HCG Diet Guide
A Brief History and Explanation of HCG
Human chorionic gonadotropin, more commonly referred to as HCG, is a naturally occurring hormone in pregnancy. The hormone is produced at especially high levels during the first few months of pregnancy, and is therefore often used as a primary indicator in pregnancy tests.
HCG occurs in great amounts in the early stages of pregnancy because that is when the pregnant women, especially in the time before pregnancy tests existed, is the least likely to notice that she is pregnant, and therefore less likely to know she should be eating more food to care for the coming child. Therefore HCG is produced because it uses the natural fat storage a women carries in her thighs, hips and midsection to obtain nutrients for the fetus or embryo, and suppresses the woman’s appetite so that she does not realize that she is using more energy than she is taking in which would otherwise trigger a starvation reaction.
The 1950’s were a time that saw a great increase in understanding of HCG’s properties, for when Dr. Simeons was studying the effects of HCG injections in aiding the onset and proper development of puberty in young boys with pituitary disorders he discovered that the boys were losing weight; the weight was being lost solely from fat deposits, while the lean muscle tissue was unaffected. Because of HCG’s function as an appetite suppressant, the boys were eating less, and because the hormone targets fat storage, the boys were just as energetic as ever while losing excess weight and keeping their muscle mass.
Dr. Simeons, armed with this knowledge, developed a HCG protocol for weight loss using HCG injections and a low calorie diet which could be prescribed by a doctor. The diet was praised by those who used it because it allowed them to remain full and energetic while losing weight.
The introduction of The Weight Loss Cure by Kevin Trudeau in 2007 began the popular use of homeopathic HCG. This method allows HCG to be sold without a prescription and thus many more people moved in on the craze.
Many people report great results when using HCG, losing up to 1 or 2 pounds a day. Depending on the length of the regiment, people have lost up to 45 pounds in one cycle, and many go back and complete the process again to lose over 100 pounds in total. It is no wonder, with such great results, why HCG is as popular as it is. Who wouldn’t want to lose weight without feeling the normal hunger pangs associated with dieting?
Since HCG targets adipose fat, the loose connective tissue, rather than structural fat, it allows those who use it to avoid looking gaunt by not losing the structural fat that exists, for instance, in the face. It is this targeting of specific types of fat, as well as the fact that it avoids burning muscle, that makes it seem as if your body is being sculpted as you lose weight. HCG therefore promotes a healthy lean look by targeting only the excess fat and not anything else.
The HCG Diet
In this section we will discuss the HCG diet as it was originally set forth by Dr. Simeons, and also the current thought on how the diet may work in different circumstances. We will bring you through the process from start to finish, so that you have an excellent idea of how to complete this program.
Using the HCG Diet
The recommended dosage of HCG is 10 drops, 3 times daily. It is best not to eat anything for fifteen minutes before or after taking a dose of HCG, and you should apply the drops under your tongue and wait at least fifteen seconds before swallowing. Generally people take their first dose of HCG when they wake up, and wait six to eight hours between each dose. You should keep the dropper clean and store the bottle in a cool dry place, or the fridge if you prefer.
It is important to weigh yourself every morning to track your progress, and it is best to weigh yourself under the same circumstances each day. If you weigh yourself after you have emptied your bladder one day, then you should continue to do so. It is also generally preferred to weigh in before eating breakfast. You should avoid weighing yourself throughout the day as weight fluctuates constantly and is affected by many factors. The most accurate account of your weight loss will come from consistently weighing yourself at the same time each day. You should also be getting seven to eight hours of sleep each night to be well rested and less likely to feel the need for extra food.
Days 1-3 (Phase 1)
For the first three days of taking the HCG drops you must basically stuff yourself with fatty foods, eating to capacity. This is in order to make sure your fat stores are sufficient to complete the diet effectively. If this step is not taken, you are likely to feel tired or hungry during the diet whereas having completed it you should feel fine throughout. You should eat frequently of highly concentrated foods such as milk chocolate; pastries with whipped cream sugar; fried meats, particularly pork; eggs and bacon; mayonnaise; bread with thick butter and jam; etc. This “gorging” period can become uncomfortable, but it is necessary for the effectiveness of the program.
Days 4-23, or 4-40 (Phase 2)
At this point you should be on a diet of 500 calories a day. If you wish to lose more than 15 pounds this period will last 36 days, if you wish to lose less than 15 pounds it will be for 20 days. The diet as laid out by Dr. Simeons is as follows:
Breakfast: Tea or coffee in any quantity without sugar. Only one tablespoonful of milk allowed in 24 hours. Saccharin or other sweeteners may be used.
