Conquer Your Cravings With the New Vapor Diet

Conquer Your Cravings With the New Vapor DietRemember when we all imagined the future held the promise of a pill that could be taken rather than indulging in a tasty and high calorie meal? Apparently, the future has just about arrived. You can now curb your appetite and conquer your cravings with the Vapor Diet. This is a way to indulge your senses with foods and sweets without consuming a single calorie!

The new Vapor Diet activates your sense of smell and taste by taking a simple puff from a battery powered device.

A vapor unit heats up and creates a mist that you can breathe in. Your taste and smell receptors send messages to your brain that you have eaten, and since there are no calories in the vapor, you have satisfied your cravings without actually consuming your favorite foods!

There are over 40 flavors like pizza, blueberry cheesecake, gummy bears and more mean you have a variety of vapor liquids to enjoy whenever you want.

Launched at the end of 2013, the Vapor Diet offers desserts, snacks and other satisfying flavors with zero calories. Just puff the vapor, you don’t even have to inhale.

The diabetic friendly, dairy free, carb free and gluten free diet system starts at about $100.00 online, but with Vape stores popping up on every corner to curb the nicotine habit, how long can it be before we can Vape away our fat?

Now, at $100.00 it is a little pricey for my budget, but if someone wants to sponsor the $100.00 starter kit, I’d be happy to give it an honest try and review!

Another product, Vaportrim comes in 14 flavors, and each stick is sold for $9.95. Each device contains about 50 servings of eight to ten zero-calorie, puffs.

Le Whif claims to be a delicious approach to eating, by just breathing. With Le Whif, you inhale food, like chocolate, into your mouth and taste it, without chewing. It is an experience in flavor without a single calorie. Invented by Harvard Professor David Edwards, in collaboration with students, designers, engineers, and entrepreneurs working in Edwards’ ArtScience Labs centered around Le Laboratoire, in Paris, Le Whif contains hundreds of milligrams of tiny food particles.

Remember the Sensa Sprinkle Diet? It also relied on tricking the receptors in the brain to help those dieting reach their weight loss goals. However, when I took a look at to learn more, here is the message posted on their website: “OPERATIONS FOR SENSA INC. AND SENSA PRODUCTS, LLC HAVE CEASED. Sensa, Inc. and Sensa Products, LLC entered into Assignments for the Benefit of the Creditors under California state law on October 17, 2014. An Assignment for the Benefit of the Creditors is a form of insolvency under state law.”

While looking for the answer to weight loss, it may be best to simply burn more calories than we consume!

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Diet Beverages and Body Weight

Diet Beverages and Body WeightWe’ve heard recently that diet sodas are not good for your body, especially the brown colored ones, and that diet sodas really do not help you lose weight. (I’m am not a fan of diet soft drinks and I can honestly say, “I don’t like the idea of putting anything with the letters D-I-E in my body, anyway.”)

The following article is by Harrison, Wein, Ph.D. who writes columns we often use from NIH News in Health. It is a weekly update of NIH research highlights from the Office of Communications and Public Liaison, Office of the Director, National Institutes of Health.

Diet Beverages and Body Weight

—by Harrison Wein, Ph.D.

Overweight and obese adults who drink diet beverages consume significantly more solid-food calories, particularly from snacks, than those who drink sugary beverages. The findings highlight the challenges in using diet beverages to help control weight.

Excess weight can raise your risk for type 2 and gestational diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and other health problems. But maintaining a healthy weight is difficult for many people. Body weight reflects a complicated balance between the amount of calories consumed and the amount of energy used by the body.

Diet beverage use has skyrocketed in recent decades. It’s now a common weight control strategy. It might make sense to think that diet beverages would help you lose weight due to their lack of calories. But the body’s mechanisms for maintaining weight are subtle and complex. Studies into how diet beverages affect weight control have found conflicting results.

To gain a better understanding of the relationship between diet beverage consumption and caloric intake, a research team led by Dr. Sara N. Bleich at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health examined patterns of food and beverage consumption. They used data collected between 1999 and 2010 in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), a periodic survey of the health and habits of the U.S. population by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The analysis was funded by NIH’s National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI).

The researchers studied almost 24,000 adults, age 20 and older, who reported all the food and beverages they had consumed in a previous 24-hour period. Results appeared online in the American Journal of Public Health on January 16, 2014.

The team found that 11% of healthy-weight, 19% of overweight, and 22% of obese adults drank diet beverages. Diet drinks appeared to help healthy-weight adults maintain their weight. These adults consumed less food and significantly fewer total calories on a typical day than did healthy-weight adults who drank sugared drinks.

The total calories consumed by overweight and obese adults who drank diet beverages, however, were similar to that of those who drank sugary beverages. Heavier adults who drank diet beverages tended to eat more calories in the form of solid food. Overweight and obese adults who drank diet beverages consumed 88 and 194 more calories from solid foods per day, respectively, than those who drank sugared beverages.

To understand these differences in solid-food intake, the scientists took a closer look at patterns of solid-food consumption. Notably, obese adults who consumed diet drinks ate significantly more snacks than those who had sugared drinks. Those who drank diet beverages consumed 131 calories per day in salty snacks and 243 in sweet snacks, compared to 107 and 213, respectively, for obese adults who drank sugared drinks.

