I Made a Terrible Mistake, How Do I Fix It?

Updated on November 20, 2013
J.S. asks from Chandler, AZ
23 answers

I've posted before about my weight issues. I gained 40 lbs in about 14 months and I was having a terrible time finding motivation or success losing any of it. Every time I got on the scale, I gained another pound. I knew of few people who had recently did the hcg diet and had success losing the weight. One got pregnant shortly after she lost all the weight so was hard to determine if she was successful in keeping the weight off, the other 2 people were just finishing the diet so it's yet to be determined how the do. Out of desperation, I decided to try it. I was originally going to do the 43 day protocol, but after frustration, decided to do the 24 day protocol. Then on day 18, I had had enough. I was eating 500 calories a day and following the strict diet to a T. I still gained 2 lbs in 2 days! My body ached all over, I'm sure from lack of nutrition, and I was starving. I called it quits. For 2 days now I've slowly increased my calories, still trying to eat healthy. I've gained 2.5 lbs already. I'm so afraid I'm going to balloon now and gain back the rest of the 9 lbs I lost, plus some. I'm also afraid I've destroyed my metabolism and will not be able to lose weight the right way through diet and exercise. I don't know what to do. I know I made a terrible mistake, so I don't need criticism on that. I just want to know if I can get back on track the healthy way. Have any of you or know anyone who came out of this HCG nighmare ok? Did it destroy metabolism or ability to lose weight the right way? Any suggestions besides increase calories to a higher amount with healthy foods and exercise?

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So What Happened?

To answer some of the questions below. I did do the HCG injections through a Dr. When I was still starving and gaining weight, she increased the HCG, told me to add a protein breakfast like egg beaters or a whey protein shake (breakfast is not on the protocol), and move my fruit to the afternoon or after dinner. She also prescribed an appetite suppressant. Doing all this, it still didn't work, so I quit the HCG. I was depriving myself to 500 calories a day and not cheating at all. It wasn't worth it. I have eliminated virtually all carbs and sugars from my diet and mostly ate lean meat and veggies with 2 fruits per day. When I started the HCG, I had blood work done including my thyroid, and everything came back ok, except I was low on vitamin D and iodine. So I've been taking supplements. As far as things changing in my life, during the course when I gained all the weight, I stopped doing in home daycare, where I was on my feet all day, to a part time desk job. I will admit, my boss has an abundant supply of candy, and I often ate it. No more though. I also, started walking for 15 minutes at lunch, just to get off my butt. And now that I'm off the HCG, I will begin using my eliptical.

Aileene P- Wow, you are a real piece of work. I haven't had candy at work in MONTHS! When people were concerned why I gained so much weight in 14 months, I was explaining that my thyroid is fine, but I HAD had some issues eating candy at work. I had a lot of changes from being on my feet all day to sitting at a desk and yes, having candy from time to time. Also, if you knew anything about the HCG diet, you would know that you aren't supposed to work out while on it. I was simply saying that since I am not doing the diet anymore, and am trying to go the traditional route, that yes, I am working toward bigger goals with exercise. Yes, I am walking 15 minutes at lunch since I now have a desk job, which I'm sure has attributed to weight gain. And now that I am off the HCG, I am going to begin using the elliptical to begin an exercise regime. I don't need your criticism or your nastiness.

Once again, you are making assumptions and you clearly didn't read my original question. I know my mistakes. I know why I've gained weight. I've spent months soul searching and I tried a diet out of desperation that was too good to be true. Some people have had good success on it, as one poster has below. But for me, it didn't work. However, I have heard horror stories about how the HCG messes with your metabolism and it becomes virtually impossible to lose weight on your own after using it. My original question was for people who had HCG experience or knew someone that did. My original question was asking if anyone had experience losing weight (the right way) after HCG. My original question was not meant for someone as sarcastic as you that has no experience with the stuff. If you paid attention, I already ended the "fad" diet, and am doing it the right way. And to answer your question, no one else posted as rudely and sarcastic as you, so no, I did not pm anyone else. Only you deserved that.