Lunch: One each of the following:
1. 100 grams of veal, beef, chicken breast, fresh white fish, lobster, crab, or shrimp. All visible fat must be carefully removed before cooking, and the meat must be weighed raw. It must be boiled or grilled without additional fat. Salmon, eel, tuna, herring, dried or pickled fish are not allowed. The chicken must be removed from the bird.
2. One type of vegetable only to be chosen from the following: spinach, chard, chicory, beet-greens, green salad, tomatoes, celery, fennel, onions, red radishes, cucumbers, asparagus, cabbage.
3. One breadstick (grissino) or one Melba toast.
4. An apple or an orange or a handful of strawberries or one-half grapefruit.
Dinner: The same four choices as lunch.
These meals may be seasoned, but only within the following restrictions. The juice of one lemon daily is allowed for all purposes. Salt, pepper, vinegar, mustard powder, garlic, sweet basil, parsley, thyme, majoram, etc., may be used for seasoning, but no oil, butter or dressing. Though there is no salt restriction, it should roughly be the same amount everyday as a sudden increase in salt can result in weight gain. If beef is used as the chosen meat, it should not contain marbling as it is impossible to cut off that type of fat, but rather leaner beef is preferred. Otherwise, it is best to stick to the other meat choices.
For the choice of an apple it is best to eat only one, despite relative size, as two smaller apples do contain more calories than one larger one. As for the chicken breast, you must realize that this means only chicken, not another fowl, and only the breast, not the wings or thighs. It is highly recommended that you obtain an accurate kitchen scale with which to weigh your meat as accuracy does count. No matter what you may rationalize as allowable, it is best to see the above restrictions as exact. In fact, it is even suggested, especially at the beginning of the diet, that you check the list of allowable foods and amounts often, perhaps even making a checklist to make sure you don`t accidently use the same component twice.
You are only allowed to drink water, coffee, or tea with artificial sweeteners while on HCG. Actually, it is expected that you should be drinking 2 liters of water a day in order to remain hydrated and to avoid retaining water. Drinking too much coffee without water can be harmful as coffee can act as a diuretic and therefore dehydrate you. Maintaining proper hydration is very important for the success of this diet and should be maintained at all times.
There are some possible substitutions available to those who can’t or won’t eat what is on the above list, but they are few and could affect your weight loss. For instance, in rare cases you may substitute one whole egg and three egg whites, poached or boiled, or otherwise cooked without additives, for a serving of meat. The only cheese allowed is cottage cheese made from skimmed milk, 100 grams of which could also be substituted for the meat.
Vegetarians may still use HCG, simply substitute 500 ml (roughly 17 oz) of milk or curds as their protein base. However, vegetarians tend to lose less overall because of the sugar content in milk. Dr. Simeons did not create a vegan diet for HCG, though sticking to his rule of 500 calories with 200 grams of fat-free protein and a small amount of starch should give similar results. However, all foods not listed on the above list might have different compositions that can adversely affect the diet and cause weight loss to be slower, or less effective.
You may also split your meals to eat more consistently throughout the day, for instance you can save an apple in order to have it before you go to bed, or keep a breadstick for an afternoon snack. However, meals cannot be separated in order to have an extra breadstick for dinner, all meal sizes are the maximum amount you should be eating at one time. If ever you feel that you are full enough that you do not need to eat everything allowable for the day that is fine as well.
Cosmetics containing fats and oils can have an adverse affect on the HCG diet as your skin will absorb and metabolize a portion of these ingredients. Though this is less important than dietary requirements, if you notice that you are not losing as much as expected, or even experience weight gain during the diet, it may be your cosmetics, shampoos and other beauty products which are the cause.
While exercise is not necessary or recommended while on the HCG diet it can be allowable. The most allowable instance when exercise can be used with HCG is when you have exercised regularly before the diet you can continue the same amount of exercise while using HCG. It is not recommended that you begin an exercise regimen in conjunction with the HCG diet, as this can cause you to burn more calories than your body is used to while at the same time eating much less. Even when continuing a regimen begun well before using HCG, people sometimes are hungrier than they would be with a less active lifestyle. Some people recommend that if you do exercise you should be eating 1000-calories a day, but it is best to attempt the 500-calorie diet at first, and change this if you are finding yourself too hungry. If after a week of taking HCG, and this includes the binge period, you find yourself unusually hungry it might be advisable to somewhat increase your diet. One way to increase your diet is to add an extra apple, 150 grams of meat, or two or three extra breadsticks. If you are particularly concerned about diet options, or are unsure of the proper amount based on your activity level, it is always best to consult a physician.
