Perhaps you have read or heard about the HCG diet and its phases, but what precisely are they, and what does this diet entail?
The HCG diet is a weight loss program that combines the benefits of a caloric deficit diet with the fat-burning power of HCG or the Human Chorionic Gonadotropin hormone. The diet plan comprises four phases that must be strictly followed to achieve optimal results.
The first phase of the HCG diet, commonly known as the “loading phase,” lasts for two days. During this stage, dieters are required to consume high-fat, high-calorie foods to prepare the body for the upcoming low-calorie phase.
It may sound counterintuitive to consume more calories when trying to lose weight, but this phase is crucial to prime the body for the next stage. During this phase, the body stores extra fat that will be used for energy during the next phase.
GOAL: The goal of phase 1 is to build up your body’s fat reserve. Building up on your body’s fat reserve will give your body enough energy to sustain itself during the next phase of the diet, which involves very low-calorie intake.
HOW TO DO: Consume high-fat, high-calorie foods to prepare the body for the upcoming low-calorie phase. You also start taking your HCG injection.
The weight loss phase is the most crucial part of the HCG diet. This is where the diet kicks into gear and where you will experience the most significant weight loss. You will continue to receive daily HCG injections. Exercise is discouraged (only light cardio is permitted, no strength training). However, don’t worry, it’s not as intimidating as it may sound!
You will discover how much better you feel when you nourish your body with healthy foods, and sometimes, you don’t even realize how bad you felt until you start feeling better. Additionally, many people report better sleep quality while on the HCG diet.
GOAL: The goal of phase 2 is to promote fat loss by limiting your calorie intake. Cutting back on calorie intake will cause your body to burn stored fat for energy, leading to significant weight loss.
HOW TO DO: You restrict your calorie intake from 500 to 800 calories per day only while having your daily shot of HCG. This diet plan typically consists of two meals a day: lunch and dinner.
Each meal should include a protein source such as chicken or fish, a vegetable, and a piece of fruit. You are allowed to drink tea or coffee, as long as you don’t add sugar or cream. Focus on clean eating. Foods such as oils and sugars, are not included. This is your opportunity to detox and consume wholesome, nutritious foods!
The third phase of the HCG diet is the stabilization phase. During this phase, you gradually increase your calorie intake and begin to reintroduce foods that were restricted during the VLCD phase. This phase lasts for three weeks and is essential for maintaining the weight loss achieved during the previous phases. You no longer need HCG hormone to stabilize your weight.
Although you can still achieve weight loss during this phase, it will not be as significant as during Phase 2 as you are no longer taking HCG injections. This phase is highly personalized as each person’s reaction to different foods is unique.
GOAL: The goal of phase 3 is to help you stabilize your weight loss and develop healthy eating habits.
HOW TO DO: Gradually increase your calorie intake to around 1200-1500 calories per day. You should be eating a variety of foods, including healthy fats, complex carbohydrates, and lean proteins. Avoid sugars and starches, which can cause rapid weight gain. You should also continue to avoid processed foods and focus on whole, nutrient-dense foods.
The fourth and final phase of the HCG diet is the maintenance phase. This phase is ongoing and involves maintaining your weight loss through a healthy diet and regular exercise.
There are no dieting boundaries in this phase. There is also no need for you to have your daily shot of HGC. The maintenance phase is about maintaining your weight loss.
NOTE: You MUST take a BREAK from the diet after this phase. If you need another round, then you should wait at least three weeks.
GOAL: The goal of phase 4 is to help you maintain your weight loss long-term.
HOW TO DO: Continue eating a balanced diet that includes a variety of nutrient-dense foods. You should also aim to get regular exercise, such as walking or jogging, for at least 30 minutes a day.
The different phases of the HCG diet are meant to provide several other benefits besides weight loss, including a boost in your metabolism, redistribution of fat stores, increased energy, and decreased cravings. However, the HCG Diet is not meant to be a long-term solution for weight loss, but rather a kickstart to healthier habits.