Wednesday, September 26, 2012

My Cohen Journey



 Chicken tenders with garlic mayo dip, inspired by the recipe of Cohen FB buddy, Rosa Tobias

I've been a bit obsessed with my diet lately that some things, like this blog, have taken a backseat.

I lost 26 pounds in 2.5 months. Yes, let me repeat.  I lost 26 pounds in 2.5 months.  I still have 4 pounds to go before I reach my upper goal weight, and start the second phase of this program called the "Refeeding Phase." During RF, food that I've been avoiding the past months will be gradually added back to my eating plan. But still, don't you think 26 pounds in 11 weeks is....is... a miracle? Twenty-six pounds?!? Two and a half months?!?

My favorite breakfast: low fat greek yogurt (with one splenda) and mango crumble. modified from the apple crumble recipe of Cohen FB buddy, Ena Roldan.

Yes, I'm on the Cohen diet. Not the "let-me-follow-your-plan" Cohen diet, but the real deal. I invested and signed up at the Cohen Lifestyle Center in Medical Tower. I was told by some friends that it was going to be hard to follow, and that so-and-so tried it, lost a lot of weight but gained it all back. Friends who "fell off the wagon" warned me that the food will be limited so it will be hard to stay on track.

 Salpicao

They also added that it was such a hassle because I'd have to  bring my food if I had lunches or dinners out because I had to eat exact portions as weighed on a digital scale. After all these warnings, I was apprehensive, nervous and scared.

I already know the concepts of good and bad food, that excessive carbs is the enemy and that sugar is poison. Please don't explain the food pyramid to me--I know that--I learned that in grade school, and I'm quite conscientious about what I eat. Don't talk to me either about "number of servings" because I get confused with how many servings I can have of each food group, and how it translates into a menu.

 My packed lunch, re-plated by the chef at the Shang Palace during a Sunday lunch with the family

I wanted someone to just give me a plan of *exactly* what to eat, how much and when. I was already committed to follow it, as long as it would guarantee healthy eating and weight loss. I was prepared to suffer and starve, after all, I got myself to this point over the years by carelessly eating whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted.

 Shepherd's pie, another recipe idea from Cohen FB buddy, Rosa Tobias. 
Mashed cauliflower is the mock mashed potato.

After an introductory presentation at the Cohen center (this is mandatory--you have to understand the concept),  a weigh in, and a blood test, I had to wait a couple of weeks for them to prepare my personalized "Eating Plan."

I got my wish! My plan included exact grams of each type of food, an extensive list of allowed food, cooking guidelines and eating schedules.  I was told I had to eat the specified grams--no more, and no less.  This is not a calorie-based diet, so it would be useless to ask "why are we allowed mango, isn't it fattening?" or "why aren't we allowed X, isn't it zero fat, low calorie, healthful, (add other adjectives here)?"  You just have to trust and follow the plan.

chili prawns with mushrooms 

Oh, I also told them in the beginning that I wanted to lose 20 pounds. They said, no, your body will reach its metabolic equilibrium at X weight, which computed to a loss of 30 to 38 pounds. Eegads, really? Can I actually get there?

If you want to lose weight rapidly, don't deviate, they said. "Deviate" is the Cohen word for "cheat" (yes, they also use positive language, which I appreciate). If you deviate for one day, it sets your program back a whole week. If you follow it to the letter, you will lose weight rapidly, and will be finished in no time. Could this really be true? I had nothing to lose--well, except for the money I paid. The Cohen plan is not cheap at P55,000 (approx US$1320).

I have access to a great support group through the Cohen FB page, where fellow "Cohenites" 
generously share recipes and tips on how to stay focused.

It's very simple and easy to prepare "Cohenized" food at home. Most dishes can be done in 15 minutes or less. It just takes some planning in the beginning, much like how you would plan your regular house food (my kids think my food looks much nicer than theirs all the time). I'm surprised when people ask me where I get my "Cohen food", and they are equally surprised when I say I make everything at home.  It has got to be the simplest way to cook because the seasonings are limited to the basics: a spray of oil, salt, pepper, pure spices, fresh or dried herbs and vinegars.

 My daily espresso lungo

Anyway, here I am 11 weeks later, and 26 pounds lighter. I feel great. I don't feel deprived because I enjoy the food that's allowed. Many times, when a full plate of food is in front of me, I think to myself--"this is a diet?" 

I  follow my Eating Plan to the letter (I should say "number")--I haven't deviated and have no plans to deviate. I actually find my Cohen journey a fun challenge. While I do miss some things that have been removed from my eating plan for the time being, I've also learned to appreciate pure flavors of food. I never realized so much pleasure can come from fresh, crunchy fruits and vegetables, and food that isn't smothered in fatty sauce.

When I'm in a rush or not too hungry,  I have a "pizza"

The challenging part is eating out, or worse, traveling. But my confidence was boosted when I recently went on a week long trip to Bangkok and Singapore and I. did. not. deviate! I'd have my delicious yogurt breakfast in the room, then before going out, I'd pack an "emergency lunch" in case I didn't find a suitable place to eat. At other times, I made the extra effort of talking to the waiter to explain exactly how something should be prepared (just salt and pepper please, all sauces on the side).

