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.
Vicki at 5’6” started the hCG diet protocol at 302 lbs. She has since lost 102 lbs so far in just over a year with multiple rounds of hCG and is currently excited to almost be in one-derland.
Rayzel note: I do these interviews quite in advance at times, so Vicki has already lost additional weight since our interview- below you will see an updated photo of her at 114 lbs lost!
- Age: 56
- Height: 5’6”
- Medical: Hysterectomy 15 years ago, slightly high blood pressure, very bad arthritis, bone-on-bone knees causing severe to pain to even walk short distances.
- Starting size: 26/28
- Current size: 14
- Starting weight: 302 lbs
- Current weight: 200 lbs
Extremely practical tips for making hCG more doable:
- Buy a dorm fridge that fits under your desk at work. Vicki kept lemon wedges, which she used in her water, as well as a jar of Pace chunky medium salsa (which has no sugar) to use a dip or dressing on P2 salad meals.
- She did use already roasted chickens from the grocery store- she removed the skin and broke up the parts- she saved the breasts for her Phase 2 meat and the rest her family ate.
- At restaurants: Keyword “dry-grilled” – ask for P2 proteins to be dry-grilled – she would do this with shrimp. That or boiled. Salad with salsa for dressing and steamed veggie.
- Organic veggie broth for “sauteeing” P2 veggies in- said this GREATLY increased the flavor and taste of her P2 veggies.
- Spice hunter spices. Incredibly flavorful but salt free.
- Learning to grill Phase 2 proteins in bulk for the week to slightly under-done. This allows you to microwave your protein without having it be overcooked.
- Using cardboard containers to package foods and meals in for easy grab and go and storing in fridge.
- Her family purchased a separate fridge and put it in the garage so that she would have enough room to have her healthy foods in her fridge at home.
- Hubby and Wife split up their main stashes of food in separate cabinets so that she wouldn’t have to tempted or see it all the time.
Apps Vicki uses daily to track things on and off hCG:
- Hydro Coach: for tracking water intake
- Myfitnesspal: she says you can actually set it up custom to fix P2 pretty well.
- Monitor Your Weight: Weight tracking app
- Here’s how you can set up MyFitnessPal for P2 Injections
Tips for Traveling on hCG:
She put her syringes, pre-filled with hCG, in a toothbrush holder, then wrapped that in a couple of ice packs from a place like target, then put that in a cooler and put in her carry on. She had no problems with TSA. Sometimes they take it out and look at it but then pass her along.
Vicki at 114 lbs lost.
Vicki’s hCG Injection Weight Loss Story in Her Words:
Basics: (age, height, menopause? any medical details you feel are important- ie thyroid etc).
56 years old, 5’6″, surgical menopause 14 years ago, both knees are bone-on-bone and knee replacement will have to happen at some point. Blood pressure was a little on the high side, and arthritis was BAD before I started this new way of eating
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.
100.2 pounds lost!! Started at 302.4 and as of today, I’m at 202.2! I started out in a size 26-28 and I’m now comfortably in a size 14. I think once I have all my skin surgery, I’ll drop another size just from the abdominal and thigh skin!
I have done 6 rounds…first one was 6 weeks, next one was 5 weeks, then 4, 3, then back to 6 weeks and this last one has been 6 weeks. The 5th round was kind of a bust because it was during the holidays and that helped me not gain as much but it was way more difficult to stay on protocol. I struggled with that round the most and gained back more than the 2 pounds on maintenance after that round, so I started round 6 higher than I had planned.
Having done the diet for a whole year, with progressive weeks of maintenance in between rounds, I found that winter was the hardest…because of the lack of fresh vegetables and all the “comfort” foods and soups. I did find that I could make a tomato based soup and add chicken that became my “go to” for the winter…that and cabbage soup.
I did progressively shorter rounds because I was finding that my weight loss really tapered off after about 4 weeks and I was having a difficult time staying on protocol for those last 2 weeks.
How long have you currently been maintaining (or where are you currently at in your hCG journey)?
I’m in the final week of this 6 week round and doing great! Looking forward to the next 3 weeks of Phase 3 maintenance (I look forward to eggs and Canadian bacon for breakfast!!) and then my husband and I are meeting up with friends in Branson at the end of the month that we haven’t seen in a couple of years. After that trip, I’m starting my next round. I figure I have at least 2 more to get the last 47 pounds off and reach my ultimate goal of 155.
Tell us how you came to be overweight and your struggles with that?
I was a chubby baby, and my Mom tells the story of how my pediatrician “warned” her that I would have a tendency to be overweight so she was prone to hide the candy and snack foods as I was growing up to protect me. I sometimes think that just made me want it more.
