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Using Pregnancy Hormones To Lose Weight: A Queasy Strategy

November 8, 2011   34 Comments

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

HCG  Diet Review

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.


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34 Comments:

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

I did the HCG diet on the advice of my doctor. Only took the shots for one week, and had terrible ovarian pain. Ended up with ovarian cysts because of the HCG. I do not recommend this diet, even if your doctor does! PS She owned the HCG clinic she referred me to...my fault for trusting her.....

on November 8, 2011

As a doctor, I feel this type of diet is unproven and could prove to be dangerous at some point (Gigi, your doctor should be held to account for this conflict of interests and Diane, thank you for alerting people to be carefully monitored by their doctor as well). People will lose weight due to calorie control and possibly appetite suppression, but I suspect may regain when eating normally and this type of diet is not sustainable. You may also be at risk of vitamin/mineral depletion. I have recently lost 60lbs purely with lifestyle changes (and the help of Snack Girl recipes among other things) and it can be done - I am running an evening clinic where the ladies come and do a weekly weigh-in and a food diary and this is proving to work very well and be acceptable to them for the future. There are no real short cuts - listen to your body and your mind!

on November 9, 2011

I just try to take my diet change one day at a time. My biggest problem turned out to be not eating enough. I try new things and I've recently taken up boxing. I can't exercise for it's own sake because then I feel olbligated. Find something you're interested in and give it a try. Even if you don't like it you still got a bit of exercise and you can always try something else.

This diet does not sound like something I would try. I don't think people need appetite suppressants as much as they need to make healthier food choices. If you can reach for an apple instead of chips you'll be better off for it.

on November 9, 2011

And I had high blood pressure when I was pregnant, that is not something I want to go through again. I was getting my blood pressure taken pretty much every day.

on November 9, 2011

Dr. - Very well said... and if anyone knows... I know you would... no one knows what the side effects are... It sure taught me a lesson. Lots of people buy it on line and are not monitored. Just saying... losing weight like this and using these drops could be dangerous... It sounds like a fast and easy fix, but in the long run, it could do damage.

on November 9, 2011

This is not a long-term diet. It's for 21 days minimum, 40 days max. Like Brenda mentioned, it's a stepping stone. I would not use the shots.

As with ANY diet, it's up to the person to continue a healthy lifestyle and make wise food choices to not regain the weight.

WTG Brenda on your success! I'm sorry that, like anything, it will not work for everyone.

on November 9, 2011

This "diet" is a total hoax. The HCG drops are fake; people are only losing weight because of the 500 calories. Try reading about this on any reliable medical website, and you'll find out that it's just another fad, like the "macrobiotic rice diet" of the 70s that people died from. There are a zillion ways to lose weight; most of these fad diets are not healthy. My doctor, who also specializes in nutrition, is adamant that this "diet" ONLY works because of the stringent calorie reduction, and that you lose weight, yes, but there is only so much FAT you can lose at once, and people who follow this are losing muscle, and guess what? Your heart is a muscle.

on November 9, 2011

Before any of you throw stones, do your homework on more than a "google" search. 500 calories does sound insane, but when your body is being told by a VERY SMALL amount of the hormone to consume up to 2000 calories a day from your stored body fat, for a total of a 2500 calorie diet, it's not so crazy, eh? Go read the book "Pounds and Inches" by Dr. Simeon. It's available free online in pdf format, and on itunes as a podcast. He's the one who discovered it over 50 years ago and wrote the book for the other physicians wanting to duplicate his work. The scientific research behind it is very interesting and very informative. After that, then you can decide to poo poo or try it. I tried it, and have lost 32 lbs so far. It retrains your habits, your mind, your hypothalamus, and the way your body stores and burns fat. I personally used a very potent homeopathic version, sublingual drops 3x a day, which actually has NO hormone in it, just the chemical signature of the hormone. It's just enough to kick your body into fat burn mode. I was horribly sick with my pregnancies, but have had no illness each time I've done it. Like I said, GO READ THE BOOK. Then you decide! If you want to find out where to order these strong drops from my distributor (no, i don't work for her), you can read about it in my "notes" section on my facebook page: Angie Maddox.

on November 9, 2011

I had no signs of illness or sickness with the drops. Nothing to tell me that my liver was in distress... I'm just sharing what happened to me... Not everyone is the same... just want to make people aware of what COULD happen. I too took the sublingual 3 x a day.... I'm not trying to deter anyone, just trying to make people aware of what my experience was. Each person has to make up their minds to or not to use it... In my case, I would never use it again. My health (liver) is much more important than losing the 30 lbs I wanted to lose. I have have talked to others with similar problems...Like I stated, each person reacts differently to different things. Just keep on top of bloodwork, any different symptoms, etc.

on November 9, 2011

I have had a lot of cleints use this diet and love it.

For people that are talking about how you will lose weight just by eating 500ca a day, you are right. BUT you will be it in a way that will not last and can be very bad for your health.

As stated everyone should check with a doctor first but useing HCG does help your body keep the weight off and helps to retrain your body to not need to eat all the food that got you out of shape in the first place.

on December 23, 2011

@Dove You are so right, this is just a steping stone. I talk to a lot of people that think this will get them in shape and keep the weight off.

I have a very hard time getting people to understand that this is not a work out so you will not get in shape and this will not make you want to run 3 miles a day.

What this is GREAT at is helping over weight people lose a little bit to give them a boost and make it a little easier to go for runs and do a few pushups.

on December 23, 2011

I did the drops about 2 months ago. I was only on the drops for 2 1/2 weeks. I lost 14 lbs., I looked great! I didn't feel great. After the 1st week, I got my monthly "friend" which lasted until I stopped talking the drops. I also cried in the grocery store, yes I cried. I was so emotinal and miserable, not to mention shaky. I started the drops weighing 149 and went down to 135. Currently I am at 139. I was able to keep the weight off for the most part, but some days I binge eat and other days I consume only 500-700 calories. That's not even the worst part, the worst part is that I coming up on month #2 of no monthly "friend." Before you say anything, no I am not pregnant (I have spent a small fortune in pregnancy test and all are - ). I would not suggest using the drops to lose weight. For me, I developed an eating disorder and I am also missing monthly visits.

on May 3, 2013

My experience with HCG has been very positive. I've done 2 rounds of sublingual tablets under a doctor's care and lost 24 lbs. in 25 days and 18 lbs. the next round. I kept this weight off for over a year, with a lower carb diet and no change in physical activity. i was terribly sick with both of my pregnancies- I delivered both of my daughters at a lower weight than I was pre-pregnancy. The HCG diet did not cause me to feel ill. In fact, I felt fantastic after the first week. More energy, no hunger. Before criticizing, I'd suggest reading the Pounds and Inches protocol by Dr. Simeon and understanding the mechanisms at work. I can't comment on the homeopathic formulations. My doctor did order kidney and liver lab work first, and required 2 week weigh-ins to get the next 2 weeks dosage. If you're determined to see this as just a 500 calorie diet, nothing I say will change your mind. But if you are open to understanding how HCG causes the body to burn abnormal fat stores for fuel, then you might at least understand that done responsibly under a doctor's care, this program can help people have tremendous health benefits from lasting weight loss.

on November 9, 2014

The hcg diet is definitely powerful and you should be careful. But it can be very effective in helping you lose fat fast!

on March 16, 2019


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