Hello lovely hCGers. This interview is part of what is now a plethora of weight loss success stories with real everyday women (and men! There’s a few dude interviews in there) who have used either hCG injections which you can buy online here or drops with the hCG diet protocol to lose between 20 and 150 lbs. You can see the current episodes available here.
I had SUCH a great time chatting with Denise about her weight loss journey. Really and truly she is a gem of a person- just so down to earth and real.
Notable Quote from this interview:
Drops vs. Injections
I get this inquiry all the time about whether they are the same or if drops are just as good, or that they lost just as much weight on drops as people do on injections. Yes, weight loss may often be the same and I wouldn’t argue that for many. However, the question is, what is that weight composed of? How much of that weight is fat and how much is muscle? It’s so easy to blow this off and hope it doesn’t matter, but as a person who hasn’t had to diet in almost 4.5 years now, I feel, what your weight loss is composed of matters.
I would like to quote one portion of our interview here to start us off, because I believe that the long term results of our weight loss are the most important thing – these words are from her mouth, not mine:
“I used drops for the majority of my rounds but the last 2 were injections. This is my opinion and it may not be a popular one, but from my experience, there is a huge difference between the drops and the injections. I lost weight on the drops, but now that I have done both, it is my opinion that a lot of that weight was muscle. I definitely lost fat, but I also lost muscle. The reason I feel this way is because I am so much leaner at 144 from the injections than I was at 141 from the drops. At 141 after the drops I was in a snug size 10 and a nice fitting large top. At 144 from injections, I am in a comfortable size 8 and a comfortable medium top.”
My current recommendations for getting real hCG injections online will always be here.
On with our interview!
Denise’s Basic Stats:
- 49 years old
- Current weight: 144 lbs
- Starting weight: 205 lbs
- Had a partial hysterectomy
You can add her on Instagram @deeleehcg
Tips from Denise:
- Read Robin Woodall’s book Weight Loss Apocalypse
- Capella Flavor Drops makes drinking water more enjoyable. This has no stevia in it (but you can add if you like of course!)
- @CulinaryhCG on IG – a chefy HCGer named Bella whose always coming up with awesome P2 recipes and P3 Ketogenic recipes (also see Bella’s hCG interview here!)
Pumpkin Cheesecake Recipe
from Denise for latter half of P3 or Loading Phase:
1 1/2 cups ground almonds
1 tbsp Kerrygold butter melted
1 tbsp xylitol
1 tsp cinnamon
Mix ingredients together…press into spring form pan and bake for 10 minutes until lightly browned. Remove from oven.
3 packages cream cheese
4 eggs separated
1.5 cups xylitol or erythritol
2 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
Beat whites very stiff…add 1/4 cup xylitol
In another bowl beat together remaining xylitol, yolk, cream cheese, pumpkin pie spice and vanilla. Beat till very creamy and smooth. Fold in the egg whites. Pour into prepared pan with crust and bake at 350 for one hour. Turn off the oven, open door and let sit for another hour. Refrigerate
Denise’s hCG Injection Weight Loss Story in Her Words:
Basics: (age, height, menopause? any medical details you feel are important- ie thyroid etc.).
I am 49 years old 5’2” and my current weight is 144. I had a partial hysterectomy in March of 2014.
How much weight you’ve lost with hCG/starting weight/ending weight/ clothing size change. How many rounds did you do, how long was each round? stuff like that.
I started to lose weight on my own in 2012 and did low carb for a year and lost 27 pounds. I learned about hCG in June 2013 and started drops at 205lbs, I did 3 rounds (28 days, 25 days and 25 days) and lost 64lbs ending at 141 in late October. I gained 20 pounds over the holidays due to going back to my horrible eating habits and decided to do a 21 day drops round in January before my hysterectomy. I lost 10lbs on that round. After my surgery I gained again due to returning to my bad habits. I then began a reckless journey of gaining and losing the same 15 to 20 pounds doing round after round. In my mind I knew that I could eat whatever I wanted because I could just do a round and lose it when I wanted. This became the normal for me. In 2015 I decided to stop doing hCG and just live my life as a heavy person. I basically gave up on me. In January of 2016 I found myself at 189lbs and very unhappy so guess what my New Year’s resolution was…do a round of hCG and lose weight so I did another drops round and got down to 172lbs but I decided to not do P3 properly and gained it all back. After a lot of soul searching I realized that if I was going to win this battle, I had to get my mind right. At that point I made the decision to do injections and to give it my all. I started my round July 4th weekend at 173.5lbs I did my first 40 day round and ended at 151. I did that round with no fruit so I gained a bit in P3 right off the bat but maintained at 154 nicely after bouncing around a bit. I maintained for 6 weeks and then did a clean load, gained 3 pounds and started my final injections round at 157 in mid-September with fruit this time and ended it at 23 days at 144lbs. I am in P3 and have maintained perfectly.
