Sunday, July 8, 2012

Day 3 - Morning

Just a quick one this morning - I've got stuff to do!

First, I weighed in at 222 lbs this morning - before any potty breaks, if you know what I mean. I can see a noticeable difference in water retention, which I shall take as a sign that I've managed to get rid of the water weight I had gained during the "load" phase... Huzzah!

Dinner was good last night, but not anything to rave about. I baked the papillote in the oven for 30 minutes at 350ยบ, which was enough for the chicken, but not quite enough for the asparagus even though I let it rest for another 30 minutes or so (I was reading and lost track of time). The asparagus was not even quite al dente, but if I had cooked it any longer the chicken would have been overdone. Next time, I'll microwave the asparagus a bit first; that should help them to get done at the same time. It is a very easy, fire-and-forget cooking method, so I'm sure I'll use it again, at least when cooking for myself.

My partner called last night. She had gone out to dinner at one of the nicer restaurants in the area, with some friends to celebrate one of their pending birthdays. She had a filet mignon (yes, I am a tad jealous), and really enjoyed it. I am proud of her for keeping to her diet in an environment full of temptations... including cheesecake!

Speaking of her, we shall be dining together tonight. I'm really looking forward to it. :)

Back to work,


- Rodney
HCG Wingman

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Day 2 - Lunch/Dinner

As I was taking Karly and her beau home after our volunteer work this morning, I received a text from my partner-in-dieting, asking if I wanted to have lunch with her. "Sure!" was my response. By self-admission, we were both kind of irritable (she's eating 1/3 her daily calories; I am getting 1/6, so the mood is understandable), but after a lunch of broiled shrimp (like last night's dinner) and some spinach using the same recipe I made yesterday for lunch, our moods brightened somewhat (and for less than 200 calories each). She had lots of things to do around the house, so I left shortly thereafter, intent on hitting the gym before heading home.

Unfortunately, my energy did not last long, and before I got to the gym I realized that I no longer had the energy to work out. Timing energy expenditures on this diet is turning out to be challenging. I am going to go early tomorrow morning in order to avoid the mid- to late-day energy dip I have been experiencing. I did have a small boost of energy late today - after a nap - that allowed me to get some work done, but it burned out quickly and now I am really just waiting for the sun to go down so I can go to bed.

She appears to be doing better than I am, at least in terms of available energy. She was tackling chores around the house when we texted mid-afternoon. It could be because of the difference in calorie-deficit ratios between her and me, her previous experiences with the diet, or it could just as likely be sheer hutzpah; regardless, she is definitely beating me in the energy department today. All I was able to do was buy the materials needed to take the horrendous wall paper down from one of my bedroom walls. Hopefully tomorrow, I'll have the energy to remove the stuff - blech!

The plus side to all this is that I lost another 1½ pounds since this morning, even though I have had half a grapefruit and the aforementioned lunch. The down side is that I definitely do not feel myself. My mood continues to linger in the down position, and my energy level is very low. The fact that I could not face the gym was kind of depressing, to be honest. Still, it's too soon to judge, as it is entirely possible that things will turn around tomorrow!

Speaking of awesomeness, she reported a loss of four pounds this morning - incredible! This diet is obviously working for her, and it is encouraging to hear of her success. I would like to say I'm jealous, but I think she's eating less than the 500 calories allowed... and I'm certainly not jealous of that! :)

Because I am low on energy, tonight I shall make something simple: chicken en papillote. I'll put the massive 100g chicken tenderloin - sarcasm intended - in a foil pouch along with plenty of asparagus (for the diuretic effect) chopped into bite-sized lengths, along with some Herbs de Provence, powdered garlic, pepper, salt, water and lemon juice. I will report back tomorrow as to how it all came together. I expect it will taste great... but I may be too tired to eat it!


- Rodney
HCG Wingman

Day 2 - Morning

I fell asleep last night while Karly and I were watching Good Eats - our favorite - on YouTube. One might ask why I was watching a cooking show while on this crazy diet... well, I can't explain it myself.

