After having over 100 million visitors to this blog, it's safe to say I have seen my fair share of Hcg Diet success stories… and not so successful stories. I have come to the conclusion that there is no one “right way” to do the Hcg Diet, although sticking as close to the original protocol as possible, tends to see the best results. In fact, the most successful Hcg Dieters I have seen, have been those who have at least stuck to the original Hcg diet food list, while adjusting dosage for hunger and adding certain supplements and movement to their plan.
I have adopted this approach and now I am confident I have found the magic formula for myself, resulting in a 12 lbs loss my first week and a loss of 18 lbs in about two weeks. I had these extraordinary losses while sometimes eating a more than the original Hcg Diet's allowance of 500 calories. In fact, I shifted my focus from the drastic restriction of calories, to the focus of getting healthy, filling my body with nutrients and preparing for a lifelong weight loss maintenance following the Hcg Diet.
So what makes my approach work so well that in my last round, I was able to lose 18 pounds in just two weeks? Where the original Hcg Diet focuses on extreme restriction and requires endless will-power, my approach focuses on nourishing the body, giving the body lots of good nutrition and creates healthy habits for long term success.
My Hcg Diet Checklist
- Kitchen spring-cleaning time. Get rid of all foods that may be tempt you to go off-menu.
- Quality Hcg Hormone and the CORRECT supplies – I recommend a buying a complete kit from Nu Image, Diet Doc or Riverfront MD. You can compare all 3 to see which is best for you. I do NOT recommend counterfeit hcg from overseas: this is unsafe and not worth the risks!
- Supplements; Vitamin B12 and Lipotropics if you want these (I recommend them to maximize your weight loss rates.)
- Vegetable superfood supplement powder: Amazing Grass Green Superfood (I prefer chocolate but there are many flavors available.)
- A “just in case” appetite suppressant; capsules or tea. These can be handy in the first week or so, while your body adjusts to much smaller portions and your mind is going, “wait, where's the bread!!!?” My favs: Yogi Slim Tea, BaeTea Teatox or if you prefer capsules: SlimVite Caffeine Free is a good one and convenient to take with you on the go. (Most of these are available in larger grocery stores or Diet Doc has 2 powerful appetite suppressants that are Hcg Diet friendly (no fillers, no sugars) which are Fullness Factor and Appetite Zap. Both work great. Nu Image has one as well (JetFuel) but I'm not a huge fan of caffeine so it's not my favorite- if you like caffeine, this is probably a good one to start with and you can order it along with your Hcg kit. I also LOVE Diet Doc's brand of fiber as well, and usually wait for a sale before I pick that up.
- Grocery shop for the necessary foods for the first week. Don't forget pink Himalayan salt and extra spices!
- Teas (my must-have's): Strawberry Basil Green Tea, and Everyday Detox. I also drink Smooth Move tea just about each evening since the food list just doesn't get you to the 30-40 grams of fiber needed daily. You can order these on Amazon or find them at Whole Foods and some other grocery stores.
- Body Fat Scale: My favorite scale on Amazon, or you can find these at Bed Bath and Beyond. These scales allow you to see the fat, muscle and water content of your body as you lose weight.
- Rebounder for gentle, low impact exercise. I have the Leaps and ReBounds one and I LOVE it!
- Vitamix or at least a very good blender that is capable of making apples and cucumbers into smoothie consistency. (I love my Vitamix- I have had mine for 8 years and it still works like new; there is nothing comparable. Occasionally, HSN has these on sale for a great price too.)
- Tammy Skye's two Hcg Diet Gourmet Cookbooks on Amazon.
- Establish a support team. Connect with one person, or join an Hcg diet group in the forums; supportive friends & family can make a world of difference on your Hcg Diet journey.
