The story is the same—only the methods and madness vary. You try ramping up your workout to an hour a day instead of just forty-five minutes with minimal results. Then you attempt to break a plateau by increasing calorie intake for a short while, then suddenly cutting back. Again, those stubborn pounds linger. Eliminating carb, sugar, dairy, fat or another type of food does not help either—at least not in the long-term. The time has come to shatter this vicious cycle of yo-yo dieting that you have endured. Today is the life-changing day in which you will reclaim your body, health, and certainly, your stamina!
This overview of the HCG Diet plan will remove all mystery from the conundrum known as weight loss. In this guide, you will gain valuable information that backed by science on how to turn those stubborn fat stores into boundless energy, all while shedding pounds. You will learn about the phases of this plan and how simple they are to follow. Also, a varied menu of “allowable” foods will be presented in each phase. Finally, you will obtain a plethora of tasty recipes that enable you to completely stick to this plan while avoiding those awful cravings and setbacks.
To begin with, there are some preliminary measures that you should take before embarking on this diet. The first one is to gather up all necessary supplies ahead of time, which includes but not the HCG supplement of your choice, and the nonperishable food items that you will need (oils, nuts, tea, coffee, etc.). Obviously, all produce and meats can be purchased as you go, but as a time and money saver, you might opt for buying ahead of time, portioning out and freezing. If your daily schedule is hectic enough, a small amount of preparation can go a long way.
Now here are the Four Phases of the HCG Diet that should be followed right down to the letter. These phases include the following:
- Phase One—The 2-day Load-up
- Phase Two—The 4 to 8-week Calorie/Fat-burning Phase
- Phase Three—The Exploration/Reintegration Phase
- Phase Four—The Maintenance/Preservation Phase
The goal is to increase your body’s fat-burning potential and to alleviate if not avoid any other symptoms in later phases, such as headache. Moreover, since you will start on your HCG drops supplement (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin hormone) during the first phase, your metabolism will receive a much-needed boost. Another important point to remember is that each of these phases might appear a bit daunting at first, particularly the calorie intake; however the combination of hormone and food choices will allow for the building of muscle tissue, so your body will not go into “starvation mode” and start drawing energy away from muscle tissue. What happens instead, is the processing of stored fat to be used for energy. In other words, you will not only shed pounds, your body will also undergo a slow transformation due to the preservation and building of muscle. So let us take a close look at each of the Four Phases what they involve.
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Phase One is known as the 2-day Load-up because that is exactly what you are doing—loading up. Now make no mistake; this is not the license to go and make yourself sick on account of a junk food binge. You have the option of choosing SOME indulgences, but if you are concerned about cholesterol or sugar intake, then you might consider choosing wisely. The following are some healthier hcg diet food list of menus:
- Meats: Oily and fatty fish such as salmon, herring, trout, tilapia, tuna, sardines, and cod; turkey and chicken, pork, (white and dark meat) and beef.
- Eggs cooked in any manner (fried, scrambled, boiled, poached, etc.)
- Nuts: almonds, walnuts, cashews, macadamia, and any type. These are great sources of protein and omega 3’s.
- Dairy Products: heavy cream, any type of cheese (as opposed to “processed cheese products”).
- Produce: any salad mix, especially if olives, avocados, salad dressing, and any other previously mentioned food item is involved. Fruits are allowable, especially with cream or other topping.
- Nut Butters
- Oils: The best choices are olive, avocado, coconut, and peanut for cooking or mixing for salad dressing.
Basically, in this phase, you are weaning yourself from carb dependence and preparing your body to go into fat-burning mode, almost similar to ketosis, but more on a medium level. Nonetheless, your body’s fat-burning potential will be unleashed when leaving Phase One and going into Phase Two while protecting valuable muscle mass.
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The next phase (Phase Two) is when the actual work begins, but with preparation, you will be on your way to losing unwanted weight. A couple of necessary items include a food scale, for measuring exact quantities, a notebook or some sort of journaling app to plan meals at least a week ahead of time and to keep track of daily calorie intake. According to the original plan, as noted in Dr. Simeon’s writings on this diet, the total calorie intake must not exceed 500 calories per day. However, there are a few factors to keep in mind—required daily activity that is related to home and work and your overall physical conditions. (Keep in mind, though, the number of calories must be significantly lower than what you had before.) In other words, a person of larger stature and build who does manual labor all day might need more calories than a smaller person who has a desk job. By adhering to the plan, in regard to allowable foods and beverages, you can still determine how many calories you’ll need while still losing the weight; plus taking in the correct amount, along with adequate protein will prevent breakdown of muscle. Also, in this phase, you will need to avoid fat, especially in oils, altogether since it contains a high amount of calories. Additionally, you will need to steer clear of juices, regular soda, and alcohol due to amount of “empty” calories and/or sugar. The following items CAN be incorporated into your hcg diet protocol:
- Fruits and Vegetables
- Lean protein sources, like chicken and white fish
- Fat-free dairy products
- Small amount of carb, like whole wheat bread or steel-milled oats, for example
- Beverages, particularly water. Herbal, unsweetened teas, black coffee, diet soda (no more than ONE per day) are allowed. Staying hydrated also facilitates high metabolism.