“The results of our study suggest that overweight and obese adults looking to lose or maintain their weight, who have already made the switch from sugary to diet beverages, may need to look carefully at other components of their solid-food diet, particularly sweet snacks, to potentially identify areas for modification,” Bleich says.

Controlled studies would be needed to confirm these results. Nevertheless, the research highlights the need for heavier adults who drink diet beverages to closely monitor their food intake.

Editor: Harrison Wein, Ph.D.
Assistant Editors: Vicki Contie, Carol Torgan, Ph.D.

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Holiday Health Reminder

Holiday Health ReminderNow is the time to pay attention to your holiday health and here is a holiday health reminder : you must remain constantly aware of your food portions and your physical activity while avoiding unnecessary stress. Right? Ha ha, yes… it can be done.

Celebrating the holidays with family and friends tends to lead us down Temptation Street full of sweet desserts, heavy dinners and alcoholic indulgence. ‘Tis the season to eat more, spend more and stress more… all while working out less. Our schedules are disrupted with holiday parties, family get-togethers, high calorie gifts, financial strains, out of town guests, entertaining and other stress inducers…

Gaining just two or three pounds during the holidays lead to January resolutions that are often never met, leaving you adding on the pounds year after year, after year.

Trying to lose weight now, during the holidays is not often successful, but maintaining your current weight and NOT putting on new pounds through New Year’s Eve – is considered a success.

Count your calories and don’t skip your regular workouts and you should be fine… if you do indulge, cut back on your next meals and take in more exercise.

…and get plenty of sleep. Those late nights will take their toll in a hurry!

If you find your health spinning out of control this holiday season, seek the help of a professional trainer, a reputable gym, or a dietary advisor; you may find that by being mindful of your diet and excercise you can give yourself the best gift of all… a healthier you this holiday season.

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Foods that Sound Healthy, but Aren’t

Foods that Sound Healthy, but Aren'tJanuary always fills my inbox with requests for health food, diet and exercise related articles and recipes. Looking for ideas, I ran across several articles that listed foods that sound healthy, but aren’t.

I found the lists somewhat predictable, but what was missing were the healthy alternatives. If you are reading an article to learn about healthy sounding foods that are not, shouldn’t the writer have given us a few options?

Here are some food choices you may want to avoid AND a better alternative.

Turkey Sandwich (Bad) – A turkey sandwich sounds healthy, right? Wrong! Image the oversized bread, mayo or other creamy dressings, your favorite cheese slice, and don’t get me started on the processed meat.

Turkey Sandwich (Better) – Try thin sliced pumpernickel bread, with fresh turkey you cooked at home. Avoid packaged sandwich meats from your local grocery store at all costs. Skip the cheese and use a spicy, ground mustard for flavor. Load up on tomato slices, lettuce and sprouts for extra flavor and crunch.

Fish Sandwich (Bad) – Another sandwich served with potentially an oversized bun, creamy tartar sauce, possible cheese and yes, deep fried.

Fish Sandwich (Better) – We are not avoiding the “bread” since this is about a “sandwich”, so here is the world’s best low calorie fish sandwich: Use tuna, canned in water, mix with just enough fat free 1,000 Island salad dressing to get the consisitancy you want, then serve on toasted “diet bread.” I call any thin sliced bread, diet bread. Some breads are sliced so thin, two slices match the nutritional values of just one slice of “normal” bread. Again, load up with slices of onion, tomato and a deep green leaf of lettuce.

Veggie Wrap (Bad) – An eight inch flour tortilla has 120 calories, a ten inch tortilla will use up 210 of your daily allocated calories. Whole wheat tortillas are not much better. Their sodium count is high, as are the carbs, add some fatty avocado and a couple tablespoons of dressing and you have not done yourself any favors.

Veggie Wrap (Better) – The less processed your ingredients are, the healthier the food. With that in mind, skip the tortilla entirely and put your favorite vegetables inside a large leaf of lettuce. Without the bread, you can even drizzle it with dressing or a light sprinkle of cheese.

Veggie Pizza (Bad)– Duh, it’s still pizza!

Veggie Pizza (Better) – No cheese and don’t eat the crust.

Canned Fruits or Fruit Juices (Bad) – Watch the labels on your fruit juices. Often fruit juice is really a fruit juice cocktail. Juicy Juice brand is one of the only real juices you will find. Juice is high in carbs and calories, too, so watch your serving size. Canned fruits are often canned in syrup, read your labels!

Canned Fruits or Fruit Juices (Better) – Chop, peel, squeeze, mash, smash and blend your own juices or diced fruits and serve them in a small glass for juice or a bowl for a fruit salad. If you are looking for something really tasty, put diced fresh fruits in a small bowl, add a tablespoon of plain Greek yogurt and top with a tablespoon of your favorite chopped nuts… yummy!

Just remember, stay away from packaged and processed foods, and try to avoid anything “white” and you will find you are getting a good start on eating healthier.

