Category Archive: Diet Reviews


FDA Approves New Weight Loss Pill

It’s big news!   For the first time in about thirteen years, the FDA has approved a new weight loss drug, Belviq.    It will be prescribed only for people whose BMI has reached the “obese” category or people whose BMI is in the “overweight” category and who have at least one weight related health problem such as diabetes.

According to a press release from Belviq manufacturer, Arena Pharmaceuticals, the efficacy of Belviq was proven by “Three double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trials demonstrated that BELVIQ along with diet and exercise was more effective than diet and exercise alone at helping patients lose 5% or more of their body weight after one year and managing the weight loss for up to two years.”

Wait a minute…5%?   At 300 pounds, that would be a loss of 15 pounds.  I’m not sure that is really all that significant–particularly in light of the list of possible side effects.   According to the same press release, these include: .

  • Changes in Attention or Memory: Problems with thinking, sleepiness, confusion, and fatigue have been reported in patients taking BELVIQ.
  • Patients taking BELVIQ should not drive a car or operate heavy machinery until they know how BELVIQ affects them.
  • Mental Problems: Taking BELVIQ at higher than the recommended dose may cause psychiatric problems such as: hallucinations, feeling high or in a very good mood (euphoria), feelings of standing next to yourself or out of your body (disassociation). The recommended dose of 10 mg twice daily should not be exceeded. Patients should be monitored for the development or worsening of depression, suicidal thoughts or behaviors, and/or any changes in mood. BELVIQ should be discontinued if patients develop suicidal thoughts or behaviors.
  • Low Blood Sugar (Hypoglycemia): Weight loss can cause low blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes mellitus who are on medicines to treat it such as metformin, insulin, or sulfonylureas. Blood sugar levels should be monitored for patients who take BELVIQ. Changes to medicines may be needed if low blood sugar develops.
  • Painful Erections (Priapism): If patients taking BELVIQ experience an erection lasting more than 4 hours, whether it is painful or not, they should stop using BELVIQ and call their doctor or go to the nearest emergency room right away. BELVIQ should be taken with caution by men who have conditions that might predispose them to priapism (e.g., sickle cell anemia, multiple myeloma, or leukemia), or in men with a deformed penis. Patients should tell their doctor if they take medicines used to treat erectile dysfunction.
  • Slow Heartbeat: BELVIQ may cause a slow heartbeat. Patients taking BELVIQ should tell their doctor if they have a history of a slow heartbeat or heart block.
  • Decreases in Blood Cell Count: BELVIQ may cause decreases in red or white blood cell count. A doctor may do tests to check a patient’s blood cell count during treatment with BELVIQ.
  • Increase in Prolactin: BELVIQ may increase the amount of a hormone the body makes, called prolactin. Patients taking BELVIQ should tell their doctor if their breasts begin to make milk or have a milky discharge or if their breasts begin to increase in size.
  • Increased Pressure in the Arteries of the Lung (Pulmonary Hypertension): Certain weight loss drugs have been associated with the rare but life-threatening side effect of increased pressure in the arteries of the lung. It is unknown if BELVIQ increases the risk for this condition.
  • Serotonin Syndrome or Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome (NMS)-like Reactions: BELVIQ and certain medicines for depression, migraine, the common cold, and mood, anxiety, psychotic or thought disorders or other medical problems may affect each other causing serious or life-threatening side effects. Patients should tell their doctor if they are taking medicines to treat any of these conditions such as: triptans, tricyclics, lithium, selective serotonin uptake inhibitors (SSRIs), selective serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), or antipsychotics; linezolid, an antibiotic; tramadol; dextromethorphan, an over-the-counter medicine used to treat the common cold or cough; over-the-counter supplements such as tryptophan or St. John’s Wort. BELVIQ and these medicines should be discontinued immediately and symptomatic treatment measures should be initiated if patients taking BELVIQ and these other medicines experience any of the following: mental changes such as agitation, hallucinations, confusion, or other changes in mental status; coordination problems, uncontrolled muscle spasms, or muscle twitching (overactive reflexes); restlessness; racing or fast heartbeat, high or low blood pressure; sweating or fever; nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea; or muscle rigidity (stiff muscles).
  • Valvular Heart Disease: Certain weight loss drugs have been associated with problems with the valves in the heart. Patients taking BELVIQ who have trouble breathing, swelling of the arms, legs, ankles, or feet, dizziness, fatigue, or weakness that will not go away, or fast or irregular heartbeat should call their doctor right away. Before taking BELVIQ, patients should tell their doctor if they have or had heart problems including congestive heart failure, or heart valve problems. Patients should not take BELVIQ in combination with drugs that have been associated with valvular heart disease (such as cabergoline). Patients who develop signs and symptoms of valvular heart disease while taking BELVIQ should be evaluated and discontinuation of BELVIQ should be considered by their doctor
  • Most Common Adverse Reactions In Non-Diabetic Patients: Headache, dizziness, fatigue, nausea, dry mouth, and constipation.
  • Most Common Adverse Reactions in Diabetic Patients: Hypoglycemia, headache, back pain, cough, and fatigue.
  • Response to BELVIQ should be evaluated at 12 weeks of treatment to determine if therapy should be discontinued.


Wow! I Can’t Believe “It Works!”

This is probably one of the most embarrassing posts I will ever write.   Obviously, I’ve been taking a little time off from blogging, but I’ve also taken quite a lot of time off of dieting, exercise and anything remotely healthy for me.   I’ve let the pounds creep back on and am pretty angry with myself!   I gave myself a good talking to and decided that the first thing to do is get back to blogging–which would hopefully motivate me to get with it on diet and exercise!

During my time of being a lazy slug, I became obsessed with Pinterest.  Yes, I know…should have gone to yoga instead.   However, while checking out all kinds of beautiful fashions that I felt too fat to even try on, I noticed a post by Jennifer Williams about her terrific business and the amazing body wraps that she sells.   Jennifer claimed that by wrapping myself I could lose inches off my waist in just 45 minutes.