How long have you currently been maintaining (or where are you currently at in your hCG journey)?
I am currently in P3 and I plan on maintaining this weight going forward. It took me a long time to realize that weight loss is a journey of the mind and body. If you don’t change your mindset, you can never truly be successful. hCG is a tool to help you to be successful at losing the weight but we are responsible for the long term success. What truly helped me this time was research. I started to watch your blogs (every day) and all the interviews you have posted. I would load them up and listen to them in the background at work. I really feel that listening to those who have been on this path before me helped me to recognize the mistakes I was making and gave me ideas on how to move forward. I also took your advice and read The Weight loss Apocalypse. Robin’s theory of eating to hunger has really taught me that I was living to eat and not eating to live. Only at this point did I finally realize that I am a food addict. I lived my life to eat…I planned my life, my vacation, my social gathering, my everything around food. The grip it had on me had caused me to live the majority of my life as a slave to my cravings. Addiction is a horrible disease and it is not limited to drugs and alcohol and as with all addictions, the first step in the right direction is to recognize and admit that you have it. Only then can you truly start the path to recovery.
Tell us how you came to be overweight and your struggles with that?
I was fairly fit when I was younger. I was athletic and was in Judo from the age of 5. I would constantly gain and lose weight to compete in different weight categories. I feel like I may have messed with my metabolism from a very early age and it has caused me to have some weight problems. As I got older and I was no longer training I started to struggle to keep my weight down. That coupled with my food addictions was a recipe for disaster. I began packing on the pounds in my late 20’s and 30’s. I had trouble conceiving and did multiple infertility treatments (IUI and IVF) before finally becoming pregnant with my twin boys at the age of 42. After giving birth, I never lost the pregnancy weight and my eating habits were out of control due to stress from my twins being born at 30 weeks. I looked to food and it provided the comfort I was looking for.
What type of hCG did you use? If injections or prescription drops, what dose worked best for you?
I used drops for the majority of my rounds but the last 2 were injections. This is my opinion and it may not be a popular one, but from my experience, there is a huge difference between the drops and the injections.
I lost weight on the drops, but now that I have done both, it is my opinion that a lot of that weight was muscle. I definitely lost fat, but I also lost muscle. The reason I feel this way is because I am so much leaner at 144 from the injections than I was at 141 from the drops. At 141 after the drops I was in a snug size 10 and a nice fitting large top. At 144 from injections, I am in a comfortable size 8 and a comfortable medium top. I have also lost a ½ a shoe size and 3 size in my bra from the injections which proves to me that I was actually losing the stored abnormal body fat. I remembered when I was pregnant with the boys and the first 16 weeks of not being able to eat from severe morning sickness and how I felt at the time and I had a similar feeling on the injections. I was also not hungry on the injections and I was always hungry on the drops. I am not saying that the drops don’t contain hCG, I just think that once it passes through the digestive system there must not be enough to really absorb into your system properly. With the injections, it goes directly into your system and you can feel the difference.
What would you say your experience was the first week on phase 2? Easy or hard? explain. Could also discuss how you loaded if you like. What parts of the protocol were easier for you and which parts were more challenging? How did you handle the challenging aspects?
The first week of P2 was really hard, especially the first round due to detoxing and being so use to eating so much food for so long. I can remember eating mustard packs because I was so hungry. LOL. I did not have any issues with hunger on the injections and I learned to load cleanly to avoid the detoxing you can get if you load of sugar and carbs.
What did you find yourself liking to eat during Phase 2/vlcd – how would you prepare your meals?