I also had my digital pocket scale handy and weighed all my portions as close as I could to my plan. When I got back, I was still on track, and even lost 3 more pounds!  Obsessiveness does pay off--it makes me focus on the goal.

bought from Cohen FB friend, Abigail Ongyanco-Lim

I'm now waiting for my "Refeeding Plan" (you can order your Refeeding plan when you are 5 pounds from your upper goal weight, and it takes about two weeks for the center prepare it). Again, I'm anxious and nervous for this part of the program. At the same time, I'm motivated and excited for the new things I'll be able to add back to my menus.

We're told that this phase  is considered the most important part of the program. It allows us to discover exactly what food triggers weight gain--is it rice? bread? some types of fruit?

My grocery cart the day before I started the program--all fresh food!

If When I finish the Refeeding Phase successfully, I would have "graduated" from the program and cross over to "Maintenance Phase." At this last stage, I'm  supposed to be able to maintain my weight by continuing to make proper food choices and adding some exercise into the equation. So actually, Cohen is not really a diet, it's an introduction to a healthier lifestyle. I hope excessive carbs and evil sugar will be gone from my life forever.

-o-

Ps. Sorry,  no before-and-after-photos of me because I'm too shy. Enjoy my food shots instead, it's a small sampling of what I've been eating.

Pss. I'm not connected to Cohen Lifestyle Center Philippines, although I wish I was the one who brought the program in. And no, this is not a paid advertisement either, although I also wish it were!

33 comments:

Elaine Isip said...

Hi Marvic! I'm very inspired of your story. I'll start my Cohen Diet on Monday (Oct 1). Little by little, I'm investing on the equipment (Misto Spray, Air Fryer, portable scale, etc.). Could it be true that I can lose all the weight? This early, there's temptation already, I'll have dinner with my friends at Shang Palace on Oct 8 (haaay!). Wish me ALL the luck. Congratulations on your success.

Marivic said...

Elaine, I'm not there yet. But it's a blessing to be given this chance at a healthy lifestyle. Remember, as Theodore Roosevelt once said. "Nothing worth having was ever achieved without effort!" (Blogger lang ako, but I cite my sources)

Chris_Ian-Banz said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Patricia Custodio said...

Hi! I'm starting my Cohen diet this week and I would really love to get into this FB page you're talking about to get more recipe ideas. Would you mind sharing the link? :)

Marivic said...

Hi Patricia, call your consultant and ask her to invite you the closed FB page.It's called Cohen's Lifestyle Centre Philippines. Good luck on your Cohen journey!

Joey Javelona said...

Hi, I just signed up for Cohen yesterday, thanks for the recipe ideas and your very inspiring story!

Anonymous said...

hi marivic, I really really need to lose weight already because I am overly obese. I am contemplating to do the cohen diet but my problem is I do not know how to cook much less prepare the food that cohen will prescribe so to speak. Do you know of someone who prepares and delivers the cohen diet? Hopefully one that is reasonable in rate vs that of the many south beach diet delivery services we have in town. would appreciate your reply. thanks

Marivic said...

Many people start the Cohen diet don't know how to cook, but if you are really motivated about losing weight, you can learn how to cook the Cohen way because it's also the simplest way to cook. I wouldn't order food from a delivery service because it defeats the purpose of my learning how to manage my weight in the long run. There is no mystery to "Cohen" food--it's just cooking simple fresh (non-processed) food with salt and pepper. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Hi marivic....what is the brown biscuit you are buying? Also, i cant seem to find low fat greek yogurt...saan po ako pwede bumili? I am on my 2nd week with cohen, from a really bad eating habit to this is a huge pahirap...i get hungry agad in between the 2.5 hours of waiting for the next meal/snack pero tinitiisko lang po.....i just hope i could make it to my refeeding program, when i saw how you prep your food bigla akong nabuhayan....i'll copy that, big thanks!

Marivic said...

That's Finn Crisp from Santi's. Low fat Greek Yogurt is from Rizal, available at MarketMarket and Centris. Try to make your journey as interesting as possible--think of it as a fun challenge. Kaya mo yan (Make sure you are on the FB support group). When you see your weight loss, you will be very motivated to stick to it. If your journey was fun, then it makes it easier to keep the weight off later on too. Good luck!

mimi said...

hi, do i really need to invest on these, t (Misto Spray, Air Fryer, portable scale, etc.) when i decide to do this diet?

Your blog is amazing btw, i can 100% relate to it. I realized there's still hope for me to lose weight.

Marivic said...

Hi Mimi, you don't have to invest in anything except a digital kitchen scale because you will have to measure your food portions. The spray bottle for the cooking oil is just a fun thing to have but not necessary. I love my Airfryer but I got it only when I was close to finishing my program because it is one appliance that can really get food crisp. After eating grilled, boiled, sauteed for awhile, it's nice to have something crisp too. PS. the portable scale was necessary for me because I travelled while I was on the program and I needed a handy one to bring with me!

mimi said...

thanks for your reply!! I just signed up for the diet, on my 5th day today and im a bit discouraged as i'm not seeing any results yet.. maybe just a lil bit less-bloated. other than that, still the same fatty me :( am i crazy to expect to lose weight fast?

