My HCG Weighloss Journey

So I have been wanting to write this post for a year.  However, I figured I needed some time/evidence/and some personal research before I dished about my weight loss last fall and then keeping it off for over a year.  I lost the weight through a controversial method – the HCG Protocol.  Some see it as no better than a diet pill, for me it was in no way shape or form ‘the easy option.’  Also surprisingly, through HCG I learned just how important nutrition and fuel is for my body. It went from the sole desire to ‘look a certain way’ to being able to fuel my life and be healthy.

Shall we look at a before?

8/2013

Now what about an after (april 2014)?

i know a 'paleo' diet of at least 1600 calories a day and running 2-3 times a week works for me.
i know a ‘paleo’ diet of at least 1600 calories a day and running 2-3 times a week works for me.

And now?

i need fuel for zee muscles!

Let us begin.

About a month after I got sober in July 2013, I realized that just stopping my alcohol consumption would not magically make me lose the weight I had, for years, deduced must be there because of booze/booze related consequences. After a month sober, I physically felt better and mentally felt great, but still had every excess pound on me.  Now at this point, it had been years since I exercised regularly and I had 26 years of bizarre eating habits going on.  A prime example of my ‘bizarre’ eating habits is ‘oh no I can’t eat that whole serving of chicken breast, instead I will only eat half and  use those ‘saved’ calories to consume some M&Ms’ – makes total sense…..  However, before HCG I had tricked my brain (but not my body) into thinking all calories were equal.  Of course I’ve heard the opposite of this said everywhere; at the gym, at WeightWatchers, at CrossFit, at Title Boxing, at Whole Foods, on Dr. Oz, in People Magazine, etc etc… but I never really believed it. Why? Because I wanted to eat the bad shit.  Plain and simple.  Sure an avocado is amazing for your body/nutrition, but a donut is more fun!  Also I am a ‘victim’ of the generation that was told fat and calories are BAD!  Something we as a culture are just starting to wake up from….

However, I digress, I wanted to lose the weight. I was single, sober, and by golly I wanted to be thin.  (Yes thin, not healthy – we will get there) When thinking about the way to lose this excess 30 pounds I had with me, I immediately thought of the HCG Protocol. I have had several close friends see long term success with HCG so I figured I would try it in Chicago.  Oddly enough, there is a medical clinic just two blocks from my house that advertises (in giant neon flashing lights) that they have the HCG Protocol there.  I took it as a sign from some ‘diet higher power’ and made an appointment.

Now here is where the risk got high.  This HCG protocol was not cheap.  In fact, it was a cool $1000.  I was weighed, questioned, pinched (for BMI), and had an EKG done for heart health in my consult.  The Doc said – it seems like a good fit for you.  I agreed (good thing I had that 0% APR Chase Slate card on me!).  I’m going to give the canned version of what the next 42 days of my life were like.  First off, I was to inject myself daily with HCG (which some of you may recognize as a hormone produced by pregnant ladies) and follow a very strict meal plan of specific foods that were under 500 calories a day.  This may sound alarming, because well it is pretty insane. But, I had seen the results of the folks that followed the protocol and so I followed the instructions.

The first two days of injections you get to pig the eff out.  NO JOKE. There’s a little bit of a ‘science’ behind what you want to eat (more fats/proteins), but basically anything you want in an quantity until you are so full you may vomit all over yourself.  I vividly remember this was the last time I ate Taco Bell. It was amazing.

