My (quick) weight loss story

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Losing weight after 4 children was trickier than I thought. I got discouraged easily, and I couldn’t handle the emotional turmoil, so I wanted a quicker fix to jump start my weight loss. It’s extreme, but I don’t regret it, and I’ve been able to maintain the weight within 7 pounds for 5 years. Let me start with a little disclaimer that what was best for me will not be best for everyone. I am not advocating or pushing any plan upon anyone, simply sharing what I did. With many choices out there, I do not judge what others do, and I ask that judgement not be placed upon me for what I did to lose my weight. Each person should do their own research, talk to their doctors, and find a plan that is best for you.

{This post was originally shared 4/27/2012, updated January 2017}

Looking back 5 years later, I think any hunger suppressant would work, not important which drops you use. But here is a link: hcg weight loss drops


My (quick) weight loss story

I’ve been working on this post off and on for over a month.  A few days ago, I challenged myself to finish by today, then I panicked.  Not sure I want all of this “out there.” I’ve had so many emails from people asking what I had done to lose weight, and I wanted to tell those that truly want to know…just don’t want to hear from others that have stronger opinions.  I voiced this to my walking buddy and neighbor, Marissa, and she convinced me to not be afraid, and I decided I just needed to go for it. Then, as I was wasting time looking on the web to avoid finishing this post yesterday, I stumbled upon this on Pinterest and took a screen shot:

Someone had “pinned” this image of me with my daughter that I posted with their bluebonnet shots a month ago.  When I looked closer and saw it  on this gals thinspiration” board, I just about fell off my chair.  What?  Me?  Thinspiration? Then I got a sting in my eyes, and I just stared with my jaw partially gaping open. The subtitle reads: “Kristen Duke-great photographer (gee, thanks!) and mother of 4!! I CAN look that good again after my 4;)”  This was the extra push I needed to finish it up and publish the post (even if I don’t quite have rock hard abs like the gal in the other picture above). I think my biggest worry is not of those in blogland, but from the people that I know in real life.

I hope to inspire in all walks of life, and if this is part of it, then so be it. I consider myself a pretty open book, I love to share lots of details about myself and my life, and I love that people keep coming back to hear more. But this has been more of a personal journey that I’m still worried about. Worried that I’ll drift back into old habits, worried I’ll get lax on my new goals, worried the new clothes I’ve recently purchased will get too tight, worried it’ll all come back and then the fact that I’m celebrating the loss will all be in vain.  BUT, I’m doing it anyway…here is the story, and you know it isn’t short because I don’t know how to do short.

Here are images of me through the years:

I typed out the ages on each image, to give a feel for the back and forth throughout my life.  4 babies really does it….

I’ve never been interested in fad diets.  Never on a “program” and throughout the years I have joined varying gyms, done early morning runs, DVD’s at home, trained for triathlons, even a half marathon last year hoping the pounds would shed like crazy.  True, right after a baby was born, that excess came off, but then I’d plateau when I was satisfied enough to not have to work so hard.  I did religiously drink generic “slim fast” shakes twice a day for a good two years after baby #3 and some after #4.  I liked the convenience of them, but I didn’t realize the high sugar content in them. Never really looked a that. Now I do.

As women, especially those of us who have had multiple children, often struggle with our weight in some way or another. It’s a frustrating journey, and one that I didn’t care to talk about because we are all so different. We all have different body shapes, different ideas of what is healthy to eat, coming with opinions of how we were raised, and our plan to have healthy and happy children.  I got annoyed with the salad eaters when I would go out with my friends and I had a bacon cheeseburger sitting in front of me. I love a bacon cheeseburger. But the tables were turned on me recently and I hoped there wouldn’t be that annoyance towards me. I was restricting what I was eating, and I went to an activity with friends who went out for ice cream after. Wanting to continue socializing, along with testing my will power, I went. While they ordered, I ran next door to a grocery store and grabbed some strawberries and came back to join them.  Fortunately, they didn’t raze me for eating strawberries while they ate ice cream and fries, but I felt so awkward and strange as they congratulated me for making such a great choice. Most of them didn’t know my little secret, and I didn’t want to make it known.  I kept silent about it. I could tell that my choice, made some of them feel a little guilty, and that made me feel bad….insecure…strange because I really did want to have those same treats, too, and I was no poster child for health, at least my past habits wouldn’t say so.

{Half Marathon Finisher: April 2011}

I mean, I trained for and ran a half marathon last year and nothing changed.  Complete bummer.

On February 4th, I began a 6 week journey, that I like to refer to as my “cleanse“. I had had a year of exercising (running, regular gym classes where I sweat my bootie off) and counting calories with no amazing results and I was frustrated. Still wearing the same size 12 pants that I had been before.  I thought I was ok with that. My health care professional husband kept reminding me to give it time, slow and steady, blah blah blah. Well, I am just not patient!  I needed a kick start, to see some real results. I felt that with my already set-in-place regular exercise regime I was on, and having gotten used to counting calories, if I lost a bunch of weight quickly, I could maintain from there. I wrote a blog post in January 2012 titled: I really don’t like exercising and I love to eat whatever I want. I heard from lots of you who had similar feelings!  Fortunately, I wasn’t dealing with obesity, I was dealing with just enough extra blubber that I just wasn’t happy with. The baby stretched tummy, the hips, the bum, the thighs.

