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 or drops with the hCG diet protocol to lose between 20 and 150 lbs. You can see the current episodes available here.
Donna is a practicing nutritionist in Australia, inspired partly by watching her father suffer and eventually pass away as a result of celiac disease many years ago. Her specialty is coaching women who are 40+ with weight loss and autoimmune disease.
While never terribly overweight, being an endomorph, she has always struggled with slowly gaining and fighting to stay within a normal weight range. She has used the HCG diet protocol to lose fat efficiently for that stubborn 15 lbs. she had a DEXA scan done showing she reached 19% body fat.
You can find current sources for buying real hCG injections online at my hCG sources comparison page here.
To get in touch with Donna:
- Email: [email protected]
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/donna.williams.AVNutrition
Basics: (age, height, menopause? any medical details you feel are important- ie thyroid etc).
- 43 years
- 154cm or just shy of 5’1″ basically SHORT
- No medical issues
- Endomorph body type
- Last cardio metabolic test showed I had a good metabolism
- 19.5% body fat. Currently I weigh 55 kilos or 121 pounds
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.
The first time I did HCG was in June 2013. In Australia we can only get HCG homeopathically unless you go to a Dr but as I was not overweight per se, there is no way I would have been given it. When I started I weighed 132 pounds. I did a 21 day round of the protocol, loading for 2 days and got down to 112 pounds.
How long have you currently been maintaining (or where are you currently at in your hCG journey)?
Unfortunately it is very very difficult for me to maintain that weight although that weight is where I feel and look great, but I did maintain at 116 pounds ( 53kg) a few pounds higher than that for a year or so.
Then, my weight crept up over the holiday period and I did a second round in 2015 with drops. Again I lost around 15 pounds getting back down to 112 pounds. I maintain a little higher than that over the Christmas and New Year Period, but that period conincides with Summer here so its really hard to maintain but my weight stabilised between 54 -56 kilos or 119 – 123 pounds.
In 2015 I started a ketogenic diet – very low carb (under 30g) daily with a high carb night once a week. I also started serious weigh training. In that time, I managed to put on around 4.5 lbs of muscle but not shift any fat. I looked heavy and bulky as my weigh was around 127 lb (58kg).
I was able to purchase some real HCG and I did a 63 day round using injections. I had to do a 4 day load just to get some decent weight on so was around 136 lb/62kg and dropped down to 112 lb/51 kg again and 19% body fat.
During this round, I ate around 550 calories per day and I weight trained throughout the protocol 2-3 days per week then walked every other day. I finished this round on November 27 and again it was impossible to maintain as I went into Christmas and New Year.
I am a meticulous eater but found my body craving fat and just food in general. I am now maintaining at 121 pounds and 19% body fat through weight training 4-5 days a week, IF and macro setting.
I aim to do two rounds a year just to keep myself in check. So I do one over the Winter period and then again around October. These future rounds will be 21 days with injections.
Tell us how you came to be overweight and your struggles with that?
I have an endomorph body, so a slow metaboliser of carbohydrates, puts weight on easy, one of those people that maintaining weight is a ‘constant struggle’. I guess my weight started to come on quickly during puberty and then in my 20’s when I was just eating the wrong foods. I’ve always exercised, running and mainly cardio but always on the heavier side. I have an hourglass figure, small waist, small to medium frame but good size thighs and bust so I’m in proportion but always carried a lot of body fat.
When I met my husband, I was around 136 lbs (62kg) and 33% body fat. I am now 121 lbs (55kg) and 19% body fat. My sister on the other hand has always been thin 105lb/48 kg and 5’3. That’s difficult and has led to some body dysmorphia as I look in the mirror and never happy (LOL)
Managing my weight is a lifelong pursuit. I think it is that coupled with my fathers death in 2000 which prompted me to become a Nutritionist. He had coeliac disease and died as a result of intestinal lymphoma at the age of 49 years.
I would say I am obsessed with my weight, food intake and exercise regime. But obsessed in a good way as I am always researching new protocols, programs, trialing and using myself as a guinea pig then sharing with my Clients.
What type of hCG did you use? If injections or prescription drops, what dose worked best for you?
To be honest I have used both approaches and lost the same amount of weight both times. I did not do DEXA with drops, but I believe you preserve more muscle mass with injections than with drops. I found the injections easier ie once a day. I also used B12 and MIC with the injections and that helped energy levels a lot. I injected 150IU per day.