Spending four to six weeks on this phase, while sticking only to the allowable foods and taking your HCG supplement, will cause the body to resort to burning stored fat because of the lack of simple carbs, sugar, and fat. In fact, you’re looking at losing one to two pounds per day! Nonetheless, you might wonder what happens if the changes don’t kick in right away or if you plateau somewhere in the middle of Phase 2. First of all, look closely at what you’re ingesting and then, look at how accurately you’re keeping track of the calories. (This is where measuring will come in handy.) Keeping to the list of allowable foods and the allowable amount of calories will prevent that obstacle. Other factors to consider include the amount of water, since a lot or too little might cause retention and the amount and type of exercise. This does not mean to cut down on water intake; you’ll simply have to keep the liquid retention in mind when you weigh in. Remember that it’s imperative to stay hydrated. Also, in regard to muscle and exercise, you might actually be building up muscle which weighs more than fat. No worries! Muscle mass weighs more than fat and aides in metabolism. So if you’re losing inches, you’re on the right track.
The next phase, Number 3, might come as a welcomed relief, but consider proceeding with caution. The third phase serves as a bridge between the strict regimen of Phase 2 and the reintegration of other foods, not previously allowed, and eventual weight maintenance. The keyword to achieving success is “GRADUAL.” For starters, you will very slowly and gradually start adding on calories while still adhering to the list of foods for Phase 2. Ideally, this prevents binging on foods that your body is not long accustomed to, but at the same time, it is vital that the calorie intake is increased in slight increments at a time, unless you want to deal with unwanted nausea.
As you are reintroducing foods from outside of the Phase 2 list, pay very close attention to how you respond to these items. When done slowly, this reintegration process can help you to pinpoint foods that your stomach cannot tolerate. There might even be some options that are no long palatable to you anymore because you’ve done so well without them. That is perfectly normal because you wouldn’t want to “fall off the wagon” and return to bad habits that were the root of the weight problem to begin with. Just remember to take this phase as slowly as possible and to weigh in daily, so as to pinpoint the appropriate amount of calories needed without regaining. The standard time is usually four weeks, but for some, it can take longer.
Now here’s the great news also known as the allowable foods for Phase 3 (in moderation):
- Fish and other types of seafood
- Poultry and game foul (quail, pheasant, duck, goose)
- All meat with the exception of “deli” cold cuts or any other processed meat that might contain glazes or other carb ingredients
- All vegetables but with a limit to the “starchy” ones, like corn or potatoes; you never know how your body is going to react to those
- All nuts and legumes (however, go easy on the latter to check the body’s response)
- All fruits and berries while being mindful of amounts of carb intake
- Fats and oils: real butter, olive, avocado, grape seed, sesame, and canola
- Whole grains and long grain wild rice or brown rice—again in miniscule amounts due to body’s possible reaction
Again, take it slow during the four weeks of Phase 3, so as not to make yourself sick, and remember to stay hydrated (preferably water) and to maintain your exercise routine while taking your supplement.
By the last phase (Four), you’ll probably be so encouraged by the results and overall feeling of wellness that you are determined to never go back to the old ways of eating and drinking. Ideally, that should be the case because in this final phase, you are now maintaining your weight without any dietary restrictions. So you’re maintaining the new lifestyle, avoiding foods that do agree with you or trigger negative cravings, and keeping up with the exercise. One way to keep this trend going is by alternating between Phases Three and Four, especially if you’ve gained slightly during a recent weigh-in. This will help with self-discipline and with your metabolism, which is going to slow down as expected. Another important hint to remember is to read food labels to make sure the carb content isn’t too high or “sugary” or “starchy’ and to opt for the good fats, like anything rich in Omega 3’s .
At last, here is the part that answers the question of “How can I get a bit of variety?” The following contains some recipes that you might find rather useful. Definitely feel free to alter some ingredients to fit your taste, but remember to stay within the diet’s guidelines.
HCG DIET RECIPES:
- Greek Salad Dressing
- This dressing pairs well with just about any leafy green salad with or without feta.
- 4 Tbs. Olive Oil (Extra Virgin or Virgin)
- ¼ tsp. Oregano
- ¼ tsp. Garlic Powder
- ¼ tsp. Turmeric
Combine ingredients together in a small carafe specifically for salad dressing and shake until thoroughly mixed.
Cashew Chicken with Mixed Vegetables:
- 1 to 2 lbs. pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breast (cubed or sliced)
- 1 cup unsalted cashews
- 3 Tbs. olive or grapeseed oil (to be added gradually)
- 3 to 4 cups of chopped fresh vegetables of your choice (Some recommendations: yellow squash, zucchini, celery, green onion, yellow onion, bell peppers of any color, snap peas, carrots)
- Sea Salt to taste
- Turmeric to taste
- Garlic powder or minced garlic to taste
In a large pan on medium heat, brown the chicken in one tablespoon of oil to prevent sticking. In a separate pan, sauté the cashews for five minutes in two tablespoons of oil on low to medium heat; then add the mixed vegetables and sauté for another five minutes. Add salt, turmeric, and garlic to both pans to taste. Just before the vegetables have softened, when the chicken appears to be thoroughly cooked, mix in the vegetable/cashew mixture. Allow to cook on low heat for another five to seven minutes or until done.