My Oh My… Time Sure Has Flown!

Hello everyone! I seem to have gone MIA for the past month. I am dreadfully apologetic for that. I have to say though, in the past month I have realized exactly how much I rely on blogging to keep myself sane =) I kind of fell off the band-wagon, so to speak, about my weight loss over the past month. Thank the Lord I didn’t actually gain any weight during that time. So that I have to say should be counted as an accomplishment. Maintaining my current weight for a little over 4 weeks… the past my weight would have gone right back up to where I started. So this is good!

Clearly, I did not make my 6 month goal of losing 50 pounds. As I look back on when I made that goal, I realize that I was not mentally or emotionally in a place where I could feasibly complete a goal like that. Here are my specs so far in this journey:

Starting Weight: 224.6

Today’s Weight: 204.0

Total Pounds Lost: 20.6

Total Pounds to Go: 89.6

I am also starting to notice changes in my face and body. I have dropped a pant size and can successful find things that fit at stores such as Forever 21 and H & M… Something I was definitely NOT able to do a few months ago. Because I haven’t been working out (I know… I need to start)… I have not noticed myself losing very many inches though and I am starting to become kind of “flabby”… *Gasp* So that has to change ASAP!

Here are some of my new workout challenges that I am doing. I have also signed myself up for the Susan G Komen 3-Day Breast Cancer Walk. 20 miles each day for 3 days… I have to start getting in shape for that monster of a deadline. Wish me luck!!

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May Plank Challenge

 

June Abs Challenge

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Another Inconvenient Truth

Good morning everyone! It is rainy and cloudy here today… weather that I absolutely love! To bad I have to experience it at work instead of on my couch at home =) Today we are going to jump back into Clean. As always credit goes to Dr. Alejandro Junger, author of Clean.

CHAPTER THREE
GLOBAL TOXICITY: ANOTHER INCONVENIENT TRUTH

Doctors used to pride themselves on diagnosing a problem by observation and deduction: they’d take a good patient history, listen, and observe. Modern doctors, pressed for time and fearful of lawsuits, heavily rely on blood tests, X-rays, sonograms, endoscopy, and many other laboratory evaluations.

Eastern schools of medicine don’t see patients as isolated from their environment – including family, village, and spiritual path. Changes in environment or the predominant quality of one’s thoughts are considered equally important as changes in body temperature. All aspects of a patient’s life are believed to affect each other significantly and play a role in the maintenance of well-being.

Physical, mental, emotional, social, and environmental symptoms are all taken into consideration when making a diagnosis. Finding the common thread that ties them together often reveals the underlying imbalance at the origin of disease.

Back in the United States, chronic diseases were on the rise, often with such difficult and intimidating names that patients and doctors forgot to ask how and why. The name “became” the disease. The meaning of the word “diagnosis” changed. It became the title of a list of symptoms and test results that matched most of the ones the patient presented with. It had become a code. A diagnosis could be entered into a computer and a list of medications that were covered by insurance companies for that specific code would appear on the screen. What the doctor thought did not matter anymore.

It doesn’t make sense. On one hand, science and technology were advancing in giant leaps. We had broken the genetic code, invented nanotechnology, and created robots that perform surgery. There was a false sense of security and hope that, sooner or later, medicine would discover the cure for everything. Yet, when I looked around, I saw that everybody was sick. Everyone was on medications. Judging by the results, our medical system was not working. The more technologically advanced we became, the sicker we got. We had not improved health on the planet or our planet’s health. On the contrary, things were getting worse, sooner and faster.

I noticed a quieter, but even bigger problem, one that existed off the radar, that was not reported by the media, and had no clinical studies and research: a stream of people who did not have major health problems, yet were physically, mentally, and emotionally “off.” Bloated, tired, itchy, moody, sneezy, constipated, foggy, swollen – it seemed as if most patients had some type of disorder about to surface.

Curiously, the blood and other tests routinely ordered as a physical examination were absolutely normal. Without an explanation and reassured that nothing was really wrong by the normal test results, these people accepted their complaints as part of ordinary modern life, often justified as the wear and tear on our body parts, the expected result of aging. But left unattended, these conditions were the beginning of a more serious disorder. Looking at the patients’ bigger picture, one would invariably find parallel social, financial, or emotional distress.

As above, so below. This universal rule guides the holistic thinking that is the backbone of most Eastern traditions of healing. To fully understand a cell, one has to understand the organism of which that cell is a part and how it relates to the other cells in it. In the school of meditation in India, I learned to look at planet Earth as a living organism. According to this analogy, the rivers are its arteries, the forests its lungs, the mountain chains its ribs, and human beings, circulating by the billions, are one of the many cells that inhabit these organism. Humans were getting sick, but what about the planet, the organism they are part of? That was also in the news, just not in the health section. In those days, it was starting to make headlines: global warming, “an inconvenient truth.” The Earth had a fever.

A fever is a symptom that reveals there is something wrong somewhere. It is a nonspecific sign. Many different diseases can cause a fever as one of their symptoms. It is important to find out what exactly is causing it, so we can treat the real cause, not just bring the temperature down.

In modern Western cultures, because it’s so common, cancer is on the “suspect” list when a fever persists. It is in everyone’s mind even when getting a routine checkup.

Cancer cells are also cells that forgot how to do their chemistry. But cancer cells forgot how to do their math as well, and their geography, and their grammar, and even how to behave within a community. When you look at cancer cells under a microscope, you see cells that kill each other and every other cell in the neighborhood; they grow and reproduce unusually fast, disregarding the natural laws of space, population density, and food availability. They also have a tendency to travel to distant places and conquer new territories. When that happens, it’s called metastasis, and it means the cancer has spread. Cancer cells eat different foods than healthy cells. They waste products they eliminate into circulatory system are often toxic chemicals that affect the whole organism that hosts them.

The planet has a fever. Random chemical analysis and laboratory tests of the planets’ fluids and gases show something alarming. There are toxic chemicals everywhere. These chemicals are affecting everything and every other cell in this organism. The planet is in critical condition. If nothing changes, the prognosis is fatal in the short term.

One type of cell on the planet, the human cell, is behaving erratically, killing its own kind and every other type of cell. This cell has eating habits that are very different from those of all other cells. The human cell manufacturers toxic chemicals that are mixed with food and used for many other functions as well as released into the circulation, through which they kill other cells even in distant places.

