Congratulations on making it this far in your HCG diet journey! Phase 3 is perhaps the most essential and most difficult part of the diet plan. As you come off of the HCG, you will have to follow a careful maintenance plan to maintain your weight. This will require diligence in counting calories, watching food intake, and weighing in every day. But you can do it!
What to Eat
Don't jump right into eating all of your favorite foods or you will gain weight back quickly. You have to continue counting calories, and make sure you eat the right foods. Avoid sugar and starches as much as possible. It can be helpful to make a list of the foods that are acceptable, the foods that are cautionary, and the foods you should avoid.
When you first start out in Phase 3 make sure you stick to the acceptable foods list. As you make your way through the coming weeks you can begin adding foods from the cautionary list. Add one food at a time to see what its effect is on your weight. If you gain, stay away from that food. After you have maintained your weight for a few weeks you might try one of the foods to avoid as a treat, but make sure you measure the results. If it causes a gain, you probably want to avoid it in the future.
Counting Calories is a Pain
You've been counting calories relentlessly up to this point, and it may seem as though you will have to do it forever. You really don't have to do it forever, but it is important to continue counting calories for several weeks or even months after you stop HCG. If you are not careful about how many calories you take in you will gain weight back quickly. As you get used to eating in a new way and you learn what foods are good and bad for calorie intake, you will be able to rely less on counting every calorie you eat. This takes time, and you should not rush the process.
A good way to count calories reliably is to use an app that can be accessed from your smartphone. This way you can look up calorie content and track calories eaten no matter where you are when you eat. There are many great calorie counters out there that are completely free. Most of them even allow you to look up calories for common foods at popular restaurants.
Weigh Ins are Vital!
You have to make sure that you weigh every single day. When you first start to come off the HCG you have to try to stay within one or two pounds of your weight at that time. You will need to make sure that you aren't increasing your calorie intake too quickly, or that you are eating foods that could make you gain weight rapidly.
Everyone's body is different. Some people can eat peanuts all day long and not gain an ounce, while others gain significantly after just a handful per day. You have to learn how different foods affect your weight, and the only way to do that is to weigh every day. If you see more than a pound of difference you need to go over what you ate for the previous day or two and try to pinpoint what you ate that made you gain the weight.
As you come to the end of Phase 3 and you are really doing well at maintaining your weight, you might find that a three or four pound window is more acceptable. But when you first start out you really want to stay within one or two pounds to make sure that it doesn't get out of control. It can, quickly, if you don't stay diligent.
How to Increase Your Caloric Intake
For the first few days after you stop taking the HCG you will need to remain on your strict 500-700 calorie diet. If you jump right into increasing your caloric intake you will gain weight back rapidly. You have to ease into it. If you haven't already, make sure you put some type of exercise regimen in place. Even if it is just some light aerobics a few times per week it will help you maintain your weight.
Increase your caloric intake slowly over the next couple of weeks. On days 3 and 4 increase your calories to 900-1100 per day. Weigh yourself each day. If you gain a pound or two you need to cut back on your calories for another couple of days and build back up slowly. When you are maintaining your weight at this level, increase your calories per day to 1200-1400. Do this slowly over time, and weight yourself daily to make sure you're not overstepping.
As you increase your calorie intake remember that you don't have to force yourself to eat all of those calories. Eat only what you need. You should never eat until you are stuffed just to meet a calorie goal. If you are full, stop eating. It can take weeks to increase your calorie intake to a more manageable goal. The healthy adult eats around 1800 calories per day. That doesn't mean you are average and should eat that much. If you feel full and satisfied, and you are healthy, you don't have to eat that much if you don't want to.
Increasing your calories and helping you eat healthy is better accomplished when you eat several smaller meals per day rather than three large ones. Eating three meals and three snacks each day is appropriate. You will be able to eat less in each sitting, making it easier to reach your calorie goals. You will find yourself eating more calories, but in a way that doesn't make you feel bloated or full. It also helps to keep your metabolism high so that you burn the calories you take in, which is key to maintaining your goal weight.
These tips will help you maintain as you go through phase 3 of the HCG diet. You may have more weight loss to go, but it is important that you go through this "resting" phase before continuing the HCG shots. Once you reach your goal weight, these tips will help you maintain that weight long term. If you haven't started the HCG diet yet, contact Nu Image Medical for more information.