The HCG Diet For Skinny-Fat People

...Like Me.

*NOTE* This is a post I wrote while I was going through the HCG Diet Program. I thought I'd share it now to help other skinny-fat people out there. ;)  Summer is approaching - feel empowered with options!

I absolutely LOVE this HCG Diet program!!!

I'll admit, no matter what people tell you, there are the occasional hunger spurts and cravings for forbidden foods. And those times are not easy, but all that's needed to get me through them are the numbers on my scale each morning! I'm not kidding. I've lost an overage of 1/2 lb. a day. That's 3.5 lbs. a week! And here's the REALLY good news - It's all FAT!!! Recordable, measurable, trackable - it's FAT. Maybe if you've never really tried to lose fat, you won't be able to appreciate those numbers. If you have, you know what it means to see that consistent drop - not in just weight, but specifically in FAT!!!

I'm a Skinny-Fat Person

You've probably read about those people who lose 1-2 lbs. a day on this HCG Diet. I've seen it - It's real! It's not at all uncommon for men, in general, or women who are truly overweight. Why am I not getting those numbers? … Easy - I'm not overweight, but I am overFAT. What does this mean? My BMI says, “I'm healthy”. My dress size says, “I'm thin”. My weigh scale says, “No worries”… or at least it would, if it didn't have the ability to measure my Body Fat %. My mirror says, “Cottage cheese, anyone?” (Yeah, for ways to fix that, check out our Cellulite Section.  I'll be adding more detailed information and specific programs to help you: Understand It!  -  Prevent It!  -  Fix It!  -  Fake It 'Till You Make It!)

My Yo-Yo Diet & Exercise Experience

I've spent hours in the gym working to tone my muscles with weighted exercises, and it's worked. Unfortunately, the fat remained. Then I'd cut back my calories to try to “trim up” and I'd LOSE the MUSCLE I'd just worked so hard to get. I suppose you could call that a different form of yo-yo dieting. What I LOVE so much about the HCG Diet is the ability to keep my muscle while losing my fat. Also, I like that I'm seeing my thighs go down vs. my bust. There was nothing more frustrating then losing my muscle AND my breasts all while the fat that had settled in as “saddle bags” wouldn't budge!

I'm Almost There

So, I'm about another week away from reaching my goal. That doesn't sound so hard. I've made it this far and I'm loving what I'm seeing.

PS - Did I mention that my “skinny jeans”, which used to be a second skin, are now loose in all the important areas. They fit, straight out of the dryer, like they used to fit the second or third day. - Yeah, I'm loving it!

***WARNING*** Not every form of hCG being sold is the real thing.  For suppliers of REAL HCG, check out Purchase Real HCG. To understand the difference, and read more about the terrible side effects we had when using the fake hCG, check out HCG - Injections vs. Drops.  

What About You

Are you a skinny-fat person? Are you ready to do something about it?

Low Carb / Low Calorie Dessert Recipes

I set out to make a low carb dessert for Valentine's Day, and ended up making three. That's what happens when you attempt to save a botched recipe and discover that a few changes can make an entirely different (and surprisingly good) dessert.

My original plan was to make a low carb Pavlova. It's a meringue based "cake" either topped or layered with fruit - depending on how much work you want to put into it.

What started as Pavlova ended as...

  1. Flourless Angel Food Cake
  2. Chocolate Brownie Cake
  3. Chocolate Pavlova

All are low carb desserts.

Modifying Desserts to Become Low Carb

First, I figured that it would be easiest to modify a recipe that was already flourless and egg based, as there would be a great deal less to tweak, and I would thereby have a greater chance of success.

Having eliminated the flour issue, I now needed to cut the sugar. This is where Now Better Stevia comes in. (You can see a full post on the benefits and uses of stevia in my post "Featured Foods: Stevia") To help make things low carb, while still keeping the taste I love, I like to cut sugars in 1/2 and add stevia. There are a few recipes where I can use Stevia by itself, but most recipes taste best with a mixture.

