12/6/08 vs. 06/11/09
Note: These are 2 very different dresses. Both are size 4. There are pleats in the wool shift dress (left), but I was definitely 5 lbs heavier than I am now. The dress on the right is the new scallop dress at J Crew. (Mama's gonna be getting this in petites!) It's a lighter weight wool like Super 120s & definitely has a slimming cut. My point is that yes, I am 5 lbs lighter, but the scallop dress happens to have a slimming cut, imo. Maybe that's the miracle we need because I was bloated that day (period) and I still look thin in it. *lol* Remember, I am 5'2", so 5 lbs can be a big difference in how I look.
Slow down....We still need to reduce calories & exercise for the overall health benefits & the best results, if weight loss is your goal. Don't get carried away thinking I am sharing a miracle cure for weight loss. Before you log off and run to get ACV, please read the rest of the post. ;-)
1) Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)
I put 1 tablespoon of ACV in 8oz of cold water. I drink it in the AM and in the PM. I try to drink it as my 1st drink of the day. If I don't do it in the morning, I will do it in the afternoon if I think of it. And then I drink it before bedtime. Sometimes I have green tea afterwards. Not always. And I don't always drink the full 8oz of ACV water If I do it *just* before bed, I might chug 4 oz and then have the remaining 4 oz in the AM.
I have tried Trader Joe's ACV and it works, but the taste is not as smooth as Bragg's. I purchased Bragg's in a health food store. My mom & a friend recently found it at Whole Foods. I met a couple of girls who drink a tablespoon of it straight, sans water. I haven't tried that and I've heard that's bad for your teeth and stomach. Anyway, it seems smarter to get 8 oz of water with it because it counts towards my water intake for the day. Plus why make wrinkles on my face by puckering up daily because of drinking a tbsp of it straight. *lol* I highly, highly recommend Braggs'. I am convinced that it works better than the TJ's brand, and the taste is so much more smooth. Get Braggs' apple cider vinegar. Period. Also, I believe the ACV needs to be cut with water. I think it's too strong for the stomach and over time can have adverse effect on the organ and also on your teeth. Don't quote me. You can find more info online.
My ILs drink the stuff twice/day. They swear it has improved their arthritis, among other things. MIL says it reduces inflammation. I'll go with that. I can eat a couple pieces of pizza and look 4 mo pregnant when I am finished. (see gluten issue below in #2 - enzyme pills). If I have ACV on a regular basis, I am less prone to bloating so easily and in such a magnified way. When I drink ACV, I feel thin. My skin looks good. I also feel it curbs the appetite. I am what I call a salt person. I think you are either salt or sweet. I prefer french fries, for example, over sweets. I could eat McD's FF 3+ days in a row and wouldn't tire of them. I don't have salty cravings when I am drinking ACV, except for times of PMS. And during this most recent cycle, the craving barely showed up. Also, my cycle is so much better overall in the cramps dept. MIL said it improves circulation, so maybe that's been a help. I was still in a crazy mood, so ACV does not appear to cure that. *lol*
Start reading here about benefits of ACV. I recommend that you Google more information on all of the claims ACV is supposed to assist with. All I know is that it's hands down the easiest thing I can do that shows a difference in my weight within a couple of weeks. What it does *not* do is miraculously get rid of fat. You still need to reduce calories and work out for that to happen. As you can see...I am slimmer overall, but still have a poochy stomach. If I would just work my gym membership, I'd really look hot-to-trot. Only thing is that some of my clothes are starting to not fit and I don't want to replace my pants just yet. The tops I can get away with if they are running a little larger. It's not a big deal. The bottoms hanging off my waist? Not good. I've already had to sell/giveaway 6 shorts or pants that I bought at the end of last season and never wore. So I'm not pushing for a drastic change at the moment. I'm pleased as punch with what's slowly been happening.