What would you say your experience was the first week on phase 2?
I am so good at following a program, I just find HCG Phase 2 easy all round. Phase 2 is a breeze as you have the rules. I don’t need to be too creative with food. I would switch it up by having fish for lunch then meat/poultry for dinner and incorporate a different vegetable per day.
I stuck to apples for fruit
Easy or hard? Explain. Could also discuss how you loaded if you like.
I loaded clean and dirty (the dirty was in the form of chocolate). So lots of cream, coconut cream, eggs, avocado, meats then chocolate!
What parts of the protocol were easier for you and which parts were more challenging? How did you handle the challenging aspects?
The protocol is easy. What is challenging is the social side of dieting. I basically did not go out for the last 6 week protocol I did which is slightly depressing. I am a mother of three children under 10 and my husband works around 60 hours a week so it did get lonely. The way I tackle that is to get busy with projects around the home. I came across a book called the Konmari Method of organizing your home and off I went.
I also listened to podcast after podcast for inspiration so thank you Rayzel, because you have kept me motivated through many a dark day.
I drank loads of herbal tea.
I’ve read Weight loss Apocalypse a zillion times too.
Focusing on my end goal and sticking with the program is how I do it. I don’t cheat ever! But it is the control then the release after Phase 2 which causes a problem for me.
This next round should be interesting as after I finish Phase 2, I am going into a different approach with Phase 3 which will be utilising a IIFYM/IF approach after I have done the 21 days with no sugar and no starch.
What did you find yourself liking to eat during Phase 2/vlcd – how would you prepare your meals?
So I kept it simple.
Breakfast – Apple sliced with cinnamon and stevia, black coffee with 1 tsp MCT oil, water
Lunch – Bed of lettuce then protein source was meat/poultry then one vegetable, water, herbal tea
Dinner – Bed of lettuce then fish source then one vegetable, water, herbal tea
I steamed everything in the thermomix or saute in water with Bragg’s aminos
On the day I weight trained I had an extra serve of protein in the form of 30g whey protein or 1/2 cup no fat yoghurt.
What tricks do you have up your sleeve to stay sane while on Phase 2?
Slicing apples with cinnamon and stevia is awesome
Chilled herbal tea with crushed ice
If I was desperate I would have a diet jello.
That tablespoon of milk was a saving grace as I found a cup of English breakfast tea with milk was always satisfying.
Virgin Mojito was a save too – mineral water, fresh lime juice, stevia, crushed ice. I still have that now although sometimes it does have a shot of tequila in it!
Get busy was my other trick – find something to do, make something up to do, think about how you are going to tackle phase 3. Still working on that one!!
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?
What does work is being as meticulous as you are in Phase 2 – but that takes control and life is so god dam busy and stressful that I get to a point where I just lose control and need to release but I am very good at pulling in the reigns. So maintaining within 6 lbs/3 kilos, I’m okay with, particularly when my body fat is around 19-20%.
I exercise a hell of a lot – so I walk every day for 50 minutes, I sometime incorporate a 20 minute Kettle bell HITT session 2-3 times a week and I weight train 4-5 times. So my body composition is good and whilst I have some flabby bits around my thighs, I look pretty good at 43 and for having 3 kids.
I eat clean every day, with some dirty on the weekend, but not all the time.
The last three weeks I have incorporated Nutritional Cleansing so IF for 48 hours where I am consuming around 300 cals/day. I have been able to drop some more inches and see this as a good phase 3 approach for next time. My goal now is fat loss with my ultimate goal at around 16-17% body fat.
You need to find a plan for phase 3 but that is a different plan and learning curve for everyone.
I am really into the flexible dieting and IF approach at the moment. Ultra low carb did not work for me, because I train hard but then I don’t sit down until 9pm when all the kids are in bed so I found myself lacking energy and tired and not sleeping terribly well either.
In Phase 4: Can you tell us what types of foods you eat now in every day life? And how is this different from what you used to eat on a normal basis?