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What to Eat to Lose Belly Fat

What to Eat to Lose Belly FatContributed by: Sarah Henderson

What to eat to lose belly fat: how to burn abdominal fat fast.

With the growing craze for glamorous looks there have been a lot of theories and workouts advertised to claim the fastest ways to lose fat. The most attractive part of the body which gives its way to a completely attractive body is the belly. However, this is also the part of the body where the fats start getting stored easily. There are several methods and medicines sold out in the market who claim to turn an obese belly to a perfectly six pack abs within their short given period of time. These methods may even prove their claims with desired results, but in most cases the body again regains the previous shape and the six packs again get perished. Therefore the best preferred method to burn the abdominal fat is the natural way.

The healthy way of burning abdominal fat
The human body needs energy to work and this energy are extracted from the food eaten by the body. It shows that if a body does more work, then it needs more energy which again has to be extracted from more food. In contrary, if the body does not utilize the energy then the calorie amount will be stored as fats in the body. This gradual storage of fats will start increasing the size and weight of the belly and body. Therefore the best healthy method of bringing the change is to decrease the calorie consumption of the body and increase the physical activities of the body. The physical exercises should be practiced on a regular basis and should be perfectly designed to put more stress on the abdomen part of the body. This natural way of burning abdominal fat will not only bring sustainable change in the body but will also develop a healthy habit to maintain it.

The theory of three vegetables
The basic harmful chemicals which are the main cause to increase the fat in the abdomen area are the Xenoestrogens. It can be defined as a foreign estrogen which stimulates the natural processing of estrogen in the body. It is very similar to the natural estrogen in the body accept that these are man-made. This chemical makes its way to enter the body through many types of edible and drinkable items like, Bottled- water, processed meat, etc. In order to know the fastest method on how to lose belly fat, it is very crucial to remove Xenoestrogen from the body. The natural way of removing it from the body is by eating cruciferous vegetables. These cross-shaped leaf patterned vegetables have all the necessary acids and compounds called Indole 3 compound (I3C) to bring the natural level of estrogen back to the body resulting in decreased fat. The three main vegetables under the category of cruciferous vegetables which help to build an attractive abdomen are Kale, Broccoli and Brussels sprouts. Kale contains most of vitamin A, Broccoli has most of vitamin C and Brussels sprout have folic acid, vitamin B -1 and E. Apart from all these useful compounds these vegetables are also readily available all round the year.

Apart from the healthy eating habits, regular exercises specially made to develop 6 packs abdomen is also equally necessary to bring the right proportion of calorie intake and calorie burn.

Author Biography: Sarah Henderson is a full time mother and uses her rare spare time to blog on iHealthMarket, where she shares news and reviews about the health world and products.

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My Underwear is Too Big

My Underwear is Too Big

I'm Sorry! I soooo stole this image! LOL

When you lose weight there are plenty of things for people to talk about such as diet and exercise. There are also many things that folks don’t discuss, such as those unmentionables. Well I’ll say it, “All of my undergarments are now too big!”

Losing a substantial amount of weight can be expensive as you start to buy new, better fitting clothing. Yes, this includes the undergarments, too.

My old favorite underwear, that come in a package of six solid colors for a great price, now sag in the butt. This means I have to try different styles, brands, cuts, and fabrics until I find ones that I like. As a heavy woman, pretty undergarments were not plentiful in XXL. So I really don’t have much experience in purchasing the delicates. One thing I have recently learned is that ladies panties are expensive when you buy them one at a time! AND they are not something you can try on in the store’s fitting room first! So, I’ll buy one on sale to try while I wait for other styles to hit the sales rack. Finding a new favorite pair of underpants could take years at this rate!

It is not just the underpants either; bras, slips, stockings and other unmentionables need to be replaced as well.

Apparently, my husband has noticed my frustration with the current wardrobe of workout clothes I have stacked in the closet, because he surprised me with an outfit for the gym that he picked up in Jacksonville yesterday.

Yes, this is so sweet, and so fantastic and I should be excited, but honestly, it is putting a bit of a pinch on the wallet from time to time.

My old fat bras only came in white, black or beige. As I was buying a wider girth I somehow lost a cup size. Believe me when I say, I am delighted to see that as I buy smaller, more colorful bras my cup sized has returned to normal.

I have never bought any pantyhose that were not Queen sized in my entire adult life! Fortunately, we live in Florida and I am no longer a “suit”, so I’ll wait on replacing those until I have a need. Otherwise they may dry-rot in my dresser before I ever free them from their package.

Shoes, even my shoes are too big! My favorite flip-flops from last summer? Too big! My old favorite socks, also purchased by the bagful, were also worn and stretched-out. When they started to slip off of my heel and slide under the bottom of my foot, I immediately invested in some athletic socks that have turned out to be worth every single penny!

I recently tossed out my over-sized, tattered pajamas that I have been wearing for 15 years and am currently sleeping in baggy shorts and T-shirts that are still in good shape, but too big to wear in public. I’ll put off purchasing new lingerie until it is closer to my 22nd wedding anniversary in July (wink, wink)!!!

