The HCG diet plan involves following a strict low-calorie diet and taking HCG drops, pellets, or HCG injections one to three times daily in order to lose weight and retain lean muscle mass. These HCG supplements are said to help suppress hunger, boost energy, and improve mental focus, but these are only a few of the benefits that this diet plan has to offer.
The Zero Phase
There are many variations of the HCG diet out there. Some will require you to complete a detox or cleanse before you begin phases one to four. While a cleanse isn’t required it can help the body to prepare for weight loss and nutrient absorption. Most types of cleanses will work. Colon cleanses and candida cleanses are both more extreme options, but they have a reputation for being more effective. For some, a better option is to simply avoid processed foods for one week before beginning phase one.
During phase one, you’ll increase your daily fat and caloric intake for a period of forty-eight hours, mainly focusing on foods that are high in fat. During this time you’ll also start taking HCG drops or HCG shots. For phase one, the goal is to interfere with how the body stores fat. The HCG supplement will help to prevent fat from being stored in the body, jumpstarting the process of lipid mobilization.
On the third day, you’ll begin the next phase. During this second phase, users will follow a five hundred calorie meal plan. This type of dramatic drop in caloric intake is said to ensure users lose weight at a faster rate. During this phase, you will only eat diet two meals a day. In the morning you’ll start off with a cup of tea or coffee. You can sweeten your beverage using stevia or saccharin sweeteners, in addition to one tablespoon of milk.
For lunch and dinner, you’ll eat at your normal times. Both of these meals will consist of foods straight from the HCG diet menu. The approved foods do not vary much throughout the duration of this diet.
Meal choices will be very limited. For your noon and evening meal, you can choose a one hundred gram serving of white fish, crab, beef, shrimp, veal, lobster, or chicken breast. When preparing the meat, you must be sure you trim as much fat as possible. When we say one hundred grams we’re referring to the meat’s weight when it’s raw.
You’ll also choose one approved veggie, such as fennel, cucumber, tomato, beet greens, chicory, red radishes, cabbage, spinach, a plain green salad, asparagus, or celery.
In addition to the meat and veggie choices, you can also have a single breadstick or one piece of Melba toast.
At the end of the meal, you can have a handful of berries, one orange, half a grapefruit, or one apple. These meal options will remain the same until you reach the next phase of the diet.
The third phase of the diet lasts for three or four weeks. During this period, you’ll focus on maintaining your current weight loss. Some HCG diets will advise users to avoid sugars and starches in this phase, while others will require you to avoid excessive fat and dairy. After twenty-three days you’ll start a new round of HCG.
This is the last phase of the diet. Depending on your physiology and size, you’ll need to consume just enough calories to prevent weight loss or weight gain. On average, the caloric intake during this phase ranges from fifteen hundred to two thousand calories daily.
Phase Two HCG Diet Menu
In order to be successful on this diet, it’s imperative that you don’t consume more than five hundred calories during the second phase. While most people can eat way more than five hundred calories in a single meal, this diet is very specific regarding how these calories must be spread out throughout the day.
The list of approved foods does seem short, but if you have a knack for cooking and meal preparation, then you can easily create some simple, filling meals with the available food choices.
Before you begin the diet, we recommend purchasing an electronic scale so you can ensure that you’re eating the right amount per meal.
In regard to protein, make sure the type you eat is grass-fed. All other approved foods should also be organic as well. You can find most of the fruits and veggies at a local farmer’s market.
Protein: As we mentioned earlier, for this phase you can have one hundred grams of protein per meal. Protein options include three egg whites, scallops, buffalo, extra-lean beef, crab, lobster, white fish, or chicken.
Veggies: Only eat one cup of veggies per meal. Avoid eating your daily portion of vegetables in one meal. Approved veggies include chard, cauliflower, spinach, fennel, onions, celery, tomatoes, broccoli, asparagus, shallots, red radishes, mixed greens, cabbage, green salad, beet greens, and cucumbers.
Fruit: Many of the fruits you love contain a high amount of sugar. Because of this, there are not many options to choose from. Shoot for just two servings of fruit daily. Options include strawberries, raspberries, lemons, blueberries, apples, oranges, or grapefruit.
Starch: Who doesn’t love starchy foods? Unfortunately, on this diet, your starch options are also very limited. But while you might miss your morning bagel, you definitely won’t miss all that extra weight you’ve been carrying around. The only starches that are allowed are breadsticks or Melba toast and even these should be eaten sparingly.
Other HCG Diet Approved Foods
This meal plan will also allow you to use the juice of one lemon, daily.
When you’re preparing a meal, most types of spices are allowed, as is vinegar. You won’t be able to use salad dressing, cooking oil, or butter.
In terms of beverages, the more water the better. You can also drink as much tea and coffee as you’d like.
