Curious about HCG? Doing the protocol yourself? Read about my experiences here.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Surviving the Holidays...Without Gaining a Gazillion Pounds

      3 Hour Workshop Offered in Tucson, AZ

Discover ways to enjoy the holidays without gaining tons of weight.

Learn tips to eliminate emotional eating.

3 hour workshop with Meryl Hershey Beck, MA, M.Ed., LPCC, author of the upcoming book FREEDOM FROM EMOTIONAL EATING: 21 Days to a New You!

9 AM – Noon
Location: Wellness First!
3861 N 1st Ave
Tucson, AZ 85719

Interested? Let Meryl know if you can attend on Saturday December 11th and/or Saturday December 18th

Contact Meryl at MBeck333@mac.com  

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Addictive Personality

OK. I admit it. I have an addictive personality. In the “old days” (before 1980), once I started eating I could not stop…..unless someone was watching me. With other people, I was the eternal dieter—never eating anything fattening in public. Alone, however, was a different story, where I turned to food (my best friend) for comfort, especially the 3 Cs—candy, cookies, and chips.

My compulsive overeating started at a young age. As young children, we make up stories in our own heads to try to get a handle on our reality. The story I constructed was that I wasn’t enough, that I was defective, that I was broken. Feeling lots of guilt and shame, and unable to share my feelings with anyone, I early on found solace in food.

I often surprised myself with how much I could consume. As a child I was a sneak eater, and only ate huge quantities when alone.  My voracious appetite continued. As an adult, for instance, I liked to cook a combination of sautéed onions, zucchini, and tomatoes. It tasted yummy. Time after time, however, I’d add a portion to my meal, then have second, third, and fourth helpings….finally finishing whatever was left in the pan. Stuffing myself in this way brought on lots of stomachaches, and Pepto Bismal was my salvation. After gorging, I’d curl up in a fetal position, chew a few of those pink tablets, and wait for the pain to subside.  After the pain was gone, I’d uncurl my body, stand up and head straight for the kitchen -- to see what else I could eat.

I didn’t just binge on “healthy” food.  For example, there was my milk and Oreo cookie eating orgy: I poured myself a glass of milk (skim, of course) and set out four Oreo cookies – they complement each other so well, how can you have milk without Oreos or Oreos without milk? And that’s where I got into trouble. I drank the milk and ate the cookies. With milk remaining in the glass, I helped myself to another three cookies. I ate one, drank the milk. One cookie left and no milk, so I poured more milk. I washed down the remaining cookie with the milk, but now I was out of cookies with milk still in the glass. So I did the only thing I could think of – I took out another few cookies. Again, I gobbled up the cookies and slurped down the milk, and once again, a lone cookie or two sat next to an empty glass. This saga continued: milk remained, have more cookies; cookies remained, have more milk. This was repeated over and over again, ad nauseum, until either the package of cookies or the milk carton was empty.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Announcing Tucson HCG Meetup Group

Monday October 25, 2010
   7 – 8 pm

Dr. DeeAnn Saber, NMD will be speaking about the HCG protocol and how you can lose weight permanently. This is a medically supervised program that she has had personal and professional experience with.
Coaches Meryl Hershey Beck and Robin Trainor Masci will give an overview of the challenges of emotional eating and some suggestions to overcome it.

Wellness First!  3861 North First Avenue, Tucson, AZ 85719
One block south of Roger Road on the west side of 1st Avenue
Look for the RED mailbox

Suggested donation $2 (to cover cost of room rental)
Please bring your own chair 

Friday, October 8, 2010

ROUND 2…and away we go!

I decided to go back onto the HCG to shed another ten pounds or so. This time I am using the RX version, prescribed by my naturopath and purchased at the local compounding pharmacy. I was curious to see if I would notice any differences between this and the homeopathic HCG.

Pounds and Inches, which is Dr. Simeons’ manuscript and details the whole protocol, tells us to gorge for the first two days of taking the drops. That’s scary for some folks, wondering if they start eating high fat and carbs, will they be able to stop. In his manuscript, Dr. Simeons addresses that concern: "Most patients who have been struggling with diets for years and know how rapidly they gain if they let themselves go are very hard to convince of the absolute necessity of gorging for at least two days, and yet this must he insisted upon categorically if the further course of treatment is to run smoothly."

