This article is taken from in it’s entirety from the hCG Diet Workbook – you can get the digital version (downloadable PDF) that you can print or use on your device over and over here, or you can buy a hardcopy version of the workbook on Amazon here.
I decided to take this article out of it and publish it free here for you all because it’s a major concern that comes up ALL the time. Like literally, ALL. And it makes sense because obviously, we all want to lose weight as fast as humanly possible. And this desire combined with what we hear/read online a lot, has been the cause for a LOT of distress over pace of weight loss and results in both cheating and giving up and feeling like your body is failing you, when in actuality, if you look at the science/logic of it all, most of the time, your body was doing exactly the right thing, at exactly the right place. So basically all the turmoil was needless.
- Realistic Weight Loss
- Example to Calculate Out the Rate Realistic Weight Loss
- Average Weight Loss for Women on the hCG Diet
- Average Weight Loss for Men on the hCG Diet
- Factors That Affect Average Weight Loss
- Knowing What in the World is Going On Really Helps
- Why Losing Less Weight As You Become Leaner or Already Do Not Have Much to Lose Makes Sense
- Why Is It Good to Not Lose Too Fast
- Hormone Levels and Weight Loss
- How to Deal with Hormone Imbalance on the hCG Diet
While I’m not a science buff, I do have a few pointers that I believe make logical sense to help us all get a sane perspective on what to expect – or rather, how to not over-expect.
SOME will lose 40 lbs in 40 days. But the vast majority of us will not, and it’s not because you’re doing something wrong or because the diet isn’t working. There’s a logical reason that it makes sense.
“Expectation postponed makes the heart sick.”
– Proverbs 12:13
40 lbs in 40 days!
We’ve all heard it.
Do some lose this much? Yes.
But the majority do not.
First of all, no one can promise you a certain amount of weight loss. Our bodies are far too complex for that. So if someone does promise you a certain amount of pounds in a certain amount of days, my best advice is to just pretend you never heard it.
Over-expectation can cause a lot of problems, none of which will help you get to your goal.
It’s easy for websites online to state this grand promise because it’s so astounding it sells more.
There’s a very logical, scientific reason that most people don’t lose a pound a day that makes perfect sense. And there’s also a logical reason why someone who is 212 lbs will lose more weight in a 40 day round than someone who starts at 160 lbs.
I’d like to explain it because unrealistic expectations have led to frustration, unwise choices to try to force more weight loss, and sometimes even giving up entirely when expectations are not being met. None of these things help you arrive at your final destination and actually put you farther away from it.
Okay, so lets get to it.
There are about 3500 calories in 1 pound of fat right? Many of us are familiar with this. Okay, after further research, there doesn’t appear to be a very solid basis for how this number was derived. However, we can still use this as a general guideline.
This means that while on hCG, in order to lose an entire pound of fat on the hCG diet every day, your body’s metabolism would have to be utilizing 4000 calories every single day (3500 calories for the pound of fat + the 500 calories you are eating each day on the diet).
The reality is I don’t know too many women who utilize 4000 calories on a daily basis. In fact, I don’t think I personally know any. The average woman appears to have a basal metabolic rate of about 1500 calories or so, you can add some calories for your various activities you do each day, and you see it’s not likely to be more than 2000-2500 calories or so MAX for most women. That’s just my guess. You can figure this out from thinking about how many calories the average woman is able to consume daily without gaining weight, and for most it’s been 1200-2200 calories. I can’t eat more than 2200 calories myself without gaining weight, and that’s even crossfitting 3-4 days week religiously and have a LOT more muscle mass than the average woman of my height (5’1″).
It is said that the hCG hormone may raise metabolic rate a little, but it’s highly unlikely that it’s doubling it, wouldn’t you agree?
Now in truth, some weight loss at the start of any diet is water, including hCG, and that doesn’t take 3500 calories worth to lose. It’s easy to drop 2-4 lbs worth of water overnight just by fasting or eating low carb. This is one reason the 1st week on the hCG protocol, in particular, is often so astounding when it comes to pounds lost.
So it’s not necessarily that weight loss on hCG will equate to 100 percent fat.
But this fact about the requirements it takes to lose a whole pound of fat is what helps make it clear that the likelihood of the average person losing 40 lbs in 40 days or what not, is small.
