123 HGC Diet; a dangerous scam

This morning a friend sent me a screen shot of a “suggested page” on facebook for the “123 Diet” which appears to be a Multi Level Marketing version of a HGC Diet. As per most of these diets, the page promises a massive amount of weight loss very quickly with “no starvation, no exercise and no shakes”.

Looking into the HGC diet though, the way it works is that you consume a 500 calorie per day diet, while taking HGC drops which supposedly “trick” the body into burning fat.

First off… I’m not sure in what version of reality 500 calories a day does not count as “starvation”. It’s less than I have for breakfast. I have female clients steadily losing weight on anything from 1600 to 2600 (minimum, not maximum) calories per day depending on their needs. There’s absolutely no way on earth you need to slash your intake so drastically to such a dangerously low level in order to lose weight. As I’ve described in detail elsewhere, such drastic measures inevitably backfire horribly, as you’ll read in the link that follows.

Long Term Effects Of HCG Diet – a horror story on the myfitnesspal forums.

I did four rounds of HCG over the course of 2 years. I started with about 15 lbs to lose, and then lost it on HCG, and gained back 20…. lost the 20 on round 2, but gained back 30! etc. etc. now i’m about 35 lbs over weight and even though I havent touched hcg in over a year, i am unable to lose weight!

Now as to the HCG drops… if you’re starving yourself on 500 calories, you’ll lose weight initially albeit at the expense of your health. You’ll inevitably put the weight back with interest, but you will lose some to start with because you are literally starving. Even assuming that these drops actually do contain any significant dosage (or any at all for that matter) of the HCG hormone… you’re losing weight due to starvation, just the same way anorexic people, people in famine stricken countries or in concentration camps do.

Now the popularisation of the HCG Diet though, where did that start? Interestingly enough, wikipedia informs me that the resurgence in interest in HGC started with marketing by Kevin Trudeau. If you missed it a couple of weeks ago, this scumbag just received a 10 year jail sentence for unrepentantly continuing to market scam weight loss products in violation of court orders banning him from doing so.

From the United States Food And Drug Administration mandated disclaimer for all HGC products:

There is no substantial evidence that HCG increases weight loss beyond that resulting from caloric restriction, that it causes a more attractive or “normal” distribution of fat, or that it decreases the hunger and discomfort associated with calorie-restrictive diets.

Simply put… the HGC Diet is a dangerous starvation diet that does produce dramatic short term weight loss, but inevitably results in long term weight gain and metabolic damage. It was popularised by a known scumbag scam artist currently serving a 10 year sentence for fraud in relation to weight loss products.

Here’s the actual science on the HGC diet, as published in the American Society For Clinical Nutrition.

SERIOUS TALK: stop fucking around with these dangerous scam diets. Your body is designed BY GOD (or, you know… nature) to be a “normal” weight range on a “normal” range of calories. Despite what the diet industry wants you to believe, you don’t need to eat “less than normal” to be a normal weight.

Consume a suitable amount and train strategically, not to burn calories but to build a strong and healthy body. This is very simple.

Kyle Leon Customised Fat Loss needs to stop spamming my blog.

You know… I thought I was DONE with calling out other people’s shit products and shonky marketing practices but since these fkn jerk offs have taken to attempting to spam the comments section of my blog 10 times a day they can get it.

What’s interesting with these spam comments is that they’re all posted by the same person (or possibly robot), with links to different sites all about the Kyle Leon product. It’s like I’ve written about in the past with similar products, all of these different “review” or “is it a scam?” type sites are just run by the same marketers.

So it is very difficult to find an actual review of these products from an actual customer. However, I did find this thread on bodybuilding dot com with some customers discussing their experiences. Selected highlights follow.

Feedback so far:
* The food database is rubbish – use another application like MyFitnessPal or something else to work back from their macronutrient measurements.
* The support area is absolute rubbish, they dont even try to respond to questions, its just there on the premise to have one.
* The learning material is around the place but I think I’ve taken it all in after a week of reading, I think they do this so you think the dozen or so PDF books are great value for $47…. they should be together and clear / easy to understand. The food part is very sparse.