 I chose mostly healthy fats rather than just sugary treats – eggs with cheese fried in butter; a milkshake made with full fat coconut milk, ice cream, and macadamia nuts; fried turkey (esp. the skin); eggplant parmesan; full fat Greek yogurt; rib steak; butter pecan ice cream.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Set Point Theory

In 1982 a group of nutrition researchers introduced the SET POINT THEORY to explain why so many people who lose weight gain it back. The premise is that in adulthood the body wants to maintain a constant level of body fat and has a built in weight regulating mechanism.  The theory says that an individual’s body has a “set point” of weight at which if is most comfortable and functions best. Furthermore, according to this theory, the body’s metabolism adjusts to stay at that weight and is largely determined by genetics. 

Many disagree with this theory, saying it gives the obese person an excuse to stay fat. Some researches say that the set point is psychological. Others believe that the set point is physiological and depends on the activity of the hypothalamus (a hormone-secreting gland that controls appetite and metabolism).

The set-point theory is, at best, a theory and not agreed upon by all.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


 Now that I am on P3 (Phase 3, maintenance), I decided to return to Curves Gym after a several month hiatus, and decided to get weighed and measured. I was thrilled with the new measurements. Compared to my original measurements from 7 years ago:
Total weight loss: 42.4 lbs
            Total inches lost: 32.25  (7 inch loss from hips; 5.5 from abdomen, 4 from each thigh, etc.)
Total body fat lost: 7.8% = 28.63 lbs. WAHOO!

I was introduced to Curves (Fitness Center for Women) in 2003.  My sister, who lives in Boston, kept telling me to go visit it and I said, “OK” but never went. When my sister came to visit me here in Tucson, she dragged me to Curves to show me what it was like. She said, “It’s a little dorky, but it’s fun!” I saw that it was set up in a circle with machines alternating with square pads (recovery stations)…. and, the best part -- they were playing groovy music. After trying it out, I became a member and, for the first time in my life, not only loved working out but consistently did it three times a week (and found a Curves gym whenever I went out of town to not miss a workout). 

Friday, August 27, 2010

The Skinny on Low Fat Nonsense!

I stayed away from fats for years, believing that butter, avocados, nuts, olive oil were too fattening. What a new day this is for me doing Phase 3 maintenance (no sugar or starches), eating 1500-1800 calories and including good fats! Butter, avocados, coconut oil, macadamia nuts…..what a change for me. For many years I was duped into believing that to lose weight I needed to consume reduced fat foods. For a while, I chose very low-fat foods but doing so did not reduce the fat on my body!

Now I carefully read labels, avoiding sugar, starch, and low fat! And finding foods that are not reduced fat is much trickier than I had expected. The food industry believes they are doing us (the consumer) a service by providing us with low-fat food….and often they reduce the fat and add corn syrup (yuck!).

Today, for instance, shopping at my friendly Trader Joe’s, I wanted to get some plain organic yogurt. I picked up one container, it was low fat; then another, and it was nonfat. Isn’t it strange that we (as a nation) are consuming more and more low fat and no fat products, yet we are getting fatter and fatter? These fat free products have not eliminated the obesity epidemic; in fact, these products are probably adding rather than subtracting weight to our bodies. And people are fooled into believing they are choosing healthy foods because they are labeled reduced fat! Now they even have fat fat Oreos and Pringles! Healthy? Ha, give me a break!

Several years ago Gary Taubes wrote an eye-opening article for the New York Times -- “What if It's All Been a Big Fat Lie?” (Thank you HcgDieters@yahoogroups.com, for mentioning this!) Although the article is 8 years old, it is fascinating reading and quite pertinent and gives the history of our low-fat diet mentality. I agree with the author that it is carbohydrates that make us fat (especially the starches that most people think they must include in every meal according to our silly food pyramid!).