After the morning ritual of cat feeding/litter box scooping/coffee making, I weighed in. Before any trips to the bathroom, I came in at 225½ pounds, a 1½ lb reduction from yesterday. Cause to celebrate? Maybe, but let's think a little harder about that...

The first three days of this diet - days which are not logged on this blog - are supposed to be "gorge" days. On those days, you are supposed to load up on the most fat laden foods you can stand to eat. The foods tend to be high in carbs too. My partner and I did our best, but could only really manage to do it two days out of the three*. I felt totally gross by the time the diet started yesterday. I was bloated and had managed to put five pounds on - most likely water weight - and was feeling worse than I had felt since starting Atkins 2+ years ago.

Considering this, my 1½ lb loss since yesterday means I only have 3½ more pounds to lose before I am back to the weight I was before starting this diet...?

I know that sounds pretty pessimistic, but it's really just me being objective. After all, if we are to evaluate this diet in a meaningful way, it must be done as rationally and objectively as possible. That said, I have fallen for crazy health fads that made fantastic promises before, and have since become rather skeptical of them; I am trying to not be biased in my evaluation, but being human it's bound to creep in from time to time. Feel free to warn me if you see it crop up.

I also find myself feeling a little grouchy this morning. This is not normal for me. I live a good, low stress life and am quite blessed for it. My blood sugar came in around 106 (after a cup of Joe with the allowed 1 tbsp of milk - not cream - in it), so no worries there. One incidence of foul mood cannot necessarily be associated with the diet, so I'll leave it at that for now.

Regardless, I shall continue to forge ahead and am ready for Day 2! Karly and I are off to the Kirshner Wildlife Foundation for our volunteer work this morning, then she's back to town for some time with her beau before heading to work for the evening. I'll come back up the hill and make lunch - probably chicken and spinach, unless I have time to stop at the store and grab some chard, and then keep myself busy for the day. Unfortunately, my partner will be busy herself all day, catching up on the chores that have been neglected thanks to us spending so much - wonderful and well spent - time together. She would be the best distraction of all, but there you go... :)


- Rodney
HCG Wingman

* We actually eat really healthy when together, our love of fine wine being our only note worthy vice.

Day 1 - Dinner

Karly did indeed come up for the evening and so I made us both dinner. I told her what I would be making for myself, and since she had no objections, I made it for the both of us:
  • Shrimp, broiled sans shells in the oven for two minutes one one side and one minute on the other, then quickly cooled in the freezer. They were seasoned with Old Bay, fresh ground pepper, a touch of kosher salt (careful - the Old Bay has salt in it too), and a healthy sprinkling of hot Hungarian paprika. They were good and spicy!
  • A cucumber salad. The cucumbers were quartered lengthwise and then chopped into small bites. I used two English cucumbers total, about six cups worth. The dressing was made with apple cider vinegar, the juice of half a lemon, and 1/3 tsp. of Sweet & Low, and I seasoned with kosher salt, fresh ground pepper, and dill. It was refreshing... and only slightly boring. :)
We both enjoyed dinner, although Karly wished she had more shrimp. To be honest, I did too. I am used to having a lot more protein in my diet - having just come from an Atkin's life style - and in spite of eating five cups of the cucumber salad, I was still feeling pretty unsatisfied. The half grapefruit I had about an hour after dinner helped a bit, but not much. Karly handled here cravings with a couple spoons of peanut butter and a piece of dark chocolate with raspberries. That didn't bother me, but I was really craving a Diet 7-Up. We wondered whether, if the HCG diet had been created at the end of the 20th century, whether Doctor Simeons would have allowed diet sodas (Trudeau wouldn't, of course, but that guy's just a charlatan trying to sell his books/products so his "protocols" are of no import to me; talk about the worst of pseudo-science...).

