Losing Weight if You Can't Lose Weight (Or What Your Pregnancy Test Really Tests)
Are you like me? One of those women who can’t lose weight despite severe caloric restriction?
Have you shamed yourself enough yet? Have you double shamed yourself not only for the extra weight but also for buying into the fat-phobic society we live in?
Despite your feminist positions on body acceptance, do you feel better lighter?Do you need to resolve your eating and weight issues for your own health and happiness? Have you, like me, really and truly tried every diet? Have you gained and lost the same 20 pounds more than ten times?
I lost 32 pounds over the last several months. Those pounds slowly found me again after my last big weight loss six years ago.
That brings me to hCG, or the only way I can lose weight. It stands for human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG), a hormone produced early in pregnancy to sustain the embryo until the placenta is formed. HCG takes between one to two weeks after conception to show up in the blood and urine, which is what a pregnancy test is actually measuring. Additionally, hCG is normally produced by the pituitary gland in minute amounts by both men and women to support good reproductive health. In the 1950’s Dr. Simeons, a European endocrinologist, discovered that, used for short durations of typically 23 or 40 days, injecting tiny amounts of hCG into patients, combined with a very low calorie diet (that emphasize protein, limit carbohydrate intake and eliminate fats), resulted in
a. the loss of the visceral fat (not subcutaneous which is good, protective fat),
b. significant weight loss of .5 to 1 pound a day, and
c . re-set the body’s hypothalamus, causing the body to reset its metabolism and thus better maintain the weight loss.
If you need to find out more about it this very instant: Dr. Simeons original protocol can be found here. Alot of hCG businesses will put a big hustle on you to buy the product. The hCG site I trust the most is here.
Back to my story. Six years ago, I tried hCG under the care of a Functional Medicine doctor, after months of working on detoxing, cleansing and rebuilding my microbiome, balancing my blood sugar and hormones, according to the tenet that you have to be healthy enough to actually lose weight. I lost 40 pounds; 15 while on the hCG protocol and then 25 more over the next 4–5 months.
The first thing I noticed with the hCG protocol was the lack of sugar cravings. I had no hunger and could actually feel the food I ate supplying fuel to my body. That was an amazing feeling! It reminded me that when I was pregnant 21 years ago, I was amazed that my near constant cravings for sugar disappeared. Now I know it was hCG!
In the last year, I did two rounds of hCG, separated by two months, and lost a total of 32 lbs. My weight loss was much less linear this time. In the first round I lost 15 pounds, only to gain back 5 very quickly. Then I did the second round and it took me 3x (!!!) as long to lose the same weight. But I kept with it as I felt something was happening internally that I could not quite name but I could feel. The very long duration of the round caused a major reset in my mind and body, and I have finally achieved a kind of peacefulness about food that I never knew before.
Skeptical? Your brain is programmed to hold on to weight. “While most people have a calories in, calories out view on weight loss, many people don’t realize that the brain is what controls weight and weight regulation”, Dr. Stanford, a progressive, holistic doctor treating obesity, says.
“When weight loss occurs, the brain really tries to do what it can to compensate, such that it’s going to try to rebound back to where it was before the diet,” she says. “That’s why so many people go through ‘weight cycling,’ or repeated loss and gain of weight, for instance. The body doesn’t recognize that excess that’s not needed, so it’ll do whatever it can do to defend that,” she says. “People experience weight-loss “plateaus” because their bodies are designed to work that way, not for lack of willpower.”
It seems pretty clear to me that hCG breaks through the brain’s programming by resetting it hormonally, through the hypothalamus. Remember how I said I was one of those people whose body resisted weight loss? That something between my metabolism, blood sugar, hormones had to be off, because my body would go into serious lock down and not let go of fat. Something got reset in me, and my body metabolically changed.
I no longer want or need a lot of food. I do fine mostly fish or chicken and a lot of vegetables, and a small amount of fruit, nuts and healthy oils. The carb cravings left, well mostly. I still have some cravings that may be physical or mental. But now I peacefully co-exist with them. I am willing to befriend them.
Since the original protocol uses a 500 calorie a day diet, critics say that anyone would lose weight with such low caloric consumption. I disagree based on my personal experience. With hCG, the body uses the daily calories to maintain healthy functions, while burning up visceral fat. hCG stops the hunger because it uses your own fat as energy. I never felt weak or hungry on hCG. I felt like my body was working! I felt free of cravings! Such sweet relief.
If you Google hCG, you can find research stating that it does not promote weight loss. All I can say is it is definitely and absolutely the only thing that has really worked for me. It stopped my hunger and cravings, it reset my metabolism. I lost the bad fat and retained muscle. I felt great.
A typical day’s consumption of food on hCG was 2 meals of 4 oz of protein (chicken and fish were my staples) and 4 oz of green, non-starchy vegetables and 2 apples, oranges, strawberries or grapefruit. Since the cravings are produced not by my mind/emotions after all, but rather by a physiological process revealing problems digestion and the health of my gut, the even better result is that I no longer see myself as innately defective. Now I know I just have a slight malfunction. And all this time I thought I was a huge, defective monster!
What really changed is I stopped bargaining. There are a lot of foods that are kinda, really healthy, that get me going down that addictive spiral to disaster. Like that chocolate bar with monkfruit, dried fruit and cheddar cheese, those sweet potato fries made with processed indigestible oils (palm, sunflower, safflower, canola), protein bars, all those tempting gluten free breads and desserts, and all the restaurant food with too much added sugar, bad oils, and huge portions. Besides, I live with someone who eats 5 desserts a day. As I write this, there are 11 boxes of cookies, 5 pints of ice creams and 3 containers of candy in our kitchen, plus a lemon meringue pie. It hasn’t been easy and I have not felt supported. But its my responsibility. Finally, I have the willingness to choose not to bargain with them. Now I just opt out of consuming them. I don’t want to set off the vicious cycle of obsession, addiction, cravings. I want ease and peace.
It took me decades to be willing to give up the desire to eat what my brain told me I wanted and to get over binges based on reactions to depriving myself. hCG completely reset me. I am free! I have to keep it going, generating my own inspiration and making the choices every day that support me. It can help free you too.
Rhyena Halpern is a Functional Medicine Health Coach and hospice volunteer who loves writing and blogs on FB at Third Act Coaching and at ThirdActCoaching.org . To find more of her essays, they can be found on Medium @rhyhalpern or click here.