The Hcg Diet consists of 4 Phases. Each phase is carefully planned, and consists of its own individual guidelines and requirements. Phase 1 (P1) is known as the “loading phase.” Phase 2 (P2) is the “weight loss phase.” Phase 3, is the “transition” phase. Phase 4 is the “maintenance phase.” Read on for an overview of each phase, or follow the links for thorough overviews of each individual phase, including frequently asked questions, how-to's, tips and more.
- The Prep-Phase! How to Prepare for the HCG Diet (On this page.)
- Phase 1 (P1): The Loading Phase.
- Phase 2 (P2): The Weight Loss/Diet Phase.
- Phase 3 (P2): Stabilization/Transition/Maintenance Phase.
- Phase 4 (P4): Life Maintenance Phase.
Hcg Diet Phases Explained
The “Pre Phase” also known as the “Doing Your Homework” Phase.
While this isn't a traditional phase, it is an important one since it is a necessary stage of the Hcg Diet. This is where you gather all your information, determine which provider and protocol you will be following, order your supplies, and of course, establish a menu plan and a proper exercise routine. Being prepared ultimately means a better HCG Diet experience, from start to finish… and even longer.
This is how you plan it out….
Before staring the HCG Diet, you MUST have a plan established. This will help you reach your goals with the least amount of challenges possible. As one forum member pointed out in her tips: she spends a good amount of time planning, and makes each phase a game, seeing how many calories she can track, exploring new foods, ingredients and recipes, and even looking for new ways to shop healthy (hint: farmers markets!)
A proper planning phase will not only help you reach your weight loss goals, but it will also help establish those quick-action responses when a challenge comes up AND prepare you for long term health results. Here's the preparation checklist:
- Gather your sources and support. Read the Pounds and Inches manuscript (we share a free PDF and Audiobook) and choose which support groups you would like to join in the Hcg Diet forums. Introduce yourself before you begin and don't be afraid to ask questions early!
- Choose a high quality HCG source in the USA: Research and choose the Hcg Diet program that is right for you. We suggest selecting an online provider that offers a complete HCG weight loss program rather than going the HCG DIY (Do it yourself) route. Research has shown that dieters who choose a complete program over DIY, have an 82% higher success rate and far less challenges along the way (plus it saves you money vs. weight loss clinics.) Jen's recommended Hcg sources can be found here: Buy Hcg Online.
- Establish an exercise routine: A light exercise routine offers immense benefits while on the Hcg Diet and is also key to keeping the weight off. Remember not to overdo it in Phase 2 (weight loss phase,) and choose light impact workouts that are right for your particular needs; a few that we recommend are walking, tennis, swimming and yoga. Read our guide to the HCG Diet and Exercise.
- Establish a menu plan, and gather your HCG Diet recipes. By preparing your approach to food now, you can have a kitchen that is HCG Diet-friendly, making meal time decisions easier and without temptation to stray from the protocol. You can also print out a shopping list and meal plan, look for local Farmer's markets and explore recipes specific to Hcg Diet allowed foods for each phase. Read, Sample Menus and HCG Diet Recipes.
- Prepare for challenges. This is one tip I strongly suggest spending time on. The fact is, almost every Hcg dieter has a set back, especially during the 2nd phase. It can be helpful to know beforehand, if/when to expect a stall, how to handle a cheat, and what to order when dining out. Determine how you will approach challenges, beforehand. Read, Hcg Diet Help and Support.
- Reward your progress. Decide what your rewards will be, not just for your end goal, but for different points of success during your journey. These rewards should not be food-related, but instead, consider new clothing items, a travel experience, or that new FitBit you've had your eye on. Oh, and make your final-goal reward a good one- you've earned it!
HCG Diet Phase 1 (P1): The Loading Phase
This HCG Diet phase, or, “Loading Days” were not in the original HCG Diet, but rather, introduced by Kevin Trudeau in his book, “The Weight Loss Cure” decades after the original diet was published in “Pounds and Inches” (by ATW Simeons.) The necessity of this stage has since been established as a helpful one, and the majority of modern HCG Diet Plans still include this phase. We recommend including this phase for many important reasons.
The Hcg Diet phase 1 (P1) is arguably the easiest, and lasts for two days. In P1, you are to eat as many fatty, high-calorie foods as possible in order to store enough abnormal body fat to last through phase 2. Foods like fried chicken, pizza, hamburgers and high-fat desserts such as cheesecake or doughnuts are good choices for this phase. The denser the food, the better, so don’t skimp on things like cheese and butter when you’re in phase 1. It might seem counter-intuitive to begin a diet by gorging yourself on as much unhealthy food as possible, but that’s okay. The kind of fat that’s stored when these high-fat, high-calorie foods are eaten will slowly be burned off day by day during the low-calorie phase 2.
It can be difficult for people to figure out just how much high-fat food to eat during phase 1, but that’s okay. Those who have relatively small appetites can also have trouble with this phase, due to the fact that they just don’t eat very much. If this is the case, it’s lucky that there’s so much high-calorie food available this day and age, especially in America. Fast food places more often than not serve up extremely fatty, calorie-dense foods that can help quite a bit during phase 1 of the HCG diet. The burgers from popular chains usually contain a very large amount of calories for their size, and pairing these with fries and a drink is an excellent way to increase your calorie-count. Red meat is denser and fattier than fish or poultry, so steaks and ribs will go a long way during phase 1 as well.
