Donal's picture

    I'm OK, You're Fat

    A while back, my wife told me that one of her relatives was trying a new diet. The woman is plump but not obese, eats processed food, and only gets exercise at work, so I thought it might be a good idea. But then I heard that she had spent a thousand dollars up front for the diet. And just recently I learned the name for the diet: HCG Skinny. So I looked it up:

    The HCG Diet has been getting quite a bit of buzz in the weight loss world as of late. While a lot of wacky-sounding diets have popped up over the years promising alternatives to the boring old eat-less-exercise-more mantra, this one sounds a little wackier than most. You see, the HCG part -- that comes from a pregnant woman's urine. ...

    Proponents say that by combining the injections with a 500-calorie-a-day diet, fat flies off. And not just any fat (like in your big toe, where most of my weight loss seems to occur), but the fat in places we most want it gone -- like arms, stomach, and thighs. Oh my!

    Time Healthland debunks:

    Short for human chorionic gonadotrophin, hCG is the hormone secreted by the embryo that makes a pregnancy test positive. Since the 1950s, certain doctors have promoted hCG injections as the key to hunger-free weight loss — and now, the diet is taking off on the Web. ... Some doctors will actually give injections of hCG, but many people take hCG pills, which are sold online — illegally, according to the FDA — for use in this diet.

    I am told that she gets a drop under the tongue instead of injections or pills. Still not legal, though.

    Obesity Panacea on Science blogs also debunks:

    The use of HCG to treat obesity was first suggested by ATW Simeons in a 1954 Lancet paper. He reported that injection of HCG resulted in rapid mobilization of body fat stores and induced feelings of well-being. He also claimed that HCG reduced weakness and hunger during very low calorie diets (500kcal/day) and that HCG treatment could be used to prevent the protein and vitamin deficiencies which are a frequent side-effect of such low caloric intake. Finally, he suggested that HCG could be used to successfully treat a range of ailments ranging from diabetes and gout to ulcers and skin diseases. However, it is important to note that no actual study was performed - these were just subjective observations. Naturally, Simeons' observations spurred actual research into HCG.

    Unfortunately for Simeons' pet theory, the vast preponderance of studies examining the effectiveness of HCG in the treatment of obesity found absolutely no effect. For example, a 1976 paper in the Journal of the American Medical Association performed a rigorously controlled, double-blind crossover study examining the effects of HCG on weight loss in obese individuals undergoing very low calorie diets. In a double-blind study, neither the patient, nor the physician, knows whether the patient is receiving HCG or a placebo. What were their results? Both groups lost a significant amount of weight (not surprising given subjects were only consuming 500 kcal/day), however there was no difference in weight loss between the HCG and placebo treatments.

    As usual this reminds me of something else. When I was in my 20s, my girlfriend wanted to lose weight, and brought this mimeographed diet home from work. What? You don't know what a mimeograph is? I grew up sniffing mimeo sheets.

    It was called the TJ Miracle diet, and wikipedia has a decent description called the Cabbage Soup Diet. The soup was onions, peppers, celery, and cabbage and you could eat it as much as you wanted.

        * Day 1 - Cabbage soup plus as much fruit as you like, excluding bananas

        * Day 2 - Cabbage soup plus vegetables including 1 jacket (baked) potato with a little butter

        * Day 3 - Cabbage soup plus fruit and vegetables excluding potatoes and bananas

        * Day 4 - Cabbage soup plus up to eight bananas and as much skimmed milk as you like

        * Day 5 - Cabbage soup plus up to 10 ounces of beef and up to six tomatoes

        * Day 6 - Cabbage soup plus as much beef and vegetables (excluding potatoes) as you like

        * Day 7 - Cabbage soup plus brown rice, vegetables (excluding potatoes) and unsweetened fruit juice

    Yeah we did this stupid diet. We lost some weight, we passed a lot of gas, we got light-headed just like it says in wiki. After the last day we couldn't wait to get to the Olney Ale House and eat real food. Since then I've tried only one diet - the Pritikin Program for Diet and Exercise - which I followed for many years while I was doing triathlons and such, and one anti-diet, based on a book, Overcoming Overeating, which I borrowed from a nutritionist friend:

    We know that you, as a compulsive eater or chronic dieter, regard food as your problem. You believe that you must learn to curb your desire for food and eat less. As therapists who have worked with compulsive eaters for eighteen years, we've discovered that food is not really the problem at all. Food is delicious and nourishing, and no one should ever feel deprived of the enjoyment it offers. Your problem is that, as a compulsive eater, you consciously or unconsciously use food to manage your anxiety, to calm yourself when you feel stressed, and to bring comfort when you feel lonely or sad or afraid.

    Because you alternate between using food to keep yourself comfortable and desperately trying to limit your intake, you've forgotten the true purpose of eating. For you, food no longer has anything to do with physiological hunger. Indeed, most compulsive eaters are rarely aware of when they are physiologically hungry. The signals that trigger your eating come from everywhere except your stomach.

    Our cure for compulsive eating involves putting food back where it belongs. We are going to teach you to "legalize" food, to learn about yourself from your desire for food, and ultimately to eat your way out of your eating problem. We are going to show you how you may lose weight by relearning how to eat. By the end of this process, you will know how to feed yourself on demand - when, what, and how much you need.

    Demand feeding opens the door to the fundamental cure for your addiction to food - the feeling of having been fed. You will discover that the simple act of feeding yourself when you're hungry has great psychological consequence. Our clients often report that feeding themselves on demand makes them feel stronger and generally less anxious. Many say that following our recommended way of eating increases their sense of entitlement and leads them to "feed themselves" in other ways as well.