Most of us looking for low carb are also looking for higher protein, so egg whites are a win.

Low Carb Pavlova or Flourless Angel Food Cake Recipe?

Flourless Angel Food Cake RecipePavlova is a traditional Australian and New Zealand dessert. I know, it sounds Russian, and there's a reason for that. Pavlova was named after Russian ballet dancer Anna Pavlova.

Pavlova is similar to meringue in that it is formed from stiffly beaten egg whites, sugar, an acid (vinegar, lemon, cream of tartar), cornstarch and often vanilla. One main difference is that instead of being cooked until crisp, the Pavlova is crispy on the outside with a marshmallow-like center.

I had decided I wanted to make a regular Pavlova and a Chocolate Pavlova. My first batch was good. It was billowy white and I shaped it into a heart.

I made a few mistakes that ended up with an entirely different, but delicious dessert. Instead of a crisp outer shell with a marshmallow-like center, I ended up with something a great deal more like angel food cake. Since I happen to love angel food cake, and think it's a good choice for Valentine's day, I was quite pleased. Still, I wanted to know what I had done wrong to end up with such different results. I wondered if the lower sugar was the culprit, but on closer consideration, I discovered a few things I did "wrong".

  • I misread the measurement of cornstarch. Instead of 1/2 Tablespoon, I put in 1/2 Teaspoon. This was better for low-carb, but might likely contributed to the change in consistency.
  • I left it too long before putting it in the oven. Since I was preparing more than one, I wanted to put them both in the oven together. Well...the 2nd Pavlova was a botched recipe that got modified, so my first one sat on the counter for too long. It had just started to get little droplets and moisture is the enemy of Pavlova.
  • I kept opening the oven to take pictures and show people. The Pavlova is cooked at a low temperature in order to basically dehydrate it. By continually opening the over, I introduced moisture and kept changing the temperature.
  • I left it in longer. Because I ended up with two Pavlovas put in at different times, I kept the first one in the oven longer than the recipe said to. (For those wondering why I didn't just take it out, your supposed to leave it in the oven for several hours afterward - it keeps drying.

All of these "mistakes" showed me that I can make a flourless angle food cake, so I'm still pleased. I intend to try making Pavlova again. Who knows? Maybe I'll get it right, and maybe I'll discover another wonderful recipe to add to the list! 

Low Carb Chocolate Brownie Cake Recipe

My next "botched" recipe ended up as one of our top two desserts of the night - Chocolate Brownie Cake.

Low Carb Chocolate Brownie Cake

In my attempt to make a Chocolate Pavlova, I had a brain-lapse and began adding in the cocoa with the sugar (at the soft-peak stage). Yeah, this doesn't work. Basically, by adding the cocoa at this stage, the egg whites would not whip up past the soft peak stage, and they even got a little less fluffy. It was at this point that I remembered that I'm supposed to fold in the cocoa after the egg whites are whipped to their hard-peak stage.

Of course I'm not going to throw it out. I've got to try something new. It may or may not work, but if I'm going to lose the whole batch, I'm at least going to learn something new that doesn't work. As I look at my mixture that definitely doesn't count as having structure, I remember that I have some almond flour. 1/3 cup of almond flour gets added to the mixture, and it's placed in a heart-shaped cake pan and put in the oven with the first Pavlova.

The taste and texture are somewhere between brownies and a flourless chocolate cake. It was delicious and very satisfying. Definitely one I'm making again!

Low Carb Chocolate Pavlova Recipe

Low Carb Chocolate Pavlova RecipeI do believe that this is the only one that turned out "correctly". It had all of the right ingredients, the cocoa was folded in, it went straight into the oven, and it didn't cook for too long. And though it was still quite yummy, it wasn't the favorite dessert of the evening. See - sometimes the "failures" are our greatest successes!