My question was finally answered at the cellular level. My cells had never forgotten how to do their chemistry. They were actually desperately trying to do it. But the toxic chemicals I was consuming in my food and exposed to living in a large urban center such as New York has changed the inner climate. Many of these toxins were obstacles to normal cell functioning, causing irritation and inflammation. Toxins had damaged cells and tissues, and many systems had started to malfunction. My body’s natural ability to heal itself was further weakened because the chemicals needed for cells to do their chemistry, the nutrients from foods, were no longer present in sufficient amounts.

Toxicity: The Making of a Diagnosis 

Toxicity continues to be a condition that modern medicine barely registers. When the word is used in hospital settings, it describes cases of acute poisoning or getting off alcohol or drugs. And when asked about detox from the Clean perspective, many physicians discard it as quackery. Doctors who are skeptical about the value of detox programs such as Clean will argue that there is nothing in “the literature” to support it. What they mean is that when you search the medical database, you find no scientific studies or published research on such detox programs.

Databases only contain what the editors decide to include, making them biased toward Western medical studies with Western protocols. This perpetuates and strengthens the status quo, which too often discards valuable approaches like chelation as anecdotal or quackery.

It is not good for business to prove that vegetables and fruits can be the most powerful medicine. But the new field of functional medicine is rapidly filling this void by validating a new database of its own design, taking into consideration the multi-dimensional matrix of influences that play a role in health. Functional medicine is the perfect blend of Eastern thinking and Western technology, and the results are great.

Toxicity is not a disease or one specific symptom. It is a condition that exists right now, one we are responsible for and one that is threatening the planet and all life. I use the word toxicity to describe the wider, low-grade state that, to one degree or another, everyone who breathes today’s air, eats today’s food, and lives in today’s cities, suburbs, or rural areas is experiencing inside.

Toxicity, as is presented to you in Clean, is a problem that reveals an evolutionary glitch. Evolution is what happens as organisms adapt and overcome obstacles and threats. The human body has developed a very effective and incredibly sophisticated system of organs and functions that complement each other in the effort to achieve one sole purpose – to detoxify. Somehow our physical body has evolved just right. But that evolutionary state must be helped by our thinking and behavior.

The evolutionary glitch stems from the fact that, despite an exponential increase in the exposure to and damage by toxins in modern life, our modern “lifestyle” has slowed down the single most important evolutionary tool that was so intelligently designed for our bodies.

Toxins that cannot be eliminated in a timely manner remain in circulation, causing irritation and damage. Cells and tissues trap these toxins and coat  them with mucus in an attempt to buffer the irritation. This survival mechanism, like inflammation, is life-saving for a while, but can turn fatal when turned on continuously for a prolonged time.

In Eastern traditions, one of the first things practitioners check is the ability of the body to eliminate toxins. They look for signs like dullness in the skin, white coating on the tongue, or gray, yellow, or pink tones in the whites of the eyes. They want to know if you have regular bowel movements, urinate a lot or a little, and when and how much you sweat. Their traditions, thousands of years old, consider the ability to detoxify – to eliminate toxic waste and toxic thought and emotion – as the “root” source of your physical and mental health. The loss of this ability helps explain why you might have allergies, headaches, constipation, nightmares, fertility problems, and unidentifiable pain among a host of other ailments.

Long before we added the burden of human-made chemicals to our bodies, toxic buildup could occur from eating too much, especially too many heavy or hard to digest foods, and eating under stress. In Europe and America, there were early proponents of cleansing who taught that damage to the intestinal tract from overeating and ingesting refined foods was the main cause of disease affecting civilized, affluent society. They called the condition that resulted “autointoxication.” Some of them, like the famous turn-of-the-century naturopath Arnold Ehret, put his patients on a “mucus-less” diet to promote health and longevity, which was his form of the Elimination Diet, which you will experience as part of Clean.

What is a Toxin? 

A toxin is something that interferes with normal physiology and negatively impacts bodily function. Toxins are of many different kinds, with totally different qualities, from an infinite number of different sources; just as varied are the complex mechanisms by which they cause irritation and damage.

Some toxins, known as endotoxins, are waste products from the normal activity of cells. Uric acid, ammonia, lactic acid, and homocysteine fall in this category. When these toxins build up, they cause diseases. Some are very specific; for example, when uric acid lingers, it causes gout. Exotoxins, are xenobiotics, are human0made toxins that we are exposed to intentionally or inadvertently. Thousands of chemicals are being invented every year. These chemicals, alone or in combination, may cause disruption of the normal cell function. Throughout the following chapters, Clean will continually point out the toxins you need to be aware of (including specific names), where they are, and how to measure them. It will also describe how these toxins affect your health and what you can do to prevent disease or repair the damage that has been already done.

Where are Toxins Located? 

THE FOUR SKINS

Studies now show that every person living today carries measureable levels of several hundred synthetic chemicals in his or her body. These contaminants did not exist prior to the twentieth century and have no role in our body chemistry.

Exotoxins have names scary enough to make any smart person want to avoid them. The evidence is now undeniable that what we don’t know can hurt us. To understand the way we are exposed to toxins, it is useful to imagine four layers separating our inner chemistry from the rest of the universe, as if we had four skins.

The First Skin

The first skin is what separates our blood, tissues, and organs from the outside world; it is the outermost edge of our physical bodies, just one layer of thick cells. To the naked eye, it may seem like a barrier, deceptively leading to a sense of separation, even protection. But under the microscope, things become less clear, since the first skin is in constant motion, selecting from the environment what to reject and what to actively capture and absorb.

The first skin uses two types of cells to form our body surfaces, depending on the location.

  • Epithelial Cells. We see epithelial cells (dry, tough) at a simple glance. They form what we commonly call skin. The major source of toxins entering through this skin are the cosmetics and toiletries we use. Your choice of products should be guided more by the ingredients list than the promised effect. Dyes, fragrances, foaming agents, heavy metals as stabilizers, tanners, inks, alcohols, and hundreds of other potential poisons are frequently included in cosmetic formulas. Nail products, hair products, deodorants – all the ordinary products in your bathroom cabinet and makeup kit as well as the ones in your neighborhood beauty salon and nail spa have chemical compounds that don’t exist in nature. They can cause irritation, allergies, and sensitivities, just like food. Endocrine-system disruptions are problems linked to a group of chemicals found in skin and hair products called parabens.
  • Mucosal Cells. Mucosal cells (wet, soft) form the walls of the first skin in areas that are hidden from sight without using instruments. Many of my patients think of these areas as inside their bodies, but technically this type of first skin separates in and out as much as the epidermis.

