By Imee Ong-Maghanoy
‘Be Alive, Be Yourself, Be Strong’
“Being alive in all aspects of it is making sure that you’re present in the moment and feeling what it feels like to be you. Making sure that when you are going through these things (weight-loss journey)…, you understand that the end-goal is for you to feel alive every single day and that all the ups and downs are worth it once you reach your goal ‘coz those are what will make you feel alive. Be yourself. Don’t fit into anyone’s cookie cutter. It’s your body. You know the right weight for you. Lastly, Be strong – mentally and physically. And not just in losing weight but in everything that life throws at you…”
Such precious words by Rachel Marcial-Donaire, a Taekwondo World Champion and wife of four-weight world boxing champion Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire.
That is a lot of titles in one statement but what can I say? This strong and confident woman just has it all together, and raising two wonderful kids (Jarel, 4 and Logan, 2), basically makes her “Superwoman” title the toughest one to beat.
Rachel has been a client of Image Spa for over two years. During our lovely lunch date in Vegas back in 2015, we talked about a weight-loss plan that we could put her into after she gave birth – she was still very much pregnant with her second child then. She started her weight-loss program a couple of months later after Logan was born.
Fast-forward to this day when all the hard work has paid off. Sitting across my table from size ten (10) to a double zero (00) and sharing with us her fitness journey is the Superwoman I truly admire, Rachel Donaire.
“Yes, it was the weekend of my baby shower when we had lunch. We started talking and we hit off and at that time I believe I was about 175 lbs. But when I started the program with Image Spa, I was at 158 lbs., that was around September. My target weight was to be at 120 lbs. by February. There was this awards show, The Filipino Sports Award, that [was] happening in February so I wanted to be fit by then,” Rachel said as she recalled how we first met.
I remember telling Rachel about the Image Slim Shots Protocol. The program is designed to develop a customized weight-loss plan for every client by determining their food intake, calorie requirement (and how much they don’t need), as well as a detailed assessment of the client’s overall health and lifestyle versus his/her target weight goal. Then we determine how he/she can get there realistically. This Slim Shots Protocol is combined with intramuscular (IM) injections containing Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG), we call “Slim Shots.”
This protocol originated from Dr. Simeons’ revolutionary approach to weight loss and his discovery of how pregnant women are able to give birth to full-sized, healthy babies despite being malnourished and severely underweight. This is possible through a polypeptide hormone called hCG that pregnant women produce. HCG draws fat from the body’s secondary fat reserves to feed a developing fetus so that it will not become malnourished.
Dr. Simeons’ research revealed that hCG triggers the body to release this secondary fat reserve. He then discovered that putting patients on a low-calorie diet while the abnormal fat was being released caused the body to take this fat and use it as fuel for energy.
Taking hCG will not only help you lose weight but by pulling from secondary fat reserves it will also reshape and re-sculpt your body.
While it is guaranteed that hCG yields results, the results may still vary from one person to another. Most people are hesitant when they hear about “hCG diet” because they automatically associate it with a 500-calorie diet. With our Slim Shot Protocol, it’s highly unlikely that we put you on a 500-calorie diet without assessing your bodily nutritional requirements and capabilities. The calories would depend on how active they are. In addition, men and women are different too in terms of how much calories they need on a daily basis. All of this will be determined during the consultation wherein we take the time to know the clients’ activities or lifestyle, then we design the program to fit their needs. Some may end up having to portion their food intake without having to deprive themselves of what they normally eat. While for some, it is just a matter of adding more vegetables and cutting back on sugar. So really, it depends. You’re not in this program to starve yourself, you’re here to make your body work to its optimum state.
At Image Spa, our “Slim Shots” which are IM shots packed with hCG are given to the client while maintaining a “customized” meal plan (some of them eat as much as six small meals a day). It has been proven effective because we customize the protocol/program depending on what suits the clients, what’s realistic and what works best for them. This helps them stay in the program with little to no “backsliding” tendencies. The protocol is basically programming your lifestyle such as your eating habits and training yourself to eat right not little. Plus, it doesn’t involve workout unless your goal is to gain muscles.
Rachel continued: “My program was fairly easy because you pretty much walk me through what’s expected of me, what I can and can’t do as far as eating and you were available for any questions that I might have during the program. I think if you are planning to lose weight you have to have that mentality that you have to start somewhere. Some people get frustrated when they don’t see any results in the first two months. With Image Spa, the program is customized specifically per client. With the program you had me on, the results weren’t that immediate but it was visible in a reasonable amount of time like when I step on the scale from one week to the next, I saw a five to seven pound difference. I started with the slim shots and consuming only 500 to 800 calories a day. Combined it with the Slim Shots, no strenuous workout during the first few months, I’ve already reached my goal of 120 by February. I also went on and off the Slim Shots to see how much lower I can get. After that I started with the ketogenic diet which is high-fat, moderate protein and zero to low carb ‘coz I wanted to gain muscles. Then I was on L-carnitine and the metabolism booster (b12) shots. I was around 112-115 lbs. The last thing I did was went through a test by Life Science, in the Philippines. It is designed to test you for foods that you are intolerant to. So they gave me a list of foods that I cannot eat, that also helped me a lot. So from my goal of 120, I went down to 109 in a couple of months! So I am a lot lower than I thought I could be and it all started with the Slim Shots.”
With Rachel’s program, our initial goal was to get her back to her pre-pregnancy weight which is (as she said) 120 lbs. We did that by starting her off with the Slim Shots Protocol. Once she reached her target weight of 120, she decided she wants to gain muscles so we put her on the L-carnitine shots which helps in muscle formation. We also gave her metabolism boosters since she was losing more weight while burning more energy at the same time. Rachel is the kind of client that you want to work with because you know she will really cooperate. And it shows because of how she is still able to maintain her program until now. A lot of people ask if the program works. I say, yes it does work, but the question is if they are ready. At Image Spa, we need to evaluate our clients and make them aware of everything that’s going to happen to make sure that they are up for it and they are determined.
This is what made Rachel a very good candidate for the program. She just went for it and look at her now! She doesn’t only look beautiful and amazing, but she, in fact, looks healthy! I’m just glad that she trusted us to help her. I asked her what made her choose Image Spa and she said:
“First of all, I am very comfortable with you. Deciding to endorse Image Spa is like entering into a relationship with them – with you, not just the product, but as a person. The friendship that we’ve established was key to me. Secondly, I like how the ads of Image Spa are based on the person and not like a general thing. The message was personal in a way that it encourages you to be your best and not to fit into just one category or image. Each person has a different body type, a different story and is entitled to different best versions of themselves. That’s how the ads spoke to me – like your image is your own.”
It is always fulfilling whenever we see positive results. It makes our job – my calling – worthwhile. As I share Rachel’s journey I remember how she started it all by having the right mindset. And she has three words to leave us today: “Be Alive, Be Yourself and Be Strong.”
Imee is an established aesthetician, a business owner and a managing partner for Image Spa MD and CEO of Image Body SPA. She has a degree in Biology and Doctor of Dental Medicine. Image Spa is now one of the most reputable medical spa facilities in LA and has branches in Rancho Cucamonga and Encinitas for Image SPA MD and Image Body SPA-West Hollywood. Imee has been in the aesthetics industry for over 20 years.