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When Health Fads Go Too Far – The Jillian Mai Thi Protocol

I absolutely love alternative medicine. I have always been drawn to the alternatives in life; choosing the road less traveled and doing my best to utilize more natural methods before turning to harsher, more medicalized methods of treatment. I absolutely adored gripe water for my gassy children as infants. I use herbals on nearly a daily basis. I am a huge cloth diapering advocate. I have been heavily involved in direct peer-to-peer breast milk donation. I even had an unassisted homebirth after two prior cesareans. The word “alternative” is a frequent theme in my life.

While I adore alternative medicine, modern medicine (and heaven forbid, science and biology) have their place. If I have the sniffles, sure, I’m going to try some licorice root chews and some vitamin C to help curb it. If those sniffles turn into thick green snot, a headache and fever, then it might be time for an antibiotic before this sinus infection gets dangerous. There’s nothing wrong with trying natural methods first, but our society hasn’t advanced as far as it has when it comes to medical care for no reason.

But is there a point where alternative medicine goes too far?

Take a look at your Facebook feed right now and I bet that within a few minutes of scrolling, you’ll find someone selling a magical cure-all; be it an essential oil, a wrap, a pink drink, a weight loss patch, a supplement, or even a magical unicorn to keep in your backyard. The majority of these cure-alls are peddled by multi-level-marketing distributors, while some are self-promoted individuals unaffiliated with any other company or service. While many of these products/services do have legitimate benefits and perks to their use (especially the unicorn), results are often greatly exaggerated by distributors and self-promoters (no, I don’t believe chromium is going to cure grandpa’s lung cancer), thus giving these companies/individuals a pretty bad rap. Regardless of any legitimate benefits, these independent distributors and self-promoters are revered as nothing more than modern day snake oil salesman, even more so with the almost cult-like following these companies and individual somehow manage to gain. While most of these products being peddled aren’t blatantly harmful or deceptive, there are some that are.

Jillian Mai Thi Protocol

I stumbled across a post about the Jillian Mai Thi protocol while lounging in my hotel room on vacation. She is an individual, unaffiliated with any parent company, working on a book about her cure-all juice that fans have nicknamed JJ (or “Jillian Juice”).

I will admit, I was curious. I am always down for learning new tips and tricks to keep myself and my family healthy and happy, however, it only took a few minutes to realize exactly how dangerous what this woman was promoting was. This wasn’t a simple antioxidant drink, or vitamin supplement, this was a recipe for disaster. Jillian’s “juice” is an extremely dangerous fad that could have permanent and even lethal consequences, advertised as a cure-all.

Wait… Did you catch any of that? I’m not sure I did either. We’re curing the… alphabet???

What’s in it?

For the sake of keeping it simple, Jillian’s juice contains cabbage, kale, distilled water and an obscene amount of salt. It is supposedly a fermented drink, however, this isn’t true. Fermentation is a biological process characterized by the chemical breakdown of yeast, sugar, bacteria and other substances. A ferment cannot be achieved in just three days. It simply isn’t possible. Participants are drinking up to a gallon of this concoction alongside a “diet” Jillian recommends (with no actual scientific reasoning behind it).

I know what you’re thinking; surely cabbage and kale can’t be all that bad for you. Really, they aren’t on their own! I would definitely suggest incorporating them into your diet as often as you can! However, the danger in Jillian’s magical juice is the salt content. I have been told the original recipe required 1 tablespoon of salt per cup, while the current recipe states 1 tablespoon of salt per two cups. The salt content is where we run into trouble. The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) recommends a daily value of no more than 2,400mg of sodium per day for adults and children over 4 years of age. The American Heart Association recommends and even more conservative 1,500mg of sodium per day.

Now here’s the kicker… A single teaspoon of salt contains 2,300mg of sodium. There are 3 teaspoons per tablespoon. A gallon contains 16 cups, which means the old recipe had 16 tablespoons and 110,400mg of sodium per gallon, while the new recipe contains 8 tablespoons of salt and 55,200mg of sodium. Considering the damaging effect sodium has on the heart, kidneys, liver and other organs, excess sodium consumption can lead to dehydration, high blood pressure, heart failure, osteoporosis, stomach cancer, kidney disease, headaches, puffiness, bloating, enlarged heart tissue, stroke, and other medical conditions.

