Smutty Fitness: Thoughts on the HCG Diet
This morning two of my clients brought up the HCG diet in their workout, which is something that I had never heard of before. They were expressing concern to each other as they had noticed lately that they’d read on a few mom blogs that some women were promoting this diet as a great way to lose weight. I piped in and asked what it was, and what they told me, it blew my mind. I did some further readings on it once our session was over and here is what I learned.
HCG, which stands for human chorionic gonadotropin, is a hormone that is produced by women who are in the very early of stages of pregnancy. According to the Mayo Clinic, this hormone is mainly used to help treat fertility issues, and it is not FDA approved for over the counter use, and states that any company that is doing so is breaking the law. In a 2011 interview with CTV, Health Canada states that “there is no scientific evidence that the use of HCG either by mouth (as drops under the tongue, as advertised on the internet) or as a self-administered injection, could promote weight loss.”
So what are people claiming that taking this drug will do to help weight loss? They are promising a rapid drop in your body’s fat stores and assure you that even though you will be only consuming 500 -800 calories a day you will not be hungry. Websites promoting this diet claim that the HCG hormone will trick your body into burning fat, as it would if it were pregnant and growing a human inside it. However, check out any health or medical website, such as the Mayo Clinic, and you will discover a side effect symptoms list that includes fatigue, irritability, depression, edema, blood clots, swollen breasts in men and women, confusion, dizziness and headaches (to name a few). In a recent article found on Livestrong.com, the author refers to past studies on this drug that have concluded that HCG has no greater effect on weight loss than a placebo.
What boggles my mind, though, is that you still find medical practitioners who are promoting this product and convincing you it is what you need to lose weight, especially if you are obese and want to lose weight fast. Some doctors are even promoting this product on TV, convincing millions that it is safe.
I will say it again, there is no magic pill and there is no easy way to do it. Our society is so used to instant gratification and having everything that we want in mere moments and we are constantly searching for the quick way to make something happen. But it does not take weeks to create the life habits which are the reasons behind weight gain, so therefore it is not going to take weeks to change those habits and lose the weight.
I had a client come to me late last year who was ready to make change in her life. She is not unlike most of us who have allowed a few pounds to hang around year after year, and soon found herself to be at an unhealthy weight. When she came to me, she did not ask for an easy way or tell me she wanted to lose all of it as quickly as possible. What she wanted was to change her life habits, and in turn change her life. She knew that it was going to take time, hard work, focus, dedication and a positive attitude. She did not place blame on anyone but herself for this situation, and she was ready to take accountability.
Less than 6 months later she is now a rock star. She has lost 24 pounds to date and has improved her fitness 10 fold. She is in the gym daily, working her ass off in training sessions, group workouts and spinning classes, always with a smile on her face. She has focused on making small changes weekly and is still living a full and vibrant life, enjoying exercise and healthy eating, and she is NOT starving! We are continuing to see weight loss each week, but most importantly I am seeing how empowered she is, how much more confidence she has in herself, and how excited she is for her new way of living.
You cannot achieve that by injecting yourself with a pregnancy hormone daily and putting yourself on a starvation diet.