If you see someone wondering the aisles of lace, cotton and spandex infused under-garments, with a glazed look of confusion in her eyes, don’t freak out, it just might be me!

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Exercise and Your Changing Body

Exercise and Your Changing BodyYes, this is a picture of me taken a few years ago.

For the first few weeks of this series I have been talking about diet. Well, diet is important when you are trying to lose weight and change your body. But, to be healthy, you MUST exercise, too.

Forget about fancy hair-dos and perfect make-up, this is the time to sweat! Put on some loose fitting clothes and start moving! You must put an exercise routine into your new lifestyle and in a few short weeks you will start noticing some interesting things going on with your body.

In this article, I discuss three of the “weirdest” changes I noticed when my body began taking a new shape.

First, you may notice your clothes are fitting better, but that damn scale hasn’t moved much. There is a perfectly good explanation for this. Muscle weighs more than fat. Do not weigh yourself everyday and do not use the scale as your only measurement of success. Write down your measurements, too. On the weeks you hate your scale, it is likely you will love your measuring tape!

Next, you may look at yourself in the mirror on day and notice weird “dents” in your body. This freaked me when I first noticed them, until I realized this was my muscle definition becoming visible. I was losing fat and muscles were showing up. I noticed them in my arms and legs first… and now, after months and months of hard and consistant work, I am seeing real abs. My pony keg is turning into a 12 pack! I love seeing new dents!

The third thing I want to mention today is that suddenly, you will embrace mild pain. You will come to enjoy feeling a tightness in your abs when you laugh, or your thighs when you go down a set of stairs and even your arms when you reach for something stored in a high cupboard. Each of these new sensations are reminders that you are strengthening your body. You know this mild discomfort is being exchanged for a leaner, and fitter YOU! You have heard it before, “No pain, no gain.” Yep, it really is true!

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Grocery Shopping for Weight Loss

Grocery Shopping for Weight LossNow that you have been changing your relationship with food, the next logical question is, “What can I eat if I want to lose weight and become healthier?”

There are so many fad diets on the market, it is easy to get confused. Many people give up on learning how to eat properly so they resort to diets that have you living off of shakes, or 500 calories a day with a hormonal supplement, or even the cabbage soup diet. All of these are short term diets. They don’t change the behaviors that made us overweight in the first place.

Remember, I am not writing this to tell you about the perfect diet, I am sharing with you the real life strategies that worked in my home to get our family losing weight and living a healthier lifestyle. The tips I share with you are simple changes that you can make, too.

Many medical conditions play a role in what some people may or may not be able to eat. So the following information is for persons with no dietary restrictions.

There are three things to keep in mind when grocery shopping for weight loss or to live a healthier lifestyle. Read the nutrition label, shop the outside perimeter of the store and stay away from anything “white” for the most part.

Read the Nutrition Label
By reading the nutrition labels on everything you buy, you will be better informed to make healthier decisions about what you are feeding your family.

Let’s start with milk. Compare the labels between dairy milk and an almond milk and you will easily choose to give almond milk a try. We switched to almond milk in our house nearly two years ago. Sure, it will take some getting used to, so start using it in smoothies, or in your coffee. In no time at all, you too, will have made the switch to a healthier alternative.

Prepared meals look like an easy alternative for lunches and dinners on a busy day. Brands like “Healthy Choice” or “Lean Cuisine” tempt you into a quick and easy meal, right? Wrong! These prepared foods are loaded with preservatives and sodium. Read the labels and make wise decisions.

Shop the Outside Aisles of the Grocery Store
When you shop the outside aisles of the grocery store first, you are filling your cart with fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats, almond milk, eggs and the like. Man (and woman) has been living off of Mother Earth since our initial existence. Prepared foods are more of a modern invention.

Try to stay away from foods that have been altered from their natural state. When a packaged product will stay fresh for months, what has been added to it? They add ingredients that will prolong the shelf life, but these products have barely been around long enough to test what they are doing to our life! Generally speaking, the fewer the number of ingredients, the better.

Fresh fruits and fresh vegetables are a better option than canned or frozen. Nuts are a better snack than a bag of processed potato chips. If you notice how grocery stores are designed, generally, the fresher foods are found on the perimeter of the store.

Stay Away From White Foods
Think about the color “white” as one of the food groups. It includes sugar, dairy, bleached flours, fat, rice, oats, and even white vegetables like potatoes. For the most part, to make them white, many are altered from their natural state. Potatoes make the list because they are high in starch, like corn, but that is too much detail to worry about this early in the lifestyle change.

Keep it simple and think twice before buying white. Choose multi-grain bread over a loaf of white sandwich bread. Choose a sweet potato over a white potato. If you like rice, choose wild grain or brown rice over white rice.

By staying away from “white” you will choose leaner meats. Those “white” veins in beef that people refer to as “marbling”… well, that is really fat. Use virgin olive oil instead of vegetable oil.

Sugar is white, enough said.

By changing the way you shop for food to fuel your body, you will make better choices. Remember to read the nutrition label, shop the outside aisles of the store first and avoid most foods that are white and you will start feeling healthier and losing weight without even thinking about the word, “diet”… besides, do you really want to participate in anything that starts with the letters D-I-E?

