Thursday, April 29, 2010

Week 2 Stats

This week has been a major turning point for me.  It's not only that I'm fully ensconced in the HCG diet right now (it's still not an easy diet to stay on), but I'm used to the strict menu now as well as the various moods and cravings I might spontaneously get - and I know to deny them.  I started the vlcd* portion of the diet exactly two weeks ago, and it's great knowing I only have a little over one week to complete this stage (on to maintenance stage next).  I'm feeling thinner than ever, and I'm having quite a hard time believing that I'll continue to lose weight and possibly reach my ideal goal weight, something I haven't seen in 15 years!

Week 1 Totals
Pounds lost:  8.2 lbs.
Inches lost:  10.25"

Week 2 Totals
Pounds lost: 4.8 lbs.
Inches lost:  6.25"

Overall Loss Since Beginning
Pounds lost:  13 lbs.
Inches lost:  16"

Obviously you can see my second week did not yield the same astounding results as my first week, and that's normal.  Each successive week on this diet yields a decreased loss yet the key is the weight loss continues to be steady.  So I will continue to lose weight until either I reach the last day of my diet regimen and/or my body reaches its ideal, healthy weight and can't lose anymore (remember you can't lose too much weight on this diet even if you tried).  I've now been on the vlcd stage for a total of 13 days (the end of today will be my 14th) and have lost 13 pounds so I'm right on target. 

* vlcd = very low calorie diet

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Why the HCG Protocol?

When people ask about the diet I'm on and I try to fill them in on the HCG diet, I'm told all about the diets they've tried or the one they're currently on.  People look at me and wonder why I'm on such a restrictive diet especially when I'm not apparently obese.  Why would I do this to myself?  And, more importantly, after hearing about the severe restrictions of the diet, why would they do this to themselves?  Well, there are just about as many diets out there as there are people, and many of them have worked wonders and changed peoples lives.  So why did I choose to start on the HCG diet? Here are my reasons:

It's the diet to end all diets.  
After reading the science behind the diet and all that it entails, I've come to refer to this diet as "hitting the reset button" for my body. It's like putting my hypothalamus back to its natural and healthy starting point, re-energizes my metabolism and reshapes the body.  It's been touted as the most effective, permanent weight loss program that exists.

"Those in whom the disorder [of obesity] is severe will accumulate fat very rapidly, those in whom it is moderate will gradually increase in weight and those in whom it is mild may be able to keep their excess weight stationary for long periods. In all these cases a loss of weight brought about by dieting, treatments with thyroid, appetite-reducing drugs, laxatives, violent exercise, massage, or baths is only temporary and will be rapidly regained as soon as the reducing regimen is relaxed. The reason is simply that none of these measures corrects the basic disorder."

"In treating obesity with the HCG + diet method we are handling what is perhaps the most complex organ in the human body. The diencephalon's* functional equilibrium is delicately poised, so that whatever happens in one part has repercussions in others. In obesity this balance is out of kilter and can only be restored if the technique I am about to describe is followed implicitly." 1

Doing the HCG diet is like completing a whole body cleanse.
The combination of eating such a restricted diet along with drinking copious amounts of water allows the body to flush toxins out and learn to subsist on the healthy foods it's being fed. It also helps put back what is needed in the body.

"Like everyone else, you’ve probably got your body so confused when it comes to weight and fat that it doesn’t know what to do when you try to lose extra weight. It’s not behaving in a natural and healthy fashion when it comes to getting rid of extra weight and fat cells. HCG is a natural element made by the human body and the HCG Detox Diet hinges on the re-introduction of HCG into the body. The HCG re-teaches the body how to deal with fat cells in an appropriate and healthy manner so that you can lose weight and keep it off. HCG’s natural physiological function is to interact with the eating and drinking portion of the brain (so dieters don’t suffer from hunger pains). Between these two natural functions of HCG…dieters are actually succeeding at getting the weight loss results they need."2   

The results of the HCG diet is not only weight loss but a solution to many complicating disorders.

