If 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!