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answers from Los Angeles on

Have you looked into Juicing, if not look into it. I was having such a hard time losing the weight after my third baby. And the juicing help kick those pounds. Good Luck the more you stress the more you will gain, so just relax and you well reach you'll goal before you know know it !! Good Luck and keep going!!! :)

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answers from Pittsburgh on

I don't think you need another diet. I think you need to talk to a doctor. Gaining 40 lbs in 14 months means something is wrong. Gaining weight while eating 500 calories per day means something is wrong.

Start with your PCP. If that person doesn't find anything, ask for a referral to an endocrinologist. No amount of dieting or exercise is going to help you if your thyroid isn't working right, or if there is some other underlying medical issue.

ADDED: I saw your SWH. I would find another doctor. Seriously. Especially if you got your thyroid work from a PCP and not an endocrinologist. This happened to a friend of mine. She insisted on the referral. It turns out that the total thyroid levels were normal, so standard bloodwork from the PCP came up normal. But when the endocrinologist did a very detailed set of bloodwork, it turns out that the ratio of types of thyroid hormone were off (I'm not an endocrinologist, so I don't know the exact results, but this is my understanding of it). She started taking a supplement to correct it, and lost a lot of weight easily.

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answers from Jacksonville on

Have you talked to your doctor about this AT ALL?

Diet, no diet, over-eating, whatever.... you are talking about an average of 3 pounds per month weight gain over a period of 14 months. That is in line with the weight gain during pregnancy. Even if you recently hit a certain age (I am mid forties, and things DO slow down) you shouldn't gain that much continually unless you are doing some off the wall eating out of control.

You need to see your doctor and find out why you are continuously gaining weight for no apparent reason. No diet, no "plan" will help if you don't know why you are gaining. And from what you've written here, it sounds like it has nothing to do with your calorie consumption.

See the doctor.

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answers from Huntington on

Anyone I know that has used HCG has gained their lost weight back. Here is what I would do:
-Ditch the scale for a while. It is too easy to beat yourself up when you go up slightly. I wholeheartedly agree with going by how your clothes fit. For example, I have been working out 5-6 days a week for 4 weeks (walking on treadmill and doing 30 min workout dvds). I have not lost ANY weight so if I go by the scale I am bound to be frustrated and give up. However, my back pain is decreasing, my clothes are fitting slightly better and my tummy is looking better. I consider that progress.
-Make a doctor's appt asap for thyroid testing
-Eat healthy meals at 1500 calories per day
-drink a lot of water. Drink when you wake up and before each meal
-try to work in any fitness you are willing to stick with. I find that when starting up, it is best to stick with easy workouts I will not dread, like walking instead of jogging, hula hooping, whatever gets you off the couch.

I am sure your doctor can help you determine if there is a medical issue and help you set up lifestyle steps changes. Just remember again that you need a lifestyle change, not a quick fix, but you know that. I totally get wanting the fast results but we all know that if it is not something you can and will stick with forever, the weight will come back.

For what it is worth, my mom used HCG and the weight came back. However, now she is just watching what she eats- small, healthy meals, not starvation- and she has lost 20 lbs in 2.5 months and feels like food no longer has control over her. She feels like she CAN stick with what she is doing.

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answers from Albuquerque on

I'm guessing you ordered the HCG drops online rather than doing shots through a licensed doctor, right? If so... you may have very well received nothing but colored water in the mail. The FDA is looking into many of the companies who sell HCG online because their product is reported to be nothing more than water and herbs. Anyway - it won't destroy your metabolism or your ability to lose weight through a healthy method. But you probably will gain back all of the weight you lost as your body recovers from starvation mode.

You didn't make a terrible mistake. Don't beat yourself up. But you did waste time and money and now you'll have to re-lose that weight using a good protocol of healthy food and exercise. Good luck!