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Change the Way You Think About Food

Change the Way You Think About Food

Change the Way You Think About Food

Changing the way our family thought about food made a big difference in getting the excess weight off. Eating is necessary. The calories you consume give you energy. You burn that energy by physical movement. We had to learn to eat for what we were about to do, not to eat for what we had done. Let me explain… you work hard all day and you come home starving. You likely have not eaten since lunch. So you eat a large dinner and do a few chores. Then you sit down to watch television, read a book or get on the computer for an hour or so before going to bed. Think about it, this is completely backwards, especially if you often eat a late dinner. You are not going to burn off all of those calories, are you? Of course not, so you start packing on the pounds.

Instead of coming home and eating a large meal, with little or no physical activity planned for the rest of your day, you need to do one of two things. You can either eat less, or squeeze a workout into your evening about an hour after dinner. Otherwise, those calories are going straight to your hips and thighs. I know you have heard this before, but you are better off consuming those extra calories in the morning, when you have the rest of the day to work them off.

It took some training, but we learned we had to eat for we were about to do, not what had already been accomplished.

Another change we had to make was more difficult, because we are “social eaters.” Food was always a huge, full-scale production. Even if friends and family were not coming to dinner, we would still make so much food we could eat off of the leftovers for days! We put a stop to having folks over for fish fries, and other large dinner parties every single weekend. We still cook out, but now the meals are healthier and reserved for special occasions.

We began using smaller plates, for a short period of time, to grasp the concept of portion control. Thanksgiving dinners and all you can eat buffets were horrible. A smorgasbord of heart stopping junk food! Eat as much as you can, get your money’s worth! At Thanksgiving, we would have seconds of stuffing and mashed potatoes while looking forward to a piece of pumpkin pie and whipped cream. It was overkill – and the ones we were killing were us!

We also learned we were eating seconds just because the food tasted so good. Now, we immediately put away the leftovers and save them for another day. If we grill eight chicken breasts, our family of four gets one each for dinner and the other four are immediately put into the fridge for lunch the next day.

Something else that was tough to overcome was the realization that we do not have to eat every morsel on our dish. As a child I was always told, “Clean your plate!” That phrase is absolutely not allowed in my home!

Change your relationship with food by understanding that it is simply fuel for your body. Food is not your friend, not your lover and not a warm blanket to comfort you when you’ve had a bad day. If you have a tendency to overeat, you must end the affair and change the way you currently think about food.

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HCG: This Time It’s Personal

HCG: This Time It's PersonalBy: Leanne Richardson
CrossFit Nutrition Coach

We, in the fitness industry, have seen our fair share of fad diets and “miracle” weight loss pills and potions. Heck, we’ve even tried a few! Our general reaction is to provide you with sensible information that we feel is helpful and safe, while quietly nodding our heads, waiting for the fad to pass.

But not this time. As many of you have become our friends, even like family over the years, we will not stand quietly by as licensed medical professionals put not only their integrity but, more importantly, YOUR HEALTH on the line.

The latest fad in the race to “get-thin-fast” has gone too far. Harvard Medical School assistant professor of medicine Pieter Cohen, as quoted in a recent report by U.S. News, describes the HCG diet as “(It’s) Reckless, irresponsible, and completely irrational.”

HCG is a hormone that is produced naturally by pregnant women; in fact, it’s actually the hormone that pregnancy tests check for when confirming a pregnancy. The controversy escalates as the hormone gains popularity as a means of weight loss in obese individuals, when combined with a very low calorie diet. In theory, the HCG allows you to eat very little without experiencing the pangs of hunger. The catch? You might want to sit down, there’s more than one.

The most obvious is the sheer stringency of the protocol. The original prescription HCG is a daily injection. Anyone nervous about needles? There are now non-prescription HCG drops that are taken several times a day. Every time you take the drops, you must wait 15 minutes before eating or drinking. Every time I hear of someone having lost weight with HCG, there is always a BUT. Usually the BUT is that the HCG drops only work when accompanied by a very strict 500 calorie per day diet. There has been much discussion about whether the HCG is responsible for the weight loss, or simply the starvation diet. Placebo studies are lending evidence that, as you might expect, a 500 calorie starvation diet equals weight loss, any way you slice it!

What this 500 calorie diet does not lend itself to, however, is strong workouts. In fact, patients are urged not to exercise while on the diet. When we heard this, we were appalled! It makes perfect sense that a person would not be able to exercise on so few calories, but that doesn’t make it excusable. Any experienced athlete will tell you that it does not take long at all before you start losing your hard earned muscle if you aren’t exercising regularly. Although, technically, exercise is not required to lose weight, it is required to build and maintain muscle. Most importantly, muscle is what supports metabolism, so losing that sacred muscle tone means also watching your metabolism slow to a crawl. This dreaded loss of muscle mass and metabolism is often to blame for many dieters regaining lost bodyfat.