Those who do are either men, very large, or both. Men do have faster metabolisms than women and have a larger calorie expenditure on a daily basis. Those who are very heavy with a lot of weight to lose likewise have a larger amount of calories that their body expends and uses to maintain their body mass. Lastly, the heavier you are and the more poorly you’ve been eating, the more water weight you are likely carrying. This is another reason for sometimes seeing huge drops in weight during the first week or two of hCG for those starting at a heavier weight, something not seen as much for someone with only say 20-30 lbs to lose.
So if you eat 500 calories a day, and you burn say 1700 calories, this means 1700 calories minus the 500 calories you’re eating = a 1200 calorie a day of “deficit” that’s going on creating your weight loss – this will take almost a full 3 days to add up to 1 full lb of true fat loss (1200 calorie deficit x 3 = 3600 calories) on the scale. Thus a .3-.5/lb per day average weight loss once that water weight is gone is actually scientifically going to what to expect. Does that make sense?
You can view my own losses by week from my own 5 rounds of hCG Diet Journey to give you more examples.
The average total weight loss for most women by the end of a long 40-ish day round is usually about .5 lb/day. If you are heavier (with say 60-100 lbs to lose), the average may end up being as high as .75-.80 lb per day, and if you don’t have that much to lose (like 15-20 lbs), your average may be more like .3 lb/day.
So you may lose anywhere between 15 and 32 lbs during a 40 day round. I realize that is a big range! 32 lbs is more than twice as much as the low end of 15 lbs. What factors which number you get and is there anything you can do to make your numbers better? We’ll talk about that in just a minute!
I want to clarify quickly the pattern of weight loss. When I say an average of .5 lb/day, I don’t mean you will lose a half pound every day on the diet. This is more how it transpires:
Some days you’ll lose a lot more. Ahh those divine 1-3 lb weight loss days. Revel in those. However, obviously, for the overall weight loss to average out to the .3 lb-.75 lb range, there will be some compensatory lower loss days. So you will see plenty of .2’s and .4’s and even big fat zero days. That is what gives you the average for the whole round, and this is completely normal.
You might just want to skim right past this part ladies. It’s just going to make you mad. Men simply lose faster. So if you’re a man reading this, congrats!
It actually is common to have an average 1 lb/day weight loss. I still say you shouldn’t expect it, because it certainly can’t be counted on for every round for every man, but such results are indeed fairly typical.
Why men lose more
I’m not going to claim to know the exact science behind the reason, because I don’t, but a few things I’ve gleaned in my research are this:
More of a man’s total weight is muscle than for women. What I mean by this is, if there is a man and woman and each of them weighs 180 lbs, the man’s 180 lbs will usually have a much higher ratio of muscle to fat, and the woman will have more of her 180 lbs as fat. This is significant because the larger amount of muscle equates to a higher metabolism. This is just a natural fact of life. It’s not because they do more squats or push-ups than you, it’s part of their genetic makeup.
Men have higher metabolisms, again in part due to having a large amount of fat-free mass.
Testosterone levels. We all know guys have way more.
Shorter Rounds = Higher Weight Loss Average (but don’t let this make you think you lost more weight)
Short rounds (3 weeks) typically experience a higher average weight loss than long rounds (6 weeks) in part because the larger losses from the first week or two that includes more water weight than normal is averaged out over a shorter period of time. From what I’ve seen though, the pace of actual fat loss on hCG during short and long rounds are about the same.
Any modifications you make to the protocol like the one-week pre-hCG diet and low carb loading I mention may make your overall weight loss appear lower compared to others because you likely will have already lost water weight prior to starting hCG with these other methods. That weight normally would have come off during your first week on hCG. But obviously, this hasn’t changed your actual fat loss on the diet itself.
Lastly, when people report their weight loss online, we often have no idea if this number includes their loading gain and just how much loading weight it was. It’s not uncommon for me to hear of traditional loaders (allowing sugar and carbs during the loading phase) on their 3rd or 4th round gaining 8-10 lbs during a 2 day dirty load. You can see the discrepancy there. If someone lost 30 lbs on a 40 day round, but 8 of it was loading weight, their true net loss is 22 lbs. Say you “only” lost 23 lbs in a 40 day round, but your loading weight was 1 lb because you loaded clean. Turns out your net weight loss is exactly the same as the person who seemed to have lost a lot more than you.