"Some complicating disorders are often associated with obesity, and these we must briefly discuss. The most important associated disorders and the ones in which obesity seems to play a precipitating or at least an aggravating role are the following: the stable type of diabetes, gout, rheumatism and arthritis, high blood pressure and hardening of the arteries, coronary disease and cerebral hemorrhage. 
Apart from the fact that they are often - though not necessarily - associated with obesity, these disorders have two things in common. In all of them, modern research is becoming more and more inclined to believe that diencephalic regulations play a dominant role in their causation. The other common factor is that they either improve or do not occur during pregnancy. In the latter respect they are joined by many other disorders not necessarily associated with obesity. Such disorders are, for instance, colitis, duodenal or gastric ulcers, certain allergies, psoriasis, loss of hair, brittle fingernails, migraine, etc.
If HCG + diet does in the obese bring about those diencephalic changes which are characteristic of pregnancy, one would expect to see an improvement in all these conditions comparable to that seen in real pregnancy. The administration of HCG does in fact do this in a remarkable way."

Results are typical.
The fine print you always see in commercials for any weight loss program or treatment says, "Results not typical."  In regards to the HCG diet, it was refreshing to see the words "Results typical" for a change.

"As a general rule one can say that 60%-70% of our cases experience little or no difficulty in holding their weight permanently. Relapses may be due to negligence in the basic rule of daily weighing."1

So this is why I'm doing the HCG Diet.  And so far I'm happy to say my results are quite typical... :-)

(If you're interested in learning more about it and want to know how you can do it too, just contact Stacy.)

* DIENCEPHALON . . . A primitive and hence very old part of the brain which lies between and under the two large hemispheres. In man the diencephalon (or hypothalamus) is subordinate to the higher brain or cortex, and yet it ultimately controls all that happens inside the body. It regulates all the endocrine glands, the autonomous nervous system, the turnover of fat and sugar. It seems also to be the seat of the primitive animal instincts and is the relay station at which emotions are translated into bodily reactions.

1.  From Pounds & Inches by Dr. Simeons
2. From

Monday, April 26, 2010

Day 12 - Past the Point of No Return

I just realized that I'm already more than halfway through the 500 calorie portion of this diet.  That is very exciting to me!  Oh, to eat food, glorious food again! :)  I'm planning on completing the 26 days and seeing how I've fared at that point.  You can do this diet for either 26 days or 40 days, depending on how much weight needs to be lost.  Since I did not have more than 25 pounds as my goal, I'm hoping the 26 days will suffice.  So far I've lost on average a pound a day seeing as it's been 11 days (not counting loading days) and I've lost 11 pounds.  I look forward to taking my measurements again in three days.  I have to admit today was really the first day I felt thinner, whether that's physical, mental or both I'm not sure, but it's a good feeling - a very good feeling.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Day 11

I think it's funny that I still wake up every morning surprised that I can't eat anything for breakfast.  You'd think after 10 days of not eating breakfast, I would remember.  I guess after 36 years of habitually eating breakfast, my body will take some time getting used to not breaking my nightly fast.

This past weekend was my first experiment in being away from home (hence the lack of blogging) and having to plan and prepare my food beforehand.  Since I was only gone for two days and one night, it wasn't that difficult and everything went great.  It was hard to not accept my friend's delicious looking dinner she had graciously prepared for my daughter and her family (steak with Hollandaise sauce, french fries and surprisingly hardest of all, Caesar salad), and I realized how food has become such a social thing for me as well.  Food means so many things to so many people and after being on this diet, the most difficult time for me to deny myself food is in social situations.  I've found it creates bonds with old and new friends alike, brings a family together around a table and creates opportunities to comfortably socialize in public places (think of a first date activity). Cooking and dining out also opens up new worlds of cuisine to savor and experiment with at home.  I'd have to admit, overall I miss food and the bonding it creates with others the most.  Funny how diets can open one's eyes to one's own thoughts, beliefs and feelings about food.

The last couple days have been a roller coaster in terms of weight loss.  Friday morning I weighed myself and found I had actually gained a pound!  I knew the weight loss would fluctuate from day to day, but I did not know I could actually gain on this diet.  After speaking to my sponsor, Stacy, she reassured me that this was fairly normal, and I would probably find that I'd lose extra weight the next day.  She was right as the next morning, I found I had lost 2.2 pounds. Phew!  Of course today I found I didn't gain nor lose any weight at all.  So I look forward to tomorrow morning and see what that brings me...

