abalone, and eels.

Oftentimes, he would take me deep sea fishing to catch salmon or sea bass.  We had to leave the house at 5:00 a.m. in the morning to get a place on the boat that left from the small fishing village of Crockett under the Carquinez Bridge.  Even though I always turned green on those trips, I was determined to make it through without getting sick, because I did not want to miss out on an opportunity to be with my father.  However, halfway through the fishing trip and miles away from land, I remember always dreading my decision as I hurled my insides over the side of the wooden boat that smelled of dried up bait.  To this day, I still have a fondness for orange soda, saltines, and red licorice – dad’s remedy for those long boat rides and pretty much any other time I was sick …. and it worked!

When Dr. Simeons research on the HCG Weight Loss Program was introduced, the foods that were allowed while on the diet included various fish and seafood, which are either endangered or not suitable for consumption today.  I frequently check the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch website and talk with local fishermen regarding what is being caught in abundance.  Also, I am not a fan of farm raised seafood and will always choose wild over raised fish.  Another thing, when you go to your local grocery store, don’t be embarrassed to ask your butcher where the fish and other seafood are being caught and if the fish is wild or farmed.  Many times, I have found that the seafood is not properly labeled, so don’t be afraid to ask.

Friday morning, Frank woke up with a cracked tooth, and our dentist’s office is nearly three hours away.  We used it as an opportunity to get out of Marin for the day and went for a drive down South.  The news of the tsunami that hit Japan reached the West coast, and we saw our tax dollars being put to work as police cars, the fire department, and other roadblocks were set in place to keep people away from the beaches.  We were forced to make a few detours on our way to the dentist office, but finally arrived in time.  The visit was short, and we headed for the Monterey coast to our favorite restaurant, the Sandbar and Grill, before heading home.

By early afternoon the beaches were still closed, however, the pier, which extended out to the Monterey Bay, was opened.  We come here often and know what is on the menu.  Most of the menu is not allowed on the HCG diet, but it can be easily converted over.  Eating out while on the HCG Diet is challenging but very doable.  I ordered a salad with fresh cracked crab on top and no dressing.  There were bits of carrot for color, but they were too small of an amount to be concerned about.

We had a great seat overlooking the boats in the harbor.  Coffee came with a red and white pinwheel mint, which I unraveled and put in my mouth without hesitation.  It was a small treat for having lost 10 pounds on the HCG Diet so far.  I am exactly half way to my goal weight.

As we left the restaurant, the sound of the barking seals in the distance led us to the water.  From the pier, we enjoyed watching a playful sea otter floating on its back that turned out to be camera shy.  The pier was filled with fishermen and fisherwomen and children that frequented the local fishing spot.  I felt completely connected to them, an echo of my youth reminding me that some things are worth hanging onto and the importance of preserving these rituals and gifts.

At the end of the pier, we found two local fish markets.  Frank and I ventured into the Monterey Fish Company and talked with the merchants/fishermen.  All of their fish was locally caught on the California coast, including clams, mussels, squid, prawns, and crab.

Crab, shrimp, and fillet of sole is on the HCG Diet, and we bought some to bring home for the family.

In my upcoming book on HCG weight loss menus, I have revise the list of allowable foods in Phase II and III of the HCG diet to be in alignment with today’s healthy and sustainable choices.  Meanwhile, you can download your own Seafood Watch Pocket Guide for your specific region at http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/cr/seafoodwatch.aspx.

Barbara Bonardi

Plateaus

I have hit a plateau for three days, which means I have not lost an ounce.  It is a depressing way to start the day, and I broke down and had a Macchiato at Peet’s Coffee & Tea this morning, espresso with steamed milk.  The steamed milk is only about a half a cup, but is not allowed on the HCG Weight Loss Diet.

At the café, I journaled my way through this low point and reviewed the prior three days while on the HCG Diet and the choices I had made:

SKINCARE SESSION

Four days ago, I had a facial appointment with Karla at Marilyn Jaeger Skincare Studio in San Francisco.  I had made the appointment last month and forgot about it until the day before my session.  Creams and lotions are not allowed on the HCG Weight Loss Diet for the duration of the program, and I had to make a decision.

I did not want to cancel at the last minute, and since I cannot wear anything on my face throughout the diet, I felt that it would be a great boost to my complexion, even though I knew I may plateau, not lose any weight, for a few days.  Men are lucky, because they can shave every morning, which is a great exfoliator.  I have always thought that men always look more youthful, because they are constantly shedding the top layer of skin several times a week if not daily.

