There are variety of ways to do the hCG Diet these days when it comes to how many calories you’ll eat on the diet, as well as which food ingredients you’ll eat.
My goal here is not to do an exhaustive discussion of every single version of hCG protocols out there now, but rather to boil it down to some main differences to help you decide which route to go –
One main thing to keep in mind:
You do not have to only stick with 1 way of doing the hCG Diet your entire round – you can try something, and if you feel it’s not going well for one reason or another, you can adjust. More on this a little later.
This article is not about deciding between hCG injections or hCG homeopathic drops – you can read up on that here:
- About hCG Injections
- Where to Buy HCG Injections Online
- Real hormone hCG Drops vs Homeopathic hCG Drops
- hCG Injections vs Homeopathic hCG & Hormone Free hCG
CHOOSING WHICH HCG DIET PROTOCOL YOU WILL FOLLOW
There are basically 2 decisions to make on this:
- CALORIES – will you follow a 500 calorie protocol, an 800 calorie protocol, or 1,000 calorie protocol?
- FOODS – which foods will you eat on P2? The original Dr. Simeons list of food only (SP – simeons protocol), or will you also add in some additionaly ingredients that alternate hCG protocols allow (AP – alternate protocols)?
These are your 2 main decisions. Then from this comes how you combine these 2 options together:
- Will you eat the 500 calories, but use the expanded list of foods?
- Will you eat the 800 calories, but use only Dr. Simeons food list?
These are 2 examples to show you the several options there are, and the rest of this post is things to think about to help you decide what you want to do.
Remember, this is YOUR decision. You will only be able to successfully follow what you personally feel comfortable with. Please don’t let anyone, professional or friend or otherwise pressure you into doing 1 particular thing. Take in this information and decide what you’d like to try – then remember you can always reassess and adjust/change something if feel you should along the way.
HOW TO DECIDE HOW MANY CALORIES TO EAT ON THE HCG DIET – 500, 800 OR 1000 CALORIES
I did the 500 calorie protocol for all my rounds of the hCG Diet. I did a total of 5 rounds with hCG injections. I found that on the proper hCG dosing (how to find the right dose of hCG for no-hunger effect), this was all I needed.
Main point: If you are not exercising while on hCG, and you have the proper dosing, and you are further than 10 lbs from your goal weight many will find the 500 calories plenty and in these scenarios you will likely lose the most weight for your time on the diet than on a higher calorie protocol – this kind of makes logical sense since you have a greater calorie deficit than if you are eating more calories each day.
Example: Say you are on the hCG diet for 30 days – if you ate 1,000 calories instead of 500 each day, that’s an extra 15,000 calories you would have eaten in that 30 days which could translate to 4.2 lbs of missed fat loss (15,000 divided by 3,500 – the number of calories people say are in 1 pound of fat).
For an 800 calorie diet, that would be an extra 9,000 calories eaten / 3,500 calories = 2.5 lbs of fat missed out on.
It is NOT as simple as this though! Weight loss is simply not this straight forward, and there are scenarios when eating more calories will actually PREVENT stalling and allow you to lose MORE weight than if you undereat for your circumstances. Let’s discuss those.
WHICH leads us to when you might want to consider a higher calorie protocol.
When you choose to exercise on hCG:
I did the 500 calories, BUT I did not exercise on hCG. And you want to know what happened when I DID attempt to still exercise? I felt like CRAP and I experienced a long weight loss stall of like over a week, right at the beginning of my hCG round when you typically never have a stall!
SO if you want to continue exercising while on the hCG Diet, even at a reduced intensity, that’s when considering a higher calorie protocol, like the 800-1000 calories really starts to make sense. This can really help prevent you from feeling unwell and cheating or giving up and can actually HELP your weight loss – in fact in Episode 73, during my interview with private hCG Coach Adele Frizzell – she discussed her own experience with this – how when she raised her calories on the hCG protocol while continuing to lift weights, she felt much better energy and lost weight better. In fact, she lost 28 pounds while eating 1000-1200 calories a day and exercising on the HCG Diet.