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answers from Denver on

I don't know a lot about the HCG diet. I had a friend who did it and it didn't work. Anyway, I am surprised that breakfast is not on the protocol. It really is the most important meal of the day. It should be eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper. That should give you enough energy for the day.
I second whoever said drink lots of water. I used to be awesome about it, but have fallen back into drinking things like chai tea latte's etc. Even with cutting out a lot of desserts from my diet I still have gained some weight. It is amazing how many calories drinks have!
Also, Definitely get your thyroid checked. Could be an imbalance in there?

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answers from Denver on

Hi J.. First of all, don't be so hard on yourself! I don't see it as you making a terrible mistake, you were trying something and it didn't work out- that's all! And whoever said you tried taking the 'easy way out' is way off base. Living on 500 calories a day doesn't sound easy to me at all! Just think of this as a big lesson, and maybe the wake up call you need to just start again in a healthier way.

You've got great ideas so far in terms of tricks and things to try. I'm a big fan of little things adding up. You already said you are walking at lunch and not eating the candy available at work- give yourself credit for those, both big helps!!

I am not usually a big eater at breakfast, but find that I really am hungrier all day when I don't eat it. Do try a healthy, protein filled breakfast. Hopefully that keeps you on track more during the day. And I second (or maybe thrid!) the grazing idea. I tend to eat little meals 4-5 times per day, and don't ever feel like a huge dinner. This has helped me. My husband doesn't eat much all day, and is STARVING at dinner and always eats way too much.

Do keep on top of your medical stuff, making sure that hormones or thyroid issues are not complicating things for you. Once you feel confident that you are healthy, just keep working on the rest.

Again, I hope you don't beat yourself up for the HCG experiment. It just wasn't for you, as it hasn't worked for lots of other people. Live and learn, you were trying to do something for yourself, that's the point. So try something else now! And remember, you are already doing some healthy things, just add more. You'll get there!

Good luck!

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answers from Washington DC on

Stop all the diets, injections, and start eating about 5-8 servings of fruits and vegetables a day (mostly vegetables). Lay off the bread and carbs...

Get a moderate amount of exercise and voila....

Don't weigh yourself until you can get back on a regular diet. I can gain 2lbs in water weight in one day - depending on how much fluid I drink.

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answers from Austin on

You've gotten some good questions...

Quit the "diets" and look at lifestyle changes.

Do you eat many processed foods? Those really aren't good for you. You already see how much a problem the candy is for you.. I agree, when I buy it, or have access to it, I eat entirely too much of it!

Go back to the basics.... good, wholesome food, and look at the carbs you are still eating..... with me, I really tend to pack on the pounds when I am overeating the carbs. Be careful of fruits... while they are good for you, they can be loaded with sugar. Try to go for the high-fiber fresh veggies.

What about what you are drinking? Sodas can really pack on the calories, also... and diet drinks really aren't good for you.

I had really good luck with the Reader's Digest Diet...the food is REALLY yummy, and I didn't feel deprived.... I will admit, though, when I stopped cooking those meals, and started buying granola bars and pop tarts again, the weight came back. I also really have to stop eating breakfast at Sonic! (That is my weakness......)

Basically, though, I lost about 15 lbs from the Digest Diet... most of that in the first 2 weeks.....

Good luck, and don't try to severely restrict yourself, because that all boomerangs with your metabolism.

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answers from Washington DC on

yeah, the HCG thing is pretty hairy. 500 calories is starvation, even the geneva convention demands more nutrition than that.
you may have knocked your metabolism for a loop, but you certainly haven't destroyed it. i'm afraid there isn't anything better than to eat and exercise in a healthy fashion, but don't worry that doing this WON'T work. you're not permanently broken!

