The HCG Diet Program is a fast-acting weight loss program that combines the use of the human chorionic gonadotropin hormone and a low-calorie diet. The diet portion of the plan causes weight loss and the hormone helps your body utilize your fat stores instead of your lean tissue for extra nutrition.
When calories are scarce, your body derives nutrition from the first thing that is readily available. Fat is actually a little harder to burn than muscle—so your body will go for your muscles first. This is why just going out and starving yourself isn’t a good idea. You will probably lose weight—but losing muscle will not help you keep the weight off or make you look good.
You need to have a plan and a time limit and be careful with your body. The low-calorie diet portion of the program is relatively short (up to 40 days). There’s a reason for this. You don’t want to make your body subsist on too few calories for too long. It’s possible you will experience debilitating HCG diet side effects which may prevent weight loss.
People generally lose about a half a pound to two pounds per day during the diet phase. This is a really big amount of weight to lose in a very short amount of time and it’s unsustainable. Bear in mind that most weight loss experts recommend losing two pounds per week because losing weight affects every system of your body, (like your kidneys, for example). So, do not go over day 40 on the diet.
The diet phase lasts just long enough for you to lose a significant amount of weight and then you go through a maintenance phase to help you keep the weight off. This diet requires no exercise—in fact it’s recommended that you don’t do any extra exercise (other than the normal amount of walking you do to get from place to place) because calories are so low.
So, here’s the basic run-down of the diet. You begin taking your HCG and you load for two days. Loading involves eating as much as you can and staying full for the entire two days. This signals to your body that there are indeed enough calories available so it does not have to go into starvation mode—which is bad because that slows down your metabolism.
After your two glorious loading days, you start the diet phase. This is the big challenge of the program. It truly is difficult because your food choices are so limited, but it does work. The length of the diet phase depends largely on you and how much weight you need to lose. It can go from 23 to 40 days, but not beyond day 40.
To complete the diet phase, you stop taking your HCG and continue the diet for three days. Once you’ve completed the diet phase, you start the maintenance phase for three weeks. This phase eases you back into eating more calories again and introducing more foods back into your regular diet. You still need to stay away from starches and refined sugars though.
Although the diet phase of the program is considered a low-calorie diet, you don’t actually count calories to determine your servings of food. You measure your servings with measuring cups and spoons and also a food scale. When you stick to the measurements specified in the guide, you end up consuming a significantly lower amount of calories than you normally would.