HCG Diet – My Real Life Results

HCG Diet – My Real Life Results

That’s me. It was the second week of January 2017 and our cruise ship had just docked in Mexico. And that’s my belly. Looks like I just ate from the buffet doesn’t it? You might even be thinking to yourself, “he’s big, but not that big.” Or maybe you are more critically saying, “how did you let yourself go?” Either way, I decided to do something about it and so should you. Here are pictures of me from this morning.

March 24
Side View

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m down 31 pounds (29 on HCG) with a plan to lose another 6 – 11. I’m now through my first cycle of HCG and will go into a more “normal” diet and exercise program. I’ve been happy to fit into clothes that were hiding in the back of my closet and I’ve received a lot of notice from the rapid loss. However, my muscle tone isn’t where it needs to be.

What Is The Next Step?

I have to stay away from refined sugars and processed foods. That’s the number one goal. I’m also going to incorporate weight training into my weekly activity. Nothing too drastic but 3 times a week. By increasing muscle mass I expect to have more definition and a higher metabolism going into April.

Conclusion

In January I weighed in at 247 pounds. Today I weigh 216 pounds. I attribute this loss to a medically supervised, modified HCG diet. My next steps will be to include weight training and careful monitoring of my diet to ensure enough protein and fiber (and water) and limited amounts of empty carbs.

The Foods Causing High Cholesterol

The Foods Causing High Cholesterol

As I began my diet with its prescribed menu I decided to use the time to decide what my diet would be after. Remember the problem is not only obesity but high cholesterol. I thought that meant cutting out red meat – that’s what I was told back when. But then my HCG diet specifically required eating lean sirloin and ground beef. Do I actually know the foods contribute to high cholesterol?

It Isn’t Just Cholesterol – it’s LDL

LDL cholesterol is the result of eating foods, some of them surprising, that are fatty or processed. Here is a short list of those foods:

  1. Ground turkey (unless labeled 90% lean or better)
  2. Sugar and High-fructose corn syrup
  3. Mashed potatoes – Well the potatoes are not the problem, it’s the amount of added butter, cream, and cheese that are added, making it a saturated fat bomb to your diet
  4. Pizza – yep, cheese again but also the sausage and pepperoni that you add to it
  5. Most whole fat dairy products
  6. Pretty much any fast-food
  7. Ghee or clarified butter. Common to Indian recipes, this food is high in Palmitic acid.
  8. Flakey pie crusts and pastries are high in saturated fat
  9. Potato chips and peanut butters (though some have had the trans fat removed)
  10. Movie theater popcorn
  11. Coconut Oil. I hesitate to put this on the list but full disclosure, most advocates of Coconut Oil tell you it is 60% medium chain triglyceride (MCT) that are easily digestible and that is good. But there is 40% of something else – a Long Chain Triglyceride (depending on who you talk to)

What Are My Alternatives?

  • Use lean, grass-fed beef instead of ground turkey. It is higher in omega-3 acids and lower in fat, so its better for me. But be aware, it smells, and tastes a bit different than the corn fed beef that I have to get used to.
  • Avoid most sugars (if I am considering a Paleo diet, maple sugar will become my friend).
  • Reduce cheese and butter consumption, use butter seasonings for my popcorn. They have no fat compared with the real thing. But what to pop popcorn in? Anyone, help?
  • Switch oils to MCT oil and olive oil. MCT is derived from coconut oil and can be found in fitness stores as well as Sprouts and Whole Foods. The MCT vs coconut oil debate is something I might touch on later. Seems like both have too low a smoke point to use for cooking, but my experience is coconut oil is slightly higher.

While trying to take care of both my heart along with my weight, I might now start thinking about a paleo, vegetarian, or vegan diet. I’ll outline the concerns of each in another blog.