Before and After Body Wrap

Given that I’ve tried so many things that are total scams, the scam detector in my brain started screaming!   The pictures that she posted looked good but I couldn’t imagine how an all-natural product could possibly make me lose inches in that short time frame.   Besides, I told myself, those pictures probably aren’t even the same people!

I wrote Jennifer, told her about this blog site and asked if she would be willing to send me a free wrap that I could try out and then blog about the results.   She immediately called me and was one of the most bubbly, positive people I’ve talked to in a very long time.   Her enthusiasm is absolutely infectious and by the time our conversation ended, I was actually feeling hopeful that the product might be as good as she claimed.    But the “proof is in the pudding” so to speak, and I’ve definitely been eating too much pudding.   If you are what you eat, my stomach had taken on a definitively pudding-like texture.

A couple of days later, Jennifer’s package arrived.   It included one body wrap, a brochure about the It Works! company and samples of one of of their nutritional products called Greens.  With trepidation, I tried the Greens .   When mixed with water, Greens gives you the complete nutrition of the eight daily recommended servings of fruits and vegetables.   It helps to detox the body and alcalyze acids.   Surprisingly, once I got past the green color, it tasted fine–kind of like  watered down Tang.  Well, that is a step up from any green liquids I’d tried up to this point.    I’ve noticed in the past couple of weeks that as a result of neutralizing acids, my problems with acid reflux have improved drastically.

Then came the true test, the Ultimate Body Wrap.   It is a simple cloth wrap that has an all-natural botanically based formula lotion infused on one side.   I took my measurements and sure did not like the number!    It was easy to use… unwrap it, place it on the area you want to wrap (it can be used on stomach, sides, legs, back, arms and even chin and neck!).   Then, I did the finishing touch and wrapped myself in Saran wrap, put on a pair of sweats and lounged around reading a good book for 45 minutes.   It felt great.   There was a pleasant tingling sensation on my skin and it smelled nice.  It just seemed too easy!   How on earth could it possibly do anything?

After my 45 minutes were up, I cut the Saran wrap and got out the measuring tape.   I had no expectation of success.   However, I had lost an inch and a half!   I was glad that I’d taken a picture before.   Then I took an afterward picture and found that there was even a visible difference.  I kept watching and measuring and after 72 hours, it was two inches of loss.   I became very excited and ordered more of them.   Again, my expectation was that after the first one, there wouldn’t be a great deal of success.   I forgot to measure on the second one but I did wrangle more photos with my Iphone and again, it was visible.

It’s embarrassing but I am posting the results photos here for all to see.   No, the photos were not touched up.   Yes, all the pictures are of my “ginormous” belly.   Yes, all the photos were taken by me by holding my Iphone out away from my stomach.   The difference in skin tone is pretty much from the differences in lighting and what I was wearing and how difficult my phone camera wanted to be that particular day.    Embarrassing but true results.   Wow!   I can’t believeIt Works!”

My Results from three wraps….and I’m not planning on stopping here!   Now that I have a kick-start, I’m back to trying to develop more healthy habits!

Results--before 1st wrap to 48 hours after

Results of the second wrap

Results of the third wrap--what a difference from the beginning!

As you can see, this product made a huge difference for me!  .   If you’re interested in learning more, click here!


I Can Make You Thin

Weight Loss Network Review of:   I Can Make You Thin: The Revolutionary System Used by More Than 3 Million People (Book and CD)
Paul McKenna’s book, I Can Make You Thin initially appealed to me for two reasons.  Number one was that it was a thin book and wouldn’t take long to read. (Hey, I’ve always admitted to being lazy!)   Secondly, it had appeal because it also included a CD for guided meditation.

Quite some time ago, I had a weight-loss CD that helped me lose weight which stayed off for years!  Unfortunately, during those years that I didn’t need it, I lost the CD and now can’t remember the name of it.   As a result, I have tested out many weight loss meditation CD’s that didn’t work very well.   I skipped ahead and tried McKenna’s CD at bedtime that day even before reading the book.

At first, I was put off by McKenna’s voice and accent.   Actually, for some reason it struck me as funny.   His voice has a bit of a growl at times so I lay in bed smiling for a little while….but pretty soon I was relaxing.   I woke up the next morning and I can’t tell you what was said after a certain point!   I listened for about five nights with pretty much the same result…snore!  However, I DID start noticing some differences in myself.   The desire to snack out of boredom seemed to have lessened.  I actually got on the treadmill a couple of times.  Hmm…    I kept it up, still being too lazy to pick up the book.   After a week, I stepped on the scale and I’d lost two pounds without really doing anything.   Another hmm…

Now that I’ve finally read the book, I found that McKenna advises not to get on the scale for a certain period of time.   Oops!   Too late.  The horse is already out of the barn on that one for me.   However, the purpose of this site is so that others can learn from my errors and won’t make the same mistakes!

There are four “golden rules” to McKenna’s diet plan:

  • When you are hungry, EAT.
  • Eat what you want, not what you think you should.
  • Eat consciously and enjoy every mouthful.
  • When you think you are full, stop eating.

McKenna explains his premise on each of these and how to go about them properly.    It’s not rocket science, he’s teaching moderation.  But somehow, his system seems to make it easier to be moderate.   Additionally, he adds a “hunger scale” to the plan to help dieters understand their limits, when it is important to eat and how much they should eat.  The hunger scale ranges from number one being so hungry that you are physically faint to number ten having eaten so much that you are nauseous.