Like if I tried doing this workout that I often do at Crossfit on hCG:
So why does it seem to work this way? After all, you would think that basically the greater the calorie deficit you can make in a day, every day, the more weight you will always lose right?
In fact some people try to make it as if they’d consumed NO calories on hCG by trying to burn 500 calories in a day at the gym, thinking they will then lost that much more weight.
There is no way to know factually the case here, but I will just tell you my guess on this, after observing things a lot the last several years in the hCG diet and dieting in general world:
When you put your body under too much stress, your body rebels. You can’t ask more than it can reasonably give.
Eating far less than usual is already a stress for the body- something it’s not accustomed or all that comfortable with. If you then add in extreme exercise, your body is feeling that it’s homeostasis- it’s feeling of things being stable in your body – is really being thrown off, and it will then take action to protect you.
In this scenario, that often means conserving energy (lowering metabolism), and/or holding on to fat stores instead of releasing them (this is a common occurrence when cortisol levels rise – and guess what hormone rises when you are stressed? Cortisol.)
So if you choose to exercise during hCG, supporting your body by eating a little more each day can actually ensure your body doesn’t go into alarm mode and start resisting you- in these cases you can lose weight more easily on a higher calorie protocol than a higher calorie protocol.
When you have a very intense job or work long hours or at night:
This kind of goes along with the above exercise on hCG argument. If you work very long hours, or you walk like 10 miles a day back and forth making rounds at a hospital, and maybe at night too, consider the 800-1000 calorie protocol.
For instance, here’s a quick video of my son and I tearing out old carpet from a room- MAN I got super hot like, 2 minutes of doing that. It’s intense!
Or even something like when I do my food photography shoot days for the hcgchicarecipes site – I’m on my feet for like 8 hours and back and forth and back and forth constantly- it’s a lot! Timelapse of shooting one dish:
So if you have a job where you are on your feet all day, and back and forth, or just super duper busy like that, you do a LOT every day girl. First of all, pat yourself on the back, then acknowledge that your 10 miles a day on your feet is not the same thing as a desk job.
In fact this medical journal article made some comparisons of the difference in daily calories burned in different types of occupations – sedentary vs. more active – the difference is quite big – so you are likely burning hundreds more calories per day than someone sitting at a desk – which means, if you are eating the same 500 calories that they are, you might struggle more than them, both with weight loss and with energy levels and feeling just overall unwell.
Physiqonomics created a graphic that really highlighted these differences in calorie expenditure depending on your job well:
When you are within 10-15 lbs of goal weight:
I DO find that when you get to the point that you only have say 10 lbs left to lose, hunger starts becoming more an issue that sometimes cannot be fixed by adjusting your hCG dose. Definitely DO trying adjusting it first (usually down at this point – see my tutorial on hCG dosage here), because often this WILL fix any hunger issues, and you may be able to then easily stay on the 500 calorie diet – this was the case for me for part of my final round.
But here’s what we think happens when you don’t have a whole of fat left and no hCG dosage sames to create the same non-hunger effect you used to get a heavier weight. It appears that the hCG hormone seems to have a harder time stimulating your leptin levels to create the same non-hunger state that you can experience on the right dose when you are still heavier. Leptin is a hormone, which when high, you feel full, and when low, you feel hungry. The hCG hormone seems to affect Leptin and raise it, causing us to feel not hungry on hCG- but like I said, when you are thinner, it seems not as effective. With that in mind, sometimes, as you get near to being totally done with the hCG diet and reaching your goal weight, you may need to increase your calories, at least some days, to keep hunger at bay.
I had to do this on my final 5th round of hCG when I was around 120 lbs. Some days I was just quite hungry, and I needed to eat more, so I did. However, the interesting thing here was I didn’t have the same hunger level every day- so at this point, I played it by ear and ate the 500 calories on the days that it felt doable, and on the days where I was much hungrier is when I ate more like 800 calories.
