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.
Can’t believe we’re at episode 35 of these interviews! To be honest I wasn’t sure if maybe they would start sounding the same after all, but you know what? They so don’t.
Every person has a unique story, a unique perspective, and whether they have experienced something different or similar to us, either way it’s incredibly helpful to finding our own way through this sometimes difficult journey.
Next week I have a post I’m publishing that discuss fat loss vs. muscle in relation to hCG and I breakdown Bella’s results and the results of others in more detail and discuss the whole thing to clarify some things that can really be confusing.
Let’s get on with Bella’s story! Also, Bella shares a P3 meal bars recipe so scroll down to get that.
Basics About Bella:
- Age: 31
- Height: 5’ 7”
- Starting Weight: 215.7 lbs
- Weight End of R5P2: 149 lbs
- Medical Info: I come from a family with blood sugar issues and obesity. My father is fit and was into body building. My mother had Type 2 diabetes but was able to manage it into pre-diabetes with weight loss/diet. As for my siblings, my brother has hypoglycemia and my sister was chubby from childhood. She became obese as an adult and had gastric bypass surgery, it gave her problems until her tragic (unrelated) death.
Here’s Bella’s most recent picture after her last Phase 3
Check out Bella here:
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 at 215 and since the last round of HCG I maintained between 150 and 155 for 2 years. I moved up into the mid 160s at the end of 2015. I decided to do my “goal round” of HCG and try for the mid 140s!
All rounds were 40 days except for 5th which is/was 60 days!
Round 1– 500 cal
Rx HCG Drops (215-30= 185 lbs)
Maintained at 188 lbs.
Size 20 to a 16 in the same brand pants (Old Navy)
Tops XXL to XL-L
Round 2– 500 cal
Drops homeopathic (188-20= 168 lbs.)
Maintained at 175 lbs.
Size 16 to a 14 in the same brand pants (Old Navy)
Tops XL-L to a L
Round 3– 800-1000 cal
Pellets homeopathic (175-15= 160 lbs.)
Maintained at 165
Size 14 to a 12 in random brands & 30-31 in designer brands
Tops stayed at Large
Round 4– 800-1000 cal
Pellets homeopathic (165-15= 150 lbs.)
Maintained at 150-152
Size 30/31 to a solid 29 in Hudson Denim
Tops L to a M
GOAL Round 5– 500 (Rogue) cal
Rx injections (150cc then moved to 120cc)
I will let you know what weight I end at but I am currently at 151.2! It’ll be a “drumroll please…” moment for us!:-)
Note from Rayzel: I am SUPER slow with getting these interviews out so Bella finished this last round and has been doing her maintenance thing for like….months now. Check out her instagram to see what she’s up to. @culinaryhcg
AS A SIDE NOTE: I can’t believe I haven’t tried injections before, it makes treatment so much easier. I can adjust my dosage, which I am not able to do with pellets or drops. I also can tell a difference in my hunger. Over the course of the day I didn’t have the usual “hangry” spells.
I have an apple body shape so I loose so much weight in my legs and arms but my hips and rib area stay full. I can’t say I have much of a waist. Ladies with similar shape may become discouraged because hip width keeps pants at a larger size. I have to have the legs tailored to my “chicken legs”, haha.
Measurement changes between Beginning of Round 5 and End of Round 5
Bust at bra line: 37in to 34.5 in
Waist at smallest point: 34in to 30 in
Hips at widest point: 42 in to 40 in
All I know is my clothes fit great!
How long have you currently been maintaining (or where are you currently at in your hCG journey)?
I started my journey in 2011 and ended my rounds in 2013-14. I have been maintaining about 2 years with the normal ups and downs, which I control with P3 eating. I am just finishing up my successful “goal” round (5th round) and I hope to be maintaining in the next following weeks.
One thing I did notice with the 800 protocol vs the 500 is I don’t think I was in ketosis. This process preserves more muscle as ketosis uses fat for energy. My losses were not as great on the 800 cal and I noticed after looking at the numbers that I maintained at a higher weight. I also think more food leads to a more difficult time maintaining.
Tell us how you came to be overweight and your struggles with that?
I grew up in a very supportive, tight-nit Hispanic family. Food was definitely love and not for nourishment as much as enjoyment. Its very easy to transfer emotional ties to food. In our society food is so readily available and I was inclined to go overboard. I mean, we have FOURTH MEAL advertised to us all day!
My relationship with food needed to change. I needed to embrace myself as a whole person, free of using a crutch (food).