The amount of sodium in a half-cup of the new recipe is more than the total recommended daily value of sodium. Jillian is recommending up to a gallon a day, despite the fact that 1 half cup of the concoction is more than the American Heart Association recommended daily sodium intake.

Endangering Infants

As someone actively involved with pregnant and breastfeeding women in my community, I have developed a passion for helping women with their babies. Sometimes these moms come to me because they need breastfeeding help, supplementation help, or their baby appears to be colicky. If there’s one thing I have learned, its that parents with a high needs baby are often sleep deprived, exhausted and desperate. I have met exasperated parents who were to the point that if I had told them wearing a chicken suit and crowing at the full moon standing in a bucket of Jell-o would cure their child’s colic, I’m not so sure they wouldn’t have tried it. Being a parent is hard. Being a parent to a high needs infant… It’s a test of endurance and often leaves parents desperate for a solution; they’ll try anything. If you  throw in a baby with medical issues on top of that, and the desperation increases exponentially. This is where Jillian is giving even more lethal advice;

 

This is where it gets even more alarming. Jillian actually believes that breast milk is a danger due to the parasites, bacteria and contaminants that can be found in breast milk and that her protocol is superior. Take a listen to this video where she claims if a man had a baby, in the middle of nowhere, she would not want him to use another woman’s breast milk; he should use the juice.

Breastfeeding mothers are told their bodies and their milk are toxic and are poisoning their babies. Jillian even posted a link to an article talking about the transmission of pathogens to support her claim that breast milk is dangerous and toxic to a baby.

When a commenter mentioned that he had heard breast milk actually helps to cure cancer, Jillian quickly shut it down, arguing that if that were true there would be no cancer in those populations.

Formula is no exception to her philosophy. When members of her community expressed concerns about fat content, since both breast milk and formula contain significant amounts of fat, Jillian suggested rubbing olive oil or coconut oil into the baby’s skin to all them to “absorb” the fat.

You did not misread. Jillian truly believes that babies can be sustained on nothing but cabbage, kale, water and a lethal amount of salt. The amount of salt in Jillian’s concoction is too much for even a full-grown man, let alone a developing infant who desperately needs the sugars, carbohydrates and fats that breast milk and formula provide. Let us not forget the case of a 17-month-old infant who died last year after being fed a single teaspoon of salt in South Carolina. Please keep in mind that the NHS recommends less than 0.4mg of sodium per day in infants 12 months of age and younger, and less than 0.8mg per day in children 1 to 4 years of age. Remember the calculations we did earlier? A single ounce of Jillian’s concoction contains 431mg of sodium, far exceeding the recommendations for infants and toddlers.

But guys! Jillian says this is perfectly safe for our babies.

Jillian does acknowledge there is risk when using her concoction on infants and children; legal risk. She has a file detailing exactly what to do if you run into problems with Children’s Protective services over the use of this juice on a minor.

Take a minute and really read what she wrote. This is the woman people are taking advice from. Dangerous and potentially lethal advice. Carnal knowledge (sex) and Kosher law (Jewish dietary practices) have absolutely nothing to do with children’s services, nor will they save you if they become involved. Parents have been investigated from the reports of strangers online (anyone remember the Australian mother who tried to sell her kids on eBay?) Lastly, while this drink may be considered Kosher, it is scientifically evident that it is dangerous (even more so in children) and lacking in nutrients, thus, nutritional neglect. Children’s services is not going to give a flying you-know-what that this drink is considered Kosher.

I don’t know about you, but if your favorite new diet trend/fad has a warning on how to deal with Children’s Services…. I’m willing to bet it’s a bad idea.

Let’s regrow body parts and erase an extra chromosome, shall we?

If you weren’t sold on Jillian’s magical salty juice concoction, wait until you hear this! Jillian claims her juice has helped a circumcised man regrow his foreskin (which, presumably, his parents made the decision to wrongfully take from him).

 

Jillian also claims that her drink will correct down syndrome. I don’t know about you, but being able to completely delete a third chromosome from a person’s body is pretty wild. I mean, I can barely delete my emails and Jillian’s magical potion can delete excess chromosomes?