I HIGHLY RECOMMEND LISTENING TO THESE HUNGER CUES and here’s why. Being in a constant state of ravenous hunger can lead to bingeing and can be a trigger for an eating disorder. I feel that it can create negative patterns in your brain connected with food. I don’t think this is worth messing with.
Either you find an hCG dosage that helps you feel mostly not hungry on hCG, or you adjust your calorie intake to feel sane. End of story.
That said, once again this is your decision! This is just something I’ve learned from personal experience and from the emails I receive from others- it’s an unhealthy mental pattern you are creating to be severely hungry for many days in a row, I’d try to avoid it personally.
If You Are Doing the 500 Calorie Diet and Feeling Extremely Fatigued All the Time
I’ll be honest, I felt really tired on the hCG diet many times. Not every round- some rounds I had great energy, even on the 500 calorie diet. But then at least one round I recall feeling pretty unwell and fatigued (I also have hashimotos thyroid disease and chronic lyme, so take that with a grain of salt!) I think one possible cause for this fatigue can be release of toxins – since toxins are known to be stored in fat, and we are losing fat at a more rapid pace than most diets would produce, that means we could potentially have more toxins being released into our bloodstream than usual – and that can make you feel crummy. I personally believe in this.
But there could also be another reason. It’s possible that if I ate a little more I might have felt better as well.
And guess what? You’ll never know until you try it. If you are feeling very fatigued and unwell on the 500 calories on a pretty consistent basis, even if you just try eating 800 calories for 2-3 days, you can test the waters and see if you feel any different. If you don’t, you can go back to the 500 calories just like that.
But What If I DON’T Lose As Much Weight on the 800 or 1000 Calorie hCG Diet?
Say you are exercising on hCG and/or have a job with long hours or manual labor or lots of walking – and you choose to follow the 800 calorie hCG protocol. Maybe you feel like you lose less overall than what some others seem to be losing. Maybe that’s true, maybe it isn’t (how much weight you will lose on hCG is affected by several factors, not just how many calories you are eating).
But in this scenario, let’s say you did indeed lose LESS weight than if you had eaten the 500 calories.
This is where I say, there is something to be said for FEELING WELL and FEELING SANE.
Eating only the 500 calories may be right for you. I’m not trying to discourage it- as I said earlier, I did it multiple times and felt like it went well, and I’d do it again. However, there are times like we have discussed here that it’s really appropriate to consider a higher calorie protocol.
Sometimes you can do something very very hard, but then snap afterwards and undo everything you just did. It’s worth making the hCG diet feel doable at least MOST days so that you don’t experience that SNAP / CRUMBLING experience afterwards.
I think SOME days where the hCG diet feels just totally crazy hard is okay. But I think if it becomes a daily experience, you will do better in the long run adjusting something so that it feels doable the majority of the time.
One way this is accomplished is by adjusting the calorie intake – having more food can make you feel more sane both physically and mentally and emotionally.
That leads us to into our next topic, which is deciding WHICH foods you will allow yourself to eat on the hCG Diet.
Which hCG Food List Should You Follow and Use?
So I’m sure that each weight loss clinic has their own special list where one clinic has peaches and pears and another has only peaches- rather than talking about all these minor differences between many different clinics, let’s just talk about 2 main food lists:
- Dr. Simeons Original hCG Food List (SP – Simeons Protocol)
- Alternate hCG Food List (AP – Alternate Protocols)
Dr. Simeons hCG Food List Allows
In a nutshell Dr. Simeons had a list of allowable food list of 7 meat proteins, 2 vegetarian proteins, 13 vegetables, 4 fruits, and 1 starch. You can see these particular foods below. The difference between Dr. Simeon’s original list and the expanded list of alternate protocols is:
Alternate hCG Protocol Food Lists Allow:
- Quite a few more foods in these food groups: proteins, vegetables and fruits.
- Many very low calorie/no calorie items are allowed- things like say 15 calories worth of almond milk, calorie free miracle noodles, etc.
