What is HCG?
The HCG Diet, you’ve probably heard about it by now: an extreme diet that involves injections of HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin). HCG is the hormone women make when they are pregnant. Previously, the HCG Diet was defined by a 500-calorie diet paired with daily injections. This diet is associated with dramatic weight loss, up to a pound a day.
So, the most pressing question is: Does the injections work for weight loss? The answer is yes, absolutely. The trickier question is: How does it work for weight loss?
Remember, HCG does not make you lose weight – the diet makes you lose weight! However, the HCG injections change how you lose weight!
HCG reduces feelings of hunger. This allows patients to eat very little comfortably. Why? It is believed the presence of HCG in the bloodstream takes the appetite away.
The injections is pro-hormone which helps the body make more hormones. Since hormone deficiency or imbalance is usually part of the reason for weight gain, whether it’s your thyroid, or menopause (or andropause), this hormone offers help.
Only HCG injections have been shown to raise blood levels of HCG, so that is the only acceptable way of taking HCG at this time. Any other ways, such as drops, pills, or sprays, are likely dissolved before ever reaching the blood, and they do not raise blood levels; this would be like taking nothing at all. An injection is the only proven method at this time. Injections should only be taken with a prescription from a doctor, and under medical supervision.
HCG injections keep you from losing muscle while you diet. By elevating hormone levels in the body, including testosterone, the hormone creates an anabolic state (muscle-building) which counteracts the catabolic state (muscle-breakdown). There are hormone receptors on muscle fibers that respond to the increased hormone levels in patients taking the HCG hormone.
Ever wondered why very thin women have very healthy babies? HCG is the reason – it allows the body to burn fat reserves while maintaining muscle mass.
Why does that matter? During a fast, dramatic loss of pounds with crash dieting, there is a high amount of muscle that is lost. Because muscle is heavy, this loss looks good on the scale because the pounds are dropping quickly. When you lose muscle, it’s bad for your body, shape, and metabolism. The metabolism slows so much that dieter regain weight quickly, often regaining all the weight that was lost and then some. Additionally, it takes quite a bit of work to build back the muscle that has been lost.
Our protocol, however, protects muscle from being lost. In fact, there is more of a pure fat loss, which causes a shrinking in inches and size of clothing. The great result is that one can become leaner, in a smaller clothing size, but with more muscle. This muscle allows for a stronger metabolism and helps people maintain their weight loss long after their diet is completed.
The hormone actually allows the body to tap into fat reserves in the mid-section and burn them while minimizing muscle mass loss! It targets fat areas in the abdomen, ‘love handles’, back (near bra), thighs, hips and buttocks.
aNu Aesthetics™ and Optimal Wellness offers HCG injections as an option in our customized Medical Weight Loss Program.
What is HCG and how does it work?
HCG contains HCG – a hormone naturally produced in the body. It has many functions and is used medically to treat a variety of conditions. It is the pregnancy hormone, but during pregnancy the levels double every two days. This hormone allows the body to mobilize fat and use it as energy for both mother and fetus. This acts as a “fail-safe” mechanism when energy is needed immediately. For weight loss, we use only a very small amount of HCG to capitalize on this same mechanism. Using hormone injections in this way does not mimic pregnancy; in fact, it can be safely used by both men and women.
Is HCG safe?
It is extremely safe. All women experience very high levels during the nine months of every pregnancy with no adverse effects. The small amount we use for weight loss has absolutely NO side effects.
If HCG works so well for weight loss, why don’t pregnant women lose weight?
HCG works to mobilize fat for utilization by the body only when there is a significant decrease in calories and fat. A starvation state must exist for it to work. For weight loss, we use a very low calorie diet to trigger HCG to help rid the body of fat.
Will my metabolism slow down if I’m on a very low calorie diet?
Normally when we cut back our calories and fat, our bodies store fat and our metabolisms slow down. This happens because fat is really a life-saving source of stored energy. However, when a very low calorie diet is used in conjunction with the HCG in HCG, the hormone signals the body to use stored fat for energy, and eliminates excess fat reserves. It’s a natural process, so no ill effects on your metabolism will result.
Wouldn’t I lose the same amount of weight eating a very low calorie diet?
You can lose weight by simply eating fewer calories and fat, but because the body stores fat during times of deprivation, you will most likely lose muscle and bone before fat. This causes cellular metabolism to slow down, so in the long run, it would make gaining weight easier, as well as decrease bone density and muscle mass. By using HCG with the low calorie diet, extra fat is mobilized for energy and the rest is eliminated; the low calorie diet is vital in preventing immediate refilling of emptied fat cells. You benefit by preferentially getting rid of excess fat without affecting your bone and muscle.
The HCG diet is very low calorie, will I get hungry?
Because it mobilizes fat and makes it available to the body as an energy source, it naturally reduces appetite. So even though you are taking in fewer calories, your body can access the energy you have stored in fat cells. After about 2 days, many patients notice a significant decrease in their appetite. Overall, most people have plenty of energy and feel good while on the program.
Will HCG interfere with any medications I am currently taking? What about birth control pills or Depo-Provera injections?
It does not interact with ANY medications, including birth control pills or Depo-Provera, so there are NO side effects.
Will I experience any changes in my menstrual cycle taking HCG?
Because the amount of HCG is so small, there should not be changes to your menstrual cycle. Likewise, it will not affect your ability to become pregnant, nor will it increase your chances of getting pregnant. It is safe during pregnancy at these low doses if you were to accidentally become pregnant, but we DO recommend birth control to prevent pregnancy while taking HCG.
Why are some people calling HCG the “Weight Loss Cure”?
It is also being called the “Weight Loss Cure” because after taking it for weight loss, it reprograms your body to use stored fat for energy when calories are reduced for a period of time. Or put another way, it helps you maintain your weight and not regain the pounds you’ve lost.
How much weight can I expect to lose on the program?
On average, our patients lose around 20 lbs. or more per month. Often, people lose 10 to 12 lbs. in the first week.
Does the weight loss slow down after the first month?
Many times what we see is a large amount of weight loss in the first month, then a plateau or leveling off. This does not mean that your weight loss has stopped. Typically, inches are being lost continuously while on the program, and after a period of time, patients will experience another large drop on the scale. Weight loss is thus achieved in this stair-step fashion.