HCG or Human Chorionic Gonadotropin Diet is a very low calorie diet plan meant for weight loss and maintenance of immune system in the body. HCG is originally a hormone produced during pregnancy that is a prescribed medication to treat fertility issues.
HCG Diet restricts calorie intake from 500 – 800 calories per day. If you follow the HCG diet plan, there likely are chances of losing a lot of weight in very less time. However, it is not recommended for pregnant ladies and people having serious digestion and heart issues. The diet plan should be carried out for several shot periods rather than a very long duration to prevent ill effects on other organs.
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The HCG Diet Plan:
The HCG diet is targeted towards losing weight by following a certain plan. Let us see how it will work.
Phase 1: Preparatory Period:
The hcg diet plan begins with preparing your body for the changes it will undergo in the coming time. For it increase in water intake, regular walks in the morning for at least 30 minutes and breathing exercises should be started. Also, intake of breadfruit and apples should be increased to cleanse the system. This phase for most of it is the cleansing phase that allows your body to get rid of all extra impurities and germs that lead to excess bloating.
Stick to having at least 6 glasses of water each day and keep the walks to short fast paced ones for at least thrice a week. As for the breathing exercise, breathing in an out while you hold your breath in between for a few seconds should do the trick. When the question of what HCG diet is arises, this phase isn’t of much importance and hence there is no change in your diet to be undertaken yet. It just prepares your body for the HCG diet plan.
Phase 2: Increase Energy:
During this phase, the target is to make the body store a lot of energy in 3 days before it moves on to a restricted food habit. You probably have to eat anything and everything you can to keep the energy levels high. From the fourth day a VLCD is planned and continued until 25 to 45 days depending upon the amount of weight loss targeted. The diet should consist of a 500 calorie diet all day, divided into the 3 main meals and regular snack intakes in between. For breakfast of the HCG diet menu, stick to green tea or light coffee. Avoid sugar. You can switch to artificial sweeteners instead.
Taking of lunch, 100 grams of protein should be least in your HCG diet plan for the day. For the same, choose wisely and alternate every other day between chicken, shrimp, tuna or salmon. You are to take 1 vegetable along with the protein. Go for spinach, lettuce, cabbages, tomatoes and cucumber for salad. Not only is it easy to prepare, but also serves the purpose. During the breaks between lunch and dinner, dig on fruits like apples grapes, bananas and pomegranate. For dinner however, try to keep the calorie intake as low as possible. A breadstick and a fruit should do it. Do keep in mind that while you are undertaking HCG diet, no cooking oil is allowed. Get creative accordingly.
Phase 3: Getting Back To Regular Diet Plan:
This diet plan is carried over for 3 weeks. During this, you switch to regular meals that are healthy and keep you energised. However foods with artificial sweeteners, high on calorie, fast foods, cold drinks and high trans-fat are completely forbidden. This phase is basically a carry over of the previous phase and helps keep your HCG in check all in all as the diet works its effects.
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Phase 4: Maintenance:
After phase 3, you can feel how you have lost weight yet remained active all the time. You might also have achieved your target and now is the time for real test. You have to continue to remain healthy leading a normal lifestyle like before but maintain the loss of weight that has occurred. This phase is basically the most important and crucial phase of your HCG diet, and hence even after the completion you need to stick to your 500 calorie diet for the next 3 days. After the 3 days of Phase 3 completion, you finally enter Phase 4.
Here, you are slowly allowed to regain back your normal diet slowly, so that you can keep up with steady weight maintenance. For the same, your new calorie intake is enhanced and increased to 1500 calories. To balance out the extra calories, your food choices can now include healthy fat and dairy products but nothing in excess. You can dig on high protein foods like steaks and chicken breasts alternatively if you are lactose intolerant. Do not forget to measure and record your weight each morning and try to maintain the excess change that creeps in owing to diet negligence. Adding egg and cheese dishes on a cheat day, say once a week is allowed provided you maintain your exercise regime accordingly.
HCG Diet Side Effects:
Though the diet plan is made by professionals keeping in mind how much your body can tolerate, there can be times when it does not suit your body causing some serious and some not so serious problems. The typical problems that might come your way are
Commonly known as a stone in the gall bladder, it can be serious to the extent of causing improper urination and infection leading to damages to the other organs. An interesting and easy way to escape the same is to rely on vegetables and fruits that are rich in calories. That way even if you maintain your 500 calorie/ day intake, the fruits you take in the break doesn’t let you go starving around until it is time for dinner. Since your digestive system is working, the threats of gallstone are reduced.
Due to change in calorie intake and food habits at the time of hcg diet, you might feel the heartbeat lowering and leading to dizziness. To maintain a steady calorie intake through the day, what you can do is fill up the time midway your lunch and dinner with fruits as mentioned earlier. Do make sure to cut back on the amount of salt you usually have. This is because your calories are now limited. The more salt you add to it, the more you risk high blood pressure, and hence issues with heart rate.
The food is just to keep your energy full; and since weight loss is aimed, general cramps and pain in muscles is normal.
This is one of the extreme cases where excessive dieting leads to fainting and loss of senses for a short time. The condition requires quick and serious medical attention.
The symptom is again normal because the body is losing weight, however, regular exercising and brisk walking can help maintain the body in shape and keep these problems at bay.
Because of drastic change in diet plan and metabolism in the body, feeling of weakness is normal and taking rest and limiting physical activities should be done unless you feel better.
HCG Diet is a good way to reduce weight, but there are better and safer ways too which should be tried.