I wore “husky” sized clothes when I was 10-14 and had full-grown breasts at 14-15…no training bra, I went straight into a C cup. I was pregnant the first time at 21 and gained 55 pounds and had a C-Section so recovery and losing the baby weight was tough and I didn’t do so well. We had our second child 7 years later and I was already at a very unhealthy 195 pounds, so I did weight watchers during that pregnancy and only gained 16 pounds, but never lost any weight after the baby…add to that a “pudge” from a second C-Section and I was feeling pretty miserable about my body by then.
Over the next 20 years, I was a work-a-holic and put my work and family before myself and used food as a comfort and usually ate fast food because I was always running from office to office…I worked as a Practice Manager for several physicians and then owned my own business in Practice Management so I was hustling every day and not paying attention to what I was eating. Add to that all the lunches the drug reps used to bring in and the late night suppers and eating out…it was a recipe for disaster in terms of my weight and I never gave a thought to weighing myself or making a choice about anything other than what tasted good.
I was a mess in terms of my health and body. When I was in my early 40’s I had a total hysterectomy and that compounded the issues with my weight. By the time we moved to Nashville 11 years ago, I was at an all time high of 295. Two months after we got here, I had to have emergency gall bladder surgery and had 10 weeks of complications. I dropped 55 pounds from not eating and pain pills during that time, but as soon as I was able to eat again and back at work, the weight came back on “overnight” because I went right back to eating the way I had been.
My knees are both bone on bone and for years I was having knee injections every 3-6 months with steroids and Synvisc to be able to walk. Between the weight and the knee pain, I couldn’t do any exercise and my weight finally reached the highest of 302. I was done with feeling like I was 95 and not being able to even walk through a store or do things with my family.
That was a turning point for me…I started researching different diets because I knew I wouldn’t/couldn’t have gastric bypass and I couldn’t exercise because of my knees. Two people I worked with, one a nurse, had lost weight using HCG and I started looking into that more and asking them questions. Everything about the diet seemed to be tailored for motivation through quick results, I saw that the people I knew who had done it had kept the weight off for over a year, and I didn’t have to exercise.
About that same time, in January of 2015, I submitted an application to be on the television show Extreme Weight Loss and got a call from a casting producer who was interested in a telephone interview with me and putting me at the front of the line for a face to face interview when they came to Nashville. That was a little flattering but also scary, because there is a lot of exercise that they do to lose their weight and I didn’t think I could do that because of my knees so I backed out on the face to face interview and decided I could do this on my own with the HCG diet.
My motivation and determination were set and I was ready to take care of myself…Even though our daughter, son in law and grandson were living with us and sharing our kitchen, and cooking/meal prepping would be challenging, I was prepared to do it and my husband was incredibly supportive. The kids even bought their own fridge and put it out in the garage so I would have room to meal prep for each week in our fridge. It was awesome having the support of my whole family.
Once I decided on the HCG diet, I spent about a month getting my head in the game…taking time on Saturday mornings to read “Pounds and Inches” and watch YouTube videos. I found a great TedX video by Al Switzler on the Psychology of Change that really made a strong point for me and helped me make the plan for success…In fact, over the last year I’ve referred back to this video and my notes often to stay on track.
His techniques were:
*make the good things easy and the bad things hard
*know what your triggers are and how you will handle them
*turn your enablers into encouragers
*set up your environment for success
*have a plan and stick to it
I also watched Brendon Burchard videos too on Transformation and becoming a person of excellence. I have always aspired to that in my professional life, but at the expense of my personal life. It was time to take it to the next level. Those videos were tremendous and I applied his techniques from his book, “The Motivation Manifesto” to my weight loss journey.
I studied how to change…not how to diet, but I did also do a lot of research on the HCG diet, and came across your webpage which made a huge impact and difference in my understanding of the HCG diet and how to make it work for me. I studied how to meal prep and my husband and I started practicing meal prepping on the weekends for several weeks before I started the diet.
I listened to the videos, took notes and devised a plan and grocery list to prepare for success before I ever did one day of the diet or went to the clinic for consultation. I knew if I was going to make lasting change, I had to have my head in the right place first and I think that’s been the key to my success.
I made several lists that I refer to to check in with myself and to see my progress:
- My reasons for wanting to lose weight
- Tired of secretly choosing the larger stall in the bathroom
- Tired of feeling uncomfortable in a booth at a restaurant
- Tired of wearing black to try to “hide” myself
- Want to fully live my life and not just focus on work because I can do that really well and not have to focus on me
- Want to feel sexy again and be wanted
- Want to shop in regular stores (Chico’s!) and look and feel good in my clothes
- Want to present a more professional image at work
- My goals and what I want from this
- I want to be able to do anything my grandson’s want to do without hesitation
- I want to stop feeling like the “odd man out” because of my size…
- I want to be okay in my skin…to not try to please everyone to make up for the fact that I’m different.