FYI -- the ACV should be organic, and I believe raw & unfiltered. You might see stuff floating in it and that's good. I always shake the bottle before pouring the tbsp. Do a little reading if you can. If you *must* jump in with both feet in the deep end, without reading any info online, at least get Bragg's. Case in point, which I saw on this site:
"Take two teaspoons of Apple Cider Vinegar (Preferably Mother’s Vinegar) before each meal. The Mother’s Vinegar has not been put through the purification processes such as Heinz. The presence of the mother shows that the best part of the apple has not been destroyed. Vinegars containing the mother contain enzymes and minerals that other vinegars may not contain due to over processing, filtration and overheating. Be certain that you don’t purchase Heinz Vinegar for use with your diet, the active ingredients of the Mother have been removed and will not be as effective as the unfiltered vinegar. I tried the Heinz for two weeks and it didn't work for me."
I have seen reference to 'the mother,' on a few sites and I still don't get what it is. That's actually the clearest explanation I've found so far. I am not sure if there is a Mother's brand. And how does the stuff work? Not trying to be funny, but I'm not a doctor, so I cannot tell you. I just know that I don't have strong cravings at any point during the day. Also, the bloat is gone when I am drinking the ACV. I still get bloated, but not nearly as much as before. You may still see pics where I look heavier and some where I look thinner. As I said, this is not a miracle. I still have some fat on my belly. BUT, 2 small indentations have shown up at my natural waist that I hadn't seen in a long while. G Money pointed it out to me. I accept that I will probably always remain pretty much straight up-and-down in the hips, but it's nice to feel the minimal waist I have coming back a bit.
Read some good info here, too.
ETA: This is an acquired taste. Some will be fine with it right away and some will rush to try the ACV pills. I do not think the pills work in the same way. Plus they leave a horrible burpy after taste. Please be sure to get Bragg's ACV because that is the smoothest I've tried so far. And give yourself time to get used to the taste.
The top tips to get thru it are (no particular order) --
1) Chug it (the 8oz water + 1 tbsp acv) - although a friend says you're supposed to drink it over a 20-30 min period for the best results. It should be going thru your body, not surging through it. I usually don't chug. I've gotten used to the taste. Remember you're only adding 1 tbsp and you're putting it in water. My friend accidentally drank shots of acv straight, no water, for a week before she checked in with me. Definitely don't do that.
2) Mix the tbsp in 8 oz of apple juice. Per a comment below, it tastes like a tart apple. I haven't tried adding apple juice myself.
3) Add 1 tbsp of raw honey to the 1 tbsp acv & 8oz water. This is why I don't chug. I love the honey with it. Also, you should be drinking it at room temperature. I usually set up the drink when I first get up and then start drinking it after I shower or do other morning activities.
4) Think skinny and sip away! (this is what I do!)
* Check out what Joyce had to say!
* Julie has had success.
* Visit Post Smith as well.
* We have added onto the discussion in this post.
2) Enzyme pills
I should have started talking about this one 1st as it has made a HUGE difference in my life. A couple years ago, I decided to cut out cheese and milk products as much as possible. I had heard of this before from a friend who did Marilu Henner's diet. My friend lost weight and got down to thighs-don't-touch thin, but what I noticed first and foremost was how much her skin had cleared up. I purchased Party Hearty a couple years ago, but I couldn't get past the first few pages. Never tried any recipes. I *did* manage to give up cheese as Marilu instructed and noticed a huge decrease in my puffiness. Now you know how easily diet related pursuits can go out the window...Christmas came up, my diet got blown out by my SIL who is on Weight Watchers, but still makes crazy good homemade bread and serves it with the mantra, "It's the holidays!" I forgot all about Marilu and partying heartily per her recs.
Post holidays and this year I finally noticed that I often felt ill after having cheese, and especially ill after my yearly ice cream cake! This has been going on for about 4 years. Given that I have neither cheese nor ice cream cake on a regular basis, my brain just wasn't connecting to the fact that my body was recoiling (stomach pains, gas) when I ate these things. I've always ignored the words lactose intolerant so I didn't exactly know what the issue entailed. Also, when I drank milk (also rarely), I didn't feel ill at all, so things just weren't clicking that I could be afflicted. Luckily a couple months ago I came across something online that resonated with me about lactose intolerance. I decided to abandon milk products as ruthlessly as possible.