All in all, I would recommend trying this system.   It’s inexpensive ($14.99 on to buy the book/CD set, you don’t have to resist eating foods you enjoy and replace them with foods that you dislike, as well as setting you up with good future habits.   If you wish, you can buy the book here…


HCG and the FDA

I mentioned in earlier posts that the FDA hates the HcG diet.   On December 6, the FDA and FTC sent warning letters to the main manufacturers of HCG.    They claim that it is the “first step” in halting the sale of HcG products.  T he letters warn the companies that they are violating federal law by selling drugs that have not been approved, and by making unsupported claims for the substances. There are no FDA-approved HCG drug products for weight loss.

I take issue with the FDA on this.   First of all, they may not have approved it, but I can tell you that the claims for HcG are NOT unsupported as they say.   It works!   I am not one who can go without food.   I have a huge appetite.   However, when taking the HcG drops, I was not hungry.   The diet had its ups and downs but I feel that the FDA has been unfairly targeting the US  homeopathic producers of HcG.   Now, they’ll just take their labs to another country and sell them on the web from there.   The FDA has stated that the claims that HcG helps with weight loss are fraudulent.  I’m here to tell you that they aren’t!   Perhaps they should be cracking down on other manufacturers like Th-121 or those dreadful cookies!  They make the same claims and aren’t effective.

So, what am I going to do now?   I’m going to go get a prescription for HcG and do the diet anyway!     A Boston area pharmacist has created a prescription strength HcG nasal spray along with a supplement plan.   I plan on testing it out and I’ll write more next month.


The Twinkie Diet

As I read the headline “Twinkie Diet Helps Nutrition Professor Lose 27 pounds,” I snorted with disbelief.   Then the little devil sitting on my shoulder made me think “Hmmm…now here’s a diet that sounds like a lot of fun!”   But, seriously, junk food?  I have been researching healthy weight loss for so long that my mind is reeling with questions!  How on earth can anyone lose weight on junk food?   What about vegetables, whole grains and low-carb diets?   How can this possibly be healthy?   What happened to his cholesterol?  How did he structure this experiment?


Mark Haub, a professor of nutrition at Kansas State University, (a school where I have the distinction of being a graduate school drop-out) decided to test a premise that counting calories is more important than the nutritional value of the food.   Strangely, although this premise seems contrary to everything we know about diet and weight loss, his premise appears to have been correct–at least for his metabolism.


For 10 weeks, while on what Dr. Haub dubbed “The Convenience Store Diet” he ate foods like Twinkies, Little Debbie Cakes and Doritos along with a few fruits and vegetables in order to get proper vitamins.  In general, a man of Dr. Haub’s pre-dieting size consumes about 2600 calories a day.  He limited himself to 1600 calories with 2/3 of those calories coming from junk food.   He ate a small amount every three hours but the amount of calories was considerably less than what he normally ate which is a basic premise of weight loss, but usually other factors such as fat, carbohydrates and nutritional value are watched as well.

But that basic premise held true.   By consuming considerably fewer calories, what he ate was not nearly as important as how much.   He lost 27 pounds and his BMI (see our BMI calculator to find out your own Body Mass Index) went from 28.8 which is in the higher end of the “overweight” category  (over 30 is considered “obese”) to 24.9 which is considered “normal.”

One of my first thoughts had been to wonder how badly his cholesterol levels suffered.  Strangely, no.   His total cholesterol level dropped from 214 (over 200 raises your risk of heart disease) down to 184.   His bad cholesterol level (LDL) dropped from 153 to 123 which is still higher than the prescribed 100 or less and his good cholesterol  (HDL) level was raised from 37 to 46.   Over 40 is better for a decreased risk of heart disease.


Then I wondered about his blood sugar…   Doesn’t this kind of food cause diabetes?   Again, the results are puzzling.   Haub’s glucose level dropped from 94 to 75.    Normal blood sugar levels are considered between 70 and 120.   Over 120 is an elevated level which is typical of diabetes.


Since ending the diet last year, his weight is only up two pounds and his cholesterol is slightly higher.
My next question was “What the heck did he eat on a daily basis?”   According to CNN, a typical day included:
  • Espresso, Double: 6 calories; 0 grams of fat
  • Hostess Twinkies Golden Sponge Cake: 150 calories; 5 grams of fat
  • Centrum Advanced Formula From A To Zinc: 0 calories; 0 grams of fat
  • Little Debbie Star Crunch: 150 calories; 6 grams of fat
  • Hostess Twinkies Golden Sponge Cake: 150 calories; 5 grams of fat
  • Diet Mountain Dew: 0 calories; 0 grams of fat
  • Doritos Cool Ranch: 75 calories; 4 grams of fat
  • Kellogg’s Corn Pops: 220 calories; 0 grams of fat
  • whole milk: 150 calories; 8 grams of fat
  • baby carrots: 18 calories; 0 grams of fat
  • Duncan Hines Family Style Brownie Chewy Fudge: 270 calories; 14 grams of fat
  • Little Debbie Zebra Cake: 160 calories; 8 grams of fat
  • Muscle Milk Protein Shake: 240 calories; 9 grams of fat
  • Totals: 1,589 calories and 59 grams of fat


Now, here’s where this gets a little more tricky.  Haub had graduate students carefully measuring out portion sizes for him.  You’ll note that his serving of Doritos was only 75 calories.    A single serving (small) bag of Doritos has 140 calories.   Haub’s portion size would only have been 1/2 ounce or about 8 chips.   You’ll also note that he took a Centrum to be sure to get necessary vitamins, ate baby carrots for the same reason and probably for some fiber and also added a protein shake to the mix.    Thus, the advantage of being a nutritionist…he knew how to do this where those of us out here in diet land really do not.


“I’m not geared to say this is a good thing to do,” he told CNN. “I’m stuck in the middle. I guess that’s the frustrating part. I can’t give a concrete answer. There’s not enough information to do that.”    Haub also told CNN “There seems to be a disconnect between eating healthy and being healthy.  It may not be the same. I was eating healthier, but I wasn’t healthy. I was eating too much.”


I don’t know if this is good or bad either.   All I can say is that this kind of diet sounds like a lot more fun!