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answers from Sacramento on

Here's a couple tricks I use. Drink lots of water. I drink water before I eat, it makes me feel full faster, therefore I don't eat as much. at dinner, I put a small portion on my plate, then go back for seconds, again a small portion. both portions together would be one serving. I do this because I know I will want seconds, and even though my servings are small, for some reason my brain says oh, I've had seconds, I feel so much better! I try and not keep unhealthy snacks around. I'm pretty much a garbage disposal, so if all I have to eat is apples, or veggies, that's what I'll eat. And with my propensity to eat everything in sight, at least I'm not loading up on fat or salt, etc. I do keep dark chocolate on hand, I love me some dark chocolate, but I only keep a small amount available. I have my son or husband stash the rest where I can't find it. But, knowing that I will get my treat every night makes things seem better. Another thing that really helps me is grazing. Eating small amounts every few hours makes my body think there is an abundance of food available so it doesn't store away fat. I really watch my carb intake, make sure it's good carbs, not just white flour junk. for exercise I walk up the hill across from my house, or I bust a dance move when I hear a good song. Just keep in mind that dietary changes need to be for life, not just until you lose the extra weight. Your goal is to look at food differently, not as comfort, but as fuel. You want good fuel to help your engine run smoothly. good luck and don't beat yourself up. If you fail, just start again the next day!

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answers from Portland on

Cut carbs. Any carbs you eat will be burned as fuel before you burn any fat. It's as simple as that. Cut sugar and flour first and then try to cut down on other starches and even some high-carb fruit if necessary. I'd try to cut out the junk (sugar and flour) first and see if the scale budges and cut out more carbs if necessary. My husband has to cut all carbs before he can see any difference. As soon as he adds some back, he starts maintaining or gaining again. We are now focusing on high-quality meat and lots of veggies. I don't serve starches at meals anymore, just two servings of veggies instead. We do have the occasional rice spaghetti for nights when I'm not feeling creative, but for the most part we have cut a bunch of carbs. It's helping. I have the same problem as you. I cut way back on calories and thought that would help, but I gained weight! Try it and see if it helps you.

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answers from Oklahoma City on

When you starve your body it has a built in system to stay alive. You eat 500 calories and that is not enough to sustain your life if you do anything at all during the day.

You need to eat a full amount of calories. If you put cheap gas in a car the car breaks down. If you put in good high quality foods you get a smooth running car.

So you must eat enough calories.

Eating 1200 - 1500 is what most adults need to live healthy. That does not mean it can come from nibbling on candy or chips or ice cream. It means you can eat a salad with lunch AND with dinner. It means you need to eat high protein and low carbohydrates so you will burn off the fat and gain muscle.

It means you have to find a lifestyle diet that you think is good for YOUR body.

For me? I know that if I eat bread, pasta, and many complex carbohydrate foods I am going to gain weight. I need to eat a lot less of those goods and to eat meats and foods that will stay with me but now turn into fat when it's all said and done.

You may have a different metabolism and need more grains and other foods.

YOU have to stop following this diet and then deciding to follow that one. Your body can't take it and it will start to fail, be unable to fight off disease, and perhaps even develop diabetes because it forgets how to process even simple foods.

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answers from New York on


I have no experience with diets. I have never done one. I am really lucky that I have a decent metabolism, am not food driven, and feel uncomfortable if I eat too much. Also, I prefer healthier food.

I have seen my husband do a slew of diets, be miserable while on them, then revert to his old ways. He eventually needed and had good success with a lap band.

best I can offer you is two strategies for weight loss-
1. consider the allen carr book, which is titled something like the weigh to loose weight. it's premises are
a. if you can be mindful of how you feel after you eat unhealthy foods, or too much of any food, you will be less inclined to repeat that mistake.
b. you need a lifestyle change, not a diet. diets don't work.
c. there are no off limit foods, just sometime foods.
d. fresh foods taste good and are good for you.

the other "diet" i have seen work for people is the "eat more weigh less" strategy.
1. you take all the food that you would ordinarily be eating, and split it in half.
2. you preceed and end each meal with a glass of water.
3. you bulk out your food with something healthy and low cal which must be eaten first.

your day might look like this-
6:30 am- 1 glass of water, two mandarin oranges, 1/2 a sausage egg mcmuffin, 1/2 a hasbrown and a 1/2 cup of coffee.
8:30 am. 1 glass of water, three celery sticks, a cup of raw spinach, and as much of the remaining 1/2 breakfast as you can eat.
11:30 am. 1 glass of water, a mcintosh, 1/2 a subway sandwich and 1/2 a bag of chips, and 1/2 a lemonade.
1:30 pm. 1 glass of water, a handful of chocolate dusted almonds and as much of the remaining 1/2 lunch as you can eat,
same concept for dinner.