Some women will lose 30-35 lbs in 40 days on the diet, but this is almost always a woman with a lot of weight to lose, and from what I have seen, is not the norm, and we already discussed why earlier.
I have another post that discusses this in more detail: Is Losing 1 Pound Per Day Normal on hCG?
I found learning all these details so helpful in my later rounds and it prevented me from feeling (as often anyway!) that I was doing something wrong or that my body wasn’t performing on par with ‘everyone else.’
I have seen the truth of the proverb quoted at the outset of this article over and over in the hCG experience when expected results are allowed to rule the person’s view of their success and subsequent happiness.
The key to feeling good about your achievement on this protocol for each round you do is to stop expecting and to be pleasantly surprised with your results, whatever they may be. Each pound gone is a big achievement for your body.
When you really think about it, can someone else truly dictate for you what your body will do, in advance? You can’t even do that and it’s your body!
This is why it’s a pitfall to put too much faith in the numbers that are thrown out there. Especially when it’s not backed by any sort of logic.
Every round for you will likely be different when it comes both to total weight loss and even the pattern of weight loss.
Additionally, you might discover some things along the way that slow you down, warranting the need to make corrective adjustments here and there. It could be easy to be frustrated by this process, viewing it as lost time. However, this is just another aspect of the venture. There is a lot of good information out now about the hCG protocol that does make it possible to get the best out of a round, but there are still unknowns that can’t always be discovered until you’re actually in the trenches, doing the protocol. Some trial and error ends up being unavoidable at times. If you accept this philosophically now, you will cope and move past any seeming rough patches more quickly.
Well. I found out it has to do with math, which has never been my strong suit. Actually, that’s not true- I can do it and I got A’s in school, but I just don’t care about it. But moving on, math is going to shed some light for us on weight loss. Let’s use a fictitious person named Fancy Pants.
|ROUND||STARTING WEIGHT||IF WEIGHT LOSS WAS||EQUALS TOTAL % OF BODYWEIGHT LOST|
|1||200 LBS||30 LBS||15%|
|2||170 LBS||30 LBS||17%|
|3||150 LBS||30 LBS||20%|
|4||135 LBS||30 LBS||22%|
Losing a larger percentage of weight with each round as you get smaller.
Que: is that probable?
As you can see with this example above, that would actually be the case if you continued to lose the same number of pounds every successive round as you got smaller. I never thought about it this way until I ran the numbers. If you lost 30 lbs in 6 weeks at 200 lbs, that’s 15% of your body weight. If you lost 30 lbs in 6 weeks at 150 lbs, that’s now 20% of your bodyweight.
Why is this not going to be the norm?
Your percentage of weight loss most likely won’t stay the same but will actually decrease to some degree because the metabolic rate of a heavier person is higher than a thinner person in general.
Why? Say it ain’t so!
It takes more energy (and thus calories) for a heavier body to do all the same movements a thinner person does, whether it’s sweating in the garden or simply putting the forks away from the dishwasher.
The Good News
The upside? When you are physically smaller, there is less surface area on your body, so smaller weight changes actually have greater effects on how you shrink visibly. Ie. a 5 lb weight loss may not be noticeable at all on a 190 lb clothed frame, but on a 130 lb frame would be quite noticeable.
Why Does 1/2 lb Make Sense?
Remember, it’s never this straightforward, but the following 2 estimates help us see why it’s so unlikely for most women to lose an entire pound a day on any protocol. Those who do are likely carrying larger amounts of water weight than the average person.
Showing here on the opposite page are 2 charts with estimated BMR (basal metabolic rate) at various weights and ages for both a 5’1 and 5’6 woman. Take a second at look at it right now if you will.
What is basal metabolic rate? It’s basically the number of calories your body burns in a day to keep you alive when at complete rest. Since most of us are not vegetables, we all burn more calories than our BMR each day, but how much more varies a lot based on our lifestyle and activity level.
Why does estimated BMR help us though?
It gives us a baseline and helps us to estimate a range of calories we actually do utilize on a daily basis with our unique lifestyle, whether we’re at a desk job 40 hours a week, how much we exercise each week, if we walk around a lot, etc. So if your BMR is 1300 calories, your actual calories used each day once you factor in grocery shopping, digesting, walking around, exercise, etc., may be closer to 2000 calories.