Day Three – 42. 500 calories MAX a day.  Of only certain proteins (chicken breast/certain fish), leafy greens, and two fruit options (apple/grapefruit). So I wasn’t miserable. 1 – because the pounds fall off by 1-2lbs per day. So it was at least results producing. 2 – the HCG chemically tells your brain/body you are satisfied at 500 calories and thus is allowed to burn your fat without knowing you are actually starving yourself. I don’t know the real science behind this – this was my attempt at not putting you asleep but sharing my process. Now this whole 500 calorie business is serious. I recall one day chewing (NOT EATING) 10 sticks of gum and because of the sucralose in the gum I gained 3 pounds. Once I realized that was the only thing different in my diet I made sure not to do that again. That was early in the protocol too so it reinforced that cheating was going to really sabotage this.  Plus I JUST SPEND A GRAND ON THIS. (Believe me I hyperventilated about it many times – but stress deters weightloss so I had to calm the eff down and be thankful that card was 0%APR for a year longer)

During these 42 days I also had weekly (every Sunday) doctor visits where I would weigh in, get my weeks worth of shots and a weekly B12 shot.

So, naturally there is fear about the sudden stopping of the shots and then increasing the calories.  At the end of the 42 days I had gone from 195lbs to 166lbs.  For the next two weeks following the protocol I had to increase my calories to at least 1500, BUT remain on the same selection of foods. Now 1500 calories disappears very quickly in a diet where you can have nuts, pasta, pizza, sugar, soda, but when you can only eat eggs, chicken breast, leafy greens, apples, grapefruit, certain fish… it takes a lot of those things to get you to 1500 calories. For the first time in my life I felt like I was gorging on healthy foods.  The doctor said I would probably continue to lose a few pounds which I did – I finally ended the weight loss at 164lbs. This re-introduction of calories is also so important because it sets the ‘base level’ for your metabolic function.  So if you follow the 500 calorie days, then biff it in the 2 week post weeks the whole thing was WORTHLESS.

After the two weeks I was able to introduce basically everything except starch and sugars into my diet. Obviously this means bread is out. Sugar is the goddamn devil, but again that’s a conversation for another day.

So what did the protocol teach me? A LOT.  It actually retrained my ‘yo-yo dieter’ brain into eating proper and good nutrition. Gone are the days of skipping dinner to eat a pack of M&Ms or have a sugary cocktail. Now I want to eat to fuel my body.  In the past year I have learned that I can do anything with my body – ride 1000 miles on my bike, walk around Thailand, craft, walk my pug, discover Chicago, run an 8 minute mile, and learn to box.  In September I took a break from my usual 2 hour daily active regime (3000 calories/day intake) and got a little confused.  I started letting the empty sugar calories invade my day instead of eating cashews/avocados and other healthy fats. I blame seasonal induced lameness.  I got on the scale on 11/3/2014 and weighed 175lbs (at night after eating all weekend long in Des Moines) and was bummed.  I knew what I had to do….  Today (11/10/2014) I’m 164lbs as I have cut the added/processed sugar from my diet for just the past 7 days. (What’s that base level weight?! you are a real thing?!)

In conclusion, the HCG for me was the best option and it came at a time when I was most focused and inspired to do this. I followed the Protocol to the ‘t’ and lost the 30+lbs in the 42ish days.  I have successfully kept off ALL the weight over 14 months later. To say I am happy with the process and the results is a gross understatement. The HCG protocol retrained my brain to care about my nutrition and my health, not my calories.  Today and this past year I have experienced the healthiest relationship with food I have ever known as an adult.  It may seem extreme, it may not be your cup of tea, but it allowed me to reach a level health wise that I am so proud of. I know what works for my body and I am happy that finally at 27, I have a healthy relationship with my body and with food/nutrition.

If you have questions you can email me at ghostfaceknitter@gmail.com – I would love to educate anyone interested in this process. I also understand many people do not agree with this protocol, I understand that as I was once very against this (until through my close friends was shown long term healthy results are the outcome) – please don’t demean my journey as I would never demean yours.

Thanks for reading.

GFK

XXX

GHOSTFACEKNITTER

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With fall here and the holidays right around the corner, let me make your custom items/gifts! Pretty much anything you see knit/sewn/crochet I can make for you! My pricing is very affordable and I work hard to get you exactly what you dreamed!

