Challenge, diet, Exercise, Health

VLCD 19 (Coconut Oil and Measurement Saturday)

I guess you could say I went rogue on this HCG diet. I’ve eaten all of the right foods, I just added a little coconut oil. Egad! Coconut oil is not an item listed in Dr. Simeon’s original HCG protocol. Yesterday, I sautéed my shrimp in about 1-2 TBS of coconut oil and sprinkled a little Old Bay Seasoning on it. It was heavenly! I felt tremendously guilty afterwards, but it was soooo good!

I hesitated as I got on the scale this morning. I did not need a repeat of last week when I ate too much of the wrong foods and gained 1.8 lbs! I’m just gonna say it: I WAS AFRAID! However, I promised that I would not run away from the scale or from this diet ever again. With both feet on the scale, I slowly looked down and a 0.8 lb loss was staring back at me. I lost 0.8 lb the day before that as well. Prior to that, my daily losses have fluctuated anywhere between 0.4 and 0.6 lbs. 

So what has accounted for 0.8 losses recently? The only thing different compared to other days was the coconut oil. Was it a mere coincidence? I went to the Web. One website, Livestrong, reported that certain oils (saturated/ hydrogenated vegetable oils) are not allowed because they are high in calories. It also insisted that low calorie oils like coconut oil are allowed. In fact, Livestrong highly recommended the use of coconut oil on the HCG diet.  


Another website, Miracle Skinny Drops, reported: “Coconut oil has been much discussed by those on hCG as a way to lose weight. We believe that coconut oil can boost energy, while decreasing cravings for carbohydrates and sweets. It is known to stimulate metabolism, improve digestion, and release fat cells.” 

This site also said: “Coconut Oil is low in calories, low in fat, and nutritious, while providing the body with an energy source instead of carbohydrates. You do not need to count coconut oil in your daily calories since it is not stored in our bodies. Coconut Oil will indeed assist in raising Ketone levels which causes the release of fat.” Two to three TBS per day were recommended. Wow! Could it be true? Can I really enjoy some coconut oil, in moderation, for the rest of this diet and lose weight?

In other news, I satisfactorily managed 125 squats yesterday on day 11 of my squat challenge…and I did it with ease! I planned on doing five sets of 25. Instead, I did three sets : 50, 50, and 25. It’s unbelievable how my heart was racing by the time I finished. I then moved on to bicep and tricep work with my dumbbells. Today, I’ll take a rest from arm work. (Remember my post on VLCD 18 about the importance of rests?)

I’ll give you one guess to figure out who held her plank for 40 seconds. Okay…do you give up? It’s ME, ME, ME!!! I’m so proud!


It’s Saturday and that means it’s measurement day. Let’s go!

NOTE: In parentheses () is the amount lost since last Saturday. Total losses appear below:

Neck 13 1/2″ (-0″)

Chest 37″ (-1/2″)

Left upper arm 14 1/4″ (-0″)

Right upper arm 14 1/2″ (-1/4″) 

Waist 32 1/2″ (-3.0″)

Hips 45″ (-1/2″)

Left upper thigh 28 3/4″ (-1/2″)

Right upper thigh 29 1/4″ (-1/2″)

Left lower thigh 23 1/2″ (-1/4″)

Right lower thigh 24″ (-1/4″)

Left knee 16″ (-1/4″)

Right knee 16 1/2″ (-1/4″)

Left calf 17″ (0″)

Right calf 17″ (0″)

Lost This Week= -6 1/4″ 

TOTAL LOST = -16 3/4″

OMG! Three inches from my waist! I always lose from my waist/stomach first. I wonder if the planks are helping. I notice the need to work on my lower abs so I might try some reverse crunches. I wish I had greater losses in my hips and thighs, but I’ll get there! 

Happy Saturday…grace and peace!

Raquel

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Challenge, diet, Exercise, Health

VLCD 18

I DID IT!!! I held my plank for 35 seconds yesterday!!! It got shaky for the last five seconds or so, but I did it! It may not sound like a big deal to you, but it is to me. I am soooo proud of myself!


So for my great achievement, I am rewarded with an additional five seconds. Yes, folks…beginning today and for the next two days, I have to hold my plank for 40 seconds. Yikes! However, like yesterday, I’m going to give it my all. Further, after a day of rest from squats, today I have to do 125. The squat is an exercise I actually enjoy, but 125?


My plan is to do them in five sets of 25 with short rests between each set. My thighs haven’t hurt at all during this challenge. Let’s see how I feel after 125 squats!

I recently added a little arm work out. Nothing big, but I’m just trying to tone. Using 3 lb hand weights, I perform a few sets of bicep curls, tricep kickbacks, and tricep extensions. I also do a few shrugs. I’ve noticed that my biceps are stronger than my triceps.

Now on to my daily weigh in – the scale showed a loss of 0.8 lbs. Today makes exactly three weeks before I leave for Martha’s Vineyard. I’m hoping to make a lot more progress before then. It would be great to be in the 160s by that time. I’m hoping to bid adieu to the 180s by this time next week.

That’s all for today. Tomorrow is measurement day. I’ll be up bright and early with my measuring tape. See you then!

Grace and peace!