Manufacturers of HCG drops are proud to tell about how the HCG hormone is naturally produced in the body, in order to convey the message that it is safe to use. I must remind those who might confuse the word natural with safe that although we are still unaware of the potential effects of supplemental HCG on the non-pregnant body, there are many other hormones and other substances that while produced naturally in the body, can be severely detrimental to our health when used inappropriately. For instance, estrogen is a hormone produced naturally by men and women but when used inappropriately can dramatically increase one’s likelihood of developing cancers. Another example is the neurotransmitter serotonin, also known as the “happiness hormone”, it is made naturally in the body and is crucial to many systems including the central nervous system. However, an overabundance of serotonin from an outside source can cause receptors to become less sensitive and our body’s own serotonin production is no longer enough to elicit the proper neurological response. NATURAL DOES NOT MEAN SAFE.

Another fact that the manufacturers of HCG are eager to tell you about is that it is approved by the FDA. That would be a particularly pertinent piece of information IF it were related to its use as a weight loss aid. This is not the case. The FDA has been very clear that its approval of HCG as a treatment for infertility and other related disorders does not include weight loss. Elizabeth Miller, FDA’s leader for the internet and health fraud team calls the marketing and sale of HCG products as a weight loss aid an “economic fraud” and calls them “unapproved drugs” and even “illegal”.

Adding to the list of claims made by manufacturers of HCG drops is that they are homeopathic. Upon my most recent visit to a local retailer which sells HCG drops, I picked up a copy of a booklet put out by AnuMed International, a manufacturer of HCG drops. On the first page, under the title “Mission Statement” is the section “What is Homeopathy?” After a brief description of the history of homeopathy, the section goes on to say “At AnuMed-International, we are committed to the science behind homeopathy. From our research, for example, has come our “e” technology and the use of Active Water.” Neither Elizabeth Miller nor I am impressed. Miller says, “We are aware of HCG products that claim to be homeopathic, but it is not recognized in the Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia.” Therefore, these products “are not recognized by the FDA as homeopathic drugs, so they are unapproved drugs and are illegal,” she says.

Upon further examination of the booklet I found that the diet promotes not just one, but several, unhealthy and potentially dangerous habits. The one that first jumped out to me is found on pages 10 and 11 with a description of the three phases of the diet. Within one two-page spread I find this same disturbing recommendation three times. In Phase II, they recommend that you “Continue to weigh daily during this phase” indicating to me that you are expected to weigh daily in the first phase, as well. Just 4 lines below, in the description of Phase III you are instructed again to “Weigh Daily.” And again on the opposite page, in case you missed it the first two times, you are instructed to “Start weighing yourself every morning.” I have personally heard from several of our members that have thrown out their bathroom scales, and I applaud you. Although weight is one of the many tools that we use to measure fat loss, we encourage those that are interested in a slimmer waistline to look for JUST THAT, a slimmer waistline!

As many of you already know, muscle weighs more than fat, and multiple factors can affect the number on the scale, so the best way to judge success is by the way that your clothes fit. If you would agree that this daily bowing to the holy bathroom scale is an unhealthy religion to adopt then I think you’ll find the next practice of the HCG diet equally sinful. If something is to go awry on your HCG diet and you get a less–than-pleasing report from your daily weigh-in, AnuMed-Intl has this to say, “If you go over your established weight by 2 pounds or more, you MUST switch ONLY to water, coffee, tea, minerals and vitamins during the day and in the evening, Dr. Simeons says to have a steak day – no food until dinner. Have a large steak with either a tomato or an apple. You should be back on track the next day.” This kind of fasting is only appropriate for a person who is conditioned for such an event. There are times when intermittent fasting is appropriate and can actually be beneficial; however, in the circumtance of a person who evidently has some problems managing what they put in their mouth, a fast like this is completely inappropriate and could very likely lead them even further off-course. The booklet also mentions later that if you should experience a plateau that you are to take one day to have “an apple day where you only eat up to 6 apples plus drink water, tea or coffee ad libitum.” This is merely an act of flushing out excess waste and water weight which will return as soon as you return to normal eating. This is all very confusing to the average reader. If you have a plateau, you are to have an apple day, but if you gain over 2 pounds according to the holy bathroom scale you are to have a steak day??? Wouldn’t you agree that there’s a very fine line between a plateau and a gain which you would remedy with two completely different solutions? A day of fasting with a large portion of protein at the end is very different than an entire day of fruit. So, which is it? It’s all a bit vague and sounds like xto me.

The final bone that I have to pick is the apparent relationship between AnuMed International and Stevia International. Stevia is the brand name of a popular sweetener. On the HCG diet, sugar and other sweeteners are strictly forbidden, exept Stevia. HCG dieters are encouraged to use Stevia to sweeten their coffee. It is even featured as an ingredient in EVERY SINGLE recipe in the “Treats” section. Also in the “Treats” section is an entire page exclusively featuring Stevia and touting its benefits. In fact, Stevia is mentioned at least two other times in the booklet, one instance includes the website for Stevia International on the bottom of a page that does not even contain any text about the use of Stevia. The other mention of Stevia, including an image of the product, is on one of the very first pages titled, The Original HCG Diet which outlines the foods that are allowed on the strict 500 calorie diet. I find that this repeated promotion of Stevia calls into question the motives of AnuMed Internatationnal.

