If you’ve crawled out from under the Geico rock any time in the last few months and expressed any interest in weight loss whatsoever, you couldn’t have failed to notice the popularity of HCG rapid weight loss programs. I actually heard about this stuff almost a year ago, although I couldn’t have imagined the extent that it’s popularity would grow. Here’s how I had the biggest shock I’ve had for quite some time.

A Huge Shock for Me-

I was going to a client’s house that I hadn’t seen for a while. Now, this guy is a lottery winner that doesn’t do all that much but play around with computers, take his kids to wherever it is they have to go, and work on his house. He can afford that luxury, since working like the rest of us is now an option for him.

This guy is not exactly the paragon of physical fitness. Far from it, actually. Although he has an exercise room in his somewhat palatial home, from the looks of him in the past I doubt he’d ever managed to find his way in there. He wasn’t just a few pounds overweight, he was clinically obese, running about 100lbs over his ideal weight, and not because he was built like Jay Cutler, either.

So, I was expecting more of the same on this visit. When he opened the door though, I about crapped my pants! He was skinnier than I am. Holy crap! I almost didn’t recognize him. Now people say that all the time as a point of emphasis, but it was really true. If I’d passed him walking down the street or seen him at the supermarket, I would really not have recognized him. The change was that dramatic.

Needless to say, I had to find out what he’d done, because I’d never seen anyone lose that much weight, that fast. I thought he must be doing something crazy or had had some sort of surgery. As I’d come to discover, that premonition was partially true. I was about to find out about HCG diets, and how they can lead to radical weight loss in a hurry. However, for all their effectiveness, and it (at least in his case) is considerable, the plan he was on required something that I still to this day think is a bit crazy.

Over the next 20 minutes, he detailed exactly what he’d been doing for the last 3 months. First of all, he asked whether I’d ever heard of HCG. Initially I thought he was talking about human growth hormone (HGH), and he was just a bit mixed up in his abbreviation. There wasn’t any mix up however. He knew exactly what he was talking about. He was on an HGC rapid weight loss program, and from the looks of him, it not only worked, it was revolutionary!

What The Heck is HCG and How Does It Work So Well, So Fast?
He talked about his doctor, some European guy with an accent, and how he’d hooked him up with this weight loss program that promised to help him lose weight, because like most people, he’d struggled to lose weight for years, and had never managed to get things under control. He said that HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin, I had to look it up) is a naturally occurring hormone that’s found in pregnant women. That’s something else I had to look up for verification, because I had trouble believing that a pregnant woman’s hormone, especially when taken by a man, could lead to such radical weight loss.

Do Real Medical Studies Back This Stuff Up?
First popularized for weight loss by leading British endocrinologist A.T.W. Simeons, HCG hasn’t seen the extensive study of some other weight loss protocols. What has been done however, has shown somewhat mixed results, and many studies have exhibited “poor methodology” according to the AMA. There’s no arguing with the results I saw from my client however, and thousands of others have seen similar results and are quite happy with them.
The Crazy Part About HGC
Now for the crazyness and why you lose weight on HCG. When I referred to crazy earlier, I was talking about the number of calories you eat while losing weight on HCG, or more correctly, don’t eat. You see, he was trying to get me to believe that he was only eating 500 calories a day. It sure took some convincing, but eventually he managed to get me to come around. I still think eating only 500 calories each day is a bit nuts, and I’d never do it. He assured me that he never felt the need to eat any more than that, although I’d have though you’d feel pangs of hunger all day long.

He and many others who have and are losing weight on HCG swear by such low daily caloric intakes though. In fact, that’s part of why these programs are so controversial. If you’ve investigated weight loss at all, you know that 500 calories is far too low by conventional standards. Typically, what happens when you subject your body to such treatment is that it starts to fight back. As you decrease your caloric intake, your body ramps down your basal metabolic rate to compensate.

Remember, the human animal has been around for some time; long before Wal-Mart and Safeway entered the picture. Back in the day, when you were feeling a bit famished, you couldn’t just trip down to the local A&P for a bag of whatever. No, back then you’d better start finding your food a heck of a long time before those hunger pangs started, because it may take you a few hours to find anything worth eating, and that would be on a good day!

To ensure our species’ survival, many different systems interacted, each helping the other to avoid a sure death at the hands of a cruel Mother Nature. One of the mechanisms that got more than it’s fair share of testing was your metabolism, or how your body turns food into energy (a very abbreviated explanation). It turns out that when your metabolism is slower, you burn fewer calories and require less food. Now, that’s just the ticket if you’ve been without food for the better part of a week, because ti helps keep you alive and kicking until that deer wanders by.

What worked out just perfectly for bear skin clad hunter gatherers just isn’t so hot in the time of Facebook, turbocharged Porsches, and 3D TV. The problem is that when we dramatically restrict our caloric intake, our body has no way of knowing that there’s a Safeway 2 blocks away. Instead, it thinks you’re still roaming the Great Plains, hoping to spot a buffalo, or even a small prairie dog you could use to get some welcome calories. To make sure that you don’t run out of fuel any sooner than absolutely necessary, your body turns down the flame a few notches.

So now, instead of creating a calorie deficit from your restricted calorie diet, you’re just about back to where you started. The explanation for HGC is that it keeps your metabolism from ratcheting back, and moreover, it predisposes your body to use fat for fuel more than it otherwise would. It actually forces your body to metabolize fat, instead of canalizing your lean muscle tissue, as would normally happen in such circumstances.

That’s why you lose so much weight while taking it. Another effect is that fat soluble nutrients unbind more easily in your bloodstream, which accounts for the sense of near euphoria many HGC dieters report. Of course that may just be because they’re finally losing the weight they’ve tried to chip away for so long.

If you’d like to try an HCG rapid weight loss program, it’s fairly radical, so make sure that you’ re big enough to really need it. People merely 20 – 30 lbs overweight need not apply. That would be like killing a squirrel with a .30-06; effective, but overkill for the job. Also, it’s not going to win any awards for the the cheapest diet program of the year, because it is fairly expensive, although I suppose you could argue that, because of the results many people get with this stuff, it is still a great value.

Try as I might, even after seeing the dramatic results first hand, I’m still having a problem getting past the 500 daily calorie thing. If you do try it, make sure your food is very nutritionally dense, and consider some supplements to give you what a 500 calorie diet leaves out. When eating such low calorie levels, you’re not eliminating the need to get all your essential vitamins, minerals, and other micro-nutrients. A chat with your health care provider wouldn’t be a bad idea either.

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Full Disclosure: If you do end up using their program, I’ll get a few bucks for sending you their way. It’s how I keep the lights on and pay for the bandwidth costs here. I just thought you should know.