As if this wasn’t enough, many people are using Jillian’s concoction on their pets, to which Jillian has warned her community, that if the animals have been spayed or neutered, it will reverse the procedure. For those who are unfamiliar, when a female dog or cat is spayed, the entire uterus is removed. When a male is neutered, the testicles are completely removed. Jillian believes that her juice can regrow non-regenerative organs that have been surgically removed.

Now I’m wondering if my appendix will regrow…

Don’t go chasing waterfalls…

Let’s talk about what Jillian calls “waterfalls,” AKA explosive diarrhea. Jillian claims this intense diarrhea is “healing” in nature and non-dehydrating. Obviously when drinking this concoction, your body is under a great deal of stress. The excessive sodium will dehydrate you and contribute to diarrhea. I pride myself on being a good writer, but I’m not even sure I can handle this one, so I will let the screenshots speak for themselves.

Wait, what?! And this is celebrated and encouraged? Where’s the puke emoji when you need it?

Jillian’s “Protocol” is dangerous and potentially lethal…

Many people have reported experiencing illness or sickness while attempting Jillian’s protocol. Some have even ended up in the hospital. There has been at least one death that the public is aware of and numerous adverse side effects reported.These complaints and concerns are quickly dismissed as being “signs of healing.” This protocol is dangerous and is being applied not only orally, but used topically, in the eyes and ears, and even in a nebulizer (which believe it or not, is frequently discussed and encouraged in this group). One woman even ended up in the hospital following this recommendation.

I have no words for this. Here we have a woman who works in the medical field, who has been persuaded into doing something as crazy as nebulizing this salty cabbage concoction. And this wasn’t just an off the wall idea; this is a COMMON thing and is talked about in Jillian’s “files” as a way to reap more benefit from the juice.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, mold is also a common concern, to which Jillian recommends just removing the layer of mold and stirring it.  Again, where is that puke emoji when I need it?

I brew kombucha semi-often and if there’s one thing I learned from that, it’s that mold ruins everything. If your brew grows mold, you throw it out. It’s too dangerous to risk consuming. And I have had it happen to my poor kombucha brew before… But again, if it molds, it’s not safe. I’m pretty sure the same goes for this (even though this “ferment” likely has zilch for active cultures, despite what Jillian claims).

How you can help…

I could go on about all of the horrifying things Jillian preaches all day, but this is all the time we have for today (stay tuned for part 2). People are dying from this “protocol.” People are hurting themselves and hurting their families by blindly trusting this health cult leader. People are seriously compromising their health by trying this “great new way of healing.”

Do your research. Talk to your doctor (I guarantee you, not even the quackiest of doctors will recommend this).

What’s even more shocking is how far Jillian’s reach has spread. Her group contains over 30,000 members and is growing by the day. Every day, new members post pictures of themselves making their drinks and talking about how excited they are to try to protocol. This is dangerous and terrifying. There are a few ways you can help;

Have you heard of the Mai Thi Protocol? Did you try it? What are your thoughts?

 

 

 

 

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Personalabs.com Review

I recently discovered I have issues with my TSH levels. Without getting into the nitty-gritty details of it, my TSH levels are affecting other systems in my body. I started medications and have been waiting for a re-draw, but, as my six-year-old says, I’ve got ants in my pants and I am impatient. I have made some massive  dietary changes, and the idea of keeping up the dietary changes if it’s not working, sounds like torture. While researching more on dietary changes that benefit people with high TSH levels, I found some information on a website called Personalabs.com.


Personalabs.com

I wasn’t really sure about it at first. I watched the videos and read about how it works, but I was still uncertain. Some states are ineligible to participate, but if you’re in an eligible state, it’s a pretty simple process.

