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Why Self-Care? November 29, 2016

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in Health, self-care.
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Self What?

I’ve been thinking a lot about self-care lately. Have you?  For many people the stresses of the recent national election have been somewhat overwhelming. If you are pleased with the outcome, then maybe you should skip this post unless, of course, you’re stressed about something else.. But if you have been feeling worried, hopeless, angry, frustrated, or  overwhelmed then maybe you should read on.

Negative feelings have an impact on your quality of life

Negative feelings can sap your energy and have a big impact on the quality of your life. It can put a damper on your outlook for the future as well as your enjoyment of your day to day life. It can also affect your health–and not in a good way. So what’s the answer? I recommend something called radical self-care.

What is radical self-care?  Simply put, it is making a firm commitment to do those things for yourself that nourish and revive you. It’s a promise you make to yourself to do something for yourself each and every day. What that something  is  will be different for every person. Here are some examples (because I know you need them)

  •  10 minutes of meditation in the morning
  • playing board games with the kids
  • getting a massage
  • turning off the nightly news and spend that time with a book
  • watching a movie
  • taking vitamins every day
  • changing your diet in the way that you have been wanting to for a long time
  • avoiding toxic people
  • asking for what you want (really? OMG)

Why is it ‘radical?’

Where does the word ‘radical’ fit in? Well, the sad thing is that it’s quite radical in our society to put yourself first with the intention of nourishing or taking care of your own needs. We have a vibe in our society that if you engage in self-care you are one of those weird new-age types who lives in la-la land. We’re all about doing and doing and doing–but not for ourselves. And being radical about self-care–that is not letting anything get in the way of nourishing ourselves, well, that’s downright un-American. I offer you that maybe there’s a more useful way to look at self-care.

How much good can you do when you are depleted?

Why self-care then? Well, why not? How much good are you when you’re depleted, exhausted, sick, and stressed out? You can’t bring anything to others if your own well is dry. Plus, you deserve it…really. You don’t need a reason except that it’s good for you and you want to feel better that you do right now.

I’m going to be posting on this topic until I get it out of my system. Hope you’ll see fit to join me.

Do something to nourish yourself today–and tomorrow and the day after that. I’ll be back…

Reboot 2 April 17, 2013

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in Health.
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Previously on this blog-I am on Day 10 (now 12) of a 15- day juice fast. I talked about getting a juicer and purchasing the fruits and vegetables. Now, juicing…

On to the nuts and bolts

The way this works is that you drink juice 5 times a day and eat no solid food. I must admit, though I like vegetables very much, I have not been crazy about the juices. I think it’s the combinations. The theory is that you have at least 20% vegetables in any juice you make. So while you may be making an apple juice it will have to have say, some carrots in it to balance. I have found that many of the juices are just too sweet for me and have taken to adding in lemons to balance out that sweetness. I have also found that celery in a juice is entirely too bossy so I have been substituting cucumbers instead.

Do I like the stuff?

In the face of not loving the juice, I just tell myself that I am doing great things for my body and drink it down. There is a dessert juice that is included every day and it is mostly fruit. Of course that is my favorite and while sweet, it has the sweet taste of fruits that I am accustomed to.


I have not been hungry through this process. I think my body knows how to live well on little food since I have done the HCG diet a number of times. So my energy level has been fine and I have not been cranky (at least no crankier than usual.) Fortunately I don’t have to cook for other people regularly so that removes the temptation of looking at food.


I have noticed that my creaky knees that I have injured so many times are not as creaky now. Also, my stomach is flatter than before. They say that carbs are not the friend of a flat stomach—I used to have a trainer who said that carbs go to your stomach. What a shame. When I die and go to heaven, I hope that I can eat all the carbs I want and stay thin, thin, thin. For a wonderful movie that shows a brilliant version of what heaven is like watch Defending Your Life with Meryl Streep. It’s one of my all-time favorite movies. And I digress—but it’s fun.

The jury is still out so to speak on what the ultimate effects of my Reboot will be. I’m hoping for a huge weight loss, perfect health, and radiant skin. It’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it. I’m sure that it will serve me in ways that I don’t yet realize. I have long wanted to go back to being vegetarian. And this experience is having me re-visit that intention and see it as possible. So far, so good…

Stay tuned.