I had a nice phone chat with my partner after dinner. She sounded a bit tired. She works very hard at both her job and private practice, and I've noticed that she seems kind of worn out by the end of the week, so I doubt her low energy was solely the result of the diet, although it couldn't help in that regard I'm sure. She's going to spend tomorrow (Saturday) playing catch up at home, so I'll take the opportunity to do the same.

Finally, I will say that it was far easier to go without a cocktail than I had anticipated. I don't have one every night, but I do most. Regardless, that was not what I was craving last night... it was that darn Diet 7-Up!!!


- Rodney
HCG Wingman

Friday, July 6, 2012

Day 1 - Lunch Time!

Since diets require planning, yesterday I got all set up for the first few days by doing some shopping, stocking us (my paramour and me) up on some of the allowed food items. Thanks to CostCo, we have plenty of spinach, cucumber, asparagus, chicken breast, tilapia and shrimp to last the first few days. I split the cornucopia, giving half to her and leaving the other half at home. Since I like to cook for us, typically at her house, this means we'll be ready for the weekend, regardless of where we might find ourselves.

My first "HCG" meal was lunch, which I just finished. With oils and fats of any kind out of the question, the options for cooking methods are a little limited. Fortunately, by working within the limitations allowed, I was able to make a tasty and healthy meal that has left me feeling pretty darn satisfied, I must say.

The menu included:
  • Seared tilapia "tenderloin" with a crust of garlic, salt, and fresh ground pepper. I seared it in the pan for a couple of minutes on each side (I did use a flavorless non-stick spray with no fat or calories, just to keep the fish from sticking), then popped it in the microwave for 20 seconds to finish cooking the interior.
  • Spinach, fast cooked over high heat in a bit of water with the juice of half a lemon, a few dashes of white vinegar and Tabasco Sauce, salt, pepper and red pepper flake.
It took maybe 7 minutes to prepare/cook all of it, so no worries there. I did weigh out all the ingredients on my OXO kitchen scale beforehand, which allowed to accurately count the calories - being limited to 500 a day on this crazy diet. Here's a breakdown (all caloric amounts taken from A Calorie Counter web site):

  • 100g tilapia = 129 cal.
  • 180g spinach = 35 cal.
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon = 5 cal.
That's a grand total of 169 calories. I forgot to get Melba Toast or grapefruit at the store yesterday, which would have added approximately 60 calories to the total. That said, I am actually feeling pretty full - or at least satisfied - so I think I'll save those items as potential snacks for after I hit the gym, in case I feel a craving for a few calories.

The 180g (5 cups) of spinach filled the colander I was using, so it looked like a lot. After cooking, however, it had of course wilted down to a much less impressive volume - about a single cup. Spinach is so sparse on calories (only 7 cal/cup raw), however, that adding two or three more cups worth would not over-tax the daily calorie bank. In fact, if I limit myself to half a grapefruit a day, that opens up a lot of room for more veggies, which I prefer anyway.

Karly's coming up for the evening (hurrah!). Of course, I will not subject her to this crazy diet, but I can make a batch of shrimp and a cucumber salad.  I'll use the recipe I used for the shrimp cocktails I made a week or two back (thanks to Alton Brown), minus the sugar/brine. Of course, there will be no cocktail sauce for me, but Karly can enjoy some, and I can make do with Tabasco, no worries.

Off to the gym. I refuse to quit working out during this diet. I may have to cut back though, especially once my body starts to notice the severe reduction in caloric intake... Oh, I should also start testing my blood sugar regularly, to make sure it doesn't take any drastic dips. Safety first!


- Rodney
The HCG Wingman

Day 1 - It begins!

The point of this blog is to record my adventures over the next 26 or so days as I attempt the HCG Diet for the first time. It being morning of Day 1, there is not much to report, so I shall instead indulge my authorial spirit by sharing how I come to find myself in this situation...

My older friends and family know that I have been - at times - heavy. Actually, I have been fat. Very fat even, my personal maximum being somewhere around 280 pounds. After Dad died at the end of 2009, I put on even more weight, and, as a result, was eventually diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. Nothing had ever motivated me before to lose and keep off weight like this bit of news, and since then I've maintained a much healthier weight - typically in the 220-230 range, which is not bad considering my frame and muscle mass. I'm built like a gladiator, for those few who know what that means.

