Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Concept of Maintenance

I'm back!

So, I wanted to at least say a bit more about the hcG Protocol. Here is a link where I found some useful information beyond what my practitioner gave me. Yes, the website is annoying but the info is there if you filter out the ads and other crap.

Basically, you're in diet phase for prescribed amount of time; my first one was 31 days. During that time, you eat about 500 calories a day and also take hcG drops, which purportedly allow your body to produce an extra 1000 to 1500 calories to make up for such a low actual intake. Some people inject the drops; I do it orally three times a day. You eat no starches, sugar, or oils, little to no milk, no eggs. You can eat a variety of protein sources – meats with visible fat trimmed, most seafood. Lots of veggies, and some fruit. Oh, and I got to have two melba toasts with my lunch and dinner. How could I forget? No breakfast except coffee or tea.

I know, it sounds weird and slightly sketchy. But, it works very effectively. For my mom, it was great because she never really experienced hunger or cravings at all. It was harder for me, but obviously not impossible. Some days I skated through, while others it was all I could do not to do something. My partner was a wonderful help keeping me focused on why I was doing what I was doing. So, obviously different people have different experiences, but everyone as far as I know, gets amazing results.

My practitioner said that I could expect to lose 36 pounds in the first 31 days. I didn't quite make it with my 27, but I also had two days in there where I totally went off course. If I hadn't done that I'd probably have dropped at least another five pounds, I think.

My mom is a superstar. I honestly have not seen her so beautiful and so happy in a really long time. Maybe never, in fact. She's lost fifty pounds since late September and hopes to lose a little bit more. She just loves the diet and hates being on maintenance – but that is an important element of the program. It's what, for me at least, makes this so doable. Yes, the diet for a month is hard, but it's only a month. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. I'm now in my fourth day of the first phase of maintenance, which involves eating what you want as long as it's not sugar or starch. Then, starting on day 6 for another ten days, I'll be in phase two, which allows the slow and limited introduction of sugar and starch. All the while, you're still trying to eat reasonably. If you gain more than two pounds above your diet phase end weight, you take a "steak day". You eat nothing all day but drink as much liquid as you can (preferably water). Then, for dinner you have the biggest steak you can find and either an apple or a tomato. (I know, more wackiness! But, I had to do a steak day on day two and lo and behold, it works.)

Beyond maintenance phase, you get two days of eating anything you want; then you go back into diet phase. Each time you start a new diet phase, you get re-evaluated by your practitioner who tells you how long to stay on it and how much you'll expect to lose. You do this ad infinitum until you're done losing the weight you want to lose.

So that's it in a nutshell. It sounds wacky, I was skeptical at first. All I know is that I finally got to the point where I just had enough and I think I really needed to see a fast result in order to really want to stick with this effort to finally lose the weight I need to lose. I'm eating so much more healthfully now AND I am really learning how to gauge my portions, which has always been a big problem for me.

It's interesting, in fact. I am finding being on maintenance right now a little scary. It feels like I am flying without a safety net. The first day on it, in fact, I did go a little... well, I didn't go crazy, but I was much more liberal than I should have been. Like, I ate some of those handmade truffles given to me by a friend (why not? they are small!) and I did have quite a large donut at the art opening I attended that night (what's the big deal? I am on maintenance!) paired with three reasonable meals equaled a two pound gain the next day. Did I ever learn my lesson! (Not to mention that I wasn't even supposed to have any sugar or starch yet, duh!)

The ensuing steak day worked, and yesterday I had a fine day. Today feels good, too. I'm calming down a bit now and realize that hey, silly! It is GOOD that you are just a few ounces above the final weigh of the diet phase! You are not supposed to lose weight right now. Your body needs to adjust.

It's all pretty interesting stuff. And it's working for me!


  1. What happens when you're done losing the weight you want to lose? Do you have to stay in a "maintenance" phase forever or do you just try to eat reasonably? And is there a risk of gaining the weight back when your done with dieting/maintenance? I'm just curious, not being critical at all.

  2. wow, sounds interesting, amy
    i, too, am at my wits end with my weight
    i find it so 'hard' to control myself : /
    i'm going to a dietician, i'm going to mention this to her, see what she says
    at the moment, i'm working on not eating when bored, etc - i'm learning to distract myself with doing something other than eating
    good luck with this! sounds like you're doing very well :)