The Faces of Type 2 Diabetes

I always had to diet. I'm diabetic, so it's a lifestyle for me anyway just to stay healthy and not end up in the hospital. - Halle Berry

I chalk up the fact that I got diabetes to my body saying, 'Dude, you have been doing wrong for way too long!' - Randy Jackson

I am a type-2 diabetic, and they took me off medication simply because I ate right and exercised. Diabetes is not like a cancer, where you go in for chemo and radiation. You can change a lot through a basic changing of habits. - Sherri Shepherd

I have high blood sugars, and Type 2 diabetes is not going to kill me. But I just have to eat right, and exercise, and lose weight, and watch what I eat, and I will be fine for the rest of my life. - Tom Hanks

Phife Dawg (ATCQ)

Taylor made his long-running battle with Type 2 diabetes public in the 1993 song “Oh My God,” rapping, “When’s the last time you heard a funky diabetic?” His condition was aggravated, by an uncontrolled sweet tooth, he admitted in Beats, Rhymes and Life, a 2011 documentary about the history of Tribe, where Taylor said: “Like straight-up drugs. I’m just addicted to sugar.

Anthony Anderson (star of Blackish)

TV Star Anthony Anderson
Anthony Anderson and costar Tracee Ellis Ross on Blackish

I knew what the symptoms of diabetes were—my father was a diabetic—and I was like, “Wow, I think I need to go to the doctor and get this checked out.” (Actually, my wife said that.) I went the next morning and had elevated glucose levels and he said, “You know”—ding, ding!—”you’re a type 2 diabetic.”

 

 

 

Sonam Kapoor (Bollywood actress)

Sonam Kapoor
While there are reports that Kapoor is suffering from diabetes, she rubbishes them.

“I don’t have it. I have insulin resistance because I am suffering from PCOD. So, I’m on the borderline and am prone to develop diabetes. I have been on medication for the past six years to avert the condition,” says Sonam.

Talking about the regimen she follows to prevent the ailment, Sonam says, “Since I have excessive insulin in my body, consuming excessive sugar or putting on weight can be harmful for me, and I might develop diabetes. So, I am very particular about my eating habits and I work out regularly.”

Ghostface Killah (Wu-Tang)

In his “Trials of Life” (on 2010’s Wallabee Champ), Ghost says, “In ’96, When my chain was thick/my body went through a change quick/not the same kid/lost 30 pounds rapidly/my neck got skinny. …Then I found that I was diabetic/but my conscience was telling me ‘Ghost, baby boy, not to sweat it,’/so I built my confidence back up/work out, eat right/stay strong so I can continue to eat these mics.”

It inspired him to reach out to others, too. In 2011, he started Making Diabetes Ghost, a nonprofit organization with goals of providing education, support and treatment to people affected by diabetes, “to ‘Ghost’ the disease and silence its echoes.”

Is HCG Diet Safe? Compared to what?

Is HCG Diet Safe? Compared to what?

By now you’ve begun your own research into whether HCG diets are safe and effective. Clearly people are having success (including me) but should you trust these results? What does the medical community say?

You are going to find mixed messages, at least I did. When I learned my medically supervised weight loss would be HCG I didn’t know what to think. When I started searching for information on the internet, I became a little concerned. How could anyone live on 500 calories a day? Could HSC really be safe?

Let’s Discuss Some Basic Questions.

Do people have success with HCS diets? I think the answer here is yes. People are even having success following Simeon’s protocol written decades ago. You can find a discussion board here. Of the detractors, I usually find three major camps:

  1. Those who could not deal with the 500 calorie limit or any VLCD.
  2. Those who question if HCG actually contributes to the weight loss.
  3. Those who believe the weight loss would be short lived.

Should You Consider a VLCD Diet?

The typical diet is based on 1,800 – 3,000 calories a day, depending on age, gender and activity level. The truth is that most people consume more than they need. Far more to be honest. One of my favorite sandwiches for lunch was a Chick-fil-A chicken deluxe sandwich with an order of waffle fries and usually a water or a lemonade (let’s stick with water for this discussion). That’s a 500 calorie sandwich + 310 calorie waffle fries = 810 calories for one meal. It isn’t very nutritious but there are probably far worse lunches. The website healthyeating.sfgate.com featured an article written by dietician Erin Coleman stating American men self reported consuming about 2,640 calories a day. But since most are obese, the assumption is underreporting by at least 25%.