The minute I stepped into Marilyn Jaeger’s Skincare Studio, I was so glad I didn’t cancel.  I stepped out of my busy world and into a world of pampering.  Karla, my dear friend and skincare specialist, greeted me with a warm smile and a hug; and for the next hour, my face and neck were cleaned, scrubbed, massaged, exfoliated, cleansed again, and prepared with sunscreen for the unexpected City sunshine.  My skin looked and felt outstanding!

So was that worth the three day plateau?  Yes.

SUNDAY NIGHT BREAKDOWN

Here’s one of those habits that is hard to break, especially if one person is on the HCG Diet and the other person can eat anything they want.  I don’t have a problem if someone is eating ice cream in front of me, because I cannot smell what they are eating.  The taste of ice cream is only a memory; however, the smell of freshly popped popcorn is intoxicating.

I was just about to fall asleep when the aroma entered the room and rendered me with absolutely no will power.  I was wide awake and struggling with my body.  “You’re not hungry, you’re not hungry,” I kept chanting to myself, but that wasn’t working.  Then I reminded myself, if I give into the popcorn, I will have to disclose it to my readers.  You would think that would have been the one motivating factor, but it wasn’t.  I even started writing the blog in my mind as to how I was going to tell you that I “fell off the HCG wagon.”  I was miserable.  Popcorn is one of those comfort foods that trigger happy feelings, and I wanted “happy!”   I got out of bed, drank a huge glass of water while waiting for the popcorn to pop, and then I ate it!

The popcorn was a microwave product that declared it only had 100 calories per pouch, but it was not as great as the homemade popcorn I usually make.  The portion was so small, by the time I decided to stop eating, it was already consumed . . . and it didn’t make me happy.  I finally fell asleep and woke up with a stomach ache in the morning.

So was that worth the three day plateau?  No.

EXERCISING AT THE BAR

If you are exercising throughout the HCG Weight Loss Program, which you should be in order to maximize the benefits, your scale won’t go down as fast:  muscle weighs more than fat.  In fact, the morning readings on your bathroom scale will require restraint as you may be tempted to fling it out the window.  The scale teases you with readings that fluctuate up and down from day to day – it’s frustrating.  What you need to focus on is how much better you feel and how much looser your clothes look and feel on your body.

I had just increased my workouts at The Bar Method.  What is great about The Bar Method is the one hour that is completely dedicated to me ~ no phones, no computer, nothing.  I don’t have to take care of anyone but myself.  Why is it so hard for many of us to give ourselves one hour to maintain our personal universe?

When I walk into The Bar Method studio, I not only exercise my physical body, I “work-out” anything that is clinging on my mind, emotionally upsetting me, and reconnect with spirit (my higher self).  When I leave the studio, I am completely energized.  Is it hard to get to the studio?  Yes, because I can think of lots of other things I can do instead: homework, writing, laundry, preparing dinner for the family, paying bills, scrub the bathroom, etc.  But you know what, when I spend the hour with myself, all of these chores get done anyway – I just get to do them with a little more gusto, because I took care of myself first.

So was that worth the three day plateau?  Absolutely!

Tomorrow morning, I may not even weigh myself and trust that the HGC system in working within me.  Besides, I have proof – my own past successes and over 30 pounds thinner due to the HCG Weight Loss Program.  You can follow my 30-pound weight loss transformation in my e-book available on Amazon.com:  HCG Diet: A Shot At Weight Loss ~ A Journal of Transformation.

Barbara Bonardi

Late Night Eating ~ How To Break Habits

I had an interesting episode the other night.  This weekend my husband asked me if I wanted to join him for dinner at a local restaurant whose motto is, “This is a bad place for a diet.” I did not want to miss the opportunity to sit and chat with my husband, Frank.  We had both been like two ships passing in the night lately, due to our busy work schedules.  I said, “Yes,” even though I had eaten an early HCG dinner at home.  I decided before meeting him at the restaurant to only have a cup of coffee, while he ate his dinner.  [NOTE:  Frank lost 35 pounds on the HCG Weight Loss Program last fall with Dr. Mager’s guidance, has kept his excess weight off, and can now eat without restrictions.  More about Frank’s weight loss in the book, HGC Diet: A Shot At Weight Loss by Barbara Bonardi.] 

“You can order a salad – just put your own dressing on it,” he suggested, feeling a little guilty about what he was about to order.  I looked over the menu out of habit.  I really wanted the Crispy Potato Skins.

