Hcg, Dieting, and Self Love
This is a repost from Doula Right Thing that stresses a particular point that I think needs continual addresses: the lack of self-love in our society.
Have you all heard about this? Human chorionic gonadotrophin (aka hCG, the hormone your body produces when pregnant, the presence of which urine pregnancy tests are testing for) is being popularly used as a weight loss supplement.
To understand how this works, we need to look generally at the role hCG plays during pregnancy. During pregnancy the presence of hCG works to loosen up adipose (fat) tissue from the fleshier areas of the body. This tissue then makes its way to the fetus to support it in its development. In this way, if a pregnant person doesn't consume the ideal nutrients needed for fetal development, the fat reserves will 'fill in', somewhat like an understudy in a play (though this is of course simplifying it and there will probably be other health issues, both fetal and maternal, as a result of poor nutrition).
Most hGC diets are supposed to last a minimum of 26 days. The hormone is taken as in as a daily injection at any regular injection site. Treatments may last as long as 43 days, given the client doesn't lose more than 34-40 pounds in which case it is not recommended they continue. It is said to take 3 days for the hCG to 'kick in' and another 3 days for it to be completely out of your system ( highly believable, huh?)
In addition, dieters are told to cut their daily caloric intake to 500 cal. per day starting on the third day on treatment. Once the excess weight is dropped, they are told to stop the calorie restriction as the body will 'reject' the limitation (failure of body systems perhaps?) What little food can be consumed during the diet is supposed to be high in protein and low in starches, carbohydrates and fat. Alcohol is forbidden, and updated versions of the diet sometimes include additional appetite suppressants, such as daily injections of phentermine or other stimulants. People on this diet are told to expect weight loss of 1 lb. per day (slightly less if the dieter is female). There are videos all over Youtube of people (specifically young women) documenting their weight loss 'journeys' with hCG.
I find this so completely scary. I don't even fully understand the issue yet, so I don't know quite what to make of it and say. It really blows my mind. I have been thinking a lot about nutrition, dieting and eating disorders today, specifically about how much mixed information we are given about food and our bodies in this culture and how vulnerable it can be. Also, how incredible it is when we do finally open up and find conversation and community about all of this. When we find solidarity and stand up to this capitalist, monolithic force telling us to hate ourselves and to not trust our bodies. It is a seriously powerful thing to resist this. It is a seriously powerful thing to take steps towards self-love and body acceptance, even if they are small, gradual ones.
With all that said, I am going to start a DIY Gynecology post series here on Doula Right Thing. Please send me an e-mail or leave a comment if there's any GYN related skill or topics you wanna learn about.