Raquel

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Challenge, Exercise, Health

VLCD 17

I dropped another 0.4 lbs. I feel like this is going soooo slooooow! There are various tips for stalls, but this is not a stall – I am losing, albeit rather slowly. I’m praying for patience. 🙏🏾

Today I’ll be officially 1/3 done with my plank and squat challenges. It’s day 10 of 30 and I move up to holding my plank for 35 seconds. I’m a little nervous about that. For the past three days, I’ve had to hold it for 30 seconds. I did it, but it was challenging. Thirty-five seconds might be pushing it today, but I’ll give it my all. When you struggle by the 30th second, going an additional five is tough!

As far as my squats, today is a rest day. This will be my second rest day during the squat challenge. In fact, I have a rest day every five days. During these days, I feel like I’m wasting time and should still do squats on my own. In my mind, rests hinder my progress so I must do squats daily if I want my thighs to get thinner. Not true at all! 😱

An article I read on VeryWell.com stated: “Rest is physically necessary so that the muscles can repair, rebuild and strengthen.” Apparently while I’m resting, my body is still working. Rest is an important part of the process and I wasn’t aware of this. From now on, I’ll accept my rest days and be grateful. 

I just downloaded a running app on my iPhone called C25K by Zen Labs. It’s one I’ve used before and with which I had tremendous success. 


A few years ago, I began running and was in the best shape I’d ever been since high school. Then I stopped. I want to get back to that. (NOTE: See the photo below. It was just a few short years ago. This is my goal!)


I’m not sure when I’ll begin, but when I do, I’ll be running three days/week and working toward running 5k. The app combines walking and running with more walking during the first weeks and building up to more running in later weeks until you’re running a full 5k by week 8. t week. This was a no no.

You can download the app to your iPhone or Android phone. Click C25K to find out more about this app. 

That’s all for now…

Grace and peace!

Raquel

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Challenge, diet, Exercise, Health

VLCD 9

I was so excited about yesterday’s loss (over a pound) that I suppose I expected similar losses for the next few days. That was not the case. The scale showed a loss of 0.6 lbs when I weighed in today and I’m now down to 188.6. In mathematics, one should always round up from 5 or higher, so 0.6 lbs is closer to 1.0 lb than 0 lbs.😁

I read that most women lose between .5 to .75 lbs per day on average on this diet. I calculated my average per day weight loss at .69, so I guess I’m actually doing pretty good. Men generally lose about 1 lb per day. C’mon!!!! Isn’t that sexist? What about equality? We should have equal weight loss for equal effort! 


In other news, I completed Day 1 of both the plank and squat challenges yesterday and surprisingly, I don’t have any pain today. I expected some soreness in my abs, butt, and thighs. I did 30 squats with ease. The 10 second plank was hard. Ten seconds is a relatively small length of time, but I’m balancing all of my body weight at the same time. However, I got through it and my body didn’t start shaking until about the eighth or ninth second. I’m actually looking forward to Day 2 and working toward reshaping my body. 

Can’t wait to see what tomorrow holds for me! Grace and peace…

Raquel 

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Challenge, Exercise, Health

30-Day Squat Challenge

I already posted about a plank challenge I’m beginning today. I feel like I have to balance it with something for my lower body. Therefore, I am also going to do a 30-Day Squat Challenge. 

The squat, if done correctly, will not only work your legs, butt, and hips;  but will also engage your lower back and abs. 

Like the squat challenge, we start small on day one (30 squats) and build up to 175 squats on day 30. (Yikes! That sounds like a lot!)


Here’s how to do a squat as paraphrased from 30 Day Fitness Challenges:

  1. Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart. Your arms should be down by your side.
  2. Lower your body by pushing your hips back and bending your knees and pushing your body weight into your heels
  3. Raise your arms out in front to balance yourself as you lower your body. 
  4. Keep your spine neutral. Don’t let your knees go over your toes. 
  5. Be sure your lower body is parallel with the floor and your chest is lifted, not rounded.
  6. Pause, then slowly lift to starting position, controlling your movement on the way up. 

Will you join me for this challenge as well? Let’s do it together!

Grace and peace!

Raquel

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Challenge, Exercise, Health

30-Day Plank Challenge 

I’m “old school” so I still do crunches. I’ve been told that it’s time to upgrade to the plank. The plank strengthens the core while one hovers, maintaining a position as if simulating a push-up, for a specific length of time. It strengthens the abs, back, and shoulders. It also tones your glutes because it engages the muscles in the buttocks and hamstrings. 

Today, I will begin a 30-day Plank Challenge. Each day builds upon the previous day’s plank hold time, progressively moving from holding it for 10 seconds in the beginning to 90 seconds at the end of the challenge. (NOTE: There are more advanced challenges available online.)

Here are instructions on how to do a plank taken from 

30 Day Fitness Challenged

  1. Get into push up position.
  2. Bend your elbows and rest your weight on your forearms. (NOTE: You are not resting on your hands.) 
  3. You should be in a straight line from your shoulders to your ankles.
  4. Engage your core – suck your belly button into your spine. (This part is important!)
  5. Hold this position for the time listed on the daily challenge. 

Won’t you join me? Here’s the challenge:


I’m ready for better abs in 30 days!

Grace and peace!

Raquel 

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