I was very thin until third grade and then started gaining weight. I didn’t lose weight until my junior year in high school via Weight Watchers. I started at 196 lbs and ended at 138 lbs. I wasn’t healthily eating while on that diet. You are allowed to eat a certain amount of points in the day and I would eat Taco Bell Seven Layer Burrito three or 4 times a week, which left almost no food for the remainder of the day! Not very strategic or healthy.
This left my body under nourished and wiggly-wobbly, like “jello” tummy and arms. I was able to maintain this weight for a few years before I gained weight after a death in the family…
From my first email…
“The unthinkable happened to my family, my sister was murdered by her fiancé. We were thrown into a whirlwind of court and constant travel. I wouldn’t wish that horrible event on anyone. After the trial (he was sentenced to 20-40 years) I felt like I woke up. I had been binge eating frequently without thought or care. I didn’t recognize myself and that same feeling from high school came back, “Who’s body is this?”
Through the stress of the trial my long-term relationship ended and I was alone. I felt like I needed a drastic change. That’s when my friend told me about HCG.”
Loving to entertain and share food is deeply ingrained in me. After HCG I think of food differently and make sure that my food choices give to my body, as well as back to the earth, in a healthy way.
What type of hCG did you use? If injections or prescription drops, what dose worked best for you?
In my first round of HCG I used RX from a local compounding pharmacy. There weren’t as many restrictions/regulations on HCG as there is now. By the time I was ready for a second round, that HCG was no longer available. So, I used homeopathic IntermountainHCG for my 2nd-4th rounds. I am now using New Edge Health HCG injections. I love them and cannot say enough good things about my results so far.
I have noticed my muscle is intact, especially in my arms! I plan on using the free injectable B-12 I received after this round and continue vitamin supplementation.
What would you say your experience was the first week on phase 2? Easy or hard? Explain. You 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?
I loaded “dirty” on rounds 1-4 and clean loaded (Ok I had a couple donuts) on Round 5. The first week of P2 I tend to get headaches and crave carbs/sugar, which I replace with stevia. Over the next few weeks I cut down on stevia and eat things unsweetened. It gets easier as you continue on through the rounds. I plan accordingly, know what to expect, and each of my rounds become progressively easier.
Other than the 1st and 2nd Round, I felt P2 was manageable. On the first round I was a little lost. I was in the middle of no where in Oregon for the summer. I had so many questions! I don’t know how many hours I spent on my cell phone internet looking for answers to EVERY little thing. I was keen on getting things right, like a mother with her 1st child. I kid you not, I weighed everything I put in my mouth. Then it went into a tracker on my phone (positive to stay under 500 calories). I do things different now to keep my anxiety about the details under control.
Ok heres the TMI stuff… It is easy for me to cross into obsession with this diet. I wanted to have a bowel movement everyday, I was convinced it dropped my weight on the scale. So I strained daily which gave me a hemorrhoid. I have talked to other HCGers and some experienced this because of how small BMs are on the protocol. I am grateful that I had so many “Aha” moments in my first round, in terms of personality faults, because it leaned out my other rounds.
In the case of my little backend-friend, it was a side effect I didn’t care to relive. I decided to take stool softeners, not obsess the details and gave myself the rule of 100 grams protein and 100 grams veggies.
What did you find yourself liking to eat during Phase 2/vlcd – how would you prepare your meals?
I enjoy regimented meals. I usually plan out my weeks with two or three proteins and one veggie shopping trip a week. My favorite things are shirataki noodles in soup, raw zucchini noodle salads, and smoothies with a TBSP of greek yogurt (FAGE or Skyr).
Trying to make measurement easier I adopted a rule of 100 grams protein/100 grams of veggies. I place 5 or 6 salad/veggie servings in glass containers in the fridge, ready to add protein and eat. I mix my vegetables, so it’s not just 100 grams spinach or lettuce. This also lets me indulge my measure-happy tendencies without driving me crazy!
I started a YouTube/Instagram to keep myself honest and help others with fun foods they might not have considered. I would encourage people starting the protocol to use social media as a support system. My friends love me but they don’t really wanna hear about HCG, since they don’t understand it. Seeing other peoples journey (ups and downs) encourages me to continue and cheerlead my fellow HCGers!
What tricks do you have up your sleeve to stay sane while on Phase 2?
Homemade seasoning and salad dressing… it saves my life! I grew up in a home with diverse flavors and IMHO the protocol can be boring. The nice thing is it’s not forever! It also challenged me to create flavor mixes on my own. I used fresh herbs and spice mixes to make things interesting.
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?
Moving from P2 to P3 is a different part of the fairy tale! I suppose I have a fear of THE GREAT UNKNOWN! The BAD first… Dairy and carbs are my hurdle in maintenance. I love CHEEEESE! I start adding it in and sometimes get heavy handed. Its easy for me to think that I can have it because I am eating low carb. If I eat cheese and carbs I tend to gain weigh. So, I keep them separate and I started using dry cheeses like Parmesan and Grana Padano. Less fat and more flavor!
