The one thing almost everybody wants in life is to look good. And not everyone can stand the strain of rigorous exercise to get that awesome bod to show off in a bikini. Over the years I’ve seen a lot of dieting regimes that claim to help people lose weight over a short period of time. While most of them turn out to be a hoax or have side effects, a few others work out well for the participants.
The HCG diet has been around for quite some time now, and a lot of people still don’t understand how it works. Before we get to the basis of how it works and the techniques behind this interesting diet, let’s talk about the Human Chorionic Gonadotropin hormone, also known as HCG.
What is it? Well, the HCG hormone can be found at high levels in early pregnancy. It’s even used as a marker in home pregnancy tests. In some cases, HCG can also be used to treat fertility issues in both men and women. The first time the hormone was proposed as a tool for weight loss was in 1954, by a British doctor named Albert Simeons.
Dr. Simeons’ diet plan consisted of an ultra-low calorie diet of around 500 calories each day; while the hormone was administered with injections. But that was back then, nowadays, HCG products are sold in various forms, some of which include; oral drops, sprays, and pellets. And you can find them in some retail stores, and on several websites that advertise the product.
What we need to understand about HCG, is that it’s a hormone produced in the early stages of pregnancy, and the diet uses a combination of HCG and the starvation-level calorie consumption to attain dramatic weight loss. Just imagine dropping around one to two pounds every day. I know it almost sounds too good to be true, but the HCG diet works. And one of the best parts of the whole deal is that you’re not supposed to feel hungry in the process.
Your body basically thinks it’s pregnant and starving and starts to reduce the number of calories it burns so that it would be able to conserve energy. The HCG diet boosts your metabolism while helping you lose large amounts of fats without allowing you to feel hungry.
The HCG diet is usually divided into three phases; Loading, Weight Loss, and Maintenance phase.
Phase 1: The Loading Phase
In this first stage, you start taking the HCG treatment (it could be in any of the forms. It all depends on your preference) and also start eating tons of high-calorie, high-fat foods for a couple of days. You get the chance to consume enough high protein and fatty foods, combined with carbs to help satisfy your body’s cravings while it adjusts to the HCG injections or drops on the second day.
Phase 2: The Weight Loss Phase
In this intermediate level, you’ll continue taking the HCG treatment while only eating five hundred calories per day, for about three to six weeks. The HCG drops are more popular among dieters because they’re easily available and work quite well. Besides, not everyone enjoys injecting themselves with stuff (the fear of needle and whatnot). The main point of this stage in the diet is about consuming foods that contain low calories, and not exceeding the limit.
Phase 3: The Maintenance Phase
This is the last stage, and it involves weaning yourself off the HCG. After successfully completing the second phase, you stop taking the hormone and gradually increase your food intake. It’s usually best to avoid sugar and starch for around three weeks.
Individuals who have a lot of weight to lose are usually advised to stick with the diet for six weeks, and even repeat all the phases several times (continue the cycle). Then the ones that just have a few pounds to drop are meant to use the recommended three weeks for the weight loss phase.
In the second phase (which is the main stage) you’re only permitted to eat two meals each day; preferably lunch and dinner. The meal plan of this diet generally suggests that each of them should contain at least one portion of lean protein, fruits, a piece of bread, and vegetables. There’s also a list of approved foods to select from during the diet, but we’ll get to that later.
Sugar, butter, and oil should be avoided at all costs during the weight loss phase, but you’re encouraged to drink a lot of liquids. Mineral water, tea, and coffee are usually allowed during the diet, so, for lovers of caffeine – your habit’s pretty much safe.
Research shows that some of the HCG products on the market today tend to be homeopathic; which is just a fancy way of saying they contain very little or no HCG in them at all. So, it’s best to know the best source to get the product from; which is mostly from a doctor or a reputable source.
When you stick with the HCG diet meal plan as well as the injections or oral drops, it resets your body’s metabolism. It tends to make you feel full and satisfied on very little calories, while still enjoying tasty food choices.
Approved List of HCG Foods
Half the time, most dieters see the permitted HCG food list and balk instantly because at a glance it looks like a very small list (like how would I survive on that daily?). The key to making the most out of the situation is by not viewing the list as a singular food option. You could create an HCG food plan that combines all the choices on the list to make awesome recipes that will be sure to satisfy anyone’s tastes.
Just think of the food on the list as a sort of building block to help you create delicious meals while still maintaining the daily 500-calories requirements. Not only will you be eating healthy food, but you’d also never get bored with the menu if you keep spicing things up.
