This blog column is by Colleen Coble. She is also known as “Grammy,” our forum’s highly regarded Chief Moderator. Colleen is recognized as a leading expert on the HCG Diet and has guided millions of people through the HCG Diet in our forums. What many people don’t know, is that Grammy is also a best selling, award winning author. If you would like to learn more about Grammy, visit her website: ColleenCoble.com. You can also join Grammy’s Groupies HCG Diet support group in the HCG Diet Info Forums. It is a great honor to have Colleen share her exceptional knowledge with HDI members every day, and an even greater honor to know her. Colleen, may you always feel our extreme gratitude and live in the good karma you have created. ~Jen
The HCG Diet Protocol Through Grammy’s Eyes
Welcome to the HCG world! You’ve read about it or heard about it on the big forum where I’m known as Grammy (HDI HCG Diet Forums) and have decided you want to try it. Please ask any questions on that forum and not here. A reader told me about the protocol 3 years ago (Thanks, Janet!) and I researched it for 6 mos before I decided that maybe, just maybe, it really was all that it was cracked up to be. And guess what? It was even better than I ever dared dream!
When I did my first round, I only hoped that I might get into a 16. I allowed myself the faint hope that maybe I could someday see a size 14, but that dream was pretty distant. When the weight started falling off, I began to dream of that 14 and maybe, gasp, even a 12. Yet here I sit in my size 8s. SINGLE DIGITS!!! It’s unbelievable.
And it has been the easiest diet I’ve ever done. I’ve tried every diet known to man, but this diet is unique in several ways:
- It rests your hypothalamus so it’s more difficult to regain the weight.
- It reshapes your body. Every other diet I’ve ever done makes me more gaunt in the face while the hips and thighs stayed. With the HCG diet, you lose abnormal fat from where YOU need to lose it. If you’re an apple, it takes it from your stomach. If you’re a pear like me, it takes it from the hips and thighs. If you carry your weight all over, it takes it from all over. You will wear a smaller size at a higher weight than you ever have because of this phenomenon.
- Very rapid weight loss. In spite of the hype you’ve heard, most people do NOT average 1 pound a day. Some men might but most women normally lose .5-.75 per day. If you’re a woman, expect to lose 25-28 pounds in 40 days. Men typically lose 30-34 pounds in that same period.
All the previous things hinge on one very important thing: you must make sure that you are not experiencing hunger. A bit of hunger before a meal is normal but if you are eying your toddler and wondering how big of a stick you’d need to roast him, then your dose is off! If your dose is off, you will be ravenously hungry. The hunger is a sign that your hypothalamus is NOT resting. It’s a sign that you are losing normal fat, not abnormal fat stores.
When I’ve had a dose issue in a round, I’ve immediately noticed my face becoming more gaunt, just like in regular diets. Once that is corrected and the hunger is gone, the fat loss from below the waist resumed. SO THIS IS IMPERATIVE TO FIX!!! I can’t stress that enough. You must get to the place where you are comfortable and don’t really care much about your meals. I know it sounds impossible on 500 calories, but it really does happen on the right dose.
WHAT KIND OF HCG TO BUY?
You now have to decide what form of HCG you are going to buy. I personally like the RX grade hcg. And I prefer hcg diet shots. I’ve done one round of RX sublingual, but I didn’t have the same reshaping with it as I did with the shots. There is also homeopathic HCG out there but I’m not going to recommend a specific one because there are so many. Some of them are okay and many of them are not. If you decide to go that route, then research on the forum I mentioned above and find a good brand. There are a lot of scammers out there. Even a year ago, much of the homeopathics were good. The FDA got involved in Feb 2011 and many manufacturers took out the dilute amount of hcg and replaced it with only amino acids. Not the same thing at all. So I’m not going to recommend any homeopathics now. If the drops you’re looking at don’t say hcg 3x, 6x or something with an x, then don’t use them!
Here is a popular recipe. If you have a liquid hcg like the Hucog brand, deduct 1cc.