My Diary While on HCG Diet

I have a love/hate relationship with the HCG diet.  It works if you follow it properly but it is really not healthy–nor is it easy!  This is the diary I kept while on it…

Day 1:  Start: 159 pounds. Today was a “loading day.”  I was supposed to eat a lot of fatty foods.  Okay by me but I was not feeling very hungry!   But, I had a big chocolate malt and it was sooo good!

Day 2:   I don’t think I’m going to load today.   I don’t want the food anyway.  They say you might get headaches if you don’t but I just don’t feel like eating.

Day 3:  Today, I started on the 500 calorie diet.  Easy!   I can’t believe I wasn’t hungry at all!  :-)

Day 4: Down two pounds from yesterday.  Now 158.   More 500 calorie diet.  Still easy.  I’m loving this!

Day 5:  Down two more pounds!   156.  Minor headache today but nothing too bad.

Day 6:  Down two pounds  to 154!.   This diet rules!   I’m feeling pretty good.

Day 7:   Down 1 1/2 pounds to 152 1/2.     Serious headache today.  :?

Day 8: Down 1 1/2 pounds  to 150 .   Another headache from hell.  I should have loaded on that second day.

Day 9:  Down 1 pound to 149.   I broke the 150 mark!  Life is great!  No headache today, thank God.   Still, it’s worth it to see the results like this!

Day 10:  Down 1  pounds to 148!!

Day 11: Down 1  1/2 pound to 146 1/2 this morning.   Went out with the girls tonight and I wanted to eat sooo bad!  It sucked to sit there drinking water!   Glad we’re leaving for our Florida house tomorrow so I can just stay home and not be tempted.

Day 12:  Down 1  pound to 145 1/2  this morning.   Had the flight to FL.  Not tempted..yeah right!   I was starving on the plane and ended up cheating a little bit.

Day 13:  No loss today.   That cheat yesterday wasn’t worth it!  :-(

Day 14:    Down 1/2 pound to 145.   I am so sick of eating chicken!  I hate chicken!   But I hate fish more so I guess I’m stuck with chicken.

Day 15:  Down 1 pound to 144.  I’ve lost more than a dress size so I feel a little better about starving and being bored!

Day 16:  Down 1 pound.  143  Jim wants to invite the neighbors over tomorrow for dinner.    I guess I’ll serve steak so I’ll (sort of ) be eating the same thing as everyone else.

Day 17:  Down 1/2 pound.  142 1/2   I’m starting to feel sort of blah and weak.   Dinner with neighbors tonight.  Hope I can keep my resolve.

Day 18:  I was good last night (although I really wanted to attack someone for their potato)  but only lost 1/2 pound.   Loss seems to be slowing.  Starving to death!   I’m starting to get hungry again.   Guess I need to up my dose of drops.

Day 19:  1/2 pound.   141 1/2  Wish I’d lose more.  I had hoped to be below 140 by now.   I think I’ll do 40 days instead of 23 on this.  Maybe.   If I can stand it!  I’m kind of miserable.

Day 20:  1/2 pound to 141.  The idea of 18 more days is starting to frighten me.   I want something else to eat so badly!   I have a headache.  I’m weak and I hate the world.   I really want to kill someone…and then eat them!

Day 21:  1/2 pound to 140 1/2    If I’m only going to do 23 days, this should be my last day of the drops.  I don’t know!   I feel like Hell.  The loss has been great but it’s been hard on me.

Day 22:  1/2 pound to 140!    I’m going to be strong and stay on.  I’m about to break down under 140.   If I could get down to 130 I’d be the happiest person on the planet.   But I really am starting to feel awfully weak and crabby.

Day 23: No loss!   8-O   I was soo looking forward to being under 140.  That’s disappointing.   Bit Jim’s head off this morning.   I am emotionally a wreck and I feel really rotten!

Day 24:  No loss!  WTF!!  I’m stuck at 140?

Day 25:  What?   140 AGAIN?  *&^%^%$#@   Jim is begging me to quit this because I’m such a grouch!  Well, that’s the nice word for it.  Going back home tomorrow.

Day 26:  140.   &**&^%$#@!!  Why can’t I break 140?  This is really pissing me off!   :-x

Day 27:  140.   F*** this!   I’m going to quit the drops and be done in a couple of days.

Day 28: 140   No drops today.    Without the drops, I’m starving!   Not that I wasn’t pretty hungry before, but I’m STARVING today!

Day 29:  This should have been my last day of the 500 cal diet but I couldn’t take it anymore!   I had to eat so I started doing some of the maintenance.

Day 30:  Up 1/2 pound.   I guess I still had HCG in my system.   Maintenance is really boring and I’m so sick of this food!   I’d kill for a piece of cheese.

Day 31:  I ate normally today.   Just couldn’t take any more!

Day 32:  Up 1/2 pound this morning.   Still couldn’t stand it so I ate regular food again.   Surely by now the HCG is out of my system and I won’t gain any more..

And so it went….until I gained back to 148.       Every time I’m tempted to try it again, I look back at this and see how bored I was and how hungry, grouchy and weak I was at the end of it.  I still ended up 10 pounds down so it was a win on some level but it was a hard-earned 10 pounds!


HCG Maintenance Plan


By popular request, this is the basic maintenance plan for the HCG diet.

1st 3 weeks: Low Carb Diet, No Sugars and No Starches

  • Absolutely no sugar and no starches!
  • Follow this completely!   If you cheat during this phase you will probably lose all of the hard work you endured over the

    month you spent on the diet like I did!
  • Good foods to eat on this phase are protein-rich sources such as meats, eggs, hot wings, jerky, low-ish carb fruits and veggies, a few almonds, a bit of cheese, some healthy fats, and some fantastic salads with extremely low-carb dressing such as Ranch dressing and Blue Cheese.