Check out the list of foods that you can incorporate into your HCG diet meal plan;
These are the most important foods needed for the proper functioning of the body. Without the right amount of proteins, the body shuts down, that’s why they’re always necessary. You have to remember that for the HCG diet, it’s all about consuming lean proteins for optimum nutrition. With the right meal planning, you can eat up to 200 grams each day; but they have to be broken into two 100g meals. Debone any meat before weighing and cooking them, and all fats must be trimmed away.
You don’t necessarily have to stick with the traditional meat choices every day during the process of the diet. You could always go the seafood route and choose crabs with scallops, or a bit of egg with shrimp, to fulfill your daily protein requirements. The options are endless, but you have to know the right combinations to work with at all times.
Some of the protein options on the HCG food list include; chicken, lobster, extra lean beef, scallops, bison, crab, three white eggs, shrimp, and white fish.
There might be tons of fruits out there, but with the HCG diet, there are only a few of them that you can safely enjoy because a lot of them contain alarming amounts of sugar. And one of the things to avoid during the diet is sugar. The diet allows you to enjoy two servings of fruit each day. Some people might prefer to exclude the fruits from their lunch or dinner, and instead use it as an afternoon snack.
The approved HCG diet fruits include; oranges, lemons, blueberries, raspberries, apples, strawberries, and grapefruit.
You might need to eat just two cups of vegetables each day, both at lunch and dinner. Mixing your veggies with meat also proves to be a tasty option, so you could always come up with new recipes to spice things up. A green salad in the afternoon works not only as a healthy snack but also as an excellent pick-me-up since it helps to reduce hunger.
Here’s a list of approved vegetables to incorporate into your meal plans; celery, beets, chard, cauliflower, spinach, cabbage, onions, red radishes, broccoli, tomatoes, and asparagus.
Extra Food Options to Consider
These items help add zest to your HCG diet meal plan. They include; peppers, salt, apple cider vinegar, coffee, tea, mustard powder, Braggs amino acid, and a few natural spices.
The HCG diet recommends avoiding starchy foods, and it’s usually extremely limiting when it comes to them, but a lot of people find it difficult to give up their cravings. It’s probably because we’ve programmed our bodies into wanting a doughnut or Danish with our daily morning cup of coffee. So, breaking free from the habit requires a ton of mental (and physical) restraint, especially when these yummy goodies are so easily found. Thankfully, the plan allows you to indulge in two breadsticks or Melba toast once in a while.
Foods to Avoid At All Cost
To ensure that your HCG dieting goes smoothly, try to avoid the following;
- Pre-packaged seasoning packs.
The reason we’re told to avoid the seasoning packs is that we don’t always know what’s contained in the mix. Most times, a lot of them have excessive salt and sugar in them.
Weighing your Food is Quite Important
Before you start the diet plan, you might want to think of investing on a small scale to weigh and help you keep track of your foodstuff. Always trim out the excess fat from lean meats before you weigh it so that you can get an accurate reading of the actual amount of food you’ll consume later.
Make sure that you always buy organic meats that were grass-fed and are extra lean to enjoy the wholesome benefits.
Some Easy-to-Follow HCG Diet Meal Plan
For Breakfast: You can start out with a cup of tea or coffee; depending on your preference. Then combine it with a serving of fruit (it could be an apple or strawberries. Or better yet, you could opt to make a smoothie with the berries and Stevia.
For Lunch: A lot of dieters feel the need to have a heavier protein for this particular meal of the day like beef or bison. It’s not a requisite, just stick to what you feel comfortable with, and not what everyone’s doing. 100grams of a lean protein source, a side of vegetables, one serving fruit, or some simple egg whites could work here.
For Dinner: This meal of the day could be similar to that of lunch, but with slight variations. You could save your veggies for a late evening snack if you don’t feel like adding it to the meal. Your dinner should consist of 100grams of lean proteins like fish, a piece of fruit, and a starter item.
The best part about using the HCG diet plan is that you don’t have to give up tasty dishes because of your regime. You’re free to create a variety of dishes from the numerous recipes online. You don’t have to be constrained to a particular kind of food.
One of the signs that your diet is working is when you start having cravings almost all the time. It’s because you’re consuming a lower amount of calories than your body is used to. Normally, the cravings will abate after the first week of the diet regime.
Try not to let the numerous weight loss fads put you off the HCG diet plan. It’s not only stood the test of time (because it’s been around for ages), but it’s also known to be a successful and favorite diet option for a lot of people. The plan helps to reset your metabolism, so you not only shed weight but also keep them away permanently.
The HCG diet is highly successful when followed accordingly, so just stick with it till the end and get ready to be amazed by the results. You can email me, if you are facing any problems with the diet. I’ll help you out 🙂