Clean the tops of the sterile vial and the bottle of bacteriostatic water with alcohol. Withdraw 2 cc of bac water from the bottle and insert it into the vial of hcg powder. Swirl gently, don’t shake. Pull out the mixed hcg and put it into the sterile vial, then add more bac water to equal the TOTAL water below. In other words if you’re mixing a 2000 iu vial, add an additional 2 cc of water to the 2 cc that you used to mix your hcg.
* 2,000iu vial – Add 4 cc bacteriostatic water
* 5,000iu vial – Add 10 cc bacteriostatic water
*10,000iu vial – Add 20 cc bacteriostatic water
And here is the amount you would draw for your daily dose. It is the same no matter what size vial you started with.
.25cc = 125iu HCG
.3cc = 150iu HCG
.35cc = 175iu HCG
.4cc = 200iu HCG
I suggest starting at 150 iu per day. It’s a good dose for the majority though if you have hunger, you may need to go up or down. If your hunger starts about 1pm even though you’ve eaten already, it’s likely the dose is too high. If you’re hungry at night only, it’s likely the dose is too low.
Another popular mix is doubling the amount of water (and then you double the amount you take as well) and this is how Dr. Simeons mixed it. I often mix it that way myself.
If you are doing sublingual, then I would order the 5000 iu vials which would last for 2 weeks if you do the standard mix. Take30 units (150 iu each dose) on a syringe and hold under the tongue for 2-5 minutes. You take 2 doses a day.
LENGTH OF ROUND:
Now that you’ve decided how to administer the HCG, you need to decide the length of the round so you know how much to order. Dr. Simeons never did less than a 40 day round unless the person had less than 15 pounds to lose. If you just can’t force yourself to do the full round, I still would not go less than 30 days even though you see 23 day rounds advertised. After years of reading the forum, I see much more instability in the maintenance phase after doing a short round. I think our bodies are so much more messed up with chemicals these days that we need the longer time of resting the hypothalamus.
So my advice is to be an adult and do the long round. There is something magic about the long round. You learn a lot about yourself, and you break food addictions much more easily when you force yourself to go for the long stretch. You can do it!
For a long round, you will need either 4 vials of 2000 iu or 2 vials of 5000 iu for shots. For sublinugal, you will need 3 5000 iu vials. You will need syringes for the amount of days you are dieting (23-40) and sterile vials as well as mixing syringes (I buy 10 cc syringes with 18 gauge needles for mixing, 1 per vial of hcg) And you will need to order bacteriostatic water. Where to buy that changes so just do a google search.
If you do a long round, you must skip 1 day a week to avoid immunity issues. If you skip a day a week, you can actually go about 46-47 days on P2.
PURCHASING THE HCG:
You might be seeing a doctor for your hcg. There are also places available online to buy it. [You can read about these here: Where to buy hcg online.] I buy insulin needles, mixing needles (18 gauge 10 cc ones, 1 per vial of hcg) and sterile vials (1 per vial) from Missouri Medical and http://www.gpzmedlab.com (also available on amazon.) You also need bacteriostatic water if you’re doing shots but you’ll have to do a google search for them because where you can find that changes. Get either 4 2000 iu vials or 2 5000 iu vials for shots.
If you’re doing sublingual, you can buy wound wash (plain saline) [Do not use this for injection!] from the drug store. It’s a spray so spritz some into a bowl then suck up the amount you need into a mixing syringe and mix it into any clean glass bottle. You can get a child’s dosing syringe from the pharmacy as well. You’ll need 3 vials of 5000 iu.
Okay, now you’re ready to get started. Dr. Simeons’s Pounds and Inches doesn’t mention phases. Kevin Trudeau’s book The Weight Loss Cure They Don’t Want You To Know About named phases and for expediency’s sake, we use those phases when talking about the protocol. Phase 1 (P1) is a cleansing phase that most of us don’t do. It’s not necessary. Phase 2 (P2) is the main diet that I’m going to explain next.