Or how about this glowing testimonial?

tried it ,,what a let down pdf’s about bodyshape etc and a meal plan for anyone not customised at all ,,sent many emails but only ever receive automated ones back and
now recieving emails from them advertising another plan by someone else (at the same address) promising even more fat loss and a muscle building plan too ,,each email selling another plan for $$,, so if i did every plan offered by them the only thing losing weight would be my bank account
so decided to go to my local bodybuilders store and asked the guy for advice which as it turns out i should have done first as now although i’m not losing weight i’ve lost 2inch off waist and added 1inch to chest
HAPPY
so my advice for what its worth is to talk to a Person not a websales site and keep your money in your pocket
Customisedfatloss is so not worth the money and the after sales service and advice is ZERO
Yet again more emails offering 2 more plans at $$ this is a money making machine not a customised fat plan I defy anyone to get a reply to an email from this company

Or this one?

When I was just starting out I was pretty desperate for some ‘solid guidance’ so bought this ‘program’ (I use the word loosely)..

Needless to say, as many before me have said, SAVE YOUR MONEY and just do your research on here. The good thing about bb.com is that when you have a question or need some clarification and ask it you will ACTUALLY get an answer (imagine that) and a good one at that.

Any ‘responses’ I received from Kyle Leon’s group was nothing short of rubbish. Generic is an understatement. Nothing is personalised, nothing is something you won’t find for free elsewhere.

 

Edit: wait though, there’s more! I found a review of Kyle Leon Customised Fat Loss on pissedconsumer.com. You can probably guess how satisfied the consumer is with the product.

So there you have it. Very few (if any) of the mass marketed products available on the web are “customised” in any way. There are other coaches and trainers like myself who do it, but far more who just send everyone the same generic pdf of the same generic meal plan, with no after sales support. The mass marketed ones though? You’re just buying from some guy or girl who has commission selling a few weight loss scams, a few hair loss scams, some miracle wrinkle cream, a how to pick up chicks manual, and god knows what else. Whatever crap they can pedal on to people for an easy buck.

If you’re going to buy a weight loss plan make it a REAL custom plan from a real coach, to suit your body, your goal and your life style.

Garcinia Cambogia Extract For Weight Loss

You’ve probably heard about this miracle weight loss cure as featured on the Dr Oz Show already, right?

Probably on your facebook feed in various “sponsored stories” featuring some celebrity or other who has “finally come clean on his/her weight loss secret”, am I right? Or if you’re on tumblr you’ll remember all those spam asks and submissions about “the tumblr diet” from a while back. Same thing, and I just got another submission with another stolen “before and after” plugging the same crap.

Let me clear it up for anyone who’s seen these spam posts and wants the real information. It is A SCAM. None of the celebrities who’s names they’ve dropped are actually on board, and my understanding is that several of them have taken legal action against the marketers for “using their likeness without permission” or whatever the legal term is.

Like I keep saying over and over. Don’t get sucked in by scam products and bullshit diets. Your body weight is determined by the total amount of calories you consume, on average. That’s all. People have lost weight eating nothing but McDonalds, they’ve lost weight eating nothing but twinkies and other so called “junk foods”, because they ensured they did not consume an amount that would add up to an excessive amount of calories. Obviously that’s not the recommended course of action, but the point is that it is TOTAL CALORIES that matters. Not magic pills, not special foods that burn fat, not the avoidance of bad foods that go straight to fat… that’s all bullshit. Total calories determines your body weight.

Follow the information in my free program on this site, or drop me a message if you want me to work out a custom plan for you.

I have a story

I’ve been listening to some ManOwaR the past few days as I’m getting ready to go train. It’s great stuff to get you fired up and ready to go.

My goal physique and ideal pre-training mood music.
My goal physique and ideal pre-training mood music.

All of a sudden I remembered that I was actually wearing a ManOwaR shirt when I first joined a gym, about 20 years ago. Yep I’m that old.

Now a bit of background people so far haven’t heard about. At this time I was 19 years old, and I’m pretty sure I weighed 50kg. That’s BMI 17 for those of you who are keeping score. I’d lost a lot of weight due to recently spending about a week and a half in hospital for some kind of asthma & bronchitis related lung failure.

So I would have been skinny at the best of times, which still wasn’t as uncommon in the early – mid 90s as it is today, but having just gotten out of hospital I was actually underweight and I’d been told in no uncertain terms that I needed to start exercising to get healthier and stronger or else I’d be seeing a lot more of the inside of a hospital ward. In case anyone out there needed another “skinny does not necessarily = healthy” story, you just got one.

So I signed up at a local gym and I remember I was wearing my ManOwaR shirt as pictured above, and when asked my goals I pointed to the faceless warrior on the shirt and said “I want to look like this”. I already had the hair believe it or not. So the trainer laughs, makes the obligatory steroid joke and then goes on to ask me about my nutrition.

