Background Information: Why I started the HCG diet

With the love of food comes the occasional weight gain. I go to the gym, but that doesn't change the fact that my favorite food groups consist of: beer, cheese, bread, & all things spicy... not to mention that my weight has been like a yo-yo my entire life. Yep, just your every day average woman.

SO... sometime around 2009 I was at my highest weight. I'm 5'2" and I was... ok, I'm not actually going to admit my weight at that time (or any time for that matter). There's plenty before/after type blogs out there & that's not what I'm going for here. I had separated from the Air Force, moved home to Fort Worth with no job prospects, and lost my Grandpa. What did I do? I locked myself in my apartment, lived off my severance package, played WOW, and ate pizza and ramen.

I'm not sure when, but at some point in time I woke up, realized I couldn't do this forever and tried to make changes... I even got a prescription for phentermine. It worked, but I gained about half of what I lost.

Sometime later I started the HCG diet through the Metabolic Research Center & began zumba classes. My eating habits changed, my lifestyle changed, and I lost about 45 pounds from when I started at my highest... 30 on the HCG diet. Almost 2 years later and I have managed to keep much of it off and mostly the same eating habits.

I've been slacking a bit lately and have gained a few pounds back, and before it gets out of hand, I'm doing the HCG diet again. Hopefully I get the same results as last time & reach the weight/size I've wanted to be since... well, a very long time.

I will be the first person to admit that this diet IS NOT FUN. You do have cravings, and it is especially difficult to be around other people that can eat "real" food. On top of that, I still really enjoy cooking for Josh & having to smell the deliciousness without tasting it is almost brutal. BUT in the end, it's fast & becomes easy once you get used to it. Even better, it really does change the way you look at food, which ends up changing your eating habits even after you complete phase 2 of the diet.

The Diet:

If you've never done the HCG diet before, I highly recommend going through a doctor or clinic to begin with. I used the Metabolic Research Center's "Meta HCG" program; it was extremely helpful. The give you a list of approved foods, how much to eat, when to eat, and can provide you with fiber/protein supplements as well as vitamins.

The diet consists of three phases, I'll briefly go over the important parts...

Phase 1: A 2 day gorge fest. Most places will tell you that you can gorge on whatever fatty foods you feel like. To me, that defeats the purpose. There's are ways to go about this without causing a massive break-out from overloading your system with junk food. You will start taking the drops during these 2 days, which should be 4 drops, 4 times a day.

Phase 1 Food:

You'll want to eat 3 full portion meals a day with 2 snacks per day for 2 days. You're going to feel gross and full, but this phase is very important to get you through the next phase; it also jump starts abdominal fat loss. Favorites: steak, salmon, eggs, bread, cheese, avocados, peanuts (boiled, YUMMM), whole grain pasta, chocolate, peanut butter, nutella, yogurt, butter. If you have a favorite food EAT IT NOW.

Phase 2: The calories you intake from food should be limited to 500. Ouch. Yeah, it's rough at first. Eat your meals at a set time (if possible), this limits hunger pangs... this is super important for me because I am a raging grump when I'm hungry. You'll also need a good source of vitamins (more info. down below) since it is possible to have hair loss, as with all rapid weight loss.

Phase 2 Food:

Protein: Your meat proteins will be in 3.5 oz servings. Approved meats include pork, white fish (tilapia, flounder, swai, cod), chicken, turkey, lobster, real crab, shrimp, canned tuna (must be solid white albacore tuna in water).

You can eat red meat once a week: buffalo, top sirloin steak, any cut of meat with little to no fat. Make sure to trim off any existing fat.

Meat alternatives: egg beaters (1/2 cup), morning star farms varieties, tofu

Veggies: Vegetable intake should be twice daily, 4oz each meal lunch & dinner. It is VERY IMPORTANT that you DO NOT eat any canned vegetables; canned vegetables introduce way too much salt and sugar to be effective in phase 2. Use ONLY fresh or FROZEN, with no salt or sugar added: Tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, asparagus, spinach, broccoli, celery, cabbage, cauliflower, peppers, green beans, chard, chicory... I will admit that I will sometimes eat carrots, which I can't find on any approved list, but I eat them in such small quantities (literally less than an ounce) in my hCG stir-fry recipe, that I'm pretty sure it makes no difference at all. Why? I don't know. I just do. If you look at my recipes, feel free to skip carrots any time I use them.

Fruits: Fruit intake should be twice daily, usually breakfast and dinner. Apples, strawberries, blueberries, cantelope, oranges, raspberries, blackberries, pink grapefruit.

Free Food: WHAT? Yes! Don't get too excited, this list is limited, but it can really get you through the cravings: shirataki noodles, walden farms zero calorie products, organic low sodium broths.

