What is the HCG Diet and How Does it Work?
What is the HCG Diet Plan?
The Hcg Diet Plan is a whole food cleanse, habit-basher, high protein, high vegetable, healthy carb, hydrating, mindset-shifting, game changer. It is a hormone therapy, medical weight loss protocol designed to utilize the body’s natural metabolism potential and give your body the opportunity to establish a lower set-point weight.
What does the Hcg Diet Plan involve?
The Hcg weight loss plan, combines a very low calorie diet (vlcd) of 500 to 1600 calories, with hormone therapy using Hcg hormone. The original protocol was written by Dr. Arnold Simeons, a renowned endocrinologist who was known for being awarded the Red Cross Order of Merit for his boundary-expanding research in disease and his work in the treatment of obesity.
While the original protocol continues to be recognized as the most successful Hcg weight loss approach, a number of variations have emerged, particularly expanding the 500 calorie limit to 800 calories or more.
How does the Hcg Diet help you lose weight?
The Hcg Diet is far more than just rapid medical weight loss and hormone therapy; The Hcg Diet Protocol is a strategically designed approach to losing fat and maintaining muscle for long term weight loss. This is done along with the use of a natural hormone known as hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) that already exists in small amounts in both men and women. The two most popular forms of hCG used for the protocol, are Hcg Drops and Hcg Diet Injections.
In addition to taking hCG, a very specific and detail foods list is part of the protocol, and a very closely followed 500 to 800 calorie menu known as the “VLCD” (very low calorie diet.) Modern versions of the protocol increase the Phase 2 allowed foods, with a calorie allowance as high as 1600 calories, taking into consideration there will be much slow loss rates than the original protocol which reports an average loss rate of .5 to 1 pounds per day.
The Hcg Diet Plan reports extremely low occurrences of side effects, particularly compared to the health risks of obesity and surgical weight loss such as lap band surgery or similar procedures.
How to get started with the Hcg Diet Plan…
The best way to get started with the diet, is to first read our Guide to the Hcg Diet Plan and then select an Hcg FDA approved telemedicine company that offers the Hcg weight loss program you feel comfortable with. Once you have chosen the company you prefer, it’s simple to sign up on their website and a licensed medical doctor will schedule a 1-on-1 consult by phone or video (your preference) to go over your medical background and the protocol. The doctor can approve your prescription over the phone and have the kit sent directly to you from the pharmacy.
The Hcg and supplies typically takes between 2 days and 10 days to arrive (depending on the company chosen and if you have chosen overnight shipping) which gives you just enough time to prepare. This means getting familiar with the Hcg approved foods list, determining what and who your support system will (95% of dieters adhere to a weight loss program when they have a strong buddy support system in place. Don’t have a buddy yet? Join the monthly and ongoing Hcg Diet coaching and support groups in the HCG Diet Info Forums.)
The preparation period is also an excellent time to go over the original Hcg Diet manuscript, Pounds and Inches (we also send this as a FREE PDF and MP3 audiobook when you sign up for our newsletter) and print out the Hcg diet tracker spreadsheet, the approved foods grocery list, and the 500 calorie menu that can be placed right on your fridge. This is also a great time to start reading blogs and peruse the Hcg Diet Info forums to get familiar with the protocol and understand what to expect.
Once your Hcg Kit arrives, it’s also a great idea to select your loading days wisely and around any special events.
HCG – Human Chorionic Gonadotropin is a hormone that affects fertility and is produced by the placenta in order to support pregnancy and hormonal balance. So far it is only officially approved by the FDA as a fertility drug but links to weight loss have been backed by research. For example, one experiment from the 30’s proved that the use of HCG in obese teenage boys improved weight loss and enhanced muscularity.
The diet protocol recommends a very low calorie diet combined with usage of the HCG hormone. You may think that on very low calorie diets (VLCD) no hormones are necessary to lose weight and you will be right. Remember though, that eating little (without Hcg) would normally put your body in a catabolic mode (muscle and cellular breakdown) and you would lose muscle and probably harm your organs in a significant way. HCG is known to encourage the production of testosterone which has a strongly anti-catabolic effect. To simplify – it will protect your cells from breaking down and starving!
