The pursuit of beauty seems to have taken a decidedly medical slant if the sharp increase locally in aesthetic clinics that offer beauty medical procedures are any indication. It’s no secret that I have been approached by many skin/aesthetic treatment clinics to try their procedures in exchange for a review, an offer I decline almost immediately. I don’t have anything against anyone who does go for these medical beauty procedures, but it’s not a route I am particularly interested in going down. Not even laser treatment. I’ve had an experience that scarred me psychologically for life and it’s one I have no desire to repeat.
But facial procedures aside, I have noticed a proliferation of weight loss treatment offers, that worried me. It bugged me more, when I saw people endorsing the treatment as a quick way to lose weight. The irony is that those endorsing it aren’t even overweight to start with! It was the HCG Diet treatment and because it involved injections, I did a little reading up to see what it was about.
What I discovered scared the daylights out of me and blogging about it probably doesn’t make me very popular among those who have tried it or the institution promoting it, but hey, some things have to be said! 😛
A local clinic claims that with this HCG diet, you can do everything from lose 30 pounds in 30 days, boost metabolism, spot reduce fat, eliminate binging… and I was terribly sceptical. You see, on the HCG diet, not only do you have to be injected with hormones, your daily calorie intake is reduced to 500 a day. I don’t know, is that like a bar of chocolate? A bag of crisps? Heaven knows, I probably inhale that in one sitting when indulging in my favourite keropok lekor! 😛
But it was the hormone injection bit that had me concerned, and it made me wonder just how far people would go to lose weight easily.
You see, HCG which stands for Human Chorionic Gonadotropin is a hormone that is produced by the body during pregnancy, and HCG is usually medically used to treat fertility issues. However, according to a theory by a British endocrinologist A.T.W. Simeons developed in the 1950s, HCG could eliminate a ravenous appetite and redistribute fat (source). Coupled with a very low calorie diet of 500 calories a day, weight loss is quick and visible and it is what’s resulted in its use in these quick crash diets (source). Apparently, this HCG tricks the body into thinking it is pregnant and burns the fat so the foetus gets the calories, while protecting your muscle (source).
But as with everything that involves hormones, there are side effects (source).
HCG in the treatment of infertility promotes ovulation, but can also cause ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, which those who have experienced it can tell you, hurts like the blazes. It can also cause blood clots, swelling, pain and weight gain. The thing is, those who take on HCG injections for weight loss, are also at risk of these side effects. You are injecting hormones into your body after all and your body doesn’t know if it’s supposed to lose weight or get pregnant.
If you think about it, I don’t know if it’s worth unbalancing the hormones in your otherwise healthy body, disrupting your ovulation cycle, potentially suffering unnecessarily from the side effects, all for some potential weight loss. From my reading, what actually causes the weight loss is not the HCG injections itself, but the very low calorie diet that you are put on, and if you think about that, it would just make sense that if you eat less, the odds are that you’d put on less weight.
In fact, HCG as a weight loss drug is not approved by the US FDA (source) which sends up warning bells. I read of a comment by a woman who had taken HCG injections and gone on the HCG diet, who did not get her period for 2 years after she stopped the treatments.
Now, imagine if you were planning to start a family a few years down the road and had your hormones messed about by this “new fangled weight loss treatment”. I just don’t think that anyone who’s not having a fertility problem or undergoing fertility treatment should mess with their fertility hormones and take a drug meant to treat infertility.
As with everything in life, there are no short-cuts. Every success requires effort and good honest hard work. Ditto weight loss. Cut the calories, eat less, eat more healthy food, exercise more and the weight will drop off, and you will feel better and be healthier to boot.
Weight is something that is, I know, a sensitive issue for some people, especially in this Age of Selfies. I personally used to be plump all the way through school, college and university, till I started working. Then, irregular meals and sporadic exercise helped me lose most of the excess weight and while I’m still carrying around pockets of fat, I’ve come to terms with it. I eat in moderation and exercise in moderation (erm… well I hardly ever do exercise 😛 ) and while I’m not skinny, I’m comfortable and importantly, healthy…-ish.
So if you are considering undergoing this HCG diet treatment, I urge you to read up and educate yourself on the potential side effects. As with everything on the internet, there are amazing success stories, as there are real life stories of people who’ve had bad side effects from the HCG diet. Read it all BEFORE you listen to your friends or your favourite blogger who have done it and tell you it’s safe and ok; or even think about undergoing the treatment. As a blogger, I think we owe it to our readers to not just rave about something just because it’s free but when it involves a medical procedure, to actually be able to explain the potential side effects and to do some research on it. As a reader, don’t believe everything you read 😛
If you are serious about wanting to lose weight, sign up with a personal trainer at a gym, and speak to a nutritionist about how best to tailor your diet and exercise regimen. Set yourself a realistic goal and aim for a leaner better you in 6 months and work towards it. Quick weight loss is never a good idea. You put a lot of stress on your heart with sudden quick weight loss and you could be losing something more than weight. You could be losing your health.
Here’s the question: Have you undergone the HCG Diet or have contemplated it? How far would you go to lose weight?
I’m afraid I am against quick weight loss diets like this especially because it involves the use of hormones and whenever you mess with your hormones you are asking for trouble. Still, I can understand why some people may find it attractive, because it works so quickly and visibly. If you’ve had success on this treatment, then good for you. But how long are you prepared to stay on it, and how would the hormones affect you in the future? Something to think about perhaps 🙂
Disclaimer: I am not a dietitian nor nutritionist nor medical practitioner. As far as I’m concerned, messing with your hormones, especially fertility hormones, is just asking for trouble. I’m fine if you disagree, so long as you do it politely and cogently.