Ideally, you are disciplined about what you are eating more of. you can stick to it, because there is no deprivation, you are actually eating more. you find yourself eating less and less of the 2nd half of your meals. you re-train your stomach. and you don't have irritability because of hunger.

best to you and yours,
F. B.

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answers from New York on

I did HCG for 24 days - lost the last 15 pounds of baby weight (baby number 4) and have kept it off for 2 years. Not sure what kind you did, but I did the shots, yes, shots along with a b12 shot every week and a follow up with the doctor. They were not cheap, but they boosted my weight loss, and helped my metabolism. Up to that point, I had come to a stand still with my weight. I was back in my 4's (that had hung in my closet for a year) by the end of the 24 days. The most important thing is that you load correctly, then that you stay on the 500 calls for 3 days after so that the HCG can leave your system. I have continued to work out and run and have also changed the shape of my body with weights and cardio. HCG may not be for you, but perhaps something like Hebalife or Advocare 24 day challenge? Something to reset your body, jumpstart weight loss and help re-balance everything? Just a few suggestions. Good luck!

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answers from Anchorage on

Okay, so you know you screwed up trying to take the "easy way out", and yes, chances are the weight you lost will come back, and that is okay. But, the good news is that you can repair a suppressed metabolism, it just takes a little time. First, I would try to schedule an appointment with a nutritionist. The key to long term success is making small changes you can do for a lifetime, and eating a well balanced diet from all the food groups, to include carbs! To get your metabolism back on track make sure daily exercise is part of your plan, even if it is just a walk after dinner. Also, try to include strength training at least twice a week, the more muscle you have the more calories your body can burn, even while at rest. If you are unsure of proper form then see about finding a trainer or class. The important thing is to not beat yourself up, and try to stay off the scale for a while. You should never weight yourself more then once a week, but honestly once a month is better if you are going to use a scale at all. A better tracker is just seeing how your cloths fit.

Have you been on any new medications this past year or changed birth control? I gained 50 in one year after switching from the pill to the Depo shot. If you are unsure of what caused the weight gain to start with then I would talk with your doctor about that.

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answers from Phoenix on

This is a quick fix.Go to the library and get the book "the 17 day diet". read it in its entirety (to loose weight quick so you can feel good about yourself). only the first couple of days will be hard. One key thing is to drink the lemon water before you brush your teeth otherwise it will taste awful and you will quit. Another key in this diet is that the carbs are eaten early in the day not at night.. later on a fitbit (a personal pedometer that tracks your motions including quality of sleep, and food intake) also makes it fun, I'd request one for xmas as they are $100 and you won't be ready for that till then (or valentine's day). Good luck. It is hard to find the eating regime that works for you, once you do it makes it much easier. It is good to lose the weight before the exercise too.

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answers from Cleveland on

I have zero motivation to lose weight. As long as om not gaining right now I'm okay where I'm at. But I suggest just eat fruits veggies as much as you'd like. Grilled meats chicken pork and such little salts whole wheats/grains. Popcorn is a great snack especially in an air popper hardly any calories and then slowly start walking. If you have stairs in your house jog 5-10 times up and down one time up then back down is 1 and do it all at once Do it a couple times a day if you'd like like once in the morning before you eat anything once mid afternoon once in the evening it will help get things going plus work muscles. Also if you haven't had a physical in a while including a full lab work then I suggest doing that as well to see where your levels are at

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answers from Washington DC on

You need to stick with a diet - not a fad diet - but a regular diet of eating right. It's a lifestyle change you HAVE to make.

You need to talk with a nutritionist. You need to find out what you are consuming that is causing your body to transfer it to starch, therefore, sugars and you are gaining weight.