2nd 3 weeks: S-L-O-W-L-Y add sugars and starches

  • This is where I messed up entirely.  Once I got started on the sugars and starch, I overdid it and gained 10 pounds back!  Be very careful on this phase.
  • Slowly add back sugar and starch back into your diet (starchier fruits and vegetables, good whole wheat bread, etc.)
  • The reason you need to be careful and do this slowly is because your body needs time to adjust as the new food is being introduced.
  • Good foods during this time are all the foods listed in the 1st 3 weeks with a little more leniency, any fruits and veggies, a little more dairy (yogurt, cottage cheese, cheese, etc.), still lots of salads, maybe a little more peanut butter, more milk, low carb/high fiber cereals like Kashi, oatmeal, etc. and your other favorite sugars and starches in very small portions and only one or so a day as the scale allow.

After six weeks, you can go back to normal eating (within reason!)

Get 20% off HCG Drops here!


The Cookie Diet

I tested the Oatmeal Raisin “Dietary Supplement” (as the manufacturer termed it.) I’ll start with the positive. I have no doubt that you would lose weight on this diet….if you didn’t shoot yourself first!

As I stare at it and contemplate it, this little square thing sort of resembles a cookie…sort of. When you take a bite, it sort of tastes like an oatmeal raisin cookie…sort of. But then you start chewing.

The best term I can think of to describe the texture is sawdust. It is incredibly dry with some kind of crunch to it. Oh, there’s a raisin!  It’s like a little bitty oasis in the desert!   Better take a sip of water. Then I continue to chew–a lot. Second bite–more
Lose up to 2-5 lbs per Week!
sawdust, more chewing, MORE WATER! After a couple more bites of this, I notice some kind of residue in the roof of my mouth. It resembles grease but isn’t quite the same as a grease feel or taste. More water!

After a couple more bites, I think that I am never going to be able to choke down the rest of this godforsaken cookie! Oh no! I drank all my water…must have more water!

A lump has formed in my throat. It reminds me of being a small child and having an extreme dislike of that dreadful sweet potato with the marshmallows on top thing that people serve at Thanksgiving. I’d get a lump in my throat and just getting down the obligatory two bites was almost more than a small child could bear! It feels like that…but the dreadful sweet potato thing is much preferable to this evaporated, dusty, parched, grimy crumble that is in my mouth!

Well, it’s worked. My hunger is curbed. I am definitely NOT this hungry! It did get me to drink a lot of water.  I went through two 16 ounce glasses of water to ingurgitate this one 1 1/2 inch cookie…before I considered regurgitating!
I felt that I should give it a second try.  This time I followed the “suggested serving” and microwaved it for 10 seconds.   It’s considerably better but that still isn’t saying it’s “good.”

How the diet works is this:  You eat 6 cookies spread out during a day and a healthy dinner of lean protein and non-starchy vegetables.   There are different flavors of cookies, shakes and cupcakes that are all manufactured by the same folks.   You’d need to have a variety to survive this diet….but if the shakes and cupcakes are as bad as the cookies, it would be another hellish diet.

The cookies are each 110 calories with 4 grams of fat…they’re skimming just over the line where it can’t be claimed as a low-fat food.   The cookies contain a proprietary formula of something called “Lethicin” which the ingredients are listed as “guar gum, gum arabic, locust bean gum (all of which are thickening agents to my understanding.)   There are also some other ingredients like pomegranate that are definitely good for you but included in the small amount of “Lethicin” I can’t imagine that there’s enough there to have any effect whatsoever!

On top of this, they evidently know their product tastes terrible!   The return policy is prohibitive.    You first have to call customer service to get authorization to return product and fill out a Refund Request Form and then return it by fax email or email.

They will not accept open boxes, so one box of the three that I ordered (I ordered the smallest amount possible) is not returnable.  I spent $59.   Take out approximately $20 for a box that wouldn’t be accepted for return.   Then there is a $35 re-stocking fee.   That adds up to $55 and the customer is responsible for the cost of shipping, so by that time, I’d be in the negative numbers.   Better off to sell the extra on eBay!

All things considered, this diet has very little merit.    It would probably work to some degree but you’d be miserable.   Also, you would not be changing any habits or learning how to eat foods with decent nutritional value.   Thumbs down!


Thin Quik

People have been asking a lot lately about Thin Quik diet pills.   I’m loathe to advocate diet pills, but judging from reviews I’ve read and the list of ingredients, they may be effective on some level.   However, I’m not sure how it can be legal since, to my understanding, ephedra has been banned in the U.S.   The list of ingredients is pretty interesting!

With 30 mg of Ephedra extract and with  300 mg of caffeine, it’s bound to hype you up!   Thirty percent of it is Synephrine-which is used as a bronchial dilator and functions to increase the metabolic rate without affecting heart rate or blood pressure.  It causes a release of adrenaline and noradrenalin only in the beta-3 receptor sites (mostly adipose tissue and the liver).  It does not cross the blood-brain barrier.

Add to that mix, Phenylethylamine which is supposed to function as a neurotransmitter in the central nervous system and is supposed to affect your mood, appetite and overall sense of well-being. Phenylethylamine also is purported to have the ability to stimulate your thyroid gland and therefore increase your metabolism.   However, I read that it is not effective when taken orally.

Another ingredient is acacia rigidula which is a shrub that contains several different alkaloid groups that provide a source of norepinephrine. Phenylethylamine is the most powerful alkaloid found in the acacia rigidula plant.   In other words, it’s another form of the same stuff!

The next ingredient, Evodiamine, is a chemical which is extracted from the Evodia spp family of plants which has been shown to reduce fat uptake in mouse studies.

There are more ingredients, but I think we get the picture here.   It appears that just from the ephedra and caffeine, there would be increased energy and some level of hunger suppression.

