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The Controversial Diet That Worked for Me (And That I Would Never Recommend)

19 pounds down.

I have lost 19 pounds in 24 days.

I once gained nearly 60 pounds in a very small time frame due to a very new and risky medication that was supposed to treat bipolar disorder. Not only did I rocket from 121 pounds to 181 pounds in a few short months, I also fell down the stairs regularly due to another major side effect of dizziness. I stopped taking the medication after a year, being so overweight I didn’t recognize myself in pictures became more depressing than actual depression. The medication was pulled from the market a year later due to diabetic coma related deaths. I moved on to a new doctor, one who seemed a little more familiar with mental illness and he put me on a medication that managed my brain, kept me from gaining any more weight or falling down any more stairs.

However, in an attempt to get my weight under control he prescribed another NEW! pill that was all the rage for weight loss. Feeling defeated, I took the samples and went home. I asked if Cody would try them first, to see if there were any raging side effects of dizziness or nausea. Being a doting (and somewhat dumb) new husband, he popped the pills and went out for pizza.

Four hours later he began sharting to the point he seriously considered purchasing adult diapers.

I didn’t take the pills.

I tried a few other things including strange green pills that smelled like mold and made my heart race from ALL! THE! CAFFEINE! I started to eat better and went to the gym as loyally as a girl working and attending school full time could. Things started to get better, I could see my chin again but I was still quite heavy (and very frustrated.) Then one thing happened that made me drop weight faster than I even thought was possible.

I got pregnant and barfed my everloving brains out for 9 solid months.

I got pregnant at 160 yet I came home from the hospital weighing 120 and wearing size 4 jeans.

“Oh my gosh I hate you so much! You got to have a baby and get skinny! YOU’RE SO LUCKY!”

“I spent nine months with my head in a toilet, you realize that’s what you’re envying right now don’t you?”

I stayed pretty constant with my second baby, I knew there was a very good chance I was going to get sick the second time around so I ate what I could when I felt like it and vigilantly took my anti emetic medication and rested as much as possible. By the end of my second pregnancy I had gained a pound. And that was a hard earned pound y’all.

Both my babies came out healthy and vibrant. Addie was 6 lb. 14 oz. while Vivi was a hefty 7 lb. 13 oz. A nurse once told me a baby is like a parasite, it will feed off its host’s body no matter the cost to the host (or in this case, me.) Thankfully both times I had plenty of spare energy on my hips and thighs to keep both babies quite happy and healthy despite the fact I was never able to keep down more than a cracker and juice box at a time.

Fast forward to today.

I have lost 19 pounds in 24 days on the HCG diet, and y’all? I feel really, really good.

The HCG diet is a bit of a controversial one. It is considered a new “fad” when in fact it has been around since 1954. The founder, Dr. Simeons, found that when overweight women were injected with the pregnancy hormone HCG while following a very low calorie diet, they were able to lose weight quickly while feeling quite normal. HCG is the reason I lost so much weight while pregnant yet my babies came out plump and healthy. My body was able to used that stored fat as energy to grow a baby even when I was hurling and sobbing from hyperemesis.

When I first heard about the diet I thought “WHAT CRAZY IN THEIR MIND WOULD DO THAT?” I have a friend (who is quite sane) who has been incredibly successful on the diet, she tried it after she had seen the success of another friend. I read the entire study published by Dr. Simeons and it made sense, HCG did its job when I was pregnant with both girls, and perhaps it would work just as well even if I were not pregnant.

I took a deep breath, talked to Cody, and decided to try it.

Yes, it has worked.

But no, I would not suggest it to anyone.

Here’s why:

I’m messing with some pretty serious stuff over here. This isn’t they type of diet where you just take a supplement and eat a little less. This is a diet where you take a hormone, follow an INCREDIBLY strict protocol (I cannot stress incredibly enough) for a month and then spend another month and a half following another set of strict guidelines all while making the conscious decision to change your eating habits for good and forever. This is not a quick fix. This is not easy. This is not they type of diet you read about in a blog post and how it totally worked for one person so you order some drops online and attempt to give it a go.