My Hcg Diet Plan Basics
- Hcg type, and dosage: I prefer Hcg injections myself, and the dosage doesn't seem to matter to my body. I have occasionally lowered the dosage based on whether or not I feel hungry. (Hunger on Hcg, usually means your dosage is too high. If you have questions about this, I suggest checking with your doctor or asking the coaches in the forums.) Same time every day, I prefer to take my Hcg in the evenings. Subcutaneous injections with tiny needles in the back upper hip (intramuscular is not necessary although some prefer it; subcutaneous works- take a pregnancy test and you will get a positive, and know the hCG is present in your body.) The correct needles come with a quality Hcg kit (I ordered from Nu Image Medical for my last round, and I am currently using Diet Doc for my current round) which includes everything. You can can find a list of legitimate Hcg telemedicine companies on my Buy Hcg injections and drops page, with current sale offers and coupon codes.) The needle is so small, I don't really feel anything more than it feels when someone touches you with a fingertip. Tip: Let the alcohol dry before injecting to avoid an unnecessary sting.
- Supplements: I take a number of supplements, including a good multivitamin, Udo's probiotics, Vitamin D, and Calcium. If you know there is a supplement that benefits you personally, now is the time to be consistent with these. Note: Please consult a doctor if you are taking medication. I haven't heard of any medications that cannot be used while on the Hcg Diet but it is best to consult with a doctor to be safe. If you are ordering from one of my sources, you can consult with the doctor that does your health interview and save yourself a trip to the doctor's office (and that co-pay!)
My Hcg Diet Food Plan
This is the part of my Hcg Diet Plan that varies somewhat from the original Hcg Diet. Some days, I go beyond the 500 calorie VLCD (very low calorie diet) and I believe in eating when I'm hungry. It is WHAT I eat that makes a huge difference and it is also what I consider my “secret to success” on the Hcg Diet. This smoothie recipe makes several glasses of “green drink” for the day:
The “Green Drink.” I learned this fat-burning superfood smoothie from Dr. Young (author of Ph Miracle) while visiting with him on his ranch. These were a staple in my life when I was living comfortably in a size 6 for many years. They are full of nutrients and you are basically drinking a salad and a handful of superfoods at the same time. I drink these at least 3 times a day (or more) while on the Hcg Diet; anytime I feel hungry, I reach for one of these before considering anything else. Not only are they fat-burning miracle smoothies, but I notice my skin glowing, I sleep better, and my energy levels rise within hours of having these.
Jen's Phase 2, Green Drink Recipe (makes 3 super-smoothies.)
- A handful of spinach (preferably organic baby spinach) (7 calories, 4.3 grams fiber)
- A handful of kale (preferably organic) (33 calories, 3 grams fiber)
- Half of an English cucumber (regular cucumber in a pinch; organic is best*. (22 calories, 2 grams fiber)
- 1 green or red apple. Preferably organic. Green is better if you go with a lemony version of this smoothie, red is better if you prefer sweet and with cinnamon.
- Strawberries: swap for the apple, or mix. (Optional for those not following the “1 fruit rule” on the original protocol. I add these with my apple and do just fine but for anyone else… proceed with caution.)
- 1/4 cup of unsweetened Almond milk (a little more if you prefer your smoothie to be thicker) (32 calories)
- 1/2 inch of raw ginger (or size based on taste) (9 calories)
- Dash of turmeric and/or cayenne and/or cinnamon (metabolism boosters! increase amount based on your preference)
- Water and/or ice to fill remaining space in blender/vitamix.
- Lemon if you prefer a zesty flavor. OR stevia if you prefer a sweet flavor.
Phase 3 variations:
- 1/2 cup of coconut water (optional to save this for phase 4 since it has sugar. ) (23 calories)
- 1/2 avocado – You can add more if you plan on using this smoothie as a meal replacement- boom, instant healthy protein shake!
Total calories 286. 95 Calories per glass, but keep in mind, this is also very fiber heavy so that eliminates much of the calories, while also giving sooooo much healthy nutrition.