I am bit rogue at times on rounds so I weighed my meats cooked rather than raw, so I would eat 3.5oz of cooked protein for lunch and dinner. I also experimented with different items, like peppers, mushrooms, zucchini, broccoli and watermelon. I mix veggies and I also use virgin, cold pressed, unrefined coconut oil or MCT oil and xylitol instead of stevia. I do not like stevia at all but I love xylitol and it causes me no issues. I know there is a lot of controversy with the coconut oil but I find it extremely helpful and it doesn’t affect my loses. I am able to cook with it, make salad dressing with it and most helpful of all, I have a small piece or 2 of chocolate delight when I feel like having something sweet. I always have less than 2TBS per day and I don’t eat it every day.
What tricks do you have up your sleeve to stay sane while on Phase 2?
I love to prep on Sunday’s for the week. I feel that soup is a saving grace…it is filling and warm and super satisfying. I would cook and portion out my soup or chili and after everything is weighed, I would add chicken stock to fill up the bowl so it was a nice hearty portion. I sometimes added Miracle Noodles for a filler too. I loved dirty rice which is a beef and cabbage recipe that was really hearty and always helped with the bathroom issues people can tend to get on P2. I drank a lot of herbal tea and if I wanted to feel like indulging I would go to Starbuck’s and buy a hot Youthberry Tea or an iced Passion fruit tea with no sweetener. This last round was in the Fall months so everyone was indulging in pumpkin lattes so I would order a hot Oprah Chia Tea (NOT a chai latte) and it is cinnamony and fills that fall pumpkin craving. Just make sure it is not the chai latte which has milk and sugar. I also love to go out to dinner. I know my go-to places that will make my meals the way I request them and I feel like a “normal” member of society when I can go out and enjoy a meal with my family. I try to always block out my round where there are no distractions (parties, holiday functions, vacations etc) If you are planning a round and you have a wedding or vacation to go to in the middle, you are setting yourself up for failure. I find it counterproductive when I see someone say I started my round last week and I am going to do a planned interruption for my vacation next week. I could never do that and I guarantee most people will not get back on track or if they do, will not recover in time to do a really successful round. If you can’t carve out the time, then wait. It is not worth eating 500 calories a day and putting the added stress on your body, if you are not fully committed to see it through. Of course, life happens and you may find yourself at a birthday party you did not know about when you decided to do your round. In that case, I always eat right before I go so I am full and not tempted. If the party or event is at a restaurant, I look at the menu online and pick out what I am going to have that is on protocol, usually a steak and salad and bring my own dressing in a small container in my purse. When I order I ask for my steak dry with no butter, oil or seasonings and my salad with lettuce, tomato and cucumber only. It is totally doable and really enjoyable because it does not make you feel trapped in your house which can lead to that feeling of being deprived.
What Lessons have you learned during Phase 3 – give us the good and the bad! What types of things did you discover when it came to maintenance that did and didn’t work?
Something I have learned on P3 is you don’t have to eat bacon and cheese. LOL. I realized this after doing my last 2 rounds. Every time I was nearing the end of P2, I would start thinking “I can’t wait to eat bacon and cheese” but every time I would enter P3 I would eat bacon and cheese and it never truly made me feel good. I see this over and over again on my Facebook support group pages and it seems like the majoring of people have that same mindset. There is nothing wrong with it, I just learned that I can get my calories up and stabilize with good healthy fats like salmon, avocado, coconut butter, walnuts etc. My new favorite high fat, healthy food item is Siggi’s 4% milkfat Icelandic yogurt. When I eat these types of healthy fats my body feels so much better, especially my gallbladder J and most importantly, it keeps my mind healthy. I feel like, if I get excited about bacon and cheese and pepperoni etc. it tends to lead me down the path of poorer choices whereas if I am eating foods that symbolize healthier choices, I tend to want to feed my body healthier. I think it is similar to loading clean as opposed to loading dirty or even loading 2 days as opposed to 3 days. There is nothing wrong with it, but you have to ask yourself why? What is your ultimate goal? Are you really ready to make a permanent lifestyle change? I hope that makes sense.
In Phase 4: Can you tell us what types of foods you eat now in everyday life? And how is this different from what you used to eat on a normal basis? What have been your tools for maintaining your weight loss?