Boom. Here’s the problem. I can’t even remember the conversation as I would have just switched off right away. I didn’t eat healthy. I didn’t eat any meat. I didn’t really eat any vegetables either. I’d heard it all before and knew there was no way I was going to change my eating habits and start eating a traditional bodybuilding diet or whatever else. Not because I didn’t want to… well… I didn’t want to eat meat, but not because I didn’t want to eat healthier or was stubborn or whatever else. It just wasn’t a possibility to me. Why? Who knows.

SO I can’t even remember that conversation but I do remember the one with the hospital’s dietitian however many days or weeks earlier. Something like this:

So you don’t eat any meat?
No.
Couldn’t you try some?
No.
What about chicken, would you eat chicken?
No.
How about fish? You don’t eat fish?
No.
Well what about lamb? Would you try lamb? Lamb is nice!
No.

At which point the guy just throws up his hands in frustration, tells me “LOOK YOU’RE JUST GOING TO HAVE TO EAT MEAT” and storms off.

Now some of you out there no doubt can relate to this. Maybe it’s not because you’re vegetarian, but you don’t eat the text book “healthy” diet and aren’t good at trying new things. And when you get a trainer or a dietitian who is SHIT AT THEIR JOB… I’m actually get mad right now thinking about it. Like it was going to be a revelation to me that how I’d been eating wasn’t healthy, or like I’d never been told “just eat it, it’s good for you” before and was going to suddenly go “oh ok, if you say so” and start eating like a normal person as if by magic or spiritual awakening.

What someone actually good at their job might have done is talk to me about vegetarian protein sources, and how to put together the best balanced diet out of the limited choices available to me. Or perhaps even sent the psychologist to speak to me instead. Instead though, when you’re dealing with someone who is SHIT AT THEIR JOB they just think “well I eat like this, why can’t you? You’re just going to have to”.

20 years later I’d like to say things have changed and we have a better understanding of such issues… but we don’t. I still see trainers making comments like ” I feel like shaking them and saying why don’t you just grow up!” …. that’s a cut n paste direct quote from a conversation the other day. Worse, so many trainers out there promote such restrictive diets backed by fear mongering that even if you don’t have issues with food to start with, you’re sure to develop them before long.

Anyway… I can’t remember exactly when I quit training again, but by age 25 a similar thing happened again. Back in hospital and this time it was to get half my thyroid removed due to a tumor. Except this time I was fat. So out of hospital and I join a different gym, but still with that “don’t even talk to me about nutrition, just give me the exercise program and I’ll get stuck into it” mindset. Now… this is really what most people are doing in the gym, right? It’s just damage control. I knew I couldn’t eat healthy enough to ever really be in shape, but I figured I could do enough to not get any fatter or any more unhealthy.

Now at this point things went better than expected. Perhaps due to sheer perseverance and consistency, I actually made some progress. At some point I believe around age 28 I actually started introducing a few new foods, for example lentils and rice. By my 30s I’d added tofu and other soy products, and by mid 30s even some vegetables like capsicum and spinach. At this point I started to think about becoming a PT on the grounds that so many people would ask my advice and ask why I wasn’t one already. Ironically if you click around the internet a bit, you’ll read a lot of stuff about soy, legumes and even rice being deal breakers because they don’t fit into some fad diet protocol or other. Not to mention all the bread and cereal I still eat. And the fruit. Bullshit.

Age 36. BMI 25. "Shit diet".
Age 36. BMI 25. Shit diet.

SO… mid 30s I finally go out and get qualified as a PT. I can’t even remember if I learned how to do calorie targets as part of my qualification or elsewhere, but I decided to prove myself by getting back down to BMI 25, or 68kg which I could remember weighing in at in my early 20s.

Well… I did that, but decided it was too skinny and I’ve been gaining ever since, a little at a time. Currently sitting at about 80kg or about BMI 28 if you prefer.

Now the moral to all of this… that’s a 20 year story and of the past 5 years or so I’ve known and increasingly understood how calorie intake and macronutrient ratios influence body weight and composition. Also I know to make sure I’m getting enough fiber, and enough vitamins and minerals from cereals, fruits…. and I’m still not very good with my vegetables but I’m getting better. Imagine if someone who wasn’t SHIT AT THEIR JOB had have let me know this was possible 20 years ago, instead of just telling me “eat like everyone else” and making me feel like I could never be healthy, strong or in athletic shape because there was something wrong with me?

