This is part 5 of a six part series on troubleshooting weight fluctuations in Phase 3 on hCG – you can see the other posts so are here:
Adding Calories All At Once or Easing Into It?
I’m just going to admit to you guys that I wasn’t very good about this in all my P3’s. I have managed to limit WHAT foods I eat very well, but not how much. I think this partially has to do with the fact that prior to beginning the hCG protocol, I had just become accustomed to eating too much and getting overly full all the time and that’s kind of what felt most satisfying to me, so it took me quite a long time to learn to eat amounts of food that didn’t leave me feeling overly full. But it did happen! It just meant my Phase 3’s were a bit rocky at times.
Hence some steak days in my past.
The smoother way to go about this is to gradually increase how much you eat in Phase 3 – and actually, if you really pay attention to the signals from your body, and you stop before you’re super full, you’ll find that you don’t need a lot of food when P3 starts. You will definitely need more than the 500 calories you were eating on the VLCD, but you won’t need to eat what you used to eat or what you’ll most likely be eating in 2-3 weeks from now.
Why Adding Calories or Amounts of Food Gradually Makes Sense
It really does make logical sense – anytime you’ve been doing something drastically different for awhile, you can’t often just swing the other way over night – if you’ve been sedentary, you usually can’t just start working out 6 days a week right off the bat – you often have to work up to it or you get shin splints or too much muscle soreness. You’ve just spent several weeks eating very little, your digestive system has had a major rest period, so to kind of shock it by flooding it with a bunch of food to digest is really rather unkind isn’t it? 🙂 Be gradual and give your body time to adjust and all will be turn out much better.
Those Who Have It Easier
I really can tell you, after communicating with so many hCGers online now, my observation is that those who increase their calorie intake, or amount of food they eat, gradually over the first couple weeks of hCG, have a MUCH easier time stabilizing. It just seems to go more smoothly for them. Wish I’d done that!
How Many Calories Should You Eat? How Should You Increase Them Exactly?
Okay so now I’m waiting in dread for your next question….so exactly how many calories should you eat on P3? Where should you start and where should you end up?
Sigh. I really don’t know. I have a VERY strong aversion to counting calories and I just won’t do it. I think I tried it for like 3 days in my whole hCG journey and I just couldn’t handle it. I did not find it necessary to count calories to stabilize or maintain my weight loss.
I feel a better guide for some of us who find calorie counting very restrictive and demoralizing is eating to hunger- this way you can be more sure you are not eating too much or too little. You can learn all about this method of eating in Robin Woodall’s guide on the hCG protocol called Weight-Loss Apocalypse: Emotional Eating Rehab Through the hCG Protocol.
The feedback I can give you from others who were calorie counting is that adding a couple hundred calories every couple days or so may work. If you are eating more to hunger, you will be able to kind of let your body be your guide more and increase the amounts of food you eat based on how satiated or hungry you are feeling, and it really may vary from person to person just how quickly the calorie intake goes up depending on the person’s lifestyle. For instance, if you are doing some hardcore exercising in Phase 3, most likely you will need to ramp up your food intake more quickly and you’ll feel your body complaining to you of hunger if you don’t.
I hope that helps a little! I wish I could give a miracle math problem to help you figure it out exactly, but I do think our body’s are unique, so this is just a guideline.
What Worked for You Guys?
I KNOW some of you out there counted calories in Phase 3 – so if you’re one of them who feels they did it successfully, share exactly what you did in the comments below for others to get ideas! Or if you have a disaster story you want to share, we can learn from that too. 🙂
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