Special Notes– For taste variations: Handful of strawberries (frozen or fresh), Juice from one lemon, or adjust ingredient amounts to your preference. IF you are on a higher calorie Hcg diet…. Do not eat the avocado, coconut water, or more than a few teaspoons of almond milk separate from this smoothie while on the Hcg Diet. The ingredients are designed to work together as a fat-burning, body-nourishing super drink. I drink 1 to 3 a day, having one first thing in the morning. I will also have these with or before meals if I'm hungry. *Use organic ingredients whenever possible; the less toxins your body is required to process, the more efficiently your body can work on weight loss and getting healthy.
Other Foods while on the Hcg Diet
For the most part, I stick to the permitted foods of the original Hcg Diet, in very small portions. I try to wait at least 3 hours between eating times. I often feel satisfied after a few bites and stop eating. If I am still hungry, I will finish my portion, which is no larger than the palm of my hand. If I feel hungry between meals, I will have a green drink before considering regular food. A typical Hcg Diet day for me:
- Wake up, have coffee. Mid to late-morning, I will have a green drink. 1 to 3 hours later, this is followed by 2 hard-boiled eggs with Himalayan pink salt. (Yes, you can have eggs on the Hcg diet!) No need to ditch the yolk every time- in fact, it is better if you eat the yolk or at least some of it; it will keep you satisfied longer and they are full of healthy omegas.
- Approx 3 hours later, I will have a handful of strawberries as a snack.
- Lunch: I will have a green drink, along with a small portion of an Hcg diet friendly recipe from hcgdietinforecipes.com. I love making slow cooker recipes and you will see some of my recipes there. Note: I often add more vegetables and spices to these recipes. Breakfast and Lunch are my largest meals of the day, but because I have my green drink, I rarely eat a full meal.
- Appox 3 hours later, I will have organic apple slices (shared with my toddler 😉 )
- Dinner: Green drink, fish or a small chicken breast or half of a steak, with an arugula salad and balsamic vinegar. Sometimes I will include strawberries, and/or a hard-boiled egg, or crushed melba toast like croutons. Another fav is chicken breast or shrimp with green beans and Himalayan pink salt; simple to make and surprisingly tasty.
- I have found that I can use one snap-spray of coconut oil cooking spray without any effect on my Hcg losses.
A note about the first week on the Hcg Diet: This is such an important transitional stage, I feel it is necessary to explain what to expect along with a few tips to make it easier. I think of the Hcg Diet as a cleanse. With this in mind, during the first week (up to 2 weeks for some people) your body is transitioning from a state where it is used to excessive food, toxins, preservatives and other chemicals. Sometimes your body will go through withdrawals, as symptoms of headaches or unecessary hunger (feel hungry right after eating? Feeling hunger too frequently?) Taking an example from Haley Powell's book: if someone wakes you every morning at 3 am for a roast beef sandwich and ice cream… well it won't be long before your body is waking you at 3 am expecting that sandwich and ice cream. Your body is conditioned based on old habits and sometimes it can be challenging to transition to new, healthy habits. This is perfectly normal, and I want to share a few tricks that have worked for myself and others, to get through this stage as easily as possible.
- Drink plenty of water. Keep a bottle of water with you at all times, and get in the habit- the faster those toxins are flushed, the better. Also, the more water you drink, the more efficient your body can lose weight. Dehydration can also trigger feelings of hunger.
- Avoid strenuous exercise during this period. This can increase hunger. I do add yoga and walking to my phase 2, but I take it really easy during the first week.
- Feel free to use a light appetite suppressant during this period, or an appetite suppressing tea. I say “light” because you don't want to completely take hunger away- you want to start training yourself to eat when you are truly hungry after all. Some people choose to use appetite suppressants throughout the Hcg Diet round, but I don't find this necessary. I will use them occasionally if needed, but before the end of my 2nd week, my body has adjusted to very small portions and the preservative withdrawal-headaches are gone. Sugar cravings are gone as well.
