Timeline At End of VLCD / Phase 2
So this post is all about that 72 hour period during which time you stop taking hCG, but continue the 500 calorie VLCD diet.
When Does the 72 Hour Period Begin and End?
Specifically might you need to adapt as the 72 hours wears on and actually eat more than 500 calories?
One thing we should clarify right now that can sometimes be confusing is that
The 72 hours begins immediately following your last dose of hCG.
Even I have gotten it mixed up in the past and thought it was for 3 days after my last injection day – but that’s not true – that would be extending the period 24 extra hours – your last dose of hCG day is INCLUDED in the 72 hour period, so technically speaking, you are only continuing VLCD without any hCG dose at all for 2 days.
Nifty Table Alert!
If Last hCG Dose is: Then P3 Starts:
Injections users: If your last dose is in the morning your P3 will start in the morning of the days listed. Drops/Pellets useres: If your last dose of hCG is in the evening your P3 will start in the evening of the days list above.
Why Is This Part of the Protocol?
Apparently, when you take hCG, it takes a little time both to get in your system (hence the loading phase when you start) AND to get out of your system.
Proof hCG Takes Time to Get Out of Your System
As additional proof of this, what are called hCG “trigger shots” are given at fertility centers to aid in getting pregnant- this involves having a one time shot of 10,000iu hCG, all at once. I did a little reading online and discovered women discussing how long the hCG stays in their system, proven by a pregnancy test (keep in mind in general you can’t test your own urine for hCG presence on the diet because we’re only taking 150ius or so a day – 150iu’s vs. 10,000ius – biiiig difference). For such a large dose of this hormone at once, it doesn’t fully leave their system for close to 2 weeks in some cases.
In our case, we are taking very tiny doses of the hormone – usually somewhere between 125iu and 200iu, on a daily basis. So nowhere near the dose for fertility shots, but I just mentioned it to show that the idea that it takes time for the hormone to leave the system appears to be true.
Before we get too far along, IF you are looking for something that has all the hCG info you need in one place, AND a place to daily/weekly track your progress, that’s printable and fillable on your device and reusable, you might want to check out my digital hCG workbook.
Why Continue the VLCD 500 Calorie Diet For 72 Hours Without hCG?
Dr. Simeons felt that it took about 72 hours for the hormone (in the doses being taken for this diet) to leave a patient’s system.
Part of the way this protocol works is that taking this hormone seems to make you more susceptible to losing (and gaining) fat. Not everyone believes this at this time, but I personally do.
This being the case,
taking in more calories, or taking in fats/oils, while their is still some hCG circulating in your system, could mean that you could have gains that would not have happened if eating the same foods when the hormone was fully gone.
Not what you want after you just spent so many days living in deprivation. :)-
However, we do have to give thought to the fact that the amount of the hormone that’s inside you, say at hour, I don’t know, 60, is the not the same and will be markedly less as when you first injected your last dose of hCG.
Which leads me to this question…..
Should You Ever Eat More Than the 500 Calories During the 72 Hours?
I’m going to tell you my experience. Since the hormone IS gradually reducing in your body during that 72 hours,
it stands to reason that you will get hungrier as that 72 hours unfolds.
That’s the whole reason we take the dose of hCG we take each day right, because it changes your hunger right? If that wasn’t true, than it doesn’t matter because we wouldn’t feel any more hungry on 500 calories than without the hormone. But those of us who’ve done it know that’s not true.
So back to getting hungrier as you get deeper into that 72 hours. That is indeed the experience I have had – towards the end of the 72 hours I had discovered myself not only feeling very hungry, but getting symptoms of low blood sugar. Feeling shaky, unwell, you name it.
This is not a good position to find yourself in for multiple reasons.
For one, feeling like that makes it,
1. more likely that you will end up scarfing down a large amount of something you shouldn’t, and
2. well, it just ain’t good to have low blood sugar is it!
So, I feel it IS appropriate, if needed, to eat more as this period of time unfolds. The question is….
How Do You Go About Eating Properly During the 72 Hours Then?
Most likely you will only need to add calories towards the tail end of the 72 hour period – my guesstimate is 200-500 calories.
Be vigilant about keeping fats/oils out of the picture still
Eat more P2 foods, best choice would be from protein and veggies, but only as necessary
While on phase 2 of the protocol, those of us who have done the longer 6 week rounds of the protocol were instructed in Dr. Simeon’s original protocol to skip a dose of hCG once a week. I did this, and found that I was no more hungry than usual and was able to easily do the 500 calorie VLCD as usual. So most likely, when you’re coming off the hormone during the 72 hours, you will not need to increase your calories during that first 48 hours.
The first 24 hours will be the period following your last injection, which would make it like any other vlcd day, the next 24 hours would be similar to a skip shot day, and like I said, usually it’s still totally do-able to continue the 500 calories no problem here. But it’s that last 24 hour period where you may find yourself feeling symptoms of true hunger.
It makes sense during this last day that you may need to increase your calories, as needed, by eating more P2 foods.
Who May Need to Do This? Who Doesn’t?
So, from what I’ve learned from Robin Woodall’s Weight-Loss Apocalypse: Emotional Eating Rehab Through the hCG Protocol
(a HIGHLY recommended read btw), where she goes into detail on how this protocol is interacting with your hormones, it appears that hCG affects leptin. Leptin is a hormone that affects basically how hungry or satiated you feel. There’s another good article explaining leptin in our bodies here. Leptin is much lower in leaner people.
In fact, on page 130 of Robin’s book she says, “many participants find that as they lose weight, their hunger increases.” This is most likely caused, according to her, because the hCG can’t stimulate as much leptin at this point, as someone who is more overweight.
So armed with this info, most likely:
Leaner people will feel more hungry/much hungrier while getting of the diet
Heavier people will not feel as hungry while getting off the diet
Those who are fairly lean by the end of their round will most likely need to be the ones upping their calories in that last 72 hours – in fact, depending on how lean you are, you may even need to eat more than 500 calories on Phase 2 itself. More on that in another post.
I’ll Just Start P3 Early!
I don’t recommend starting P3 early. Yeah, been there, done that. There IS still a little bit of the hormone left and gains will come very easy if you jump into phase 3 early- at least that’s been my observation. I still have shocking memories of lamb stew with plenty of fat before my 72 hours was up and seeing shocking 2.2 lb gains on the scale the next morning. Shudder. :)-
My personal opinion is that hCG does indeed make you extra sensitive to fats and oils, so I still stand behind being very cautious about not using them when the hormone is in your system.
So as needed, add more calories as the 72 hour period without hCG finishes up, in the form of more foods from the Phase 2 list.
As always, a long answer for a simple question. But to me it’s very important to know the why and the science behind something so that I can really make it my own, so that’s why I pass information on to you guys this way.
Are You Sure This Is Okay? Will I Gain Weight Back?
I feel this method is reasonable in part due to what we already discussed, but another thing we can add in here is Dr. Simeon’s instructions to patients who lost all the weight they needed prior to the mandatory 3 week minimum on the diet. He mentioned on page 52 under Duration of Treatment,
“As soon as their statistically normal weight is reached, these patients are put on 800-1000 Calories for the rest of the treatment. The diet is arranged in such a way that the weight remains perfectly stationary and is thus continued for three days after the 23rd injection. Only then are the patients free to eat anything they please except sugar and starches for the next three weeks.”
So raising the calories up to 1000 simply prevents further weight loss, not weight gain.
Once you get through all of that – you can move on to Phase 3 – yippee!
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