Reboot! April 15, 2013

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in Health.
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I am in day 10 of a 15-day juice fast. Never thought I would do this but then again I never thought I would do the HCG plan either and I did.

Why Juice?

Why am I doing the juice thing? There are a couple of reasons—or maybe more than a couple. First, I was sick with a bad cold or a designer cold, as I like to call it, three times this winter. That shows me that my immune system is not where it needs to be. Second, I think spring is a very good time for a de-tox. Get rid of the comfort food residue from over the winter when it’s really really fun to eat. Comfort food for me usually means something with sugar or other high carbs. I don’t know about you but those are not the best things for my body. And third, it never hurts to lose a little weight. (Can’t believe I put that one third).

Fat Sick and Nearly Dead

Let me tell you where this all came from. It all started about six months ago when my tango teacher, Lori, told me about a documentary film called Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead by an Australian filmmaker named Joe Cross. I was prepared to be very depressed by the film thinking it was a terrible story of someone’s health gone wrong. Instead I found it very uplifting. It’s Joe’s personal story of how he had an auto-immune condition that was keeping him on numerous medications without much success. He decided to go on a juice fast to see if he could heal his body.

The film documents his journey as well as two others who became inspired by what he accomplished. You can watch the movie in its entirety on YouTube with this link:  Fat Sick and Nearly Dead  He achieved amazing success and has made it a personal mission to help others do what he did to become more healthy. He calls it the ‘Reboot.’

A Reboot Community

So, on to my experience. I joined a 15-day Reboot group which is offered by a trained health coach working with Joe. I love this because there are conference calls and a message board so I can share and learn what others are doing. I also have access to the health coach for questions as they come up.

Gotta Get a Juicer

Next I had to get a juicer. First I bought a NutriBullet which was great except that it’s not a juicer. It is basically a high-powered blender. So back it went and I ended getting the juicer that Joe recommends which is a Breville (available on Amazon—where else?)

Mucho Fruits and Veggies

On to getting the fruits and veggies. One thing about this is that it is not an inexpensive venture. To buy the fruits and vegetables I needed for the first 5 days cost around $100. I am buying mostly but not all organic. Why juice if you’re going to put pesticides back in your body? Here is a list of the dirty dozen—fruits and veggies that you should buy organic if you want to avoid eating pesticides. Also on the list is the ‘clean 15’ which show the least amount of pesticides when tested. http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/summary/.

So next, JUICES!

I can see this post is getting a little long so stay tuned tomorrow or the next day for THE REST OF THE STORY….


More About HCG June 21, 2010

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in Health.
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I promised to write more about my experiences while on the HCG diet. So here goes. If you read my post from last week, you’ll be a bit familiar with what the HCG diet is. If you didn’t and you’re not, then page back to June 13 and have look.

Let’s start with the good stuff.

  • Weight loss (and detox) while on HCG is fast…I lost 20 pounds in 35 days. Many people lose about a pound a day but my body doesn’t care for that and loses about .6 a day—still not bad. Also, your body re-shapes itself in very pleasing ways.
  • The doctor that I was working with, Dr Sherrill Sellman, http://www.whatwomenmustknow.com/, is a naturopathic doctor who stresses eating in a healthy way. Her directive: eat only organic vegetables and animal protein that does not contain antibiotics. The result of this is that I felt that I was giving my body a great gift each day that I was on Phase 2 (the 500 calorie phase). I felt great physically and still do.
  • When you’re eating only 500 calories a day it’s not necessary to agonize over what you’re going to eat. It’s all prescribed: 4 oz of protein, 1 cup of a vegetable(not just any vegetable), and 1 fruit—twice a day. That’s it. Easy as pie—though no pie is allowed on this plan!
  • You know going in that you’ll only be on it a short time. The usual length is 23 days and can be up to 40 days but no longer than that. There is an end. If you haven’t lost enough weight in that time you can do another round after you’ve completed maintenance.
  • Other nice benefits that I experienced were sleeping extremely well, a lowering of blood pressure (which was not high to start with), an improvement in my skin, and a total loss of 18 inches. All things to celebrate.

There are some annoyances/challenges in following the diet—a small price to pay but they are there.