Maybe that’s something a lot of you can relate to.

I had no choice but to believe in Flexible Dieting. Fortunately, it does work. If anything it is a MORE strategic approach than traditional dieting, as you are actually determining targets that correspond to your nutritional requirements, and you’re coming up with a plan to hit them with the appropriate amounts of foods you enjoy. How is that not a more sound strategy than just eating random amounts of “allowed” foods, and assuming that by eating those foods you automatically end up at appropriate intake?

Any coach or self appointed health expert who tries to tell you that flexible dieting can’t work and you need to just take their cookie cutter meal plan the same as they give to every one else as if we weren’t all individuals with our own preferences and unique idiosyncrasies is full of it.

Don’t allow their laziness and incompetence to hold you back.

Burn Fat Fast by Patrick Holford

Burn Fat Fast Patrick HolfordI haven’t done a “book review of a book that I haven’t actually read” for a while now. I’ve been focussed on other things and just blanking out a lot of the moronic shit some of these fkn idiots out there are pushing on people.

This morning though… well I’ll post in the screen shot of the hilarity that ensued when this woman Kate Staples had the sheer unmitigated audacity to attempt to spam her new book in one of the industry networking groups I’m a part of.

Now, this happens to be one of the groups where I mostly just shut up and try to learn stuff from intelligent people with lots of experience, common sense and a good understanding of science. People who keep up on the latest research but don’t jump on and off the latest fads. The sort of people we need more of in the industry! So, attempting to spam such an outrageous load of nonsense as this there was never going to work out all that well.

Look at the screenshot again. You’re really going to talk about “switching on your skinny genes” in such company? Really?

I google Patrick Holford and wow, just wow. According to wikipedia the guy does not just push terrible dieting advice, but “Holford’s claims about HIV and autism are not in line with modern medical thought, and have been criticised for putting people in danger and damaging public health.”

Yep. There are also some interesting articles about him on the Quackwatch and Bad Science websites.

But anyway… what’s in the book? I checked the description on Amazon, and this appears to be yet another variation on the “starve every other day” type diets I’ve already torn to shreds on this blog over and over again. I like how the sales pitch on Amazon describes such approaches as “all the rage”, as if… well, they’re all the rage! Must be good and sensible then, in that case. Good lord.

My problem with so called “alternate day fasting”.

In case you missed it in other entries, I have a problem with the notion that people need to “starve” or “fast” in order to lose weight. You need to eat an appropriate amount, most of the time. If you’re currently eating an excessive amount, and you stop doing that and start consuming a more appropriate amount instead, you will lose weight. It’s that simple. Now, when we try to starve weight off with a restrictive approach, a “less than appropriate” intake, our body will adapt and compensate, meaning that we’ll stop losing weight even if we have plenty to lose and aren’t eating very much. What then? Start only eating one day out of three instead of one out of two? Fuck that. It is madness and cannot take you anywhere that you want to end up.

My problem with Glycemic Load Diets.

The glycemic thing is another myth that has been busted countless times already. All of this talk about “insulin being a fat storing hormone” that you need balance and so on. Absolute rot. If you’re consuming an appropriate amount as described above, you won’t store fat as there are no excess calories to be stored! It’s that simple.

Have a look at this quote from the amazon page:

As well as encouraging the storage of fat, insulin promotes disease and ageing, so combining a low-GL diet with alternate-day fasting will not only get rid of fat fast, but will also improve health and longevity.

What an absolute load of bollocks. Talk about taking alarmism to the next level and beyond. Insulin is a naturally occurring hormone within the body, created by the pancreas. Where the hell do these irresponsible cretins get the audacity to invent such outrageous, harmful lies as “insulin promotes disease” for fuck sakes?

These sort of books should be BANNED as the harmful abuse of free press that they are, using fear mongering and alarmism to exploit vulnerable people at the expense of their physical and mental health.

Shame.

OH, I almost forgot the 8 minute workout part.

No. You’re not going to accomplish anything productive in just 8 minutes. I believe an hour is ideal, but even a half hour might be sufficient if you really just focus on the “big” stuff seriously. If you truly cannot set aside as little as a half an hour per day to exercise, the last thing you need to do is stress yourself out trying to fit in 8 minutes of pointless nonsense between meetings or whatever. What you actually need to do is reassess your work / life balance and take some time out for yourself.