Saturday, 14 January 2012

Newsletter 30, January 2012: hCG Diet Guide and Why Can't I Lose Weight Update

I lost 35 pounds in less than 10 weeks of dieting!

Well, it's certainly been a busy and eventful year. Having spent quite some months researching the hCG Diet, navigating through the copious conflicting and often scientifically unsupportable information about it, I eventually felt confident enough to try it out for myself. I am more than delighted to say it lived up to its reputation for producing unbelievably fast weight loss, even in a hard loser like myself.

I did two 'Rounds' of the hCG Diet, because I needed to lose 35 pounds - more than the maximum number you are allowed to lose in a single Round. In the very low calorie diet (VLCD) fat-loss phase of Round 1 (I did four weeks) I lost 17 pounds. That's only one pound less than the average of between 18 and 24 pounds for a female. For me, this was an astounding result, bearing in mind my long-standing thyroid and adrenal problems. I would have been surprised and delighted had I lost only half that!

Despite only taking in 500 calories a day on the VLCD, I was not hungry. I then came off the VLCD and kept my weight stable in the 'stabilisation' phase for eight weeks with my usual low carb way of eating before starting Round 2, losing a further 18 pounds (five-and-a-half weeks of VLCD this time). So my total loss over the entire four month period (of which incredibly only nine-and-a-half weeks were actual VLCD and weight loss weeks) was 35 pounds - bang on target! For more on my personal weight loss story see My Story.

This kind of rapid weight loss is usually termed a crash diet. Whether the hCG Diet should be termed a crash diet I do not know, as it is usually used as a perjorative term - a warning that it is not good for your health and that the weight loss is illusory, probably mostly water weight, or worse, it's lean muscle rather than fat that you're losing. However, to tar the hCG Diet with this brush would seem wholly unjustified, as not only does it have a reputation for being very safe but reports are that it produces a much higher loss of fat compared with lean muscle than other diets, which has to be good from the point of view of maintaining the weight loss in the future. And the weight loss is far too high and too sustained to be accounted for by 'water loss'. So I shall categorise the hCG Diet as a healthy ultra-rapid fat loss diet.

Then of course, as is my way when I find something that is of use to those of us who struggle with weight- and diet-related issues, I decided to write a comprehensive guide to the hCG Diet so that others could benefit from it without having to spend months of time and effort sorting the truth from the myth like I did. Writing the "The Easy Guide to the hCG Diet" took up another couple of months, and then there was a major update of my e-book "Why Can't I Lose Weight" to make, together with a minor update of my "Low Carb is Easy Cookbook". So if I haven't updated my blog or websites quite as regularly as I would have liked, that's the reason. I have nevertheless continued to respond to questions about weight loss problems, low carb and stone age diets and recipes and other diet-related issues during the year, and look forward to receiving and responding to more of your interesting questions in 2012.

Your Successes, Requests and Questions

This is your spot. Whether it's your dietary success story, a request to cover a particular topic in a future newsletter or a question you would like answered, we would love to hear from you. Please do contact us.

Here is a question we answered recently:

Q: I am just starting Atkins, but saw something about trying to eliminate coffee or strong teas... why? Also, having just started I bought a grand amount of salami and have been wolfing that down ... afraid I will get cravings otherwise...

A: There are lots of opposing views on whether the caffeine in coffee (and in tea, chocolate, colas and some other soft drinks, some painkillers and cough/cold remedies too for that matter) will affect weight loss. Dr. Atkins recommends avoiding caffeine as it may trigger insulin. One thing is for sure - you know you're having too much caffeine if you get palpitations/nervousness/jitters with it. And if you 'need' your caffeine to get you going (and very probably, if you get headaches or other withdrawal symptoms when you stop) that indicates you're addicted to it. So although no-one is sure whether caffeine will affect your weight loss on a low carb (or any other) diet, it's not that good an idea to get too much of it for other reasons.

Salami is not too good for you because it usually contains a lot of cancer-promoting chemicals called nitrites (as may any processed meat and fish). Processsed meats (and fish) may also contain carbs due to the sugar they are cured with, or sugar may be added, and/or they may contain fillers such as 'rusk' or other forms of starch which all contain carbs.

Having said that, you may (as I do) take the view that if a certain amount of caffeine and salami helps you get over the first period when you are adjusting to your new low carb way of eating, then that is better than cutting them out entirely if this results in your succumbing to cravings and giving up your low carb diet altogether.

Personally I switched to decaffeinated coffee and herbal caffeine-free teas some years ago and don't miss the ordinary coffee and tea at all now. I'm now lessening the impact of the decaffeinated coffee (which has issues of its own) by having just half a teaspoon of decaff together with half a teaspoon of a chicory-based coffee substitute. I think the main thing is to be open to trying new (and hopefully less damaging) foods and drinks and not get stuck in a rut with what we've always eaten/drunk.

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With best wishes for your continued good health
Jackie Bushell
Founder Director,

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