How does the HCG diet work?
The really important thing to remember about the HCG diet plan is that it’s not just about HCG diet drops: you need to follow a very low calorie diet plan too. The HCG drops are vital because if you simply followed an ultra low calorie diet, your body would not react well: you would lose important energy. HCG diet drops allow your body to use its fat reserves to fill the energy shortfall of a very low calorie diet. This way the HCG diet targets fat rather than muscle as you lose weight. Following the HCG diet can lead to weight loss of as much as 1lb a day. The HCG diet also re-educates you about portion size and helps you beat food cravings.
HCG itself is a naturally occurring hormone that is present in increased quantities during pregnancy, allowing a mother-to-be to use her fat stores to provide energy for herself and her growing fetus. HCG tells the hypothalamus in your brain to mobilise fat stores in order to provide energy.
So the success of the HCG diet is down to its combination of hormone drops and a low calorie diet. There are strict rules about the very low calorie diet, and it’s essential that these are followed in order to ensure dramatic weight loss.
When you buy hcg diet drops, you’ll sometime see a diet protocol attached that you can download. If your chosen brand doesn’t offer a diet protocol, you can research them on the internet. Among the most popular are written by Dr Simeons (the original HCG diet plan) and Dr Sheri Emma (as featured on TV’s Doctor Oz).
Here’s an overview of what you can expect from your HCG diet protocol. As we said, you should research a complete protocol but this is the shape you can expect it to take. You’ll typically find your HCG diet drops program lasts 21-23 days, with the diet itself lasting around six weeks.
HCG dietIf you want to do a colon cleanse before starting the HCG diet, that’s OK, particularly if your diet up until now has relied on processed foods.
Phase one is the “loading phase”. You begin to take your real hcg drops, but for two days you eat lots of high-fat foods too. Ideally these are organic, unprocessed wholefoods. The reason for the “loading phase” is to boost your fat stores before the hcg starts its work on your abnormal fat stores.
Phase two begins after this two-day period, and this is the toughest part of the diet but it is the section of the plan that will bring about rapid weight loss. You follow a strict 500-calorie diet alongside your HCG drops. You can and should, however, drink up to two litres of water per day.
Here’s a taste of what you can expect each day. For breakfast you can have unsweetened tea or coffee, but you’re only allowed one tablespoon of milk in any 24-hour period. For lunch and tea, choose from 100g (weigh it raw) fat-free meat – for example, beef, veal, white fish, chicken breast, crab or shrimp – cooked without fat. With this you can have one vegetable from a list including tomato, chard, asparagus, green salad and cucumbers (once again, consult your protocol for the exhaustive list of options). You can also have a single breadstick or melba toast and a piece of fruit from a strict selection. Your third daily meal follows the same pattern as lunch.
If you’re worried about feeling hungry or exhausted during this part of the diet, don’t forget that the HCG drops will help you overcome this by curbing hunger pangs and helping your body to mobilise its existing fat stores in order to provide daily energy levels.
Some HCG dieters are also concerned that their food will taste really bland without oil or fat-based seasonings. There are plenty of permitted seasonings on the HCG diet, including lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper.
And of course for some dieters there’s a big fear of preparing your own food! But many companies provide specially prepared HCG diet recipes, and the internet is packed with easy-to-follow recipes.
When you have finished your course of HCG drops (around 23 days), spend another 48 hours eating only 500 calories per day. You’ll still have HCG in your system – and you’ll have lost weight too.
Phase three of the HCG diet is all about maintenance of your new weight. Dono-sugar this by avoiding foods containing starch and sugar. As well as the obvious culprits such as wheat, flour, bread, pasta and corn, remember that some fruits are high in starch too. To avoid sugar, check food packaging for words including “molasses” and “fructose”. If you find you’re gaining weight, you can try the “steak day” fix, in which you only consume fluids during the day and for your evening meal have a steak with a tomato or an apple. Only try this for one day, though.
And finally you reach the final phase: the rest of your life. On the HCG diet you’ll have learned so much about your body and the size of portions you can comfortably eat. Don’t go on a crazy food binge; instead very gradually re-introduce the sugars and starches you’ve avoided.
Your attitude to food will have changed when you complete the HCG diet, but the most noticeable difference in HCG dieters is the change in body shape. By targeting fat instead of muscle, you can lose weight from the areas traditional diets often don’t reach.
So let’s recap: the HCG diet plan can result in dramatic weight loss from your body’s fat stores instead of its muscles. You must follow a diet protocol alongside taking the HCG drops, but these protocols are not as daunting as they seem; there are several available on the internet and you can also buy specially prepared foods.