“Well, I could have the shrimp cocktail . . . without the cocktail.   That’s on the HCG Diet.  Oh, here’s another thing I can have, the French Onion Soup without the bread and cheese . . . . oh, wait, I’m sure they made the soup with oil or butter,” I rambled on, while earnestly looking for something that I could have eaten (for future reference), since I was already approaching my 500 calorie allotment for the day.

The remainder of the conversation stayed in my mind:  “Fresh Pear Salad? No, it has Danish Blue Cheese and walnuts.  Cheese Burger?  Without the cheese and bread and fries, of course – no . . . why eat?”  Then my mind skipped over to the dessert menu:  “Carrot Cake?  Barbara! What are you thinking?”

The waitress had been making regular visits to our table throughout my decision ordeal.  Mind you, I HAD ALREADY EATEN DINNER!  I was NOT hungry.  I was experiencing an old habit – eating even if I was not hungry.  I glanced over at a man who was bursting on both sides of his chair gobbling down a bacon and cheese burger with a mound of fries drenched in ketchup and a glass of beer.  I gulped and ordered water and a cup of coffee, even though it was 7:00pm, and encouraged Frank to order the Black Angus steak, potatoes, and salad that he was eyeing.

“Aren’t you hungry?” Frank asked.  I paused for a moment before answering him to check in with my body.  I was NOT hungry.  I was, actually, looking forward to returning home to my sliced apple with cinnamon treat tonight, and maybe even heating the apples in a pan with a little water and Truvia TM sweetener to make a mock apple pie dessert later that evening.  But right at the moment, I was not hungry.

The coffee came, and I decided that it was too late for caffeine, so I ordered a cup of hot water and stirred in a sample package of CALM, an anti-stress drink that contained Calcium and Magnesium, that was given to me at Dr. Mager’s office today at Clear Center of Health.  That was the ticket!  I was able to relax.  The sweetness of the CALM did not make me feel like I was depriving myself of food.  I was grateful I did not give into anything that was going to make me feel awful later.

This was a real learning opportunity.  Frank and I talked about the habits we have built around food – mostly, late night food.  During the day, we are busy and sometimes forget to eat, but late at night, when things wind down, we are looking for something to eat.  We know not to watch regular TV late at night, because a Sara Lee commercial will do us in every time.  Late night snacking is a tough habit to break.

I have come up with a strategy for breaking a habit – replace it with another habit. Here are some things I have learned that help me get over the weak moments I have been experiencing late at night.  These strategies can be used while on the HCG Weight Loss Program and anytime stress and overwhelm come into the equation:

1)      Have something hot to drink that is non-caffeinated, while reading a favorite book till you get sleepy.  Display the tea bags in a glass container alongside a beautiful cup and saucer as an inviting reminder.  MY FAVORTIE DRINK AND BOOK(s):  I really enjoy the CALM drinks, which come in several different flavors.  I have a pile of books next to my bed, including a dear friend’s book, Michael Phillips, on The Seven Laws of Money, Alexandra Stoddard’s newest book, Happiness for Two, and an autographed book that I bought at the Legion of Honor Museum after viewing the Pulp Fashion Exhibit by Isabelle De Borchgrave.  Borchgrave’s hand-painted paper costumes are “eye candy” and very satisfying.

2)      Drink a glass of water and then continue working on a project that you have set aside for just those times.  Keep it out where you can see it and work on it without having to look for supplies.  PROJECT: I am hand sewing a silk/rayon scarf for myself.  I saw one in a shop in Point Reyes and decided I could make it myself with fabric and beads I had in my craft container at home. 

3)      Drink a glass of water, get your bed ready by pulling back your covers and putting out a nightgown to slip into (if you wear one), set your alarm clock a half an hour earlier, then take an extra warm bath.  STRATEGY: I tell myself, if I am still “starving” by tomorrow morning, the extra half an hour will give me enough time to get something to eat at home before I start my day.

4)      Make yourself a cup of chamomile tea and work on your visual journal.  PROJECT: I keep a journal/scrapbook of outfits, accessories, etc., that I will be looking forward to wearing on my thinner body.  I also have a home journal, which is where I collect ideas from magazines, catalogs, or pictures that I have taken of great interior design ideas for my home.

I have been revisiting the above strategies nearly every evening to break the engrained habits around food consumption.  Happily, by the time I complete Phase III of the HCG Weight Loss Program, I expect to have finished the scarf, covering the dining room chairs, sewn four new pillows for the living room sofas, and be sleeping under the duvet cover I am making for my bed.

Barbara Bonardi