We all agreed that this one would be more fun made as "single-serve" sizes, instead of a plate-sized one that gets cut into pieces. The crispy edges are fun and it's nice to have just a little more of them. Also, depending on the topping, I might dial up the sweetness just a bit - or maybe the chocolate. If I drizzled some melted chocolate over the top, that'd probably do it.

Fails Become Successes

So, as you can see, my "fails" became successes and I discovered new and wonderful recipes that I can add to my repertoire. Not all of them were my favorites - and some I might still play with to make even better - but overall, they were all quite satisfying low carb dessert recipes for Valentine's day. They taste good and look good. Also, since they're low carb and low calorie, I can have more than one!

Don't be afraid to play with food. Who knows what you might discover?

What About You

Do you have a favorite low carb dessert recipe? What about fun discoveries or crazy mishaps with food? Do you have a favorite recipe that you're looking to make lower carb? Share them with us and let's see what fun, laughs and new discoveries we can come up with together!

You Are What You Eat

You Are What You Eat

So DON'T Be Fast, Cheap, Easy or Fake!

Remember that you are made up of the things you feed your body. It's a simple, wise choice to feed your body real foods that are healthy and nourishing. Everyday we are surrounded by foods that are fast, cheap, easy and fake - all things we don't want to be. So, next time you make a choice about what you're going to put in your mouth, decide who you want to be first and let that guide you.

What About You?

What are the things you're eating telling you about yourself? Who do you want to be? What tips can you share with us that help you feed your body well?

Featured Foods: Stevia

In looking to low-carb diets, sugar-free foods or simply keeping the calories low, stevia is a must have. I love it and I use it everyday.

You've heard the expression:

A moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips.

Well, my sweet-tooth and I have this battle, but Stevia is my secret weapon. I can satisfy my sweet tooth and my mirror at the same time.

Now, I'm a foodie, so I'm picky about my ingredients. Though I enjoy the experience of varying diets, I'm not one of those who thinks that tofurky (fake turkey made of tofu) actually tastes like meat, or that the food dehydrated raw pizza tastes like the one fresh out of a wood-fire oven. I can appreciate rice, almond or soy milk for their individual flavors, but you'll never see me acting like it tastes like milk. So, when I talk about stevia being my secret weapon, it's not with sacrifice to flavor or enjoyment of my food. I find the times it works and don't use it when it doesn't.

When substituting anything in an existing well-loved recipe, you get one of the following:

  1. It's disgusting - It completely destroyed everything that you once loved about the dish and you wonder why anyone would defile it so.
  2. It gets the job done - It's not exactly the same, but the differences are subtle and you find yourself satisfied with the outcome.
  3. It's different, but good - It changed the dish enough to be considered a new recipe and you're glad to be able to open up your repertoire.
  4. It's just right - It's like you never changed anything. Everything you loved and craved about the original recipe is intact and you pat yourself on the back for finding a way to sneak healthier food into your family and yourself.
  5. It's better - You had no idea that perfection could be improved upon, but you are delighted that you took on the task of experimentation and discovered pure bliss.

So, which one will stevia be? All of them - truly! It all depends on the brand of stevia and the recipe. I've had all of these experiences already and I still feel like I've only just begun experimenting with what I can make. Don't get too discouraged though; you don't have to do all of these experiments yourself. I'll give you some of mine and add the successes to the yb-recipes section. Please, share your personal experiences and favorite recipes in the comments below, so we can all learn together. Then bookmark this page for future reference.

Stevia plant rowsWhat Is Stevia?

Stevia is a natural sweetener and sugar substitute extracted from the leaves of the plant species native to South America (Genus Stevia, especially S. rebaudiana, native to Paraguay). Stevia is about 100 to 300 times sweeter than sugar, but has no carbohydrates, calories, or artificial ingredients.

Why Should I Care About Stevia?

