Just Say, “Know” (to Ingredients)

Know What You’re Putting In Your Mouth

The hands of fate are at the end of your wrists. I know, “Old habits die hard.” Great saying.

Even though I don’t need to, I still habitually walk down every aisle at the grocery, whether or not I know that I “need” anything the aisle proffers. This habit causes a mock argument with my wife every time it happens. My justification for this is that, in most cases, it affords me the satisfaction of saying no (or, to the point of my post, “know”) to every last item absurdly screaming at me to buy it because it’s “heart smart,” or the “healthy choice.”

Speaking of screaming absurdities: Has anyone else noticed a dedicated aisle to candy? It’s unbelievable how this gradual change happened. And, while I can assure you that it wasn’t always the case, I actually enjoy regularly walking down, through, and past the “Candy Aisle” – without placing so much as a mint in my cart. That’s not because “I’m great.” It’s because I’ve managed to shift my thinking, something with which I’d like to help you, if you’re serious about managing your weight. Shifting your thinking about food will make all the difference to you as you begin to lose – and work to maintain – your weight.

Shift Your Weight: “Know” Thinking Required

At some point, and with much practice, my thinking shifted from, “Oh, My! Two-For-The-Price-of-One! Hooray!” to telling myself, “None of this, at ANY price, will help me reach or maintain my goal of staying fit. Sure, I could get away with this or that. The truth is: I don’t need it.”

I once heard, “To know and not to do is not to know.” And this still holds true.

Right now, as surely as you’re reading this, you have within you EVERYTHING you need to gain control vs. gain weight.

I know this is because 1) you can read and 2) you have a brain. Ready for another bit of pith? Repeat this mantra as necessary:

“If I Can’t Read It, Then I Don’t Eat It.” (READ LABELS)

Three Simple Rules For Gaining Control Over Your Weight

Here’s the deal I’ll make with you: You can put anything you want in your shopping cart as long as you follow these three rules:

1. Read the label completely. Your only goal here is to know what substance, chemical process, or ingredient is being declared.

2. If you understand what that ingredient/process is and know that it has a positive nutritional value, you can buy it. (Notice, I said you can BUY it. Whether or not you decide to eat it is up to you).

3. Only when you truly know what a term or ingredient is are you allowed to consume it.

Go ahead, pick up the Oreos or Ho-Hos, etc. and read the labels diligently.

I promise you that, when you start to see ingredients like:

  • high fructose corn syrup
  • partially-hydrogenated palm oil
  • enriched flour
  • soy lecithin
  • cornstarch
  • sorbitan monostearate
  • polysorbate 60, etc.

you’ll begin questioning just what the hell business you have consuming those things – tasty or not. Take the time to do this for everything you intend to consume. As a quick aside, you’ll note that fresh fruit and vegetables take no time at all, because REAL FOOD DOESN’T REQUIRE A LABEL.

For a handy reference to food ingredients, Google the item directly: “what is partially-hydrogenated oil?” or “what’s in my food?” and/or visit:

“Awareness” is not “Knowledge”

Newsflash: Nabisco is not going out of business next week.

If you truly want triple-cheesey curls, I assure you they’ll be in stock by the next time you go shopping. So for now, take the time to write down any/all ingredients with which you’re unfamiliar. There’s no shame in this. We’ve been lulled into passive acceptance of questionable ingredients in our food. E.g., “soy lecithin” is ubiquitous in many foods. But that doesn’t mean we should be consuming it. Do you know what “soy lecithin” or “partially-hydrogenated [X] is? If not, you need to know.

When you go beyond “awareness of” the presence of a food ingredient and arrive at “knowledge of” what “partially-hydrogenated” means, you can consume any product that declares it. The same goes for “soy protein isolate.” You need to know the answer to this question: “What is ‘soy protein isolate’?” (If you guessed a “protein” related to “soy” then you don’t know what it is!)

Just Say, “Know”

My point here is to know — to really know — what you’re eating. If you choose to eat foods loaded with HFCS and hydrogenated ANYthing, then you have no business fooling yourself into thinking you’re serious about your health, much less about losing weight.