If you are someone who is obese, and most of us are by the time we reach our 40’s if we’ve been eating like the typical American, your doctor may advise a very low calorie diet (VLCD) for a period of time. Generally it may be prepared foods and shakes but they also may be prescribed menu items of lean meats and unprocessed foods. Starting to look like my HCG menu plan now?

Sample menu
The sample menu provided to me. Note: MCT is not actually Coconut Oil but can be derived from it.

Other forms of diets for the obese might include a juice cleanse (which I’ve mentioned earlier). If you are considering surgery, a gastric bypass will also reduce your caloric intake to between 800 – 1,000 calories for a period. So a VLCD, when medically supervised, can be an important tool in weight loss if used as part of an overall lifestyle change.

Does HCG Actually Contribute to Weight Loss?

I’ve read several articles that basically cannot determine if HCG contributes to weight loss, attributing the weight loss to the VLCD diet. It may be true that the HCG is not contributing to the weight loss directly; my understanding is the HCG impacts how the weight loss occurs by protecting your muscles and burning the fat. I never believed product pages that suggest targeting weight loss in specific areas. Not only does that not align with logical thinking, it also defeats the purpose. The fat that we see is not attractive but it’s the fat that we don’t see, the visceral fat, that is harming our health.

HCG is pro-hormonal and can help with getting to the causes of (visceral) belly fat, but the combination of Phentermine and HCG is what controlled the hunger for me. I have too many friends who attempted HCG diets using homeopathic drops and no phentermine. They all failed. As of this writing, I have already lost 27 pounds in a little over a month. And I ate foods like grilled shrimp salad for lunch.

Grilled Shrimp in mixed greens salad
One of my favorite items for lunch!

Will the Weight Loss be Short Lived and Weight Come Right Back?

This is the tough question and I think it depends on the person. If you are expecting to go right back to your eating habits that lead to the need for this diet, yep – I think the weight comes back. If this is part of a multi-faceted lifestyle change (as it should be) then I think you can not only keep off the fat, but also transform your body with a new canvas that is lean, accustomed to eating clean, and sufficiently motivated.

Conclusion: HCG is Safe Compared to High Cholesterol and Insulin Resistance

I’m not an advocate of the original protocol as described in Pounds and Inches. I don’t have experience with it. My protocol kept me between 800 and 1000 calories. If you are comparing this protocol to having high cholesterol and insulin resistance I would have to say yes, it is very safe. Think of it as a kick start to your future self. Yes, it will be difficult sometimes. But you will receive compliments as friends and family look on with astonishment at your weight loss.

HCG for Fast Weight Loss

HCG for Fast Weight Loss

Let me start by saying, there is no easy way to lose weight. You put it on easy, it’s going to come off hard. But there are different ways to lose weight and at our age sometimes it’s all about knowing your options.

Exercise your way to weight loss

It goes without saying that exercise needs to be part of a fitness regimen. I’m not here to tell you about the amount of exercise you need per day – there are plenty of magazines, blogs, gyms willing to tell you this. No, my goal here is to talk about your other options to get there faster. Why fast? We live in a world of immediate gratification. Speaking for myself, I have started and stopped so many work out routines because I didn’t see the results and to be fair, it was going to take a long time to build up the muscle required to overcome my massive calorie intake. No matter how I tried, I could never balance things. Maybe you understand what I am talking about?

HCG diets for weight loss.

I had never even heard of the HCG diet before this year. When I met with my team at Total Men’s, they gave me a full battery of blood tests and came back with some options. They recommended both a testosterone therapy plan and a medically supervised weight loss plan. I decided to start with weight loss because it has so many other benefits towards overall health. They ordered my supplies and told me to come back after my trip to California.

