|I am thinking about going on The HCG Diet|
The HCG Diet is a popular, very low-calorie, non-fat diet that also happens to be low in carbs.
The claim by the diet's author is that the diet will reset the hypothalamus, so you won't regain the weight after you move to a higher calorie diet. The program also includes taking HCG drops or shots to make your body think that you're pregnant.
While both of these points seem rather outlandish, people are having very good results by following Dr. Simeon's protocol. Since it's divided into diet rounds and gives you a break in between each phase of the diet, you only have to commit to one phase at a time.
Here's my experience with the HCG diet.
My blood sugar went completely out of control recently. It soared to over 200 mg/dl after meals.
At first, I thought I had been glutened.
Then, when it continued to plague me longer than it should have, I realized that maybe the flea bomb chemicals I was exposed to a couple of months ago killed off some additional beta cells. My body was acting like I wasn't making enough insulin.
As a result, I was left with no choice but to return to the Atkins Diet. I needed to get my glucose levels back under control. Once things become more stable, I can begin to slowly add the carbs back in.
Lately, I've realized that sugar affects my blood glucose levels more than starches do. I have been getting sugar from places I didn't realize like:
- Lawry's garlic salt
- Lawry's seasoning salt
- McCormick taco seasoning
I never thought about what did or didn't have sugar, especially since I was able to eat it while remaining gluten free. That doesn't seem to be the case anymore.
Once my glucose levels stabilize, I'm also going to take a closer look at the HCG Diet.
Looking Into the HCG Diet Protocol
I confess that I have fallen into the HCG diet craze. The holistic chiropractor I see for the vertigo first brought up the idea several months ago. A friend of his went on the HCG diet protocol and had great success with it.
Since it was similar to Lyle McDonald's Rapid Fat Loss Diet, a Protein-Sparing Modified Fast (PSMF Diet) you can do for free, I didn't take any of what he said to heart. At the time, I thought it was a bunch of bunk.
Now, I'm not so sure.
When the chiro brought it up again the last time I was there, I thought I should at least look into the merits and drawbacks of the plan before judging, so I took a trip over to Low Carb Friends where they have an HCG diet section.
The point of the program, besides getting the fat off quickly, is about resetting the hypothalamus.
The hypothalamus regulates the body's set point. Between studying the hypothalamus this past week and the research I did on the set-point theory earlier, I started looking closer at what I originally thought was a low-carb gimmick.
What I discovered was that most people who condemn the program and laugh at all the folks being duped out of their money (including myself) haven't looked into the program's claims. They just assume that the HCG hormone is a gimmick since this diet program is being proclaimed as a fat-loss miracle.
They believe that any 500-calorie diet would produce the same kind of results. However, that wasn't what Dr. Simeon found in his patients.
Role of HCG in the Body
Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG) is a hormone that pregnant women produce. It's what a pregnancy test measures to tell you if you're pregnant, or not.
According to Dr. Simeon, one of HCG's roles in the body is to release stubborn fat into the bloodstream for the extra energy a pregnant woman needs to feed and care for a fetus.
Since those who enter into Dr. Simeon's HCG Protocol are not pregnant and there's no baby to support, a very low-calorie no-fat diet is used to burn off the fat that the body releases from its fat stores due to the presence of HCG.
At the same time, HCG is supposed to reset the hypothalamus, speed up the metabolism, and suppress the appetite. The hypothalamus is the part of the brain that regulates temperature, metabolism, and a host of other things.
In Dr. Simeon's experiments, he discovered that more than 500 calories, plus certain individual foods that were lower in calories than what he was currently allowing on the program, would slow or halt fat loss. This seems to negate the people who believe the diet itself is what's responsible for the more-than-average success rate.
This oddity proved to Dr. Simeon that the weight loss wasn't just about the calories and that a particular deficit in combination with certain foods were both necessary to achieve the best results.
There are a lot of individuals who testify to how well the program works, including my chiropractor's friend who has had no trouble maintaining her losses since she went off the diet.
I Gave the hHCG Diet a Try
I decided to give Dr. Simeon's HCG protocol a try. I ordered a bottle of homeopathic hHCG drops online.
At thats point in my weight loss journey, it didn't seem like I was getting anywhere, especially since all of my efforts to return carbs to my diet had only resulted in my weight climbing upward again.
Plus, the blood sugar was still going wacky.
I was hoping that a modified South Beach Diet would work for me, but it didn't work any better than the Atkins Diet did. Dairy was pretty inflammatory back before I started to heal from the celiac disease and the hHCG Protocol didn't include dairy.
How Well Did I Do?Since I was already on a low-carb diet, I didn't get the whopping dump of glycogen and water that others saw. I did lose a couple of pounds the first week, but no where near the 1/2 to 1 pound of body fat per day that was commonly being reported.
I saw a lot of water fluctuations, bouncing scale weight, but the overall trend was down.
The body seemed to react to the diet in a similar way to how it had reacted to zero carbs. At the time, I didn't see the connection, but today, I have a better understanding of what was going on back then.
Low-carb diets are stressful on the body.
Your stress hormones go up if your insulin falls too low. Water is lost, along with tons of sodium, so you are also pretty dehydrated.
Since HCG was a severely restricted calorie diet, and I coupled it with unhealed celiac disease and Graves' disease, the body reacted badly to the severe caloric deprivation.
Eating at 500 calories a day and getting only 200 weight grams of meat was extremely difficult, at first, and by the end of the first week, I was worried about the skimpy protein intake. I didn't want to burn through the muscle I had, just to reach 125 pounds, and I wasn't losing weight as quickly as others were.
|Since apples made me hungry on HCG, I decided|
to trade them for a little more protein.
Since the apples and strawberries allowed on the diet made the hunger worse, I decided to skip the fruit and raise my protein to 300 weight grams per day. 100 grams of meat is a little less than 3 ounces of fish or chicken breast, so increasing my protein intake made it easier to stick with the diet's protocol.
Despite the increase in protein, I meticulously stuck to the 500 calories a day limit. I never went over in calories, even if I was hungry. Raising the protein allotment seemed to help with the bouncing scale weight and I started losing weight more steadily -- just slower than others.
Honestly, the experience was quite unpleasant to get through.
I had to implement a ton of distractions to keep the mind on something other than hunger. I was freezing all the time, and I suffered a lot more vertigo attacks than usual. While the drops helped to keep the hunger tolerable, as the weeks went by, I started to show signs of starvation.
By the end of 8 weeks, 56 days into the protocol, I was down about 30 pounds and started thinking about giving up on the whole idea of dieting completely.
I broke the diet on Thanksgiving by eating anything I wanted.
After that first weekend, I limited my food intake to about 800 calories, and followed the protocol that recommended eating lots of fat and no sugar. But moving to 800 calories caused my weight loss to stall.
I have no idea if it was the calories or the higher fat that was affecting the number on the scale because I never went back onto the diet.
Like many others, I was not able to sustain the weight loss.
While the HCG protocol does take the weight off, as Dr. Simeons claimed, you have to stay at very low calories to keep the weight from coming back. There is no such thing as resetting the hypothalamus and not regaining weight. After eight weeks of only eating 500 calories a day, the body was primed for fat gain, and that's exactly what it did.
*NOTE: HCG drops and injections are available through some medical clinics. Homeopathic drops, the type I took, are no longer legal. It's thought that since homeopathic medications contain very little of the original substance, many of us DID go into starvation mode.