These charts help us to see there can be a pretty large difference in how many calories a woman uses each day depending on her age, her weight, and even her height.
Based on this, it seems to reasonable to conclude that,
1). Women of various heights/weights/ages will vary in the amount of weight they lose and,
2). ultimately, we can see that to lose an entire pound of fat on any diet (barring weight loss from water weight etc.) will require more than just one day in most cases.
You might be starting to see now why blanket statements that everyone can and should be able to lose 40 lbs in 40 days, regardless of current weight, height, age, sex, or health level don’t make no kinda sense people!
My 3-year-old son once said something rather inspired when I tried to explain logically something he didn’t want to accept.
Me: “Does that make sense son?”
My 3-year-old little boy says:
“mmm….it makes too much sense.”
Sometimes a 3-year-old can speak to the heart of the matter in a way no adult can! It makes sense, but we don’t want to accept it.
5’1 Woman – BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) At Various Weights and Ages
|WEIGHT||BMR at AGE 30||BMR at AGE 45||BMR at AGE 60|
|200 lbs||1,565 Calories||1,490 Calories||1,415 Calories|
|150 lbs||1,338 Calories||1,263 Calories||1,188 Calories|
|125 lbs||1,224 Calories||1,149 Calories||1,074 Calories|
5’6 Woman – BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) At Various Weights and Ages
|WEIGHT||BMR at AGE 30||BMR at AGE 45||BMR at AGE 60|
|300 lbs||2,098 Calories||2,023 Calories||1,948 Calories|
|250 lbs||1,871 Calories||1,796 Calories||1,721 Calories|
|200 lbs||1,644 Calories||1,569 Calories||1,494 Calories|
|175 lbs||1,531 Calories||1,456 calories||1,381 calories|
|150 lbs||1,417 calories||1,342 calories||1,267 calories|
Remember, you DO burn more calories each day than these charts show.
This is just that “basal” or bottom-layer thing. From my research, it looks like BMR is typically about 60-70% of your actual daily calorie expenditure. So what this means is, the calories you burn total each day is likely 30-40% higher than your basal metabolic rate. So if your BMR was 1400 calories for instance, then 30% more (420 more calories) would be a total daily calorie burn of 1820 calories.
But it could be more than 40% too! This is just an example. How many calories individuals burn each day greatly varies. It depends on your activity level and the nature of your daily life. My husband is a gardener and probably walks about eight miles a day while mowing lawns and chopping down trees, so he is obviously utilizing a LOT more calories in a day than someone who works at a desk.
When you start tweaking with everything under the sun, my concern is that if the modifications made aren’t wise, “extra” weight loss could be coming from muscle.
We can’t even begin to understand the complexities of how our bodies utilize calories (or lack of them!) really.
I believe wholeheartedly in how well this protocol can work, within the principles of how it’s designed. Once you go outside those principles though, there is a higher margin for negative effects.
What’s difficult is that simply losing more pounds on a scale doesn’t tell you what you are losing.
So just keep this aspect in the back of your mind when deciding whether or not to try something different on this protocol.
Remember what your true aim is and what is a reasonable amount of weight loss to expect based on what we’ve discussed.
Hormone levels. Sigh.
I can’t go into all the details on this here, first of all because I’m really not educated enough to put it in book form, but also because it would take one fat book to contain it all!
However, I feel it’s so important to mention because I have seen first hand just how drastically our balance of hormones can affect both ability to lose weight and to maintain weight loss. There may indeed be times when it does appear that your body is not responding well to your responsible efforts.
What I’d like to do is give you my absolute favorite online resources and current books to aid you in your personal research in finding answers to the conundrums in your own body.
These are some of the main hormones that have a huge bearing on weight and how your body utilizes calories:
- Adrenal hormones, specifically
- Cortisol and
- Thyroid hormones
Use those as keywords to do your google searching.
Both too much and too little of these various hormones can cause weight gain even when you have an otherwise healthy lifestyle.
The following are what I feel to be the most useful resources to me in learning how to fix and tweak what’s wrong in my body when it comes to hormones.
You can get quick links to the following resources by going to hcgchica.com/hormonelinks
(also I keep the above link updated with new resources).
- Stop the Thyroid Madness – Janie Bowthorpe (this one is a MUST have).