Friday, April 23, 2010

Tips to Help You on the HCG Protocol

For those interested in getting on the HCG Protocol diet, I have found certain tips to help me stay on track with the HCG Diet and wanted to share them with you:
  • If you are seriously considering doing this diet, I’ve found a helpful link for things to do 30-60 days before starting the diet in order to really prime your body for optimizing fat loss.  They call it Phase 1 on this website1 but admit that it’s not completely necessary to do this phase and you can skip it altogether; it’ll just make your body more in shape to do well on the diet – not a bad idea.  
  • Try to eat as much fast food/chain restaurant food on your loading days as possible.  Most, if not all, major restaurants have their nutritional charts online so it's easy to find the most high-fat, high calorie foods on the menu.  This definitely costs more money than making your own fatty meals at home, but you'll ingest more fat and calories in a smaller amount of food than you could at home.
  • Buy all your meat beforehand and then weigh it all out on your food scale before freezing each 100 gram portion in small snack bags.  In the morning, one can simply choose one's two proteins to eat that day and let them defrost.  This has saved me much hassle as well as from opportunities to fail in not having the food ready to cook when I need it.
  • Find a big enough container to keep track of how much water you're drinking.  I began by using my klean kanteen which holds 1/4 of a gallon so if I can drink close to 4 bottles worth, I know I've reached the target goal of one gallon (which, btw, I can't do - at the most, I've been able to drink almost 3/4 gallon).
  • Instead of feeling like you can never have anything yummy to eat, take those foods you've denied yourself during the diet and freeze an individual portion for yourself to enjoy later.  For instance, after making my daughter's birthday ice cream cake, I froze a slice for myself to enjoy once I'm off the diet.  I've also done this with certain chocolates and other yummy foods.  This way I feel like I have something to look forward to and don't feel like I'm missing out on everything
  • Make sure you get a good night's sleep!  I can't reiterate how important this is as it can affect your appetite during the day.  Not only will it prevent increased hunger pains, but by going to bed early, you'll save yourself some late-night cravings.  Many of my friends can attest to this and notice the day after a bad night of sleep that they have not lost as much weight as expected even when not cheating on the diet.
  • If you have a business/pleasure trip planned, prepare ahead of time.  Plan what you'll bring with you, and if it's a short trip, you can even cook the food ahead of time and pack it like a picnic lunch for those times you won't have access to a kitchen.
  • When special events are planned or you know you'll be faced with a food challenge/temptation, make sure you eat your meal ahead of time...then stay as far away from the food as you can!
  • You can go it alone and purchase your HCG drops anywhere online for cheap and try to do the diet, but I found since this was my first time, it was so much more helpful to do it through a program.  This was definitely more money invested in the beginning, but it helped start me off with the correct drops (by scanning to see what my sensitivities were), gave me an invaluable guide with all the info I needed, helps answer all my questions and continues to monitor and encourage me on my journey.  It doesn't matter where you live either - the program can help you whether you're local to them or live far away.2

1.This is confusing since everywhere else Phase 1 in the HCG Diet is usually referred to as the loading days when you’re trying to eat as much high-fat, high-calorie food.  So I guess you could consider this phase Phase 0

2. If you are interested in the program I'm going through, contact  Stacy, an affiliate with Pure, Simple Health.

    Thursday, April 22, 2010

    One Week Stats

    It's been one whole week since starting on the 500 calorie diet and every week I'm supposed to not only weigh myself but to take all of my measurements and compare with the previous week.  The Body Measurement Guide which is included in the program guide one is given when starting on the protocol includes measurements of 14 different locations of the body - neck, chest, upper arms, rib cage, waist, abdomen, buttocks, thighs, upper knee and calf - so it's pretty comprehensive.  Once you take all your measurements, you're supposed to add them all up and keep track week to week of how many inches lost total.  So with all that explained, here are my stats for my first week:

    Pounds lost:  8.2 lbs.
    Overall Inches lost:  10.25"

    Eight pounds and 10 inches lost sounds like a lot, but I don't feel very different or even think I look very different.  However my clothes fit slightly better and now that I've officially reached my plateau weight, I look forward to breaking through it! :)

    Wednesday, April 21, 2010

    Day 7 - Another 0.6 lbs. lost

    Ok, so I kind of panicked this morning.  I had read in Dr. Simeons' Pounds & Inches book that those with past gallbladder problems might find themselves experiencing some problems.

    Small stones in the gall bladder may in patients who have recently had typical colics cause more frequent colics under treatment with HCG. This may be due to the almost complete absence of fat from the diet, which prevents the normal emptying of the gall bladder. Before undertaking treatment we explain to such patients that there is a risk of more frequent and possibly severe symptoms and that it may become necessary to operate. If they are prepared to take this risk and provided they agree to undergo an operation if we consider this imperative, we proceed with treatment, as after weight reduction with HCG the operative risk is considerably reduced in an obese patient. In such cases we always give a drug which stimulates the flow of bile, and in the majority of cases nothing untoward happens. On the other hand, we have looked for and not found any evidence to suggest that the HCG treatment leads to the formation of gallstones as pregnancy sometimes does.

