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999032_10151604196654888_1330807071_nSARA SHARES: What she Learned from an Extreme Weight Loss Program

I tried out this more “extreme” weight loss regime a friend suggested to me. Normally, I’m not all for a magic pill approach, but she had such a good experience I thought I’d give it a shot. I’d needed a kick start back to my healthy self. It worked in the way it was supposed to – I lost a bit of weight over the course of a little over a week – but it also “worked” in unexpected ways..

The diet entailed taking 12 drops three times a day before the main meals, and by meals I mean meals stripped down to the bone. They’re minimalist, simple and sometimes flavorless (cue Pinteresting recipes for HCG diets). Here’s a look at one day’s meals to give you an idea:

  • Breakfast – Supposed to be just a fruit, but I had to adjust this step for health reasons. I had a cup of yogurt with the fruit, usually strawberries or blueberries.

  • In-between Snack – cucumbers & tomato salad (allowed: cucumbers and sugar-free salsa…I improvised).

  • Lunch – Chicken (poached, baked or grilled on pan with light coat of Pam) with salt, pepper and herbs & a vegetable – usually steamed or boiled broccoli

  • In-between Snack – either a tomato, cucumbers or a breadstick (i.e. I had a few pretzels)

  • Dinner – Chicken, fish or plain turkey burger with a side of veggies (asparagus, arugula, broccoli)

  • Second Fruit – usually an apple

This all looks very repetitive and boring and to be honest, it was. I’m used to making my own dressings or sauces to top my dishes, but oil isn’t allowed. Sometimes salt and pepper just isn’t enough and lemon can make things soggy. Though I am (usually) a health nut, I’m also a foodie and limiting my food options and creativity was tough for me. I like to make new recipes, try new foods and create “healthy” desserts. However, being this limited showed me something about myself – I’m really not made for half the things I like to eat.

I’ll give you an example: I’d been on the diet for about a week and a half (only a few minor slip-ups including a bachelorette party weekend) when the mini cadbury eggs I was bringing to Easter dinner were taunting me. I was strong for about 6 hours before I gave in. I told myself I’d just have four – and I did. Minor win! Well, I only “just had 4” because not even a half hour later my stomach began to churn. I know what you’re thinking: “Your body is reacting that way to chocolate?! How awful!” I’m just as shocked…and sad. The same seems to happen when I have too much dairy/cheese or sugary desserts – all things I’m not eating when sticking to the diet and, coincidentally, all things I love to indulge in.

So the question is, what did this extreme weight loss program do for me? The answer: Much more than I expected. I have to say the gains I’ve seen while on this diet/regime were pretty great – not just weight, but energy, mood and self-confidence. But beyond the weight loss, the bigger win for me is the lesson I learned, something my body has probably been trying to tell me for quite some time – without depriving yourself, eat what makes your body feel good.

I can’t say I’ll never have another mini cadburry egg or that I won’t pick up a cube or two of sharp provolone cheese from an antipasto platter, but I definitely will start listening to my body and learn my limits.