I've lost 10 lbs. I've cut Coca-Cola out of my diet - that was HARD. I only drink water and unsweetened ice tea. I've gone to eating every 2-3 hours. Small meals/snacks.

You have starved your body- so EVERYTHING you eat is going to be transferred to fat and stored as fat. You need to teach your body that you are NOT starving it. It will NOT be easy.

eggs with bacon and water
cereal - like Cherrios, Special-K, etc. PAY ATTENTION to the sugars and carbs.

celery with peanut butter
OR dill pickles (2)
OR nuts - walnuts, cashews, almonds - all great to snack on
OR carrots

lettuce wraps - tuna fish salad, egg salad, etc.
salad with vinaigrette dressing

granola bar - check the sugar content in the packaging. Check the carbs too.

chicken or pork or fish
with green vegetable
salad - I love croutons on my salad - however - they are filled with sugars/carbs - so I put walnuts on top of my salad! YUM!!

Drink at LEAST 64 ounces of water per day.

If you eat your meals 2 -3 hours apart - your body will realize you are NOT starving it. Walk. EVERY DAY. If you go to the gym - continue.

The weight didn't get on overnight and it's NOT going to get off overnight. That's the problem with the "fad" diets. Your diet needs to be regular and healthy. If you are still gaining weight? You need to have your doctor run your thyroid, diabetes and other tests to find out what your body is converting to fat.

DO NOT start another fad diet. Change your lifestyle and eating habits. That's the only way this is going to work for you. YOU CAN DO IT!!

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answers from Kansas City on

oh love, yes you cannot survive off of 500 calories! you will starve to death.
One of the many reasons people do not have success off of that diet is because when you starve your body of the important nutrients/calories/proteins and good fats your body goes into "starvation mode" which means your body's natural defense is to start saving the "fat" that you do have, so it triggers your metabolism to slow down so you can preserve the fats that you do have on your body, so no weight will be lost.
my suggestion would be to start out with taking in 1500 calories a day. You will have to track your calorie intake, one way i do this is by using fitness pal. You can download the app to your smart phone and keep track of what you eat in there! It has been a godsend for me! I have lost about 15 lbs since using that. I eat lots of salads, greens, fresh fruit and veggies and i also eat a lot of protein because protein keeps you feeling full longer! Examples would be 4oz of roast beef deli meat, cheese, yogurt and cottage cheese. You have to either measure them out or weigh them with a food scale. I love bread and could not fathom giving up bread so instead of eliminating it completely i switch to Sara Lee multi grain bread, there are only 45 calories a slice! Eat 6 small meals a day instead three big ones. Walk at least 4-5 times a week, even it is for 20-30 min a dad. The weight will come off, maybe not as fast as you want it too but its better than trying to starve your body with 500 calories a day. I dont know about you but when i tried that, i would get terrible headaches and mood swings like nobody's business! Good luck!

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answers from Richland on

You need to talk to the doctor that prescribed it. I am sure there is a safe way to get off it early.

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answers from Las Vegas on

Try OA.. if you are only eating 500 calories a day, that I consider an issue... IF you go to their website and answer their questions, see if any of them pertain to you.. if they do, why not try a meeting... they are all over the place and are free.. They even have online meeting/telephone.. True, you will probably gain back the weight but not only because of how you lost, but because of the reasons that brought you to over-eating to begin with.. << resolve those issues and the weight will follow.. In OA, we have everything from over-eaters, to restricters (such as someone who only eats 500 calories a day) over-exercisers and under as well... bulimic to anorexia... oh and ALL ages.. you'd be surprise... why not try a meeting and see how you like it... it might help you help yourself..

I wish you all the best

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answers from Wausau on

Your metabolism will recover, but it might take a little while.

I highly recommend the book "Stop Counting Calories and Start Losing Weight". There are no gimmicks and no other products to buy.

This is the method I used to lose 31 lbs and get back to my pre-kids size. It took 5 months. It has been just over 2 years since I met my goal and the weight has stayed off.

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