Meds: Most stay on their meds, by the way. But do keep a watch on your blood pressure if you take meds for it because you may need to lower the dose as you lose weight. I stayed on my bioidentical hormones and my thyroid meds on all my rounds.
The morning you are going to start the protocol, take your HCG. But wait! You don’t start dieting yet. You LOAD for 2 days. By that I mean you eat as much as you can stuff in. Eat the things you are saying goodbye to for a while. This will pump up your normal fat stores and you’ll be much more comfortable the first few days. Yes, you will gain a few pounds, but it will come right back off. Pounds and Inches says this:
we compromise by insisting that they eat frequently of highly concentrated foods such as milk chocolate, pastries with whipped cream sugar, fried meats (particularly pork), eggs and bacon, mayonnaise, bread with thick butter and jam, etc. The time and trouble spent on pressing this point upon incredulous or reluctant patients is always amply rewarded afterwards by the complete absence of those difficulties which patients who have disregarded these instructions are liable to experience.
Then on Day 3, you start the diet. There is a very specific list of foods you are allowed to eat. Some clinics add more vegetables or turkey, etc, but I’ve seen that most do best if they stick to the allowed foods. And come on, friends, it’s only for 6 weeks. I always told myself I could do anything for 6 measly weeks!
NOTE: At this time, you discontinue all oil products. This means if you use makeup, you must use oil free. No oil lotions on the body either. Switch to oil free makeup or lotion. You can use mineral oil or Curel Continuous Comfort as well. No massage as well.
Here is the food list:
Breakfast: Nothing is laid out for breakfast but you can have one of your 2 allowed fruits of the day if you wish. All the coffee and tea you like. Start drinking your water. It’s recommended to get down 66-100 oz or so of fluid a day.
Lunch: Meat: 3.5 oz of veal, very lean beef, chicken breast, white fish, lobster, crab or shrimp. All visible fat must be carefully removed before cooking and the meat must be weighed raw. It must be boiled or grilled without additional fat. Salmon, eel, tuna, herring, dried or pickled fish are not allowed. If you have access to grass fed beef, that is also allowed. Pounds and Inches recommends no American beef because it is so high in fat but some are able to eat it with no problem. But look for something that is at least 94% fat free.
One type of vegetable only to be chosen from the following: spinach, chard, chicory, beet-greens, green salad, tomatoes, celery, fennel, onions, red radishes, cucumbers, asparagus, cabbage.
One breadstick (grissini) or one Melba toast (usually lose better without it so I recommend not eating this.)
1 fruit: apple, a handful of strawberries or 1/2 grapefruit. Some versions of Pounds and Inches include oranges and some on the forum eat them with no ill effect.
Dinner: Same as above
Drinks and Seasonings: The juice of one lemon daily is allowed for all purposes.
Salt, pepper, vinegar, mustard powder, garlic, sweet basil, parsley, thyme, marjoram, etc., may be used for seasoning, but no oil, butter or dressing. Tea, coffee, plain water, or mineral water are the only drinks allowed, but they may be taken in any quantity and at all times. Allowed sweeteners are Stevia and Sweet and Low.
Read all labels! This is imperative. No added sugar or starch allowed. So if you’re using a chicken broth to make soup for example, make sure there is no sugar or starch in it.
Important Highlights from Pounds and Inches:
2 small apples are not an acceptable exchange for “1 apple.” Very occasionally egg – boiled, poached or raw – is allowed for patients who develop an aversion to meat, but in this case they must add the white of three eggs to the one they eat whole.
There is no objection to breaking up the two meals. For instance having a breadstick and an apple for breakfast or before going to bed, provided they are deducted from the regular meals. The whole daily ration of two breadsticks or two fruits may not be eaten at the same time, nor can any item saved from the previous day be added on the following day. In the beginning patients are advised to check every meal against their diet sheet before starting to eat and not to rely on their memory.
