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Does the hCG Diet Work?
Does hCG Diet work?
I probably have been on a diet since I was 5.
My weight problems have magnified since I turned 40. Three kids, a desk job (in contrast to the job I had years ago where I can go on field), and too many events to celebrate (Filipino families celebrate every event. Seriously.), plus junk food and Netflix combined made me heavier than when I gave birth to my youngest.
It got worse when I met random people I used to know and haven’t seen in a while and instead of a “Hey, I love your hair!” (because I do hehe), they went, “What happened to you?!!!” (insert a sneer as they look at my waistline. Or what was left of it. Or, ok, my waistline is non-existent. I am a big fluffy forty-something).
Things came to a head when my boss ( my former boss now), who probably is heavier than me by a ton told me I must be pregnant by six months (It is a Filipino thing to refer to somebody having weight issues as “pregnant”), she by 4 months (the nerve!).
That was when I decided to do something drastic.
I did the hCG Diet.
How Does the hCG Diet Work?
I did this diet on stealth, by the way, because a lot of people and medical experts claim the hCG diet does not work.
Here is how the hCG diet is supposed to work:
(By the way, I will be talking about the hCG drops here because that was what I used. There are other ways – like the hCG injections that the original protocol used. I will be talking about them in a future post.)
For three times a day for a minimum of three weeks and a maximum of six weeks (the length would really depend on how much pounds you need to lose), you take hCG drops (hCG means human chorionic gonadotropin. Let’s just call it hCG because I don’t want to end up with a tangled tongue).
The hCG burns your extra fat stores, while you eat a maximum of 500 calories a day, without getting hungry.
I know. It sounds crazy, right?
It will sound crazier when I say you will lose a pound a day on this diet.
What is the hCG Diet Original Protocol?
The hCG diet is based on a protocol developed by Dr. A.T.W. Simeons.
Dr. A.T.W. Simeons is a British physician who, in the early ’50’s worked at a hospital in Rome.
He noticed that patients administered with hCG lost their appetite and burned fat – especially their belly fat.
That was when he developed a protocol to treat patients with hCG.
Over the years, his protocol is still followed:
- three weeks of injection
- 500-calorie diet daily
- followed by 3 weeks of stabilization where you are allowed higher calories, but without sugar and starch.
Like all diet plans, experts questioned the effectiveness of the diet.
The New York Times reported that the FDA requires that hCG prescriptions carry a warning that the drug “has not been shown to increase weight loss, to cause a more ‘attractive’ distribution of fat or to ‘decrease hunger and discomfort.’ ”
Some studies made that placebos (like what they claim the drops are) seem to work just as well as the injections.
(Whatever. I can claim in all honesty that eating a measly 500 calories a day with the hCG drops made me not feel like I was being deprived. )
I understand the skepticism.
Dr. Simeon’s original protocol seems really out of this world.
For example, if you have cheated while on hCG, like you ate rice (I know. Part of being a Filipino means you eat rice with the *ulam! You get funny stares and remarks if you don’t eat rice!), you are supposed to eat nothing but apples the next day.
And, vegetables are allowed, except that you cannot mix them. Like, if you are having some lettuce on your salad, you cannot have tomatoes.
You’re also not supposed to use lotions or creams because your body of course absorbs them and the hCG will burn them up instead of your body fat (I never eliminated my lotions and creams, FYI).
Plus you can’t have pork, even the lean cuts.
And for snacks, only Melba toast or Grissini breadsticks are allowed.
Not getting hungry on 500-Calorie per day diet
Still, I wondered how long it was safe to eat so little, even if I was not really feeling hungry thanks to the hCG. Some hCG loyalists claim that eating as little as 500 calories can put your body into starvation mode. During the six weeks I did my diet, though, I never felt hungry.
I didn’t end up having a dinner rampage (which I usually do when I am on other diets. I seriously was never hungry. Missing rice was horrible, being Filipino and Asian and all, although I did eat Miracle Rice which is out of protocol, although it did not affect my weight loss progress on hCG at all.
I deviated slightly from the protocol by walking 2 km on the treadmill daily (exercise in the original protocol is not allowed.
My breakfast daily was an egg and coffee (in the original protocol, breakfast is not allowed), I never did eat apples or strawberries for snacks, and for lunch or dinner, it is usually chicken breast (which tastes like cardboard when over-cooked, I swear) or beef tenderloin with veggies. Occasionally, I have salmon. Now, salmon is not recommended in the original protocol, but I also deviated by following a modern adaptation of the traditional hCG diet. Aptly titled hCG 2.0, you can check out the book over at Amazon.
By the first week, I have lost two inches off my waist. I can take selfies with my face looking slim without executing some crazy angles or something and by the end of the diet, I have lost 15 pounds.
Still, the obvious question remains: Does the weight stay off?
With how our daily grind is, it is impossible to keep the weight off.
Like, for months after the diet, I detested rice. That was until I tasted it with some saucy Chinese food. That was when I decided I have been missing a lot. And that was when I gained back a few pounds.
Eating perfectly and on protocol is tough. But being motivated not to be back on mom jeans (and granny undies!) is another. I now eat mindfully. Occasionally, I splurge.
Which is why I am doing hCG Round 2!
I might have out of my mind for doing this crazy hCG diet, but believe me, the self-confidence I have gained after losing 18 pounds in as little as 2 months was priceless. Join me as we talk about the hCG diet.