I lost 60 pounds by going the low carb route. I had tried many other diets, and had even gone vegetarian. This last adventure was the proverbial straw that broke this camel's back. Living on veggies - including all the starchy ones - plus rice, pasta, etc., only poured weight on me like water from a dam, and was what ultimately earned me membership in the Diabetics Club. It was only after that, when I stumbled serendipitously into the Atkin's Diet, that I finally found something that worked - and continues to work - for yours truly. The weight has stayed off - with a bit of fluctuation from time to time - and I've been happy with the results and the change in life style.

And, to add some perspective, the HCG diet is crazy. There is no hard science to support any of the claims made by any of its proponents. None. Zero. Zip. Zilch. Nada. In fact, what tests that have been done make HCG - human chorionic gonadotropin - a poor candidate for weight loss use indeed. The fact that HCG's most recent and biggest proponent - Kevin Trudeau - has been convicted/jailed for fraud, and fined by the FTC, SEC and others several times doesn't help the HCG cause either, nor does the fact that many "HCG" products contain no HCG at all

People do lose weight on the HCG diet, and the reason why is no mystery. Everyone - regardless of size, frame, activity level, or any other considerations - is limited to a maximum of 500 calories/day, with virtually no fat and very few carbohydrates allowed. At my age, size and activity level, that's around 1/6 of my maintenance intake. Add my diabetic condition to the mix and this experiment can turn out to be an adventure in hypoglycemia. It is a starvation diet, pure and simple.

"So Rod", you might be thinking, "if you did so well on Atkin's, why are you jumping ship to try this HCG thing?" The answer is simple: There's a girl involved. What else could make a straight guy do something as questionably crazy and potentially dangerous as the HCG diet?


Before you go and accuse me of being blinded by my feelings, letting my heart (among other parts) lead  me into making a stupid decision, consider the following: 1) She is an intelligent, educated and rational person; 2) She has been physically fit most of her life, and it is only due to an injury that she has not been able to exercise with the regularity she likes as of late, so an intensive exercise program is currently not possible; 3) She has done the diet a few times before with considerable success, and it has been her experience that it is the only thing that consistently works. I can relate to the last bit, the low carb diet being the only diet that has afforded me any lasting success.

As far as I'm concerned, she has an incredible figure and doesn't need to be concerned about her weight (seriously, every time I see her sine vestimenta, all I can think is... WOW!). She, however, feels otherwise, and that is certainly her prerogative . Because appearance/weight is a personal matter, it is ultimately her decision to make, and, because these sorts of undertakings are often easier with someone to share the experience with, I have decided to be a good Wingman and join her for this adventure. That way, we can share our experiences - both positive and negative - and be there for each other to help during the tough spots we are likely to encounter during the process.

Also, maybe I can finally lose these love handles...

The bottom line is that, not only does she mean a lot to me, I respect her - rather a lot, really. If this is important to her, then it's important to me too. If there is a way I can help, then I am going to help, and participating in this diet with her is a way I can show my support.

And what kind of partner would I be anyway, if I were to let her eat the meager meals allowed while I continued to indulge myself in fine gourmet (but healthy) meals and wines? That would make me The Worst Boyfriend Ever, I think! The path of compassion is to be supportive. Besides, I'm looking at it as a culinary challenge; an attempt to make enjoyable and satisfying meals from the paucity of allowed ingredients...

Challenge Accepted, dag nab it!!!

So... for the next 26ish days, I will be posting here about our progress - from my point of view, of course. I might post several times a day, since it is summer, my course load is light, and writing will provide a nice distraction from the unavoidable hunger pangs that will crop up from time to time...

Oh my God... it just hit me: No cocktails for 26 days...


The HCG Wingman

P.S. For reference, I weighed in at 227 lbs. this morning.