When I first heard about the HCG protocol, I have to admit I was skeptical. I mean, really … 500 calories a day? That would make anyone lose weight, but was it healthy, was it endurable and did the weight rebound back on after the fact? I remember what crash diets felt like, and they aren’t pretty (nor are they easy for friends, coworkers and family members to live with).
But I listened to the rationale behind it, and I have to admit, my colleague who introduced me to it made a fairly compelling argument. She explained that the HCG works on the hypothalamus, which in turn tells the body to burn it’s own fat for energy. HCG is the pregnancy hormone. In pregnancy, it makes sure that enough fat is burned to provide energy for mum and baby in a time of high energy need. In non-pregnancy times (and equally for men) – it tends to turn on the body’s fat-burning processes, which means weight loss from fat, not from muscle, and from all the non-essential fat areas (in other words, it’ll spare excess fat from hips, abdomen, buttocks etc and not from around organs where we need it to survive).
So the HCG makes all the difference between starving, eating-up-the-muscle, being a pain-in-the-neck, and not having long-term success, and feeling good, well-energized, able to stick with the program, and keep the weight off long term. Great news!!
I decided to do the protocol myself to see what it was like before deciding if I would offer it to my patients, and lost 17 pounds in 23 days while feeling happy, healthy, energized and still able to exercise. Wow!! I was a fan. Since then I’ve put many patients through the program, and the results are nothing short of amazing. During the 23-day protocol most lost 15-20 lbs – those with more staying power who want to lose more go up to 40 days and lose 25-30 lbs. But more importantly, the majority of people have great energy and do not suffer through the program!! The calorie count is low – it’s 500 calories per day – but calories from food are not the only source of energy. Remember that the body is burning is own fat and converting that stored energy to usable energy and that is what is mostly being burned.
Long-term results are good, especially compared with other weight loss programs. Obviously, it’s not realistic to think that you can go back to a pizza and beer lifestyle and keep the pounds off, but with a reasonable diet and some exercise, maintenance is not difficult. Plus, the protocol also gives a few weeks of being free of gluten, dairy and sugar, which tends to break addictions, cravings, food sensitivities and all those other things that keep us chained to certain foods, whether physically or emotionally.
I love the HCG diet. It is absolutely the only “diet” protocol I will support, and certainly there are no other circumstances under which I would promote eating 500 calories a day. The side effects are minimal, long-term results are great, and I just love being able to help men and women alike get that feeling of confidence back that comes with feeling and looking good. It’s a great springboard to a lifestyle of healthy eating and healthy weight maintenance.