Maybe you think I’m being mean. Perhaps you think I’m being harsh. There’s another name for it, of course: “Tough Love.” I’m not going to pump you up with hope while you’re pumping yourself up with disgusting, anti-nutritional crap. And when you KNOW that the majority of ingredients in processed foods is crap, you’ll thank me. Or simply go ahead and hate me for pulling the “Big Food” wool from in front your eyes. The last thing I want is to fill you with false promises or flowery language that justifies not fueling your body properly.

Successfully Losing Weight Requires Knowing What You Want

I’m not going to tell you you can eat anything you like (unless it’s real food). So, yes. You can eat anything you want — just make sure of what you really want. This will take some practice and due diligence on your part to uncover the truth about what you feed yourself and/or your family.

Like me, you may need to keep practicing over and over again. You may have to fail 10 or hundreds of times before you make it down and through your “Aisle of Temptation.” Whether you fly or flop, as long as you’re willing to risk failure, you’ll get stronger and eventually stride confidently past the cream puffs. You must arm yourself with knowledge of what every food you consume contains.

The Hands Of Fate Are At The Ends of Your Wrists

You see, it really doesn’t matter what others tell you about your ability to successfully lose weight. They’re never going to be there reining you in when you feel like indulging. That task is placed squarely in your hands. You’re not destined to be overweight by the cruel Hands of Fate. Both hands of fate can be found at the ends of your wrists. You are in control.

I firmly believe that when you “just say, ‘know'” to whatever you consume, you’ll come to KNOW how much you and your family deserve good food and good health.

Because, to slightly turn the phrase to my (and your) advantage, “To know is to do.”

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Apple Guy

Daniel Millen is a Happy Apple Guy

Daniel Millen is a Happy Apple (Customer)

This may not belong in this section of my blog, and perhaps I’ll move and edit it soon, but I wanted to give a HUGE shoutout to Apple.

It feels good being an “Apple (Inc.) Guy.” For the record, I used to be an anti-Apple guy a couple decades ago. What can I say in my defense? Nothing.

For the last two months I’d been struggling with a (very technical) issue between the Mac video editing workstation I use and a Sans Digital (6TB!) external storage drive (called a RAID). I contacted both Apple and Sans Digital regarding the problem.

FIRST:
THIS WAS MY FAULT: I changed some settings on my main system — this caused it to suddenly stop communicating with the RAID.

SECOND:
I RESPECTFULLY CONTACTED BOTH APPLE AND SANS DIGITAL: I don’t normally “go off” on companies, demanding customer service. “Honey vs. Vinegar,” right? I was honest and explained to both Apple and Sans Digital what happened. Both responded cordially. But Apple went FAR beyond what I expected.

Apple understands that to be the best you have to, well, BE the best.
Performance, not Promises, make the difference.

Sans Digital took the time to do a live disk check of the RAID drive, and said their unit checked out OK. The problem, they said, was in the Mac. All well and good, except, as I pointed out to them, their RAID is Mac-compliant. Wasn’t ANYONE at Sans Digital eager to solve this (simple, as it turned out) challenge? No. Not really. I’m a nobody, really. To them, I’m just a guy with a 2-year old piece of gear they used to make and sell. To their credit, Sans Digital agreed to work with Apple over the phone to solve this. So really, I can’t fault them too much.

But Apple…now here’s a company that understands customer service.

THIRD:
I AM A ‘SOMEBODY’ TO APPLE: I knew I only needed The Gal/Guy With The Dragon Tattoo to do something to fix this — move a zero or one around — and take care of it. But the closest to this I could find was the Apple Genius Bar. So I visited the Genius Bar at my local Apple Store (at the Somerset Mall in Troy, MI) — numerous times. I think the Geniuses were very close to having a dedicated stool for me and the hefty system — about as easy to move as carrying 6 feral cats under your arms — as I would dolly it in every two weeks. Nonetheless, a few of the Geniuses who helped: Jimi, Doug, and (my new hero!) Chris, would patiently try to resolve the problem. But nothing worked.

Frankly, I’d sort of given up. Sans Digital proved to be of limited help. And, try as they might up to that point, Apple failed to identify/fix the problem.

NOT JUST FOLLOW-UP; FOLLOW THROUGH
Then, I received an email from the Apple Business Team, asking if my problem was solved and, if not, would I be open to a phone call followup? I took them up on this and Sal, my contact, urged me to give the Geniuses another chance. So I did so — that very day.