  1. Order your tests
    Really, it’s as simple as buying something off of amazon. You find the test you want, add it to your cart and checkout. Easy peasy!
  2. Make sure your patient information is filled out
    After you checkout, make sure you fill out your patient information. I didn’t realize I needed to and there was a slight delay on getting my orders back because of it. My second order from Personalabs came in almost instantly, since my patient info had already been filled out.
  3. Check back for your lab orders
    It can take about 24 hours for your lab orders to appear in your patient portal. Once they arrive, print these out! You’ll need to take them with you!
  4. Take your lab orders to the nearest approved testing site
    Personalabs has approved collection sites across the country. Once you have your lab orders in hand, take them with you to the nearest collection site, which you can find by using Personalabs locator tool! You may or may not need an appointment, so if you’re unsure, call the collection facility. Because I had to travel a bit to get to the one nearest me, I made sure to schedule an appointment.
  5. Update your patient portal with the date your sample was collected
    Once your specimen has been collected, be sure to update the date in your patient portal. By entering the date you had your labs collected, Personalabs is better able to make sure you get your results in a timely manner and will get after the laboratories on your behalf if it takes longer than expected.
  6. Kick back and take it easy while you wait for your results!
    It really couldn’t be any simpler! Once your results are in, they will appear in your patient portal! You can then use your newfound health data however you choose, or print it out and bring it with you to your next doctor appointment.

My experience with Personalabs was amazing. I was stunned at how easy the process was, and even more stunned at how quickly the results came in! My labs were drawn in Anchorage, Alaska, shipped to somewhere in Washington and I had results available to me the next morning when I woke up, less than 18 hours after the initial blood draw! I couldn’t believe it. I have had labs drawn at the local hospital that take days and days (sometimes even weeks!) to come back; yet this came back ridiculously fast! I couldn’t believe it!

I never knew that you could order blood work online prior to using Personalabs.com but I am so glad I found them! I am not able to take control of my health, reduce the costs associated with my lab work, and get timely results from my lab work! Ordering lab work online has never been easier thanks to Personalabs!

Overall Rating: 4.8 Stars

Fulfills Purpose Well
Design & Visual Appeal
Ease of use
Affordability
Earth-Friendliness

Fulfills Purpose Well:

Personalabs.com is amazing. I didn’t even know it was possible to order your own labwork without visiting a medical provider. Personalabs helps cut out the middleman and allow you full control over your health! I could not have been more pleased with the service.

Design & Visual Appeal

Personalabs.com has an easy to browse website. You can sort tests by function, system, condition, or even just view them alphabetically. Each test page has an informative description of the test, what it is for, and the estimated wait time for results.

Ease of Use

Personalabs.com was simple to use. I found the test I wanted, added it to my online shopping cart, paid for my purchase, filled out my information and waited for my orders. Once my orders were in and the lab was drawn, all I had to do was update my testing date. The only thing I would change is an email notification; Personalabs.com did not email me when my results were in. It would have been nice for an email alert.

Affordability

Personalabs.com is extremely affordable in comparison to traditional physician-ordered bloodwork. Instead of paying for a doctor appointment AND lab work, you simply pay for your labs. It includes the lab draw fee as well, so long as you use an approved collection facility. In my case, my TSH test only ran me about $40 after a coupon code; much cheaper than what I was recently billed for a TSH lab.

Earth Friendliness

Personalabs.com works in conjunction with thousands of testing facilities to make the experience easier on the consumer, delivering results directly to the patient portal online. There is no faxing or mailing paper copies of results from clinic to clinic. I’d say that’s about as earth friendly as a labwork company can get!


Blood Testing for your Healthy Well Being

*Disclaimer: I was not provided any compensation for this post, nor did I receive any complimentary products. I have purchased these items on my own, with my own money. My opinions expressed in this review have not been influenced and are my own. This post contains affiliate links.

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My Experience: Dental Work & Halcion

I am not going to lie. I am a big freaking baby when it comes to dental work. I can push a baby out in my kitchen with no drugs, but the second they start touching and scratching my teeth, I turn into a big blubbering wreck. I shake. I cry. Sometimes I puke. And I pass out. It’s a big, ugly and embarrassing ordeal, not to mention, a pain for the dentist trying to work on me while I’m doing all of the above. It just… never goes well.

In the past I have used a combination of valium (diazepam) and nitrous oxide (laughing gas) to deal with my dental anxiety. It’s been effective before and I figured that is what my new dentist would use. He told me they use something called triazolam for dental work (also known as halcion). I had never used triazolam and wasn’t sure what to expect. The youtube videos weren’t very reassuring, but I decided to just trust my dentist and go with the flow.