- There is one macro (fat) that is sometimes used on newer protocols and that is coconut oil – whereas on the original Dr. Simeons diet, all fats were strictly avoided.
How To Decide Which Food List to Follow for HCG
Here’s a few thoughts to help you decide.
Remember just because you try something does not mean you have to do it that way your entire round. Anything you choose to try, you can change at any time if it’s not serving you.
The Extra Non-Simeon’s List hCG Foods
Why consider utilizing more foods while on the hCG Diet?
In short, many people find that these other foods don’t interfere with their weight loss, and this can really make your experience on the diet much more enjoyable and sanity-saving.
Additionally, some people find that even certain foods on Dr. Simeon’s original list DO interfere with their weight loss. Why? I have no idea honestly.
But the point is, whether the food is SP – Simeons Protocol, or AP – Alternate Protocol, it’s up to you to see how your body responds to the foods you are eating. There may be just 1 or 2 foods that for some reason, every time you eat it, you seem to stall- no matter which list it’s on, that’s a food maybe worth avoiding at least during Phase 2 of the hCG Diet.
I used quite a few AP (alternate protocol) foods during my final 5th round of hCG. Including: Mushrooms, zucchini, yellow crookneck squash, small amounts of carrot, and red bell pepper. I didn’t feel like my weight loss was affected. I can never be 100% sure of course since I can’t compare an exactly same 5th round but with only Simeons food haha! But I felt my weight loss was very good for how lean I already was during that final round.
In the hCGChica hCG Diet Recipes membership, we have BOTH recipes with SP only and AP ingredients to serve everyone, no matter what you choose.
AP Proteins, Vegetables and Fruits
I personally feel very comfortable including these added proteins, vegetables and fruits into the hCG diet for many. I have seen enough people have success with it to know these are legit ingredients to consider adding to your hCG Diet protocol.
To me this makes sense, because honestly, is a zucchini really that much different than cucumber? Or mushrooms vs onions? I feel that the macronutrient profile of these extra vegetables and fruits, especially when done in the right amount, are vary similar to the original Dr. Simeon’s list. I don’t think there’s any magical about say onions that will produce amazing list that if you have a red bell pepper instead, you won’t get. Maybe someday I’ll be more enlightened, but I haven’t seen this to make a difference.
In which case, you might as well have more variety. Let me show you the macros (protein/carbs/fat/fiber/calories) of some of the Simeons list foods and some of the Alternate protocol foods to compare them:
As you can see, they are very similar. For instance, 1 cup of diced SP radishes is almost identical in calories, protein, and carbs, to 1 cup of AP yellow crookneck squash.
With the nutritional profiles of so many vegetables being so similar, by weight, I feel this is one reason these other ingredients seem to work just fine for many on the hCG Diet.
A Note About Coconut Oil
Some people rave about using coconut oil on the hCG Diet, and others say it really stalled them out. I have a discussion on coconut oil and the hCG Diet here to consider.
I wanted to make a special note about this because Coconut oil is different than all of the other added ingredients in the Alternate Protocols hCG Food List. It’s the only food that is purely fat. Usually on the hCG Diet you are trying to avoid all fats.
I’m on the fence about how I feel about it. I tend to find myself a bit more leery of it. One thing you have to remember is any fat like this is calorie dense, so it would be pretty difficult to follow the 500 calorie diet and utilize coconut oil – the volume of your food would end up being quite small. So most people end up not counting the coconut oil calories if they are on the 500 calorie diet, which means they are essentially following a higher calorie protocol. That’s not wrong, just stating the facts there.
So main point here is that:
1. Using coconut oil will really only work with the higher 800-1000 calorie protocols
2. It’s a little more outside of the original premise of how Dr. Simeon’s felt the hCG Diet worked, so proceed with a little more caution here.
Again some love it and others felt it hindered them a lot. You can always try it and decide then.