Of all the “first skins,” the one coating the inside of the digestive tract is the largest and busiest; it is the most important site of exposure to the toxins of modern life. The chemicals of modern life enter our circulatory system starting with our mouths. The small intestine is about twenty feet long and an inch and a half in diameter. The large intestine is wider, but shorter (about five feet). When food enters the digestive tube, it is broken down in small pieces and absorbed into our circulatory system by the cells that form the intestinal wall.

In order to increase the surface area for the purpose of maximizing absorption of nutrients, the walls have folds (villi), which in turn, have folds of their own (microvilli). If we opened and completely stretched out an average intestinal tube, its surface area would cover a tennis court.

Besides food, everything else that enters the tube is absorbed, such as prescription and over-the-counter medications. Prescription drugs have important uses, and there is a time and a place for them. I prefer to prescribe them as a “bridge” – something to help the patient transition while we work together on boosting the body’s own ability to heal.

The Second Skin

What I call the “second skin” is the layer that we put on top of our epidermis. It includes clothing and everything used to clean, process, color, and perfume it.

The Third Skin 

The next skin, slightly farther out, is our living-space environment – our homes and workplaces. It is calculated that one-third of the planet’s pollution comes from the chemicals we use to manufacture the materials for building and the carbon gases generated in doing so. Included in that is everything we use for furnishing, decorating, cleaning, and maintaining our homes.

Just use your common sense. Anything with a smell that can trigger a headache is causing a disturbance in the cells and should be avoided. And a combination of these products used a the same time? They’re going to react together as you inhale them and cause even greater damage.

The Fourth Skin 

The fourth skin is a gigantic layer that ends at the edges of our planetary atmosphere. It contains an innumerable number of different toxins, many of them by-products of agriculture, industry, and transportation. Emissions from cars, trucks, and planes pour out into the air. Here in the fourth skin we also find toxins in the form of electromagnetic frequencies (EMFs).

Three Cheers!

Good morning everyone! I hope you all had a GREAT weekend! I know I sure did. Ryker passed his Real Estate Exam on Friday!!! YAY!! I was SO excited for him! I spent the weekend with my girlfriends from college and that was a blast as well!

So today we are going to start talking about “Clean.” I had gotten this book a little over a year ago because I wanted to try this detox. It would have been my first one, but I never started it. Now I think I am up for the challenge! This book was written by Dr. Alejandro Junger and all credit for this information goes to him. And please… I am not a medically trained person… I just find this information and share it with you. Please be smart about your weight loss, if you have questions or concerns, TALK TO A DOCTOR!

CHAPTER ONE: WHY CLEAN? 

You are sitting on a familiar box, begging for pennies to survive, unaware that inside the box is a treasure that will not only fund this survival, but will also give you wealth beyond your wildest dreams.

Maybe you’re begging for help to solve a small but troubling health problem, like extra weight, ongoing fatigue, allergies, depression, or a digestive disorder. Maybe you need help to avoid developing a bigger problem, like one of the so-called diseases of civilization – cardiovascular disease, cancer, obesity, and auto-immune disorders.

The pennies you are asking for are the prescription medications and surgeries that you have been taught are essential to remedy your problems. But the truth is different. The power to heal lies somewhere much closer. You already have it, and you don’t need prescriptions, treatments, or expensive experts to get it. In fact, you’re sitting right on top of it.

That familiar box that’s supporting you, almost unnoticed, is your own body, run by its incredible natural intelligence. And the treasure inside that will deliver this state of vitality, beauty, and vigor? It’s a system that is designed by nature to keep you healthy, youthful, and happy, if you only help it carry out its functions. It is the on-board system that makes you and keeps you clean, your system of detoxification.

This system, which comprises many organs and physiological processes working together throughout the body, is a wellspring of health. Many of the health problems that trouble so many modern humans and cost society so much money can be alleviated when – instead of getting more detail-oriented in your approach, recruiting more specialists, inventing more technology, and adding in more medication – you take a broader perspective and do something simpler: turn your attention to the treasure that is already there, the detoxification system, and reactivate its potential.

A focused period of detoxifying is a reset for the whole physical and mental body. It delivers an all-access pass to boundless reserves of energy you didn’t know you had. You find that every part of your body works better, imbalances are rectified, and irritating symptoms get a chance to melt away on their own – all by simply “switching on” a system that you were born with and that has been patiently waiting to serve you.

For thousands of years, humanity has recognized the existence of toxic influences that cause dysfunction, damage, disease, premature aging, and death. These toxins have the potential to irritate and stress us and ultimately cause the body to suffer in many ways, small and large, from the unmeasurable realm of thought and emotion to the material chemicals generated as the waste by-products of our cells’ daily lives.

This system is continuously working; in fact, it keeps us alive every second of every minute of every day. If the body didn’t constantly coordinate its complex symphony of activities, these waste products would build up, we would become sick, and we would eventually die. The “baseline” detox mode that is occurring at every moment of our lives is part of the basic formula of life. It makes our very existence possible.

Practitioners of early healing traditions understood that resting some of the major body systems, especially the digestive system, was integral to life. Fasting, silent retreats, and contemplative times were considered essential to a peaceful, healthy, and fulfilling experience of life.

Human beings’ genetic evolution – the way our bodies work best – has been shaped by the fasting that was imposed on us by the hunter-gatherer way of life. For millennia, humans experiences periods of feasting followed by periods of imposed famine. The detoxification system could switch on and stay on with plenty of time and energy to do its essential cleanup work, liberating the body of a whole backload of waste products trapped inside, because it wasn’t competing with the digestive system for fuel.

The  more dangerously toxic life has become, and the more depleted of vital nutrients our diets have become, and the more rushed life has become, the more our grand detoxification system has gotten overwhelmed. It is almost hibernating: it is still there, doing the daily “baseline” work that allows us to live, but it is faltering under the additional twenty-first century burden of poor diet, environmental toxins, and stress.

Clean will show you how toxins, far from being invisible agents floating somewhere “out there” in the environment, actually enter your body and corrode it from the inside. As toxicity accumulates, your body systems are damaged one by one, starting with your intestines.