First Days: The first day you might have some hunger. The 2nd day should be much more comfortable. If you’re ravenous by the end of 2nd day of dieting, it’s time to think about your dose so if you’re hungry, on the 3rd day of dieting (5th shot day) skip your injection and see if your hunger is better. If it is, then the next day decrease your dose by 25 iu in dose. So if you were taking 150 iu (60 units) then go down to 125 iu (50 units.)
Hopefully your dose is right immediately but if it’s not, it can be fixed. If you cruise through your first week or two with no hunger and then suddenly begin to develop hunger, it’s begun to build up in your bloodstream and you need to decrease the dose. So skip a day as above and if your hunger is better, decrease.
There are various recipe books out there for the protocol. On the forum you will find recipes as well.
Dr. Simeons puts no prohibition on exercise but you will not have the energy to do more than you normally do. So this is not the time to start a strenuous exercise program. Walking is fine. Anything you normally do is fine. I’ve recently discovered Pilates and love it! I do this one by Denise Austin.
WHAT TO EXPECT:
The first week will be stellar losses. Most lose 8-10 pounds the first week. I stall out every 10 pounds though so be prepared for stalls. I have had 10 day stalls in every round. Stalls are frustrating, but remember, you are still losing fat. It’s just not showing up on the scales. Some of what you lose the first week is water. When you hit the stalls, your body is still losing fat but is replacing some of that lost water weight. If you take your measurements, you will see you are shrinking, shrinking.
Most have a feeling of being “up” on HCG. If you suffer from depression, you may find it vanishes. I believe one reason for this is that depression is often based in a thyroid problem. HCG elevates your thyroid naturally. In fact, Dr. Simeons advised not taking thyroid meds while on HCG. However, most people on the forum keep taking all their meds. Most have more energy on HCG and even have trouble sleeping. If you have trouble sleeping, take melatonin (the veggie caps, not the pressed pills) and increase the dose until you are sleeping okay.
Headache: A headache the first few days of the first round is common. It’s usually detox. Take ibuprofen or any other med for it. It will pass.
Weakness: A few people have weakness and fatigue. If you are one of those unlucky few, try taking potassium or drink a cup of bouillon for the salt. Also check to see how much water you are drinking. If you are drinking too much, it can cause that weakness because it messes up your electrolytes. So if you’re drinking more than 100 oz, cut back on the amount. If that doesn’t fix it, then it’s time to look at your dose. Sometimes weakness is a dose that’s too high or too low (usually too high.) Skip your next shot, or next 2 doses of sublingual and see how you feel by evening. If better, the dose is too large. If no better, it’s time to try increasing.
Cold: Most people report feeling like they are freezing when on HCG. This is a result of the hypothalamus resting so it’s a good sign. Just layer up!
Cheats: A cheat will cost you 3 days. Just count on it. It’s so not worth it because it will undercut your losses for so long. Just hang in there and don’t cheat!
Ups and Downs: You will not lose every day. The losses will come in fits and starts. Just hang on and keep the goal in mind. Remember that the losses all average out in the end to .5-75 pounds per day for women.
Losses: I already mentioned the average weight loss but there are a lucky few who drop weight like crazy. You must stop after 34 pounds lost. If you are very obese, you are allowed to lose 40 pounds in one round but that is the maximum.
Menstruation: Pounds and Inches says to stop during your period, but most women on the forum have not found that to be necessary. But you can if you want. It’s also best to start right at the end of your period.
PROBLEMS IN THE ROUND:
Things are moving along and then you get word that you have to travel or some other issue comes up that is going to make dieting difficult. You have 2 choices: press on or take an interruption. An interruption is only recommended if the issue is going to last at least 4 days. If it’s only a weekend, just stay on the HCG and do the best you can. If you decide an interruption is in order, remember you must have been on the HCG for 23 days or you are in danger of easily regaining what you’ve lost. If you have been on long enough and choose to take the break, go off the HCG the same way you would when you are done: discontinue the HCG but continue on the diet for 72 hours past the last dose. (48 hours if you are taking homeopathic.) Then you will ease into what we call Phase 3 (P3.)