    I've had one gallbladder attack in my life soon after my emergency C-section with my last son, and let me tell you, I thought I. was. going. to. die.  Pain like that is very similar to hard labor except there's no rest period!  Though I was told I should probably have surgery to take it out, I wanted to make sure it was the right decision because once out, I could never get it back.  After visiting with my naturopath who thought the recent trauma to my body had thrown it into a tailspin and that I simply needed to take some steps to take care of it and get healthy again, I decided against the surgery.  I look back on it now and think it was a smart decision as I've never had another attack since.  However it gave me concern reading about gall stones and the HCG diet because I knew, no matter what, I never wanted to go through that pain again.  If I had another attack on this diet, it would not only stop my diet in its tracks but it may end up with a visit to the surgical doctor - not an option I'd choose if at all possible! So back to the panicking...  I felt some twinges of pain in that area this morning which at first gave me pause and then started me praying.  This was not something I wanted to deal with so I popped my krill oil and vitamins this morning (after having decided yesterday to not take anymore!).  I'm not sure what good I think it will do, but I simply didn't want to have to face the issue of that kind of pain again.  I may need to research preventative measures such as certain supplements or alternative therapies to help my liver and gallbladder remain healthy throughout this diet.

    On a good note, I have not been very hungry since Monday and feel much better about this 500 calorie part of the diet.  Tomorrow is one week since starting Stage 2 (the 500 calorie days), and I look forward to seeing how many pounds and inches lost in my one week.  Will report back tomorrow...

    Tuesday, April 20, 2010

    Day 6 - 0.6 lbs. lost

    I think I was a fish in a previous life because my life as it is now on dry ground, is very...well, dry.  I'm a very dry person, and by that, I mean dry eyes, dry skin, chapped lips and suffering from eczema on one hand.  Blame it on allergies or not enough omega-3 fatty acids, but through the years I've done what I can to combat this.  I drink water exclusively and constantly throughout the day, take krill oil capsules (there are those omega-3's and DHA's), use moisturizer on my face and body, slather my hands with cream several times a day and never know what it's like to not have lip balm on. All of these practices and more have certainly helped to make me less dry, but why am I bringing this up and what does it have to do with the HCG diet?

    Most women find it hard to believe that fats, oils, creams and ointments applied to the skin are absorbed and interfere with weight reduction by HCG just as if they had been eaten. This almost incredible sensitivity to even such very minor increases in nutritional intake is a peculiar feature of the HCG method. For instance, we find that persons who habitually handle organic fats, such as workers in beauty parlors, masseurs, butchers, etc. never show what we consider a satisfactory loss of weight unless they can avoid fat coming into contact with their skin.

    We are particularly averse to those modern cosmetics which contain hormones, as any interference with endocrine regulations during treatment must be absolutely avoided. Many women whose skin has in the course of years become adjusted to the use of fat containing cosmetics find that their skin gets dry as soon as they stop using them. In such cases we permit the use of plain mineral oil, which has no nutritional value...We do permit the use of lipstick, powder and such lotions as are entirely free of fatty substances.*

    This has been a major sticking point with me since I have found it hard to believe I can live without all of my "fats, oils, creams and ointments", and up until now I have continued my typical daily regimen but with decreased amounts.  Today however, I will be trying to go without and see how it ends up.  I have given up my krill oil, my body moisturizer, my hand cream and my lip balm.  Tomorrow I will go without my facial moisturizer and pray my face doesn't go to heck.  This may be something I should have done on Day 1, but it's a very big step for me and a difficult one.  Guess I better go get me some mineral oil...

    * From Pounds & Inches by Dr. Simeons

    Monday, April 19, 2010

    Day 5 and Allergies

     Today I woke up to only a 1/2 lb. loss which after the difficult day yesterday was a bit disheartening, but I realize this is the way it goes - sometimes you lose close to nothing then other days you can lose over a pound.  Another friend of mine who is doing this with me also stated that yesterday was a very bad day.  Maybe Day 4 for us was our Diet Hump Day.  I definitely feel much better this morning and hardly hungry at all.  I guess we'll see how the rest of the day goes...

