Laughing and crying, you know it's the same release. Joni Mitchell

Laughing and crying, you know it's the same release. Joni Mitchell

Sunday, February 26, 2012

The ABC's of HCG

Two mice; the mouse on the left has more fat s...Image via Wikipedia
Before and after hCG!
You may be wondering exactly how hCG works and how to follow the Simeon Protocol. Well, I'll tell you - but first my check-in. The third week was similar to the second - slower weight loss than the first week and I hit another plateau. I did an "apple day" and lost 1 lb. That's 13 lbs total and 9" so far. Even with less dramatic results than the first week, that's still 4.3 lbs a week, which is higher than any other weight loss program I've ever done before.

How does hCG work? Dr. A.T.W. Simeon searched for the answer to obesity in the 1950's and discovered the use of hCG, or human chorionic gonadotropin, a hormone produced in large quantities in pregnancy. The hCG hormone uses the body's abnormal, or adipose, fat reserves as fuel to protect the health of the growing fetus. Combined with the Simeon Protocol, hCG burns the body's abnormal fat deposits and suppresses the appetite to control hunger for both men and women. Even though the protocol calls for a very low caloric intake, the use of the abnormal fat reserves gives the body all the nutrients and fuel that it needs. With other low calorie diets, the body will go to the normal fat reserves first and only start to burn the abnormal, or storage fat, once the normal fat is gone, giving the dieter a gaunt, drawn look. My mentor, Jonathan Glass, said that you will lose weight "from the inside out" as the hCG first burns the long-term abnormal fat first and then the normal fat. Good-bye belly! Good-bye hips! Good-bye thighs!

Why did Dr. Simeon call it a cure for obesity? If the protocol is strictly followed, it will reset the body's "set-point" and retrain your brain to respond to your body's hunger response correctly. The hypothalamus is called the master gland and controls the body's nervous system and endocrine system. One of the many things that the hypothalamus controls is metabolism and food intake. It tries to keep the body stable and establishes a set-point for weight. If the hypothalamus is not working properly, hunger rises, cravings ensue, more fat is stored and a higher set-point is established. Often it feels impossible to get below that higher set point no matter what diet or exercise routine is followed. The Simeon Protocol lowers the body's set-point and re-trains the brain to keep it there.

Structure of Leptin, PDB id 1AX8, generated wi...Image via Wikipedia
Structure of Leptin
What is Leptin Resistance? Leptin is a hormone that tells the hypothalamus when enough fat has been stored in the body. However, if the communication between leptin and the brain is not functioning properly, the brain will not tell the body to stop storing fat and keeps storing more and more fat. This is called Leptin Resistance. It becomes a vicious cycle because leptin is produced by adipose fat - the more adipose fat, the more leptin; the more leptin, the more likelihood of creating and maintaining Leptin Resistance. It's like when a child keeps calling his mother over and over, and the mother learns to tune him out. In this case, the hypothalamus tunes out the barrage of messages from the leptin and continues to store abnormal fat. Once the body begins to reduce the stores of adipose fat, the leptin returns to normal levels and the brain tunes in again. At that point, the brain will return the body to normal appetite levels, reduce cravings and increase energy output to burn extra calories.

What is the Simeon Protocol? There are four phases to the protocol. Phase 1 and 2 include hCG drops three times a day. Do not eat or drink for 15 minutes before drops. Tap bottle on palm 10 times then place 8 to 10 drops under the tongue and hold it there for two to five minutes. Have nothing to eat or drink for 20 minutes after drops.

Phase 1: Load Days - the first two days are called "load" days. Start taking the homeopathic hCG drops three times a day and gorge on healthy fats such as avocado, coconut oil, nuts, olives, cheese etc. Eat as much as you can, but try to avoid too much sugar. This is the last hurrah!

