An HCG diet is a multi-week protocol that entails periods of food gorging, hormone supplementation, dramatic calorie restriction and calorie stabilization. The original diet, developed in the 1950s by British endocrinologist, A.T.W. Simeons, has been updated over the past several decades and now includes periods of homeopathic cleansing. The goal for every HCG diet is the same -- to rapidly lose a significant amount of weight.
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The first week of the HCG diet can vary depending on which plan you follow. The original diet offers two strategies for beginning the regimen, each depending on your starting weight. People who don’t have significant fat stores are encouraged to go through a calorie-loading period that entails eating to capacity for one week, regardless of how much weight they may gain in the process. You can only comfortably go on a 500-calorie per day diet if your fat reserves are plentiful. This phase lasts up until the third HCG injection. Obese patients, on the other hand, do not need a week of calorie loading, but are encouraged to consume highly concentrated foods until the third HCG injection. Recommended foods include fried meat, milk chocolate, pastries with cream, eggs and bacon, mayonnaise, bread and butter.
Week One Alternate
Week one can start very differently for patients with significant fat stores. Along with calorie loading for just two days, HCG injections or supplements start immediately. By the third injection, all patients are required to limit calorie intake to 500 calories per day on Simeons plan, or 500 to 750 calories on more modern versions of the diet. This phase of the diet lasts for a minimum of 23 days up to seven weeks. Simeons also provides a very specific menu of food options. For breakfast, diets can have tea or coffee in any quantity, with no sugar. For lunch and dinner, 100 g of meat with all visible fat removed prior to cooking, one vegetable, breadstick or toast and a piece of fruit.
Increasing Calorie Intake
The calorie-restriction phase of an HCG diet typically lasts three weeks, but can last upwards of 46 days. Eating so few calories, however, can be challenging, which is what the HCG is for. According to Simeons, the hormone eliminates hunger pangs. If HCG injections are stopped for more than four days for any reason, including menstruation, illness or travel, you are required to increase your calorie intake to 800 per day, or otherwise risking finding yourself too weak and hungry to attend to daily activities.
After the last injection, patients are required to continue dieting for just three more days. After that point, you can eat anything you want, 800 to 1,000 calories a day, with the exception of sugar and starch, such as rice, bread potatoes and baked goods. Fats in small quantities can be added back to the diet as well as small amounts of alcohol. It can take about three weeks after the last injection for a person’s weight to stabilize. If your weight exceeds 2 lbs. over your stabilized weight, Simeons suggests skipping breakfast and lunch that day.