By Andrea Bickerton, M.D.
With the start of a new year comes new resolutions and one that typically tops most lists is the resolution to lose weight and get healthier. There are many programs available to help with weight loss and you’ve probably heard of the hCG diet at some point. Dr. Andrea Bickerton, MD of Refined Image discusses the plan and why she chooses this to help her patients lose weight over other options.
What is hCG?
hCG stands for human chorionic gonadotropin and is a hormone that is produced during pregnancy. In the 1950’s it was discovered that this could be used to, not only help with weight loss, but how weight was lost and has been used successfully since that time.
How does hCG work to help with weight loss?
hCG works in a few different ways. First, it is an appetite suppressant which helps to reduce feelings of hunger. Secondly, hCG works as a pro-hormone which can help level out other hormone levels which helps in weight loss and muscle building. Third, hCG helps your body to lose fat and not muscle and some reports even show it helps increase muscle, which in turn, helps to increase basal metabolic rate, or BMR, (the number of calories your body needs to function without any extra activity). There have been numerous studies done on different forms of hCG and the only proven effective method of taking hCG is through daily injections which must be prescribed by a physician.
How is hCG different from other low calorie diets?
During normal low calorie “crash diets” a lot of muscle is lost and, as a result, basal metabolic rate suffers, and your body becomes less efficient at burning calories. With hCG, you lose fat and maintain (and often increase) muscle mass which increases your BMR. This means that when you start to transition back to a regular diet you will actually be more efficient at burning calories and able to maintain your weight loss.
How much weight can I expect to lose?
While there is no set amount of weight lost, on average, women can expect to lose 0.5-0.75 lbs per day and men can expect to lose 0.6-1.0 lbs/day if they follow the diet correctly.
How do I keep the weight off once I lose it?
There are 3 main phases to the hCG diet plan at Refined Image:
– Phase 1 – Very Low Calorie Diet (VLCD) and hCG injection phase. During this phase of the program you will administer daily injections of hCG and eat approximately 500 calories a day of specific foods that have low fat and a low glycemic index. This phase varies from 3-10 weeks based on the individual patient.
– Phase 2 – Basal Metabolic Phase – During this phase you will no longer be taking hCG injections but will still come to clinic weekly to weigh in and receive a lipotropic shot with a complex of multiple B vitamins and will increase your daily caloric intake to your basal metabolic rate which continuing the low fat, low glycemic index foods.
– Phase 3 – Maintenance phase – During this phase you will slowly begin reintroducing healthy fats and carbohydrates and are encouraged to still stay within the recommended number of calories for maintaining your weight.
Our idea with hCG is to help you lose weight but to also break bad eating habits, learn how to make healthier choices, and learn how to plan and prepare meals for lifelong success.
During the injection/restrictive phase of the diet you will be breaking sugar addictions and bad habits of eating out of boredom or for comfort while learning to measure and prepare foods in healthier ways. We often get in a bad habit of grabbing something that is pre-made and quick due to time constraints or just how easy it is but hCG will help you to break those habits by having a plan in place. We encourage you to plan your meals out for the week and have everything already weighed out and prepared so you can quickly throw healthy meals together or have a snack on hand in a pinch. By learning to do this, it will help you continue a healthier lifestyle for the remainder of your life if you continue this habit.
We also ask that you get in the habit of weighing yourself daily. This is an important habit because it allows you to make changes to your diet quickly if you start to see the number creeping up rather than waiting until you’ve gained 20, 30, or more pounds which helps to maintain weight loss.
We also encourage all of patients to stop in periodically and weigh themselves on our scale and body analyzer even once they are finished with the first 2 phases.
Is hCG safe?
Yes. It is a hormone that occurs naturally in the body. It does not have the extra chemicals seen in most weight loss medications that can carry risky side effects such as rapid heartbeat, sweating, insomnia, tremors, or irritability. Men and women of any age and at any stage of life can use hCG.
Dr. Bickerton offers complimentary consultations for new patients to come and discuss the plan in more detail and will also be hosting an informational seminar on January 7th from 6PM – 8PM.
To schedule your appointment, or to reserve your seat for the seminar please call the office at 239-302-3540 or go online to www.refinedimagenaples.com.
8855 Immokalee Rd. Unit 11
Naples, FL 34120