At the end of January, I asked on my facebook page if anyone had tried any quick weight loss diets and to share.  Lots answered, I looked into all of them, and weighed my ditch effort options. In that same thread, there were several who warned against the same methods I was looking into. At this point, I should have done some hefty research, but I’ve always seen people as my research, so I went to those sources and asked my questions. It was when a good friend of mine confided to me that she had done one of these extreme quick weight loss plans, that I became interested. She was someone I knew and loved and trusted. SHE had done lots of research, and shared it all with me.  She had completed a round of this plan a year ago, and kept the weight off. I had never wanted to try these crazy diets (I really don’t like that word, hence the word “cleanse” used above) because people seem to  yo-yo so much. They lose it, and it comes back.  That’s just so discouraging! This “plan” is designed to not just help shed weight, but to reset your metabolism in a way that aids in keeping the weight off.  Everyone I had heard from told me first what they lost, and second that they had kept it off. Very enticing. I was scared to commit, but once I did, I jumped in with both feet.

The actual plan is called hCG. The definition I got from is HCG is an abbreviation used for human chorionic gonadotropin, a hormone that  appears naturally during pregnancy.  HCG is also used as a medication for female infertility & low sperm count. I couldn’t quite understand the controversy, but I did remember my husband mentioning he knew a man that did the hCG plan, and how unnatural he thought that was because men don’t get pregnant (though it appears men use it medically for low sperm count).

After a week on the plan, I had lost 7 pounds, and people were starting to notice and comment.  Yes, it is nice to hear kind words, but I was hyper sensitive. I didn’t want anyone to ask how I did it because I knew the controversy and I didn’t want to have to defend my choice. I avoided conversation, tried to change the subject, and the few times that people asked, I was vague enough to mention what I was doing without action naming “the plan.” I’d say it was no sugar, no carb, low calorie…and that was true! I didn’t even tell my husband exactly what I was doing until I was done.  He was fine being in the dark, and was supporting me (and he does it so well) in what I was doing, but didn’t know all the details.

The basic plan includes drops and diet. 3x a day, I took the drops under my tongue (I got mine here, but some say the “homeopathic online” isn’t ideal–not sure why).  It also doubles as a hunger suppressant. It’s broken down into 3 phases.

Phase 1: gorge.  For 2 days while taking the drops–eat as much fatty food as possible.  I didn’t question that one…sounded good to me. I happened to be on a trip that weekend, and got lots of treats.

Phase 2: For minimum 21 days, eat just 500 calories a day while taking the drops. No sugar, no carbs/starches. There are specific meats, fruits, and vegetables to eat.  Chicken, lean steak, shrimp, tuna, tomatoes, lettuce, broccoli, asparagus, strawberries, blueberries, apples.  That is pretty much what I ate for 3 weeks.  And lots of gum.

Phase 3: 3 weeks of maintenance.  Still no sugar or starches, but up to 1500 calories. This time period resets your metabolism/hypothalamus to see this weight as the new normal. I tried out some new recipes and was so stinkin’ excited about cauliflower crust pizza!  It was actually quite delicious.

My Numbers:

I lost 17 pounds in 21 days, then during the 3 week maintenance, I lost 4 more (I was just aiming to maintain, not lose, and I ate well–right at the 1500 mark). So 21 pounds total. 3 inches off on my waist, 4 inches on my hips, 2 inches on my arms, 2.5 inches on each thigh. I told my husband recently because it happened quickly, I had the phantom pounds on myself that I remembered were recently there and it felt weird not to have them. My thighs didn’t rub together when I walked like they used to…my arm sleeve’s were looser, my clothes were too big. It was fresh what it was like when it was there.

I was on maintenance during my East Coast Trip over spring break, and though it was hard to not eat the goodies in NYC, I was proud of myself for sticking to it. I found treats in other things (raspberries, avocado’s, bacon, cheese). I still had a juicy hamburger, just without the bun or fries. Here is my before and after in the same outfit:

Quick weight loss


What helped me get through this?

  1. I did this with a friend and we helped each other out.  We talked to each other daily and gave support.
  2. We also got together and weighed/pre portioned our daily allotment of 3 oz. of meat (2x a day) and put them in freezer bags so that we just had to grab and heat (George    Foreman grill) when we ate.  It was “at the ready.” This helped me realize that a daily plan of what I’ll eat (not just whatever is in my eyesight) is crucial (then and now).
  3. Knowing that there was an expiration date to the madness. Just 3 weeks. I could do anything for 3 weeks. Then 3 weeks more with no sugar/starches in maintenance.

I can honestly say that I was weaker and tired, but didn’t feel hunger. You aren’t supposed to exercise because of this.

I’m working on a post for next week (hopefully) on what I am doing to maintain with my healthier living (while still enjoying food) through exercise and eating.

I’m going to close this monster of a post with some FAQ’s about HCG for those who are wondering what it is all about. I asked my friend Ellie at Vanilla Bean Girls to help me because she has been there for me to answer questions, and is quite knowledgeable.  I don’t know her personally, but she responded to my FB inquiry, and she has completed 4 full rounds in the past 2 years.  When she followed the plan, the weight stayed off.  Once when she didn’t, the weight (that she lost that round) slowly crept back.  She read all the books (I should have) and has a great knowledge base to pull from.