- I want to find other ways to socialize that don’t necessarily involve eating or cooking
- I want to find ways to eat a clean and healthy diet by planning ahead and being prepared so I never have to eat fast food again
- I want to find time to exercise and to incorporate it into my every day routine
- I want to postpone my knee replacements for as long as possible by losing this weight and getting the pressure off my knee joints
- I want to be able to travel and enjoy seeing and experiencing new places without worrying about how I’ll get around
Things I miss about being thinner:
- Fitting in an airplane seat with ease
- Buckling up in an airplane without any trouble
- Walking farther, faster, and with ease
- Not sweating so much
- Not feeling different
- Being able to wear sleeveless dresses or shirts
- Being able to fit into jeans and not have to cover my belly
- Wearing boots
- Feeling sexy again
- Not needing knee injections every three to six months!
- Wearing cute clothes
I also made a “no turning back” plan, which was basically to give away or sell any clothes that no longer really fit me or made me feel good or that I couldn’t alter to make fit. As I’ve shrunk out of things, I’ve packed them up and gotten them out of the house…no turning back. I buy clothes from Old Navy mostly because they aren’t a big investment, look good for work and I can find things that flatter me. Because I’m not spending much, I don’t mind when they don’t fit anymore! 🙂
What type of hCG did you use? If injections or prescription drops, what dose worked best for you?
I have primarily used HCG compounded with B12 from a clinic here in Franklin, that they get through a compounding pharmacy in town. I’ve tried sublingual tablets (under the tongue melt-aways) but not the drops. My best successes have been with the injections. My doctor only prescribes it in 250 iu’s, but I sometimes don’t inject the whole syringe.
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 on Phase 2 is usually not hard for me…I’m excited to watch the scale drop, have all my meals prepared ahead and know pretty much what I will have each meal. My hardest P2 was this round…I had a trip come up for work in my first and third weeks of this round and traveling on HCG is a bit tricky in terms of carrying the syringes on the plane and choosing foods on the go.
When I travel, I always request restaurants dry grill my meats and I always use pico or salsa for dressing. I carry Skinnygirl stevia with me everywhere, and I stick to water and coffee to drink. The hardest day was when food was brought in for a working meeting and they didn’t ask if anybody had diet restrictions so it was Italian subs, chips and cookies! That was IT!! I ate the meat off the sandwich and gave my cookie to a co-worker. It was tough, but I made it work and drank a LOT of coffee that afternoon!
When I am doing loading days, I go heavy on the fats, and have learned to stay away from the sugars so much. I do keep a loading list that I use. I write down anything that I really miss while I’m on P2 and use that list to design my 2 loading days for the next round. A lot of times those things I think I miss don’t seem as appealing once I’ve lost more weight and gotten back to loading again…it’s interesting how my ability to delay gratification has helped me see that food doesn’t and shouldn’t have the importance that I previously gave it.
What did you find yourself liking to eat during Phase 2/vlcd – how would you prepare your meals?
My husband and I usually go grocery shopping on Saturday and on Sunday afternoon we grill petite sirloin steaks, 97% lean hamburger patties I make and chicken breasts. Most weeks I’ll buy a couple of roasted chickens from the grocery store and debone them. The breasts go in my section of the fridge and the legs and thighs go in my husband’s section of the fridge, then I use the carcass of the chicken with all skin removed to make homemade broth and make a cabbage soup that I can add 3.5 ounces of the chicken breast back to when I reheat it later. That’s one of my favorites.
I eat lots of broccoli and asparagus, purple onions and salads. I don’t have any problem mixing vegetables, but I know some people do and some people can’t eat broccoli, but I don’t have a problem with that either.
I only use Spice Hunter salt free grill blends to season with…they have TONS of flavor and no salt and are organic. Super yummy!!
I also love using organic salt-free veggie broth to “sauté” my vegetables and meats in which really flavors them up and keeps everything moist. I drink lemon water all day so I don’t really worry about the sodium so much. I eat mostly berries – strawberries and blueberries, and sometimes eat an apple but not all the time. (too many carbs) I have a carb/cracker addiction so I try to stay far, far away from all the melba and grissini. I can’t do just a little and that is my one downfall, so it’s much easier to just completely ignore them on P2.
What tricks do you have up your sleeve to stay sane while on Phase 2?
Truthfully, LOTS of coffee with sugar free syrups and fat-free half and half, and staying busy. I drink 1/2 my body weight in water every single day and track that with Hydro Coach on my phone. That hydration helps me feel full and keeps me busy. If I want a snack in between meals, I’ll have some celery dipped in medium pace picante salsa which has no sugar in it.
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?
