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The HCG Diet, an unconventional journey to better health. Part one.

Editor's Note: Some updates made 2024

This post details one person’s experience with the HCG Diet, a weight-loss method that has sparked controversy among doctors, media and the general medical community. Named the "HCG Diet" because followers inject themselves daily with the human chorionic gonadotrophin (HCG), a hormone produced by pregnant women. Some such as Mehmet Oz of Oprah fame argue that trial studies show that HCG diet could have value. Stronger proponents claim the hormone effectively curbs hunger allowing dieters to subsist on 500 calories daily.

This is our friend's experience: 

Too good to be true?  A dear friend of mine who is aware of my 8-year long weight struggle gave me a gift. She told me about the "HCG Diet". I was stunned, and then excited. I felt like Charlie finding the golden ticket. It seemed too good to be true. Coming up on my 40th birthday and trying over and over to drop weight, I was ready for something different.

Apparently this diet isn't new, but it was to me. By injecting HCG, a natural hormone that simulates pregnancy, the body can sustain a 500 calorie a day diet (yes, 500 calories). The bonus is that the hormone also triggers your body to burn stored fat cells. I was told that I could lose 300-400 grams per day (0.6-0.8 lbs) without being hungry.

Getting started:  Let's be clear. I feel like I need to lose 70 lbs to reach my weight goal based upon my height and age.  This sort of loss would put me in size 8 or 10 clothing.  After researching the diet and risks, I was on board.  Now, all I had to do was go to the doctor, get my blood work done and begin. And that is what I did.  

First Days:  I started the program on May 21. Each morning I inject my stomach (really pretty easy) and follow the strict 500 calorie program. Surprisingly, my insurance covers 2/3 the cost of my medication…so I couldn’t use cost as an excuse.  The first 10 days were hell. I felt like I had a sinus infection, a hangover (without the pleasure of consuming the alcohol), AND a stomach virus all at the same time. I'm guessing that my body was detoxing.  Ugh. 

After 3 days.  I noticed a decreased to nonexistent appetite. I couldn't believe it.  I followed a very specific eating plan that can be found in the HCG manuscript written by the doctor credited with "discovering" the diet. In short, I ate the following: 2 servings of protein twice a day (e.g., a 100 calorie turkey dog), 2 veggies (cucumber, asparagus), 2 fruits, 2 melba toasts. That's it.  And I didn't want more. (The goal is to consume 200 of the 500 calories as protein.)

After 12 days.  My energy levels returned to normal, but I noticed that if I didn't eat, by blood sugar would get low and I'd "crash." I also had food aversions, which I understand is very normal. I was also encouraged to take B12 supplements--once a week by shot and orally each day. It helped my energy level. If I missed an injection even by a day, I noticed the difference.

3 weeks in. I lost lost 15 lbs! It isn’t easy, but at the same time it is easier/quicker than the old fashioned way. I know I have tried. I don't feel this to be a cop out. I needed something different and this seems to be working for me. 

How long?  The duration of the diet depends upon the weight loss goal.  My plan is to do the diet in three phases.  The medical recommendation is to not exceed 45 sequential days of HCG injections.  There needs to be a "break."  The length of the break is determined by the individual and the monitoring doctor.  I will take a 7 day break and then begin Phase Two -- another 45 days of injections. And then another break and another 45 days.  

I realize that this is not a sustainable, long-term diet solution. I will have to find balance in order to maintain my weight when this is over.  This diet is a way to jump start my system and feel as though I am finally accomplishing something.  This program has done something else for me…it has taken the guilt away. For the first time in a long time I know that I am doing absolutely everything I can to get rid of the weight. I am exercising, and I can’t possibly eat any less! It is a nice feeling…..

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