Frequently Asked Questions for hCG asked by Kristen, answered by Ellie:

  • What does the hcg hormone do to help lose weight? Basically, the HCG hormone attacks the “abnormal” fat that is being stored in your body.  You need fat in your body, for instance, in the heel of your foot….there’s a fat pad under there that helps protect your bone from being injured when you walk.  The HCG hormone goes after the abnormal fat that’s being stored, such as in your tummy or hips/thighs.
  • What is the point of gorging for round 1? I’m sure Dr. Simeon explains it much better in his scientific medical speak (in the book link above)….but basically, you want to load your body with plenty of fats in the loading days (not sugar, not carbs…fats!) so that on your third day when you have a therapeutic amount of the hormone in your body, it will recognize the abnormal fats in your bloodstream as the enemy and go after them….and keep going into your stored abnormal fats.  You’re basically tricking your body into going after the right kind of fats.
  • Does my body think it’s pregnant? Technically yes….you WILL test positive on a pregnancy test – (side note: also a good way to test if you’re using drops that are real and not counterfeit)  I went to the Dr. for a physical on my 3rd day of drops and he carefully poked around the idea that I might be pregnant because my levels were right on the edge of being considered positive.  LOL!  HOWEVER>>> just because your body tests positive doesn’t mean that you will have any of the other pregnancy “changes”!
  • Why 500 calories a day? 500 calories is what you need days 3 – 23 as a VLC or a very low calorie diet.  It’s the bare minimum your body would need to run itself all day.  Your body will use that 500 calories quickly, and then move onto the stored fats as you continue to use energy.
  • Are you hungry? Are you tired? Why? There are times, yes, I’m a little hungry, like right before a meal….but you should be feeling that normally, diet or not.  Towards the end of the first week or so, I do start to get a little tired or run down because I’m still trying to keep up with the house, work, kids, etc.  I would equate it to being tired after a good work out.  I’ve had other friends say they were hungry, “starving!”  but really, they were people who never knew “hunger.”  They didn’t eat lunch because their body felt hunger, they ate because it was lunch time, and they gorged themselves.  For them, “starving” meant that they didn’t feel completely stuffed!
  • Why can’t I have sugar or carbs in maintenance if I stay below 1500 calories? During the maintenance phase, your resetting your metabolism to your lower weight.  It’s just as an important phase as the weight loss phase, if not more!  If you cheat and have sugar or starches….the two things that will make your body gain weight….you’ll gain weight, and your body will not be able to reset at the lower weight.
  • Why do some people say it isn’t safe? many doctors weigh in on both sides….some will say that 500 calories a day isn’t safe, that it’s not enough to sustain you…some will say that if the person continues it too long, it will eat the healthy fats your body needs (which is true, yes, that’s why you HAVE to follow the program to a T for it to be safe!)  I would always say check out different doctors or consult with a weight specialist/nutritionist who specializes in the program to make sure it’s safe for you.  Even if you have diabetes or are hypoglycemic, you’re able to do the HCG diet, but you need to be very careful and space out your foods correctly with the help of a doctor.
  • What is my hypothalamus and how does it “reset”? Your hypothalamus is the part of your brain that controls your metabolism.  The hormone HCG causes chemical changes within your brain that allows your body to speed up your metabolism and reset to a new level that will burn fat faster/better.
  • How does it work to help prevent gaining the weight back? Since your hypothalamus is reset, your metabolism is now reset to the lower weight, and your weight will be maintained.  Years after the program, my mom has still kept her weight off, but she still eats a very healthy and balanced lifestyle, and will do a “steak day” if she overdoes it and gains a couple pounds!  She still weighs herself every morning religiously!  The diet is NOT so that you can get skinny and eat cheeseburgers and pizza all you want!  Its a way to cleanse/detox your body, cleanse your taste pallet, get the unhealthy fats out of your body so that your new, healthy body can function correctly as you go about your new healthy diet and lifestyle.
  •   Why can’t I eat other protein, fruits or veggies instead of just the limited ones that are listed? – I can’t really speak for Dr. Simeon on this one, other to say that I’m sure he didn’t leave out turkey and green beans by accident!  He spent the majority of his life researching this hormone and diet, and being a well researched Dr., I’m sure he had heard of those things.  I can only guess that after much trial and error, and years of research, these were the items that he found to work best.  Stick with the exact diet for the best results and don’t think that you can outsmart the program by substituting a turkey burger for the red meat or chicken!  You’ll only be cheating yourself!
  • Why is this diet controversial?  I would think the diet is controversial mostly because of the 500 calories a day.  Whenever I mention that to someone, they immediately freak out that I’m anorexic and I’m going to starve  myself right into the hospital or looney bin!  The other controversial aspect I’ve found from people is that there are HUGE repercussions from cheating!  Just by not having enough water, or too much salt, or having a few too many ounces of your protein, you might not lose the weight you should have, or worse…might even gain weight!

Thanks, Ellie!

If you got through all of this–I could e-hug you!  Thanks for your support and sweet words you’ve already shared, it really does mean a lot.

Two more posts that on Healthy Living:

Striving for a Healthier Lifestyle: How I Eat & Exercise

6 months after my weight loss: How I’ve maintained

Quick Weight Loss: One Year Later

Join The Discussion



  1. Thanks for sharing. I NEED to do something, but not sure that this is for me. You are looking terrific, by the way, and congratulations for committing to this “cleanse” and sticking to it.

  2. Joanna S. says:

    So happy you’ve had success! Enjoy! 🙂

  3. wow! looking great! nice work, kristen!

  4. Kristen-
    How long does one bottle of drops last? Did you need just one for the 21 days?

  5. your before/after is amazing!

  6. First of all congratulations! I think it is exciting to hear how people concur their challenges and can celebrate when they succeed.
    After having 3 children with my youngest turning 5 next week, my stomach still looks like I am pregnant. So I am still searching and working on it. I have found a new exercise website that I really enjoy. has short but hard exercises, usually 12 min, that can be done at home. It works great for me and has allowed me to be more consistent.
    It was a great post, thank you for sharing.