What is the Hcg Diet to me? – An Hcg Diet Review by Jenya
The Hcg Diet is a medical weight loss plan using hormone therapy. It is also a cleanse that teaches the importance of portion control, eating whole foods, avoiding processed foods, unhealthy starches and sugars.
Take a look at the Hcg Diet Foods List and you will see what I mean- the allowed foods are heavy in vegetables and lean protein, and healthy green carbohydrates, while excluding minimal processed carbohydrates and processed sugars. In fact, the majority of the carbohydrates come from vegetables, like spinach, kale and asparagus. Read Jenya’s Hcg Diet review….
Why is preserving muscle mass so important? You may not wish to be muscular or at least it’s not your priority. Still, muscle consumes a lot of energy and that means the more muscle mass the more calories you burn even at rest! It gets better – by shedding only fat your body will not only become smaller but also shapelier. It’s important to understand that HCG injections are not a miracle weight loss solution. In fact they don’t do much in this regard unless you follow a strict diet. The difference is rather in the way you lose (safely and efficiently).
(The above video is a basic explanation of the Hcg Diet. A simple correction: The Hcg Diet is 26 days for a regular length in treatment, and up to a 40 day treatment called a “long round.” Learn more about How the Hcg Diet Works: The Scientific Explanation.
Understanding The Hcg Weight Loss Plan in Detail
Losing weight is easily the most common thing that people would change about themselves, with millions of people actively trying to shed a few pounds even as we speak. While some people find that a little willpower is enough, the vast majority need a strategic plan of action. If you’re eager to drop a few shirt sizes, you’ve probably done plenty of research into various diets. And the HCG diet is one that is likely to have surfaced time and time again.
So, what exactly is the HCG diet, how does it work, and can it actually help you finally beat the bulge? Here’s all you need to know.
A Brief Intro The HCG Diet
The abbreviation HCG stands for Human Chorionic Gonadotropin, which is a hormone naturally produced at a rapid rate during a woman’s pregnancy. In fact, high levels of the hormone are one of the biggest factors for home pregnancy tests. However, it can also be present in all humans, male and female, and can be used to encourage rapid weight loss without feeling hungry.
Those sentiments sit at the heart of the HCG diet, which has been a popular concept ever since its discovery by Dr. Simeons in the 1950s. In essence, the diet is comprised of two main factors;
- A small injection of the hormone.
- A low-calorie diet, focusing on a specific list of foods.
The diet promises to help dieters lose weight at a rapid rate, up to 1-2 pounds per day. While it continues to receive scepticism from some directions, it is one that has helped millions see positive results.
How The HCG Diet Works
Like any diet, the HCG diet works on the idea of consuming fewer calories than you burn. The human body is far more complex than that, but this basic formula for gaining a negative calorie intake is the root of all success.
As a diet that is aimed to produce dramatic results, it should come as little surprise to learn that the HGC is powered by a fairly dramatic plan of action. The basic idea is (after taking the injection) to eat no more than 500 calories per day. To do this, it is advised that you consume two small meals per day. Again, it’s important to stick to the right foods, which are provided on a set list.
The full list of those foods can be found here, but primarily focuses on proteins, vegetables, fruit and a little starch. Meanwhile, oils and butter are not allowed for seasoning purposes, although salt, pepper, and lemon juice is permitted.
Essentially, the diet is aimed at avoiding all fats altogether. There’s a very good explanation for this: the increase of HCG hormone levels is shown to help you lose fat at a rapid rate, but makes the body equally prone to gaining fat. So, while good fats are usually a crucial part of healthy nutrition, keeping them away from the body during this dieting process is vital.
When done correctly, though, the weight loss is rapid. More importantly, the weight is lost through reduced fat rather than muscle or water loss. This is naturally a far greater approach than many crash diets that see dieters lose the wrong type of weight before piling it back on a few days later.
To recap the basic idea of the HCG diet plan, you are basically looking to encourage weight loss by removing all fat from your diet while also building up a significant calorie deficit. However, it’s equally important that you start the diet in the right manner with the best preparations.
