Feel like you can’t shake the “quarantine 15?” If that sounds familiar, you’re not alone! While scientific studies have yet to definitively capture information on the widespread weight gain from the pandemic, anecdotal evidence suggests many of us have packed on a few extra pounds.
Unfortunately, many of us find it hard to shed that weight.
When you want to regain control of your health and get back to your old shape, the right diet makes all the difference. If you’ve heard of the HCG diet plan, you may be curious to know how it can help you hack your weight loss. Here’s the only HCG guide you need!
What Is the HCG Diet Plan?
Before we go any farther, it’s important to know the essentials of the HCG diet plan. HCG stands for human chorionic gonadotropin, and it’s a hormone that’s found naturally in the human body. It’s most often seen during pregnancy when it helps women jump-start their metabolism to burn more fat, which is a vital energy source for a mother and her growing baby.
It wasn’t until 1954 that anyone thought to harness the power of this hormone for weight loss, however. British endocrinologist Dr. Albert T.W. Simeons wrote about HCG in his book Pounds and Inches, which encouraged additional research that developed the HCG plan we know today.
The modern HCG diet is simple. As a low-calorie diet, it requires an intake of 500 calories per day over the course of several weeks. Dieters can always opt for more time, depending on their weight-loss goals, but this would require adding extra “courses” of this short-term diet for additional lost weight.
While a low-calorie diet would usually make you feel like you’re starving, HCG works to increase feelings of satiety. Because of the way this hormone interacts with the hypothalamus, which controls feelings of hunger, it makes you feel full even when you technically aren’t.
How Does the Diet Work?
As noted above, you’ll do one course of the HCG diet plan in a few weeks’ time, though the exact time can depend on your goals. You’ll need to follow the plan’s three phases to see results.
In addition, while some of the tactics in each phase boil down to a strict dietary regimen, you’ll also have to get your hands on HCG for the feelings of satiety to kick in! Before you get started, make sure to buy HCG drops. You can also use HCG injections as desired, but these can be trickier to do and harder to come by.
Loading Phase (1-3 Days)
These first few days are sometimes called “the gorging phase,” and for good reason! During this time, you’ll start taking your HCG drops, but you’ll also be able to eat any food you like, in large quantities.
However, it’s a good idea to opt for fattier foods that will give you the fat stores you’ll need as you move forward with the weight loss plan. Don’t worry about adding extra pounds of fat: the weight you gain here will fall away as you move further into the diet.
Weight Loss Phase (3-40 Days)
This is the bulk of the HCG diet. As noted earlier, you’ll be eating just 500 calories per day, though an ideal diet will consist of certain food groups we’ll talk about below. Because the body needs energy (via calories) to function, it will burn an extra 1,500-3,000 calories per day in addition to the 500 calories you eat!.
Stabilization Phase (12-21 Days)
Also known as a “transition phase,” this is when you’ll increase your caloric intake, bit by bit, to resume your normal dieting habits. During this phase, you can go back to eating all kinds of healthy foods, not just what you’re required to eat during the weight loss phase.
What’s the Ideal HCG Diet Plan Menu?
Your HCG diet meal plan may vary a little depending on your goals, but the essentials should never change.
During the weight loss phase, you’ll want to avoid grains, fats, and high-sugar foods. However, you can make exceptions for certain grains, like a piece of Melba toast, as long as they’re low-calorie and contain minimal or no fat, sodium, and cholesterol.
Instead, you’ll want to eat the following types of foods (with examples):
- Animal and plant proteins: Chicken, white meat, fish, eggs, legumes, beans
- Vegetables: leafy greens, tomatoes, asparagus, onions, radishes
- Fruits: Citrus fruits, bananas, apples, berries
- Beverages: Water, herbal teas, non-fat drinks, coffee
- Calorie-free sweeteners: saccharin, Stevia
- Low-calorie seasonings: salt, pepper, herbs
Note that in many cases, the HCG diet should overlap with other dieting plans like intermittent fasting. Because you’re eating so few calories per day, most HCG diet plans advise you not to eat solid food before lunch, or even to eat just one meal per day. The bulk of your calories should come from your lunch and/or dinner.
While you may be tempted to sate your sweet tooth with a cookie or indulge in a little pasta, following this HCG diet plan food list can help see more success as you continue to the next phases.
Lose the Quarantine Fifteen the Easy Way
If stress, anxiety, and easy access to food have left you feeling uncomfortable with your added weight, this beginner’s HCG diet plan is just what you need to jump-start your road to fitness. And with this easy diet, you can decide your specific weight loss goals, get your hands on some HCG, and get started in no time at all!
Want to learn more tips and tricks you need to make the most of your health and fitness? Check out our other posts for more insights!