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. With this in mind, I have come to the conclusion that there is no one “right way” to do the Hcg Diet. In fact, the most successful Hcg Dieters I have seen, have been those who have customized the diet to suit their needs and personal preferences. I have adopted this approach myself, and now I am confident I have found the magic formula, resulting in a 12 lbs loss my first week and a loss of 18 lbs in two weeks. I had these extraordinary losses while eating more than the original Hcg Diet's allowance of 500 calories. In fact, I shifted my approach from the drastic restriction of food, 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. Get rid of all foods that may be tempt you to go off-menu.
- Quality Hcg and the CORRECT supplies – I recommend a buying from Nu Image, Diet Doc or Riverfront MD.
- Supplements, Vitamin B and/or Lipotropics if you want these (I recommend them- much better weight loss rates)
- Vegetable Superfood Supplement: 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, that's all?” 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 Nu Image has their appetite suppressant: JetFuel. It works great, 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 LOVE Diet Doc's brand instead, 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, Smooth Move (& SM tablets), and Everyday Detox. 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 XL 48 inch 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. One person or a group of people from the forums; supportive friends & family can make a world of difference on your Hcg Diet journey.
My Hcg Diet Plan Basics
- Hcg Dosage: I prefer injections myself, and the amount doesn't seem to matter to my body. I have varied the dosage based on different Hcg supplier's recommendations and have been fine with all. Same time every day, I prefer to take my Hcg in the evenings. Subcutaneous injections with tiny needles in the upper rear end (intramuscular is not necessary; it's more painful and subcutaneous works- take a pregnancy test and you will get a positive, and know it is present in your body.) The correct needles come with a quality Hcg kit (I ordered from Nu Image Medical which included everything, and you can find a list of legitimate Hcg telemedicine companies on my Buy Hcg injections and drops page.) 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 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 Nu Image Medical or Diet Doc, you can consult with the doctor that does your health interview and save yourself a trip to the doctor's office.
My Hcg Diet Food Plan
This is the part of my Hcg Diet Plan that varies significantly from the original Hcg Diet. 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 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*. Cucumber skin is better so you can shave some of these if you prefer) (22 calories, 2 grams fiber)
- 1/2 cup of coconut water (optional- has sugar) (23 calories)
- 1 green apple (95 calories) or Red apple (80 calories) is ok too but green has a tad less sugar. 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.
- 1/2 avocado (optional and off OP [original protocol foods]You can add more if you plan on using this smoothie as a meal replacement.
- 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.
- Jen's Green Drink Recipe (makes 3 super-smoothies.)
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. 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. Drink 1 to 3 a day, have one first thing in the morning. Have these with or before your meals and if you are 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 a green drink. 1 to 3 hours later, this is followed by 2 hard-boiled eggs with Himalayan pink salt. Whole eggs are fine. No need to ditch the yolk- 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 a recipe from hcgdietinforecipes.com. I love making slow cooker hcg diet 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 and 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 with green beans and Himalayan pink salt; simple to make and surprisingly tasty.
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 the FMD 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 a 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.
- Feel free to use a light appetite suppressant during this period, or an appetite suppressing tea. I say “light” because you don't necessarily want one that completely takes 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 preservative withdrawal-headaches are gone. Sugar cravings are gone as well. If you are really struggling with sugar cravings in the beginning, you can try a diet soda, preferably Hanson's brand or another aspartame-free brand.
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 that day. So far, I have only done this once, but I was careful and still lost weight! I simply continued to avoid most 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 diet as possible, (you can only pack so many apples and hard boiled eggs for a weekend!) 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 significant amount 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 80+ 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 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!)
My exercise plan for the first 2 weeks of an Hcg Diet round:
- At least a 20 minute walk, every morning, and a 40 minute walk in the evenings with my family.
- I lightly bounce on the 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- which I absolutely love because it's larger than any other that is made, and has amazing tension.
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.
- 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. 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. 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!