  7. I didn’t realize this is what you are doing. I say, if it gives you success and makes you feel great then go for it. You do look amazing!

  8. Jacqueline says:

    Wow, how neat to see the before and after pictures – looks great! The info is very interesting.

    • Kristen Duke says:

      Thanks, Jacqueline, I always love a good before/after, and the ones I originally took didn’t work out…

  9. Brandie Kennedy says:

    Congrats Kristen. You look awesome. I am actually on the maintenance phase and lost 16 pounds!! I too am determined to not go back either!!!!

    • Kristen Duke says:

      That’s awesome, Brandie! Always interesting to know who of my friends in real life have done this before!

  10. You look beautiful and Happy Kristen, good for you! 🙂 I have looked into the Hcg thing for the same reasons as you, feeling like if I could quickly loose the extra lbs, then I could maintain a new me… but will power is not my forte. I’m proud of you! I wonder if you can do this while nursing…?

  11. Oh my gosh I would love to try this! This kind of thing is right up my alley! However, I am nursing, will 500 calories a day cause me to lose my supply? Or will an extreme amount of water counteract that and sustain her? Also, I have hypothyroidism (so my body does not make enough TSH- a thyroid hormone- and I take pills to help regulate my metabolism) so would I be able to do this cleanse? I am not sure if it would be helpful to my overall hypothyroidism/hashimoto’s disease or if it would hinder it. Any insight from anyone for either of these issues would be SO helpful! (BTW Kristen you look gorgeous! 🙂

    • Kristen Duke says:

      Cassidy, I am pretty sure it’s ok on hypo medicine, but I’d ask your doctor. I wouldn’t recommend it while nursing because of the low energy….wait til you’re done.

  12. You look great! Glad you shared.

  13. First off, loved your workshop at snap. Second, this sounds interesting. I always had a low resting weight. The weight I am normally when I don’t diet or exercise, but it has gone up 12 pounds since getting older. Children didnt affect it, I have 4 but age did, (over 40 now). And working out doesnt help. Of course anyone would lose that weight on a 500 calorie a day diet butthe part that intrigues me is the body resetting its resting weight.

  14. Oh not to have my thighs rub together when I walk….how would that be!?! Great job Kristen! I’ve always looked at hCG curiously and longingly. I haven’t done a ton of research on it, but want to do more. I think you’ve given me the confidence to do more research on it. But wow…500 cal – yikes….I think that’s the part that scares me the most! I love food – too much! 🙂 Way to go Kristen and thank you for sharing!

    • Kristen Duke says:

      Rebecca, do the research. The drops really helps to supress so you aren’t as hungry–really. THe thighs…yes…

  15. kristen,

    you look SO amazing. that sounds like it would be so hard, but what an awesome thing to do! proud of you.:)

  16. Lori Duffin says:

    Great post Kristen. Your honesty is refreshing and it was very informative. Your look beautiful (you were before too), and I’m happy you got the results you wanted. You’re an inspiration.

  17. Eeek that’s my Pinterest board and caption!!! 😀

    You truly are my latest inspiration Kristen. I sit here currently 38 weeks pregnant with my fourth child in 6 years and I’m completely overwhelmed at the thought of how much work I have ahead of me. I managed to lose the weight after baby number one and again after number two. However, my third child is only 11 months old and I’m still carrying an excess 35lbs from that pregnancy. The more I’ve talked to my friends and family about my concerns the more I hear that I need to be less hard on myself and to reevaluate my goals after having four children. I know where they’re coming from and that they just don’t want me to be disappointed if I were to fail miserably, but I get the feeling that they think it’s okay to go through life blaming my kids for how out of shape I will be. I don’t like the idea of that one bit. I know that a woman’s body can change shape after having a baby and that there’s a good chance that I will never be as slim as you Kristen, but just seeing that it is possible after having four kids, gives me the inspiration I need to push for it.

    Thank you so much for posting your experience and what worked or you. I totally understand your hesitation as I’ve experienced some back lash for a program that I completed successfully after baby number one. I think we as women need to focus on the fact that no matter how we feel it would work for us, what matters is that it worked for you and that’s awesome!! We need to be supportive and stop tearing each other down for the choices others make. Congrats on reaching your goal and of course for being a hot mama for others to look up to 😛 AND THANK YOU for using my Pinterest board in your post. You can add a link to it if you’d like as I would love for that board to help inspire others (I think I’ve collected some really great stuff on there!)

    PS the dreaded bacon cheeseburger is my weakness also.

    • Kristen Duke says:

      Evie–thank YOU for the inpiration. Seriously, boosted me up to see what you wrote. I know it is tough at the end of pregnancy, but girlfriend, you eat some yummy treats and worry about the weight later. You can’t get into that mental battle now. You had your kids close, and I can’t imagine the toll that would take on your body, but you will be grateful your kids are close in age when they are older ! Listen to your friends–don’t be so hard on yourself!!! Don’t blame your kids, think of the joy they brought to you and those stretch marks and rolls that may never fully go away are a battle of honor. But with the right amount of will power, it can go away. I have seen people work it off and look great! I think I did add a link to your board…you have a great collection, indeed!

