Off of HCG – Now what?

A few people assumed that as soon as my diet was over, the weight would rebound back. I’ve now been off of HCG for a couple of weeks and my weight has been interesting. But did it come back, and if it did, how much?

What To Eat AFTER HCG

This was a dilemma. After weeks of eating primarily lean meats, protein shakes, and leafy green vegetables, what would my diet consist of at 1,000 calories? What about 1,500?

Honestly I could not decide what to do. I knew that I wanted to incorporate some weight lifting into my regiment. The advice they gave me was to stick pretty close to the types of foods I had been eating, but just more of it. They also decided to keep me on phentermine and weekly B12 injections. So here’s my typical daily meal:

Morning

Breakfast is still two egg whites cooked in MCT and a cup of cold brew coffee that I started brewing the night before. I usually don’t have time in the morning for much more than this. On my commute or as soon as I reach the office I’ll have a few strawberries or a small apple. I love honey crisp apples but they are usually too large for me to eat at once. Whole Foods has a smaller variety and I usually keep a bag full at my desk.

Sometimes, though, I decide to have a Chike Mocha Iced Coffee Protein Shake. Oh man these things are really good. I have to protect my stash from my teenagers. Seriously good stuff. I’ll add a small amount of MCT for additional energy rush.

Noon

Snack (when I remember) is usually another cup of coffee and maybe another fruit. Whatever is handy. Lunchtime is where I might add my calories – either a salad with a chicken breast or something adventerous from the Whole Foods paleo safe prepared food bar. I don’t overdo it but I usually eat more than I have for the past weeks.

Dinner

This is probably my most difficult meal to plan for. At this point I’ve usually had about 800 calories and what I eat is dependent on how I feel about doing exercises that evening. I usually have a protein shake after lifting so I want to accommodate this into whatever my plan is. One luxury is a grass fed prime ribeye steak and a baked sweet potato with grass fed cow butter. When I eat red meat of dairy, I’m looking for  grass-fed which has omega 3 acids.

Weight Training

I’m working out in my home gym with dumb bells. I’m doing this about twice a week, sometimes three times. I start with 5 minutes of jumping jacks and walking in place. I do one rep of warm up exercises At a lighter weight. During my workouts I try to use the heaviest weight that I can manage. If I feel discomfort in my joints, I will lessen the weight. I’m not concerned about doing 10-15 reps. If I can perform 6-8 reps before feeling my muscle exhaustion, that is fine.

Conclusion

My HCG diet ended at 216 pounds. That was one pound away from my stated goal, and according to my BMI I’m still in the pre-obese stage. Everyone around me thinks I’m skinny now, but I know different. As of this morning, my weight is 212.6 and BMI is about 26. I still have further to go to get my weight to somewhere between 205-210. In the next month I’ll decide if hormone therapy is right for me and my wife. Some things are already returning to normal. For now, I’m pretty satisfied with the results.

Testosterone Therapy

Like most men our age, we may feel we don’t have the same energy levels that we once did. To put it bluntly, the love life isn’t what it should be and we don’t feel like the man we once were. There are a lot of commercials hitting us with the need to get hormone therapy. The question I’m wrestling with is, do we?

What’s Your Problem?

Taking this back to my initial meeting with my team, I have low T and I knew it before I ever saw the numbers. I had a choice to make, treat the low T, lose weight, or both. The combination was out of the question for several reasons. For starters, it cost way too much. I’m all about getting healthy, but c’mon now. So, I had to choose between the two options and I should say, I was leaning towards the hormone therapy. Those ads started playing in my head.

Brothers, let’s take a step back and think about this. What is the problem we are trying to solve? Yes, we want our energy back, but does it matter if we look pudgy and gross? If we are “jiggle bear”? Our own self-esteem and confidence have a role to play here, doesn’t it?

Is Low Testosterone the Cause or the Result of Obesity?

This is really the question on my mind. I’ve got smart people telling me that increasing your lean, red meat and exercising more will replenish the testosterone. And there is some evidence that supports this. But there is a caveat – it seems to be only with men who are younger and thus have borderline deficiency. If you are way down in your Testosterone tank, exercise and diet will not help much.

Sometimes it’s 15 minutes after exercise that testosterone is elevated. Sometimes it can be up to an hour”

According to a published article, “Sometimes it’s 15 minutes after exercise that testosterone is elevated. Sometimes it can be up to an hour,” says Todd Schroeder, PhD, who studies exercise and hormones in older men at the University of Southern California (source). But this trick only works for a while. Even worse, overdoing exercise may harm your testosterone levels.

The article goes on to suggest that while exercise and diet are important, obesity is a symptom of low testosterone and exercise alone will not reverse it. It is what it is.

It Gets Worse

I mentioned earlier about Sex Hormone Binding Globulin (SHBG) being lower in obese people. That hormone is required to transport Testosterone. So we have this loop, where we become fat because we have low T, which harms the distribution of the T we have left. Ah, this suck!

Conclusion

If you have relatively low T, you probably can exercise your way out of it. At least for a while. But it’s sort of like vision and age, at some point you will need both glasses and hormone therapy. If you are vegetarian or vegan and deep in your  40’s, you’re gonna need to get some T. It appears my clinic was probably right to recommend both to me (I hate when the white coats are right!) But I still think I was better off going with the diet first, for personal reasons. I think the diet made me focus on overall changes in my approach and understanding of food that hormone therapy may have allowed me to avoid. Basically the diet prevented my eating a few more cheeseburgers. In the end, I’m going to go back and get treatment and if my timing is right, it will be just before my next vacation with wifey.

PS

I’m now down to 214 pounds and have started weight training.