  • Because you’re eating organics and such small portions you have to spend a whole lot more time cooking. No takeout or frozen dinners available. I never anticipated that eating 500 calories would take so darn much time in the kitchen.
  • You have to measure and divide your food which is time-consuming and tedious. 100 grams of protein—hmm—I got out my postal scale to measure that.
  • While on the diet you are not allowed to use any lotions on your skin. That’s because there is fat in lotions and moisturizers and adding any fat at all to your system can result in reduced or low weight loss. Believe me, when you are eating 500 calories a day, you are not thrilled by no weight loss. I even had to wash my hair with rubber gloves on so that the hair conditioner did not get on my skin. And my hands were so dry I thought they’d start to bleed—but no hand lotion allowed. And the day that I went to the hairdresser to get my hair colored resulted in a diminished weight loss for 2 days in a row. There’s very little wiggle room in following the plan—particularly for women.
  • Lots of people say they just have tons of energy while on phase 2. I did not experience tons of energy until I had been on the diet for about 20 days. Several of my friends who’ve done the diet had similar experiences. The first three weeks I had a hard time getting through my ballroom dance lesson but by the end I was easily doing that and more. I attribute that to the de-toxing aspect of the diet.

So there you have it. Was it worth it? Would I do it again? Absolutely… It’s a journey worth taking.

HCG and Me June 13, 2010

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in Health.
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A few weeks ago—April 26—to be exact, I started a new program to improve my health. This came as a result of being sick three times over the winter months. Have I mentioned that I take it as a personal affront to be sick? So I decided some different action was in order to improve my overall health.

I didn’t talk about my little project to a whole lot of people because it’s a bit unusual and mostly people think you are crazy when you tell them what the protocol calls for. The program is called the HCG diet and it’s been around since the mid 50’s, though I had not heard of it until about two years ago. I was told about the diet by my nutritionist who has a strong medical background, researches things to the nth degree and who has kept me healthy for over 15 years. But when Gail told me about a ‘diet’ that would improve overall health, re-set my metabolism, and provide a religious experience (well, maybe she didn’t say that), I was all ears. Then she told me that you take some crazy hormone called HCG (human chorionic gonadotrophin) that only pregnant women secrete and that you eat 500 calories a day while you’re on it. I was sure she had finally gone round the bend. I assured her that I would never do such a diet—how possibly could that be healthy?

Even though I was determined never to do the HCG diet, it was like a bad penny—it just kept turning up in my life. Fast forward two years. I have just completed a 35-day round of the HCG diet, am in the maintenance phase of the protocol and feel healthier than I have in a very long time. As for the religious experience part—yeah, I could almost (but not quite) go there.

Allow me to explain. The groundbreaking work on the HCG protocol was done by Dr A.T.W. Simeons in the 50’s and 60’s. Read his manuscript on the subject at http://www.hcgdietinfo.com/Dr-ATW-Simeons-Pounds-and-Inches.htm. Somehow or other Dr Simeons determined that HCG was able to liberate (my word, not his) abnormal fat in the body (called adipose) and give your system access to the nutrition stored in that fat  right before it(the fat, not your system) rides off into the sunset. Since you are gaining access to between 2500-4000 calories from your own fat, you only need eat a 500 calorie a day diet to keep up your energy level (relatively speaking).Dr Simeons’ research showed that using the protocol as he laid it out enabled people to lose both pounds and inches. And really, in my opinion, it’s the inches that matter because your body somehow manages to re-shape itself while you are on the diet and after.

And the other very cool thing? It’s FAST. And I like fast—I have decided to eschew the oft repeated wisdom of other diet plans that tell us that it’s a GOOD thing to lose weight slowly because…umm, I forget.  To wit, I lost 20 pounds in 35 days—not bad—actually very, very good. But the other thing that’s even better is that I feel wonderful. I also need to mention that the foods that you can eat while on the protocol are quite restricted. However, I have found my body really enjoys being on a gluten-free diet. Who knew?

I am not selling this diet—it’s definitely not for everyone—but I will say that everyone I know who has done it (both male and female) are quite happy with their achievements.

So go ahead and read Dr. Simeons’ book, if you’re interested and then watch for my next post in which I will talk in more detail about what I experienced the good, the bad, and the not too ugly.

Stay tuned!