The HCG weight-loss diet is a science-backed therapy that involves taking low doses of the HCG hormone (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin) through injection or orally along with a low-cal diet of 500 calories a day. The HCG diet consists of three phases, which take anywhere between 49 and 69 days, depending on your weight-loss goals.
The weight-loss effects of the HCG hormone were discovered and developed into a weight-loss regimen by the British endocrinologist Dr. A.T.W. Simeons. His original HCG protocol is detailed in his famous book, Pounds and Inches, published in 1954.
The HCG diet is known to improve the body’s metabolic rate and thus its capacity to burn fat. People who follow the HCG weight-loss protocol as instructed can lose anywhere between half and one pound every day.
Here are the 10 most frequently asked questions about the HCG weight-loss program.
What are the three phases of the HCG diet?
Your HCG therapy is made up of three phases. The two-day Phase 1 is the Loading Phase, wherein you eat as much fatty food as you can. You also start taking the HCG hormone on the very first day of the HCG plan, that is, on day one of the loading phase. This short phase helps your body prepare itself for the upcoming phase 2, which is where the actual weight loss happens.
Phase 2 is the VLCD (very low-calorie diet) phase. This begins on day three of your HCG diet and can last up to anywhere between 26 and 46 days, based on the advice of your HCG physician. In this period, you continue to take the HCG hormone and stick to a diet of no more than 500 calories per day. It is during this time that you start to lose weight.
VLCD is followed by Phase 3, also known as the maintenance phase. This 3-week period requires you to increase your calorie intake to about 1200 to 1500 calories per day. You need to stop taking HCG on the first day of the maintenance period.
I’ve just recovered from an illness. When can I start the HCG diet?
Health and diet experts say that it’s best to recover fully from a health condition before you start any weight-loss program, including the HCG diet regimen. Your body should be in optimal shape to take on the challenges of a diet plan, and for this it is important that you are in great health both physically and mentally.
Do periods interfere with the results of the HCG diet?
Yes, and this is because periods bring their own hormone fluctuations. Even the original HCG protocol by Dr. Simeons advises that women should begin the HCG loading phase (phase 1) after a menstrual cycle has ended. Today, HCG experts recommend that you start your HCG therapy at least 2 days after the onset of your period.
When should I start taking the HCG hormone?
You need to start taking the recommended HCG dosage in injection, drop or pill form on the very first day of the HCG diet. This way you’ll give your body time to get accustomed to the hormone intake as you prepare to begin the low-cal diet phase.
The first two loading days sound scary. Why do I need to overeat like that?
There is research-backed science behind the concept of loading yourself with calories on the first two days of the HCG diet. This step ensures the following: first, your body’s glycogen levels are at their maximum, so that when you switch to the low-cal diet, you have enough fat to burn up and take you through the low-cal phase; second, eating beyond your capacity for the first two days sets up your metabolism to work at a higher rate, which will help you in the forthcoming fat-burning days; and, third, switching to a low-cal diet will be easier if you’ve eaten all you can at the onset of the therapy.
You can expect to gain some weight during the loading phase, but that’s normal.
Can I have alcohol while on HCG diet?
Yes, you can occasionally have red wine, Tequila, rum or vodka. However, strictly avoid all forms of alcohol, including wine, during Phase 2 (VLCD phase) of your HCG diet. Also remember that your liver needs to function optimally to support your weight loss efforts, and consuming alcohol puts an unwelcome strain on the liver.
Should I also be working out while on HCG diet?
The HCG weight-loss protocol advises against strenuous exercise and weight-lifting. Instead, take short walks for about twenty to thirty minutes or do light exercise every day.
When will results start to show?
HCG therapy requires discipline and patience, both of which will help you succeed and reach your weight-loss goal by the end of phase 3.
It takes your body two to three days to absorb and adapt to the HCG hormone intake. On the third day, when you transition to the VLCD (very low-calorie diet), HCG would have nicely integrated into your system. This is when HCG starts to activate the release of fat-burning hormones. So you should start seeing results within four to five days of starting the HCG diet.
To keep track of your progress, make it a point to note your weight every day from day one of your HCG diet.
Why does the HCG diet prohibit the use of creams and lotions?
Body lotions, creams, moisturizing makeup and body oils get absorbed into the skin, thus interfering with the weight-loss effects of the HCG hormone. Therefore, complete abstinence from fatty food (oil, butter, dressings) and skin care products is advised.
To tackle dry skin, use aloe vera gel or mineral oil on the affected areas.
Can I do multiple cycles of the HCG diet regimen?
Yes, you can. However, you need to give your body time to stabilize after completing one complete HCG protocol. Ideally, you should begin a new HCG cycle only after 3 weeks of resting period. Do consult your physician or HCG diet instructor in case of any concerns.