A typical day’s food for me is as follows
Coffee with 1 tbsp cream then a 50 minutes walk. I do this at 5.30am when the kids are still asleep and I alternate this with a Kettle bell workout for 20 mins, tabata style
Breakfast shake – currently using Isagenix Isalean pro which has around 34g of protein per serve
45 min weight session at gym
Post workout shake an hour later
Lunch is around 140g chicken breast with vegetables cooked in spray oil, herbal tea and then some yogurt mixed with raw cacao after or some PB2 (powdered peanut butter)
Mid afternoon I snack on celery sticks and veggies with salsa or a spoon of peanut butter
Dinner is an Isagenix shake.
I do 1-2 days of fasting.
On the weekend, I may add some oats or rice to a meal at night.
I guess the only difference is not in the foods I eat so much as in the tracking of calories and macros. IF has also made a real difference.
What have been your tools for maintaining your weight loss?
I track everything I eat and drink everyday in myfitnesspal
I don’t eat gluten
I have cut out all nuts and seeds
I only have around 1 tbsp milk otherwise its almond milk.
I stick to around 1200 – 1400 calories a day and a macro breakdown of around 140g protein, 100g carbs and under 35g fat. This is what is working for me at the present moment.
Today was my first born’s double digit birthday. I had a slice of her birthday cake with my protein shake for breakfast!!!! I just fitted into my macro’s and calories and did an extra 30 minutes walk on top of my usual 50 minutes. I’ll do a lower carb/higher fat day tomorrow to compensate also.
Sounds a bit hard core huh?, but if I am not this meticulous, I put on weight easy. That’s another reason building lean muscle is so important to me, particularly as I progress into my mid 40’s.
Also having an understanding of how your cycle affects your weight and cravings and just accepting this is critical too as you can get so caught up in the scales
Do you have any memories of your life/body pre hCG that are totally different for you now?
Knowledge and control and peace of mind that all hell is not going to break lose if I have a piece of chocolate cake! Moderation and tracking and cutting yourself a bit of slack. Life is too hard… and weight training. That and that foremost is what has changed my body composition for the better.
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?
I may put on weight overnight from the blowout but I know its just water and I know how to get rid of it now. Either going low carb/high fat the next day and with IF.
I make my own chocolate – coconut oil, raw cacao and goji berries sweetened with stevia.
I love diet Jello-o and have one every night with collagen powder and sometimes a tsp of cream
I only drink tequila when I go out and limit these to 2-3 mixed with diet tonic water or mineral water. I don’t go out very often (LOL)
I don’t eat fast food ever
I don’t eat pizza or take away or eat out – very rarely and if I do go out to dinner I always order fish and veggies or salad.
I have to eat clean and prepare my food for the most part to stay in shape.
I eat a high protein, moderate carb and moderate fat diet, no gluten
I’m always learning and experimenting and never skip exercise unless I’m really sick.
Lately, I’ve been listening to my body more and having little naps during the afternoon.
I’m in bed by 10
I sound positively boring!
What factors have you noticed to play a role in people NOT succeeding on hCG?
Not taking this diet seriously. You can get awesome results, but you have to understand you are playing with a hormone which has ramifications and you have to respect the rules to have the success.
Not planning ahead. You can’t socialize, well I can’t anyway so plan for that.
I position this diet to my clients as being able to wipe the slate clean and start again. For the most part I am still struggling to stay within that 1 kilo weight range from Phase 2, but I think I have the tools now to do that on my next round. However after doing the 64 days round in Oct/Nov of last year, I am not mentally ready to do another round.
And that’s probably the last thing people are not aware of, that is the mental prep you need to do to complete this protocol. It’s the emotional side of eating which rears its ugly face in your face and its that most people do not come to terms with in Phase 2 which leads to failure in Phase 3.
Its only by doing 2-3 rounds myself I have realized the implications of not dealing with emotional aspects as to why we eat in Phase 2 to succeed in Phase 3.
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?
- Be meticulous
- Exercise – even if that’s just a 30 minute walk
- Track your food with an app or in a diary
- MEASURE yourself whether via DEXA or tape measure weekly .
- Plan ahead this includes your social calendar and meals
- Its only 21 days!!
- Have a plan for Phase 3 – and this is where I am helping my clients more so than Phase 2 because this is where you are back to reality and where slipping back to old habits can become easy. I don’t want people to rely on HCG for a quick fix each time they put on weight but a tool once a year as a detox or to get them back on track after the holidays. I think there is so much more value in coaching for Phase 3 and helping individuals find what is going to be their maintenance plan, as it is different for everyone.
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