My Past Experience with HCG
I have done the HCG diet, pretty much following the protocol for Very Low Calorie Diet to the letter. I meticulously weighed every gram of food and never ate anything that was not of the approved list. It was HARD. It was BORING. It was TASTELESS. I was very motivated, however, and struggled through two cycles of the diet, and lost 80 pounds. I did not change any of my personal care items or go such extremes as the protocol recommends for handle anything oily or fatty with your hands.
I will say right now that I did the sublingual drops that I bought from HCGdietuniverse.com upon the recommendation of my sister, who discovered them through a friend. I did try another brand after using this brand, because it was cheaper, but I found the taste to be HORRIBLE and the results in managing my hunger were not as good. With the ones from HCGDU, I didn't feel hungry, and that is the bottom line for me. I don't care about all of the other things that hcg promises or claims to do, so I ignored it. Whether a diet works (in my opinion) depends on how deprived the dieter feels, and how motivated they are. The drops made me feel as if I was not starving, and I could bear the rest for the results I wanted.
Does HCG really work? I think it does. I have had great success with it, but understand that not everyone has or will...I think a lot of that has to do with mindset and expectations. The reason this diet was the one for me was the results I could see daily from my scale. I personally lost an average of a pound per day...that is motivating for me like nothing else. I am a stubborn and somewhat competitive person by nature. When others (including doctors) told me that losing weight that rapidly is a guarantee that I will just gain it all back, plus more, I became determined to be the exception to that rule. I love to prove people wrong when they tell me I can't do a thing.
It has been just over a year since I reached my weight goal, and it has not been easy to keep it off. You really have to have the “new way of eating, not dieting” mindset to succeed in any diet. There have been times when I have reverted back to old habits (I am a sugar addict in BIG way) and put on a few pounds. At the point where I realized that my size 10 pants were getting too snug, I dug in my heels and did a short-term round of HCG again to take those ten or fifteen pounds off again. The discomfort of too snug clothes was just a reminder to me that I had to get a grip and turn it around, because I am NOT going to buy larger clothes (my old jeans were a 20) or make compromises with myself. I am always amazed at how much better I feel once the sugar is purged from my system.
So now it's confession time. I am doing HCG again, because I gained some weight this summer. Once the temperatures got so high (over 105F) that it was hard to get out and walk or do normal exercise, I kind of gave up on it. I have found that exercise (amd drinking lots of water) is one of the big keys to being able to eat the yummy things I like from time to time...but I have to be willing to work for it, preferably before I consume it. The temperatures will be dropping soon, as they do in Arizona in October and early November. I will be getting out and moving around more and am looking forward to the activity cooler weather brings.
How I modified the VLC Diet
The last round of HCG I did a few months ago was torturous in its boring-ness (shut up, that's totally a word). It made me wonder how I ever endured months of it, when I felt like I was dying after a week. So...I decided this time that I would do a little experiment. I began to ask myself questions like: Why is the list of foods so limiting? Is it really so terrible to have a different fruit or vegetable than the ones on the list, as long as the calories and sugars and such are comparable? I decided to find out for myself, and found that the answer was a definite NO. I think the diet was created to be as simple for people to follow as possible. At the time the diet was created, there was no Google to help dieters figure out what was comparable and what was not. I modified the diet to give myself more variety without affecting the total amount of calories I took in on any given day. I used the guidelines for the original VLC diet, but made some additions. I still stayed with the same 500 calories a day.
To the fruits, I added:
2 small/medium plums – 70 cal.
1 small pear - 80 cal.
6 to 7 oz. melon (most varieties are just 10 calories per ounce) – 60-70 ca.
1 medium peach or nectarine – 70 cal.
1 medium kiwi fruit – 60 cal.
To the veggies, I added:
3/4 C green beans – 20 cal.
1 medium bell pepper – 25 cal.
½ C sugar snap peas – 20 cal.
3.5 oz of summer squash (such as zucchini) – 20 cal.
2 oz. Jicama – 21 cal.
I also stopped being so cautious about seasonings. If my garlic salt or taco seasonings listed sugar as an ingredient, I didn't freak out, I just used it in moderation. I used a light hand when adding it to food (I would guess about an eighth of a tsp. but never measured, and it has made my meals a lot more enjoyable. I am still losing at a rate of about a pound a day. (I have lost ten pounds so far, and have been dieting for six days; results will vary).
With the meats, I stuck with protocol, though in the past I self-limited my variety, and ate chicken nearly every day. Ugh. This time, I bought 93% lean ground beef, chicken tenders, shrimp, white fish and ground chicken (which I didn't really enjoy, but wanted to try). I find that making sure I eat some thing different at each meal really helps cut the tedium and makes the diet SO much easier to stick with.
My Tips for Easier Dieting
Things to have on hand before you start:Small George Foreman (or similar) grill (I picked one up at Goodwill for six bucks)
Snack and sandwhich baggies (zipping kind)
Food scale (digital is best)
Lots of different seasonings and spices
Preparing to start:
Cut up, weigh and bag your meats and veggies for the first few days. You can store them in the fridge (I keep mine in a plastic basket that my family know is off limits to them). With meats, you can also pre-measure and bag a couple of weeks worth, and freeze them. This makes packing your lunch or preparing for dinner so much simpler.
Make sure you have a good variety of fruits available, so you don't get bored.
I recommend preparing your meats just before consuming them, when possible- I just think it's more appetizing and satisfying that way. The GF grill comes in handy for cooking a single serving quickly, and its non-stick surface is a plus.
Put your meal on a small plate. It will make you feel like you're really eating a whole plate of food. When possible, sit down and really enjoy your food with distractions.
I have found that during the day when I am busiest, I tend to have either my fruit or veggie in the late morning as a snack, then save the rest of my meal for mid-afternoon. I also tend to have a later dinner (around seven o'clock) so that I don't go to bed feeling hungry.
Lastly, if you feel deprived—don't just quit. Make allowances for another serving of veggies (the lowest of the calories that you consume) It makes more sense to bump your calorie intake by twenty to fifty calories than to just throw away all your hard work out of frustration. Hell, even if you make it a thousand calories a day, you're doing better than if you did nothing at all. As long as you keep to the idea of as little fat and sugar as possible, you'll see some progress, albeit slower than if you follow the 500 cal. Plan. If you want it, you will find a way, if not, you find an excuse.
They only other advice I can think to give you is to set your cell phone alarms. I have three set, one for each time I need to take the drops during the course of the day, so I don't accidentally miss a dose.
I hope all of this has helped you, or will help you as you get rid of that unwanted weight (I don't call it losing weight, because I'm sure you don't want to find it again!)
After the VLC
So! You've gone through a cycle, or reached your goal weight on the HCG plan, right? You may be waiting the required period to do another cycle, or not, but this is where the real work starts.
My advice to you is pretty simple at this point. WRITE IT DOWN. Everything that goes in your mouth that has a caloric value. Keep a little notebook and write down everything you eat, with the number of calories and keep a running total, and stick to the correct calorie intake for your age/height/weight. There are websites that will help you determine what that number is for you, personally.
Secondly, MOVE. Get out and take walks, get your heart pumping! Get a pedometer, and don't go to bed until you have taken at least 10,000 steps each day...it's not that hard!
The rewards of better health and better self esteem are more than worth it.