Stevia is a sugar alternative. There are many compelling reasons to reduce your daily intake of sugar - particularly added sugar. Here are a few:

“Excess sugar is linked to changes in metabolism, increased blood pressure, liver damage and interference with hormone signaling. Lustig and colleagues argue that many of the health effects caused by drinking too much alcohol are, in fact, also caused by eating too much sugar.” CNCA Health - The Dangers of Sugar: Is It Really That Bad?

You can check out more research here.

Obviously too much sugar is a bad thing. Stevia helps keep you from eating too much sugar…without sacrificing the sweets.

Things You Should Know About Stevia

Like all sugar substitutes, stevia has a stronger sweetness per volume than sugar, and it still has a mild aftertaste (depending on how much you use and what brand you use). Unlike other sugar substitutes, stevia is all-natural, and has no negative side effects.

My Favorite Brands of Stevia

The two best brands of stevia are Kal Pure Organic Stevia and Now Better Stevia Powder. They have the least aftertaste of any other brands we've tried (and we've tried a lot). 

Kal Pure Organic Stevia ExtractKal Pure Organic Stevia

Kal Pure Organic Stevia was is still our top choice for most recipes. Of all other brands (that don't include fillers), this is the one with the least aftertaste and most sweetness. That means that a little bit goes a long way, so the investment really pays off. Because it is so sweet, however, some find it difficult to get a small enough serving for things that require a much smaller serving size, like sweetening individual drinks.  

1/2 TEASPOON of Kal Organic Stevia is the equivalent of one CUP of sugar.

Now Better Stevia Powder

Now Better Stevia

Now Better Stevia Powder is distinctly better than its liquid form. We'v found the liquid to have quite an aftertaste, so don't discount the powder if you've had a negative experience with the liquid. (Again, some people don't mind the aftertaste of other stevias or even artificial sweeteners. If that's you, then enjoy the convenience and variety of flavor options with the liquids.)

Now Better Stevia Powder is not quite as sweet as other brands, which makes it much easier for measuring out the small amounts you'll need when working with something that's so much sweeter than sugar.

1 TEASPOON of Now Better Stevia Powder is the equivalent of one CUP of sugar.

Imaging how little you need to add to a drink. One cup is 16 tablespoons (48 teaspoons). If you like a tablespoon of sugar in your drink, then you'd only use 1/16th of a teaspoon of Now Better Stevia.

Tips For Using Stevia

Let's talk about when stevia works and when it doesn't. Truly, everyone will have to form his or her own opinions on this, but there are a few factors that help you decide:

  • Already using a sugar substitute? This healthy switch will be easy.
  • Sensitive to certain flavors (like me)? You'll find some limitations.

I don't like it in my coffee or black tea, but I can always use it in baking, smoothies, and fruity herbal teas.

Baking, baking, baking - One of the best places to use stevia, without having to worry about any added flavors, is in baking.

The absolute best tip I have for you is this:

Cut it in half - 1/2 Stevia & 1/2 sugar

If the flavor of the Stevia is too strong, a simple use 1/2 Stevia & 1/2 sugar/honey/maple syrup (or even 1/4 stevia & 3/4 sugar - transition it in until you find the right blend). This will work best for keeping the desired taste while still cutting the sugar in your diet.

Note: This doesn't mean _ of the same amount of Stevia, but instead cutting out _ the other sweetener and adding the equivalent sweetness in stevia. Again:

1 TEASPOON of Now Better Stevia Powder is the equivalent of one CUP of sugar.

1/2 TEASPOON of Kal Pure Organic Stevia is the equivalent of one CUP of sugar.

So, if a recipe calls for 3 cups of sugar, simply put in 1.5 cups of sugar and either 1.5 teaspoons of Now Better Stevia Powder or 0.75 teaspoons of Kal Pure Organic Stevia, and you'll have cut the sugar in half without missing out on the sweetness.

Each brand has its own sugar-to-stevia ratio, so check the package of the stevia you've purchased before you measure out sweetener. Still, the above ratios should give you a good starting place. Also, the scoop that is inside of these stevia containers is roughly 1/32 of a teaspoon.