Some people, towards the end of the program, experience muscular fatigue. This means that though they experience no shortness of breath or exhaustion, they feel as if their muscles are working harder to accomplish the same task. According to Dr. Simeons this is because, in those who have lost a lot of weight, their muscles are now too long for their now thinner limbs as they no longer have to reach past the excess fat. This causes the muscles to need to contract more in order to move the limb, and therefore takes more energy. This problem should resolve itself soon after the end of treatment as the muscles adjust.
The HCG diet is very restrictive, and as such it can be hard to explain in certain social situations. Say you have a night out planned with your friends, or someone pours you a cup of tea with sugar as they know that is how you usually take it, or perhaps you simply cave for a favorite snack, these types of problems are common, and while they are not ideal, they can be overcome. The most important thing is to admit and remember how and when mistakes were made. Perhaps you can prevent the problem from happening again with a quick conversation, or make a note to yourself to avoid a certain location in the future.
If you go to a restaurant with family or friends, perhaps suggesting you get finger foods or shared plates which you could pick at would be a compromise. Of course, such a compromise is not as good for your diet as simply saying that you are on a diet and therefore cannot eat with them, though you’ll enjoy their company, but for various reasons this is not always possible. If you do eat out, however, it is important to note to yourself what you ate and restrict yourself even further for the next three days. You will feel a bit hungry, but you should be able to negate the weight gain that would have otherwise occurred.
You should avoid feeling overly guilty about your dietary lapses, as those who feel guilty are the most likely to quit the diet altogether. Yes, you made a mistake, for whatever reason, but the most important thing is to admit that you did it and know that you can move past it. It is with this kind of positive attitude that people succeed on the HCG diet.
Days 24-26, or 41-43 (Phase 3)
You should now have stopped taking the HCG drops, but you should remain on the 500-calorie diet for three more days. This allows the HCG to work its way out of your system as returning to a more normal diet while still affected by HCG can cause some unnecessary weight gain.
Three Week Transition
After completing your course of HCG, whether for 23 or 40 days, and the three days on the 500-calorie diet without the drops, you then must complete a three week transition period. At this point you may eat anything you like except for starches or sugar. Carbohydrates are your worst enemy during this time as they are the most likely to cause you to regain the weight you just lost, so therefore you must avoid foods such as potatoes, bread, pastries, rice, and sugar. However, fats and proteins are much more forgiving and can be eaten in desired proportions. During this period you must also consistently weigh yourself every morning before eating breakfast, as mentioned before weighing yourself at different times throughout the day can show fluctuations in weight that do not truly reflect day-to-day weight loss or gain.
The weighing is to make sure that you stay within 2 pounds of the weight you achieved the day of your last dose (not the last day of the 500-calorie diet). Two pounds up or down is perfectly fine, but if you notice that you are more than 2 pounds heavier, then you must skip breakfast and lunch and for dinner eat a large steak with an apple or a raw tomato, and be sure to drink lots of fluids throughout the day. If you find that you are more than 2 pounds lighter, then you should increase your food intake for the day to more than you had been eating. It is much easier to gain weight after having lost weight during this period as it is your normal fat that is being decreased. After this three week period your weight should have stabilized, and you can slowly begin to add starches and sugars once more. Be sure to weigh yourself consistently at this point as well as if you see a sudden increase you might be reintroducing carbohydrates too quickly. Most people find that their appetite has decreased and they are perfectly fine on smaller portioned or less meals than they were before completing the program. As always, attempt not to eat to excess.
Repeating the Process
To take HCG for more than 40 days can be dangerous for your health and is therefore strongly advised against. The main reason for this is that some people can develop a temporary immunity to HCG and therefore continuing the program for longer can mean that you are on a 500-calorie diet without the help of HCG. Therefore if you have completed the diet and wish to lose more weight, that is perfectly fine, but you must wait before completing the process again.
According to Dr. Simeons the more processes you have completed the more likely it is that you have built up a lasting immunity, and the longer you must wait before retaking HCG. After your first course of HCG you must wait 6 weeks before starting the protocol anew. This means that you will complete the three weeks of the transition period, and then wait another three weeks before taking HCG once more. After your second course of HCG you must wait 8 weeks, after your third, 12 weeks, after your fourth, 20 weeks, and after your fifth you must wait 6 months. Some people nowadays say that you can simply wait 6 weeks between each course, but it might be prudent to wait so that the HCG diet process can be more effective. It is important to note that when repeating the diet the results likely will not be as dramatic as the times before. This is both because those who weigh less tend to lose weight more slowly, and because your body is already at a more normal level and therefore will not decrease as dramatically. However, many people have retaken the process with very successful results, losing over 100 pounds in total.