However, there are also possible side-effects !
  • nausea
  • headache; dizziness
  • irritation of the stomach; diarrhea
  • anxiety; psychosis
  • kidney stones
  • tremors
  • dry mouth
  • irregular or rapid heart rhythms; heart damage
  • high blood pressure
  • restlessness; nervousness; sleeping problems
  • decreased appetite
  • flushing; sweating
  • increased urination
Seek out medical advice before introducing any supplement into your routine.
This is one of those diet products that I won’t be trying out myself!   Also, as I keep harping on, this may be a quick fix but it doesn’t change your habits and you’ll probably gain the weight back pretty quickly.


If you’re still determined to try it, you can click to buy ThinQuik here:

15% off Thinquik at Supplements To Go! Use thinquik15 at checkout.



Th-121 A Big Loser and Not in A Good Way!

As so often happens, I heard a radio ad with one of my favorite announcers telling me he’d lost 18 pounds without even trying by using this fantastic product Th-121.  Woo hoo!   If Jim Braude says so, it must be good, right?   Wrong!  I believe Jim must have sold his soul to the devil.

Th-121 has a lot of great ingredients that are good for you including acai, pomegranate, green tea, etc.   Those ingredients are supposed to be helpful in losing weight and maintaining a healthy loss but they aren’t enough to do everything that Chamonix company claims it will.   Supposedly, it curbs your appetite and burns fat without even having to do any exercise!  I can tell you that this is another of those
No more yoyo diets
expensive products ($59.95 and don’t forget to also buy this, this and that additional supplement that will only cost you X amount of money….) that is NOT a miracle weight loss plan and will not do all it’s claimed.    Again, I was still hungry and I lost zero pounds and zero ounces.

I hate to keep harping on it, but the only way to lose weight effectively and safely is the old adage of calories in, calories out.   Eat moderately and exercise.  (Do what I say and not what I do!!)

Back to Th-121, this is another of those dreadful plans where they sign you up for automatic delivery.   Before you’ve even had your 30 days to evaluate, your second bottle is showing up!  What a hassle!

To add to the aggravation and waste of your time, Chamonix company will haunt you for the rest of your days!   I cannot tell you how many times I have asked them to remove me from their list! However, every month, I can count on receiving multiple calls from some perky girl  (a different one each time) saying “Hi, Johnna, this is so-and-so from Chamonix!”

Just shoot me!   Seriously, people, heed my advice and save yourself from wasting your money and from entering Telemarketing Hell!

Chamilia 160x600



Sensa aka “The Sprinkle Diet”

The weight loss supplement known as Sensa or “the sprinkle diet” is fairly popular because of its claims to be easy to use–just sprinkle it on your food instead of taking pills.   You have a shaker for salty food and a shaker for sweet.  According to Sensa’s website, once you sprinkle the product on the food, you begin to eat. Sensa sends a signal to your brain that you’re full and you will not eat too much. Some experts recommend 7 shakes per meal, but dosing varies based on desired results and tastes. Sensa’s website is very informative and helps you learn all about the product and how it works, including information on testing that has been done on men and women to prove the effectiveness of the product. According to their site, people generally were observed to have lost an average of 30.5 pounds within just 6 months of using this product. I, however, lost 0 pounds and 0 ounces. It had absolutely no effect on me.

For me, it did not trigger the sensation of being full, just slightly altered the flavor of my food.   One of my objections about this type of diet plan is the “automatic renewal.”   Rather than ordering when you need it, you’re put on an automatic monthly plan.   The shakers will keep coming till you call them and go through the inevitable sales pitches to get you to try to keep it.   Then there’s the hassle of returning the product.  It’s been my experience that the time consumed and the cost of returning the product isn’t worth going to the effort of taking them up on the guarantees.   My guess is that this type of plan counts on people like me.  To be fair, Sensa does have a 60 day guarantee.   I’m very sure that they would honor it.

There are a lot of questions and controversies surrounding the effectiveness of this product.  Another drawback is that this plan does not teach you how to alter your lifestyle and habits.   You learn nothing from it.   My opinion is that this is just another plan that we all truly wish would be our easy solution–but just another plan that isn’t.

Free Day Coupon


HCG Follow-up

I’m on the HCG Diet again.   This diet has some really positive aspects.   It also has some very negative aspects!

Let me go back a bit.   I stopped the HCG diet a few weeks ago.   The main reason I stopped before hitting my weight loss goal is that I couldn’t take it anymore!   It’s very restrictive and the food gets boring pretty quickly.   After a while, all you can think about is a carrot.   Seriously, I’m not kidding…you’ll get excited over a carrot!   Carrots are not allowed on the HCG Diet.

That being said, it’s pretty much worth it as you go along to watch the scale go down so quickly!
Your HCG is the original provider of the HCG diet

THAT being said, if you don’t follow the instructions for the maintenance plan, the weight will also come back on quickly!   I think you may have gleaned from some of my previous posts that I have a tendency not to read the instructions or to outright ignore them to do my own thing.    I put 8 pounds back on in about 6 weeks time.

And…THAT being said…I’ve lost 6 of those pounds in three days of the HCG diet!  The loss will slow down now to 1/2 to 1 pound a day
rather than two, but I fully expect to be back to the weight where I stopped the diet within two more days.  THIS time, I’m only doing the short phase of 15 days rather than 23.   Also this time, I’m going to do the maintenance plan correctly.    Last time, I decided to try out a couple of other diets instead of doing the maintenance plan.   There are two reasons the weight came back.   The first:  Although I was on another diet, it added carbs right back into the mix and once your metabolism gets used to a lack of carbs, you have to add them back very slowly!

The second reason is that I got tired of dieting and pulled a binge.   Yep, I admit it.   I’m a binge eater.   I won’t be hungry at all but somehow can’t quite stop myself.   I’d gone so long without fun foods that I started eating NOTHING else and a LOT!   Binge eating is one of several eating disorders that we’ll be addressing in a later blog.   We’ll also be featuring an article by a noted psychologist who specializes in eating disorders.