The diet recommends a minimum of two liters of water daily.
This phase of the diet can be very difficult, especially the first two weeks. The length of phase two will depend on your weight loss goals. On average, people will stick with this phase of the diet until they have taken twenty-three doses of HCG. This lower dosage limit is for people who have fifteen pounds or less to lose. Those with more than fifteen pounds to lose should follow this phase of the diet until they have taken forty doses of HCG. After you’ve reached your set max dosage you must remain in this phase for three additional days.
How to Stay Focused
Meal planning can really help you to stay on track. It can also work to prevent you from snacking or eating unapproved foods which can happen when you’re hungry at the office.
For some people, it can help to eat a meal for breakfast, drink coffee or tea for lunch and eat their second meal at dinner time. Another option is to eat one of your fruit servings for breakfast and skip your lunchtime helping of fruit. Basically, do what works for you and whatever helps with your food cravings throughout the day.
One of the biggest mistakes people tend to make on this diet is eating two servings of the same food at one meal. You should never eat two helpings or protein, fruit, veggies, or your starch at the same time. These servings are broken up for a reason.
HCG Diet Menu Ideas for Phase Two
While you’re working your way through the second phase of the diet you may find that mixing up your meal plan can help to prevent boredom from setting in. While cooking up a small chicken breast is an easy, simple option, it won’t be very appetizing several days in a row.
Below you’ll find sample meals that can give you an idea of how to plan your meals for the week:
Breakfast: Coffee and raspberries
Lunch: One serving of crab, one serving of cabbage, one starch serving.
Dinner: One serving of extra-lean beef, one serving of blueberries, mixed greens, one starch.
While this type of limited diet may leave you worried that you’ll constantly be battling hunger throughout your day, many people have reported that they don’t feel hungry. If you find that you aren’t hungry at mealtime, don’t force yourself to eat the entire meal, just as long as you eat your protein.
Phase Three HCG Diet Menu
The third phase of the program allows you to increase your calories, which means you can also enjoy a wider variety of approved foods.
The third phase of this diet is not necessarily low-fat, but it is low-carb. When you hit the grocery store, make sure you avoid foods listed as low fat because they often contain a higher carb content. You should also keep in mind that oatmeal, cereals, pasta, popcorn, alcohol, and bread are still not allowed.
During this phase, you cannot consume more than one hundred and fifty grams of carbs daily. Make sure you keep a close eye on your carb intake.
The first week of phase three will allow you to increase your caloric intake by two to four hundred calories. This is done by increasing the approved foods from phase two and the serving sizes. Make sure you only add one or two new foods per week, starting off with veggies and fruit. During the second week you can increase your daily calorie intake up to a thousand calories. The second week you can add new protein sources such as Greek yogurt, turkey, and pork. Weigh yourself daily. If you begin to gain weight you may need to cut back on serving sizes or avoid certain foods.
By the third week of this phase, you’ll be able to eat twelve hundred calories a day. Try broadening your protein sources and add in some trout or salmon. You can also add whole milk and mayonnaise. By week four, your calorie intake should be around fifteen hundred calories a day. At this point, you’ll be able to eat anything on the list of approved foods without packing on the pounds.
Protein: Lobster, turkey, salmon, pastrami, salami, white fish, pepperoni, tuna, pork, chicken, beef, eggs, ham, shrimp, and crab.
Steer clear of hot dogs, bacon, and glazed ham.
Veggies: Radishes, celery, Bok choy, endive, radicchio, kale, mustard greens, collard greens, herbs, chard, romaine lettuce, spinach, mushrooms, cabbage, sea veggies, jicama, alfalfa sprouts, bean sprouts, peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, cucumbers, avocado, summer squash, leeks, scallions, Brussel sprouts, eggplant, tomatoes, bamboo shoots, artichoke hearts, turnips, celery root, okra, spaghetti squash, fennel, onions, water chestnuts, and turnips.
Steer clear of parsnips, corn, carrots, peas, potatoes, plantains, beets, and yams.
Fruit: Apricots, grapefruit, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, cranberries, strawberries, papaya, apples, cherries, guava, peaches, plums, and pears.
Steer clear of mangoes, bananas, and watermelon.
Dairy: Plain Greek yogurt, milk, sour cream, butter, and cheese.
Avoid low-fat yogurts, and sweetened yogurt.
Condiments: Mayo, mustard, vinegar, hot sauce, and salsa.
Steer clear of any type of salad dressing with added sugar, ketchup, barbecue sauce, tomato sauce, honey, and agave.
Some variations of the HCG diet will allow you to have more food options during this phase. Keep in mind that during the course of phase three the goal is to focus on low sugar, low-carb foods. If you’re not sure whether or not a food is approved, check the label. If it doesn’t contain flour, added sugar and has less than ten carbs per serving then it should be safe for this phase.