  18. Hi Kristen!
    You look fabulous and the HCG plan is very interesting to me. Would you mind answering the following questions?
    1. After you go through the six week “cleanse” do you still have to keep taking the drops?
    2. What is your current daily calorie intake? Are you trying to still stick to the 1500?
    3. How tall are you?
    Thanks 🙂

    • Kristen Duke says:

      Thanks, Jen!
      1. drops are only for 3 weeks, that’s all.
      2. Currently I consume 1500-2000 depending on how many I burned working out. Generally 300-500.
      3. I’m 5 foot 6

  19. Thanks for sharing, Kristen! You look really great and I think it’s wonderful that you stuck to a program and saw the results you were looking for. I think the important thing is that you make healthy choices for yourself and stay active, which is what you seem to be doing! Sometimes you need that initial “push” to get you going. I appreciate you being so transparent to share your experience (I was thinking that you looked thinner in your pictures, but I wasn’t sure if it was just my imagination.) 🙂

    • Kristen Duke says:

      Thanks, Diana! I really needed that extra push, and now I don’t want to let go of what I lost, so I am totally on that healthy lifestyle bandwagon!

  20. Congralations! I just got my HCG drops in the mail yesterday and will start them tomorrow. I’m a skeptic, but my boyfriend’s been on them for a week and has lost 8 pounds already. I can’t wait to start! Great testimony!

  21. Thanks for sharing the details. I’ve never heard of HCG. Can you tell us what foods a typical 500 cal day would include? I think my willpower would go during that time!

    • Kristen Duke says:

      Amy, I listed the foods in the post but chicken, tuna, shrimp, and a lean steak along with strawberries, apples, broccoli, asparagus, and a few others…

  22. Thank you so much for sharing your story, you are very brave (as you pointed out there will always be people that will critisize) and you are very generous/unselfish to share your personal experience with us. I feel you will help many others with this information. Celebrate your success, you worked hard, you had willpower in many situations where many would not have. I know the fear you feel re: gaining back the weight, take it day by day and be proud of yourself for each success, and go easy on yourself if you do slip up. Have you heard of the 80/20 rule? Follow the rules 80% of the time 🙂 Congratulations!! and Thank You!

    • Kristen Duke says:

      Rhonda, I think I like the 80/20 rule–I’m still having treats, but working out to compensate and maintain. Thanks for your sweet words!

  23. HCG Shortcut says:

    ok, so maybe I’m cheating, but i wanna drop only about 5 pounds and wanted to try hcg but didn’t wanna spend the money and 500 calories a day scared me (i love food more than life itself) so i found some hcg drops at walmart for $12.96 for a month supply and have been on them for a few days and can’t believe how much my appetite is suppressed. I’m a big eater so i have a normal appetite now, not like it disappeared completely just normal. I’m still eating 1500-1800 calories a day on these drops and have lost 2 pounds already!! i think this is a great solution to those who just have a few pounds to lose. I plan on doing it for a week and maintaining after that.

    only draw back is i am SUPER THIRSTY all of the time and drink so much water!!

  24. This post is the best part of my day! I start the HCG program tomorrow and I have been so nervous b/c I never try fad diets although I know several women who have done HCG and been super successful and maintained. I start Phase 1 tomorrow & you are seriously the inspiration I needed today to know that it’s possible. Thank you!

  25. I have remarked on how great you are looking – but didn’t want to ask how you did the weight loss. I knew you’d tell eventually if and when you felt like it.
    Congrats – what a terrific success story, and kudos for sharing it.

  26. Heather W. says:

    Congrats! I especially liked the before/after pictures in the same outfit for comparison. I feel I’m in the same boat, after four kids I’m still at a size 12, not obese, but not where I want to be. I am proud of you for setting and achieving your goals!

    • Kristen Duke says:

      Thank, Heather! It feels amazing to go from a 12 to an 8 (sometimes 6)! Never thought it would happen!

  27. Jenn Thompson says:

    Good for you! You do look great! The jury is out for me on HcG. I did it a year ago for many of the same reasons you did. I had 10 pounds left of baby weight, so I waited until I was completely done nursing (I don’t think it would be safe while nursing). I also had another 20 after that to reach a weight where I knew I’d be happy about how I look in my clothes (so 30 total). I wish I had taken before and after pics. I lost 23 pounds, but the nature path Dr. I used had a 21-day or up to 40 day plan, so I was going for the 40 day b/c I wanted to lose more. I have 2 SILs who are physical therapists and were SO against it “you’re just gonna lose water weight” “you’ll gain it all back, etc”. Here’s why I did it anyway: 1. I am pretty dang good at maintaining my weight loss (til I have another baby!) 2. I didn’t have a lot to lose 3. I knew how to diet the “healthy way” with plenty of success, but it was just too slow (1.5 pounds a week).

    I didn’t feel hungry, but was tired. My BIL wussed out after a few days b/c he was running 5 miles a day still. I was super tired, but otherwise actually felt good while on it (the whole “cleansed” feeling). I have a hunch maybe I could have intolerances to milk or wheat, but haven’t been willing to cut them out since to test that theory. I was losing a bunch of weight every 3 days and tons of inches every day. When I had lost 21 pounds in about 25 days, I plateued, so I finally had a couple of steak and apple days to try to lose more and finally got 2 more pounds off. After 30 days I gave up and realized I wasn’t gonna lose any more. I immediately regained those 2 pounds and then stablized during the maintenance phase. I was super happy and said that if I did gain half of it back I’d be happy b/c I’d be at my pre-pregnancy weight. Well, I have gained 10 pounds back in a year. Boo. I went on vacation a week after I was done with maintenance and wasn’t careful b/c I wanted southern food I only get once every 4 years, but I only gained 2 pounds while I was there.