So, I’ve turned back to my old friend, HCG.  I’m very happy that I can quickly recover from a set-back like this and this time I won’t be reporting any setbacks.   I really will follow the directions this time!

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It’s like the Holy Grail! We found a really great protein bar!

I’ve never been a big fan of protein bars, protein drinks, etc.   They are usually packed with sugar (worse!  High Fructose Corn Syrup!) which completely defeats the purpose!  Many times, they also have that medicinal aftertaste that one comes to expect from protein products. 
Try Quest Protein Bars!
Most protein bars do not have much, if anything in the way of fiber and sometimes they are made with some pretty questionable types of proteins like hydrolized gelatin and a lot of fillers.

In light of that, it goes without saying that I was pleasantly surprised by the Quest Bar .   When comparing the ingredient list, I saw that the proteins were natural, the bars included chicory root fiber, and natural ingredients like almonds and sea salt.  All the carbs are simple carbs to keep the glycemic level low.  They’re sweetened with Lo Han Guo, (a Chinese herb similar to Stevia) and Sucralose so there’s no sugar or sugar alcohols.

The taste is surprisingly good too!   They’re a little chewy, as we know protein bars have a tendency to be, but the flavor is considerably better than most!   I liked the Peanut Butter Supreme best, but the Vanilla Almond Crunch is pretty good too!

The downside is that there’s quite a bit of fat in the Quest Bar, but it’s natural fat from nuts so it’s good fat rather than bad fat.

If you’re on a low-carb diet, I’d give the Quest Bar two thumbs up!

Each Quest Bar has 230 calories, 20 g of protein, 15 g of dietary fiber (60% of daily recommendation), no soy, no gelatin and no trans fats.   The protein is 100% whey and milk isolates.

I highly recommend heating a Quest Bar in the microwave which makes it like cookie dough.  Eating protein has never been so enjoyable!!  They suggested the microwave in the flier that came with the bars I ordered.  I was skeptical but now that I tried it, I’m hooked!

I think we’ve made history here.   This is the first two-thumbs-up that I’ve given in the blog so far!

Try Quest Protein Bar, today!

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Oh Crap! Adventures with Alli (and flatulence)

Another of my epic dieting failures was trying to take Alli, non-prescription Orlistat.   I had been complaining to my doctor about my inability to lose weight and she suggested trying Alli.   Oh yeah, a pill to solve all my issues….that sounded pretty good!
Body Gospel - Have faith in your weight loss

Alli, or Orlistat, is a capsule that is taken three times a day with each meal that includes fat.   It is to be used in conjunction with a low fat diet.    Alli is in a group of medications called “lipase inhibitors.”    It works by preventing the body from absorbing some of the fat that is eaten.   The fat is then removed from the body when one goes to the toilet….thus I say…oh crap!
Get Ripped in 90 Days

When you take Alli, you need to avoid any foods that have more than 30% fat.   You should carefully read any food labels.   Now, I have to admit that when I took it, I did not really understand how to read food labels (see our post “Understanding and Reading Food Labels”)   It’s fairly easy but you need to know that there should not be more than 3 g of fat per 100 calories.   In my infinite lack of wisdom, I was unaware of this tidbit of information.   If you eat anything that goes remotely over that, you’ll feel the side effects of Alli.

Of course, Alli’s packaging lists the side effects, but I did not really pay attention.   Let me just warn you…pay attention!!

Amongst others, here is a list of common side effects.   If you’re like me, you would much rather be fat!

  • oily spotting on underwear or on clothing
  • gas with oily spotting
  • urgent need to have a bowel movement
  • loose stools
  • oily or fatty stools
  • increased number of bowel movements
  • difficulty controlling bowel movements
  • pain or discomfort in the rectum (bottom)
  • stomach pain
  • irregular menstrual periods
  • headache
  • anxiety

The flatulence I experienced was beyond description!   Imagine, if you will….I’m making a sales call, explaining my company’s fees, terms and just ready to close the deal when  RIIIPPPPPPPP! As if the sound itself wasn’t enough, the aroma was lovely too.   The worst part of it was, well, um…read up and note the difficulty of control.   I wasn’t quite sure whether I’d had a disaster or not!   Luckily, it hadn’t happened, but it very well could have.  I’ve since heard stories from other people who were not as fortunate.

Okay, I quit!   I’m a quitter!   I’m also easily embarrassed!   I may never live it down with this customer who is, quite luckily, a pretty cool person and didn’t hold it against me.   I’ll only have to hear the stories of my moment of flatulence for years to come….



The Diet from Hell

The first time in my life that I ever had to diet, I was 28 years old.   I’d always been a thin person but woke up one day to realize that I had gotten fat!   I had been in a miserable marriage and the truth of the matter was that the only thing I was living for was my next meal.   All of a sudden, I realized that it was time to make some changes….so I lost the weight, lost the husband, and moved to Boston!

I don’t recommend the diet plan that I used, but it worked.  It was one of those fad diet things that circulate around.   For six weeks, I spent four days of those weeks eating a lot of grapefruit and boiled eggs.   On the days off, I snarfed whatever I wanted.   It was around this time of year because as I recall, I would buy a box of Girl Scout cookies and leave them on the counter with a note that said “Midnight Thursday.”   I’d diet like crazy Monday through Thursday and those cookies were my reward to myself.   I joined a gym and worked out like mad!   In six weeks, I’d lost 30 pounds and was back to my normal size 3.    The weight stayed off for about 10 years but that was mostly because I stayed active.   Once I went back to my couch potato ways, the weight started creeping back.

This diet does not teach you anything about nutrition, healthy eating or lifestyle.   It’s a quick fix.  It worked for me once but I’ve never been able to face it again!   Now that I’m turning 49, I think it’s time to get a little more serious!