When I returned they had my supply of HCG, syringes, alcohol wipes, phentermine and B12. “How often am I coming in for shots?” I asked. Oh, you’ll do these at home and come in for a weekly B12 shot. What did I sign myself up for? Let’s walk through the supplies and what the purpose is.

Phentermine & HCG

Phentermine is an appetite suppressant used to treat obese people with risk factors such as high cholesterol, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Taken 30 minutes before breakfast you don’t really get hungry all day. I’ve spoken to friends that I have attempted the HCG diet and they all gave up. My coworkers are shocked that I haven’t been moody, especially after seeing my calorie count for the day. This is a very low calorie diet and I must tell you – there is no way I would have been successful on my own. I just don’t see it being possible. Phentermine does have side-effects that you should be aware of.

HCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin) is a hormone typically associated with pregnancy. Don’t worry guys, it’s safe for us, too. You can get it in drops or injection. Most who do this diet (and it is an extreme diet) will use drops they can order from various sources. My process used the injections, which seems to be the recommendation of most physicians. What HCG does is the important part. Honestly, it has been unclear for a long time. My team tells me that the HCG releases the nutrients stored in fat cells, allowing your body to make up the caloric deficit with the energy your body has been storing.

Have you ever noticed how nursing mothers can eat anything and stay skinny? The HCG in their body is allowing the transfer of fat to nutrients. But it does something else too. It prevents the rapid weight increase that typically occurs after a crash diet. To be more specific to my athletic readers, the HCG prevent muscle loss during the diet by creating an anabolic state that counteracts the catabolic state. The HCG is pro-hormone so it also elevates testosterone, but don’t ask me how. It just does. By saving muscle, you don’t sacrifice your metabolism.

About the diet

This is where working with medical professionals helps. The original HCG diet, Simeon’s Protocol (see Pounds and Inches), was written in the 1950’s and aside from limiting to 500 calories, it also had very little protein incorporated. Remember why I said I didn’t like juice cleanses for weight loss?  Newer protocols have caloric intake in the 500-1000 calorie range. The menu the clinic provided me looked quite healthy, albeit small. Mostly protein, green vegetables, some fruits and small amounts of fats like MCT and coconut oil.

Will the weight just come back on after the diet?

What I’ve been told is, no. As said earlier, the science is that your body is burning fat, not muscle. With the phentermine and coffee (or tea) consumed, your metabolism is going to just burn through the fat and the weight will fall off – like the guy below (not me but I promise the pictures will come soon). The added benefit is your own hormones should get reset as will your hypothalamus – the portion of your brain responsible for maintaining your weight.

How do I know this is true? Well, here is an article by Dr. Sheri L. Emma, MD – author of Dr. Emma’s HCG protocol.

Conclusion

HCG is a crash diet but one that works if you follow the newer protocol administered by a physician. You will find websites with people who continue to be HCG purists and stick to the original protocol, using the homeopathic HCG; it isn’t the same process. I’m not here to judge which is better. My results, having lost roughly 25 pounds in about a month, have been with the new style using pharmaceutical HCG. And being able to lose weight without having to join a gym and ridicule myself was a plus.

I know some will judge but let’s get real – the reason I’m big in the first place is partially hormonal, partially diet, but in no way was it related to my work outs! With my increased testosterone and regained confidence of having a slimmer physique, I fully intend to begin a work-out regimen. I can’t wait!

Obesity and the Male Libido

Obesity and the Male Libido

While visiting with my sisters in California, I was treated to a comedy showcase hosted by none other than Faizon “Big Worm” Love. You’ve probably seen Faizon in the news lately for administering a beat down on some younger dudes that disrespected him. That’s another story.

During his opening, Faizon talked about the need to have patience with your spouse. You see, he left his wife because he was tired of having to talk to her. She talks so much! So, he packed up and went to an island [or something] where he was going to find a new wifey. What he forgot, as the story goes, was that none of these young ladies are looking for a 400 pound, sleep apnea having, old dude who can’t even keep his junk hard.