If you DO decide to try using coconut oil, since our weight loss does essentially come down to some degree to creating a calorie deficit in our day, this means that if you try a small amount of coconut oil rather than a larger lump, that may make your endeavor with coconut oil more successful.
How much coconut oil?
Personally, you’d be amazed how far just 1 teaspoon goes! Even half a tsp!
- 1/2 tsp coconut oil = 20 calories
- 1 tsp coconut oil = 40 calories
- 2 tsp coconut oil = 80 calories
- 1 tbsp coconut oil = 120 calories
Mixing Vegetables is AP Alternate Protocol – About That
There is one more little detail I haven’t mentioned yet – which is that part of the original Simeons protocol involved NOT mixing your vegetables. Which means if you chose to include radishes in your lunch one day on hCG, you cannot have any other vegetable from his list WITH it. Like don’t put any celery or onion with that radish.
I have a detailed article/video about this topic of mixing vegetables on the hCG Diet here that can help you decide if you want to mix veggies or not.
But in short, AP – Alternate Protocols DO allow the mixing of vegetables. I think if you are actually tracking your calories, mixing them will not impact your weight loss results.
Combining your Calorie Protocol with Your Food List Protocol for the hCG Diet
Now that we’ve discussed the different calorie protocols you can follow, and the different hCG food lists, you can figure out how to want to combine them.
Here’s a few thoughts to help you with that:
If you are on the 500 calorie diet, and you choose to utilize AP Alternate Protocol foods in addition to SP Simeons protocol foods, this seems like you will be less likely to run into issues with weight loss than if you are on a 1,000 calorie protocol with AP foods. Not that 1,000 calorie protocols with AP foods are a problem, but we already discussed you MAY have lower weight loss with a higher calorie protocol anyway, but you might be tempted to attribute this to the foods you are eating, when it’s really just the higher calories. If you utilize AP foods with a higher calorie protocol, keep this in mind that you may have lower weight loss than someone eating half the calories at 500.
Some choose to keep it super simple and safe by sticking to the original Dr. Simeons food list.
I did something a little different my 5th round which was, I didn’t eat the fruits on Phase 2, and I felt this gave me a lot more leeway with my vegetables and that’s why I was more comfortable utilizing AP vegetables.
Ultimately, if you are creating a calorie deficit on the hCG Diet, which you you certainly will be on the 500, 800, or 1,000 calorie diet, you will likely lose weight just fine with the AP ingredients.
It’s not the ingredients creating the weight loss – in fact, neither is the hCG! I know that might seem surprising – the hCG hormone does play a very important role in this protocol, but it’s not what most are led to believe. Your body loses weight because of the calorie deficit- you are eating far less calories than you body typically would use in a day, thus producing weight loss. The hCG hormone seems to do 2 things: one, it changes your sensation of hunger, allowing you to stick to such a low calorie diet without going crazy, and two, equally important, I believe it preserve lean muscle tissue so that the majority of your weight loss will be fat and not loose excess muscle.
Hcgchica Recipes Can Be Used with All Hcg Protocols
Because there is such a variety these days in how people do the hCG Diet, I wanted to be sure I created something that could truly accommodate this.
With that in mind, I have over 200 recipes that are Strictly SP – Simeons protocol only, using only Dr. Simeon’s original food list.
The we also created over 200 recipes that are AP – Alternate protocol recipes that have those extra vegetable, meat, and fruit ingredients for lots of fun variety.
Want to Follow Simeons Protocol – MOSTLY?
Lastly, we created a special category for those who don’t mind a few minor adjustments to the original Simeons protocol, like using cocoa powder, low calorie chicken broth, or calorie free miracle noodles – we call this category of recipes LSP – Loose Simeons Protocol.
If you choose to utilize Hcgchica Recipes for your hCG Diet experience, you’ve got SP, LSP and AP recipes – all 442 hCG recipes – to help you stay sane, to have fun with, and you can adjust which type of recipes you choose to make any moment since a membership gets you access to ALL our hCG diet recipes.
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