At Infinity MedSpa in Sudbury, MA, our clients often ask us how they can safely, effectively, and sustainably lose weight. They come in distressed because their weight has gone up and down after trying and failing the latest fad diet. They feel they have a “set point” that increases after every failed diet and they will never be healthy again. The HCG diet is perfect for them, and it may be perfect for you.
How Much Weight Can I Lose on the HCG Diet?
One of our most frequently asked questions about the HCG diet is how much weight can I lose. Weight loss varies on a case-by-case basis based on several factors. These include your activity level, muscle mass, and which phase of the diet you are in. To get a better picture of how much weight you can lose on this diet, take a look at the three phases of the diet:
Phase I: The Loading Phase
During the loading phase of the HCG diet, you start to take HCG and eat plenty of foods high in calories and healthy fats. This phase lasts 48 hours. Most of our clients eat at maintenance during this phase. Therefore, no weight is lost.
Phase II: The Weight Loss Phase
This is where the excitement really begins. This three- to six-week phase of the diet is when you really start to shed excess weight. During this phase, you continue to take HCG. However, you limit your caloric intake to somewhere between 500 and 1,200 calories per day. The average American requires only 1,200 to 2,000 calories daily to maintain a healthy weight.
The more you weigh, the more calories you need per day to maintain your weight. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the average American over 19 weighs 170.6 pounds and measures 5′ 3.7″. The caloric maintenance requirements for that weight are 1,736. At 500 calories consumed per day, that person will lose 2.83 pounds per week.
Phase III: The Maintenance Phase
As in Phase I, you shouldn’t expect to lose any weight during the maintenance phase. During this three-week phase, you stop taking HCG and increase your food intake gradually. You should not consume starches or sugars during this period. However, you may lose a little weight as you increase your daily food intake slowly.
I Heard You Could Lose One to Two Pounds Per Day?
When you first start the weight loss phase of the HCG diet, you may lose one to two pounds per day. But the shift you see on the scale does not reflect true fat loss. You eat high-fat foods during the first phase of this diet so you enter ketosis. To enter ketosis, you must first burn all the glycogen stored in your body.
For every four calories you burn, you burn one gram of stored glucose. But glycogen isn’t just glucose. It’s also three to four grams of water. Therefore, for every pound of weight you burn from stored carbs, you lose three to four pounds of water.
What Can I Eat on This Diet?
Phase I Diet Plan
During the first two days of this diet, you can eat whatever you want. However, you should do your best to get as many calories from healthy fats as you can. It’s okay if you eat above maintenance. You’re trying to force your body into ketosis quickly so you don’t struggle through the first couple of days of the diet.
Recommended high-fat and high-calorie foods include peanut butter, ground beef, olive oil, almonds, walnuts, cashews, and sunflower seeds. You should also do your best to limit your carbohydrate intake. Too many carbohydrates will interfere with the attempt to enter ketosis.
Phase II Diet Plan
What your meal plan will look like during the weight loss phase of this diet depends on how many calories you want to consume daily. Here is a sample meal plan for someone who wants to follow the 500-calorie diet:
- Breakfast: Coffee or tea flavored with 1 tbsp 2% milk
- Morning snack: 1 serving of fruit (apple or orange)
- Lunch: 3.5 oz. protein, 1 veg, 1 fruit, 1 starch
- Dinner: same as lunch
- Evening: 1 handful of low-carb, high-fiber fruit
Phase III Diet Plan: First Three Weeks
During the third phase of this diet plan, you may eat any fruit you want. However, you must be very wary of your portion sizes. You’re still trying to avoid starches and sugars at this point. Therefore, you should only eat very small portions of starchy fruits, like bananas, pineapples, and watermelon. Here is what your meal plan may look like:
- Breakfast: 2 eggs, plain Greek yogurt, berries
- Snack 1: Mixed nuts
- Lunch: Burger patty w/ toppings, side salad, dressing
- Snack 2: Pear
- Dinner: Tacos with fat drained and lettuce instead of tortillas
- Snack 3: Sliced apple with peanut butter
Phase III Diet Plan: Second Three Weeks
During the second three weeks of the HCG diet, you are now incorporating more starches and sugars into your meal plan. Here’s an example of food options you have:
- Breakfast: whole-wheat English muffin w/ low-sugar preserves or jelly
- Snack: Apple
- Lunch: Salad w/ chicken breast, veggies, cheese, dressing
- Snack: Raw yellow and orange bell peppers w/ hummus
- Dinner: Low-carb tortilla fajitas with lean flank steak, sauteed veggies, guac, or pico de gallo
- Snack: Sugar-free jello with fruit
Of course, once you finish the first three weeks of the third phase, you are more than welcome to return to the first phase of the diet. You may cycle through the three phases until you reach your goal weight.
