Moving on to Part 2 of the hCG Basics blog posts….(if you missed part 1 you can find it here.)
The Length of Time the HCG Diet is Usually Done
For the most part, the hCG Diet is done in 3 or 6 week rounds HCG Injections (Dr. Simeons original stated lengths of 23 of 40 injections), but these days many people seem to do the diet for varying lengths of time and it doesn’t seem to harm anything that I’ve seen so far.
I don’t really feel that doing the Diet for much longer than 6 weeks at a time is too advisable though. It is a lot for your body to go through, losing so much fat at once, and I think it’s healthy for your body to have breaks in between to stay strong and prevent yourself from developing any serious nutritional deficiencies, etc.
When You Finish Phase 2 or the “Losing Weight” part of the hCG Diet
When you are ready to get off the hormone, you will need to get the hCG out of your system entirely before you start taking in any significant amount of calories, especially fat calories again.
To do this you will need to continue the VLCD (very low calorie days) for a period of 72 hours after your last injections or after your last dose of the hormone if you are taking drops. If you find yourself getting quite hungry during this 72 hours as the hCG is leaving your system, it is okay to increase your calories a small amount (up to 800-1000 if necessary) so that you don’t feel hungry, from the same list of Phase 2 foods, being careful to still not consume any fats. Only increase your calories during this time if you are hungry. If not, continue the 500 calories for the 72 hours.
Phase 3 of the hCG Diet Begins!
Phase 3 (P3 for short) is the period of time following losing weight with the protocol that you need to stabilize your new weight- the idea is to create an environment where for a period of time, your body is kept within a couple pounds of the same weight so that your weight becomes stable there and eventually will be “set” there and won’t budge easily.
I can’t emphasize enough that in actuality, Phase 3 is the most important part of the protocol. Seriously. Too many kind of disregard Phase 3 thinking they are “done” with the Diet, and this leads to not creating a new setpoint for your body and quick regaining of the weight you lost.
The Guidelines of Phase 3
Dr. Simeons found that eating a diet free of starches and sugars for a period of 3 weeks was the best way to stabilize and “set” that person’s new weight.
When you lose this weight so quickly, your body will be a bit volatile at first and if you were to eat bread and pasta, etc., even in moderate amounts, you would most likely find your weight on the scale flying up very quickly. It’s imperative to follow the Phase 3 guidelines which is the eat no starches and sugars. What can you eat? You can eat a normal caloric intake (no more 500 yay!) and you can eat pretty much anything that doesn’t qualify as a starch or a sugar. Fruit is the one grey area that some people do consume on P3 and some do not. I tend to leave it out, at least at the beginning, as it still contains a fair amount of fructose sugar. If you want to incorporate a small amount of fruit, berries are the best choice as they have a much lower sugar content than other fruits. A couple other foods that some may not think of as a starch are things like potatoes and yams- these are a bit of higher starch and would probably best be left out of Phase 3.
So this leaves you meats, fats, vegetables, nuts, and dairy products. Obviously vegetables, nuts and dairy products all do have some carbs actually, but they are not really starches in themselves and if consumed in a normal amount shouldn’t hurt your stabilization.
Phase 3- A Time to Discover Food Intolerances
However, some of these allowable foods on Phase 3 could still hurt your own personal stabilization, and I say this because each of our bodies are very unique. You may come to find that you have a dairy or cheese sensitivity that you were unaware and all of a sudden cheese either doesn’t feel good in your stomach when you eat it, or you find it makes you gain weight easily.
This time period of Phase 3 is an excellent time to start learning to read your body to find out what your body loves, and what your body doesn’t like, and to make adjustments accordingly.
For instance, my body doesn’t seem to love dairy too much. I can get away with having some, but I can tell both my digestion and my weight doesn’t too well with dairy products- however I do find that my body does very well with fruit actually. So for me it is a better choice in my lifestyle to eat less dairy products and more fruit and that is what creates a good balance for my own personal body. For others they may find the opposite to be true of their body.
What Exact Weight on the Scale Are You Trying to Maintain?
There are a couple terms I want to explain here. LDW stands for Last Dose Weight and LIW stands for Last Injection Weight. You will be endeavoring to stabilize your new weight within 2 lbs of your LDW or LIW, so we need to know what that weight is. If you used injections, your LIW or last injection weight is what you weigh on the scale the morning following your last injection. So it’s not the weight you are at the end of the 72 hours when the hormone is out of your system- do not try to stay within 2 lbs of that.
You will naturally continue to lose more weight during the 72 hours following your last injection while you are still eating the 500 calorie diet. But what your target number for staying within 2 lbs of will be your scale weight the morning immediately following your last injection.
If you were using Drops, you would use the term LDW or last dose weight, and in that case your LDW will be the weight you are on the scale the morning immediately following your last dose.
