Have you been feeling low for not reaching your fitness goals? Are you looking to follow a diet which will help you burn calories in a safe way? Though there are several fad diets that claim to help you lose weight effectively, you should be aware that most of them deal with unbalanced diets and unusual food options. And then you have the HCG diet, which will help you lose up to 2 pounds a day, till you reach your dream weight! Unfortunately, people harbor many myths and misconceptions regarding the HCG diet. This diet has been unfairly added to the list of fad diets by many self-proclaimed experts without actually trying out the diet. However, people who have taken this diet will tell you how tremendous the results are.
This diet is suitable for people with diabetics and women looking to shed their post-pregnancy weight. However, it is highly recommended that you check with your doctor if it is suitable for you or not. Let’s first understand what the HCG diet loss program is and the different phases of it in some detail.
How Does The HCG Diet Program Work?
To understand how the weight loss program works, we need to know what exactly HCG is and how will it help you manage your weight effectively. Also known as Human Chorionic Gonadotropin, HCG is a natural hormone produced by a pregnant woman’s placenta after implantation. After doing an intense study on pregnant women in India, Albert T. W. Simeons, a reputable British endocrinologist discovered the connection of this hormone with weight loss. Though this discovery was made in the mid-50s, people have been recognizing how relevant the hormone is for weight reduction and management very recently.
Another important thing to note is that when you’re following the HCG diet, you will be on a restricted diet of 500 calories as well as on HCG supplements. Though there is a school of thought that is of the opinion that 500 calories are too less for an average person, it actually doesn’t make the dieter feel weak or uneasy as the hormone prepares the body to unlock old fat cells and use them to create energy. There are many types of HCG supplements; you could take injections, pellets, sprays, and drops. Talking about drops, you can follow this 26 day kit after checking with your doctor.
The Different Phases Of The HCG Diet Plan
There are four important phases as far as the HCG weight loss program is concerned. While the phases differ in duration and amount of calories, each stage is equally important to ensure effective weight loss. Let’s take a look at each phase in detail.
Phase 1: The Preparatory/Loading Phase
As the name suggests, phase 1 is the loading phase. During this phase, you boost your body with a lot of calories in order to prepare it for the next phase. In the loading phase, you may eat anything you like – brownies, salami, white rice, ice creams, donuts – you name it, you can have it. Your body will use all the excess calories you gain from phase 1 and from the old fat cells which were a result of your poor eating habits for energy in the next phase. Don’t forget to take your HCG supplements on time.
- Calories – not restricted
- Duration – 2 days
- Food restrictions – No restrictions
Phase 2: The Weight-Loss Phase/Diet Phase
This is the most important phase in the diet. You have to follow a restricted diet of 500 calories for the next few weeks. You can take the help of your dietician to plan your diet for this phase. They will provide you with a chart of HCG-approved food items and the amount you can consume in this phase. Some of the food items on the list includes: fish, lean beef, lettuce, cucumber, broccoli, orange, strawberries, apples, a tablespoon of milk, herbal tea, coffee, etc. You don’t have to exercise as it could increase your cravings. However, you must drink lots of water and have your HCG supplements on time. Split the number of calories, keeping your meal times in mind. And you will be pleased at the number showing up on your weighing machine!
- Calories – 500 calories per day
- Duration – When you feel you’ve reached your ideal weight, which is normally from 5 to 7 weeks. (Note: When we say ideal weight, it must be a realistic figure, keeping your age, BMI and other factors in mind. Check with your doctor/dietician if you are not sure what your ideal weight would be)
- Food restrictions – Some of the food items you must avoid during this phase are oils, fried food, processed meat, canned vegetables, sugar and artificial sweeteners, carbohydrates, alcohol, and flavored drinks.
Phase 3: The Transition Phase
During the third phase, you will stop taking your HCG supplements. You can increase your calorie intake up to 1500 calories. If you notice your weight increasing in this phase, you can reduce your calories till you attain your ideal weight.
- Calories – 700 calories in the first week, 1200 – 1500 in the next couple of weeks
- Duration – 2 to 3 weeks
- Food restrictions – Some of the food items you must avoid during this phase are sugars, starches, fatty meat, fried food, white rice, white flour, white bread and sauces that contain sugar.
Phase 4: The Maintenance Phase
In the final phase, you don’t have to take any HCG supplements. You need to examine if there are any changes in your weight. You may introduce a couple of food items into your diet, but it is advisable to follow a healthy, balanced diet. There is no harm in indulging in pizzas and ice creams once in a while. The key is not to overindulge.
- Calories – As per your BMI
- Duration – Lifelong. However, if you feel that you need to lose more weight, you can restart the HCG diet after a gap of three weeks.
- Food restrictions – Though you can introduce certain food items in your diet, you could continue the diet you’ve been following in phase 3, without restricting the calorie intake.