What would happen if I were to use the 500-calorie diet without the help of HCG?
If you were to attempt to follow the 500-calorie diet without HCG you would find yourself extremely hungry within 2-3 days. Even those who have been on HCG and suddenly stop find that within 3 days they feel too hungry and exhausted. This is because without HCG your body cannot efficiently transform your stored fat into energy and you therefore cannot maintain normal energy levels. Also, without HCG you are more likely to lose muscle tissue and structural fat rather than simply abnormal fat as there is nothing encouraging your body to target that type of tissue. Actually, on a 500-calorie diet your body would normally attempt to store as much fat as possible while burning muscle as it would believe that you are starving and therefore will have need of fat stores in the future. If someone were to complete the 500-calorie diet without HCG they are likely to appear very thin in their face and gain weight back quickly as their body has not been properly prepared.
Will I feel hungry on this diet?
HCG reduces the appetite because it converts your abnormal fat storages into energy. For the most part you will not feel anything more than mild hunger, and often will actually feel full even on the 500-calorie diet. During the first few days of the diet it is common to feel a bit of hunger, but this should pass by the second week as the HCG begins to work more within your system. Drinking a lot of fluids throughout the day should help the feeling of emptiness that some people describe even when they are not hungry. Most people experience little to no hunger throughout the bulk of the program and remain energized each day.
I have a headache, is this normal?
It is perfectly normal to be having headaches during the first week of the program, and you are allowed to take aspirin for the pain. This should pass as you get further into the program, but if it persists or gets worse you should consult a physician.
If I remain within 500 calories, can I eat different foods than suggested?
The short answer is no. Any change in the diet could affect your weight loss in unforeseen ways as every different food has a different composition, no matter how close it may seem. Substituting a pear for an apple, or turkey breast for chicken, or any other such substitution is therefore inadvisable. However, if you insist that you should be able to change the diet more to your tastes, you should stick to Dr. Simeons’ rule that your total daily intake must not exceed 500 Calories if the best possible results are to be obtained, and the daily ration should contain 200 grams of fat-free protein and a very small amount of starch. However, know that any substitutions are at your own risk and may affect the course of the diet. That said, there are some allowable substitutions that Dr. Simeons has allowed in specific cases and they are listed on page 7.
Where can I find Dr. Simeons’ book about HCG?
Dr. Simeons’ Pounds and Inches: A New Approach to Obesity can be found, free of charge, at http://www.healthremedies.com/pounds_and_inches.htmlThis document contains a full explanation of Dr. Simeons’ findings, information on the causes and signs of obesity or unhealthy weight, an explanation of the HCG protocol and many insights into the dos and don’ts of the HCG diet. It is important to note that this book was written when the only method for HCG was prescription injection, and therefore does not contain specifics about homeopathic HCG. However, it is full of useful information for anyone interested in HCG, and is recommended reading as it is important to gather as much information as possible about a product before trying it yourself.
Important Things to Remember
While the HCG diet is simple to follow, that fact does not mean it is easy. Especially during the transition period and afterwards it is difficult to remain on track and not fall in to old habits. It is easier, in one way, to complete the main phase of the diet as you know that within a few weeks you will be able to stop, but afterwards you are supposed to eat the type of diet that you should for the rest of your life. So therefore you must maintain focus and realize that you have gone through a lifestyle change and maintain that attitude. If you go back to eating unhealthily, eventually you will regain weight, even with the protocol`s help to reset your metabolism. It is important to maintain healthy eating habits even after you have finished the program. Luckily, however, most people find that their appetites are less after completing the diet and can maintain a healthier lifestyle without being overwhelmed with temptation. It is in this way that most people maintain their new weight for years after completing the HCG diet.
It is important to approach the protocol with an adaptable mindset. Some people come to the diet believing that they can adapt the protocol to fit their lives, and in some rare cases they are right. However, for most their preferred lifestyle is too far from that which is necessary for the HCG diet that it ends up backfiring. You must instead know that you are the one that needs to be flexible, not the diet, and so you must adapt your lifestyle to fit the diet. The strictest part of the protocol lasts at most 43 days, after which you can be more flexible with your own preferences. Forty three days is not much to pay in order to lose weight and keep it off, and if approached with the right mindset can fly right by.
You should always keep yourself up-to-date, both about your own progress, and about the latest findings about the diet. For yourself you should keep a record of the pounds and inches you have lost and what you have eaten each day. You should know as much about the diet as possible, do your research and read the studies; if necessary you should even consult a physician.
Becoming overly worried about whether the diet is working or whether you can complete it is very stressful and can be harmful to you. You need to stay relaxed and confident that this diet will work for you and that you have the ability to complete it and you will lose the weight, just as hundreds of thousands before you have done.