I use to eat whatever I wanted and had no regard for amount or the negative effects it would have on my health. Now, I try to be very purposeful in my choices. I don’t count calories and I eat to hunger. I still enjoy food, but I never want it to control me the way it used to. I have also educated myself on the hidden sugars and garbage that are in our foods and how “BIG SUGAR” has lied to us over the years with the “low-fat” craze. Fat does not make you fat…sugar and carbs makes you fat. If you want to see an eye opening documentary, watch Sugar Coated on Netflix. It will make you angry but it will open your eyes to the reality that our food source is not safe and we are being lied to and trick into consuming copious amounts of sugar which is a highly addictive substance.
Do you have any memories of your life/body pre hCG that are totally different for you now?
For me, I have not only changed physically but I think I have changed mentally as well. First of all, I love clothes…it is so much fun to shop when you are not restricted to buying plus sized clothing. I love playing with my kids…I have so much energy. I have more confidence because I don’t feel like people are judging me by my size. I don’t have all the pains in my joints that I use to have from the added weight. I sleep better. I read labels…I am a label reading fool…if it has garbage ingredients, I do not consume it. I am not embarrassed to request my food to be cooked a certain way and if it is wrong I am not ashamed to send it back. I love to be pictures…I am sure a lot of people can relate that when we are heavy, we hate to see ourselves in pictures. Looking back over the years, I have very few pictures of myself so I am making up for it now. I want to be a part of my children’s memories. I have also learned that I am going to be happy at the size I am. I do not compare myself to others. When I started this journey I wanted to be 130lbs and I was so stuck on that number that I felt miserable when I didn’t reach it. It’s great to have goals but don’t get fixated on a specific number. I feel great at 144 and if my body wants to go lower now that I am eating healthy and starting to incorporate exercise then great…if not, then that’s fine too. I feel great and that’s what matters.
When you want a treat now, give us a couple examples of what you might eat? Also, are you ever able to indulge in a regular treat, like cake at a party, and still maintain?
Yes. During my last 3 weeks on P4, I wanted an Everything bagel from my favorite bagel shop so I had one, I also wanted a roast beef and provolone sub from Jersey Mike’s so I had one…not the same day and I ate pretty clean and lower fat on those two days. So the day I ate the bagel, I didn’t slather cream cheese on it and I ate veggies and lean proteins for lunch and dinner. It is all body a calorie balance. This is what works for my body.
What factors have you noticed to play a role in people NOT succeeding on hCG?
I have seen some amazing success stories but I have also seen some people struggle. I think the major thing I see in people that don’t succeed, and I am a victim of this as well, is thinking of this as a temporary thing. This is a permanent lifestyle change. hCG is an amazing tool to help you to lose the weight, but when the injections end it is all up to you. You have to get your mind healthy if you are going to keep the weight off.
What do you feel are the most important keys to success on the hCG protocol? If someone said they want to have the same results you have, what would you tell them?
I would say, stay POP with some small add on’s if they work for your body and don’t give yourself an “out”. Don’t give yourself an excuse to cheat or to give up. Don’t start a round with a “planned interruption” in mind. Carve out the time to do this for you. I am a busy working mom of twins and I commute 120 miles a day to and from work. If I can do it, you can do it. What I mean by that is, if you commit to doing a round…see it through no matter what. My final round was super challenging but I did not give up no matter what. Life happens and sometimes we can’t predict what’s going to come up in 23 to 40 days’ time. When I decided to do my final round, I had just recovered from a sinus infection so I figured I was heathy and ready…what are the chances of me getting sick again, but 2 days into my round my sinus infection returned and I was sick for 4 days, then the following week I contracted strep throat and had high fevers, could barely swallow and felt miserable. I drank chicken soup and hot tea, I added watermelon this round because I was afraid of dehydration and then Hurricane Matthew was heading to Florida so I had to pack up my family and hit the road. I wanted so badly to give myself an “out” several times over the course of the 23 days but I didn’t. I stuck with it and lost 13 pounds but more than importantly, I proved to myself that I am a strong person that can do anything if I put my mind and my heart into it. Also, realize that this is a lifetime commitment. Being healthy is a choice and choices matter. Don’t make the mistakes I made early on by bouncing around. Do this for you, commit fully to the journey and most of all enjoy the ride.
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