    This isn't a book to make you skinny, but it will change your attitude towards food. I wasn't a compulsive eater, but I used to eat fast like my Dad, a depression kid. I could eat a lot before I'd hardly tasted it. I'd recommend the anti-diet before any of the diets. My chief problem now is finding real food to feed myself.



    1. We admitted we were powerless over food — that our lives had become unmanageable.
    2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
    3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
    4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
    5. Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
    6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
    7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
    8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
    9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
    10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
    11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
    12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to compulsive overeaters and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

    Many of us exclaimed, "What an order! I can't go through with it." Do not be discouraged. No one among us has been able to maintain anything like perfect adherence to these principles. We are not saints. The point is, that we are willing to grow along spiritual lines. The principles we have set down are guides to progress. We claim spiritual progress rather than spiritual perfection.

    Our description of the overeater, the chapter to the agnostic, and our personal adventure before and after make clear three pertinent ideas:

    (a) That we were food additcs and could not manage our own lives.

    (b) That probably no human power could have relieved our food addiction.

    (c) That God could and would if He were sought.

    If a preganant woman's urine makes one skinny, will a pregnant mare's unine make one anorexic?


    Answer:  <<  No  >>


    I'm glad you told me before I went out and impregnated a mare!

    So my best friends significant other, invested in the diet you mentioned (HCG), yes she lost weight, but she also had a pre-existing condition, a heart problem, this diet almost killed her, she had to have open heart surgery. Five hundred calories a day and some drops under your tongue is just not healthy. Her doctor was livid.

    Anyway, if you are looking for real food, you know you can come to my house any time. It's a long trip for you and A. But, like I said before, if you two would hop on the bicycle right now I think you can make it here in a month. Get a tandem it will make the trip somewhat faster!!! I made minestrone soup, (all from scratch of course) and some fresh bread, we'll have salad and steamed veggies. We will have a fresh fruit salad for dessert. The Napoleon Squares are gone.

    Ride safely!

    Nice blog Donal, a good read.

    Ah, Yes!  The Law of Unintended Consequences!

    In the Infertility Field, HCG 10,000 Units triggers ovulation when someone is being treated with medications to stimulate follicle development in the ovaries.  It used to cost $56.  Now it is well more than twice that much.  Why?  Because of this stupid diet!

    Want to lose weight?  

    1.  Move more, eat less.  

    2.  Eat food that is fresh and not prepared by someone who had to freeze it to get it to you

    3.  Control your portions

    4.  Plan ahead:  If you write down everything you plan to eat the next day, AND STICK TO IT, you will only eat what is good for you.

    5.  If you drink when you are not having a meal, eat some nuts at the same time.


    THAT'S IT FOLKS!  AND IF YOU DO IT AND IT WORKS (and it will) SEND ME  $1,000!  PAYPAL ACCT # 5353535374637462891748194881-409-409-49-2904-294-294


    Sorry, the Pay Pal Acct# is actually:  773378860602850927598789329587342975604860-96--020998876757394830803985-30-594-592762626475886997904836252552851-1012876565617368653856287356287365827365.

    Please don't make any mistakes, or someone else might get paid who doesn't deserve it as I do!

    Eat less, move more... who'd a thunk it! Fine then.... "stomps foot, decides to run to the gym". Hahaha.

    I want in on your money making scheme... we could totally become Donald Trump with this idea of yours.

    TM, I'd like for you to join in on this, but there is a certain level of investment required for you to cash in   participate in this.  Send me your PayPal Account (and make sure you have a 5 figure balance)!  SMILES DISINGENUOUSLY!!!

    Well I inherited all this money from a Nigerian leader who died in a plane crash, car crash, etc, and conveniently left me a huge inheritance of $25 million for the small fee of $5,000. I am still waiting for it to arrive, but am sure it will, so I will gladly pay you Tuesday, if I can buy into your most awesome business today.   Surprised

    Reminds me of the Catholic birth control pill - put it between the girl's knees and never let it go.

    Sew your mouth shut, works wonders.

    I still favor the fatty chicken diet - eat all the fat parts of a chicken that you can, feel sick and nauseous and completely full the rest of the day, lather, rinse, repeat.

    "Fat-free" is a recipe for feeling famished.  "you get fat by eating fat" is like saying your neck grows longer by stretching for low-hanging leaves.

    (PS - but I really don't know what I'm talking about and never had to worry about losing weight)

    "you get fat by eating fat" is like saying your neck grows longer by stretching for low-hanging leaves.

    Actually, that's not the part of Lamarckian evolution that biologists have problems with. Rather, it's the corresponding idea that you'd then pass that slightly longer neck on to your children!

    Yeah, well, abuse biology for the sake of an easy point.

    Actually LaMarck was much deeper than this oft misused example, and there is quite interesting evidence of a more subtle "LaMarckism" that's been discovered the last decade.

    But aside from the limits of stretching out your vertebrae, stretching out your neck is not likely to do much either this generation or next.

    And I spent one summer eating pages out of the Encyclopedia Brittanica, and I didn't get one jot smarter. "You are what you eat" my ass.

    But aside from the limits of stretching out your vertebrae, stretching out your neck is not likely to do much either this generation or next.

    Tell that to these people.

    And I spent one summer eating pages out of the Encyclopedia Brittanica, and I didn't get one jot smarter. "You are what you eat" my ass.

    You should've eaten the American version. Fewer calories.

    Eat all the fat parts of ... wot?

    Seems to me that if you ate those bright orange, cloud-shaped, chicken-of-the-forest mushrooms, you'd at least appear to be what you eat.

    Just suggestin'.


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