You will discover how the early signs and symptoms of toxicity are confused and ignored in our culture, often written off as the “normal” wear and tear on our body parts, as if nothing can be done. This failure to catch the early symptoms means that more serious signs and symptoms appear later on.

CLEAN will reveal to you the connections that – like the familiar box you didn’t think to open but have been sitting on for years – have been ignored by most of society and most of modern medicine. It explains how intestinal irritation caused by dietary and environmental toxicity can present as a range of symptoms you might never have thought could be connected to toxicity, such as seasonal allergies, skin rashes, depressing, or simply a lack of enthusiasm for life. Clean provides clarity among the hundreds of different cleansing-detox programs that have flooded our market and explains the science that ties them all together. It details what these toxins are, where they are, how you are exposed to them, and how they affect your life and health. It is a primer to surviving and thriving in a toxic world.

But more important, Clean will give you the tools to reactivate your detoxification system to its fullest, giving it a chance to go into deep-cleaning mode and restore your body’s own ability to heal, regenerate, and even rejuvenate itself. It will show you how a cleansing-detox program does not have to be disruptive to daily life or make you feel deprived. It can be incorporated into a regular schedule and support your need for energy while gradually eliminating the toxins that have blocked optimal functioning of body and mind. You can start slowly on your first-ever cleanse by doing a one-week program, make a bigger commitment with a fourteen-day program, or jump right in for a full commitment of three weeks.

What is Clean? 

Clean is a tool that anybody can use for restoring, rebalancing, and healing. Designed with the needs of busy people in mind, Clean is a simple and practical detoxification plan that fits into day-to-day life instead of asking you to put your life on hold.

At its core, however, are these very simple easy-to-understand concepts:

  1. Toxins and stress create obstacles for the normal functioning and self-healing capabilities of our bodies
  2. Modern eating habits and lifestyles pollute our bodies and don’t provide the nutrients necessary for them to function at optimum levels
  3. By removing the obstacles and providing what is lacking, our bodies bounce back into health, energy is restored, and we begin to look and feel our best

The Clean program breaks down into three one-week plans, with a preliminary phase consisting of an elimination diet to prepare for the cleanse. Ultimately, you will work your way toward a three-week cleanse. It will be your choice whether to take Clean all the way through and complete the three-week program, or to work up to the three-week cleanse in incremental phases, completing a slightly longer program each time you do it (in most cases it is recommended doing Clean once a year).

Three Steps of Clean 

One-Week Cleanse. Your first three to five days on the program will be a lesson in how the body resists changing the deeply engrained habits around eating and drinking, even habits that your mind understands to be toxic and wants to let go of. One week is enough time for your body to take advantage of this new state that you are creating. The Clean program optimizes the conditions needed for our bodies to fully express their miraculous potential of regeneration, repair, and healing.

Two-Week Cleanse. If you are able to continue, don’t stop. Set a goal of carrying straight on and accomplishing a second week on the program. Two weeks on Clean will deliver to you greater benefits, as systems in your body that had been blocked and slowed begin to be optimized again, while other systems that had been on “red alert” to help you survive the insult of the toxic world get soothed and settled. Long-standing symptoms of imbalance on the “surface,” such as skin problems, weight issues, allergies, and intestinal issues, begin to disappear.

Three-Week Cleanse. The completion of your third week will show you how it feels to slow down and even reverse the aging process. Improved physiological balance can have a positive effect on psychological and emotional levels too. Moods improve, and a sense of mental clarity returns. After completing the program, many find that their cravings are reduced, poor foods and highly caffeinated drinks lose their appeal, and a mindful relationship to meals is restored. Most report that their work and relationships get a boost from what they can only describe as a heightened state of self-awareness.

The Importance of a Wellness Plan 

A plan is essential to any endeavor where we want to see growth and success. A reasonable yet organized Wellness Plan that sets out small goals for the year empowers you to achieve the ongoing state of health you need to thrive in our toxic world. The Clean detox program helps you get clarity on your health goals and priorities.

Clean is safe for almost everyone. Note, however, that all cleanses can have an effect on the way prescription medications are absorbed. Some treatment regimens will exclude you as a candidate for a detox program. If you are currently taking prescription medications, please read on carefully before proceeding with the program.

The Clean Audit 

Answer the questions on this list and note your “yes” answers.

  1. Do you have headaches more than occasionally?
  2. Do you tend to get colds or viruses each year?
  3. Do you have bowel movements less frequently than after every meal?
  4. Do you have bowel movements that are not soft and easily passed?
  5. Do you have diarrhea more than very rarely?
  6. Do you get itchy or watery eyes and nose at certain times of year?
  7. Do you have allergies or hay fever?
  8. Do you often get congested or mucusy?
  9. Do you get bloated after eating?
  10. Do you have extra pounds that won’t come off with diet and exercise?
  11. Do you have puffiness in areas of your face or body?
  12. Do you have dark circles under your eyes?
  13. Do you get heartburn?
  14. Do you have gas more than occasionally?
  15. Do you have bad breath or body odor?
  16. Is there a thin white coat on the back of your tongue when you wake up?
  17. Do you get cravings for certain kinds of foods, especially sugary, starchy, or dairy foods?
  18. Do you have a tendency toward restless sleep?
  19. Do you have itchy skin, pimples, or any other troubling skin condition?
  20. Do you get pain or stiffness in your joints or muscles?
  21. Do you have low moods or a foggy mind?
  22. Do you find that you are forgetful, have difficulty concentrating, or can’t find words?
  23. Do you feel apathetic and tired?
  24. Do you feel anger or bursts of irrational frustration?
  25. Do you have higher than average sensitivity to odors?
  26. Have you noticed an increasing sensitivity to toxins in everyday life, such as feeling more nauseated when you smell dry-cleaning fluid or fill up your car’s tank with gas, noticing stronger effects of certain food additives, or having reactions to cleaning or personal-care products?
  27. Do you multiple prescription medications?
  28. Do you use many potentially toxic chemicals in your home or work environment?
  29. Do you have musculoskeletal aches and pains or symptoms suggestive of fibromyalgia?
  30. Do you have tingling or numbness on one side?
  31. Do you have strange reactions to medications or supplements?
  32. Do you have recurrent edema?
  33. Have you noticed a worsening of any troublesome symptoms after anesthesia or pregnancy?

These could all be symptoms of toxicity. It’s hard to find anyone who doesn’t answer “yes” to at least one or two of these questions. Some people have many more “yes” answers than that. Whatever your response, affirmative answers to any of these questions indicate that you would benefit highly from Clean, which has been shown to improve and clear up these symptoms and many others.

