Saturday, February 06, 2010

I Have a Confession To Make

Pin It You guys.

I tried the HCG diet.

(I KNOW, I know, I know.  "Crash dieting never works."  "You have to make lifestyle changes."  "Moderation in all things."  I KNOW.  You don't have to tell me.)

But if I'm going to have to meet a bunch of people in February, I would prefer to be - not in the largest pants size I've ever owned.  That would be my preference.

If you haven't heard of the HCG diet before, it is basically - complete insanity.  Basically, you starve yourself  and you take HCG hormone shots, you can't use lotion or oily make-up or cook anything that would require you to even momentarily touch something fatty, and you - I don't know - spin around three times in the dark and whisper "please make me beautiful" until it all works together to make you lose weight. (Or else, as I suspect, it's just the fact that you are STARVING YOURSELF that is effective and the rest is all complete BS.)

You can't exercise, which means my running program went on a temporary hiatus.  The official reason for this has something to do with burning calories from the "wrong" fat stores, but really, I think it is because they know you would KEEL OVER AND DIE, and they don't want to be responsible for it.

The diet has phases - Phase 1, where you eat like a crazed hippopotamus for two days (this is called "Fat Loading" and it was my Very Favorite Phase); Phase 2, where you eat 500 calories per day for 23 or 43 days, depending upon how clinically insane your doctor is; Phase 3, which they call "Stabilization" and where you basically eat no carbs; and Phase 4, the maintenance phase, where you ease in a few carbs, gain everything back, and start all over again.

(Listen.  I know how crazy it sounds. I have read billions of nutrition/diet/fitness/healthy lifestyle books. I am very good about READING about how to get and stay fit, just not so good at the actual implementation. I know all about how crash dieting effects your metabolism, your muscle mass, etc., etc., etc.  I know about all of it.  I'm not fat because I don't understand these things.  But desperate people do desperate things.   And after viewing Certain Christmas Pictures That Have Been DESTROYED, DESTROYED, DESTROYED, I would say that desperate just about sums it up for me.)

I started reading The Literature (from back in the 1950s - so - Highly Credible), and it sounded vaguely convincing, if you squinted and really WANTED it to be convincing and were willing to ignore all of the other things you knew about nutrition, fitness and metabolism.  And I know a lot of people who have done this diet, who have done WELL on this diet - people who are NOT actually clinically insane, but rather rational, intelligent people.  So I thought - what do I have to lose (besides, as it turns out, large clumps of my hair)? 

I tried it.  For the two fat loading days, and then for eight days of starvation.

The Pros:
  • I lost 14 pounds in 8 days. (I suspect 80% of that loss is water, since I look not a smidgeon different.)
  • My carb and sugar cravings are completely gone.
  • I am completely off the sauce (Diet Dr. Pepper)
  • I wasn't hungry, strangely enough.
The Cons:
  • The aforementioned hair loss
  • Overwhelming fatigue
  • Skin like an alligator
  • The inability to form complete sentences
  • Migraines and vomiting (A HA!)
  • Lost work time (due to staring at my computer wondering what the little buttons with letters on them were for)
  • Irritability (if by irritability you mean completely losing my nut twenty times each day) (my children LOVED this diet)

Yesterday I started blacking out, so - as of yesterday, I switched to a sensible low carb plan that will allow me to - not starve. OH, SWEET FOOD. SWEET EGGS AND SALAD AND CHICKEN.  SWEET NOT DYING OF STARVATION. SWEET BRAIN CLARITY.

So now here I am, 14 pounds lighter but still having vertigo today.  I'm going to jump back into my running / weights program tomorrow (or as soon as the constant dizziness goes away).

And THAT is My HCG story.

Please folks, don't try this at home.

(Do I win for the craziest crash diet story ever?)


  1. Yes, honey. You win. Congratulations.

  2. Whoa. That's nutso. I only know one other person who's done the HGC diet and it worked for the her, but this does sound borderline crazy. Or not so borderline.