I have done custom embroidery orders, scarf/cowl, baby bibs, kleenex coozies, crochet people/objects, dresses, skirts, blouses! Don’t forget about the pets either – I can make any costume idea or fun accessory for them too!

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custom cake

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ghostfaceknitter
ghostfaceknitter

one of khalessi's dragons
one of khalessi’s dragons

carnival set of towels
carnival set of towels
embroidered tea-towel for my Grandma's birthday.
embroidered tea-towel for my Grandma’s birthday.
Baby B likes his sweater.
Baby B likes his sweater.
Amy Bulter Pillow well received.
Amy Bulter Pillow well received.
new pj shorts for the STAKBE club.
new pj shorts for the STAKBE club.

1000 BLEEPING Cycling Miles

It’s no surprise that I LOVE  my bike. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’m in a relationship with my bike.  I commute to work everyday on it, choose to ride long distances because it’s just so fun, and prefer to take a ride on my bike rather than use the car. From Memorial Day to Labor Day I managed to hit 1000 miles, despite one nasty crash (sprained the membrane between my ulna and radius), a car wreck, and three flats.  Here are some funny/nice/awesome moments of my first summer cycling in Chicago.

BICYCLE RIIIIIIIGHTS.

Me and Yoshi right after reaching 1000 miles on 8/29/2014.

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That time I wore this white Nike top and there was a surprise downpour on the way home….. AWKWARD.

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Giant Bike Packs. Gotta be prepared I guess.

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One Year exactly. 8.26.2013 vs 8.26.2014. HUZZAH.

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On the ride air pumps. This was the first of 3 flats I encountered – all within the same week too!

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Gorgeous view from my long University of Chicago Campus rides – total distance that day 35 miles.

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Work is nice enough to have an indoor bike rack. Yoshi never has to brave the elements without me.

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The aftermath of Yoshi vs. Car. Twisted handlebars… thank goodness no other damage was done.

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Sorry for my butt… about a week after my first crash. It took two months for that bruise to totally disappear.

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On the road with Yoshi and Leopold. If only that squirrelly little pug would sit in a basket… sigh.

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Here’s to many more 1ks on Yoshi!

Huzzah!
xxxx
GFK

get it in gear

wow. Well I guess with labor day this weekend, the summer is officially over. I, for one, had the best summer of my life. I learned so much about myself, conquered some really big personal mind-blocks, and did a bunch of cool shit. Plus I let go entirely of the control I felt I had on my life and in doing so was surprised to find what I’d hoped and dreamed for all along.

I’m a fan of lists so I guess I’ll just do a little list of the things I experienced this wonderful wonderful summer.

1. Rode 1000 + miles on my bike – yep from memorial day to labor day. I hit the 1k. SO RAD.

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2. Learned to brew my own Kombucha, make my own Kale chips, and can my own shelf stable foods.

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3. Celebrated 1 year sober.

4. Joined Title Boxing.

5. Ran the majority of days during lunch – with awe inspiring views.

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6. Let go of bad self-esteem and closed the door on relationships that make me feel badly.

7. Opened an Etsy Store! Weeeee!

custom cake

8. Got tattooed.

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9. Did the Whole30 Challenge with Lois.

10. Embarked on a new adventure with lots of motorcycles, antiques, and laughs.

It was a damn good summer. Now that it's over I need to focus and get it in gear for a productive and great Fall. That means, tightening up the budget, dedicating myself to 3 days of boxing a week, focusing at work and hustling for a promotion hopefully, and giving GFK + the etsy store my undivided attention.

lesssss dooooo this.

xxx
GFK

the kombucha dairies

In the past several months I have developed a strong liking and inclination for kombucha. For those of you who don’t know what kombucha is, let me explain. Kombucha is a fermented tea that is cultured with a mushroom “SCOBY” and sugar. Okay, okay, I know that sounds effing nasty. Well…. I mean lots of fermented foods sound gross in theory, but then when someone produces some amazing sauerkraut, kim chi, cheese, or Worcestershire sauce it’s easy to forget the process and just enjoy the taste. Food preservation and discovery is fascinating and is what makes us as people so special and wonderful. I don’t know who first let their tea sit out for way too long and then had the nerve to drink it, but I’m glad they did. PLUS – there are quite a few health benefits from drinking Kombucha – it aids in digestion, helps detox the liver, and although no super scientific research has been done people just say it makes the body feel better. I can totally jive with all those claims, but the bottom line for me is that it’s tasty as hell.