Phase 2: VLCD - very low calorie diet (500 calories/day). Follow phase 2 for a minimum of 28 days and a maximum of 40 days. This is the most difficult and most dramatic phase of the program. Continue taking the hCG drops three times a day. Drink lots of water (half your body weight in ounces) and eat limited protein, fruit and vegetables. NO FAT AT ALL! This is very important. The goal is to have the hCG target abnormal fat stores in the body and not dietary fat. Everything consumed must be organic! Do not consume the same protein, vegetable or fruit more than once a day. The only exception to that rule is an apple, which can be eaten more than once per day. You must weigh yourself every day and no alcohol!
  • Breakfast: tea or coffee. One tablespoon per day of skim milk or soy milk may be used per day. No artificial sweeteners - stevia or xylitol may be used for sweetening. (I often eat the fruit portion from lunch for my breakfast and I use the fruit portion from dinner as dessert later in the evening.)
  • Lunch and Dinner: One serving protein, fruit and vegetable.
    • Protein: (3.5 oz raw; 3.0 oz cooked) including grass-fed beef, veal, chicken breast, fresh white fish, lobster, crab or shrimp. Vegetarians may use whey powder or eggs. No other proteins allowed!
    • Fruit: one apple, one orange, half grapefruit, handful of strawberries. No other fruits!
    • Vegetables: (2 cups) radishes, cucumbers, celery, fennel, cabbage, onions, spinach, lettuce, chard, asparagus, beet greens, tomatoes (1 cup).
    • Condiments: as much garlic and spices as you want, apple cider vinegar, sugar-free mustard
    • Stop the hCG drops during the last two days of the VLCD.
Phase 3:  Readjusting the set-point - This phase gives your body time to readjust to the new, lower set point. It takes about three weeks for the weight to stabilize.You may now add more food, including fat, to your diet, but NO SUGAR OR STARCH. A glass of wine every now and then is okay. Carbs such as sugar, potatoes, rice, bread and pastries are the most dangerous! Continue to weigh yourself every day. If you gain more than 2 pounds, you must do a correction day, such as the apple day. I'll go into more detail on correction days next time.
  • Once you have maintained your weight for three weeks, you can either:
    • go onto Phase 4 or
    •  if you have more weight to loose, you can go back to Phase 2.
Phase 4: Maintenance - Start to introduce reasonable amounts of sugars and starches back into your diet. Continue to weigh yourself every day for the first three weeks and use a correction day if you gain more than 2 pounds over your last phase 2 weight. At this point, you will have a good idea of what types of food your body likes and doesn't like so you won't be tempted to return to eating processed, empty calories.
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Sunday, February 19, 2012

Six Apples a Day Keep the Plateau Away

Česky: Jablka jsou všeamericky úspěšná potravi...Image via WikipediaI've finished my second week of the hCG Simeon Protocol and my weight loss has definitley slowed down. However, 10.5 lbs in two weeks is still great progress! I've lost 2.5" in my waist alone. At the end of the first week I hit a plateau. My mentor (Jonathan Glass of Healing Essence) said that a plateau often happens when the body hits an old set point, and that was certainly true for me. I've gone up and down a few pounds over the last several years, but never below a certain weight (which shall not be named!). And here I was, stuck at that same weight. After four days without any movement on the scale, I consulted my sister-in-law (Marcia Wieder founder of Dream University) and she told me about apple days. An "apple day" can be used to break a plateau or as a correction day if you go up a few pounds when on maintenance. For an apple day, you eat five or six apples - and nothing else for the entire day! Also, your water intake should be decreased and only drink water to quench thirst. The next day you should see at least a one pound drop and weight loss will continue after that (until the next plateau, of course). So, after my apple day, I dropped 1.5 lbs and finally broke through that set point barrier!

Dr. Simeon describes the process in his manuscript, "Pounds and Inches"

The Plateau

The second type of interruption we call a "plateau". A plateau lasts 4-6 days and frequently occurs during the second half of a full course, particularly in patients that have been doing well and whose overall average of nearly a pound per effective injection has been maintained. Those who are losing more than the average all have a plateau sooner or later. A plateau always corrects itself, but many patients who have become accustomed to a regular daily loss get unnecessarily worried and begin to fret. No amount of explanation convinces them that a plateau does not mean that they are no longer responding normally to treatment.
Zion plateauImage via Wikipedia In such cases we consider it permissible, for purely psychological reasons, to break up the plateau. This can be done in two ways. One is a so-called "apple day". An apple-day begins at lunch and continues until just before lunch of the following day. The patients are given six large apples and are told to eat one whenever they feel the desire though six apples is the maximum allowed. During an apple-day no other food or liquids except plain water are allowed and of water they may only drink just enough to quench an uncomfortable thirst if eating an apple still leaves them thirsty. Most patients feel no need for water and are quite happy with their six apples. Needless to say, an apple-day may never be given on the day on which there is no injection. The apple-day produces a gratifying loss of weight on the following day, chiefly due to the elimination of water. This water is not regained when the patients resume their normal 500-Calorie diet at lunch, and on the following days they continue to lose weight satisfactorily.

For my next entry, I'll tell you more about how the hCG Simeon protocol works and how the follow it.
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Sunday, February 12, 2012

Is hCG the "cure" for obesity?

Diet and NutritionIf something sounds too good to be true, it usually is. But in this case, I'm making an exception. Proponents of the hCG diet along with the Simeon protocol claim that pounds and inches will literally melt away. I've lost 7 lbs in 7 days, and in all the right places, like my waist (down 1.5") and stomach. I tried every kind of mainstream diet from Weight Watchers to South Beach to protein shakes, etc., etc. No matter how much I dieted or exercised, the scale would not budge. And I had already eliminated gluten, dairy, sugar and yeast to control the fibromyalgia but the scale did not reward me for my efforts. The hCG diet not only claims to provide a rapid weight loss, it also claims to re-sculpt your body by burning the "famine fat" stored in the stomach, hips, butt and thighs. On top of that, the benefits are supposed to include lowered cholesterol, blood sugar, triglycerides, and blood pressure - all of which have been creeping up to unhealthy levels for me. Also, one woman claimed that the diet eliminated her fibromyalgia pain! If it does even half of that for me, I'll be much healthier than when I started.