In my brief online reading I saw blurbs about enzyme pills and how taking them before having cheese can help. So I purchased some from GNC and they work great! I cannot imagine totally giving up homemade pizza or mozarella sticks. I have to have them on occasion. I no longer eat straight cheese a la wine & cheese. And I can live without it overall. Luckily, if I choose cheese products I can now totally feel the difference when I take the pills vs when I don't. The dairy was *toootally* contributing to the bloat that always seemed to be with me. I am far less bloated and feel great. I have a feeling there are some gluten issues with me. I haven't sought official confirmation from a doctor that I am lactose intolerant or have a gluten allergy. I don't experience pain and don't get sick from products w/gluten -- not that I know of. It's the puffiness & bloat that makes me think there could be an issue. But.. right now I prefer to reduce my white flour intake and live with a little bit of bloat than remove certain foods altogether. Although I am curious what would happen if I nixed white flour altogether. (I'd starve!)
3) The Sleep Diet
I'd say my favorite, easiest thing to do for weight loss is the ACV (#1). However, the way I kick started my weight loss this year was hands down through The Sleep Diet. I only recently picked up the ACV habit again in the past 3 weeks or so. I saw The Sleep Diet in Glamour Magazine. Click here for the official read. The original magazine article was quite compelling. I believe this link discusses real life women who tried it. All of the participants lost weight, regardless of their consistency with the instructions. The original magazine article was quite compelling (bears repeating) so if you can get a hold of it at the library, do it. From memory, the sleep diet instructs you to go to bed by 11 or 11:30 every night and get a minimum of 7-8 hrs of sleep. I think they tell you to remove caffeine, too, but I can't recall. I don't drink coffee so it wasn't an issue for me. I know that I made little to no dietary changes for The Sleep Diet.
The way I employed The Sleep Diet was to go to bed by 11:30p each night. This is the hardest part. The challenge is getting off of the Internet (work, blogs!) and into bed on time. However, once I am asleep, I can get a full 7-8 hrs. G Money & I did it consistently for about 2 weeks and I lost at least 1 lb. Is that motivating or what? I mean...losing a lb for just sleeping. One of the keys is to find your sweet spot. I pretty much knew (and confirmed during the 'diet') that I need about 7-7.5 hrs and cannot sleep 8 even if I try. An acupuncturist I worked with said that our chi is replinished between 11p and 3am, so I kept that in mind as I tried to get to bed on time. I lost at least 3 lbs on the diet. And I wasn't working out. That's the kicker -- they say you don't have to start working out. Keep your life the way it is and just be sure to change the sleep part.
I believe the reason this 'diet' is so effective is that when we get enough sleep, our bodies function better. Doh! right? With better rested bodies, we don't feel the need for coffee, sweets or other pick-me-ups during the day. My afternoon cravings definitely disappeared. That's something a glass of ACV water can cure as well, fyi ;-) Unfortunately, G Money and I are back to going to bed around 12:30a - 1:30a.m so thank goodness for ACV. I can only imagine how difficult it may be to try this if you have kids and the wee hours is your time of solitude to get things done. Or there may be other reasons this could be a challenge. I highly, highly recommend trying it, though. G Money won't try the ACV water, but he lost a couple lbs on The Sleep Diet, so he's all for *that.* Hopefully we'll get back to bed earlier in a few more weeks. It seems like something comes up in our schedule to interrupt our efforts. But if we can do this consciously a few times a year, I think it will go a long way w/our daily productivity, in addition to health & weight maintenance benefits.
I'm not a doctor, scientist or researcher, but I'll be happy to answer any questions as best I can based on my experience. Believe me when say that I have tried so many things. Lemonade cleanse...body wraps...colonics...etc...
Please share any tips you have!
(Katy Perry knows about Bragg's)
2/21/12 ETA: Some ideas for mixing acv in apple juice & other combos on Earthclinic.