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Using Pregnancy Hormones To Lose Weight: A Queasy Strategy

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HCG  Diet Review

When I look at the photo above, I get pangs. No, not pangs of love - pangs of sudden illness.

Yes, I was one of those lucky ones that had two truly sickening pregnancies that resulted in two beautiful children.

What if you could harness those vomitous impulses and help people lose weight? Doesn't that sound like fun?

One of my readers, April, sent me this question:

What are your thoughts on the latest fad diet HCG? It sounds so very extreme and unhealthy to me.

I just wonder how smart/not smart is it to pump yourself full of pregnancy hormones? (even men are doing this apparently, which seems really contrary to nature - lol)

This diet makes me want to puke all over the person who invented it.

On the HCG diet, you eat 500 calories a day and take hCG, human chorionic gonadotropin, a hormone taken from pregnant women's urine. No, I am not making this up.

You will lose weight because you are on a starvation diet, and then you get to dose yourself with a hormone that has never been proven to help anyone lose weight. Most studies have concluded that if dieters lose weight on HCG it is from the diet (reduction in calories) and the HCG is a placebo.

This gives me an idea! I will make a pill of freeze-dried broccoli and create my own weight loss pill. Take a few of these magical pills every day as you reduce your calorie input by 3/4 and you will lose weight. True, no?

The Chicago Tribune recently featured an article on a woman who had success with this diet see: The hCG diet: One woman's weight loss journey.

She has lost 100 pounds, but many of those pounds could be attributed to changes in eating and living strategies. For example, she started golf lessons, dancing, making better food choices, and seeing a therapist. The initial calorie reduction was like a "shock therapy" mode for her to get an idea of what she should be eating.

There ARE side effects to taking hCG, which include hair loss, increase potential for blood clots, headaches, irritability, and fatigue. So, you become skinny, bald, grumpy, and tired. Sound attractive?

Here on Snack Girl, I advocate for making life style changes and spending your money on better things than "magical" weight loss therapies. How about spending that $80 per month on a fancy gym membership, personal trainer, or a visit to a Registered Dietician?

I have interviewed a bunch of people who have lost significant amounts of weight, and they always talk about the lifestyle change they needed to make to get healthier.

Even if HCG was a magic bullet of weight loss, you would have to make better choices to keep the weight off after you end the hormone therapy.

You just can't get around the hard work of getting healthy.


Other posts you might like:

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Inspiring stories of weight loss can teach us how to get healthier. Here on Snack Girl, I usually interview a Snack Girl reader about how they achieved success.... read more




First 20 Comments: [ see all 32 ]

Thanks for the info. A woman in my yoga class lost 70lbs doing this. She said her husband just started the treatments as well. Seems kinda wacky to me!

on November 8, 2011

This diet infuriates me!! I can't believe someone would even THINK of of suggesting this. 500 calories a day and pump yourself with hormones that do who knows what to your body?? It just baffles me that people would do this and think there wouldn't be health consequences.

I hate the diet mindset and refuse to be miserable just because I want to lose weight. It's also frustrating to see that's what a lot of people think about weight loss. I've lost 20 lbs so far in a gradual, healthy way and I've had people make sure I'm eating!

Thank you for pointing out how ridiculous and dangerous diet is!

on November 8, 2011

Uh. Because pregnant women are known for being thin?

on November 8, 2011

This from one who has done the HCG diet protocol. I actually used a homepathic version of this because it was a "signature" of the hormone only. It really worked for me. I lost 30 lbs over several courses of the drops, yes, but more importantly I lost over 25 inches over my whole body. Like a lot of people in the US I had the typical apple shape. I lost my belly, the fat at the top of my tush, my "back fat", etc. I was not hungry. And yes, it did really show me what a normal portion of protein looks like. Like the food guidelines say: a portion of meat is 4 oz = deck of cards. You see that all the time but who actually listens to it? I ate fruit every day. Lots of healthy vegetables every day. Lean protein. Then you go on and keep living a healthy way from there. Of course you can't go back to eating the way you used to. That's what got you (me) overweight in the first place. I am healthier and happier now. I eat very healthily and exercise. It was a stepping stone on my way to a better place. There are pluses and minuses for most weight loss plans. I work with people who've tried Weight Watchers, Atkins, the Dukan diet, Slim Fast, etc., and they have not been able to keep their weight off. In the end it's an individual choice.

on November 8, 2011

Ummm, 500 calories a day? A starvation diet like that will most certainly make you lose weight, never mind the HCG... Silliness.

on November 8, 2011

I have not tried this diet but I have several friends who have done it, with good results. It is a real encouragement for them, when they lost about 20 pounds in 6 weeks each... one friend has lost 80 pounds using this method (6 weeks on, 6 weeks maintance, 6 weeks on, etc.) I personally have not done it! (I also had a terrible, sick-all-the-time pregnancy so I am afraid of pregnancy hormones!) But the main thing is that all my friends say the HCG makes them NOT hungry. So that makes it tempting for me... I am sooo hungry when I decrease my calorie intake, and nothing I have tried has made that constant hunger go away! I tried Hoodia (didn't help at all!) Acai supplements didn't help either.

on November 8, 2011

I hadn't heard about using HCG in a diet. But after I weaned my second child I did wish I could somehow keep nursing forever to keep my weight down - I was never skinnnier than when I had been nursing for 6 months. I hated to give up the metabolism boost from breastfeeding!

on November 8, 2011

sounds like HCG hormone is primarily used as an appetite depressant. it's the 500 calories a day that makes people loose weight, but it's the HCG that keeps them from feeling hungry. i can see how that works, but seriously, considering how much people were screaming about the hormones in chicken or GMO's or whatever, i'm surprised this new diet method of injecting yourself with more hormones (and they're unnatural for people who are not pregnant...not to mention NOT normal for men!) is so accepted, popular. sounds just sorta crazy to me O___o

on November 8, 2011

I am currently in week 2 of doing the HcG diet. The HcG does help curb hunger, but I have had several moments of "I'm going to chew my arm off if I don't eat something NOW" I'm won't tell you how much weight I have lost in the last 8 days, but I will tell you that is IS significant.