Faizon from 2009 film “Couples Retreat”

I didn’t know if I should laugh or call the guy a medic. I never knew that he had gotten so, BIG – standing there on that little stage.

The funny thing is that some of ya’ll might be thinking the same thing. Tired of her, when the real problem is you.

Listen, I’m going to tell it how it is for a minute. The ladies are getting their stuff together. They are out running. They at least try to watch what they eat. And for what? So they can have 30 seconds of ecstasy from you? Once or twice a month? How is that working out for you?

Since it is Sunday, I’m going to get Biblical here. What? You don’t think the Bible has application on what is going on between you and your woman? Let me show you something that men have used for years but only got half the story right.

Let the husband give to [his] wife her due; but let the wife also do likewise to [her] husband. The wife does not exercise authority over her own body, but her husband does; likewise, also, the husband does not exercise authority over his own body, but his wife does. Do not be depriving each other [of it]– 1 Corinthian 7:3-5

Many of us have been walking around like she owes us something when it is us men who owe our wives. And you might know that if you listened to her. Well, not all the time, but sometimes.

Obesity affects the male libido in too many ways. I’m not just talking about the obvious issues with confidence with your shirt off. Men with high cholesterol and insulin resistance can’t get enough blood flow into the tiny arteries of the penis. Since you are low on testosterone you aren’t working out much (okay ever).  Oh, and because we’re fat we lack sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) to  transport the little testosterone left. So now you have Erectile Dysfunction (ED). It’s no wonder everyone is grabbing for blue pills.

If you’ve had your blood tests, have you talked with your wife about your numbers? Have you shared your concern with her? You should.

Ask her to help you to lose the weight. If she’s grown with you, tell her you will do it together. You don’t have to get shredded and you don’t even have to talk. Another benefit of losing the weight may just help with apnea, too.

Recommendation: In addition to your weight loss exercises, do some activities that increase blood flow to the pelvic areas like brisk walking or riding a bike for 20 minutes, 3 times a week. See if you can add any of these foods to your diet.

Should You Juice Cleanse?

Should You Juice Cleanse?

Before deciding if you SHOULD juice cleanse, your first question might be, “what IS a juice cleanse?”

A juice cleanse, sometimes referred to as a juice fast, is a period ranging from a day to a week or longer when food, fruits and vegetables, is not something that you eat, rather it is something that you drink. While you might be thinking it is impossible, I know a surprising number of people who have done this for a long period of time. Should you consider it, too?

I’ve used it to kick off diets, including the one I’m on now. I did a cleanse to prepare myself with enough plant based nutrients to deal with the very low calorie diet (VLCD) I would embark. The problem comes when there is an expectation the juice cleanse will be the primary weight loss activity. I think this comes from the number of people who have watch Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead on YouTube or Netflix.

If you haven’t seen the movie, below is the trailer. Take a few minutes to watch and we’ll pick up below.

Why wouldn’t you use a juice cleanse to lose weight? For me it is extremely hard to do. In my opinion, protein is needed to lose weight (though not necessarily animal protein). Protein and fiber together will help you to feel “full”. Most juices people drink today have zero protein and very little fiber. Which brings us back to my featured image of JuiceLand.

JuiceLand prepares multiple varieties of high quality juices and milks with a menu for what you need. Acknowledging that some people will want fiber and protein, they make those recommendations on their website. I’ve used this alternative package and honestly, I made it through a couple of days without feeling a bit hungry. I did have to end my fast a bit early due to a pretty nasty cold I caught and I just needed food to take with my meds.

Conclusion: Yes, you should add high quality, cold-pressed juices into your diet to supplement the amount of vegetables you probably are not getting every day. But choosing a cleanse is really optional and you shouldn’t allow anyone to talk you into an extended test of your endurance. Your goal is weight loss through calorie reduction. To do that without feeling hungry you will need protein and fiber.