    Yay for 14 ell bees. Boo for migraines and passing out. And I know know whether being off DDP is a good thing or a bad thing. I have missed the sauce. Haven't been able to stomach it pregnant, and I miss it, so.

    On the plus side, I will be bigger than I ever have been when I meet a bunch of new bloggers, so every time they see me afterward will be an improvement! You planned this very well, my dear.

  3. Well, my tapeworm diet New Year's Resolution is going well, so I guess you win.

    Oh, and I am also going to do the HCG diet. It's called anorexia.

  4. Is HGC made out of pregnant girl pee?

    Yeah ... no eating worked for me, too. Well, actually I would eat one small meal a day, one bready carb, any fruit or veggies, and a handful of vitamins ... and run a lot. And caffeine. I'm good. I can live this way forever. I love migraines. I'm sure it's completely unrelated. (Laying down to cry now) (in single digit sized pants tho).

  5. Um....

    yes, you win!

    I quit booze and none of that has happened to me. So yes, I think you should get some sort of award, a really BIG a Big Mac.

    I wish you posted something every day. No pressure.

  6. My, my. You most certainly win. Congratulation. I think.

    Heather of the EO sent me over here. And I'm glad she did.


  7. You know what I love about this post? It makes me happy to be wearing the fattest pants I've ever worn. Thank you for your sacrifice of hair to help me achieve that.

  8. I often start the starvation diet. Like every morning (after breakfast) But I usually give up around 10:00 or 11:00. Then start again after a lunch binge. I'm sure you can guess how that's working for me. sob.

  9. You know, I'm a little embarrassed to admit I did this too. My roommmate lost 50 (yes! 50!) pounds on it so I tried it because I was curious what it was all about. I did the 23-day program and stuck to it (for the most part--I can't live without cheese). The results:
    lost 21 pounds, was never hungry, got off DDP without the usual caffeine headaches, had much more energy than normal. It's not something I think I'll do again or recommend to anyone, but it honestly wasn't too bad.

  10. These comments are cracking me up.

    Kim - I wish I'd had energy. I had NO ENERGY. I have to work into the wee hours every night (I work from home and that is my most productive time) and I couldn't stay up past 9:00, ever. I was falling asleep everywhere. And my hair was falling out which is just Not A Line That Can Be Crossed.

    But yeah. 50 lbs. That's what convinced me to start it.

  11. I did the Master Cleanse. That's just, you know, NOT eating for 12 days. With the exception of drinking a concoction of water, lemon juice, maple syrup, and cayenne pepper. Oh, and chugging a quart of salt water every morning.

    But I kept all my hair. So I think you still win.

  12. Who needs hair? It's totally overrated!

  13. Oh.My.Gosh. I am aghast that someone as witty, smart and pretty as you would have considered this "diet". HOWEVER, it is that witty, smart, pretty noggin of yours that pulled you back to this side after a short time on this thing rather than sticking through it like some Courtney Love / Karen Carpenter love child.

  14. I was going to try this, but then a friend who was on it, ended up having a heart attack, and almost died. She's only 25! It's probably not the norm, but I'm still staying far far away from the HGC diet.

  15. Bonny - ACK! I'm so sorry. Yikes.

    Adhis - I KNOW. (hangs head in shame) i know. I KNOW!

    Fig - I don't know. We might be in a tie, you and I.

    Motherboard - Without my hair I am NOTHING. NOTHING. (And it's not even that great, it's just - you know. Not fat.)

  16. Sweet hilariousness. Ditch the dieting, you should write a humor book, you are that good. It would sell millions! :)

    My diet consists of dark chocolate. And waffles. The end.

  17. I can't stop laughing. You win.

    Let me send you a pair of my pants (freshly laundered) and you can toss them on and take a picture of yourself HALF your "previous" size. The pull-your-pants-out-and-suck-your-tummy-in picture. Then everyone will think you've lost half of yourself and the rest will soon follow. Way less painful than anorexia--um I mean--the HCG diet.

