I think this depends on how much of the time during the past 5 years you’ve been on it.
If a person is doing this diet as a cleanse like once a year, I think that actually has merit as something worth doing. Your body has plenty of time between each round to be stable and in homeostasis.
Doing many rounds of the hCG Diet each year though…..
I do think that being on the low-calorie diet too frequently during 1 span of time where your body doesn’t have much time being on normal calories is probably not a good idea. Even though it truly is an amazing protocol, it is still indeed an extreme method, and so just as Dr. Simeon’s wisely designed it, the hCG protocol was only meant to do for a short period of time – that 3-6 weeks, before then giving your body a pretty good dose of normalcy for a time. He even had individuals wait longer and longer between each round of hCG they did.
I think it’s interesting that he laid the program out this way. No doubt many of his patients had more weight to lose than the weight they could lose during 6 weeks on the diet, but he never told them to just stay on the diet till they were done losing weight – it seems he must have felt this was unwise.
Before I go further I just want to say even IF you’ve been negatively affected by doing this, I do believe the body wants to heal and I’ll share a few things about working towards healing after this.
While I don’t actually know what is happening, this is what I THINK is the gist of what happens when you do the diet back to back too many times without any breaks – or perhaps with 6-week breaks, but just many many rounds as you mentioned for years on end.
I think your body’s metabolism will start becoming affected and down regulate to handle the stress of this (this means your body starts conserving and adjusts the calories it needs to survive to a lower range so that your body doesn’t keep losing weight- since losing weight isn’t considered “homeostasis” by the body, which is basically always what it’s striving for- so being a dieting state for too long a time, the body will start to fight this and adapt so that you do not continue losing weight). I think it can also cause adrenal fatigue – adrenals are one of the important ways your body handles stress but it can only handle so much, and when they become taxed, not only can you become very tired a lot, your body will gain weight more easily and have a harder time losing weight. Also with the thyroid, we have various thyroid hormones, and one problem that can occur is that your body can start producing more reverse-t3 which then fills the receptors where regular active t3 should be going- active t3 is basically one of the big parts of your metabolism that gives you energy and that burns calories – so when your body starts filling those receptors with reverse-t3, regular t3 then can’t fill them, and so basically your body is filling up areas with inactive forms of thyroid hormone- this then makes you hypothyroid basically and you will again, find your body doesn’t respond to your weight loss efforts the way it did before.
SO what to do about all this?
First of all – if you just feel like something is really super wrong in your body now, getting some blood testing could really help you to pinpoint the exact problems and help you work to fixing them-
Thyroid testing- you have to ask for the specific tests you want are they likely won’t come in the standard thyroid panel a regular doc would order. These days you can also order any test you want online, go into the lab to have your blood drawn, then they email you the results. My insurance doesn’t cover blood testing anyway these days so that’s what I do.
You want to get a Reverse T3 test, and Free T3 test for sure. Other basic ones are fine too, but these 2 you want to check your levels so you can see if your free t3 is too low (the stuff you need to make you feel good and have a good metabolism) and to see if your Reverse T3 is too high. IF your reverse T3 is too high, there are various methods for gradually reducing it, and once you do, you will likely find your body will respond to weight loss a lot better after this.
I also mentioned adrenal fatigue. To test this, you want to do a 24-hr salivary cortisol test to check your cortisol levels over that period of time.
Here are some resources for all this if I’m overwhelming you.
THE BEST SITE for learning about this thyroid stuff:
More on What Free T3 is and does:
Blood testing online:
This package is reverse t3/free t3
For interpreting your lab results, rather than just go by what the stuff on your paper says or your doctor, please checkout out the stopthethyroidmadness post about interpreting lab results.
If you have high reverse T3 here’s a couple of resources on addressing this:
Just remember, THINGS are fixable. Sometimes we ladies end up doing things to our bodies that in the long run, don’t serve us and then we have to spend some time sorting that out- but it can be sorted!
Eating WELL during this time will be important too- the P3toLife program has lots of veggies, lean protein, and satisfying flavors. Of course, you can totally just eat from recipes you find on your own- if you do, just keep in mind that eating too low carb chronically also contributes to depressed thyroid levels. My program is considered “low carb” but has more carbs than the Atkins induction levels and lots of veggies so it’s pretty well balanced.
I hope this helps- I both want to give you HOPE but also be very honest with you of what results from chronic dieting, especially with an extreme protocol like this one.