About Halcion

Halcion is primarily used for dental work, but at one point was used in medical and hospital settings, especially so for the treatment of insomnia and sleep disorders. It is a powerful sedative, in the same class as other benzodiazepines such as Xanax and Valium.  Halcion commonly produces retrograde amnesia, meaning the patient won’t remember what happened after the fact. Halcion seems to be preferred because patients can understand and comply with directions, but are relaxed enough to perform the work. Halcion is a controlled prescription drug in the United States. Patients under the influence of Halcion cannot drive to and from their appointment and will require an escort. Halcion is favored due to the fact there are few contraindications. For more information on Halcion and dental work, please visit Dr. Brian Hoffman’s website.

Taking the medication

My dentist instructed me to take the first pill an hour before my appointment. I felt absolutely nothing for about 20-30 minutes and then my legs started feeling funny and I wasn’t exactly able to form my thoughts into words as quickly as I would have liked to. Once I was at the dentist, he administered the remainder of the pills sublingually, under the tongue. Beyond this, I really don’t remember much, so you’ll need to watch the video.

Memory Loss

I only know this because I went through the texts and Facebook messages I sent while on the medication. I told people I felt fine and felt lucid, but I knew I was going to forget shortly… then an hour later I would send the same text message, not realizing I had already talked to the person and already said the same thing. This makes me worry I was conscious in the moment, but not after. I can remember some of the feelings and emotions (panic!) I had during the dental work, but I can’t really remember actual events. I do know at one point I was crying and panicking and I was given nitrous, but I am not sure if I actually remember this, or if I only “remember” it because I was told it afterward.

My overall impression

The halcion was effective in memory loss, but the effects lasted way too long. I don’t remember most of the entire day (and it was my 10 year wedding anniversary). It’s a weird feeling knowing you have amnesia over a certain period of time. I think, if I were to need dental sedation again, I would request valium and nitrous oxide. Valium wears off pretty quickly and relaxes you without the amnesia component.

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Hiking the Russian River Falls Trail in Cooper Landing, Alaska

I grew up in Alaska. I’ve been to many a body of water and on more trails than I can count. We recently took a trip down the Russian River Falls trail in Cooper Landing, Alaska, Catherine, Danielle, and I. It was about an hour from Soldotna (probably an hour and a half from Anchorage) and was an awesome workout. I loved it and plan to go again later this summer.

 

Russian River Falls Stats5

Elevation Gain: Russian River  500 feet.
Start Elevation: 1,400 feet
Rating:  Russian River Falls: Easy.
Distance:  Russian River Falls 2.3 miles one way.
Nearest Landmark: Cooper Landing, Alaska
Season:  Mid-May through mid-September
Popular:  Hiking, Mountain Biking, Fishing, Camping, Boating, Horseback Riding, Cross Country Skiing, Snowshoeing.

Where is the Russian River Falls trail?

Once you hit Cooper Landing, you will find the Russian River Campground access road at milepost 53 of the Sterling Highway.  The access road is narrow at points, so go slow to prepare for oncoming traffic. There is very limited parking at the trailhead and the trail tends to be very crowded when the salmon runs are in. Get there early and get a spot, but keep in mind there may be parking fees depending on the time of year. There is overflow parking available, but it is further from the trailhead and not as convenient!

What is the Russian River Falls trail like?

The Russian River Falls trail is about two miles long and is covered in gravel. The trail is a popular one and as such, is very well maintained. In some areas, the gravel felt a little deep for our wagon wheels and it took some force to pull/push through it with the two toddlers in the wagon. The trail is decently wide and comfortably able to accommodate two people walking side by side, maybe even three in some areas. The trail does have slight changes in elevation, which for normal non-wagon-pulling hikers, shouldn’t be an issue. On the way back, we were getting pretty sore pulling the wagon uphill. At the end of the trail, there’s a viewing deck and platform with a couple areas you can stop at to view the falls. The falls can be loud and wildlife viewing is common.

What kind of plants and animals can be seen on the Russian River Falls trail?

Catherine and I went semi-early in the season, so the foliage wasn’t quite showing off in full effect. We found labrador tea, horse tail, crowberry, cranberry, willow, yarrow, devil’s club, mushrooms, ostrich fern, tree fungi and more.

As far as wildlife, many animals call the areas near the trail home, including many species of birds (you may even see eagles!), squirrels,  moose, ducks, caribou (if you’re lucky!), black bears, brown bears, and salmon in the falls! The salmon who make it to the falls, have managed to evade fisherman and bears along the Kenai river and are in the final stretch of their journey to spawn and die.

