Intermittent fasting is becoming quite popular as a weight control tactic. It involves narrowing your eating “window” to 8 or fewer hours a day. Many have reported success at weight control with this tactic.
Interesting enough, intermittent fasting is built into Phase 2 of the Hcg diet, if you follow the menu pattern of 2 meals a day, lunch and dinner. It may not be a significant factor, as one can split up the two meals throughout the day without slowing the weight loss, but it is worth noting that it is built into the instructions of the weight loss phase, even if coincidentally.
When it comes to Phase 3 of the protocol, for stabilization and preparing for maintenance, it could greatly hinder results. HCG is a hormonal protocol, and intermittent fasting can have some negative hormonal effects. For those considering combining IF with your stabilization 21 days of P3, here is why I think it would be better to wait until P4 to give this a try.
The goal of P3 is to stabilize at your ending weight on P2 of the HCG diet. In order to do that, you have to eat the right kinds of foods (good oils, all proteins, non-starchy veggies and some fruit) and you have to eat enough of them. After P2, most people’s capacity is small, and many struggle to get enough food in, especially the first few days. Intermittent fasting rules make that even harder.
The idea behind intermittent fasting is that having less time to eat will restrict your food intake. That is where the problem likes. You do not want to be cutting back on food intake in P3. In fact, you want to do just the opposite.
Why Intermittent Fasting Won’t Work with P3:
At the end of P2, your metabolism is running at a higher more efficient level than previous to the diet. Your furnace is demanding fuel. You want to answer those demands so that the furnace keeps burning at a high rate.
If that can be accomplished, you will go on being able to eat more calories than you did before without gaining weight. Your metabolism has been reset, but you can slow it down again by under-eating in P3, or ignoring hunger and waiting too long to eat.
You need to get in touch with your hunger and satisfaction signals so that you eat enough and often enough to keep that revved up metabolism burning. You are learning how to fuel your body during P3. Paradoxically, the biggest issue with weight gain in P3 is failing to eat enough.
This is because the fear of regain is often very strong. But that fear must be overcome. You can trust the process. People are often amazed at how much they can eat during P3 and still stay in their 2 pound window.
Dr. Simeons said that in P3, eat whatever you like as long as you avoid starch and sugar. You have been given a great gift through the elimination diet aspect of P2—cravings will be gone. This gives you a rare opportunity to learn your hunger and satisfaction signals without cravings confusing the landscape. You need to learn how to eat enough, and to eat when hungry, not famished, as waiting too long almost ensures you will overeat.
P3 is a golden opportunity to shift your food relationship to a healthy fuel-based focus where you recognize and address your hunger in time, and appropriately. For more information on how to recognize your hunger/satisfaction signals, please see this article: How to Know When You Are Hungry.
Delaying eating until later in the day interferes with your hunger signals. Every hour after waking that you delay eating, slows down your metabolism. This is counter productive to your P3 goals.
To keep your metabolism humming in P3, try to get some calories in you within an hour of awakening. It doesn’t have to be a lot, but it needs to be nourishing. Something with some protein and a little fat.
It could be something like coffee with collagen and MCT oil. (Froth it with a little sunflower lecithin—it gets very creamy), a small protein shake, or if you can handle solids– some full fat cottage cheese or greek yogurt and berries, or a couple strips of bacon and some avocado.
This little calorie boost early in the day wakes up your digestive system and you are off and running.
There will be plenty of time to experiment with intermittent fasting once you have completed your 21 days of P3. So relax and enjoy all the freedom of variety and bounty encouraged in P3 knowing that it works, and will set you up for success in P4 (maintenance).