It’s important to clarify this, since you may lose a few more pounds during the 72 hours that you are still eating 500 calories while the hormone is leaving your system, but most find that this weightloss is not kept off and you will making it very hard on yourself to try do so.
If your weight should jump more than 2 lbs above your LDW or LIW
When this happens, don’t panic. Dr. Simeons created what he called a “steak day” where as soon as you find yourself weighing more than 2 lbs beyond your last dose or last injection weight, you fast for the entire day, drinking only water, and then have a large steak with either a tomato or apple for dinner. This will pretty much always bring you back in the right range. Hopefully you’ll need to do this a few times max, and over the 3 week phase 3 period you’ll find your weight gradually getting more stable and not jumping about so wildly.
One more thing that’s important to note is that, every time you find yourself needing to do a steak day, you need to start the 3 week stabilization period over. So if you’ve been on p3 for 2 weeks, and just had to do our first steak day, you would start the clock over and do P3 for another 3 weeks while keeping your weight within those 2 lbs. The idea here I think is just to keep your weight around the same place for a few weeks so that your body sets itself there and gets comfy there. If you’re weight moves to wildly during P3 and you do a number of steak days and then end Phase 3 at the end of the 3 weeks, your weight may not really be set at all and will continue to fluctuate wildly, especially once you start incorporating sugars and starches again. So I think that’s why Dr. Simeon’s guidelines were written as they are- can’t say for sure since we can’t ask him, but that’s my theory anyway.
Last thing about the phase 3 part is to take it a little bit with a grain of salt if you are exercising in Phase 3. If you get back into hard core exercise as soon as P3 starts and you know you are eating clean, jumping above the 2 lb limit may be inevitable and not necessarily bad. Exercise really changes the picture- there is both water weight retention from exercise often as well as muscle growth and I have had to listen to my body a bit more and be discerning to tell whether I really need to do a steak day or not. My body builds muscle very quickly when I get off the protocol and into P3 when I go back to Crossfit right away. As such, I do not personally adhere to the 2lb limit rule, because I know I’m eating clean and I know my body is packing some muscle back on. But if you are in any doubt at all about the weight you are gaining being muscle or fat, it’s probably wise to do the steak day.
If you really do follow the P3 guidelines properly, you will eventually be able to incorporate moderate amounts of starches and sugars again without your weight jumping up inadvertently. If you don’t follow the P3 guidelines however, you will not find this to be the case, which is why I stress making Phase 3 an important part of the Diet. Don’t underestimate the importance of P3. Okay- I think I’ve harped on that enough. Moving on…..
Phase 4 of the hCG Diet
This is the phase you’ve been waiting for! The time has come to start adding in a small amount of healthy starches and sugars and see how your body reacts. I will continue to write more on this phase of life long maintenance later, but for now, let’s answer a few questions about successfully maintaining Human Chorionic Gonadotropin weightloss, while eating “normally.”
Questions About Maintaining hCG Weightloss
I have had a number of people ask me if in order to maintain the weight I’ve lost with this weight loss protocol if I’ve had to now count calories and only eat 1200 calories a day, etc. to maintain my weight.
I have not personally had to do this, and from what I’ve observed of the majority of those on YouTube who are keeping off their hCG weight, they have not had to do this either. I don’t count calories at all, and I know I eat far more than 1200 calories a day too. Probably more in the range of 2000-3000 calories (no joke) for me.
But there is something that the majority of those successfully keeping the weight off have done, including myself. They have made long term changes to their eating habits, mostly in the form in form of replacing old comfort foods with healthier versions.
While I have a fairly high, comfortable caloric intake on a daily basis, I have made a few long term changes to my eating habits. I no longer consume “sugar” in most of it’s forms- that means not only do I use regular white table sugar, I don’t use honey, raw sugar, maple syrup, brown rice syrup, or anything else that might seem “healthier” but is still sugar. I also don’t eat a whole lot of grain anymore.
How to Make Long Term Changes to Your Eating Habits- Creating “Replacements”
Instead, as many others have done, I have learned how to make baked good and comfort foods with lower sugar, lower carb ingredients. Ingredients like almond flour, flaxseed meal, coconut oil, stevia, erythritol, xylitol, etc. So it’s not that we are never eating anything that tastes sweet or that tastes like dessert, but we have made healthier versions of our old favorites. There is a wealth of ideas and recipes out there to help you with this aspect.
Just to get you started you can check out the following links for recipes:
hCGChica’s Pinterest P3 Recipes Pinboard
Deblevinson Pinterest P4 recipes
hCGChica’s P4 recipes
hCGChica’s P3 recipes
Additionally, both the Atkins and Paleo style of eating plans fit well into the Phase 3 and Phase 4 eating framework of the protocol, so you can search for “paleo desserts” for instance on Google for instance to find recipes that will be good choices for you.
I hope that helps give you a good overview of how the weight loss protocol works and how to get the greatest chance of success out of it. It really does work, I’m living proof, if you follow the protocol as it was designed.
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