Is the Russian River Falls trail a good trail for kids?

Catherine and I took two toddlers in a wagon and a baby in a carrier on the trail. While the wagon got heavy on some of the uphill parts, it was a relatively easy and kid-friendly trail. There were a few points where the gravel felt a little too deep for the wagon wheels, but overall, it was easy enough. It is a long walk (2.3 miles one way) and older children may not do as well walking on their own if they aren’t used to it.

Can I camp at the Russian River Falls?

There are campsites available, as well as cabins that can be rented near the falls and the lake. These campsites may have fees associated.

Safety Precautions

Where there are fish, the bears and wildlife will follow. Bear sightings are common on the Russian River Falls trail and it’s a good idea to brush up on bear safety practices. If you are able to, it’s not a bad idea to bring guns with you on your hike. It’s better to have weapons and not need them, than to need them and not have them.

As always, never hike alone and always bring a buddy. Tell people when you leave, where you are going and when you expect to be back.

Extra Tips

Be sure to bring plenty of water with you, especially in warmer weather. There are no fountains along the way and it’s not wise to drink water from the falls without adequate filtration.

Mosquitoes can be a nuisance. Be sure to use bug repellent to keep them at bay. Depending on the time of year and the weather on that particular day, the mosquitoes may be more or less of a bother. Best to be prepared!

 

 

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Foods to AVOID for hypothyroid

Unfortunately, I was recently diagnosed with hypothyroidism. I made myself a handy little chart of foods to avoid in order to promote healthier TSH levels and thought I would share!

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HCG Diet P2-Friendly Chocolate Jello Bite Delight


I am not a chocolate junkie. I don’t scarf it down like crazy, but every so often, I get a chocolate craving. And when I say chocolate craving, we are talking about the most simple chocolate craving there is; a chocolate bar. I don’t want pudding, or cake, or shakes, just a plain old chocolate bar. What am I supposed to do during phase two of the HCG diet when chocolate bars are off limits?!

In the HCG Diet Support group I found on facebook, there is a recipe that is passed around more than the salt and pepper at my family’s house on Thanksgiving. They call it “Chocolate Delight.” It sounds delightful. Hell, anything chocolate sounds delightful right now. What is this chocolate delight everyone swears by? It’s similar to a chocolate bar, made with cocoa, sweetener, and…. coconut oil. FYI for those of you who don’t know, coconut and I do not get along. I want to love coconut, really, I do, but it makes insanely sick, vomiting, diarrhea, and for some weird reason, I start shaking whenever I have it.  And of course, there really aren’t any oils similar to coconut oil in consistency (believe me, I’ve looked) and if there were, I kind of doubt they would be approved for P2. What the heck am I supposed to do with a supposedly amazing recipe for P2-safe chocolate that I can’t even have?!?! What’s a girl to do?

Make my own recipe, of course! It took a little tweaking, and a few batches in the trash, but I got it down and I swear it is *almost* like biting into a chocolate bar.

Chocolate Jello Bite Delight

1 cup boiling water
2 packages Knox plain unflavored gelatin
3 TBSP cocoa
Stevia to taste

Boil 1 cup water. Pour into small glass pan. Mix in both envelopes of gelatin. After gelatin is completely dissolved. mix in cocoa. After cocoa is well mixed, add stevia to taste (liquid mixture should taste similar to chocolate pudding).

Cut into 16 squares. Each square is approximately 2.5 calories.

TIP: For a variation in flavors, try using flavored stevia, such as Vanilla Creme, English Toffee, Valencia Orange, Caramel,  or Hazelnut.

 

 

 

 

**This post contains affiliate links.

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Weight Loss Resolutions

I hate to be one of those people with the cliche weight loss resolution, but this year there’s no denying that I need to set that resolution. Let’s face it. Most of us have been toting around some extra weight. And for one of the first times in my life, I am no exception to this.

As a kid, I was pretty twiggy, much like my two older daughters are. As a pre-teen, I got a little chubby and then quickly lost the weight and thinned out once puberty hit. As an adult, I stayed pretty thin, even after giving birth. While postpartum and breastfeeding, it seemed like the weight just melted off, no matter what I stuffed my face with. With each of my four children, I bounced back in 3-6 months, rocking the same size 3/5 jeans I wore in high school. I never expected I would ever become overweight. After all, I was just built thin and losing weight always came so easy to me.