Clean is not a magic bullet. It is not designed to cure every ailment. It is designed to be a jump start – a reboot that gets all systems running better. Once you’ve completed part or all of it the first time, it is a preventive tool that you’ll use periodically to shed accumulated toxins and switch on deeper healing. Meanwhile, you will create an ongoing Wellness Plan to achieve a set of longer-term toxin-beating goals.

Hibernation

Hello!!! I am finally out of my hibernation!! I apologize for my absence. Ryker takes the Texas State Real Estate Exam today so we have been busy preparing for the last few weeks. Fingers crossed he does well!!!! =D Anyways, this is just a “check-in” post. Tomorrow I will be back to my regular routine and will start off with a new program called Clean by Dr. Alejandro Junger. This is a 3-week detox program… it is NOT meant to be a permanent lifestyle change. It is just something to jump start your metabolism, rid your body of nasty toxins, and help give you a head start in your weight loss. From this you would go into a sustainable program of your choosing to continue to lose weight or to just maintain the weight loss you experienced on the detox. I am excited about this new one! The book is fantastic! Until tomorrow!!!

Award Nomination – The Liebster Award

Hello hello!! I am SO sorry that I have not started posting about the “Clean” diet yet, work has absolutely taken over my life this week. But I have some exciting news and a funny story to share to hold you over =)

So last night, Ryker’s boss invited us to go to dinner with him and his wife and their 5 year old son. We have all gone to dinner before so I was very excited to do it again, they are wonderful people and I am so glad that we are able to be friends! Anyways, we went to a place called The Melting Pot. I have never been to a place like this before, and I have never eaten a fondue meal before… but let me tell you, I don’t think I will be doing it again. For what it was it was WAY over priced. I paid $20 for a plate that had 2 pieces of raw salmon, 6 “Easy-Bake-Oven” sized raviolis, and 3 pieces of raw chicken. I have to say, even though the food wasn’t great, and even though we paid an arm and a leg.. it was great being able to spend time together and create a memory that will definitely be one for the books.

I also have some exciting news to share! Rachel over at Healthy Epiphany nominated me for the Liebster Award! This is an award that is given to bloggers who are up and coming and have less than 200 followers. I also have to apologize to HealthySexyHappy because she nominated me for the Sunshine Award and I never responded with a post about it. I was brand new at the time and wasn’t sure how it all worked, but I was also very honored for that nomination as well!

Here is a brief explanation of what it is: (taken from Rachel)

1. This award is given to new or up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers

2. The award is then passed along to other bloggers in the same category to help spread the word and support one another.

3. Each blogger should post 11 random facts about themselves.

4. Answer the questions the tagger has set for you, then create 11 new questions for the bloggers you pass the award to!

5. Choose 11 new bloggers (with less than 200 followers) to pass the award to and link them in your post.

6. Go back to their page and tell them about the award

7. No tag backs (aka, don’t nominate the person who nominated you)

I am so honored to be recognized for this award! I cannot tell you how much it means to me.

Here are some random facts about me:

  1. I played classical piano for 13 years growing up
  2. I fractured two ribs in a soccer game in high school
  3. I am adopted
  4. I am a definite OCD, Type A personality (I definitely need to lighten up sometimes!)
  5. I get really paranoid and freaked out by being in the dark
  6. I love the subject of paranormal experiences and research (contradictory to #5, I know!)
  7. I work in the Precious Metals industry
  8. I majored in Communication Studies with emphasis in Human Relations
  9. I am a photography enthusiast (I definitely need more practice and exposure, but I absolutely love it so far!)
  10. I am a homebody – I would much rather go to a tailgate/bonfire/coolers full of beer kind of party than go to a bar
  11. I want to live in the country

11 Questions from Rachel:

  1. What made you want to start blogging? I wanted to start blogging because I have tried to lose weight before with no success. I figured this would be a good way to hold myself accountable for my weight loss and I could develop a network of support.
  2. Who’s blog do you read day in and day out?  I need to get better at reading more of my followers blogs because they all have such great things to say! I really love Once Upon A Recipe, HealthySexyHappy, and Liberation of A Food Junkie (Mom on a Mission).
  3. How long have you been blogging? I just started blogging in September of 2012 and was very sporadic in my posting. I have made a goal to have consistent updating on this blog with posts at least 4 days a week.
  4. What is your favorite cardio workout? My favorite workout is no workout at all. Haha! No, I like working out and being healthy, but I hate going to the gym. I try to do as many things outside as I can: Walking, Biking, Jogging (sometimes!). And honestly, I get a great workout when I clean my house on the weekends!
  5. What part of your body do you think you spend the most time on (working out)?  I don’t really make it a point to work out certain parts of my body. I try to focus on cardio as much as I can, but I know that my legs need the most attention, along with my stomach. I just don’t like doing crunches!
  6. Do your family and friends know you blog? Yes, my whole family and all my friends know that I blog. I have linked my blog with my Facebook and Twitter accounts so they see all of my posts and updates
  7. Do you have a Twitter or Facebook account for your blog? I don’t have a separate account for my blog, but it is linked with my personal accounts. I should probably look into creating separate accounts for it.
  8. Does blogging help you keep on track with your goals? It 100% absolutely helps me stay on track. It is a daily motivator to do well and is a great reminder of why I started this journey in the first place. It is so great to finally be seeing results and it feels so good to be able to share my success with others.
  9. What is your biggest goal for 2013? My biggest goal for 2013 is to lose 75 pounds. That would put me 10 pounds under my ultimate goal weight, but it would be a great place to be at the end of the year. Weight loss aside, my other big goal is to save up a down payment for a house!
  10. What is your greatest accomplishment? My greatest accomplishment would probably graduating college. I am the first female EVER on my dad’s side of the family to graduate from college, so that was a very special moment for me.
  11. Has blogging helped you do anything? Or changed you in anyway? Blogging has definitely helped me stay on track. I decided when I started this that I need to re-evaluate my efforts and figure out why exactly I wanted to do this. I had to decided whether I was doing this for me, or if I was doing this to please other people. When I started, I honestly was doing this to get everyone off my back about it, but as I started going and the weight started coming off I realized that I wanted this WAY more than other people wanted it for me. I want to be healthy and fit and I want to live a long and full life. So I think that by blogging and going to therapy and developing new friendships and relationships that I have re-vamped my life to be supportive of this initiative and that is such a great feeling!