When and How to have a Stray-Day (aka “Cheat Day”)
At the beginning of a round, I tell myself that I can have one day a week to go off-menu and have a stray-day (I am not a fan of the word “cheat” as it implies you are doing something wrong.) When I do consider a stray-day, I first, ask myself if it is worth not losing weight for the next two days (typical result of going off-menu.) So far, I have only done this once, but I was careful and still lost weight! I simply avoided processed sugar and most complex carbs, and limited what I had to 3 bites or less. Surprisingly, I found this extremely satisfying. I doubled my exercise for the day (I will cover exercise next) and up'd my tea and fiber intake for the day. The next day, I was down more than half of a pound.
I also went away for a weekend and unfortunately, the hotel and festival we went to, was not “Hcg Diet friendly.” I stayed as close to the original diet as possible, but at one point, I did have 1/3 of a sandwich (bread and all) and a few other off-menu items. I walked a significant amount that day, and did yoga that evening. I drank a lot of water and added my favorite vegetable supplement: Amazing Grass Superfood. 1 scoop is the equivalent of 2 cups of vegetables but in its powder form, it is convenient to travel with. At the end of the weekend, I was still 1 pound lighter.
Exercise Plan on the Hcg Diet
Ever since losing nearly 90 pounds on the Hcg Diet, I have become a huge fan of exercising; at least, once I figured out that I don't have to walk an hour, bored out of my mind on a treadmill. Instead, I love choosing things I really enjoy, that also happen to make me feel good. I encourage you to do the same, but during the first few weeks of your round, I strongly suggest avoiding any strenuous workouts. Since having my son, I normally go to pilates 3 times a week, and do intense Corepower hot yoga 3 times a week. Before having my baby, this kept me in great shape with a flat stomach and great abs! After having my son however… it just hasn't been enough to take this baby weight off which has led me back to the Hcg Diet (the only diet I have found to work.) You can read my post-baby hcg weight loss journal here.
My exercise plan for the first 2 weeks of an Hcg Diet round:
- At least a 20 minute walk, every morning, and a 30+ minute walk in the evenings with my family.
- I lightly bounce on my rebounder throughout the day, never letting my feet go off the rebounder. I will watch tv and lightly bounce rather than sit. The benefits of this are extraordinary: fabulous for your circulation, lymphatic system, metabolism, endorphins… Such a simple way to exercise with so many benefits! Note: A rebounder is not the same as a trampoline. You can do some research and learn more, but I also want to add that the price of a rebounder can be daunting, but I had my last one for 10 years before passing it along to a friend and getting my new one.
Exercise Plan for Weeks 3 and 4 of my Hcg Diet Round:
- At least 30-45 mins of walking daily. The more the better!
- Rebounder jumping/playing with my son… As often as possible, which tends to be at least 20-40 minutes a day.
- Yoga at home; I will hold poses throughout the day, and do light yoga in the evenings before bed. If you are new to yoga, or just like the idea of a “yoga class at home” I recommend Gaia Yoga.
- I will occasionally go to a therapeutic/restorative yoga class. This class is typically just laying down and stretching. The majority of the class tends to be the elderly and out of shape, or recovering from something. It is extremely relaxing and meditative. This is an excellent option for beginners.
- Planks. Start with a straight plank for as long as you can hold it; work your way up to 3 minutes. You can also do side planks- again, work your way up to 3 minutes. These are amazing full-body workout poses, that build a strong core and overall strength and balance.
If this all seems a bit too much for you, then try to stick to this rule: Do some kind of exercise every single day. Whether it's a walk or rebound bouncing, a 20 minute yoga session, or a few planks. Treat it like a part time job, and just do it. The payoff will be well worth it and once this becomes a habit, it will help you keep the weight off in the long run.
A few last words about my Hcg Diet Plan…
I hope this has helped those of you looking for a more flexible approach to the Hcg Diet. As I said in the beginning, feel free to make changes that work for you and learn to build your instincts when it comes to making healthy choices. In the end, all that matters is that you lose the weight, gain healthy habits and feel better overall. Focus on those goals and you will be successful.
If you have questions, feel free to ask in the comments below, or ask one of the coaches or veterans in the Hcg Diet Forums. If you would like me to add or expand a topic, please let me know- anything I can do to help us all succeed in becoming happy and healthy, I'm happy to do whatever I can!