After another thorough diagnostic session at the Genius Bar, Chris (did I mention he’s my new hero?) was stumped. So, instead of shrugging his shoulders, and sending me on my way, he went beyond the call of duty. Apple Geniuses, after all, are people with schedules, other customers, etc. They really don’t have time to delve into the uber-workings of the computer systems, do they? But Chris treated this as HIS problem, too. He took a few minutes to do a bit of digging and research and, when he returned, suggested something a bit “severe” but with high likelihood of success — or a chance of complete and (probably) irreversible failure. After some deliberation, I decided to go with his (potential) solution: A master reset of all system permissions via the [CUE: Scary, shrill music burst]

Mac "terminal" mode.

It worked. [CUE: “Raiders of The Lost Arc” Theme]

I hooted for joy and (literally) double-high-fived Chris, causing nearly everyone in the store to turn around! and everything on the system checked out okay. I tried to take a video of the victorious moment, but I accidentally erased it. (My bad again!).

FOURTH:
APPLE GETS IT: Apple understands that to be the best you have to, well, BE the best. They get it.  They’ll get more of my money BECAUSE they value — through actions, not advertisements — my business.

I know I’m just a guy. But to Apple, I’m an Apple guy.

That’s a pretty swell thing to be.

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Doing A Dog Food Dance

Hi, everyone:

After dropping 70 lbs (31.7 kg) on The HCG Diet, I still find myself in a state of disbelief that I carried around that much extra weight. To this day, I have a ritual I perform nearly every time I visit the grocery store: I pick up and carry around the equivalent of my weight loss in dog food to remind myself of how far I’ve come using The HCG Diet and the information I compiled in The Definitive HCG Diet Guidebook.

It can be a bit embarrassing at times, but I’m far more concerned about “driving home” the point to myself — almost on a weekly (if not daily) basis — of how remarkable and different it feels being 33% lighter.

No matter how much weight you’ve shed, whether it’s 5 lbs (2 kg) or 50 lbs (23 kg) I encourage you to do the same thing. Realizing that this is weight that’s gone forever (with focused dedication to keep it that way) is a feeling worth remembering. And it’s a hoot to know that you never have to live with that burden once you decide that, no matter what, you’ll do whatever it takes to get — and remain — in good health!

No matter how ‘Ruff!’ it may seem, it’s a journey you’ll be happy you em-‘BARK’-ed on!

P.S.
Even with an anti-spam technology, I receive a TON of “responses” from Robots — it may take a while to approve your legitimate response. –DM

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Weight Gain After The Diet

If I only had a nickle for every time I’ve come across this question!: “I’ve been maintaining okay for X weeks/months, but I just weighed myself and I’ve gained 3 lbs! I haven’t done anything different! I’m scared I’m going to gain all the weight back! What’s going on?”

First and foremost, RELAX!

Second, (brace yourself): I don’t know. In fact, no matter how many nickles you throw at them, no nutritionist, dietician, or doctor would claim to know what’s going on. They could guess, perhaps, and offer suggestions for more (or less) protein to fat ratio, more (or less) frequent meals, drinking more water, cutting out snacks, etc. – but those are all (you guessed it) – guesses.

Unfortunately, there are no “one-size-fits-all” answers to maintaining one’s weight, especially if you’ve been maintaining your weight for an extended time. It’s impossible to troubleshoot a gain like this.

≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈

Any diet or maintenance regimen you follow should always be based upon REAL food, not shakes, mixes, or meal replacement concoctions.

≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈

I’ve never seen one approach for weight maintenance that works for everyone; so many other factors come into play: stress, biology, exercise, age, gender, sleep, etc. …in general, LIFE. I’ve found a sensible approach to weight in Gary Taubes’ book Why We Get Fat And What To Do About It, David Kessler’s The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite, and Michael Pollan’s Food Rules and In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto.

What I know is that you can use these spikes in weight as a cue to reflect on your lifestyle, choices, state of mind, etc. For example, you may find that you haven’t been as thirsty, so your water intake has decreased (preventing you from flushing out extra waste), or you’ve been unusually busy/stressed, etc. Other than that, understand that precious few people maintain the exact weight every day.

