hCG diet phases – what you need to know
February 14. 2023
Human chorionic gonadotropin (abbreviated hCG) is a hormone produced by a pregnant woman’s placenta. Although it is generally present in the human body, its levels are significantly higher during pregnancy. The role of hCG is to prevent a woman’s body from storing excess fat during pregnancy so that the developing baby can take all the calories it needs during growth. This fact has led Dr. Simeons to consider using this hormone as a weight-loss tool to help people burn their stored fat around the problematic areas of their bodies. In this article, our weight loss clinic in Chicago experts want to tell you more about this hCG weight loss method Dr. Simeons dedicated his career to. Back in 1954, all the required information regarding the hCG diet was published. The diet was presented as a low-calorie, high-protein eating plan, which included regular shots of hCG injections to boost the fat loss process and prevent hunger in dieters.
The hCG diet phases
Today, many new weight loss plans and supplements are revolutionizing the weight loss game. Mounjaro, Wegovy, and Ozempic weight loss are causing sensation due to their incredible results. And while these new weight-loss tools are very effective, there is an older method that, despite the decades passing by, stays strong as one of everyone’s favorite and most successful weight-loss programs: the 3 hCG diet phases.
The first and original program required that the dieters eat a strict low-calorie diet of no more than 500kcal a day after completing the loading phase. Since this was highly restrictive, the diet has been updated to meet today’s health standards. It now allows dieters to get a personalized diet plan based on their own weight and goals. The list of foods allowed on this diet has also been extended, including some vegetable carb substitutes, so it’s safe to say that it’s much more convenient to follow the hCG diet today than ever before. One of the most critical aspects of this regimen is understanding the hCG diet phases.
The hCG diet plan includes three phases, and we’ll now go through them in detail:
The Loading Phase
The beginning phase of the hCG diet is known as the loading phase or loading portion because it requires dieters to start taking the hCG shots and indulge in high-fat and high-calorie foods. The reason for this is to prepare your body for the next, low-calorie phase. The loading phase lasts for two days, during which you can eat pretty much anything, but it’s best to eat food with high-fat content. By doing so, you’re ensuring enough time for the hCG to enter your system and locate your fat stores.
Your meals of choice should include healthy fats coming from fatty meat and fish, olive oil, avocado, eggs, nuts, etc.
The Weight Loss Phase
The infamous weight loss phase is when you continue taking the hCG shots while changing your diet. This stage lasts between three and six weeks, depending on your starting weight, age, health condition, etc. During this time, you’ll need to follow a low-calorie diet, stay away from fats and sugars, and focus on protein and whole foods. Depending on the program you choose, you’ll either eat about 500kcal a day or slightly more if your calorie intake is calculated by your BMI (Body Mass Index). You’re not required to exercise during this phase. In fact, you’ll probably be advised not to since you’ll already burn more than enough calories by following the diet and taking the hCG shots. During this phase, your body starts burning your fat stores and using them as fuel. On the keto diet, this is known as the fuel consumption phase. That and the fact both eating plans share a low net carb content is why some people connect the hCG diet and ketosis.
Although it does sound quite restrictive, the weight loss phase is not as challenging as it seems. HCG shots also work as an appetite suppressant and help you get through the day with fewer calories and a decreased hunger. Have you heard of fasting benefits by hour? The hCG program essentially has intermittent fasting incorporated into the plan. So you will be getting all the advantages of fasting for weight loss. In addition to that, you can look at this phase as a detox for your whole body since the main stars on your menu will be foods high in protein (which will, once again, keep you full for longer), green veggies, and low-carb fruits. That way, you’ll ensure your body gets all the nutrients it needs in order to function correctly. One of the main misconceptions regarding the hCG diet phases is that the weight loss phase demands you to deprive yourself of food and eat only as much as you need to survive. However, by applying for an hCG diet program at a professional diet clinic, your physician will advise you to eat foods high in protein, fiber, and essential vitamins. Sometimes, you’ll also take lipo C injections to accompany the diet and ensure your body functions normally at all times.
Your meals of choice during the weight loss phase should include:
- high-protein foods (such as skinless poultry, white fish, meat protein, low-fat beef, shrimps, cottage cheese),
- non-starchy vegetables (such as leafy greens, cucumber, zucchini, tomatoes, cauliflower, kale, asparagus, etc.), and
- low-carb fruits (for example, an apple or an orange a day, a small handful of mixed berries, half of a peach, two apricots, etc.).
Another thing to keep in mind while in the weight loss phase is constipation. It is normal to have constipation during this phase of the weight loss process using hCG hormones. Since you are consuming around 500kcal a day, bowel movements can slow down. Can constipation cause weight gain? Well, usually, weight gain and constipation are directly intertwined. What you can do to help your bowel movements go back to normal is to eat foods rich in fiber and allowed during this phase.
The Maintenance Phase
Last, and most certainly not the least among the hCG diet phases, the maintenance phase starts once you stop taking hCG shots. This phase is not negligible, as your body needs to slowly re-adjust to all those types of food you’ve been avoiding during the previous weeks. It lasts about three weeks and the diet protocol is somewhat more personalized compared to the earlier stages of the diet. That’s because every individual reacts differently to specific types of food. Some people may lose a few more pounds during those three weeks, and others manage to maintain their desired weight. However, we make sure to stay in touch with our patients during their maintenance phase to ensure that everything’s going according to plan and that they’re not gaining their weight back.
For most patients going through the hCG diet phases for the first time, figuring out what to eat can be challenging, especially the snack part. A proper maintenance phase snack has 20g of carbs or less, 10g of sugar or less, and 4g of protein or more. Here are some snacks that are safe to include during this phase:
- Low carbs, low sugar cereals
- Fruits such as berries, kiwis, apples, and other whole fruits
- Sugar-free jello
- Protein bars (be careful of how many protein bars a day you eat and pay attention to the sugar amount they have, a lot of protein bars contain more than 20g per piece)
- Apple and peanut butter
Although the hCG diet plan aids in a quicker weight loss, it’s essential to understand that its benefits won’t last forever if you decide to go back to indulging in highly processed food and sweets once you complete the program. Just like any other weight loss supplement, like phentermine for weight loss, the hCG pregnancy hormone needs commitment from your side to continue eating healthily and exercising regularly. The hCG diet and its phases can provide several other benefits besides weight loss. These benefits include a boost in your metabolism, increased energy, redistribution of fat stores, and decreased cravings. After the maintenance phase, you should establish a healthy relationship with food and continue prioritizing whole foods over highly processed ones.
In case you’re thinking about starting the hCG weight loss plan or feel like you need additional information regarding the hCG diet phases, please feel free to schedule a call with us.
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