- Iodine – Why You Need It, Why You Can’t Live Without It – Dr. David Brownstein (this is EXCELLENT).
- Hypothyroidism – Type 2 – Mark Starr, M.D.
- Recovering with T3 – My Journey form Hypothyroidism to Good Health Using the T3 Thyroid Hormone – Paul Robinson
- Safe Uses of Cortisol – Dr. William Jeffries – very useful stuff for treating adrenal fatigue effectively.
- Bioidentical Hormones 101 – Jeffrey Dach, M.D.
Eh, I already had lab tests done & everything was normal.
The two questions to ask here are
- Your results were normal based on what information?
- And specifically what tests were run?
Before I leave this topic can I pretty please plead with you not to end your search without first making sure you have unturned multiple stones.
Just to give you an idea of what I mean, so many end up suffering for much longer than necessary because one unhelpful test was run that showed their thyroid levels were “normal” when in actuality, if the right testing had been done, a hypothyroid condition would have been uncovered.
I had no idea that the general thyroid panels commonly done rarely uncover anything. More specific testing panels that are better able to pinpoint real thyroid issues are available. However, the caveat is it’s very uncommon to be given these tests unless you specifically ask for them. There are so many medical advancements going on, and not all medical personnel are up to speed yet, so it really pays to do your own research and share with them what you need.
I’ll give you an example. The TSH test is a general thyroid test often done. The normal reference range for TSH lab values was re-evaluated several years ago by whoever makes the guidelines for this in the medical industry. Thousands who were considered to have a normal thyroid under the old reference range for so many years prior, who were no doubt being tested and told they were normal even though they felt awful, would now be considered hypothyroid and get treatment. That’s why we can only put so much faith in testing. Symptoms must be part of the decision making process.
I had symptoms for years, all the while my thyroid levels were “normal.” Finally, my condition got so bad that my hypothyroid issue finally did show up on the standard issued testing.
But I can put two and two together. The symptoms I had all along when the generic testing said my thyroid was “normal” were exactly the same (just not quite as severe) as when the testing finally revealed something being sorely wrong. The symptoms were not caused by two different conditions. I could have been treated much sooner had I known about the other testing because it would most likely have revealed a problem much earlier. The websites and books I have mentioned here will help you learn specifically what testing to ask for.
The only way to find out about this stuff and get help now instead of 15 years from now is by making it your personal responsibility.
Another example. My saliva cortisol levels on my lab test looked fairly normal. They were a bit low-ish but still in the reference range and would be considered normal enough by a medical office to do nothing about it. I did have adrenal fatigue symptoms however.
How did I happen to realize that I did indeed need adrenal support? Yes, reading an article online. I found the experience of a woman on stopthethyroidmadness.com who shared her saliva cortisol lab values, which were almost exactly the same as mine and she expressed how she felt much better after adding in a physiological dose of cortisol (even though such values were technically “in” the reference range = she was healthy enough) and that she was able to optimize her thyroid medication after doing this as well and described great symptom improvement over a sustained period of time.
I decided to follow her example and did the same. I too experienced significant improvement in my symptoms over several months. Additionally, during this time I lost about 3-4 pounds of fat and gained about 3 pounds of muscle (results gathered from hydrostatic body fat testing), even though my actual lifestyle didn’t change whatsoever. It appears my body was sorely needing that cortisol.
While I understand there can be hype online and that you can’t put your ultimate faith in every single word written on the internet, I feel it has done
people like me a lot more good than harm from the truths that I would never otherwise have uncovered on my own and that some medical personnel are not aware of yet at this time.
I’m collecting resources for finding doctors who are up to speed with current hormone testing and treatment methods that you can work with on these types of issues (and if you are such a doctor, please contact me! [email protected]):
I hope it’s clear that I’m not recommending that people just start taking stuff.
I think it’s wise to get lab testing, but do that research to discover just what types of testing you need to request, do research to help interpret those lab results, then do more research on the best current treatments for those conditions.
No one has a more vested interest in your well being than you.
When you care, you will do whatever it takes to get to the bottom of what’s wrong in your body. No one else is going to care as much you will – not your doctor, not your endocrinologist. They can help, and you may need them, but when solutions are not being found, when standby treatments are not working, the only person who will care enough and have the circumstances to spend six hours researching thyroid issues and iodine till three a.m. will be you, because you’re the only person who has to live with the symptoms every moment of your life. This is not a criticism of others. It’s just a truth that we have to take that responsibility for our health at a core level if we want to get the best treatment for ourselves.
