Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The HCG Protocol and Leptin Reset Days 4+5

I am a true believer in the hCG diet protocol for people who have a significant amount of weight to lose or people who have dieted themselves to the point that even a traditional low-carb diet won't help. Before I go much further though, I want to stress that this diet must be done perfectly or it simply will not work as advertised. This means 500 calories as specified and probably no exercise beyond casual walking or some swimming. Hm. Those of you who know me are probably saying, "Hey! Wait a minute! Aren't you the one who advocated strenuous exercise during the protocol? That we only had to bump up our calories to do so?"

The answer is, yes. I did. However, it was a huge mistake. Yes, I lost a lot of weight (95 pounds) in a short period of time doing it my way, however, I probably lost out on one of the best benefits of doing the diet the way in which Dr. Simeons meant it to be done and am currently paying for it. Had I done it exactly as the protocol described, I would have still lost the weight but I may not be doing a leptin reset right now. Had I followed it properly and done a paleo stabilization/maintenance, I may have become leptin sensitive, and the exercise I was doing up until just a few days ago, might have given me the results I desired in my body composition.

I am constantly learning and constantly studying and had Dr. Kruse's book been out at that time I would have understood what leptin was/is and how it controls every hormone in every gland in our bodies; that I needed to look further than just the hypothalamus. However, trying to navigate through his site gave me a blasting headache--there was just too much information scattered all to hell and gone because he'd been blogging for years. Also, all of the research I'd read from scientific journals mentioned zero about leptin. After reading Dr. Kruse's book, though, certain things really gelled for me.

What finally convinced me that doing hCG precisely as prescribed AND by doing strict Paleo during the stabilization/maintenance phase was this: I "met" hundreds of hCGers while on the protocol and almost to the last, they gained most, if not all of their weight back after having achieved their weight loss goals. No matter what they did. No matter how religiously they weighed themselves. No matter how many correction days they did, the weight just crept back up. The only ones who kept it off were those who went low-carb gluten-free or Paleo. The ones who did the best (I'm not one) were the ones who did the Leptin Reset protocol during the stabilization/maintenance phases. They never saw a correction day. They never craved another sugary, grain-filled, anything. For them, transition off the hCG protocol was easy and effortless. For those who didn't it has, simply put, been a nightmare of regains and going back on the hCG protocol.

I, for one, couldn't do another round if my life depended on it. Seriously. I could not. It was the hardest diet ever. Granted, the reward was wonderful, but I knew when I finished my last round that I had no choice but to keep the weight off or I'd become fat again because doing another round was simply not an option. Of course, by the last round I was already becoming familiar with Paleo and gluten-free as well, and went mostly Paleo after the last round. That is likely what saved me from gaining my weight back.

When I began to write my cook book, Greek Without the Gluten, I was eating a lot of high carb food while testing these recipes--more than what I normally would have eaten--and gained 8 pounds. It took about a month of strict Paleo to get back down to my ideal weight, but I did get it off.

So, here are my pointers for those who are considering hCG as a means of losing weight, how I would now approach exercise and maintenance, and what I think your results will be, based on anecdotal evidence by those who have done it this way:

  1. Follow the meal plan exactly as prescribed--no cheating, for any reason whatsoever.
  2. Stay away from any and all artificial sweeteners--use stevia or nothing.
  3. When you enter P3 (stabilization) you will be, necessarily, eating a Paleo-type diet, except you won't be getting any of the starches that are allowed in a Paleo diet.
  4. Add new foods to your diet one at a time. If you don't experience gains, you are likely not sensitive to them and you can continue to eat them.
  5. Weigh yourself every day. Do correction days as needed.
  6. Do NOT allow yourself to lose more (beyond the 2 pound window) while on P3.
  7. Do NOT move on to P4 (maintenance) until you have been stable for a period of 3 weeks. Stable=no losses/gains outside the 2 pound window.
  8. When you begin to add new starches, do like you did in P3--one at a time.
  9. Again, weigh yourself every day and do your correction days the day you see a gain of more than 2 pounds. You must do the correction day on the day of the gain or it won't work. No matter what.
  10. Do not add sugars, grains, or legumes back into your diet. These contain a lot of phytoestrogens that create a lot of inflammation and will ultimately lead to a lot of health problems. 
  11. On your next load days DO NOT EAT JUNK FOOD!!! Increase the amount of food, especially the fat, that you are already eating. Now is NOT the time for Little Debbie or Snickers. Why would you want to re-trigger old cravings?
Results achieved by others who did the above:
  1. Consistent rapid weight loss each round, including the final round.
  2. Easy P3/P4 with no cravings or weight gains/losses.
  3. Increased energy allowing for exercise during these phases.
  4. Effortless lifetime maintenance.
  5. Achievable desired body composition due to having your hormones regulated and all of the fat burning mechanisms in place so that your exercise will be meaningful.
For me, #4 is the best benefit of all. You have no idea how great it is to be able to step on that scale every morning and see that your weight hasn't fluctuated more than a few ounces each day. It's a great feeling.

I know a lot of you can't imagine a life without wheat or grain products. I know I certainly could not. I used to tell people that cake was my favorite food group and that I'd never give it up. Well, truth be told, I don't even think about cake anymore and couldn't care less if it's around me or not. Trust me, I'm around it every day because I am a baker.  The point is, it is perfectly possible to live happily without grain or sugar--once you break your addiction.

Leptin Reset Journal, Days 4 and 5

I'm starting to wonder if I should be doing a leptin reset at all. The advice given by Dr. Kruse was "make sure you need it before you do it." He didn't say why not to do it if you didn't need to.

As I stated when I started this, I really could not get the required tests done, so I just winged it. I'm regretting that decision.

Though the daytime sweating for no reason has mostly stopped, the night time sweating has picked up considerably. The worst ever. All night long I am either roasting hot and sweating, or freezing cold. So, my sleep is interrupted constantly and I don't feel very rested.

Also, arthritis pain is returning as is the morning stiffness in my lower back which had completely gone away before I started the LR. Allergy headaches are almost constant now, after they had practically disappeared.

For the first time in several years, I am experiencing acid reflux. What?! I can't even remember the last time that was a problem. I know it was pre-hCG days, though.

Yesterday morning, I couldn't have eaten breakfast even if I'd had a gun to my head--I was feeling that sick to my stomach.

So, I'm at a bit of a cross roads here. I don't know if it's normal to get worse before you get better, or not. I posted a question on a couple of my Paleo forums to see if one of the resident experts has the answer for me.

I'll keep you posted.

Until next time...

6 comments:

  1. Very informative! I've been recently having conversations with a few friends about transitioning into P 3 & 4 and I believe the information you have shared is critical and vital to our long term success and health. Thank you!

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  2. Very informative! I've been recently having conversations with a few friends about transitioning into P 3 & 4 and I believe the information you have shared is critical and vital to our long term success and health. Thank you!

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