Is AnuMed International trying to make you thinner or are they trying to make a dollar?

If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. We care too much about the overall health of our members to watch you be manipulated by marketing, manufacturing, and medical and health professionals that you trust. If you have any concerns about healthy diet and exercise choices feel free to call or stop by CLUB 14 FITNESS for more information.

Grass Fed Beef is Not Grass Finished Beef

Grass Fed Beef is Not Grass Finished BeefCattle raised on a forage or grass fed diet for their entire lives are often moved to a grain fed environment before slaughter. Fat is what gives beef the marbling, making it juicy and tasty. Some in the livestock industry will make sure the cows are carefully fed to give you the taste you expect.

If you are purchasing what you believe to be an organic cut of beef you need to research if the steers are permitted to live out their entire lives on fresh grass and clover with no wheat, chemicals, antibiotics or nitrogen fertilizers. You are looking for Grass Finished beef.

Grass fed beef is more expensive than the steaks, roast and ground beefs you find in the butcher shop of your local grocery store and can be as high as $5.00 to $13.00 per pound, depending on the cut.

Quality pastures are required for finishing cattle. “To get a quality finish on pasture, cattle need to gain at least 2 lbs./day for the final 60-90 days before harvest,” according to an article in Cow-Calf Weekly, written by Jim Gerrish.

For more information read the entire article here:

Portion Control and Dieting

Portion Control and DietingPeople do not know how to eat. Since our family entered CLUB 14 FITNESS’ Forever Fit Challenge earlier this year, the question we hear most is, “What CAN you eat?”

The first thing to consider when you truly want to cut your waistline is to cut your portion sizes. There is no one thing that works for everyone, but we have learned a few tips that may help you control your portions when carrying a food scale everywhere you go is out of the question.

    -If you eat out, immediately ask for a to-go box and place half of your meal in the box right away.
    -Your meat portion should be about the size of a deck of cards, no bigger (unless it is baked or grilled fish).
    -If you grill eight pork chops for dinner for your family of four, immediately put the extra four in the refrigerator so no one will be tempted with seconds.
    -Read the label. You will be suprised how many servings are really in one small bag of chips.
    -A 12 ounce glass may be what is in your cupboard when an 8 ounce serving is suggested.
    -Use smaller plates. Hide the large dinner plates and serve yourself dinner on a smaller plate. The plate will be full, but you will be reducing your portion sizes.
    -Visualize your serving sizes. A golf ball is about 1/4 cup and a one cup serving is about the size of a baseball.
    WebMD describes a 1/2 cup serving as the size of a lightbulb and a single tablespoon serving as the size of a poker chip.
    -Ask for dressings and other sauces on the side so you can control how much you are served.
    -Do not keep snacks in the house, in your desk or in your car.
    -Never, EVER, Supersize anything!

Cook plenty of fresh vegetables with every meal and have as much of those as you desire! We serve large portions of foods like tossed salad, steamed broccoli and fresh sliced tomatoes and cucumbers at every meal. These are great choices to serve in abundance, but only serve them without the cheese sauce, butter or oil dressings!

Know something we should? Email me at

HCG Diet

HCG Weight Loss Diet

HCG Weight Loss Diet

Everywhere I go lately people are talking about the HCG Diet. This is a low calorie diet using sublingual drops or a daily injection of HCG to curb appetite and help burn fat. Health food stores are selling it and doctors are advertising this weight loss program… but what is the HCG Diet?

I spoke with Carmen Martinez MD, a local physician, about the HCG diet to learn more. HCG stands for Human ChorionicGonadotropin, the pregnancy hormone found in women only, never in men. It is produced in women in the placenta and by definition, only when women are pregnant. It is thought that it’s main purpose is to prevent the developing baby from starving should the mother be unable to find nourishment for herself. HCG will burn the mother’s fat stores so that the the baby will be nourished.

When this is used in a program to lose weight, daily hormonal injections, combined with a very low-calorie diet has resulted in dynamic weight loss. It is thought this is because the low calorie diet of 500 calories a day does not supply enough energy to to activities of daily living so the body starts to burn its own fat. Carbohydrates are stored as fat when we eat more calories than we burn up on any given day. Getting these calories out of “storage” or burning fat is usually very difficult and it is this that is facilitated by HCG. Fat metabolism is extremely complicated and influenced by many factors. To burn fat you must have used up most of the carbohydrates (sugars) that are in your bloodstream at a given moment in time. Then the body turns to the carbohydrates stored in muscles and lastly to carbohydrates stored in fat. Doing low level aerobic exercise with a target heart-rate no greater than 75% of maximal is the best way to burn fat (walking is best). The key however is to have a low level of insulin which thus allows glucogon made in the liver to be released. Insulin is the hormone responsible for storing carbohydrates (sugars) in fat cells and glucogon is the hormone that is responsible for releasing carbohydrates from fat cells. Each hormone has an anti hormone to keep the body in balance. Insulin’s anti hormone is glucogon, and it is produced by the body when one is hungry and when insulin levels are low. It is thought HCG helps to somehow mobilize fat so that it is easier to metabolize or burn, although this has not been proven. It is actually thought to work like the other gonadotropins (sex hormones) through the anterior pituatary gland (at the base of the brain) although this also has not been proven. Hormones all have an “anti” hormone and these fight a continous battle, like the Yin and the Yang, to keep the body in a steady state at the same weight.

