Lessons Learned from the HCG Diet

The HCG diet is unlike any other diet I’ve ever been on. It is a stickler. You must eat particular foods on a strict schedule and nothing else. All food must be weighed to ensure you are eating the right amounts of each category (proteins, vegetables, etc.). The structure really turned my schedule and habits upside down — but in a good way. I learned a few things.

Personal Accountability

One requirement during the HCG diet is the morning weigh in. This was a big change for me. Back in the day, I had a bathroom scale in my bathroom, but I rarely checked it. Who needs the aggravation, right? Then, one day while cleaning the bathroom, I tossed the dusty, rusty thing into the trash. Since then, no weighing except at doctor’s appointments. Always bad news.

Then I decided to try the HCG diet. It requires dieters to weigh each morning. And it’s fun to do when you are watching the pounds fall off. After completing the strict part of the diet, dieters are strongly encouraged to continue the morning weigh in to ensure the weight doesn’t sneak back on.

So, each morning I stagger into the kitchen to start the coffee, then weigh while the coffee brews. No skipping, no excuses. I am finding that it keeps me accountable. I’m accountable to myself.

I don’t want to pack the weight back on. So I tend to make better decisions. Not great ones always, but better than I would without that morning weigh in lurking in the back of my mind.

If I know I’m going to eat dinner at a restaurant and will order something heavy, then I try to eat low calorie, low fat for lunch. I try to remember to drink plenty of water always. These small adjustments make a difference.

I did the HCG diet last summer and maintained my weight pretty steadily until Thanksgiving. Ouch. Over the Thanksgiving week, I bumped up about 4 pounds. Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, I held steady, but didn’t manage to take the weight back off.

Time for a New Year’s resolution round of HCG. I dropped those few pounds and more. And I’ve held steady since then. Easter was a challenge – believe me!

I truly think the morning weigh in helps with weight maintenance, at least for me. Whether I do or do not eat a bunch of Easter candy at night – I have to face that scale in the morning and I know how unhappy it makes me if the number jumps.

Portions Matter

When I first started the HCG diet, weighing all the food for strict portion control, I was amazed at the tiny servings. Sure, some meals were still large in appearance (primarily salads with a fluffy lettuce base). But most meals were a fraction of the size I was used to. 7 or 8 ounces of food total for a meal.

To make these dishes seem like a full “meal,” I starting using small dishes. A small bowl full of HCG chili just seems more satisfying than a big bowl with a little scoop of chili in it.

Instead of using the big plates and bowls, I used smaller ones that were a good size for the small portions.

Since completing the HCG diet, I continue to use the smaller dishes, and to consider portion sizes before preparing or serving food. Just how much of a dish do I really need? I’ve found the answer to be much less than I had been serving.

Most of our restaurants serve huge portions. We all know that. Luckily, several of my friends have also gone through the HCG. (I also have a couple of skinny friends who don’t need to diet.) Now, we tend to share dishes.

Most restaurants are very accommodating for sharers. Last week, several of us went to a local burger joint that has great food. We all love it. But this time was different. We split burgers – each eating a half burger and a half order of fries. And it was plenty of food.

In the past, we would all have ordered our own basket and then eaten most of the burgers and fries. And then had an overly full stomach for the afternoon and possibly heartburn. Definitely more of a sleepy, tired afternoon. And an ugly weigh in the next morning.

Our waitress was very nice about the burger basket splits. She brought the burgers already cut in half for us, plus empty baskets to make sharing easy. She got a nice tip for her trouble.

I’ve learned more and more about nutrition and food groups from participating in the HCG diet, but I believe the two biggest lessons I’ve taken away from this diet are personal accountability for what I’m eating (through the scales) and the importance of keeping an eye on portions.

So far, these changes are making it easy to maintain my weight. Except, of course, for the Thanksgiving debacle. But there’s always next year.

(Ann Chambers is the author of 25 Quick & Easy HCG Recipes, which was recently updated to include more than 35 recipes. The book also includes an explanation and overview of the HCG diet. 25 Quick & Easy HCG Recipes is available online for only 99 cents at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, Sony, Kobo or Smashwords.)

 

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