I am so excited about the 40 pounds of unwanted fat I have shed in the past 11 weeks on the HCG Diet, including a two-week hiatus for the holidays.
Since so many people are asking me, I’ll give you the basics and then you can figure out for yourself if this is the diet for you.
What is HCG? How does it work?
HCG is human chorionic gonadatropin, a hormone secreted by pregnant women. In fact, this is the hormone that gives you the positive results on those home pregnancy tests.
Why would a pregnancy hormone work to help you lose weight? First of all, you’re only getting about 100 IUs a day, compared to the millions of units secreted by a pregnant woman. It doesn’t in any way mimic pregnancy, but what it does suppress appetite and helps burn fat in the most problematic areas: belly, thighs, hips.
Shed 3 to 5 pounds a week
Both of those are key to the HCG diet, which in the simplified form I am using, means you eat 700 calories a day. Most people shed 3 to 5 pounds a week on this diet. This strict form only allows 500 calories, which, in my mind, is too low for a long-term weight control program.
Still, 700 calories is not much, and of course, anybody would lose weight on 700 calories a day, that’s true.
HCG makes it possible to remain on this low-calorie, low-carb, low-fat diet for an extended period of time. Most of us simply wouldn’t be able to “tough it out” without some help. I know I don’t have the willpower, but this program simply has not been about willpower at all.
What you eat
I eat what I need to eat:
4 cups of low glycemic index vegetables a day
7 ounces of extremely lean meat: low fat fish, chicken, beef
2 pieces of fruit
100 calories of whole grain bread or tortilla or flatbread
It doesn’t sound like much, but it is actually a large amount of food if you pare it down to the basic healthy stuff– fresh veggies, good fruit, unlimited salad greens. And I am satisfied.
Here’s a great example: My husband (who doesn’t need to lose a pound) and I were eating dinner one night. He was having a big plate of organic basmati brown rice, chicken curry and some fresh sliced tomatoes. It was a good healthy meal.
I was having 3.5 ounces of grilled chicken, a whole green pepper, a large salad and a large bowl of vegetable soup.
My beloved pointed out that I was eating a lot of food. I agreed, so compared the calorie counts of our meals: He was eating nearly 900 calories and I was eating about 300.
My only complaint is that I am really cold most of the time and I wish I had started last summer when it was warm.
Most effective for those who want to shed more than 25 pounds
I think the HCG diet is most effective for people who have more than 20 to 25 pounds to shed (Note: I don’t say “lose,” because I think that triggers a subconscious thought that you are losing a part of yourself). You can lose 20-25 pounds in 4 to 6 weeks, but I think that is too short a time period to re-examine your relationship with food and the types of food you eat.
The HCG diet has given me a chance to take another look at what I thought was a healthy diet. It really wasn’t bad, but learning to center my eating around vegetables rather than my former love affair with bread, pasta and rice has made a huge difference in my weight and my energy levels.
I’ll get a new photo taken soon so you can see the difference. You’ll see even more in a couple more months.
HCG injections and drops
How do you use HCG? This is a deal breaker for some people. I have been using a daily injectible form. I’m not at all squeamish about injecting myself and it’s just a little insulin syringe, anyway. It’s no worse than a mosquito bite.
But daily injections may just be too scary for some people, so you can get HCG in homeopathic drops. I personally think the injectible form is probably more effective, but many people have gotten excellent results from the drops.
Injectible HCG is available only by prescription.
If you choose HCG, you need some medical supervision. Yes, you can buy HCG online, but buyer beware: some of it is useless. I get mine from my doctor, Hyla Cass, who is very excited about the results she has seen.
In my next post, I’ll talk more about where to get your HCG and who you can trust.
I promise, I won’t turn this blog into a day-to-day blow-by-blow pound-by-pound account of my diet. But I do promise to give you the basics and answer your questions.