    An interesting advantage to the 500 calorie portion of this diet is discovering certain food sensitivities one may have.  When you first sign up to do the HCG diet through Pure, Simple Health, they send you a body scanner "cradle" where it hooks up to your computer which then networks with theirs.  You rest your hand on it and by sending digital signals throughout your body, it can read what sensitivities or food intolerances you have.  In doing this, they can determine which HCG drops to send you - Weight Off or Detox.  I don't know what the difference is between the drops, but I do know the entire protocol not only takes weight off but it is a pretty intense detox as well.  One of the interesting findings from my scan is the insensitivity I have for onions.  It was confirmed last night when after eating onions with steak, I broke out in a couple of hives.  I don't think I would have ever put two and two together if I didn't have only three things on my plate.  The nice thing is in knowing this, I can then treat my allergic symptom to onions and other foods by going to my Advanced Allergy Treatment Center and being "cured" of my allergies.

    Cure allergies, you ask?  How is that possible?  Well, I would not have believed it myself until it worked on me.  After 36 years of suffering from debilitating allergies to just about everything -- trees, grass, cats, foods, dust, you name it -- I am living a life free of severe allergic symptoms for the first time EVER!  I started my treatments about six months ago starting with trees since it was Autumn at the time and that's what my body was reacting to the most, then on to dust, cats, molds, grass, etc.  I can honestly tell you, these treatments have changed my life.  Never in my wildest imaginings would I have thought I could live without my allergy medications and tissues along with eliminating those experiences like being at a friend's house with cats and just feeling like I was going to die.  And yes, I've been through it all - allergy tests several times in my life starting in elementary school (back then they would do the prick tests on your back and by the end it looked like you had been flogged - no joking) then many, many years of allergy injections to build up my immunity (which only worked by decreasing certain symptoms by about 20%).  I've taken all sorts of drugs to combat my symptoms, spent hundreds, if not thousands, on tissues, installed ACs in every window in my house, and at the worst times of the years (Spring and Fall for me), I can't even step outside, forget opening up my windows on those most beautiful of Spring days.  The treatments at Advanced Allergy Treatment Centers are quick, painless and actually quite relaxing.  There are no needles, no probing, no drugs and no huge time commitments.  I have to admit I was the biggest skeptic of all going in and retained my skepticism for quite a few weeks (I would joke I was going to get some more snake oil that day), but I was also desperate.  After starting to see some marked improvements and testing myself by visiting my friend with the cat and having no typical symptoms, I slowly but steadily became a believer and now am a huge proponent of AATC.  I've never known what a "normal" person without allergies feels like, and now I do.*

    So this HCG diet has already been instrumental in pinpointing certain sensitivities I have (and will probably do so even more in Stage 3 when I start to add certain foods back into my diet) and helping to continue to detox my system.  I'm so excited to be getting healthier along with losing weight!  :-)

    *By the way, if you're interested in making an appointment with AATC of New England, just tell them I sent you and you'll get $20 off your next visit before May 31st.  The can treat every allergy or sensitivity (except in cases of anaphylaxis) from food to environmental such as pollens, grass, trees to hormones to fungus/bacteria to animals to barometric pressure sensitivity. 

    Sunday, April 18, 2010

    Day 4

    Today after stepping on the scale and it registering 1.2 pounds less than yesterday, I realized my weight gain from the loading days was officially lost.  I've now entered into the slow but hopefully steady progress toward my goal.

    I have to admit today was a tough one for me.  I'm not sure if it's because I've been extra tired today (I've heard fatigue messes with your appetite) from a poor night of sleep or what, but I've been pretty hungry all day.  As always, I tolerate it, but I have not been a very happy camper.  The advantage of being hungrier though is it has forced me to drink more water to try to satisfy my appetite.  I still can't get near the gallon a day goal as suggested, but I can get to about the halfway mark.  That's still a lot of water in my opinion (and water's all I ever drink on a typical basis)!  I've been finding that every time I eat, the actual act of eating makes my body crave MORE.  There are times I can ignore the hunger and it eventually goes away but eating brings the hunger back with a vengeance.  It's only until about 20 minutes after eating that I feel ok.  The other annoyance is the timing of the drops.  Many times I'll forget to take the drops 15 minutes before my meal either forcing me to wait to eat as my meal gets cold (as I'm doing now - grrrrr...) or to take the drops at least 15 minutes after I eat.  I'm hoping to get better at that...