This is a short-term plan - a way to jump-start my metabolism and re-evaluate what I've been eating. So far, it is working.

I don't intend to gain it all back - once I am at my goal weight, I will have the ability to know where my eating limits are and will be able to keep them that way.

I hope that you will take a closer look at the HcG diet, recipes, and protocol before you "puke all over the person who invented it." :)

on November 8, 2011

I am 57 years old and bought several bottles of HCG. I took the drops for about 2 months along with the 500 calorie diet. I lost about 15 lbs. I went to the Dr. for a yearly physical including bloodwork (still on the drops). Upon the Dr. receiving the results, she called me back in immediately to discuss my liver levels. They were way above and beyond what they should be (dangerously high). I was told to get off all my meds (which I had taken the same meds for the past 5 years) and everything herbal. The only different thing I was taking at the time was the HCG drops. In consulting with my Dr. we narrowed it down to the drops. When I was pregnant with my son, I had placenta previa/toxemia and it was the hormones from the pregnancy in my body poisoning me. Had to have an emergency C-Section because my liver levels were out of control. So I wrote the manufacturer telling them the problems I had from their product. They would not answer me, guess because people would be afraid and stop taking it and they'd lose money... I HIGHLY suggest that you check with your Dr. about taking these drops. they can be very dangerous... when I stopped the drops, my liver levels returned to normal ?? Coincidence? I think not!! BEWARE of using these drops !!! I'd would greatly appreciate hearing from anyone else who has had similar results.... Therefore, I truly concur with what was written in this article. Not only is it nothing more than a fad and a quick weight loss (that sets you up for failure when you get off of them), it can be VERY dangerous....

on November 8, 2011

@Elizabeth - I was trying to be funny with the puke comment - and I hope that it does work as a jump start for you. I apologize if I offended you. Thanks for your comment!

on November 8, 2011

I actually tried HCG a few months ago. I was, in fact, losing a pound a day, but I truly did feel every bit as miserable as I had felt during the first months of pregnancy. Never again. There's a reason why my daughter is an only child.

on November 8, 2011

EXACTLY why I quit the drops !!! My son is an only child because of the sick feeling I had while pregnant for several months !!!

on November 8, 2011

I did this diet 38 years ago with a doctor. I lost weight and felt great. I have tried again without HCG and it doesn't work. This was the best weight loss I have ever done!!!

on November 8, 2011

@ Snack Girl - I know you were being funny - you didn't offend me at all. :)

I'm doing this under a dr's supervision, but I am thankful for Diane's comment - I will make sure dr. tests liver levels at next check to make sure everything is fine.

on November 8, 2011

Once someone has made the leap that it's "OK" to eat only 500 calories a day, there's really not much you can say to change their mind. "It works" is good enough for them. Of course, EVERY diet works. Eat less, weigh less. Stop eating altogether, and you'll weight even less. Every single dieter believes they will be the exception to the rule -- they'll keep it off and start living healthy. Yet 19 out of 20 people who lose weight regain it within 8 months. If you keep let someone else tell you what to eat, you'll always gain it back. Learn what YOU love to eat, within a reasonable calorie budget (about 1500 for most women, 1800 for most men). Thanks, Snack Girl, for helping us do just that.

on November 8, 2011

This reminds me of the book Good Omens - the horseman of the Apocalypse have all found success in reinventing themselves. Famine has produced a diet book called (pretty much) Starve Yourself Thin, which is pretty much get skinny by never eating.

Why someone would want to loose weight by being miserable is beyond me. You can't be happy- much less healthy - by eating that little a day. Much less pumping your body full of hormones that your body only produces for a reason.

on November 8, 2011

I've done the hcg diet with the homeopathic drops. I didn't have any issues when I was pregnant and have had no issues with the drops. I no longer have that strong craving sweets, bread, etc. I am now more likely to reach for an apple than a piece of cake although I do enjoy sweets occasionally. This did not happen when I tried WW, going to the gym, etc.

It's been about a year and the weight has stayed off. My friend just lost over 100 lbs with the drops too (about 5 rounds) and she looks fantastic.

It's also easy to follow and you're eating real food, not prepared stuff.

on November 8, 2011

Dove, that is how I felt too. I used to have strong cravings for things like pizza, and PB cups (not at the same time LOL). Since being on the homeopathic hcg, as I indicated in the comment above, both of those cravings have disappeared. I also find myself automatically reaching for healthy foods when it's snack attack time. My tastes have changed completely. I learned a lot about myself on this diet and have re-taught my taste buds to appreciate healthier foods. I'm more likely to make kale chips than reach for Lay's potato chips... I know everyone is individual and some may not have success with Hcg, but it's good to see you and your friend did!

on November 8, 2011

My point ladies is... be sure to check with your Dr. if your Dr. was not the one that put you on the program. It can cause very high liver levels if the drops do not agree with you.... Also, can you really stay on a 500 cal diet forever??? Yes, eating healthy once off is great... but what happens when you eat more than 500 calories? Just saying.... I just wanted to alert people because I had no idea of what was going on in my body... No side effects, nothing... Thought I was doing great until by chance, I had a physical (which is good that I did)and found out about my liver count. It could have been devastating. If the drops agree with you and you are monitored, then I say do as your Dr. says.

on November 8, 2011

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Welcome! I’m Lisa. I write about simple snacks, healthy recipes, and products that help me WIN my battle with donuts!

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