Words from Dr. Simeons
In this section we will be giving direct quotations from Dr. Simeons’ Pounds and Inches: A New Approach to Obesity in order to help you better understand why the HCG diet works and why it is so important to follow all of the rules and restrictions laid out by him. It is important to remember, while reading this section, that Dr. Simeons based his findings on the HCG injections as at the time of publication there was no other method of administration. We suggest that you inform yourself completely with his work. You can access a PDF file of his article at http://www.healthremedies.com/pounds_and_inches.html .
Concerns about HCG as a Pregnancy Hormone
It cannot be sufficiently emphasized that HCG is not sex- hormone, that its action is identical in men, women, children and in those cases in which the sex-glands no longer function owing to old age or their surgical removal. The only sexual change it can bring about after puberty is an improvement of a pre existing deficiency. But never stimulation beyond the normal in an indirect way via the anterior pituitary HCG regulates menstruation and facilitates conception, but it never virilizes a woman or feminizes a man. It neither makes men grow breasts nor does it interfere with their virility, though where this was deficient it may improve it. It never makes women grow a beard or develop a gruff voice.
When a male patient hears that he is about to be put into a condition which in some respects resembles pregnancy, he is usually shocked and horrified. The physician must therefore carefully explain that this does not mean that he will be feminized and that HCG in no way interferes with his sex.
Losing Weight with HCG
The Duration of Treatment
We never give a treatment lasting less than 26 days, even in patients needing to lose only 5 pounds. It seems that even in the mildest cases of obesity the diencephalon requires about three weeks rest from the maximal exertion to which it has been previously subjected in order to regain fully its normal fat banking capacity. Clinically this expresses itself -in the fact that when in these mild cases treatment is stopped as soon as the weight is normal, which may be achieved in a week, it is much more easily regained than after a full course of 23 injections.
As soon as such patients have lost all their abnormal superfluous fat, they at once begin to feel ravenously hungry with continued injections. This is because HCG only puts abnormal fat into circulation and cannot, in the doses used, liberate normal fat deposits; indeed, it seems to prevent their consumption. As soon as their statistically normal weight is reached, these patients are put on 800-1000 calories for the rest of the treatment. The diet is arranged in such a way that the weight remains perfectly stationary and is thus continued for three days after the 23rd injection. Only then are the patients free to eat anything they please except sugar and starches for the next three weeks.
The Ratio of Pounds to Inches
An interesting feature of the HCG method is that, regardless of how fat a patient is, the greatest circumference -- abdomen or hips as the case may be is reduced at a constant rate which is extraordinarily close to 1 cm. per kilogram of weight lost. At the beginning of treatment the change in measurements is somewhat greater than this, but at the end of a course it is almost invariably found that the girth is as many centimeters less as the number of kilograms by which the weight has been reduced. I have never seen this clear cut relationship in patients that try to reduce by dieting only.
Fluctuations in weight loss
After the fourth or fifth day of dieting the daily loss of weight begins to decrease to one pound or somewhat less per day, and there is a smaller urinary output. Men often continue to lose regularly at that rate, but women are more irregular in spite of faultless dieting. There may be no drop at all for two or three days and then a sudden loss which reestablishes the normal average. These fluctuations are entirely due to variations in the retention and elimination of water, which are more marked in women than in men.
Patients who have previously regularly used diuretics as a method of reducing lose fat during the first two or three weeks of treatment which shows in their measurements, but the scale may show little or no loss because they are replacing the normal water content of their body which has been dehydrated. Diuretics should never be used for reducing.
Losing more Weight
An ex-patient should never gain more than two pounds without immediately correcting this, but it is equally undesirable that more than two lbs. be lost after treatment, because a greater loss is always achieved at the expense of normal fat. Any normal fat that is lost is invariably regained as soon as more food is taken, and it often happens that this rebound overshoots the upper two lbs. limit.
Patients requiring to lose more than 34 lbs. must have a second or even more courses. A second course can be started after an interval of not less than six weeks, though the pause can be more than six weeks. When a third, fourth or even fifth course is necessary, the interval between courses should be made progressively longer. Between a second and third course eight weeks should elapse, between a third and fourth course twelve weeks, between a fourth and fifth course twenty weeks and between a fifth and sixth course six months. In this way it is possible to bring about a weight reduction of 100 lbs. and more if required without the least hardship to the patient.
In general, men do slightly better than women and often reach a somewhat higher average daily loss. Very advanced cases do a little better than early ones, but it is a remarkable fact that this difference is only just statistically significant.