    I don’t think I fully understood the maintenance rules afterwards, so that’s probably part of the problem and I feel like my body is “happy” at the weight I’m at since this is the weight I’ve started all 3 pregnancies at (even after gaining lots while pregnant). I’d love to be 20 pounds lighter, but I don’t think I want to do HcG again. And I’ve come to learn to love my body the way it is and stop comparing myself to others…I just want to be healthy and active (and still have a treat once or twice a week). If that means I can’t fit into size 4 jeans, so be it!

    So be super careful with their maintenance plan. I was disillusioned b/c the scale was going way up and down in the first couple of weeks of maintenance and I thought…I’m not going to have steak and apples every other day for the rest of my life! I also got off track with exercise during HcG. I was super-consistent before, went on the diet and then took me a couple months to get back on track.

    I also don’t like to tell people what I did. I would like to try to eat like I did on HcG except a normal amount of calories and no drops and see how I do (lean meats, veggies, fruit, minimal carbs, dairy, etc.). When people have asked me about the diet, I am cautious in recommending it. It is very extreme. I would only recommend it to people that want to do it for the reasons we did—they know how to diet the healthy way and only have 30 or less pounds to lose. But I was one that read the whole manuscript and reasearched it tons before I did it. I am very intrigued by the science of it all… My neighbor did the drops and ate like normal and lost 10 pounds…wouldn’t recommend that! Good luck with it all! Sorry for the super long comment, Kristen!

    • Kristen Duke says:

      Jenn–great to hear your story, thanks for sharing! I think maintenance is more important that people give it credit for…doing that cleanse has really helped me see food differently, too!

  28. Just the other day I noticed something was different (forgive me for being a little slow!) and then I put my finger on it that your face seemed slimmer. I’m so happy that you feel more comfortable. I shared a while ago in a comment that I lost my baby #4 fat by eating a “paleo” diet (mostly no grains, low sugar). A doctor of mine offers the diet you were on and we had an interesting conversation about it. The day I was in we were talking about my drastically lower cholesterol and I told him that it was a result of my new “paleo” diet. As we got to talking the conversation lead to the book “Wheat Belly” that both of us had read. If you’ve not read the book the idea behind it is that eating grains and sugar (corn, wheat, rice and starches) causes you to store fat. There’s science behind it, but I won’t bore you. He admitted that he was curious if the diet he offered to patients was successful because of the removal of carbs/sugars/starches instead of the hormones. I think you will find that maintaining your current weight loss will be doable if you continue to eat the way you are now. Make sure you eat good fats (coconut oil, avacados, olive oil, nuts) it will help you feel full and doesn’t cause your insulin to spike triggering your body to store what you’ve eaten as fat. I’m not a doctor, so you can take my advice with a grain of salt, but our whole family has been eating this way for 6 months and I’ll never go back. I feel so much better and my husband lost 40 lbs. It’s 20% exercise/ 80% what you eat that determines your body composition. Thanks for sharing your story. You look great! You can tell I can’t do short and sweet either. 🙂

    • Kristen Duke says:

      I still need reminders to eat well, so thanks for sharing your story! I enjoy the science of it all, too;)

  29. So did you have four kids by the time you were 30? Crap, I better hurry up! 🙂

  30. You look great! Glad this diet worked well for you. Word of warning (NOT CRITICISM) be careful as you return to “normal eating” if you don’t make lifestyle changes (burn more calories than consume) you will gain. Been there done that!

    500 calories is REALLY LOW. 1500 calories will keep you losing, but still provide you with energy!

    I am down 27 pounds with 50 more to go…not quick or easy…but WORTH it! Losing weight and the fear of gaining it back seem to be part of being a woman/mom! Support, balance, exercise and good food choices are key.

    Have a great weekend. I love your blog and your AMAZING photos.

    • Kristen Duke says:

      Erin, well said, “Support, balance, exercise and good food choices are key!” Thank you!

  31. cozette couture says:

    Good for you girl!! You look awesome!!

  32. Norman hill says:

    You look fabulous.always have. I may need to try your cleansing plan to shed a few pounds myself. Love ya.

  33. Jill Watson says:

    Great job!! My husband and I started the hcg diet as well in January. I LOVED it!! I loved seeing the results so quickly, and it has been pretty easy to keep it off. Our recent trip to OK didn’t help though!! My husband lost 50 pounds and looks great. I lost 40 pounds, and am starting it again today so I can lose more!! The best two things for me and for my heath (other then the fact that I lost the weight) was that I do not drink diet coke anymore and that I don’t crave or want the sweets!! It was amazing how quickly I felt better (day 2 of the weight loss phase I was already feeling wonderful!!!)

    I really try not to tell too many people because they look at you like you have horns when you tell them that you are only eating 500 calories. It isn’t forever and it works. I didn’t crave anything and don’t even care that my friends are eating popcorn and cookies any longer!!!

    Thanks for posting!!
    Thanks for posting!!

    • Kristen Duke says:

      Horns! That is hilarious and so true! I’ve had mixed emotions, but yes…it is extreme and not for everyone, but I’m happy to hear you loved it as well! Keep me posted on the second round;)

  34. Wow, I am very impressed! I do not think I have your self control or your willpower to stay on such a diet. I love food too much. 🙁 Way to go Kristen!

  35. Kristen Duke says:

    Thank you, everyone! I’ve been trying to enable the comments so that I can reply to each question just after it was asked, but I’m having trouble with that new plugin.