Ok, so now I guess it is time for me to nominate another 11 bloggers for this achievement. My nominations (in no particular order) are:

1. Ellie More Or Less

2. Liberation of a Food Junkie (Mom on a Mission)

3. Candy Coated Reality

4. Good Day Glow

5. Luna Lovefood

6. To Be Aware (Ido Lanuel)

7. Olvera-Potts

8. Happy Being Healthy

9. Simple.Nourshing.Delicious (Weeknight Treats)

10. The Food ReFashionista

11. Katie at the Kitchen Door

Thank you so much Rachel for nominating me! I had a lot of fun doing this!!

You Have Arrived!

Good afternoon all my lovely readers! I hope you are all have a wonderful Tuesday. We had a surprise here in the Big D – it snowed last night and it was definitely not expected! It was a nice surprise to wake up to snow falling everywhere! Today we will be talking about the 4th and final cycle of the 17 Day Diet. As always, credit goes to creator and author, Dr. Mike Moreno.

CYCLE 4: ARRIVE 

You fought the battle of the bulge and won! Now it’s time to keep the bulge at bay, but how? It is called the Arrive Cycle, because you’ve arrived at your goal weight. This is a huge, important accomplishment, something many people fail to do. Now, the important thing is that you stay at this weight.

In order to do this, I propose a “keep it off strategy,” which means that the weekends are off. Taking weekends off allows you to splurge a bit, making it easier to get back on track on Monday. Most people can be pretty disciplined Monday through Thursday, choosing meals carefully, getting in some exercise, and seeing decent results on the scale. The Arrive Cycle capitalizes on these normal rhythms of life and builds a livable maintenance plan around them.

In a nutshell, here’s how you keep weight off: Stay strict during the week and then enjoy yourself more over the weekend. You still eat a calorie-controlled diet during the week, then on weekends, have what you like.

The Arrive Cycle is metabolically strategic too. You can control your weight efficiently because you’re shocking your metabolism back into action. Why? Because you’re following five days of controlled eating, followed by two days of increased calories. By adding calories to your meals – with hamburgers, bread, ice cream, wine, cheesecake, you name it – you’re speeding up your metabolism. Then, when your metabolism is roaring like a furnace, you get back to your diet on Monday, burning calories faster than ever. Basically, the Arrive Cycle keeps your metabolism guessing, so it never has a chance to go into hibernation. Since your metabolism is now well trained due to better eating habits and digestive health, a few cheat treats on the weekend will not have an adverse affect.

The Arrive Cycle is not a free-for-all. You’re allowed some of your favorite foods in moderation. A good rule of thumb to follow while stabilizing your weight is to enjoy no more than one to three “favorite meals” each weekend. I call this “strategic cheating.”

Start the Arrive Cycle 

The Arrive Cycle is unique in that it helps you keep your weight off, while letting you enjoy yourself and eat freely from your favorite foods on weekends. Basically, the Arrive Cycle works like this:

  • Monday breakfast through Friday lunch: Enjoy meal plans from one of your favorite cycles: Accelerate, Activate, or Achieve
  • Friday dinner through Sunday dinner: Enjoy your favorite foods and meals in moderation over the weekend.
  • Enjoy no more than one to three favorite meals over the weekend. Do not binge. Eat slowly and enjoy your food.
  • If desired, enjoy alcoholic drinks in moderation over the weekend (1 to 2 daily): 1/2 oz. hard liqour, 5 oz. wine or 12 oz. beer.
  • You may include soups in your daily menus, as long as they are broth-based. Avoid soups made with milk or cream. Having soup prior to a meal will help curb your appetite and help you feel full.
  • As one of your fruit servings, you may substitute fruit juice (unsweetened), but no more than 3/4 cup per serving.
  • Feel free to enjoy 1 cup of vegetable juice as a snack
  • Continue to use condiments in moderation. Choose nonfat, low-calorie seasonings, such as reduced-fat dressings, spices, herbs, lemon or lime juice, vinegar, and hot sauce.
  • Exercise on weekends, as well as weekdays.
  • Each Monday, I’d like you to renew your commitment to yourself and to your new incredible body. Do this, and you’ll control your eating week by week, with a strategy that will ensure success.

Arrive Cycle Strategies 

I want to give you a bagful of Arrive Cycle tricks to keep you going. (Side Note: This is not an exhaustive list. There are more included in the book)

Observe the 5-Pound Stop Signal 

On the Arrive Cycle, weigh yourself on the weekends. Anytime you see the scale register three to five pounds over your goal weight, go right back on your favorite cycle: Accelerate, Activate, or Achieve, on Monday. Note: You’ll always go back to your normal weight faster by resuming the Accelerate Cycle. If for some reason, you’ve gained a great deal of weight (perhaps by being on vacation), your solution is to start the 17 Day Diet from the beginning and progress through all Cycles.

 

Make Healthier Substitutes 

Try to eat certain reduced-fat, reduced-sugar foods. These include:

  • Mustard instead of mayo on sandwiches
  • Skim milk instead of the whole stuff
  • Fake butter sprays
  • Salsa for dipping
  • Reduced-sugar ketchup or steak sauce
  • Fat-free, sugar-free ice cream and frozen treats
  • Fat-free sour cream on baked potatoes instead of butter and sour cream
  • Fat-free or reduced-calorie salad dressings
  • Grilled chicken or turkey sandwiches instead of burgers at fast-food joints

Move It, Keep It Off 

Get in at least an hour of intense, heart-pumping exercise on Saturday and Sunday. If you do this, it will be a cinch to keep your weight off. Exercise is one thing that really keeps your thin and fit.

Avoid Overboard Syndrome 

Never binge. Translated: No pig-outs.

Make a list of trouble foods that might make you binge. Deep down, you know what these foods are, so it’s best to not include them in your weekend treat meals. Plan your weeks’ meals in advance, so you’re programming your brain and stomach to expect food. It will help you stop eating out of habit.