Daily Injections
Yes, the needle variety

Low Calorie Diet
About 500 calories per day

Some HCG programs will also add on a weekly Lipotropic shot. It sounds fancy, but it is really a fortified B12 shot.

Since 500 calories is extremely restrictive, to do this diet safely, you should first consult with a doctor and submit to some blood work before you begin the diet and you should continue to be monitored on a regular basis.

M.D. Weight Management Solutions has three locations in the Jacksonville area that are now offering the HCG Diet. In Jacksonville, they are at 6410 Beach Blvd; in Jacksonville Beach at 460 Osceola Drive, and one in Yulee at the North Florida Ob-Gyn building on the corner of State RD 200 and St. Peter’s Blvd.

These diet programs are very successful and people are satisfied with their weight loss and the fact that they are not hungry. The program includes a simple diet to follow daily. People are instructed to weigh their food and to stay as close to 500 calories as they possibly can. One must not eat more than is dictated or you will not lose weight and it is only possible to eat so little due to the effects of the HCG. Drinking over eight glasses of water a day is recommended.

After the weight reducing phase of the diet (30 to 40 days during the time you take the injections or sublingual drops) you enter the next phase where you are on a restricted Atkins diet for no less than six weeks. After this phase it is good to transition to a Zone diet. The Zone diet offers long term weight management, improves arthritic complaints (inflamation) and enhances peak athletic performance.

For more information or to make an appointment at one of their locations, call (904) 493-6967.

Paleo Candy Bars

Candy Bars

Candy Bars

Many people are still on their New Year’s Diets or lifestyle changes that include a healthier way of eating. With our current exposure to sugar and fast foods, it is hard to eat healthy while on a budget and constantly on the “go.”

Apparently, there is a Paleo candybar! Some say this is a fabulous frozen treat and it really hits the spot when you are craving something sweet.

Paleo, sometimes called The Caveman Diet, is a style of eating that some experts say promotes optimum health as it copies the way our Paleolithic ancestors ate.

Way before processed foods, when humans lived in caves, our ancestors ate foods that had to be hunted, gathered or caught, as in fish.

As the Forever Fit Challenge kicks-off this week in Fernandina Beach, I thought it would be great to post an option for those of us who have a sweet tooth!

You can find this and other information on If You Can’t Pronounce It, Don’t Eat It. A fun blog titled, My Cavegirl-Kitchen Experiments and Adventures in Fitness.

Paleo Candy Bars


3-4 Tbsp coconut oil
1/4 cup carob powder or cocoa (optional)
1/2 cups ground nuts (almonds, hazelnuts)
3/4 cups dried shredded coconut
1 Tbsp or more to taste honey (optional)

Start by melting the honey and oil in a saucepan over medium heat on the stove
Add carob, nuts and coconut
Form into a square by dumping into a small baking sheet or into mini muffin cups and freeze or refrigerate until hardened.
Cut and eat

More great recipes can be found on

Forever Fit Challenge 2011 Begins

Forever Fit Challenge 2011 Begins

Forever Fit Challenge 2011 Begins

This week brought the start of the Forever Fit Challenge 2011, sponsored by CLUB 14 FITNESS. My son, daughter and husband have all committed to the challenge by entering the contest which could bring them a nice cash prize at the end.

SearchAmelia will once again be following contestants as they take the CLUB 14 FITNESS Forever Fit challenge and begin making changes that will last a lifetime!

If you followed our video series last year, you have already met our son, Alex. He finished in 2nd place in last year’s challenge and has continued losing through the year and his goal weight is now in sight. Having tipped the scales at 297 pounds last year, he lost an astounding 46 pounds in the eight weeks of the contest. Since the contest ended he has continued to go to CLUB 14 FITNESS and work out on a regular basis. He has once again entered this year’s contest because he feels it will give him the motivation to rid himself of those final, oh-so-hard to lose pounds.

This season we also follow my husband, Lawrence, and our teenage daughter, Ally; both are determined to win first place! Me? I will be playing the home version of the game to reap the benefits of my entire family being motivated to get fit. We are all familiar faces at the gym, but for the next eight weeks we will be stepping up the pace.

We realize that is also our family’s eating habits that are in need of a major overhaul! These are lifestyle changes! Over the past year every member of our household has been weaned – first from 2%, then 1% dairy milk to finally making the switch to almond.

Will we survive Super Bowl Sunday as we attempt to avoid the tasty bar-b-que wings, cheese stuffed jalapeno, pizza and beer?

Along the journey we will be sharing our tips, recipes, frustrations and triumphs. We have an interesting eight weeks ahead of us, so hop aboard and fasten your seat belts, it’s going to be a great ride! (Now to figure out what to do with this avocado!)

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