You can read the entire article at http://www.nytimes.com/2002/07/07/magazine/what-if-it-s-all-been-a-big-fat-lie.html

                    Here are some excerpts:

What's forgotten in the current controversy is that the low-fat dogma itself is only about 25 years old. Until the late 70's, the accepted wisdom was that fat and protein protected against overeating by making you sated, and that carbohydrates made you fat. In ''The Physiology of Taste,'' for instance, an 1825 discourse considered among the most famous books ever written about food, the French gastronome Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin says that he could easily identify the causes of obesity after 30 years of listening to one ''stout party'' after another proclaiming the joys of bread, rice and (from a ''particularly stout party'') potatoes. Brillat-Savarin described the roots of obesity as a natural predisposition conjuncted with the ''floury and feculent substances which man makes the prime ingredients of his daily nourishment.'' He added that the effects of this fecula -- i.e., ''potatoes, grain or any kind of flour'' -- were seen sooner when sugar was added to the diet....

By the 70's, you could still find articles in the journals describing high rates of obesity in Africa and the Caribbean where diets contained almost exclusively carbohydrates. 

Friday, August 13, 2010


Since I am leaving town tomorrow, I decided to stop the HCG drops a few days ago and move into maintenance. I am two and a half pounds from my goal weight, which totally amazes me. It was an arbitrary number. 120—a number that was on my driver’s license for years and years, whether I actually weighed my low of 125 or my high (in those days, it went higher later) of 150. So I picked 120 to match my old driver’s license weight. I am 122.4 today so I guess that will just have to do! omg, am I really writing this in a blog for the world to see?! Part of me is excited to be so transparent….and then there is the part of me that wants to hide under the covers.

I need to celebrate….without food! I am so excited to be in a smaller body. It is now fun to go into the dressing room and try on clothes (a size 6!). When I lost weight as a younger person I never got into clothes smaller than a size 9. I know the women’s clothing industry has changed their sizing so that a 6 now is what an 8 used to be. Either way, I’ll take it … and celebrate.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

HCG…is it a healthy approach to weight loss?

I have had several friends and family members question my using HCG with the usual comment, “Of course you are losing weight, you are only eating 500 calories.” Actually, I don’t blame them for the comment – it is the same one I used before I understood the HCG protocol:

When I was 16, I went to a diet doctor and was injected with HCG and ate only 500 calories, a very low calorie diet (VLCD).  At that time, I doubt that I followed the directions for maintenance because I gained the weight back. Consequently, for many years when I told my “story” of my life-long challenge of losing weight, I mentioned that as a teen I even got an injection every day and ate a VLCD. Whenever I related this story, I added the comment, “Well, of course I lost weight, I was limited to 500 calories.”  Even though some of my friends and family are mouthing the same words that I used to use, now I know better.

During my years of seeking a weight loss solution, I have avoided very low calorie food plans because I didn’t want my body to go into starvation mode.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Prickly Pear Fruit

 UPDATE. Day 19 of VDCD (Very low calorie diet).

I am down over eleven pounds and will be stopping the HCG in about a week (have a trip coming up and want to be on maintenance by then). I have found the protocol fairly easy to do and I am surprised how not hungry I have been. In fact, I opened the refrigerator today and there was nothing I wanted to eat. Yesterday I had leftover fish and an apple for lunch, a snack of cucumber in the afternoon, and then there was nothing I wanted for dinner so I had 3 stalks of celery! Today I have only wanted tea and lemon water with prickly pear juice (not on protocol).

Prickly pear cacti grow all over the desert, which is literally my backyard. Front yard too. During the past week I have spent time each morning picking the ripe prickly pear fruits (with tongs!).

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A Message from my Inner Child

     Last night I couldn’t sleep and needed to do some inner work to settle down. Did you know that we all have inner child(ren) within us? No, if I cut myself open no little child would be found. But all our experiences, thoughts, and feelings have been recorded within a part of ourselves and the part that holds the memories from long ago is the inner child. Charles Whitfield (Healing the Child Within, Health Communications, 1987) defines inner child as that part of each of us which is ultimately alive, energetic, creative and fulfilled; it is our real self -- who we truly are.”
     I have been doing inner child work for many, many years—connecting to younger parts of myself at many different ages. In fact, in order to have lost the thirty pounds

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


     They (the books and other people following the protocol) said it would happen but I thought it’s not going to happen to me!  Well, it has! Got on the scale this morning and it was exactly the same as yesterday. :-( I told myself to not get discouraged but I really like seeing the numbers go down every single day. It is almost addictive—I can’t wait to get on the scale each morning. Now I am not complaining about my weight loss, which is really significant for me – 8.8 pounds – and I am only 7 pounds away from my goal weight, which totally amazes me. I am just kvetching a little bit!
     I have to be very careful, though, because my head has some crazy thinking going on. 