Diet from Hell

Breakfast daily:  1/2 grapefruit, unsweetened coffee or tea

Lunches:  Day 1: 2 boiled eggs, green beans, grapefruit,   Day 2: 2 boiled eggs, green beans, spinach, cauliflower, apple, Day 3: lettuce, tuna canned in water, tomato, Day 4: 2 boiled eggs, green beans

Dinners:  Day 1: steak, lettuce, sliced tomatoes, apple    Day 2: hamburger patty, lettuce, tomato juice, 1/4 cup natural applesauce  Day 3: (the day from Hell for me!) baked boneless, skinless chicken breast, stewed tomatoes, 6 oz prune juice,  Day 4:  steak, lettuce, fresh pineapple

Salt and pepper are the only spices allowed.  No substitutions to the diet.   No diet soda, artificial sweeteners, no gum, no alcohol.  120x240_start_button_weilNothing that is not specified on the diet is allowed.

4 days on three days off.

Please talk to your doctor before trying this or any other diet to address any health concerns!

Good luck! I guarantee that it won’t take long till you can’t face a boiled egg again!

Adrianne Curry Uses The Flex Belt


The first of my many failures…Weight Watchers

I know! I know! Weight Watchers has helped a lot of people lose weight. For many people, it is a great tool. There are easy ways to measure the amount you’re eating, ready-made foods in your grocer’s freezer, and meetings for support.

Meetings? Are you kidding me? I HATE meetings! I will do almost anything to avoid a meeting. I refuse, now in my adult life to belong to any club or organization because I do not want to go to any meeting that doesn’t make me money! Back in my college sorority, I annoyed everyone by sitting in our Monday night meetings rolling my eyes, checking my watch and sighing loudly. Am I a person who is going to any meeting I don’t have to go to? NO! And, more importantly, will this heavy-sighing, eye-rolling rebel (25 years older) actually weigh in….in front of people? I think not! Seriously, no way!

So, I tried the online version. My take on it was that at least I could avoid the meetings. But, what I found about the program itself was this: I’d rather count fat, calories, carbs and nutrients than those stupid points! And, well, lemme tell you…those points do not take long to use! I thought I was going to starve to death!

That was before fruit was “free.” I thought that might make a difference for me. I love fruit! Sadly, what I soon realized is that while fruit is now free, they also raised the point value for everything else! So you don’t get much food otherwise. Hated it!!

While sitting at a bar in NY yesterday, I was talking to my friend, Linda, who had also recently tried WW and had the same experience with it (although she wasn’t quite as anti-meeting as me). But she felt like she was starving while on WW. As we were talking, a man at the bar chimed in. (It always amazes me how people listen in.) It turns out that he was a pharmacist who had also had weight issues. His take on the plan was that if you bought the frozen meals, you were eating too much sodium. I looked at a WW meal and found that it had a whopping 610 g of sodium!! 601 grams of sodium in a tiny little portion!! Yikes! If you had high blood pressure, that would be really bad! Daily sodium intake is supposed to be less than 2400 grams per day. My understanding is that this is just about a teaspoon. I suppose if you were only eating those tiny WW packaged meals three times a day, you would still be under the daily sodium. But you’d still be starving! (Or at least I would.)

My other criticism is that I found the online food diary rather difficult to navigate.   There are much better food diaries out there that are easier to use and have better databases. is one of those. (And not to do too much gratuitous self-promotion, but The Weight Loss Network Food Journal is the best!) Both cost $9.95 per month. They have easy ways to create your own recipes, add favorite foods and their search works very well.

Again, though, this is just me. I know a lot of people who have been helped enormously by Weight Watchers. That’s why I created this site. I wanted everyone to be able to find the plan that will work for them!


Ack! That tastes like yak!

I thought I would try out the Protica Protein drink called Profect. It’s a terrific concept…25 grams of protein, no sugar, no fat and only 100 calories. It comes in a nifty plastic test tube which makes it kind of fun to drink out of. However, it has the most incredibly medicinal, proteiny flavor that it is not exactly enjoyable to drink. It’s more like a hold-your-nose and choke it down! Blecchhh! If you don’t mind cough syrup, you might like it. Who’s to say?


HCG and Me

I am on the HCG diet. NOT the doctor-supervised, shot-getting, FDA-approved version. I am on the homeopathic version upon which the FDA looks askance.

In the realm of full-disclosure, I felt I should approach this topic right away. The FDA has issued negative statements about this diet plan. Their take is that anyone would lose weight on a 500 calorie diet and that the drops do not have enough HCG in them to create the loss that they claim.
Your HCG is the original provider of the HCG diet

I asked the lab that supplies my HCG about this and received the following response: “The reason behind this has to do with homeopathic theory. The way it works is by starting with a small amount of the actual hormone, and then diluting it several times following a certain homeopathic frequency (6x12x30x60x for example) until all that is left behind is the energy imprint of the substance. This is also known as the “energy signature,” and the process is very normal in the homeopathic industry. It allows consumers to benefit from the effects of HCG without the costly and painful injections, or any negative side effects. The results speak for themselves. Many of our customers who have switched from the injections have claimed that the homeopathic form of HCG has worked equally as effective if not even more than the injectable form.”

I am needle phobic so I’d never do the injections! But I can tell you that I am a girl with a big appetite. Nothing and I mean NOTHING has ever affected my appetite. I’ve tried all kinds of supplements, diet pills, etc and I still found myself to be hungry.

However, the homeopathic HCG drops have worked really well for me! I get a little hungry but not very much so! On any other diet I’ve starved so badly that I couldn’t stand it but staying on this diet has not been a problem for me. It’s restrictive, but I like that. I know what to do and I don’t break the rules so far that I’m not gaining any ground.

I’m also someone who likes to see results immediately. I’m not good at waiting for the results so seeing a pound a day has felt great! So far, I’ve lost 18 pounds. I intend to lose another 10. Stick around, I’ll keep you posted….

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