Down 40 lbs
I made a decision a few months back that I hope was the right one. I did a round of the HCG diet.
It is that crazy diet where you give yourself a shot every day and then eat about 500 calories every day. The food is very limited. You can eat 5-6 types of protein, 7-8 types of vegetables, and 3-4 types of fruit. No fat. You do this for 40 days. It sounds ludicrous. I know it does. But for me it was just as ludicrous as going under the knife and having my insides rerouted. It was as crazy as every other diet I have attempted. And I acknowledge that I could have made the wrong decision. I will tell you though that carrying around 150-200 EXTRA pounds makes you consider the crazy.
The things that I liked about the diet were these:
- you eat real, live, whole food (granted very little of it)
- your energy is supposed to be good
- HCG can assist with ovulation and with my PCOS I need help getting my ovulation on track
- it is a lot cheaper than surgery
- the diet you follow in the post-round is essentially Paleo, so I could get on board with that
- my doctor, who is shares my hippie-dippy, tree-hugger sensibilities, has recommended it to me for a while
- I had to take a weekly HCG class with other people on the same diet and with a nutritionist under my doctor's supervision
- the rounds are short-term (23-40 days) and then you are back to normal eating
The last year I have been struggling with eating clean and Paleo for a few weeks then having a couple of cheat days that turn into a week-long cheat that turn into me feeling miserable and having to start the entire cycle all over again. So, all of the health gains I was making for a few weeks were getting trashed by my week of cheats and cravings. Plus, the last few years my mood around my period has been a whole new level of horrific and I have to drop some weight to get off this terrible emotional cycle that accompanies that time of the month. I have been getting desperate and some of my family keeps talking to me about having gastric bypass. I felt like I was headed in that direction if I could not get a handle on things.
So, going into this HCG round my goals were:
- Lose 35-45 pounds in 6 weeks
- Eat Paleo through the entire post round
- Break the back of my sugar/carb addiction
- Have a better emotional state around my cycle
- Improve my hormonal profile and help my body start ovulating
The diet in the post round is apparently a challenge for many people but it sounded easy-peasy to me. It sounded like my ideal diet in fact--lots of fat, good protein, veggies and limit the sugar and starches. I had the recipes, the meal plans, the ideas of what to cook and how to cook during that part--it was really the HCG round where my learning curve would occur.
I started the HCG round in October and dropped weight quickly the first week. I was STARVING and I mean it. I got pretty light-headed a few times and wondered if it was supposed to be like this. Because of that they upped my protein and my HCG injection and suddenly I hit this sweet spot where I had great energy each day and I could eat the food and not feel that starving hunger the rest of the day.
A couple of things surprised me about my eating in this round of HCG. First, I thought I had a pretty good handle on emotional eating (except for that one week each month) but I found myself hunting for food the first couple of weeks. I was surprised at how many times I still found myself searching for food when I was emotional, tired or needed comfort. It surprised me how often that happened.
It was absolutely spectacular to NOT be hungry for hours and hours. I know that hunger is a good thing and protective of our bodies but maybe because of my insulin resistance and hormonal imbalances I find that I am often constantly hungry. I just have this gnawing, bottomless pit sometimes. And to NOT have that? For the first time in years and years? Oh, it was pleasurable.
Now, that I am in the post round the hunger has returned and I have to work hard to quiet it each day. I find that coconut oil, heavy cream, coconut milk, bone broth and lots of good protein really helps. Also, I have to have a certain amount of veggies every day too or it is like my body just screams for nutrients. And finally, exercise. I can be hungry and go and exercise and it quiets the hunger too. That is such a nice benefit of being physical.
Lastly, I find that if I don't get on top of the hunger early by eating a decent breakfast then the hunger stays with me all day. I can eat really good food the rest of the day but always at the back of my mind is this gnawing, nibbling, unsatisfied something that doesn't go away. I wonder if it is the hormonal imbalance, the skewed blood sugar, or if I am just not ingesting enough calories. I am staying away from starches and sugar (although I do have some fruit like apples and berries) but no honey or lots of fruit or high-sugar veggies. I am focusing on protein, good fats and lots of veggies. I want my body to hum along happily and things are improving.
One final note: My mood has been pretty good. I've had a LOT of stress the last few weeks and finals for my master's program and lots going on at work and my mood has been fabulous. In fact, I've felt really up in a flirty, girly kind of way. Music seems fresh and new to me and I just feel kind of buzzing electricity inside my body most days.
All in all, I am down 40 pounds in the last 8 weeks and happy for that. I will be in the sub 300s soon. My pair of "skinny" pants started to fit me again during HCG and now they edging towards baggy and too big. All of my skirts are too big now. Most of my blouses as well. And while I still have 150 pounds to lose, I am discovering my bones again--especially my hip bones. They are appearing more often than I remember the last few years. That alone feels amazing. And I am grateful for progress.