Going from structure to variation is scary, especially when it is going so well. To combat this, I find great joy in planning meals. It’s my Sunday-Funday treat for myself.
My meal-prep for success in P3:
– Clean, cut and pre-freeze chopped veggies
– Mix whole frozen fruits together in freezer bags for smoothies
- Plan or cook protein for the week (cut whole organic chickens, etc.)
- Make meal bars from P3 ingredients
- Roast seasoned veggies in bulk (broccoli, cauliflower and if I feel brave I use carrots, beets, etc.)
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?
I see many questions about alcohol on the forums and Periscope Qs for you. Before I did the HCG protocol I used to drink champagne and red wine… I mean an embarrassing amount of wine. I don’t drink in phase 2 or 3 and I wait till I am at least a month into phase 4 to drink red wine on occasion. I also try and avoid hard liquor in general. I find it to be hard to snap back from and it dehydrates me. I have tried a glass of wine in place of fruit on P2… it never works in my favor. I always stall.
On a normal basis I think I was more of a quantity eater. I would sit and eat a lot of food but maybe once or twice a day. I thought I was being healthy because I was’t eating. After the HCG protocol I broke my habit of Megameals and started eating more frequently. I felt better and I was able to eat MORE food because my metabolism ran higher. Feels good to be a well oiled machine.
What have been your tools for maintaining your weight loss?
A buddy system, in person or on social media! I eat healthier when I cook for and with other people. I think finding an activity you like doing, that moves your body, is essential to maintaining weight loss. Mature women in my mothers family have a saying, “If you stop moving, you’ll turn to Stone.” I truly believe this. I try and move everyday. I do Ashtanga yoga in the mornings and take a class a couple times a week.
Do you have any memories of your life/body pre hCG that are totally different for you now?
I spent a lot of time sedentary before HCG and now I get irritated with myself if I don’t move. I also remember when I was at my heaviest and I walked to the restroom in panties in the middle of the night. My stomach hung in front of my body. That was definitely a wake up call. One I thought was a dream until I confirmed it the next morning in the mirror again. I was upset and angry with myself, but I didn’t change until months later. Life is too short to stay unhappy with yourself or your actions. I realize them and change them, it is the road to happiness.
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 am on P2 (or may be finished by the time we chat depending on if I meet my weight loss goal) and I do have a rogue treat now and then. It is usually a square of dark chocolate, 70% or higher. I have smoothies with fruit and veggies when I am on P4 as a treat. I also make baked goods that are low carb and based on grain alternatives. I make meal bars with P3 ingredients and add cocoa or stevia chocolate chips make them more like a treat. I drink a glass of red wine once in a while when I am on P4 and on the occasional ladies night:-)
P3 Recipe Alert woot woot
Strawberry Coconut Cream Bars Recipe
Recipe makes approximately 5 servings
Nutrition info: 110 cals, 5g protein, 4g carbs, 1g fiber, 1g sugar and 3g fat.
3 large strawberries
1 tbsp coconut oil
3 tbsp coconut flour (Bobs Red Mill had least carbs of the brands I looked at)
1/4 cup of strawberry whey (I use About Time – Whey Protein Isolate Strawberry you can also use vanilla if you a creamier flavor)
1/4 milk (almond or regular whole milk)
Shredded unsweetened Coconut (to roll the bars in)
1. Blend everything (except the shredded coconut) together in a food processor.
2. Shape the dough into bars (or balls). Place on wax paper and place in the fridge until hardened.
3. Take out of the fridge and roll in the coconut. Enjoy!
What factors have you noticed to play a role in people NOT succeeding on hCG?
After doing 5 rounds I have found stabilizing my body is much easier when I eat clean organic food. I take a multi-vit and Sunwarrior mineral rush to supplement. My theory from experience is the more you try to keep past bad habits on the HCG protocol the more likely they are to come back and haunt you.
An example, if you eat fast-food salads or burgers without buns while on the HCG protocol, you may be more inclined when on P3 or P4 to eat a Whopper or Big Mac instead of the salad. If you are taking the dive into the protocol its best to do it all the way. I know cheating happens but it’s not the same as creating a security blanket of junk-like foods.
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 embrace the process! It is difficult but treat it like an endeavor that will pay dividends in the end. Being consistent is the key to success in so many things in life. I would say, if you know you’ll be tempted it is best to make a mostly regimented meal schedule. I found this worked for me and I felt little stress about it.
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