Sunday, April 15, 2012

HCG Diet, Juju Cleanse, Cohen Diet, CrossFit at HSBC's Coffee Talk

HSBC recently invited me to one of their Coffee Talk series with Starbucks. I've always enjoyed dialogues over coffee. I'm a coffee drinker and intellectual discussions are stimulating as well. The topic this time? Weight loss programs.

At the Shangri-la Plaza Hotel function room where the coffee talk was hosted, a Starbucks barista gave me a diluted cup of Starbucks brewed coffee since I get palpitations with too much brewed coffee. Later, during the lunch break, I found it amusing to find two different buffet tables laid out outside the function room labeled "Healthy" and "Happy". Hmmm. Can't healthy be happy too? Or vice versa? Hahaha. But I am so thankful to HSBC for thinking of providing lunch for someone like me who was dreading being faced with all-meat dishes options.

Well, I started with the "Healthy" table, picked up some salads and delicious salmon over there then headed for the "Happy" table to add some rice pilaf and fish. Dessert for me consisted of a fruit platter only.

The guest panelists were known people in the weight loss industry (either as clients or founders) who gave their testimonies as to how a certain diet or fitness program made them lose weight. 

CrossFit Program

A bootcamp-style workout used by the Armed Forces of the Philippines and lasts a hellish, intense, explosive 6-15 minutes only, I hear CrossFit is guaranteed to squeeze every last ounce of effort from you. But look at its effects! 

Art Mendoza - BEFORE (at 360 lbs)

Art Mendoza - AFTER

Art Mendoza whose face everyone recognizes from The Biggest Loser does CrossFit as part of his maintenance. Art says that maintaining your figure once you've lost the weight is more difficult because it has to become a lifestyle. He does not avoid the foods he loves but the secret is taking them in very much reduced portions. He said that sedentary people should avoid carbs but take them only in forms like sweet potato (kamote). Protein should be the size of your palm. Vegetables are the size of 2 fists.

Lala Agregado - BEFORE

Lala Agregado - AFTER

Lala Agregado is a stunner up close. I was sitting very close to her and kept looking at her, not believing that she was the one in the BEFORE picture. No way! But there it was. Her Mom had been egging her to go on a diet because at 55, her Mom still had abs. Well, Lala tried all diets - Bangkok pills, Xenical etc. According to her, you name it, she's tried it. But it was CrossFit that brought this figure back. Wow!

Rescina Bagwani - BEFORE

Rescina Bagwani - AFTER
I first read about the Cohen Diet when I got an email some time back certain food being good or not good depending on your blood type. I read that email but was pretty skeptical about it. Now, hearing how Rescina is going through the Cohen Diet, I may have to give this a second look. The Cohen Diet is quite expensive at P55,000 but Rescina said that compared to continuous diagnostic tests as well as the effects of being obese, paying 55k was worth it for her after she lost 67 pounds. She happily told us her husband was in love with her all over again and has been buying tickets for them to travel all over. I guess that's worth a lot more than 55k, right?

JL Martinez - BEFORE

JL Martinex - AFTER

JL Martinez took a route which is quite different. He went with the Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG) diet and lost 120 pounds. This involves injecting of a hormone or use of hormone drops to suppress hunger combined with a daily diet totaling 500 calories only. I can't imagine what kind of meals add up to only 500 calories but JL said that it's only for 40 days. He also did not stop eating what he wanted. He'd take at most, 2 mouthfuls of any food because as he explained, the first mouthful signals to the brain that what you're eating is good, the second mouthful is to validate it and satisfy the craving for it. And succeeding mouthfuls are just piled calories. One tip he gave to help keep weight down is never to eat what you want till you work off the expected calories. So if you want that piece of cake? Work out first. Never eat first and promise to work it off later.

Kat Azanza, co-owner of Juju Cleanse also described the process. I had been hearing of Juju Cleanse from friends in social media but did not really know what it entailed. She uses pure juices consumed over several days to help the body detox and get rid of the toxins.

Kat Azanza of Juju Cleanse
A special guest at the coffee talk was none other than Jessica Zafra. She added spice and humor throughout the coffee talk and I was just happy to have had the chance to see her in person and have a pic with her. 

With iconic Jessica Zafra

Personally, I am lucky to have no need to do any serious dieting. With the yoga practice that I have come to love, my personal belief is that slimming down should be as natural as possible. While some of the programs I heard of in this coffee talk were done without requiring exercise, I still believe that some form of exercise is important since toxins also come out through our sweat. But obviously, different people seem to have found THE one thing that has caused them to lose weight and I hope they continue to keep them off.

I'm sure this won't be the last time we will hear of different weight loss programs so I will continue to keep an open mind about them.

The HSBC Starbucks Rewards Program

One last thing. HSBC allows its cardholders to continue enjoying Starbucks coffee through its HSBC Starbucks Rewards Program. Between March 22 and May 31, 2012, HSBC credit cardholders can just present a charge slip (within the promo period) with a minimum purchase of PhP 2,500 at any Starbucks outlet nationwide and exchange it for a tall handcrafted beverage of your choice or a 3-pack Starbucks VIA. Redemption period is from April 1 to July 31, 2012.

Thanks to HSBC and Starbucks for a very entertaining and informative afternoon with the "losers". They're all winners in their own right.

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