  18. I did it too. Also the Master Cleanse which felt like it actually turned me inside out.

  19. Anonymous1:42 PM

    My sister told me about this craze that is sweeping Utah. I had never even heard of this until she told me. Wow!

    Maybe this would work to get me off sweats & carbs? Although I think I'd rather try Kristina P's way though. Tape worms sound like so much more fun.

  20. Whoa!! yes u definitely win for craziest diet story ever. I'm glad you're getting back to the world of eating and real food. lol

    Best of luck with your new healthy lifestyle.

    Great post. :)

  21. See, I'm almost 45. After eleven years of dieting and stupid diet drugs and crash dieting to regain my pre-baby girlish figure,and still ending up 40 pounds too heavy, I am now doing Weight Watchers. With an incredibly bad attitude. Stupid "lifestyle change" and losing it slowly. I hate that.

    But I am doing it. Second week now, which is some kind of record for me.

  22. So. I guess I'll just be fat. Thanks for doing the research. I tried Nutrisystem and got migraines, so you can save your money and forgo their food which has a shelf life of 1,000 years.

  23. I am so glad you posted this. I have seriously considered trying this diet, but keep putting it off. I know some people have lost a lot of weight and it works well for them. I am glad to know that there is another side too. Maybe I have been hesitant because it would affect me the same way it affected you.

  24. I'll take your lb's. The docs keep telling me to gain weight. Yeah, well, OK, FINE. Just tell me HOW.

    And please don't whine at me that it's "such a good problem to have." It's not.

    And it's not like I can just go eat lots of chocolate and shakes and crap, because that would, you know, KILL ME.

    I like talking in caps on your blog. I feel like it makes me belong, somehow.

  25. Wiz - I AM INTRIGUED. WHERE SHALL WE MEET TO ARRANGE THIS POUND EXCHANGE? (The all caps were just for you.)

    Jess - yeah, I would skip it. We should low carb it together.

  26. Ok, so here I am and glad I came. Giggling as I read this, mainly because I know the desperation which you speak of (I am going to a SITS event in March and ugh! I'm a fat, fat fatty)
    This diet sounds "fabulous". UGH!

  27. This must be the diet my BIL has tried to get everyone in the family on board with. They did lose weight, but you're right--it comes back when you start eating normally, and my MIL is now so into eating almost nothing that its really kind of a pain when she comes to visit. She shuns all our food, and can't eat anything if we want to eat out somewhere and generally it seems like a miserable way to live. I'm not sure that its worth it just to be thin.

  28. Anonymous2:36 PM

    Aaaaaack! Sue, this makes me both laugh hysterically and want to hug you until you pass out from the lack of oxygen. (Ok, maybe not pass out. Because if you were passed out you could not be so FUNNY, which would be a TREMENDOUS LOSS. The Funny must be preserved.)

    I wish I had some amazing advice to give you. But. Um. Not so much.

    (Do you have any good fitness blogs that you read? Because I can totally recommend some that are super-supportive and encouraging and NOT AT ALL crazy-making. If you want them.)

    Also - I think you're beautiful. I've seen you in person, so I know for sure. (And I'm not even related to you, so you know I don't *have* to say that! LOL!)


  29. I'm sorry, but whaaaaaa?

  30. I can't even imagine that diet. I myself have been on the "see food" diet for about twenty years. It's working great, I see food and I eat it. I can't say I'm always please when I look in the mirror though. Good job on the running! You go girl!! Love, Joy

  31. you so. totally. win.

    Were you really blacking out??!!! I blacked out the one and only time I went on a diet. Quit a few days later. Anything that makes you black out is NOT good for you. End of story.

  32. Marste - LIAR, LIAR, PANTS ON FIRE (but also - thank you :>) And yes, I'd love recommendations

    Migillicutty - I SO WAS. Not like, falling to the floor with my hand dramatically placed on my forehead, but where you're standing there and your vision starts to go black and you sway a little and then it gradually clears. Over and over again. So... Yeah.

