Me, the HCG Diet, and a Challenge

Posted by on Apr 30, 2012 | 13 comments


I’m not a person of extremes.  At least, I don’t think I am.  I definitely tend to go “middle of the road” in most social situations; I don’t like to stand out, but I’m not a wall flower, either.  But this story here, friends, is a bit extreme for me.

For a long time I had it in my mind that while I was in my childbearing years I would not be hard on myself about my looks.  I didn’t want to work myself into a frenzy after each birth to lose weight and get fit, only to get pregnant again and gain the weight back.  I didn’t go crazy (for the most part) with eating, but I ate pretty much what I wanted.  I exercised as I could, but with the addition of each child it has become increasingly more challenging to workout for obvious reasons.  When you have three kids ages 4 (soontobe5holycow) and under, things are busy. Looking back, I don’t regret that choice.  It was nice to just let myself be me, not worry about it, and let life happen.

With my first pregnancy I did gain a significant amount of weight, and after Anna was born, I had a hard time dropping the weight, so I did a shake cleanse to give my body a boost.  It helped, and then I went back to “normal” eating.  After my 2nd, Jack, was born I had a much easier time losing the weight, probably because he breastfed (Anna and I had a tongue thrust issue) and the weight sort of melted off me.   Once Emily was born, nearly the same thing happened.  I breastfed, the weight came off, and I didn’t think about dieting much.

When Emily turned seven months, we stopped breastfeeding (mainly because the introduction of teeth to the process made it less than fun).   I noticed pretty soon after that my pants were getting tighter and my clothing choices were becoming limited.  Things weren’t fitting.  I was putting back on my “fat pants” because they were comfy and they fit around my waist.  But it wasn’t until I saw this picture of myself from Jack’s Birthday that I realized something needed to change.

I know that the camera adds 10 pounds, but it was very clear to me after seeing this photo of myself that there was more than a 10-pound thing going on here.  But the way I looked wasn’t the only issue.  I didn’t feel good.  I was tired, I’ll spare you all the bowel issues I was having, and I just didn’t feel like I was where I wanted to be.  The day after this photo was taken I turned 36 years old.  It was time to think about things.

Back in November a friend of mine’s son was turning 3.  This friend and I used to work together, so I used to see her on a nearly-daily basis.   At her son’s birthday party, though, I hadn’t seen her since summer time.  I walked across the field at this park and did a mental double take as I saw her walking towards me from a distance.  Was that her?  Yes.  But something was different.

As I got closer to her I realized that she had lost weight.  Not just a little weight- a LOT.  This friend, who I’ll call T, has a similar body-type to mine.  She has a bigger bust, but otherwise we are similar.  The new T, however, was svelte, had what seemed to be a new jawline, and looked flippin’ fantastic.  I hugged her.  I stepped back.  I gave her the once over and asked, “What did you DO?!”  She told me about this crazy-sounding diet called HCG.  I asked about it, and thought to myself, “That sounds insane.”

A few months passed and then T came over to my house.  She had lost more weight.  She was wearing a size 8.  EIGHT.  “Hmmm,” I thought.  “Maybe I’ll look into it.”  I read up online.  I thought about it.  I ordered some HCG drops.  They arrived, and I put them in my guest room/craft room in a corner and went about my life for a while.  The tighter my pants got, the more inclined I was to read the literature that came with the drops and do it.  Pretty soon, I had a plan in mind.

If you haven’t read about HCG, it’s a pretty controversial diet.  I’m not going to get into the details of it- you can Google it on your own for all of the details.  The main thing is:

  • You take a set amount of HCG drops (which varies by brand)
  • You limit your intake of calories to 500 per day.  Yes, you read that right, 500.
  • The foods that you can eat are pretty limited.
  • Most HCG drop brands claim that you will lose approximately one pound per day.
  • You do not exercise; to do so when you limit your calories so severely would be insane; this was nice for me- I didn’t have time to workout anyway.

It’s extreme to many people.  But for me, it also made some sense.  I needed to sort of “break up” with food.  At the time of Jack’s Birthday I had passed the point of just eating what I wanted.  I had ventured into mindless eating.  If I was the slightest bit hungry, I ate something.  Cookies, cake, carbs, high-fat foods- I didn’t have too many limits.  I had cut back on processed food for our family, and had quit drinking soda, but I was still frying chicken, and eating too many baked goods.

I told my husband I wanted to do the diet, and that I had already bought the drops.  I waited for him to tell me I was crazy, but instead he gave me his support, which really helped.  It may have helped him to know that I wasn’t planning on cutting my calories back to 500/day.  That just seemed unreasonable to me.  But I did feel that trying the drops, which were supposed to help with appetite suppression, combined with really limiting what KINDS of food I ate, would give me results.   I wasn’t sure how long I would do it, but I told myself I’d try it for at least a month.