Monday, July 26, 2010

Thoughts and Feelings at the Halfway Point

Several years ago when my naturopathic doctor suggested I go on the HCG protocol, I told him I did it as a teen and it doesn’t work for me. I am so glad I decided to take the plunge and do it again. Truthfully, the first two days of gorging have probably been the most difficult days for me. I had looked forward to eating all the things I normally don’t allow myself, but instead of enjoyment, I felt sick to my stomach. I use the homeopathic HCG (HHCG) and it is easy, inexpensive and very user friendly. I thought I’d be hungry and dreaded eating only 500 calories a day, but I have not experienced any hunger. Mouth hunger, yes, when I wanted to chew something…so on those days I made sure to choose raw fennel, celery or cabbage as my vegetable so I could experience lots of chewing.

My HCG Journey (up to day 12)

 The first two days of taking the drops are loading or gorging days and it is required to eat as much high fat food as possible. Simeons’ manuscript states: “One cannot keep a patient comfortably on 500 calories unless his normal fat reserves are reasonably well stocked. It is for this reason that every case…must eat to capacity of the most fattening food they can get down until they have had their third injection.” You’d think I would have loved this part…..at first it was fun, but the fun didn’t last!
I decided on Sunday July 11th to begin the next day, went shopping and read labels for the highest fat food I could find. It was a new kind of adventure -- reading labels and discarding those foods that didn’t qualify as high fat. Can you imagine, Oreos didn’t have enough fat for me to consider purchasing them!
My complete food/weight log is posted separately, in case you want to see it. Basically, for two days I ate and I ate ....

My History with Weight and Dieting

I have been battling weight since I was quite young (at age eleven my parents took me to a doctor to lose weight).  As a teen and young adult, my weight fluctuated between 125 and 150. At 150 I felt depressed and had lots of self-judgment and self-hatred. At 125 I felt wonderful, but the pounds easily and quickly came back on.

In addition to dieting, I used exercise in my quest to eliminate excess weight. As a young parent who played racquetball twice a week and constantly battled weight, I remember thinking to myself, I wonder how I’d manage my weight if I weren’t this active? Although heavy for almost my entire life, I have been very health conscious and am very grateful to be in excellent health. I like healthy eating – organic foods, lots of vegetables – yet I continued to carry excess weight.
Actively involved in 12 Step recovery for over twenty years,

About HCG

HCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin) is a hormone produced during pregnancy. For more than twenty years, Dr. A.T. W. Simeons studied the effects of using HCG to treat obesity and discovered that small regular doses of HCG caused the body to release abnormal fat while on a very low calorie diet (500 calories a day). And, those he treated reported not feeling hungry! HCG can be administered through injections or taken sublingually. The goals of the HCG protocol are to lose weight, reset/increase metabolism, and maintain the weight loss. Kevin Trudeau came out with his book in 2007, The Weight Loss Cure “They” Don't Want You to Know About, based on Dr. Simeons work.

Sunday, July 25, 2010


I have been answering lots of questions and discussing “What is Meryl doing now?” in regards to my weight. Therefore, I decided to start a blog to explain what I am doing and keep anyone interested up-to-date on how I am doing. I am a little nervous (not much) about being so transparent, especially since my weight and my food used to be one of my big secrets. Well, I guess my weight was no secret, I carried it around on my body for all to see, but I had a lot of shame about it. Now that I am in a more normal sized body, I am ready to venture forth sharing myself here. I started the HCG protocol one week ago and I am down almost nine pounds (8.8). For me, this is great news....on other diets and food plans if I lose one or two pounds a week I am happy. I have another ten days or more to go, and my goal is 15 pounds.