The Preparation Phase
Before beginning the diet phase, you’ll need to get the HCG hormone into your body. While completing this phase, you should simultaneously prepare for the ‘very low-calorie diet’ stages by completing a 48-hour binge. This is known as the ‘loading’ stage, and can be labelled phase one or P1 of the protocol.
The main purpose of those two days is to get fat circulating the body. You should be aiming for far greater fat levels than usual. This is to help the HCG hormone kick into action, which will then bring hugely positive results once the VLCG stages begin.
Using these days to enjoy high-fat foods including sweet treats, cheeses, and fatty meats is likely to see you gain a few pounds, and it’s supposed to. Do not panic by this initial gain as you’ll lose the weight gained from that 48 hours and so much more within the first week of the dieting phase.
Aside from the direct physical benefits, the loading phase can actively boost your mental mindset. Firstly, the weight you put on in those two days can serve as a reminder of just how quickly weight can be gained when you aren’t disciplined. Secondly, after stuffing your face with all those rich and fatty foods, you’ll actually want to eat less throughout those first few days of the diet. Perfect.
Phase 2 – The Losing Weight Stage
After the 48 hour phase, you’ll begin phase two (P2), which is the time where the pounds drop at an incredibly rapid rate. Originally, it was advised that the diet was followed for a period of 23-40 injections. Nowadays, though, it is most common for dieters to follow the rounds of injections for a period of 3 to 6 weeks. Of course, the exact duration can be influenced by a host of elements including speed of weight loss and your personal goals.
It’s important to remember that eating under 500 calories per day on a regular basis is a lot for your body to go through, especially when taking the chemical imbalance gained from the spiked HCG hormone level into account. Therefore, trying to extend it beyond that six-week period is not advised. Aside from the strain, it can cause, it’s mentally tough to keep this up for too long. Besides, you don’t want the body to encounter any deficiencies.
This is one of the toughest diets ever, but it’s only a temporary struggle. You can may things a lot easier throughout the P2 stage with a few simple changes Increasing your water take and drinking a glass before meals will work wonders. Similarly, other tricks that you may have used on other diets can work well – just make sure that they don’t impact your 500 calories and no fat ethos.
Follow the plan as advised, and you’ll be amazed at how quickly the fat starts to fade.
What About After The HCG Weight Loss?
As with any diet, losing weight is only worthwhile if you can keep it off. If the fat piles back on as soon as you’ve stopped the main phase, you’ll fall into the pitfall of fluctuating weight. Frankly, this isn’t any good for your health, body image, or wardrobe. As such, the third and final phases (P3) is arguably the most critical element of the HCG diet. This is what separates the success stories from the failures.
Perhaps the most important thing to remember is that you need to get the HCG hormone out of your body before introducing fats and high calories back into your diet. Otherwise, the fat will accumulate at an alarmingly rapid rate.
Following the final HCG injections (or drops if you’ve taken that route), you must carry on the VLCD for another 72 hours. If sticking to 500 calories feels impossible, you can increase this to around 800 but only if you stick to the foods on the approved list.
Once you are back to normality, the purpose of the P3 stage is to stabilise your weight. Sticking to a diet free of starch and sugars for a period of three is shown to make a huge difference as the body levels out at the new weight. Meanwhile, this is the perfect time to start listening to your body. Discovering food intolerances and other issues will help you stay on the right track going forward. The importance of those features cannot be emphasised enough.
A stable weight is one that doesn’t fluctuate by any more than 2 lbs of the weight following your last injection or dose. This term is called LIW (Last Injection Weight) or LDW (Last Dosage Weight). If you can stay within that limit, the program can be considered a success.
The Final Word
The HCG diet isn’t for everyone. For starters, not everyone wants to inject or consume the hormone. Meanwhile, others simply cannot survive on a diet of 500 calories per day for a few weeks at a time, especially when it is a fat-free (and not like the supermarket labels definition) diet.
Nonetheless, when done right, this can be a great way to lose several pounds and drop down two or three shirt sizes within the space of a month or two. As a shortcut en route to stabilising your weight at a new low, there’s no doubt that this is a fantastic option.