According to the Center for Disease Control official website, nearly 36% of Americans are considered obese. Based on this statistic it is no wonder why we, as a nation, are obsessed with fast weight loss results.
Recently there has been an explosion in popularity of the hcg diet protocol which is an extreme low calorie diet program used in conjunction with the pregnancy hormone hcg to help dieters lose weight, sometimes as much as a pound a day.
Thinking out loud about combining the Atkins diet with HCG
There are many opponents to this method for various reasons. One of the common complaints is that a diet that allows only 500-700 calories per day will help anyone lose weight, hcg or not. Supporters of the program claim that the addition of the hcg allows them to maintain low caloric intake due to not feeling the hunger cravings normally associated with an extremely low calorie diet.
There are other problems associated with low calorie diets and while we will not discuss them in detail in this article, suffice it to say that these concerns can and do give pause to some who consider this aggressive weight loss program.
But what if there were another way? There is little doubt that hcg plays an important role during pregnancy. HCG is produced generally within a week of becoming pregnant and the levels continue to rise for 10-12 weeks at which point they drop all together. The purpose of the hcg levels rising is to ensure that the pregnant woman is able to nourish the rapidly growing life in her womb. This is done by metabolizing fat stores in the body which then is used as energy and sustenance for the mother and child.
So how can this work in conjunction with the Atkins diet? The Atkins diet is designed to reduce carbohydrate intake to such a level that the body goes into ketosis, which is defined as the body burning fat for energy instead of glucose. The hcg diet protocol, even as a reduced calorie plan also calls for very small portions of carbohydrates relative to the amount of calories taken. Can these 2 approaches be combined?
A few years ago I went on hcg, not the hcg diet. I chose to go with hcg injections because I was very leery of drops or lozenges which are otherwise known as homeopathic hcg. This was a very good move apparently as the FDA has stated that these products do not help with weight loss and in fact contain very little to none of the hormone. Injectable hcg, while still not approved by the FDA, is allowed to be prescribed by doctors who use it as an off brand weight loss technique.
I also did not fully agree with cutting my calories to the extent that was being suggested by the Simeons diet plan. Instead I chose to cut my calories to roughly 1000-1200 per day (roughly double) and include resistance training as well as eliminating as many carbs as possible during my routine.
My workout program consisted of short duration, high intensity workouts 4 days per week. My meals were split into 5 day parts with the 1st meal coming after my morning workout and my last meal being consumed no less than 2 hours before I went to bed.
I focused on opposing body parts and did them as one giant set for the sake efficiency. An example of one set would be flat dumbbell presses followed immediately by dumbbell bent over rows. I would take 30 seconds to catch my breath and then went into the next set until I did 3-4 sets of each giant set. I believe the way I had this set up actually had some fat burning benefit too.
While this was anything but an official case study, I did track my progress while on this plan. I can say that I went from a a very chubby 220 lbs to a pretty fit 180 lbs in just over 2 months time. My body fat percentage went from 26%+ to just a tick over 12%. I never felt weak or tired and in fact all of my lifts went up over time. My pants size dropped from 40 to 32 and never looked or felt better, at the age of 37!!
While this is far from a scientific study, the fact that I kept such good tabs on my progress allowed me to look back and draw some very unscientific conclusions, in fact all of what I am going to say next is strictly my opinion.
- The Atkins diet helped me burn fat due to the limited amount of carbohydrates.
- The increased protein helped me not only retain muscle but actually put on muscle despite the reduced calories.
- The hcg helped increase the efficiency of the fat burning process.
- Even though I bought the hcg for weight loss purposes, it has been shown to help with testosterone production, being 37 I feel that perhaps I had low or average low testosterone in my system. The additional testosterone helped me increase strength and muscle size.
While I had tried other diets and supplements I have never before or since seen the results I have seen with this combination of methods. I base my theory strictly on personal results and no other scientific evidence except for what I know about injectable hcg and the Atkins diet protocol. If you have had any similar results with these methods I would be interested in hearing your results or lack thereof.
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