 

LEAN 17: “HEALTHY” FOODS THAT WILL MAKE YOU FAT

Some foods with healthy reputations are actually worse for your weight than you might think. Take a look:

  1. Dried Fruit – Cup for cup, dried fruit has tons more calories than the fresh kind because it has been dehydrated and is much denser. Fresh grapes, for example, have 60 calories per cup, while raisins have 460.
  2. Granola – It’s loaded with good-for-you nuts and oats, but loaded with oil and sugar for more flavor. One bowl racks up around 500 calories. Try low-fat granola instead.
  3. Bran Muffins – Most bran muffins are basically just a round slice of cake. One muffin can weigh in at about 20 grams of fat, 420 calories, and 34 grams of sugar.
  4. Bagel – Many bagels weight 4-5 ounces. At 80 calories per ounce, that’s 320- to 400-caloric hunk of bread. Stick to small, whole wheat bagels.
  5. Half-and-Half – It seems harmless; after all, you put so little in your coffee or tea. But a few spoonfuls per cup of Joe two or three times a day quickly turns into 200 or more calories, plus the same amount of fat as a big pat of butter.
  6. Flavored Coffees – Drinks at coffeehouses will sabotage your diet faster than you can say Frappuccino. Some of these items top out at 700 calories a serving.
  7. Bottled Teas -Most store-bought brands are souped up with sugar or honey. Oh, and one bottle can contain two or more servings, bringing the calorie count to almost 200, similar to a can of soda.
  8. Rice Cakes -These light snacks are fat-free and low in calories, but they’re also completely lacking in fiber or protein – ingredients that can tame your hunger. That means downing two or three won’t do anything but add more calories to your daily total and leave you craving something with substance.
  9. Juice – Juice is basically sugar and calories. A 16 oz. bottle of orange juice or apple juice has 55 grams of carbohydrates, the equivalent of 5 slices of bread. And most of that is sugar; a whopping 12 spoonfuls of it.
  10. Fat-free Frozen Dessert – The label might say it’s as low as 60 calories for a small cup, but lab tests on these frozen delights say otherwise: around 270 calories is more like it.
  11. Reduced-fat Cookies – Three of these will give you 150 calories. But get these: Three regular chocolate chip cookies are 160… just a 10 measly calories more.
  12. Energy Bars – The average candy bar as 250 calories; so does the average energy bar. Energy bars are candy bars incognito, disguised by a few added vitamins (which you’re better off getting from fruit).
  13. Energy Drinks – The labels say they contain various herbs, minerals, and the amino acid taurine, specially designed to boost your energy. But if you look at the ingredients, they’re mostly caffeine and sugar, making them hardly more than high-priced soft drinks.
  14. Diet Drinks – The artificial sweeteners they contain make it harder for people to regulate their calorie intake. Sweet tastes tell the brain a lot of calories are about to be consumed. When that doesn’t happen, you eat more to compensate.
  15. Taco Salads – One of these can weigh in at more than 900 calories (that’s if you eat the hard-to-resist shell).
  16. Trail Mix – Just three little tablespoons of this snack packs around 140 calories. Most people gobble down much more than that, making this a very high-calorie snack.

Alright everyone! That completes the 17 Day Diet. There is MUCH more in this book and I highly suggest that you pick it up and read it. It is very motivating and empowering, and is a pretty easy read. It includes, meal plans, recipes, special diet considerations, etc. A very very helpful tool as you go along on this journey. I will be starting the next series tomorrow. We will be going through another very popular weight-loss book called “Clean.” Until next time! I love you all! ❤ ❤

Achieving Success!

Good morning my lovely readers! I hope you all had a fantastic weekend! I certainly did. My best friend from college came out and spent the day with me on Sunday. I dropped another 1.8 pounds this week (14 overall!)! So that was very exciting. Today we will be looking at the 3rd cycle of the 17 Day Diet. I hope you are all doing well on it! Please comment with your thoughts, opinions, stories, etc! As always, credit goes to creator and author Dr. Mike Moreno.

 

CYCLE 3: ACHIEVE 

Now is the time to start adding new food choices, including things like pasta. Pasta is not the archenemy of the human body, by the way. But portions the size of national monuments are. Every food group is represented on Cycle 3, and there’s still an emphasis on non-starchy vegetables and lean proteins.

On this cycle, you’ll eat moderately, and continue to do some form of exercise that works your cardiovascular system, only I want you to step up the duration of your workouts. I call this cycle Achieve because one of its chief purposes is to help you achieve good lifetime eating habits, such as portion control, regular mealtimes, and the inclusion of healthy foods.

The Speed of Weight Loss on Cycle 3 

The goal of this cycle is to establish healthy eating habits and produce steady, manageable weight loss. So just relax and enjoy the addition of whole grain breads and pasta, additional fruits and vegetables, fats and snacks and alcohol in moderation (one alcoholic drink a day).

Your weight loss will slow down a bit on this cycle, but here are 3 ways to speed it up:

  1. Ramp up your aerobic exercise. Aerobic exercise, such as walking, jogging, biking, or aerobics classes, is the best way to burn fat and speed up weight loss. So if you’ve been doing it at least 17 minutes a day, it’s time to add even more minutes. Aim to do 45-60 minutes of aerobic exercise most days of the week.
  2. Continue not to eat carbs after 2:00pm. During Cycles 1 and 2, I recommend not eating carbs after 2pm. If you did a good job of replenishing your muscle and liver glycogen throughout the day – which is what carbs do – then any excess carbs in the later afternoon and at night – a time when you’re typically least active – will be readily converted to fat. On cycle 3, you’re allowed to have carbs at dinner. But if you want to spur weight loss, continue avoiding carbs after 2pm.
  3. Pass on alcohol. I know I just gave you the thumbs-up for alcohol on cycle 3. But please know that alcohol can throw a complete monkey wrench into weight loss. Alcohol strains your liver, which responds by slowing down on functions like fat-burning. Alcohol is also dehydrating and will cause water-weight pounds to register on the scale. If you want bigger losses on this cycle, pass up the alcohol option.