Which Foods Are Approved on This Diet?
When cooking protein for this diet, you should trim all fat from the meat and never cook meat on the bone. Depending on your caloric goal, you may eat up to 200 grams of protein per day, aiming for roughly 100 grams for lunch and 100 grams for dinner. Here’s what you can expect to see on your menu:
- Extra-lean beef
- White fish
- Egg whites
- Lean cuts of poultry
Try to get at least two cups of approved vegetables throughout the day. We recommend splitting these two cups up between lunch and dinner. Here are the vegetables you can expect to see on your menu:
- Red radishes
- Mixed greens
- Green salad
- Beet greens
During the second phase of this diet, you may not eat high-carb fruits. To ensure you aren’t getting too many carbs in your diet, you should eat a maximum of four servings of fruit per day. Here’s what you may include in your meal plan:
Other Approved Items
Additional approved items are limited. For instance, you may not consume sauces, dressings or marinades. To spice up your diet, you may consume the following:
- Apple cider vinegar
- Mustard powder
- Herbal tea
- Braggs Amino Acids
- Natural spices
- Grissini breadsticks (sparingly)
- Melba toast (sparingly)
What Makes This Diet Different From the Rest?
What’s really exciting about this diet is its sustainability. Fad diets, like the cabbage soup diet, the ramen noodle diet, and the whole milk diet, are not sustainable. Particularly if you cut carbs during these diets, you will lose a lot of weight rapidly and look great for your big event.
But when you inevitably stop following the diet, you will regain weight just as quickly as you lost it. As you eat normal portions of carbs, this will be water weight. However, you will eventually start eating above your new maintenance. With HCG, you retrain your body so it stops craving processed, sugary, salty carbs. You also teach it to crave healthy foods. You teach your body to want to eat moderate portions of healthy foods.
What Should I Do Once I Reach My Goal Weight?
Now that you have spent six to 12 weeks or more on this diet, you are good at recognizing small portions of healthy foods. So, what’s next? How do you recognize portion sizes? Which foods should you eat? Which foods should you avoid?
The Ketogenic Diet
Most of our clients like to follow the ketogenic diet once they have reached their goal weight. This is not a diet in the traditional sense. Rather, it is a lifestyle that guides your food choices. There are four variations of the ketogenic diet. The original ketogenic diet says you should consume 75% of your daily calories from fat, 15 to 20% from protein and 5 to 10% from carbohydrates.
There are over a dozen health benefits associated with following the ketogenic diet or one of its variations. What our clients love about it is the “diet” is so sustainable. The keto diet keeps you full. The keto diet keeps you focused. The keto diet prevents you from feeling deprived. And your body is already fairly fat-adapted because it’s in ketosis during the HCG diet.
Foods to Eat
Once you reach your goal weight, if you’re not interested in following the ketogenic lifestyle or another low-carb lifestyle, focus on eating nutrient-dense, high-fiber, low-glycemic carbs. Of course, you can indulge in a slice of cake when it fits your macros for the day. However, most of the foods you eat should keep you fueled and focused.
Foods to Avoid
Do your best to avoid processed foods. The simplest way to do this is to shop on the outside of the grocery store, pick up your produce from a local farmer’s market, and pick up yeast from the middle of the store to make your own bread.
Similarly, you should avoid processed beverages, like any milk other than whole milk, store-bought juices, and alcoholic beverages. Only drink alcohol in moderation and only drink it when it fits into your daily macros.
It may be tricky to figure out portion sizes now that you have reached your ideal weight. You’ve cut your exercise down from five hours a week to 2.5 hours a week. Therefore, your body doesn’t need as much fuel. But it needs more fuel to maintain weight than it did when you were losing weight.
To figure out your portion sizes, start by measuring and weighing everything you cook at home. When you eat at a chain restaurant, find the nutritional value for the foods and drinks online. Eventually, you will figure out how to eyeball the portion sizes and know how calorie-dense the foods are. Even better, you’ll learn to eat intuitively, and you won’t have to worry about it anymore.
Learn How to Take Back Control of Your Life Today
Are you ready to say goodbye to fad diets forever? Are you ready to learn how to eat what you want, when you want and never worry about weight gain again? If so, the HCG diet may be for you. To learn more about this revolutionary diet, contact us at Infinity MedSpa in Sudbury, MA today to schedule your initial consultation.