  33. Yes, you win. I vote against anything that makes me cut out a certain food which is perhaps why diets only go so far with me. Hmmm...

  34. I can't believe you risked this, what with your history of deep vein thrombosis.

    Yes, you win for craziest story. You also win for FUNNIEST story. Which makes everything worth it, right?

  35. Yeah, don't do it.

  36. I had the flu recently and as I vomited OVER AND OVER AND OVER again I thought "YES! I am so going to lose weight now!"


    My dad lost 60 pounds last year. And frankly, having him act like such a mega-douche for all of that time has scared me off trying to lose weight myself. ALSO he gained it back. So.

  37. You just made my night with this post. I can't stop laughing.

    We had a moment of silence over here for the hair loss.

  38. Well, I had always thought this diet sounded completely ridiculous too. Just like the Poop-Your-Way-To-A-Thinner-You Diet (aka Alli). but I confess that I have been sorely tempted to try BOTH lately because I've been yo-yo-ing the same 2 lbs for a year. A YEAR of dieting and exercise and I'm 2 lbs less (or 0 lbs less, depending on the day) than I was then. Plus, I know several people who did really well with the HCG diet. But since I'm fertility challenged and trying to become fertility advanced, HCG is out for me. WAH. You and your lucky migraines and barfing!

  39. Ooooh--just what I need: more migraines! I know someone who just swears by this diet and is doing it for a second time. Great for her, but I keep wondering at what point she'll kill herself.

    Sure, I'm w/in 3 lbs of my full-term pregnancy weight, but I'm not losing my hair or blacking out. Yikes, girl!

  40. Yep, you win. The prize? You get to keep breathing. Its a worthy prize. Far better than the alternative of being the skinniest corpse in cemetary!!

    Seriously, someone is actually promoting this diet for real?? Under a doctor's care???

    You're right, insane is the correct name!

  41. Yes, that is crazy. I'm glad you aren't doing that anymore. Sounds scary. Have you read Eat to Live by Joel Furhman? I wrote a post about it awhile ago. You can eat A LOT of food and lose weight quickly by following his plan. How? You eat LOTS of veggies. Check it out. It's not that hard because you get to eat so much.

  42. I did the "have your boyfriend break up with you for no reason" diet and almost passed out after not eating for 48 hours. I lost 8 pounds, but I had to force myself to eat so I could function.

  43. I think I need to bear my testimony that I love each. and. every. one. of. you here in the comments thread. Also, Adhis, you made me feel so much better yesterday by letting me know I'm not the only admitted goody-two-shoes. (Now that I've also admitted it, anyway.)

    My two most successful weight-loss programs were when I grieved over my parents' divorce and lost interest in food (also in life, to a degree) which helped me be at my lowest-ever weight when I got married, thus ensuring that I would never fit back into my wedding dress. The other was during the early stages of my hyperthyroidism, before my body reacted to the starvation by regaining it all and then some. Currently, with my baby nearly a year old, I'm back to my full-term pregnancy weight and really needing to get my thyroid checked, but not finding the energy or will to do so. (There's nothing like being sick to make it hard to find the energy to do what it takes to get well.)

    I'm about to say one of the most politically incorrect things I've ever said (or anyway written): I have read that most black women have a much more positive body image and are far more accepting of their body size than most white women are, so when I'm being self-critical sometimes I try to combat it by trying to think like a black woman. (Not that I have any idea how to do so.) (There, I just ruined my and my husband's chances of ever having careers in politics.)

  44. I love you to pieces.

  45. What the hell is the HCG diet? And what kind of "doctor" recommends this? Did he get his degree in a strip mall? Yeesh.

    Also: LOW-CARB?! I'd rather die. Truly. Didn't anyone tell your doctor there are good carbs and bad carbs? Ack. You are a better woman than I, doing a low-carb diet. I would be homicidal without carbs.

    Stick with the running. And the not dying.