At the time that I started the HCG diet, I weighed 180 pounds.  I did it for a month.  I lost 15 pounds, which felt much better than losing 30 pounds in 30 days.  Here’s my before and after pictures:

(Remember, new camera=bad pics for a while.  And DANG I need to smile!) :)

 Some people will look at these and say, “Not much of a difference.”  But I feel SO much better.  Some things I did during this last month that have really changed me:

  • I cut out red meat.  This is not a requirement of the diet, but one that I made.  I think I ate one steak soon after I started because it was a birthday dinner, and I had a burger at one point, but that was it.
  • We joined a CSA.  I’ll post more about this soon.
  • I snacked on almonds. A lot. They were my go-to snack.
  • I let myself be hungry.  I had become so automatic with my eating habits; at the smallest pang of hunger I would shove something in my mouth.  Now, when I am hungry, I drink some water and wait.  If I’m still hungry I grab a few almonds.
  • I drank tons of water and gave up everything else except coffee (I’m a mom of 3; I need coffee).
  • I cut out all dairy.  I hated it at first. But now I realize that I need to see a doctor because I think I either have a gluten intolerance or a dairy intolerance; maybe both.

What did I eat?  Mainly fruits, vegetables and proteins via fish and chicken.   I got really close with the chicken breast and my panini press, which can also be used as a grill.

I decided, though, to take a break.  Two reasons.

Reason #1:

I was tired on this diet.  It was a different kind of tired- I actually felt better because of my food choices, but my energy levels ebbed and flowed throughout the day, and I was more tired than not tired.  By the end of the day I would crash and have headaches.

Reason #2:

I’m joining a fitness challenge, and it starts TOMORROW!  I’m so excited to be part of my friend, Wendy’s challenge, called “I Will Rock This.”    There’s cash money involved, and 25 women working together to cheer each other on.  It’s neat- we’re competing against each other AND we’re being nice to each other.  Very cool.

So tomorrow I’m going to be starting a new workout plan, maintain a diet of protein, fruits & veggies (emphasis on the veggies), and we’ll see how it goes.  I will give you updates every week or so, just for grins.

If you have any questions about the HCG diet, please leave me a comment or feel free to contact me.  Just don’t leave me any nasty comments- “to each her own” and I’ll just delete nasty remarks anyway. :)

Wish me luck!




  1. I can definitely see a difference in your before and after pics.
    I hear you about the mindless eating. I do that always. Especially at night. Or with snacks, I just tell myself to finish off the package. It’s gross.
    I’m so glad you’re on board with the “I Will Rock This” challenge. I haven’t been this excited to start a diet/exercise program in a long time!

  2. I have a friend at work who did the HCG drops and she lost a lot of weight but I had heard that it was sort of dangerous. Lately it seems that she is back on and off the drops pretty regularly because she’ll gain some weight back.
    Have you heard of any of the dangers of using HCG?

    I’ve done the mindless eating a lot… it’s one of my biggest faults.

    • Thanks for your comment, Jackie! I think the main danger is cutting back on so much caloric intake. I know that some doctors feel it’s too extreme. The flip side is that if you really want to lose weight you have to look at your ration of intake of calories:energy output. If you are eating more than you’re burning… So I decided to just eat way less than I was eating before, but not go crazy with weighing and counting calories. I think eliminating sugar, carbs & dairy was also a huge factor for me. I was eating a TON of bread, cookies, treats, etc. It was hard at first, but now when I eat something sweet it has a completely different vibe to it.

  3. So excited for this next two months! Glad to have some familiar faces in the mix! You are going to do great, Nat!

  4. I can definitely see a difference.

    I’m excited for this challenge, too! So glad to have so many awesome people to make this journey with!!

  5. I am SUCH a mindless eater. The idea of letting myself be hungry is something I’m going to have to really embrace over the next eight weeks. Good luck to all of us!

  6. I can definitely see the difference in the pictures – no question. Good work! I don’t know anything about the HCG drops, but from the sounds of your diet, you may have lost the weight with or without the drops. Sometimes I find that taking a supplement of some kind actually encourages me to stick with things, though. Usually I’ll just take a multivitamin or maybe some fiber pills and for some reason contribute my weight loss to that instead of my improved eating or working out. Good luck on your challenge!

  7. You look great! HCG drops or not, on 500 calories a day, you were definitely going to lose weight, lady!


    • Thanks, Erica! I actually didn’t restrict myself to that little- it was too much. But I definitely learned that I was also overdoing it in the food department. Hopefully without the HCG drops I can continue to lose.

  8. Natalie! I think you look great and I’m happy to hear that you feel great! I’m sure you’ll do amazing on your fitness challenge! xo

    • Thanks, Kate! I miss you!

  9. Looking forward to rocking this challenge with you!!

  10. Looking forward to rocking this challenge with you!


  1. #iwillrockthis Challenge Update - Crafting Crazy | Crafting Crazy - [...] that’s interesting.  I posted earlier about my attempt at my own version of the HCG diet.  Since starting that…
  2. #iwillrockthis Challenge Update - | - [...] that’s interesting.  I posted earlier about my attempt at my own version of the HCG diet.  Since starting that…
Read previous post:
…and so, it is finished (for now)

Man, oh MAN!  I had my work cut out for me!  Granted, I did not have eight hours of uninterrupted...