    Many may wonder how healthy it really is to only live off 500 calories a day, but in Pounds & Inches: A New Approach to Obesity, the medical manuscript written by the founder of the HCG Protocol, A.T.W. Simeons, M.D., he explains it within the definition of a calorie:

    CALORIE . . . The physicist's calorie is the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of 1 cc. of water by 1 degree Centigrade. The dietitian's Calorie (always written with a capital C) is 1000 times greater. Thus when we speak of a 500 Calorie diet this means that the body is being supplied with as much fuel as would be required to raise the temperature of 500 liters of water by 1 degree Centigrade or 50 liters by 10 degrees. This is quite insufficient to cover the heat and energy requirements of an adult body. In the HCG method the deficit is made up from the abnormal fat-deposits, of which 1 lb. furnishes the body with more than 2000 Calories. As this is roughly the amount lost every day, a patient under HCG is never short of fuel.

    Saturday, April 17, 2010

    Day 3 on 500 Calories

    This being my third day on the diet, I'm really anticipating my food cravings and withdrawals finally being over.  In the past, it has always seemed like the first three days on a diet are always the worst.  So here's to hoping...
    I do feel a little better this morning - not sure if it's a mental thing or if it's physical.  Maybe a little of both since pulling on my "normal" jeans today felt good.  The weight gain over the two loading days this week pushed me into uncomfortable territory beyond my typical size.  The good news is I've officially lost all "loading stage" weight so I can now get on with the weight loss I've been hoping for.  A friend of mine just updated me this morning with her stats - she's three weeks into the diet and has lost 18.2 pounds so far.  Congrats, Teri!

    I will admit to this being the hardest of days for me to have to resist certain foods.  It's my daughter's 18th birthday party weekend so besides having to make an ice cream cake for her and her friends, I also had to deny myself french toast for breakfast (one of my faves) and then Gilley's in Portsmouth for lunch...and if you've ever been to Gilley's, you know to hurt with me.  However I did make a great lunch with romaine lettuce, lobster and orange segments drizzled with citrus vinaigrette dressing - it came out much yummier than expected.  I know you're thinking, "Well, yeah, it's lobster, for Pete's sake!  Of course it was yummy!"  But have you ever tried to eat lobster without butter?!?

    Dinner was haddock with the Dill Dip Blend from Wildtree and sauteed radishes with lemon juice and Bragg's apple cider vinegar.  I know, cooked radishes - weird, huh?  And I'm realizing how much I don't like apple cider vinegar, but with it being one of my only choices besides lemon juice to cook things in, I don't know what else to do.  Maybe I need to get more creative with cooking techniques...

    Friday, April 16, 2010

    Step 2 - Day 2

    Despite waking up feeling weak and congested (allergies? cold? death from starvation? jk), I stepped on the scale and found I was 2.2 pounds less.  After gaining about 3-4 pounds on my loading days, it's expected to lose the "loading weight" within 48 hours so I'm off to a good start, I guess.  It was tough going to my mom's group this morning and denying myself the yummy-looking chocolate chip scones and pineapple and kiwi, but I satisfied my appetite with tea.  Ok, "satisfied" isn't quite the right word, but it'll do.  I made it to lunch which was shrimp sauteed in lemon juice and Wildtree Scampi Blend along with half a raw cucumber and a breadstick.  I don't actually enjoy shrimp that much, but since it's one of only 7-8 meats allowed (lean beef, veal, tilapia, chicken, lobster, crab, white fish), I decided to go ahead and make some occasionally.  Dinner was Baked Apple Chicken with Melba toast snacks and celery. I went to home church where there was a very tempting spread of desserts, but I maintained my composure and my diet by trying to stay away from it all.  I'm still feeling tolerably hungry and am hoping this feeling will go away after my first week as they say it will.  But overall, it's not too bad.

    I found a great tutorial video explaining a little bit about the HCG diet:

    Thursday, April 15, 2010

    Step 2 - Day 1 on the HCG Diet

    So today was my first day on the 500 calorie diet part of the HCG protocol.  It didn't start off well as I woke up after less than 5 hours of sleep and woke up STARVING!  I hate that. On a typical day, I can almost skip breakfast, make it to lunch and eat normally for the rest of the day without much fanfare (or stomach grumblings).  But chalk it up to the 5000+ calories a day I've been ingesting the last couple days; my stomach must have been wondering why it was finally empty...and protested quite loudly.  Anyway, I got away with sipping my chamomile tea and being busy until lunchtime which was 100 grams of haddock with sauteed spinach in garlic and lemon juice and one teeny, tiny Melba toast snack.  It tasted wonderful.  Dinner was lean beef cubes sauteed in Bragg's Liquid Aminos along with cabbage and a Grissini breadstick.  It didn't exactly sit well in my stomach, but it was food and my body was grateful to get it.  Overall, I was hungry throughout the day but not intolerably so.  I had some cravings and probably am going through certain food withdrawals.  But, all in all, not too bad for my first 500-calorie day.

