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January 31, 2011

I Started the HCG Diet

Slow start today, dolls! There’s 4–6 inches of snow, and then there’s the detox diet I started on Saturday. It seemed like a good day, considering that I gorged myself on lobster mac & cheese the night before and this particular detox calls for a “fat loading” day or two. Your kind of detox? It gets harder. It’s called the HCG Diet and it’s actually been around since the 1950s when a doctor discovered that human chorionic gonadotrophin (HCG), a hormone produced during pregnancy, triggers the hypothalamus in your brain to release and mobilize abnormal (extra) fat you are lugging around for your body to use as an energy. Like love handles and side thighs. The theory is that when you go on a very low calorie diet (500 calories a day) the HCG taps into your stored fat and burns it up instead of of the calories you’re consuming and need for energy. The result is rapid weight loss of about 1–2 pounds a day of FAT, not muscle.

HCG is a homeopathic formula that you administer under your tongue in liquid drop form. I was first introduced to it by Barbara at Aurora Spa in Minneapolis. She’s my go-to for holistic treatments and leads an incredibly clean life, so I paid attention when she told me that she and dozens of her customers had lost 15–20 pounds on the diet, and kept it off for more than a year. I let my friend Suzette be the guinea pig and she dropped 10 pounds in less than 2 weeks, felt amazing, and lost her post-baby belly completely.

Why hasn’t Oprah been all over this diet? Because it’s highly restrictive. For the first 3 weeks you’re limited to 500 calories a day of only lean protein, and certain fruits and vegetables—absolutely NO fat, sugar, dairy, starches, or alcohol. None. The only saving grace is that caffeine is allowed. Otherwise I’d be faced-down on my laptop. My energy has been at an all-time low the last two days but I’m finally starting to feel normal again. After three weeks of this madness, you enter a 3-week “maintenance” phase and stop using the drops, start adding dairy and healthy fats back in, and increase your daily calories to 1,500. Oh, and alcohol is allowed. Don’t think I didn’t time this diet to end at the beginning of a vaca.

I know I’ve given you a ton to digest, so let me know if you have questions and/or are interested in more gory details, like how I COUNT THE SECONDS TO MY NEXT HALF A GRAPEFRUIT. I haven’t weighed myself since I started, so I’ll let you know when the scale says something exciting. If you want to join me at any time, I find the GNC-approved the drops here. There are tons of brands on the market, so feel free to shop around or ask your healthcare practitioner for suggestions. Unfort, nothing is going to change the fact that I’ll be eating dry lettuce a chicken breast the size of a deck of cards for lunch.

  • Elizabeth Dehn
    Born and raised in Minnesota by surprisingly low-maintenance parents, beauty writer and lifestyle editor Elizabeth Dehn (aka Bets) spent her awkward years buying Mood lipstick and whipping up DIY face masks before founding Beauty Bets in 2009.
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