Marivic said...

Yes, just be patient and stick to the program. And remember that no one said the program is easy--it takes focus and dedication and a real desire to lose what you have gained over the years. It's not easy but it's very doable. Good luck! Check out my sister's FB page for recipe ideas. "Cohen Meal Creations"

mimi said...

Thanks for your encouraging words!! :D

Anonymous said...

Can you make your own yogurt? Sometimes its hard to find esp in the province.

Marivic said...

Hmmm, I don't think you can make your own yogurt during the EP part of this program. Rizal will airship for you to the province I think, ask them? The FB Cohen support group include people from the province and I read them ordering from Rizal Dairy Farms.

Btw, when I get a lot (2 kilo tubs) I premeasure them in little containers and freeze them. They keep forever. Then I just thaw before I have it, or I thaw a bit and eat it frozen with warm fruit on top. Yum, I'm getting hungry for yogurt again.

Anonymous said...

hi! i am very much inspired by this post :) i'd just like to know what is covered in the 55k? it does not really come cheap. and do i have to spend 55k all in all? or would i have to pay more later? thanks so much!

Ian said...

Hi ma'am. I just recently signed up with Cohen's Lifestyle at Cebu. Today is day 1 of waiting for the results. I wanted to ask tips and advice from you about the programs. :) Hope we can be Cohen buddies. lol.

Awesome blog btw.. I've bookmarked this to my COHEN JOURNEY folder. :)

Marivic said...

Hi Ian, good luck to you! Please ask the center to include you in the local FB page of Cohenites. You will find many Cohen buddies there who can support you on your journey. As I always say, it's not easy, but it's very doable!

Also, check out my sister's FB page, Cohen Meal Creations. Know your program well because her later posts are already Refeeding and Maintenance. You are on EP, therefore go to her early posts. You will be inspired and get many ideas. Stick to the program, you will be rewarded with good health, and good looks! :) I've been successfully maintaining now for 11 months. Good luck!

Marivic said...

To anonymous re the cost of the program. I think it's higher now? The price they quote you is for the whole program, nothing more to pay after. It includes making your personalized program, a consultant to guide you whenever you have questions, and monthly weigh ins and rah-rah talks. It's steep, but actually a small price to pay if it's for your health. Naku, Cohen should put me on their payroll na ha! You can actually also pay by installment on credit card.

Anonymous said...

Hi, just want to ask where can i buy the portable kitchen scale? Ty

anne sy said...

hi marivic! m selling portable hello kitty food digital scales.

PLEASE LIKE MY FB PAGE: https://www.facebook.com/marie.sy.9822

when i reach 100 likes i will have an electronic raffle and the prize would be one hk digital scale! :)

anne sy said...

hi marivic! m selling portable hello kitty food digital scales.

PLEASE LIKE MY FB PAGE: https://www.facebook.com/marie.sy.9822

when i reach 100 likes i will have an electronic raffle and the prize would be one hk digital scale! :)

jaze said...

Thanks for sharing your cohen journey. I'm 1 month and 3 weeks into the program and it's really amazing. I've been looking at blogs for food recipes on cohen just to have variety.

Anonymous said...

Hi! Im 9 days into the program and looking for recipes! The chicken tenders with garlic mayo dip looks fab! Do you think I could get the recipe for it please?

Raphael Mercado said...

Hi Marivic!

I wanted to try Cohen a year ago but a friend from badminton told me "not-so-good" stories of heavy rebound that 3 of his brothers got after the program. Well, he successfully dissuaded me and, instead of Cohen, I got TRansform in 90 instead. It's been nearly 90 days and my waist got trimmed down from 36 down to 29-ish (this is a first for me.

Anyway, I'm just curious, are you still on the program? It's been almost 1.5 years, I hope the results stick. I'm not a big fan of rebound.

P.S.
Your food preps look deliciously amazing!=)

Marivic said...


Hi Raphael, thanks for your comment. I finished the program in 4 months and have maintained my weight loss for 1.5 years now. Cohen just jump started a healthier lifestyle for me. If you lose on a program, but go back to your old way of eating, the weight will of course come back. I'm mindful of what I eat--I stay away from processed food and junky fastfood and try to eat as naturally as possible.

Marivic said...

PS. I googled Transform in 90, and I hope you are not trying to use my page to advertise this product. I TOTALLY disagree with diet drinks and fantastic claims like that or programs that don't teach you anything about health or proper eating. Maintaining weight loss is about understanding nutrition and proper eating.

janey_bei said...

Hi Ms Marivic! I am just about to make a life changing decision and that is to take the Cohen Diet. Honestly I am afraid to take another diet, I want something that will really work. Reading this post somehow inspires me to push with this plan.

Anonymous said...

Hi Miss Mavic, may I know if the whole package includes the food you have to eat or your the one who's going to buy and make it? Thank you so much.

Marivic said...

The "whole package" is diet plan, which doesn't include any food.

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