    Wednesday, April 14, 2010

    Step 1 - 2nd Loading Day

    I woke up with no hunger pains and the feeling that I would never have to eat again...or at least until the weekend.  But I knew this was my second loading day, and I needed to make the best of it if I was going to reach my target fat grams and calories.  I also knew there was no way I was going to do that.  I really did try.  But after eating another breakfast sandwich and blueberry streusel muffin from Starbucks along with a White Hot Chocolate (yuck. unless you're into white chocolate.  which I'm not. but you guessed it.  it had more fat and calories than milk chocolate.), I could barely get the rest of my apple fritter from yesterday down.  I ate some assorted nuts for lunch, finished the rest of my Pork Milanese and Caesar salad from Olive Garden then roasted a chicken for my family.  I had originally planned on going with take-out from Outback Steakhouse --and you may be wondering why I had all these take-out foods on my loading menu, but I seriously cannot possibly create anything at home with as much fat and calories as what you can find on a menu at your local chain restaurant -- but I just couldn't do it.  So I sat down, ate some mashed potatoes with gravy, broccoli with cheese and as much crispy chicken skin as I could (which actually was pretty yummy after being in the rotisserie oven).  Later on that night, I had the privilege of being able to go out and listen to a great local band with some friends and the opportunity to imbibe on Guinness and Sangria.  After getting home late, I finished up a double chocolate mousse cake and gave up the ghost.  It was finished.

    Tuesday, April 13, 2010

    Step 1 - Loading Days on HCG Protocol

    I have to admit I was more concerned about the loading days on the HCG diet than the "starvation" part of the diet.  Trying to cram as much fat and calories into your body in two days to the point of misery didn't make much sense to me in the beginning and I dreaded the discomfort of it all.  So I did my research, found the worst, fatty, high-caloric foods out there and planned my menu accordingly.  My goal was to eat as little food with the most amount of fat and calories.  I started off with a trip to Dunkin' Donuts, got myself a breakfast sandwich, a donut and a medium coffee.  After eating every bit, I felt like maybe loading day was going to be manageable.  Then I headed to Burger King to purchase a Tendercrisp Chicken Sandwich meal (yes, it has more fat and calories than a Whopper) with a large fry and large milkshake.  I ate the sandwich and fries no problem.  Then I got to the milkshake.  When I couldn't even drink 1/4 of it, my resolve started to crumble.  I sipped that thing throughout the rest of the day until it made me want shall we say it?...disgorge.  By the time supper rolled around, I couldn't even think about food and had to go lie down.  At this point I was useless to myself, my family and all around.  It wasn't until about 8:30pm that I could even consider trying to eat the Olive Garden take-out my loving husband picked up for me on his way home from work.  The Pork Milanese was yummy (and not something I'd ever choose to order, but it was very high in fat and calories) along with the Caesar salad (yes, again...high in fat and calories thanks to the dressing).  But I couldn't finish it and was in a food coma by the time I was done.  I went to bed again and sleep overtook my food-addled brain.

    You may wonder why anyone would do this to themselves.  Dr. Simeons who is the doctor behind the research of the HCG Protocol puts it like this:

    One cannot keep a patient comfortably on 500 Calories unless his normal fat reserves are reasonably well stocked. It is for this reason also that every case, even those that are actually gaining must eat to capacity of the most fattening food they can get down until they have had the third injection. It is a fundamental mistake to put a patient on 500 Calories as soon as the injections are started, as it seems to take about three injections before abnormally deposited fat begins to circulate and thus become available.

    Most patients who have been struggling with diets for years and know how rapidly they gain if they let themselves go are very hard to convince of the absolute necessity of gorging for at least two days, and yet this must he insisted upon categorically if the further course of treatment is to run smoothly. 

    ... a difference appears between those patients who have literally eaten to capacity during the first two days of treatment and those who have not. The former feel remarkably well; they have no hunger, nor do they feel tempted when others eat normally at the same table. They feel lighter, more clear-headed and notice a desire to move quite contrary to their previous lethargy. Those who have disregarded the advice to eat to capacity continue to have minor discomforts and do not have the same euphoric sense of self-being until about a week later. It seems that their normal fat reserves require that much more time before they are fully stocked.