Where To Buy Stevia

Buy now at iHerb     Buy from Amazon

It's Not a Diet

It's Called Eating Healthy.

It's good to have a simple reminder once in a while that eating healthy is so much more than a diet - it's a lifestyle choice.

Diet has a bad reputation. Somehow it's ok to not eat something because you don't like it, but it's a "diet" to not eat it because it's not good for you. Who made up these rules?

Healthy Eating

It's a funny truth to have to point out that we were designed to eat real food. To me, saying "I'm on a diet of real food" is equivalent of saying "I breathed real air today". Unfortunately, that's not how the world at large defines things right now. So, to make it a little more clear, and to speak their language, I simply say: 

"It's Not a Diet. It's Called Eating Healthy."

Not Against "Diets"

I'm not against what is traditionally thought of as a "diet". I've been on various diets, and will do some of them again. Why?

I find limiting myself to only what is helpful to my goals
to be very effective in helping me actually achieve them.

This should seem like an obvious statement, and certainly not limited to eating.  Still, in terms of eating, there are many different goals that diets help people achieve.  There are diets for cleansing and detoxing, losing weight, adding muscle, dealing with allergies and intolerances, and even diets for various religious exercises.   At the root of all of my "diets", however, is healthy eating.  Healthy eating must be the foundation for any other regimented eating program.

What About You?

Have you had to explain your "diet"? What are some ways you have incorporated healthy eating into your regular lifestyle?

Low-Carb Soup Recipes

All Under 200 Calories!

Would you like a little something to warm your tummy without expanding your waistline. What about making sure to nourish your bodies as well? Each of these recipes is under 200 calories, made with nutrient rich vegetables and has almost 30 grams of protein per serving. Don't expect that just because the calories are low that the portions are too. Each serving is over two cups.

Check out each one in more detail on our YB Recipes page.

Low Carb Spicy Cabbage Stew

Low-carb spicy cabbage stew

This stew is a modification of a classic favorite that I had growing up. It's spiced with chili powder (yum!), which, combined with the stewed tomatoes creates a perfect base for the vegetables and meat. Simple modifications like lean ground turkey breast, in place of ground beef, really took the calories down while keeping a lot of great flavor and protein. The original recipe my mom used to make had kidney beans in it, so if you're not low-carbing it, you can always add them back in. Keep in mind that the nutrition data (and calories) would need to be adjusted.

Low Carb Chicken Noodle Soup

Low carb chicken noodle soupNow when do you get to put noodle and low-carb in the same recipe? Here, when you utilize Miracle Noodles, otherwise known as Japanese shirataki noodles. They are a no-carb, no-calorie noodle made from yam fiber (or very low-carb / low-calorie, if you eat a lot of them). The are a gelatinous style noodle and come in many different shapes and styles (angel hair, spaghetti, fettuccine, ziti, rice & more). Here, we use the fettuccine style to add the thicker, heartier noodle to a classic-style recipe.

Mama's Low Carb Chicken Soup

Mama's low carb chicken soupYes, this recipe is actually from my mother-in-law. Papa has had to go low-carb and she has come up with her own tricks to keep him satisfied. One great tip - dice up some scallop squash (or paddy-pan, as she calls them) and add them in place of potato. It's an amazingly hearty substitute. Also, if you're looking for a thicker soup, grate up the zucchini instead of dicing it.

Low Carb Vegetable Beef Soup

Low carb vegetable beefThis one barely made the calorie cut due to the ground beef, but the flavor is rich and hearty. We used 95% lean ground beef, but if you're looking to go leaner, you can always substitute with some lean ground turkey. A good tip here is in how you brown the onions before adding any liquid. It gives a fuller, almost smoky flavor to the soup.

What About You?

Try them out and tell us your favorite! Do you have another great low-carb soup recipe that you'd like to share? Let us know.

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