  46. I'm still waiting for Sue's Tapeworm Diet. Make it a multi-level and Utahns will be all over it.

    So glad you're back to regularish blogging!

  47. holy crap. seriously, everyone I know is doing this bananas diet and I have two things to say:

    I love food.

    I love diet dr. pepper.

    So, no thank you.

  48. I did the drink-so-much-carrot-juice-you-start-turning-orange diet, like literally my fingers turned orange. Thanks for the links, I could use a laugh!

  49. trusted friend in the healthcare biz has been bugging me to try HCG, but after reading this...I think I'll pass.

    My life is one crazy diet after another.

    I've done Phen-Fen three times. First, in high school I lost 65 pounds in less than a year. Then suddenly everyone found out that it caused heart valve damage, so I stopped...and gained back 40 pounds in a month. The other times were at those sketchy "Doctor-assisted weight loss" clinics. After a month for a racing heartbeat (and paying $40 per week for the pleasure, I quit it again.

    My craziest diet was the pregnant-delivery-almost dead, tube feeding diet. Lost 30 pounds in my first trimester, was at my pre-preg weight on due date, lost 30 in delivery, went into lung failure in the ICU for a month with nose food...ended up 6 weeks postpartum at 15 over my pre-preg weight.

    But I've tried many other methods. Last year, I was on a weight loss plan called Thrive with a bunch of coworkers in Atlanta. The core of the diet included unlimited pickles, lemon slices, and PB&J sandwiches on double-fiber bread. Lost about 10 pounds, then screwed up my metabolism for months.

    And let's not forget Weight Watchers SEVEN times. I've lost as much as 27 pounds (which took me 15 months)

    I'm waiting to hear back from NBC on my Biggest Loser application.

  50. I was considering this diet but the needles thing was a major deal-breaker for me. And the fact that I have a reaction to every "diet" I've tried. I'm just gonna stay chubby for now.

  51. Ps. I like your new header! I looks like a reflection!


  52. The blood drop (gah!) is gone, so I like it better just because of that.

  53. Anonymous4:00 PM

    Mwahahahaha!!! I will send you my bestest, most favoritest non-crazy-making blog links! :)

    And I loveloveLOVE the new header. And the tagline. Hee.


  54. Seriously, SA-LA-MI. I swear by it. And tell me that, in mentally picturing The Council, you mentally pictured me as your right hand man.

  55. Oh come on! :-) Should I not tell you I haven't gained anything back in the three months I have been done? Or that my clothes didn't feel different until day 10? So close, close!

    I'll be honest though, I had an easier time living without extra food than I did without my diet coke. It is definitely a sucky diet though! I bet the eight days was a good body cleanse to kick off your new diet.

  56. I'll keep my caffeine, carbs and girth thanks! Holy crap nuggets. I wouldn't last a day on that diet! (Except maybe the firs two.)

  57. i'll admit, i love hcg. i lost 25 and it wasn't even that bad! i wasn't hungry AND i finally got over my addiction to diet dr. pepper! the only bad part is i'm kinda in love with hcg, and i don't know how to loose weight any other way... ;)

  58. I just found your blog on twitter and holy hell am I in love with you. Seriously, could you not have introduced yourself as that little voice in my head a while ago?
    (by the way, I'm at because my google ID is still linked to a blog that I let die a slow and horrible death.)

  59. Yes, you win, you win. Awesome story, I will never ever ever do that diet, at least not on purpose. only by accident.

  60. Anonymous12:41 AM

    Easily I agree but I think the list inform should acquire more info then it has.

  61. Aww....crap. I've thought about trying this..I am making lifestyle changes but I just want to see what it would be like to actually lose weight when I'm not pregnant. I am so backwards. I have been getting a not so great feeling about it...and then I read this. I have a few friends it has worked for. Sigh. Back to the diet and exercise I guess. ;)

  62. I'm tearing up from laughing so hard! I've never heard of this diet. But I can empathise with the hair loss.

    Photos are mean.