Fast forward to baby #4. I had lost all my baby weight, plus a little extra. I moved to an old farm town in Minnesota when my daughter was six months old. Despite my best efforts, I just didn’t fit in well and there wasn’t really much to do like there had been in Alaska (think hiking). Even worse, it was really cold and windy in the winter, and in the summer, it was way too hot for me and my Alaskan babies. As an added difficulty, Minnesota’s summers set off my asthma. I had asthma attack after asthma attack all summer long, despite not having had one since I was three when living in Alaska. Needless to say, I spent pretty much the entire 19 months there sitting in the basement, packing on the pounds. By the time I returned to Alaska, I had gained 50+ pounds.

In December, I joined a weight loss challenge with a cash prize. I was so sure it was going to be what I needed to motivate myself and get into gear. I stuck with it alright; probably not as well as I could have, but I did make a conscious effort to choose healthier options, workout and sneak exercise into my daily routine. And guess what?

The scale didn’t budge.

The month long weight loss challenge ended and I lost a whopping one pound. That was it. All that work and I only lost a pound. One. Freaking. Pound.

Obviously I wasn’t thrilled with it. I was actually pretty stressed about it. And then a friend told me about the HCG diet. I had heard of it before, but it sounded really weird and not entirely healthy. At first I just brushed it aside. It sounded too easy, too good to be true, and borderline risky. This friend though, kept telling me about it so I decided to read the book “Pounds & Inches” by Dr. A. T. W. Simeons detailing the original protocols, research and successes. The reviews on Amazon were overflowing with success stories!

All I can say is WOW.

I wasn’t sure what I was expecting, but I tried to start the book with an open mind, keeping my own shallow and limited impressions of the HCG diet out of the picture. I read the book and took what it said at face value. I have to admit, some of the concepts presented in “Pounds & Inches” by Dr. A. T. W. Simeons were foreign to me; they challenged everything I thought I knew about weight loss and health. Despite these challenges, the research and information presented by Dr. Simeons was very encouraging and some of my skepticism began to wane. But I wasn’t convinced yet.

Even after reading the book, I still wasn’t sure. If this was the solution, why weren’t more people doing this? I did a lot of digging. I found articles on every end of the spectrum; it’s a scam, it’s a miracle, it worked for me, it didn’t work for me, it’s dangerous, it’s healthy, you name it. But what I really loved finding would surprise you.

Facebook groups!

I found several Facebook groups dedicated to individuals using the HCG diet. These groups were not only encouraging, but validating. I could find someone’s amazing before and after photos, search their username and find their very first post on the group expressing their own skepticism, just a few months prior. That is what sold me. These are real people; people who have struggled to lose weight, people who doubted this diet would work, and people who got the results they were trying for.

I am by no means an expert, but the HCG diet consists of three phases;

  • Phase 1
    Phase one is a preparatory phase focused on cleansing and preparing, however, it is not required for the diet, but rather encouraged.
  • Phase 2
    Phase two is when you begin taking either shots or drops of HCG. Phase 2 consists of 2-3 “loading days” (where the goal is to gain a little weight) and 20-40 days following a low-calorie diet plan consisting of only specific approved foods.
  • Phase 3
    Phase 3 is often referred to as the “stabilization” phase, lasting three weeks. During these three weeks, the goal is to stabilize your new weight. Anything can be eaten during this phase with the exception of starches and sugars. Drops/shots are discontinued during this phase.
  • Phase 4
    Phase 4 is often referred to as the “maintenance phase.” Weight has been lost and stabilized and there are no longer any restrictions on diet, nor are there any more shots/drops. At this point, a dieter can simply maintain by employing healthy eating habits, or they can remain in phase 4 for three weeks before beginning a repeat round of phase two. Multiple rounds of phase two may be needed for individuals who need to lose a significant amount of weight.

So there you have it; a brief synopsis of the HCG diet and why I have decided to follow this plan. I am very excited and will keep everyone updated on my progress! Wish me luck! And if you’re interested in it, don’t take my word for it! Read the book. Read the reviews on Amazon. Join the Facebook groups. Do some digging. Decide for yourself.

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