    A New Kind of "Diet" - the HCG Protocol

    I can't say that I've had many weight problems growing up.  I was thin and perfectly content with my weight until I got married.  It may have been my new husband's mad cooking skills or the fact I was a professional nanny sitting around watching children and eating all day, but whatever it was, I was finally educated in the lifestyle, habits and emotions of the overweight.  Even with my extra padding, I couldn't complain all too much as I never achieved the clinical status of obese (adj. very fat or overweight; corpulent).  But not feeling good about your body, whether because it's too fat, thin, unhealthy, whatever, is not a fun place to be in.  Thus began my journey to becoming thinner and healthier.

    I first started with eating healthier food and working out at a gym almost every day.  I'm sure I became healthier and ended up trading some fat for muscle, but it was still discouraging to not lose any weight.  After getting pregnant with Jayce, I stumbled upon the Atkins diet which a friend of mine had tried successfully.  I thought I'd give it a shot, and as I'm a protein body type and didn't have to limit the amount of fat, I was extremely successful at it, losing about 15-20 pounds pretty quickly.  I felt so good with so much more energy, I just knew this was going to be my new lifestyle.  After another pregnancy and another successful course of low-carb dieting, I was able to keep most of the weight off and feel pretty good.  However I have never been able to get past my plateau weight - you know, that weight you could possibly be content at for the rest of your life, but you'd prefer to lose more.  Plus the low-carb, high-protein lifestyle is one you have to be pretty good about all of the time - any cheating or gorging on sweets/carbs, and you've got another couple pounds to lose again.

    After my fourth pregnancy which ended in my first C-section ever, my body rebelled.  The trauma it had endured rendered my body unable to lose even one pound afterward, and I ended up holding on to the weight as well as that unhealthy "off" feeling for another year.  Visiting my naturopath and going through a cleanse, taking supplements and exercising every day did wonders for getting me back on my feet and back to health again.  In conjunction with the Atkins, I ended up losing the 20 pounds of pregnancy weight of which my body had refused to let go.  Finally I was headed somewhere!  But I hit my plateau again and haven't budged since.  No matter how much I exercise, how little carbs I eat, I can't lose any more weight.  Enter the HCG Protocol...

    Upon first hearing about the HCG diet regimen, I dismissed it immediately, thinking it sounded illogical and unhealthy - another dangerous fad which the desperate dieters were willing to try.  Never would I subject my body to the loading required in the first couple days and then the starvation afterward.  How could that be healthy??  But knowing someone who went through it and had great success piqued my curiosity enough to want to know more.  Luckily, she was about to visit NH and was willing to teach us all about it.

    Affordable HCG through whom I'm doing the diet, puts it like this:

    Of the three kinds of fat, structural fat is essential because it cushions our organs. Then there's the kind of fat that gives us a reserve of energy, fueling the body between meals. But a third kind of fat-the unsightly fat that ruins our appearance-is totally unhealthy. This unwanted fat is not only unhealthy, it just happens to be almost impossible to lose. It can be mobilized only in times of starvation and pregnancy.

    In a non-pregnant state, HCG as a weight-loss aid, helps reduce the craving for food by making stored fat available for metabolism, thus aiding in the ability to adhere to a rigid diet program. HCG accesses unnecessary fat stored in the body just as it does in early pregnancy.  Abnormal fat deposits disappear; the double chin, potbelly and fat around hips and thighs are the first to go. HCG does not deplete subcutaneous or other essential fat.

    Most HCG Weight-loss participants see a loss in girth (inches) before they see any substantive drop in the scales. When properly supervised, the result is rapid weight loss and improved body shape during and after treatment. Reshaping of body contour is quickly noticeable in those patients who struggle with fat located in buttocks and hips area. As the HCG metabolizes stored body fat, about 2000 calories are released into the bloodstream, thus allowing for a low calorie per day diet without experiencing fatigue, weakness or hunger.

    So by severely restricting your caloric intake while taking the HCG, your body loses the weight that is locked away and is typically inaccessible.  The all-natural HCG drops that you put under your tongue three times a day before meals help you not to feel hungry as the pounds melt away.  This diet not only helps you to lose weight, it reshapes your body and makes it extremely difficult to put the weight back on after the diet is complete.  It finally started to make some sense, and though still a bit of a skeptic, I signed up immediately and looked forward to starting the HCG Protocol. 

    Today is my first day and am on Step 1, the first of the loading days. More on this later...