    Melanie–I only used half of a bottle for my one round.
    Jennifer– sounds great, I need some toning!
    Brandie–we’ll have to chat, always great to hear from someone who has done the same thing!
    Melissa & Cassidy–not sure about the nursing thing…
    Cassidy–my friend also took something for her hypothyroidism, ask your doctor to be sure
    Justine–agreed, I figured anyone could lose weight eating that little amount, but the drops really help as a suppressant AND it is meant to resent the metabolism, too
    Evie–THANK YOU! I’ll email you back directly…
    Jen–drops are only for 3 weeks, thats it. I try to stick between 1500-2000 exercising 300-500 worth. I am 5 foot 6.
    Amy–I listed the food I ate in the post
    Rhonda–I like the visual of the 80/20 rule, I think that is my goal!
    Denecia–let me know how it goes, you can do it!
    Jenn–wow, what a story! Yes, I do hear that it is importanat to stick to the maintenance phase in order to keep it all off.
    Katie–I have heard of Paleo, and I’ll check out the wheat book you mentioned.
    Kari–Yes, I was 30 when I had my 4th
    Jill–thanks for sharing your story…I loved the “horns” comment;)

  36. I’m so glad it worked for you! I have seen several other friends lose weight on it as well … but I do have to admit that the jury is out for me on this diet. I have several doctor friends and a few nurse friends and they all (who don’t know each other) have said that women especially are developing cancer b/c of the HCG diets — the reports are just coming out. That scares me. To know that in a few years, I could develop cancer…. My nurse friend told me when I was investigating HCG that the doctor she works for said he wished that the HCG would just go away b/c it does the body more harm in the long run — but that people want fast results and NOW.

    What does your friend know about these claims of cancer?? Like I said… I’d love to do it, but I’m literally scared to death.

    • Kristen Duke says:

      I polled several doctors including my brother before and never heard that. Lots of things “cause cancer” I can’t see how this would any more than others.

  37. Wow, you look fantastic! When I met you at Snap I never would have guessed. I’ve got some stubborn weight that won’t move and I’ve been thinking about doing this for a while now… unfortunately I have Ragnar in 6 weeks and I need to run. And I have a half in August… I’m not quite sure that I could safely stick the plan in until the fall with the VLC diet… I’m wondering if you’ve heard of people using the drops with a modified but not as low-calorie diet and still having some success?? Just until the fall when I could really get it a shot and reset my body (would LOVE my body to get used to a new normal… I’ve been stuck here for so long, I know that’s my problem.)

    • Kristen Duke says:

      Anna, thanks! I would def. wait til your races are done if you did this. I don’t think that altering the science would give the same long term results, so I would do a modification. It may help lose, but not maintain…but I’m no doctor. I just understand it is “all” or nothing with this one.

  38. I wouldn’t ever feel comfortable doing HCG, but I am happy for you that it worked so well! You look great! Congrats!

    My weight loss has been super slow. Mostly I just am making better choices, exercising 4-5x/week and logging calories. I’m down 58 pounds in a little over two years. Paleo works for me — I lose weight quickly, but in the end it’s hard to keep up with long term. I only can do it a few days a week. Plus the whole no grains vs word of wisdom thing I can’t quite reconcile in my mind. I’d love to hear your (or other LDS folk) take on it.

    • Kristen Duke says:

      Kriste! You’ve been very patient and I applaud your efforts and success! I don’t know a lot about Paleo, but not something I could do long term. Michael is a grain lover (both to taste and for health) so I hear that a lot. Carbs=energy to fuel his athleticism. As I said, don’t know enough to comment about the WOW part.

  39. I also did 2 rounds of HCG between Thanksgiving and Spring Break and lost 25 pounds (ok, so 6 of those pounds I had to loose twice thanks to the cruise we went on)it feels great to be thinner. I am really hesitant to tell people, as I have had a lot of criticism- usually from people who have never had to diet- about the risks. So, I’m glad you have blogged about it.
    I did 2 rounds before my last pregnancy, and was even thinner than now, but gained it all back and then some with the pregnancy. I have accepted that that’s how life is when you make the sacrifice to have children, but it’s nice to know there is a real weight loss plan out there.
    Thanks for sharing.

  40. you look amazing! Way to go!

  41. Kristen Duke says:

    Michelle, I love what you said, “I have accepted that that’s how life is when you make the sacrifice to have children” and I totally agree! If I never lost it, I would have been ok b/c of the blessing of my children, but I’m so grateful that I did and hope to keep it up. Thank you for sharing your story!

  42. Wow Kris! You look great! Way to go, that takes a lot of self control. Love yow!

    • Kristen Duke says:

      yes, self control was a big part of it, but totallly helped me after to not over eat and carefullly select what i want to eat each day! love yow, too!

  43. This is probably the single best blog on HCG I have read yet. I have successfully dropped 86 lbs over the past year on HCG and always felt uncomfortable arguing with my friends about how they think 500 calories will kill you. You look great! Keep it up!

    • Kristen Duke says:

      yeah, people are pretty opinionated for not really knowing how it works, i’m so glad to hear you like the post, mark! 86 pounds is amazing!

  44. Great post, Kristen! I (Kristi) did hcg 2 years ago (for a Hawaii trip, lost all of my fertility drug weight) and kept it off until I got pregnant. It was a TOUGH diet for me but it worked and I loved seeing the scale each day to keep me motivated. You’re not suppose to do it while nursing so I’m doing the whole diet & exercise thing right now, which is working, but it’s so much slower 😉 Glad you were able to maintain- you look GREAT! Pretty soon I hope to be 130# again and wearing my colored skinnies with ya!
    XOXO Kristi

  45. you look amazing! way to stick with it!!! 🙂

  46. Good job! I did that diet too probably 2 years ago & twice in a 6 month period, 15 lbs. each time & still have kept it off. Although I have used the Myfitnesspal app for 10 months & LOVE LOVE the PINK method workout dvd’s recommended by Dr. Oz. which is by far the best workouts I’ve done ever! I even have a gym membership & this is better!