Several alternative doctors have been quite helpful to me. Each one of them helped me to put together a piece of the puzzle. No one person has known all the pieces. And that’s okay. It’s up to me to pursue my own best health.
Ideal But Possibly Not Plausible Scenario:
I suppose the absolute ideal scenario would be to figure out all these hormone issues before hCG, get things all as level as possible, and then proceed with your weight loss. However, this process of balancing hormones can take a long time!
Honestly, I think it’s technically probably never done in the sense of being over because our bodies are constantly in a state of flux as we age and go through different circumstances in life. Additionally, there are costs involved with this process as well. It’s not always feasible to try to do it all at once.
The truth is we only have so much time, we only have so much energy, and we only have so much brain processing power at one time.
Being real, delving into the world of what’s wrong with you in relation to this hormone thing can be a bit of a tangled web. It’s worth unraveling, but it requires some time and patience.
If you are already starting hCG, it may be something to look into more between rounds.
In the meantime, yes, perhaps you will have a slightly lower average weight loss than some who either have their thyroid intact or who have already gone through five doctors and two years of frustration to find adequate and ideal thyroid and adrenal support.
But really, what’s the alternative? The task of addressing everything at once is often not feasible. You have to be able to make one or two small changes when it comes to fixing hormone issues and seeing how it s your symptoms, before making other adjustments. Otherwise, you may feel different, better or worse, but you’ll have no idea which of the many changes you made caused it, so you won’t be any farther along!
That’s why I feel in many cases it may be best to….
Do what is do-able for you at this time.
I’ve dealt with chronic illness that has major ebbs and flows when it comes to the severity of symptoms for several years now, before, during, and after the hCG protocol.
Even though I didn’t have the ultimate cause nor the ultimate cure at any time, I made it through my hCG journey amidst it all, and along the way continued to pursue discovering the imbalances in my body and how they could be corrected.
If I had waited until I felt completely “healed” or “well”, I’d still probably be waiting to do my first round of hCG because to this day I continue seeking and discovering answers to some symptoms. Which means I’d still be 50 lbs overweight and living on ice-cream, certainly not something that would have been helping my long-term health these past few years.
I’m quite happy with losing 27 lbs in 42 days my first round, with 20 lbs another round, and with 17 lbs in 40 days my final round. Could I have lost more if my hormones were perfect? Maybe. I’ll never know. But I just wasn’t able to get that all figured out at the time, so I decided to take the 20 lbs, be happy, and not worry about an extra few pounds I may or may not have lost if I had the inner workings of a perfect body. Maybe I had to spend a few extra days on hCG than someone else to get to my goal. So what? In the grand scheme of things does this really matter?
I have to go back to how strongly our mental and emotional outlook on the whole process seems to be for dictating the ultimate outcome.
You could compare the length of my journey with the false perceptions of rapid weight loss we’ve discussed and felt my pace was too slow, perhaps not worth it. It’s important to look at the ultimate outcome, however. Since I’m happy with how things transpired and accepted the pace; didn’t over-analyze everything from a negative viewpoint and kept my spirits up (in general!), I stuck to what I had chosen to do on the protocol, reached my goal, and stayed there.
When you allow frustration and how you think things should be to rule your state of being, you lose so much power that the control you do have over your outcome can change. Emotional decisions can ensue that are not the right ones.
If I had not done the research to see what was truly normal and expected when it comes to weight loss on hCG, I have no doubt my discouragement would have caused me to keep calling it quits on each new try.
Again, it’s perception. 20 lbs is a lot, you guys! If you accomplish that in 40 days, that’s amazing! It’s the perception that you were supposed to somehow attain 40 that makes 20 lbs seem dismal.
Also, keep in mind that it seems that the percentage of weight lost as fat may be greater than other diets that also have fast weight loss in mind. A 20 lb weight loss on hCG may very well not be the same as a 20 lb weight loss on a plain old 1000 calorie diet with no hCG. If more of your total weight loss is fat and not something else, this means you will physically shrink more for the same pounds lost compared to other diets. This is just another factor to take into consideration.
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