I stick to a pretty tight list of foods during those three weeks…it’s so much easier if I stay high protein/low carb. I love eggs and cheese, and look forward to breakfast when I get to P3!! I usually have a slice of Canadian bacon, an egg and a little shredded cheese for breakfast, a salad with some protein for lunch or sometimes just meat/cheese/pickles kind of lunch, then for supper 6-7 ounces of protein with a couple of veggies and some fruit for after dinner. I try to keep my calories around 1200-1500 daily and I do okay.
The hard part is staying away from starches – by then, I really really want something off protocol. It’s tough…not gonna lie! If I can’t take it, I’ll have some potato but without butter or anything…so I don’t eat too much of it. A little might spike me up a bit but it gets rid of the craving and I can get back on plan.
I think the biggest thing I remind myself during this phase is that “I can do anything for three weeks” and to “Make the next right choice”. If I consistently make the next right choice, I’m in great shape!!
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?
When I’ve been in Phase 4 this past year, I’ve kept my basic whole food diet and occasionally incorporated something like a SLICE of pizza or a couple of bites of birthday cake…that sort of thing.
Mostly what has changed is portion control for me…where I used to pig out on junk like that, now I’m satisfied to just taste it and move on. It’s a mind-set and a choice. And I never ever go a day without weighing myself and never will again. That’s the one thing that I stress about when I travel for work…I can’t bring my scale!! Knowing that number every day keeps me accountable and on track and knowing exactly what I need to do for the day.
I don’t track food all the time in P4, but if I want to be sure about calories or nutrients before I eat something, I’ll use MyFitnessPro to track it. Eating out is different in that I can bypass the bread and appetizers now and just eat an entrée prepared how I want it…I used to just go crazy on the bread or crackers at the start of a meal. Now, I don’t like that “too full” feeling and try to avoid it as much as possible.
What have been your tools for maintaining your weight loss?
Apps like “Hydro Coach” for water tracking, “MyFitnessPal” for food tracking and “Monitor your weight” for weight tracking. I have a scale that will bluetooth my weight to my phone but it doesn’t show my the minor changes like the “Monitor your weight” app does, so I transfer the bluetooth app numbers into the MYW app every morning. I also have a little framed saying in front of my scale that says “Keep Going…You’re Getting There” to remind me! 🙂 and like I said…I will never stop weighing myself every morning. That’s the “check and balance” of my weight control now.
Do you have any memories of your life/body pre hCG that are totally different for you now?
Oh yes, before I couldn’t go up and down the stairs to our home without holding on to somebody…I felt helpless and “old”. My knees were in constant pain and I dreaded going to the grocery store or walking anywhere. I would have to hold onto the buggy and basically lean on it to walk around. I felt pathetic. I hated getting dressed every day because everything had to be so big and baggy to cover my body. I don’t miss any of that!!
Now I love getting dressed in the morning and wear more form-fitted clothes. I love getting out and going places again and love the energy and lack of pain. I don’t take this for granted and I don’t ever want to go back to the “old” me so that’s my motivation to stay on this new path.
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?
When I’m in P4, a treat might be a sugar free fudgesicle or a Starbucks White Chocolate Mocha (small). I’m not a big “sweets” person, but I have had a piece of cake and not had my weight fluctuate because I offset the cake by eating lighter at the next meal or giving up something else. It’s a trade I’m more than happy to make if I want to.
If I think I’m really craving something that’s a “no-no”, I’ll add it to my Loading List and pick a day when I’m going to allow myself to have it. It gives me more self-control and it gives me something to look forward to, plan for and be good about. I call it “Flexing my willpower muscles” and it makes me infinitely stronger in the long run.
I’m in control now, not my mind’s every wish and whim for food. There’s a lot of power in that!
What factors have you noticed to play a role in people NOT succeeding on hCG?
Not being fully prepared or realizing how much of a mindset losing weight is. Not reading Pounds and Inches and really gaining an understanding of how HCG works and why so they can use that knowledge to their advantage. Not fully committing to it and thinking that this is a “quick fix”. But by far, the majority of the people I know who have done or who are doing this are seeing great success and not gaining the weight back.
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 tell them to read Pounds and Inches, to get fully prepared well ahead of time, to plan out their rounds so that travel and events don’t impact a round too much, to stay fully committed to the process for the time that you are doing it since it’s just a short time really but it can have major results (“short term sacrifice for the long term goal”) and to be sure that all your people…family, friends, coworkers, etc., are fully aware of what you’re doing and willing to be your encouragers and not your enablers.
Be prepared if you go out to eat…check out the menu online and decide ahead of time what you will order. When you are faced with a choice, always choose the healthy way. Even at fast food restaurants, there are usually one or two healthy options. Oh, and always use HCGChica.com as a very valuable resource…you are amazing and the knowledge sharing you do has saved me more than once this past year!!
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