After your interruption, do a mini load of at least a day back on the hcg if you’ve been off a week or more before you start the diet again. Then finish up your round of 40 injections.
THE FINISH LINE AND ON TO PHASE 3
You’ve made it all the way through your round. Whoohoo! But as much as we are all looking forward to eating different food, P3 often is a source of great angst because the rules aren’t rock solid. Pounds and Inches says that this maintenance period is when you add back anything you want except starch and sugar. It’s important to get those calories up there too, otherwise your body will go into starvation mode and slow your metabolism. Here are some guidelines:
- At least double your protein.
- Limit your fruit to 1 or 2 a day in that first week.
- Add back in good fats like coconut oil, MCT oil, olive oil, and avocados. Get your calories up. Don’t try to maintain the 500 calorie diet. It may take about 3 days to increase your food intake enough but work on it.
- Add back in 1 new “iffy” thing for 3 days before going on to something new. These iffy things are those that are common allergens and the things that might be the underlying cause of your weight problem. Things like dairy, eggs, and nuts. If your weight jumps 2 or more pounds overnight, discontinue that food and try it again a week later. If your weight still jumps them, you are likely sensitive to that food and shouldn’t consume it.
- If your weight goes up MORE than 2 pounds above your Last Injection Weight (the weight you were the morning you took your last dose of HCG) then you do a steak day. You drink coffee, tea and water all day but consume no food until dinner when you eat as much steak as you can get down plus an apple or a tomato. Your weight will drop right back down. I generally try to get down a whole pound of steak.
- If your weight goes up but stays under that 2 pound range, you can often get it back down before a steak day is necessary by doing a high protein day. Eat meat every 2-3 hours and don’t eat any fruit, nuts, dairy or eggs.
- I use xylitol as a sweetener when I get to P3. It tastes like sugar and I love it. Some have intestinal issues with it but it’s not as common with it as with other sugar alcohols.
- You can use half and half or heavy cream in your coffee now. I put grassfed butter in mine, aka Bulletproof Coffee.
- You can use almond flour or coconut flour now in place of regular flour which is starch.
- I use full fat Greek yogurt now and it’s fabulous! Love it in place of sour cream. You can use sour cream but the yogurt is just as good and is good for you.
- Look for salad dressings and mayo without soy. Soy is a common reason for insidious weight gain when you don’t know why it’s happening.
Don’t Eat: These are starchy: beans (except green beans,) rice, wheat, peas, beet, potato, sweet potato, parsnips, carrots, peas, lentils, winter squash. No grain of any kind including wheat, oats, barley, etc. No sugar such as table sugar, honey, corn syrup, agave nectar, etc.
You’ve made it through maintenance! Now it’s on to normal eating. You must add things in slowly at this phase too. One a day for 3 days while you watch your weight. Common culprits are wheat, corn and soy. You can begin to add those things in the no list above. Just realize you can’t eat burgers and fries every day like you used to. You won’t regain easily but you WILL regain if you go back to eating unhealthy foods. Be smart about it.
You can do however many rounds you need to lose all your weight. However it’s imperative you take the proper breaks between rounds so your skin can catch up with your weight loss and your liver can have a break. Here is what Pounds and Inches says:
Patients requiring the loss of more than 34 lbs. must have a second or even more courses. A second course can be started after an interval of not less than six weeks, though the pause can be more than six weeks. When a third, fourth or even fifth course is necessary, the interval between courses should be made progressively longer. Between a second and third course eight weeks should elapse, between a third and fourth course twelve weeks, between a fourth and fifth course twenty weeks and between a fifth and sixth course six months. In this way it is possible to bring about a weight reduction of 100 lbs. and more if required without the least hardship to the patient.
Congratulations! You are at your goal. You never thought it could happen, did you? I’m so proud of you!
In addition to being HDI’s Chief Moderator, Colleen Coble is a best selling romance author of many award winning novels including Rosemary Cottage, Journey of the Heart, The Inn at Ocean’s Edge and many more. Learn more about Colleen at ColleenCoble.com.