    Anyways wanted to say great job & love your blog 🙂

  47. Jennifer Madigan says:

    Kristen, thank you for your post. This really is interesting and something that I would like to look into further. I looked at the links that you provided and found that there are potential side effects. I know (like with anything) that they need to list those effects but did you experience any of them?

    Thanks for always being an open book. Not only do I LOVE your photography but I’m always fascinated by your stories and experiences. Thanks for always sharing.

  48. This is exactly what I needed to read to recharge my mind to prepare for a “diet”! I much prefer the term cleanse too…it just sounds so much better, and sustainable! Thank you for always being so honest with your readers, sharing your personal stories, and letting us get to know the real through, even if it’s just through my computer screen 🙂

  49. Hi! Congrats on weight loss success. I was wondering if the drops come with instructions/meal plans on what to eat during the certain phases?


  50. Hi Kristen! I just clicked on this post from your list of the best from 2012. 🙂 I have a couple of friends who have done hcg more than once, and have not kept it off. 🙁 I notice some important differences in what they did and what you’ve done. #1: You were already eating healthy and exercising. #2: You still eat healthy and exercise. Yup. That’s the key. There is no magic potion we can take that will make us skinny and allow us to still overeat and sit on the couch. We have to change our lifestyles, and I think that’s the pitfall for most people. I’m glad that it worked as the extra boost you needed, and that you’ve been successful in maintaining your weight. You do look great!

    • Kristen Duke says:

      thanks for sharing this, Jenny! Lifestyle change is key! I’m curious, did they follow through the entire maintenance phase? Taking a little survey….

      • Hi Kristen! I’m not really sure. I just remember the part where they could only eat 500 calories. 🙂 I do know for at least one of my friends that she did not / does not eat healthy or count calories and did not / does not exercise. I’m not sure if she followed the plan to a T or not. I know that she was more successful the first time she did it, and then the last time I’m thinking she gained the weight back really quickly, and gained back even more than she was before. 🙁 She’s thinking about trying the couch to 5K program next, so I’m really hoping that will help her change her habits. I would greatly benefit from that too! Ha. 🙂

        • Kristen Duke says:

          Yes, I think you for sure have to exercise after the loss. I worked to hard not to make a big change in my lifestyle! Couch to 5k is fun, I did that once!

  51. our stories are nearly identical! i feel the exact same way about sharing my “secret to weight loss,” but it worked for me too, and now that i’m pregnant with #5 ,i’m planning on another round of hCG when i’m done nursing! great to hear you’ve been so successful with maintenance.

  52. I’m glad you posted this. I am seriously considering doing this now. Wish me luck. I can totally do something for a few weeks.

  53. I just wanted to say that my husband and I did the same diet about two years ago. We had AWESOME results! The interesting thing is I just followed the diet plan. I never did the supplements or shots, my husband did. After about a month of seeing me having the same results he quit the supplements and went on to lose 30 more pounds- just following the diet. We both reached or goals! I lost 25 pounds and he lost 40! And we’ve kept it off…

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  55. I have been doing a lot of research on this, reading, and listening ot many friends stories. Howoften did you use the drops and how many each day?

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  57. Hi, thank you for writing about your weight-loss story. I have studied this and actually bought some hcg drops from a friend of mine who is a pharmacist but they turned out to be imitation and didn’t work for me… Where do you go to get your hcg? Thanks!

    • Kristen Duke says:

      I shared the link in my post where I got mine, but I’ve recently heard that it’s being more regulated and only through doctors? It was over a year ago, so not sure how it is being sold–sorry that’s not a lot of help, but look in the post for my link.

  58. This sounds amazing! I’m not sure it’s possible to get access to these over here, but I am so tempted! I lost 10lbs last month eating sensibly (I love cakes) but with our Disney holiday coming up in 5 months, I still have 32lbs to go…

  59. Thank you so much for posting this. I actually found your blog through pinterest (I’m making a blue version of your yellow desk!) and stumbled across your story. I, too, have struggled with my weight for years. I’m very active, and yes, I was running half marathons too…and counting every calorie…with little change. With my activity level and caloric intake, my weight should be 40 lbs less than it is. I’ve been to see docs over the years…tests always come back “normal” for thyroid, etc. After ordering the hcg you recommended and being on the diet 10 days, I have lost 8 pounds…and counting. I can’t wait to see my end result. Thank you for sharing your story.

    • Kristen Duke says:

      Well, it took me a long time to see this, but hoping all is still well with you! It’s a tough battle we fight daily with our weight!

    • Kristen Duke says:

      So sorry for my late reply! I love hearing about the desk and the results. It’s a long term struggle, keep it up!

  60. Darcy Peterson says:

    Just wondering exactly which hcg product you used and which website you used. There are many fake products out there. I’m trying to lose some weight to wedding dress shop for and am interested in making sure I keep the weight off in the long run.

    • Kristen Duke says:

      I’m sorry I took this so late. Looking back, I really don’t think it matters. It’s really just a hunger suppressant.

  61. Can you take these drops while breastfeesing?

    • Kristen Duke says:

      I really don’t know, ask a doctor. I personally would wait though, you need extra food and so does the baby!

  62. I worked with a guy that lost a ton of weight (like 60 lbs) on hcg. But just like you say, he ballooned back. He may have even ended up heavier than before.

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