Cheese, the diet-destroyer, is your friend during these two days. It’s very high in fat and extremely dense (meaning it has a small recommended portion size relative to it’s calorie-count), and it goes with just about everything. Adding a slice of cheese to a hamburger can up the fat by as much as 9 grams and 90 calories. Pizza with extra cheese would make an excellent meal choice on phase 1 of the HCG diet.
In order to avoid any potential digestive problems during phase 1, some fiber should also be eaten. Eating small side-salads (loaded with dressing!) in the middle of the day can help provide the dietary fiber necessary to make sure digestion goes smoothly, and snacking on whole wheat crackers and cheese isn’t a bad idea either.
After phase 1 is over, your diet will consist only of foods selected from a list of approved options, and salt is a no-no. Make sure that during phase 1 you get a good amount of all of the foods you love so as not to feel deprived during phase 2. Remember that the extra fat put on during these two days is supposed to burn off slowly during the next phase, and not having enough stored beforehand can make your final weeks more difficult. The weight loss is fast on the HCG diet and sticking to a healthy lifestyle afterward will ensure you keep it off for good.
Read more here: Hcg Diet Phase 1 Loading Phase
Phase 2 (P2): The Weight Loss Phase.
Hcg Diet Phase 2 is the infamous weight loss phase of the plan, where a strict protocol is followed and rapid weight loss occurs. This is the most challenging of all Hcg Diet Phases, and includes following the 500 calorie diet, minimal exercise, and taking Hcg consistently. There are a number of specifics to this protocol, which are best explained here: Hcg Diet Phase 2 resource page with dozens of frequently asked questions and topics regarding Phase 2.
This phase lasts from 26 days, to 40 days, which is referred to as a “long round.”
The amount of daily Hcg can vary, but typically ranges from 125iu to 175iu, with some individuals needing less and other needing a higher dosage of up to 250 iu daily. Again, this amount is for daily injectables. If taking Hcg Drops or tablets, then the dosage would be higher. The final 3 days of an Hcg diet round, no Hcg is taken, since it takes 3 days for Hcg to be completely out of the body's system.
The Phase 2 diet consists of 500 very carefully chosen foods (see allowed foods list here) and specific eating guidelines. For example, the foods list includes only coffee or tea and possibly a fruit, for breakfast, with lunch and dinner being as follows: 1 protein, 1 fruit, 1 vegetable, and 1 melba toast or grissini breadstick. Guidelines include specific preparation and portion sizes, and limited substitutions and exchanges. Read about the 500 calorie diet here.
Phase 3 (P3): The Transition, Stabilization Phase.
Hcg Diet Phase 3 of the Hcg Diet is the phase following rapid weight loss. It is referred to as the transition phase, or stabilization phase. This phase lasts 3 weeks and involves the careful introduction of foods not permitted on Phase 2 of the hcg diet. Starches and sugars are still not permitted however. The increase in calories is done by increasing portions from the Hcg Diet approved foods list, while cautiously adding healthy foods not allowed during phase 2. This allows your digestive system to adjust while also allowing for the opportunity to identify food sensitivities and hormonal imbalances that may be responsible for weight gain. Read more here: HCG Diet Phase 3 Transition and Stabilization Phase.
During phase 3, it is highly recommend that healthy fats are introduced on the diet, 1 at a time. For example, in any given day, a single serving size of avocado is added to a meal, and no other new item of food is eaten at that time. Examples of healthy fat foods for Phase 3, include avocado, salmon, almond butter, tuna, nuts, etc. Read more about Phase 3 foods.
Hcg Diet Phase 4 (P4): The Lifelong Maintenance Phase
Phase 4 of the Hcg Diet Plan is the post-everything phase, where the dieter is no longer a dieter. They have successfully transitioned from the restrictions of phase 2 and phase 3, into every day healthy living at their new healthy weight. This phase requires health and wellness habits that are learned during the previous 3 phases of the Hcg diet plan.
Tips for maintaining weight loss at the start of Phase 4: Have a plan that covers the basic implementation healthy eating and movement into every day living. For example; continue to eat mostly as you would during Phase 3, with minimal foods that are not allowed during that phase. Also, continue to weigh your portions and read labels to avoid unhealthy serving sizes and ingredients that potentially slow the metabolism and put weight on. Being aware of labels and continuing to monitor the amounts of food eaten, are a key strategy to maintaining weight loss.
In addition, this is an excellent time to increase physical activity. Some studies show that as little as 20 minutes of movement each morning, are sufficient for maintaining weight loss. If you are not fond of going to the gym and trudging along on a treadmill, consider taking up a new hobby: join a sports team, take up yoga, or learn to play a new sport such as golf. Another tip is choosing activities that require a partner, since this can make the activity more fun and also require a sense of accountability- key tactics for establishing healthy activity.
Read more: Hcg Diet Weight Maintenance.
Questions about the Hcg Diet Phases? Ask our coaches in the Hcg Diet Forum.