You do this diet with a doctor.

Or with an individual or location that is INCREDIBLY familiar with the protocol and under the supervision of a doctor.

There are exactly 30 things I can eat in a very specific way, in a very specific order and in very specific quantities. (I don’t even like about a third of the things, fennel? Blech.)

I cannot use soaps, lotions, makeup, lip balms or oils. I have to wear gloves when I bathe my baby. One night I made dinner for my family and touched ham with my bare hands, I gained 2 pounds.

I’m not kidding.

However, the diet has done some pretty amazing things for me:

  • Obviously, I have lost 19 pounds (so far.)
  • I am incredibly aware of everything I put in and on my body.
  • It has made me realize just how fantastic I feel when I drink a whole lot of water. Water is just something I have with me all the time now. Soda cravings are all but gone, as are straight up sugary candy cravings (cake on the other hand, well that’s an entirely different story.)
  • It has switched off my “the kids are in bed, it’s 9 o’clock, the TV is on, TIME TO SNACK” switch. (This one just clicked this week, it was one of the hardest things to overcome since I eat when I’m bored, sad, lonely or awake.)
  • It has made me appreciate the meals that I do eat. I put a lot of attention into what I cook for myself and it doesn’t take a whole lot longer to cook real food than it does to pour a bowl of cereal.
  • What I would have considered “boring” food has been brought to a whole new level, healthy food that grows out of the ground can actually be really, really tasty (except for fennel, I’m not talking to you fennel.) I just had to cleanse my taste buds of all that other garbage. Same for meat, happy meat tastes SO MUCH better than crap meat. When you’re only eating 500 calories a day you really learn to appreciate every little bit of food you put in your mouth.
  • I have more energy than I have ever had before, all without a drop of caffeine. I don’t want to lose this feeling to cheeseburgers, a Coke, and fries.
  • I have very good genetics under a half dozen years of emotional eating.
  • Above all else, now that I’m back down to a weight I’ve been for most of my pre-baby life? It makes me realize that I really want to take care of myself, first of all because I’m worth it, second of all because I NEVER want to do this diet again.

Last night a friend said “Wait, the HCG diet, I’ve only known crazy people who have done the HCG diet. But you’re so normal. You mean normal people do this?” Aww, she thought I am normal. Ever since I posted a before and after photo of myself questions have rolled in about how I lost the weight, what I did different. Well, now you know. I have always been hesitant to say what I’ve been doing because frankly I don’t want people to think it is a quick, easy fix, get false information from the Internet, and end up hurting themselves because they saw it work for me.

Most importantly, when I woke up this morning and saw that the scale said 19 pounds lost, I looked in the mirror and still just saw me. The same me I was three weeks ago when I started. I am not any more or less happy because the scale has gone down by 19 pounds. A few people have noticed and it feels so much better to move my body. My belly doesn’t flop over and squish out of the seat belt, my pants don’t pinch, it’s easier to cross my legs. 19 pounds, that’s a lot, that’s more than 10% of my starting weight, that’s when I put on my two piece to compare who I am now physically to who I was then. I was honestly surprised to see such a difference because I just still feel so me.

If you’re unhappy with the way you look or feel right now? Don’t go hop on the latest diet trend thinking that a number on a scale going down will bring you happiness. Work on your heart and head first. Be happy with who you are, what your squashy parts have done and what they can still do. Once you’re whole and complete on the inside? What happens on the outside just doesn’t matter as much. When you love yourself you want to take care of yourself.

If you missed my post about 10 things I’ve learned since losing 10 pounds, please read it.

Take care of yourself, take care of those around you. It’s those things that will make the biggest difference in how you feel. Promise.

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Find more of Casey’s writing on her blog moosh in indy or Babble’s Toddler Times. She’s also available on twitter, facebook, flickr and Instagram. If you can’t find her any of those places? Check the couch, she’s probably taking a nap.

Read about Casey’s squashy parts here and about her saggy fun bags here.

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