So, What To Do About Post-Diet Weight Gain?

Perhaps weigh yourself every week, to avoid undue stress over a completely normal fluctuation. If you see an upward trend, then you can make an informed choice.

Chances are, eating the good food you’ve grown accustomed to during the weight loss phase (Phase 2 and Phase 3A and 3B) of the HCG Diet, along with staying hydrated will take care of things.

Also, give those books a try – or others that may sound promising. And be sensible enough to accept that ANY diet/maintenance regimen you follow should always be based upon REAL food – not shakes, mixes, meal-replacements, etc.

Real food. Exercise. Moderation.

Those are the foundations for healthy living.

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The Warrior and The Dragon

I’d like to tell you a story. You’ve probably heard another version of this, but it isn’t this story.

It’s about a brave warrior and a dragon. They started out as friends long ago. But, things changed; slowly, at first. They started calling one another names. They wrestled. And then they began fighting.

This went on for years. They both became very strong — and very cunning — the older and more familiar with one another they grew. Neither ever seemed to best the other, though. In fact, it seemed that the the longer they fought, the more established and secure the dragon became. The warrior could sense this. Despite occasional “victories”,  under the layers of protective armor, the warrior had many, many scars. Some on the outside. But the most devastating ones were hidden deep beneath the skin.

Some of the scars inflicted by the dragon were on the warrior’s heart. And they still throbbed and hurt with every beat. But the warrior told NO ONE of these out of fear of ridicule or worse: complete indifference. “Why don’t you just forget about them?! Just accept them! Be yourself! Nobody cares! Just move on!”

They didn’t understand.

In an odd way, the warrior was proud of those scars. They showed resolve. Strength. Fortitude. The warrior almost …cherished… them. There were times when the familiar pain brought a form of comfort. But the warrior was tired of fighting. Something had to change.

And that’s when, in the middle of being lost in these thoughts, the warrior was startled to look up and see a growing shadow. Was it the dragon? Had it had crept up from behind? No time to think anymore! The warrior sprung into combat and began slicing left and right for goodness knows how long, until, fatigued and winded, she noticed the shadow she’d seen and had been fighting — perhaps for all these years — was her own.

Something had indeed changed. In fact, everything changed.
This is not “The End.

• ~~~~~~~~~ • ~~~~~~~~~ • ~~~~~~~~~ • ~~~~~~~~~ •

Fighting obesity can be like trying to slay a dragon. If you’ve been wrestling with your weight for years, take a moment and breathe. Put down your sword and relax — the dragon will stay put for now while I suggest something to you that may make you laugh so hard that you’ll wet your armor:

You are the dragon.

“How long have you kept yourself overweight? Imagine what that SAME stubbornness focused on weight loss will do for you!”

You’ve been facing a mirror all along and turning the reflection into some hideous beast that doesn’t exist. Oh, I’m not saying you’re imagining being overweight. But it’s time to come to terms with your size and the numbers on the scale (or on the tags on your clothes) that, in turn, reflect it.

It’s time for a truce: Make peace with your weight.

Once you do this, you’ll find that the formidable foe you thought you had to beat back on a daily basis is, in reality, a powerful ally.

Think of this: How long have you kept yourself overweight? You’ve stubbornly held onto extra flesh, food  (and fabric to accommodate this tendency) for years. Now THAT’S “willpower,” my friend! Imagine what that SAME stubbornness about LOSING weight and MAINTAINING the weight loss will do for you.

There’s ZERO difference between the quality of (so-called) willpower it takes to lose weight or remain trim vs. keep oneself overweight; the only difference is the focus.

If you’ve stubbornly kept your weight on for years, I encourage you to drop your sword, take a good look at the reflection in the mirror, and see that your steeled resolve is one of the keys to your weight loss success. You’ve coddled and nurtured this resolve against yourself physically long enough; now it’s time to turn it to your (weight loss) advantage.

You won’t really gain anything…because you’ll still be stubborn (“persistent,” “determined,” “focused,” or whatever you might call it), but you’ll be much happier and thinner knowing that, with resolve like this, you can do far more than simply lose weight and keep it off.

Why, you might even do things that take your breath away — without having to climb a flight of stairs, or swinging a sword at your reflection.

This is not “The End,” either. This is The Beginning.

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