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Friday, March 27, 2009

HCG Diet Conclusions

Let's look for a moment at my final statistics:

WeightBody FatVisceral FatBMILBMI

And my final measurements:


When you see the numbers above, it looks pretty good at first glance. I lost almost 20 pounds, my body fat dropped 2.5% and I lost a total of 9.0 inches. My BMI is now in the "healthy" range.

Let's discuss the numbers a little further.

Fat Loss vs. Lean Body Mass Loss

Pounds of fat lost: 11.46
Pounds of lean body mass lost: 7.94

This was the main information I wanted when I first started the HCG Diet-- what is the true amount of fat lost on this diet vs. the amount of lean mass lost? After all, I'm a skeptic, and I have never heard of rapid weight loss that did not also cause you to lose muscle.

I lost almost EIGHT POUNDS of lean body mass. Eight pounds, folks. That's a LOT. In a typical "starvation" type fad diet, anywhere from 40-60% of the weight lost will be lean mass (including water weight). Let's do the math:

Percentage of my HCG Diet weight lost - fat loss: 59%
Percentage of my HCG Diet weight lost - non-fat loss: 41%

In my opinion, the HCG Diet is just like any other starvation diet out there today, as far as end results. Only 59% of my weight loss was actual fat. Included in that fat loss was a drop in my visceral fat-- this is needed structural fat, the kind that HCG is supposed to prevent. I am here to tell you that it most certainly DID NOT protect me from losing vital fat. And it certainly didn't protect me from losing vital muscle.

Inches Lost

I lost a total of 9.0 inches. Let's examine the lost inches a little more carefully.
  • Thigh: 2.25 inches. I have been feeling weakness and burning in my thighs during the diet. My thighs have been doing muscle twitching, I have lost strength in them and have a difficult time climbing stairs (which has never been a problem for me in the past). Considering that I obviously lost 8 pounds of lean body mass (including muscle), this would be my first guess as to where some the lost muscle came from. Second guess would be my bum, since it has flattened out and I can really feel my "sit bones" when I'm on a hard chair now.
  • Hips: 2 inches. My pants have become looser around the hips and thigh area. I was having pain in my hips while walking. Again, I suspect muscle loss in the glutes, and probably some fat around the edges.
  • Bust: 3 inches. Well, since boobage is basically all fat, I am assuming that I lost almost all fat weight from my bust. As per my usual weight loss tradition, I lose my bustline first.
  • Arm: 3/4 of an inch. Probably a combo of muscle and fat.
  • Waist: 1 inch. Ok, this surprised me. Really surprised me. This diet is supposed to get rid of belly fat more than anything else. Normally, when I've dropped back to 166 pounds, my jiggly tummy has gone down. Not this time. It's still there. My pants are almost as tight around my waist as when I started. I still have my "muffin top".
I've noticed that my weight has definitely shifted around-- in my first "before" side view picture, my back is more swayed. I'm standing straighter in the "after" shot. I can feel it, too-- with my back problems, the pain has increased slightly (even with the weight drop!) as my body gets used to less muscle to support my back (glutes and thigh muscles).


My BMI dropped a total of 2.9 points. That puts me into the high end of the "healthy" BMI category. My LBMI, on the other hand, has DROPPED 1.2 points. Remember, this is the ratio of your body fat vs. lean mass for your height. When I started, I was at 17.1 (anything 17.0 or above is healthy). I moved from the "healthy" into the "unhealthy" category within the first week, and never recovered.

This is BAD, folks. If you're saying to yourself, "Well, she did lose more fat weight than muscle", you're not understanding the whole picture here. Losing muscle is very unhealthy. It signals incredible stress on your body, which is doing the best it can to ward off starvation. Your body will always go to the muscles first and attack them, as muscle burns more energy. When you limit your energy intake (calories), muscle will disappear first (and subsequently drop the water it holds). There is no doubt in my mind that my body went into starvation mode.

Overall Opinion

Do I think the HCG Diet is a healthy way to lose weight? Do I believe that the HCG Diet is a good choice to lose unwanted fat? Do I believe the HCG Diet is safe?

The answer is an unequivocal NO.

Would I ever recommend this diet to friends or family? I cannot, in good conscience, EVER recommend this diet to anyone.

If you are reading this, and considering the HCG Diet, I implore you to find healthier ways of losing your unwanted fat. Exercise. Eat better. Lower your stress. But please, please, PLEASE do not starve yourself. The HCG Diet will do exactly that-- cause you to go into a state of starvation, even if you don't feel ravenously hungry because of the injections.

I am not better off now than I was a month ago. In fact, I have a long way to go to regain my lost muscle. I have a lot of work ahead of me, and I cannot say that the HCG Diet was an asset to my health.