Achieve Cycle Guidelines 

  1. Stay on the Achieve Cycle for 17 days.
  2. Because you’ll be eating more food, it’s time to control your protein portions. Rather than eating protein liberally as in the previous 2 cycles, keep your portions of fish, poultry, and meat smaller – about the size of an average kitchen sponge.
  3. Remove skin from chicken and turkey prior to cooking or purchase skinless poultry.
  4. Trim all visible fat from meat.
  5. You may eat up two eggs a day. But stick to no more than four yolks per week if your physician has diagnosed you with high cholesterol. Egg whites can be eaten without restriction.
  6. Enjoy fresh vegetables and fruits as much as possible. For convenience, frozen and canned items are fine, if chosen in moderation. Canned and frozen fruits should be unsweetened.
  7. You may have 1 alcoholic drink daily: 5 oz wine; 12 oz beer; or 1 1/2 oz hard liqour if you wish. Attention, everyone reading this: Notice I said, “one.” If you go to a party, have one drink and spend the rest of the night drinking nonalcoholic, calorie-free drinks such as flavored seltzer. Please remember that alcohol has a dehydrating effect and can interfere with fat-burning and weight loss. One drink per day, however, has a positive effect on cholesterol levels. Accumulating evidence suggests that moderate drinking may lower the risk of heart attacks.
  8. Don’t eat more than two servings daily from the natural starches list.
  9. Don’t worry about eating all the food you’re allowed each day. If you forget your second dairy or carb serving, or are too full to eat it, that’s okay.’
  10. Eat slowly and only until full; do not overload your stomach. Use the Hunger/Fullness meter as a gauge to keep you from stuffing yourself.
  11. Begin to increase your weekly aerobic exercise. Exercise at least 150 to 300 minutes per week, depending on your physical condition (5 30-minute sessions or 5 60-minute sessions).

Achieve Cycle Expanded Food List 

Where indicated, add foods to your diet, in addition to those you ate on the first 2 cycles.

Proteins 

  • Fish & Shellfish (from Accelerate & Activate lists)
  • Lean Meats (from Accelerate & Activate lists)
  • Poultry (from Accelerate & Activate lists, including eggs & egg whites)

Additional Poultry:

  • Cornish Hen
  • Quail
  • Pheasant
  • Reduced-fat turkey bacon or sausage or lunch meat
  • Canadian bacon

Natural Starches 

Breads (1 slice = 1 serving) 

  • Cracked wheat
  • Fiber-enriched bread
  • Gluten-free bread
  • Multi-grain bread
  • Oat bran bread
  • Sugar-free bread
  • Pumpernickel
  • Rye bread
  • Whole grain bagel (1/2 = 1 serving)
  • Whole wheat pita bread, 1 pocket
  • Whole wheat tortilla – 10″

High Fiber Cereals (1 cup – 1 serving, unless where indicated)

  • All-Bran
  • All-Bran Extra
  • All-Bran Bran Buds
  • Fiber One
  • Gluten-free cold cereals
  • Low-sugar granola (1/2 cup = 1 serving)

Pasta (1/2 cup = 1 serving)

  • Whole-wheat pasta
  • Gluten-free pasta
  • Vegetable-based pasta
  • High-fiber pasta
  • Udon noodles

Vegetables – unlimited 

  • All cleansing vegetables
  • Alfalfa
  • Broccoli sprouts
  • Chilies
  • Cilantro
  • Fennel
  • Grape leaves
  • Jicama
  • Kelp and other edible seaweeds
  • Kohlrabi
  • Nopales (Edible cactus)
  • Pea pods
  • Radishes
  • Rhubarb
  • Rutabaga
  • Summer squash
  • Swiss chard
  • Yellow wax beans
  • Zucchini
  • Virtually any vegetable 

Fruits – 2 servings daily* 

  • Apricots
  • Bananas
  • Cherries
  • Currants
  • Figs
  • Kiwi
  • Kumquats
  • Guava
  • Mango
  • Papaya
  • Pineapple
  • Pomegranate
  • Tangerine
  • Tangelo
  • Virtually any fresh fruit 

*Serving = 1 piece fresh or 1 cup chopped fresh fruit
Note: If you are watching your sugar intake, stick to lower sugar fruits. These include apples, berries (all varieties), cherries, grapefruit, orange, peach, pear, and plums.

Probiotics, Dairy, & Dairy Substitutes: 1 to 2 servings daily 

Note: Some people don’t like dairy foods, or can’t digest them properly. If you’re one of them, try dairy substitutes instead (see below). Try to eat at least one serving daily from this list while on the Achieve Cycle.

Probiotic Foods from Accelerate & Activate Cycles 

  • Low-calorie cheeses: brie, camembert, fontina, low-fat cheddar, edam, feta, goat, limburger, & part-skim mozzarella (2 oz = 1 serving)
  • Low-fat cottage cheese (1/2 cup = 1 serving)
  • Low-fat milk, including skim (1 cup = 1 serving)
  • Low-fat ricotta cheese (1/2 cup = 1 serving)
  • Dairy substitutes: Sugar-free rice, almond, or soy milk (1 cup = 1 serving)

Friendly Fats – 1 to 2 Tablespoons daily, unless where indicated 

  • Avocado (1/4 fruit = 1 serving)
  • Canola oil (1 Tbl = 1 serving)
  • Walnut oil (1 Tbl = 1 serving)
  • Light mayonnaise (2 Tbl = 1 serving)
  • Mayonnaise (1 Tbl = 1 serving)
  • Nuts or seeds, unoiled (2 Tbl = 1 serving)
  • Reduced-calorie margarines (2 Tbl = 1 serving)
  • Reduced-fat salad dressings (2 Tbl = 1 serving)
  • Salad dressings (1 Tbl = 1 serving)
  • Trans-free margarines (1 Tbl = 1 serving)

Optional Snacks 

These snacks are all under 100 calories. Plus, they’re filling and fun to eat.

  • Babybell low-fat cheese – 2 disks
  • Frozen fruit bar
  • Fudgsicle, 100 calorie bar
  • Granola bar, reduced sugar & fat
  • Microwave popcorn, light (4 cups)
  • Skinny Cow ice cream sandwich
  • Sugar-free pudding cup
  • String cheese – 1 stick

Meal Planning Made Easy 

Each day for the next 17 days, you’ll eat:

  • Controlled portions of protein from an expanded list
  • Liberal amounts of vegetables from an expanded list
  • Two servings of natural starches from an expanded list
  • Two servings of fruit from an expanded list
  • 1 to 2 servings from probiotics, low-fat dairy, or dairy substitutes
  • One serving of fat from an expanded list
  • Optional snacks
  • Optional daily serving of alcohol

As we wrap up this cycle, this for a moment about how good it feels to slim down. Replacing those lost pounds should be newfound feelings of self-control, increased health and fitness, loose clothing, continual compliments, improved physical appearance, excitement and an overall boost of pride. I know it hasn’t been easy. But the accomplishment of losing weight will bring you true satisfaction – something a Happy Meal could never do.