Here's how it works: hCG, or Human chorionic gonadotropin, is a hormone manufactured by the body in large amounts during pregnancy. In fact, hCG is the hormone detected by pregnancy tests. The hormone signals the brain to tell the body to burn the stored fat to sustain mother and fetus. However, men respond to the diet in the same way, if not better, than women. The hCG diet allows you to lose fat from the inside out by burning the long-term stored fat (adipose fat) first, then burning the normal fat under the skin and the structural fat around muscles and organs. This is opposite from most diets that burn the structural and normal fat first, leaving a gaunt and saggy body.

The protocol was first developed by Dr. A.T.W. Simeons in the 1950's. Dr. Simeons used injections of hCG hormone, which had unwanted side effects, such as increased risk of blood clots (don't want to go down that road again!). Now, homeopathic drops have been developed which deliver the same effect without the side effects. The reason Dr. Simeons called it a "cure" for obesity is because hCG retrains the brain to respond to hunger cues and signals to stop storing fat.

I must warn you that it is a very extreme, restricted diet. After the first two days, calories are limited to 500 calories a day, which opponents claim is starvation level. However, proponents of the diet claim that the hCG causes the body to release thousands of extra calories into the body, staving off hunger pains. I have to admit that I have been very hungry on the VLCD, Very Low Calorie Diet, but it seems easier as the days go by. It's also important to drink half your body weight in ounces of water. So, if you weigh 150 lbs. you need to drink at least 75 oz. of water a day. It helps fill you up and flush out all the toxins and fat released by the diet.

I will continue to report on my progress as I complete the protocol. Here's to losing more pounds and inches!
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Sunday, February 5, 2012

Good-bye, Old Friend!

Rusty in the doggie carriage
Yesterday I had to do one of the hardest things I've ever had to do - put our family dog to sleep. Rusty was a 13 1/2 year-old Welsh Springer Spaniel and he had simply grown old. He had arthritis, he was deaf and he had some ailment that we could never identify. He had stopped eating and drinking. He could barely stand up or walk on his weak hind legs. But somehow, he would make it all the way to the creek-bed at the back of our property and lie in the mud. I felt like he was going there to die, but it wasn't his time yet. It reminded me of the Native American Grandfather, Old Lodge Skins, in the movie Little Big Man with Dustin Hoffman who plays Jack, Old Lodge Skins' adopted Caucasian son. Old Lodge Skins tells Jack, "Today is a good day to die." Then, according to Wikipedia:
Jack accompanies Old Lodge Skins to a nearby hill where the aged, weary leader decides to end his life. He offers his spirit to the Great Spirit, and lies down to wait for death. Instead, it begins to rain. Old Lodge Skins sighs and says, "Sometimes the magic works, and sometimes it doesn't". They return to his tepee to have dinner.

The Final Tour with our neighbors
Well, I had to be the one to make the magic work for Rusty and help him get there as easily and painlessly as possible. Unfortunately my husband was out-of-town, skiing with his buddies in Utah. Fortunately, my neighbors, who are dog-lovers and good friends, offered to go with me and Rusty to the vet. My neighbor, Marianne, told me about the Irish and Italian tradition of taking a deceased loved one around the neighborhood before burial. But she hoped that when it was her time, she would be shown the neighborhood before she passed and thought Rusty should be walked around the block one last time. I told her that Rusty didn't have the energy for a long walk, so another neighbor, Jay, offered to let us use his doggie carriage. So, with Marianne's dog, Spotacus, as the honor guard, Rusty had one more stroll around the block, remembering all his doggie friends that lived in the neighborhood.

Rusty was the cutest puppy ever!
Rusty was a sweet-natured and handsome boy with a white "heart" on his head and red freckles on his nose. Everybody who knew him loved him because he was so sweet and happy. His tail was always wagging and he was a bundle of energy. Even when he was older, people thought he was a puppy because of his playful, exuberant nature. Rusty was a people-dog. He loved to be with his family and often curled up under my desk as I was working.We've had him since he was a puppy, shipped on a plane from his breeders in Illinois. His father was a champion! My kids have grown up with him and will miss him terribly.

Thank you to all my neighbors and friends who reached out and helped me with this most difficult, but ultimately loving task. Last night, I asked my spirit guides for a message about Rusty. I had a dream in which I saw two horses, one white and one black, resting on a hilltop in a beautiful pastoral scene. Then I saw Rusty in the foreground, surrounded by light.  REST IN PEACE, GOOD BUDDY!