Understanding The HCG Diet Program

The HCG Diet is for people who are looking for real results and will be motivated and dedicated to following the program. Following the program involves more than just taking a few drops of HCG every day and hoping to lose weight. Undertaking this diet is a commitment to some changes both for the duration of the diet as well as for life. With the right frame of mind and a network of support, it can be done with great results.

Here is an overview of the rules for successful completion:

Top Ten Tips for Success

  1. The diet and the drops work synergistically. Embracing only one component would not only fail to remove body fat, but it would also be unhealthy. It is the combination of the 500 calories per day and 125 i.u. of HCG that produces results.
  2. Fully understand each phase of the diet. Each phase will be discussed in greater detail below. There are three phases, each of which must be followed to completion.
  3. Absolutely no cheating. Cheating is the most prominent reason for failure on the diet. No matter how large or small the degree, cheating of any type will cause weight gain and set the dieter backwards.
  4. Follow the plan all the way through. There are no breaks during the entire duration of the HCG Diet. If you cheat on the diet you won’t have to start over but it can result in a setback as far as weight loss. The diet portion typically lasts anywhere in between 3 - 5 weeks.
  5. Be prepared for possible side effects. Though the diet affects people in different ways, some common side effects to expect may include constipation, headaches, mood swings, or fatigue. Have a plan to combat these effects while sticking to the protocols of the diet. These minor side effects are usually a result of your body detoxing. They usually only last the first few days of the diet and are not a result of the HCG drops but rather the low calorie diet.
  6. Monitor weight and inch loss throughout the diet. Often, the joy of seeing real results serves as motivation to persevere when temptation arrives.
  7. Prepare for the plateau. Inevitably, weight loss will come to a plateau. At this point, the dieter undertakes the HCG Apple, Egg, or Steak Day. You can also speak to a customer service rep to get tips.
  8. Avoid personal care products that contain any parabens, synthetic fragrances, or animal fats. These can clog up the liver and lead to fat storage.
  9. Cut out alcohol and sodas completely. Both alcohol and soda pack in empty calories in the form of carbohydrates and sugars. Neither should be consumed while undergoing the HCG Diet.
  10. Plan ahead. Plan your grocery list and have meals prepared ahead of time. This will limit the temptation to cheat or get off track. Read ingredient labels to be sure of exactly what is in food. Buy organic whenever possible.

Phases of the HCG Diet

Phase 1 - Phase one is called the Loading Phase. Many people skip it altogether or downplay its importance. However, it is critical to success, no matter how many times a person has completed the HCG Diet protocols.

Phase one is a 2-day period of loading the body with calorie-rich, fat laden foods. As the body attempts to store the fat, the HCG will inhibit it from doing so. In fact, the HCG actually mobilizes existing fat stores, which will be flushed out during the remainder of the weight loss plan.

During the first three days of this phase, HCG is taken three times per day while consuming a high fat diet. Day four marks the beginning of the very low calorie diet (phase 2), or VLCD, and HCG continues to be taken three times daily.

This helps to minimize hunger during the first week of the diet and floods the bloodstream with fat in order to help the HCG mobilize stored fat. Any weight gained from this loading phase will be gone by the end of the first week, if not sooner.

Phase 2 - Phase two is typically the most difficult phase of the entire plan. However, most of the weight is lost during this time that dieters must adhere to a strict 500-calorie daily intake. Phase two accounts for days 3 through 23 of the diet. However, this can last up to 40 days, depending on the amount of weight loss required.

At this time, HCG drops are taken sublingually, under the tongue. It is vital that HCG drops are never skipped. If taking the drops sublingually, they must be held under the tongue for a minimum of 15 - 30 seconds to ensure complete absorption.

Side effects, such as headaches or lethargy, may be experienced at this time. Rest as much as needed, and drink plenty of water to help flush out toxins.

At the end of phase two, the HCG is completely cleared from the body over a 3-day, or 72 hour period. It is vital to stick to the VLCD while the HCG is removed from the bloodstream. The best way to do this is to take the last dose of HCG in the morning rather than at night. This way, food is allowed the morning of the third day. Taking the last dose at night necessitates waiting to eat until the dinner on the third day.

Phase 3 - Phase three is called the maintenance phase and is broken up into three-week periods. Caloric intake jumps up between 1,200 and 1,500 calories per day as the hypothalamus resets itself to the new bodyweight. It is important that body weight does not fluctuate more than two pounds in either direction.

During the first 21 days, a more regular diet is prescribed with the exception of starches and sugars. For example, a steak would be acceptable but not a baked potato. Breakfast could consist of eggs and bacon but no toast or jam. Any sugar or starch consumption may result in weight gain.

Over the course of the next 21 days, begin to reintroduce starches and sugars. The key is to go slowly. Try introducing one starch or sugar per day, and notice the body's response. Some people are more sensitive to certain foods. If it causes immediate weight gain, it is best avoided or limited.

While transitioning into a more normal dietary routine, try to avoid combining starchy or sugary food with high fat foods.

HCG Diet Plan

For breakfast, you may have an unlimited amount of coffee or tea. However, you may have only one tablespoon of milk throughout the entire day. Zero calorie sweeteners, such as saccharin or stevia, may be used. Do not use sugar, honey or any other sweetener that would add calories to the beverage.

For lunch, you should have 100 grams, which is the equivalent of 3.5 ounces, of a healthy and low-fat protein, such as chicken breast, beef, veal, white fish, lobster, crab or shrimp. Weigh the protein before cooking and be sure to remove all visible fat. Do not use any additional fat in cooking the protein. Grilling, broiling, or boiling is the best way to cook without added fat.

One vegetable from the following list may eaten with lunch:

  • Spinach
  • Tomatoes
  • Chicory
  • Celery
  • Onions
  • Cucumbers
  • Cabbage
  • Chard
  • Radishes
  • Fennel
  • Asparagus
  • Green salad
  • Beet-greens

In addition, you can have one bread stick or piece of Melba toast and an apple, orange, a handful of strawberries or half of a grapefruit.

You may choose from the lunch menu to put together a healthy and low-fat/low-calorie dinner.
If you should develop an aversion to meat (or are just fed up of eating meat every day) or for vegetarian followers of this diet, you may substitute a combination of a whole egg and three egg whites for the animal protein. One other option for those with an aversion to meat is cottage cheese. While these are allowable substitutions, the diet is most effective when the original protocol is followed.

If it fits your schedule better, you can have the bread stick/Melba toast between meals. Drinking plentiful amounts of water - at least half a gallon, mineral water, coffee or tea is allowed. In addition, you may season your food with vinegar, salt and pepper, and other herbs and spices, but butter or oils are not allowed. The juice of one lemon may be used per day, either in cooking or to flavour water or tea.

Because the diet is very limited in calories, it is important for you to be very aware of the calorie count for each item you consume. This will make finding recipes that incorporate the healthiest allowable foods much easier and will help you to achieve ideal weight loss while maintaining adequate nutrition.

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