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.

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.

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!

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.