Anyways, buying kombucha at the health food store can set you back $4 a bottle and believe me this stuff is the jam – so the cost suddenly becomes pretty obvious when you get a full blown kombucha addiction rolling. I started thinking about brewing my own especially because I have SO MUCH amazing tea from T-we Tea in San Francisco (btw the boys at T-we Tea are the most wonderful small business owners ever). So I started doing research about brewing my own kombucha….. There are many ‘how to’ and ‘101s’ online and after reading enough it was obvious the ‘fail-proof’ method for starting a successful SCOBY was to buy one. I used Kombucha Kamp as my SCOBY provider and used the kombucha mamma’s guidelines to brew my own. You can buy a ‘mother’ SCOBY for around $20 and that will yield countless gallon brews. PLUS each brew creates a new ‘baby’ SCOBY that you can transfer to a new gallon glass jar and thus yield another gallon! Straight up every brew MULTIPLIES! I bought 2 to start because – well go big or go home I guess.

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For my tea, again I used Twe-Tea. I’m an addict of theirs so it was natural to use their product. I have brewed Flailing Princess (a darjeeling with coconut and rose petals), Ooh Laa Cocolong (a jade oolong with coconut ribbons), and Guurl Grey ( sri lankan ceylon with orange peel and jasmine). All three have produced very tasty kombucha. I have also added ginger juice to several of the kombuchas after I bottled them.

My first brew experience went something like this:

1. Day 1 :Brew tea / mix as directions said – add SCOBY. Cover with normal muslin and put in kitchen cupboard. Giggle and wait.
2. Day 5 : WHAT THE FUCK ARE THESE BUGS IN MY TEA?!
3. Day 5- Day 6 : Dump the maggot tea – Retained both mother SCOBYs and let ‘sit’ in small container to see if maggots had infested MOTHERS. coupled with panicked research and Kombucha horror stories.
4. Day 7 : “I spent $40 on these mother-f*cking SCOBYs and by jove I’m not gonna waste them – I don’t see any bugs/larvae – eff it! let’s do this again.’
5. Day 8 : Re-brew tea / mix as directed – add non-bug SCOBYs. Cover with super tight doubled up muslin, create ‘fruit fly trap’, put in kitchen cupboard.
6. Day 9-23 : Compulsively check kombucha brews for fruit-flies and any other abnormalities. Deep Breathes everyday as it actually was going well.
7. Day 24 : Time to taste test this….. please don’t taste like barf….. WOW DELICIOUS!
8. Day 25 : Bottle 2 gallons on Kombucha. Add ginger to 1/2 dozen jars. Start new Kombucha brews.
9. Day 25 – 40 : Enjoy my own Kombucha!

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I’ve successfully brewed and fermented two batches of two teas from my SCOBYs so far. I absolutely LOVE how my brew tastes too. I did finally get the nerve to have someone taste the tea and they said it was so great! Huzzah! Anyways – this experiment was totally worth it. Aside from the maggot hiccup on batch #1, I have the method down already. I’m thinking I’ll split my SCOBYs tonight and start 4 batches this time! Making stuff is so fun!

xxx
GFK

Papa Tango Flying

Here’s a look at my first time flying with my dad in his experimental RV6A. I was so impressed at his ability to make it look so easy to fly. We took off from Boulder Airport and flew around the hogbacks, along the mountain range and over the university. It was amazing to say the least. My dad rules!

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