Helpful Resources & The Basics:

**I have to put this disclaimer in here: This section provides in-text links and helpful resources that will greatly assist you. I am not a dietitian/nutritionist/doctor, so I can only tell you what works for me. Results may vary. Please use your discretion or consult a doctor before beginning any diet program. **

1. Please please please DO NOT be fooled into buying fake hCG. You want real hCG derived from human sources. Metabolic Research Center uses Celeste HCG; I retrieved the website straight from the bottle that I got from the Meta hCG program. The prices are fair & shipping is fast. They also have a contact number that you can call and talk to a real person. I don't get any "kick-backs" for referring this website. Just do yourself a favor and find REAL hCG if you do not go through a clinic. Get the B-12, too, as it's great for weight loss.

**on a side note, please don't be discouraged by the spelling and grammar mistakes on the Celeste website. As much as it irritated me, I'm proof that the Celeste hCG does work, and I wouldn't be buying it or recommending it if the results didn't speak for themselves.**

2. You will need a good multivitamin with calcium, magnesium, etc. and a high quality fish oil. You may also want to add in vitamins for hair, skin, nails or even a gender specific vitamin pack. It is possible to lose hair on this diet, but I didn't seem to have that problem as I made sure to take my vitamins!

3. Fluids: drink massive amounts of water. You can even drink Skinny Water.The more the better, but at least half a gallon a day. I have been known to drink up to 3 gallons of water a day. Excessive? Maybe. BUT, I am outside quit a bit and with mild work outs also, the water helps a lot. You can also drink coffee, mineral water, zero calorie flavored water, greet tea, diet tea.

4. Diet tea is great because it helps with slow bowels. Trust me, there is nothing worse than wanting to go poop and not being able to. I like Slim Tea because the flavor isn't horrible, especially when you add in a stevia packet. I also like Smooth Move Tea in chocolate.

5. Shirataki noodles have quickly become one of my favorites. Some people have problems getting over the smell and texture, but if you follow one of my recipes, you will find that they are amazing. I wouldn't dare call them a substitute for pasta. Pasta lovers know that there can never be a real substitute for pasta, but they are filling, zero calorie & high in fiber. You can find them on Amazon.com in bulk under miracle noodles, BUT they can also be found at asianfoodgrocer.com for MUCH cheaper, these are the kind that I get: JFC shirataki noodles. I buy them at my local Asian Food Mart for $1.49. I highly recommend trying to find them and trying one of my recipes (or another recipe) with them first. This way if you don't like them, you're not stuck with several packages.

6. Spices and condiments. You can basically use any spice, except for salt, that is zero calorie with no added sugar or salt. I believe you can use sea salt in very small amounts. Flavoring food can become a challenge. I have somany different hot sauces in my house, it's ridiculous... tobasco, habanero, tepatio, crystals, texas pete, sriracha, huy fong chile garlic sauce...just to name a few. I'm also a huge fan of hoot n holler jalapeno powder, buttermilk ranch dressing powder (this is the only dressing powder that is zero calorie), you can also use copious amounts of mustard, you can cook with I can't believe it's not butter, any mrs. dash... the list goes on.

7. Walden Farms... you will learn to LOVE them, true story. Buy here: Walden Farms Zero Calorie Foods.

Working Out: The last time I did this diet, I worked out pretty hard at least 3 times a week. This wasn't exactly a good idea, but it did ramp up my results. The problem was, I would get faint or exhausted to the point that I puked. Not good! I still work out, and it is a big part of my life, so sometimes I up my protein intake depending on the type of workout I do. Light workouts are recommended, though. Anything like yoga or pilates would be fine.

Buying Food & Planning Meals: Since you should be eating mostly fresh produce, it's a good idea to plan out your daily meals and shop by the week. Don't be surprised if your grocery bill actually raises, even though you're eating less. It's worth it though! I can't say that enough. all of the time and money you put into becoming a healthier person is worth every single minute and every single cent. The self satisfaction and lifestyle that comes along with being healthy is priceless.

Keeping Track: It is incredibly helpful to track what you eat. Keep a log of what you eat each meal and the calorie count. There are SO MANY apps, for free, for your phone these days that tracking your meals should not be a problem. Not tracking them is not an option. Know what you are putting in your body! Awareness is a major key to success.

To anyone that decides to do this diet, I wish you the best of luck. If you stick to it, you really will see amazing results. With that being said, make sure you have a good support system. If you don't have anyone, you can always contact me! I will be glad to help in any way possible. Don't forget to continue to check my homepage for new hCG friendly recipes.

<3 Allie