Maintaining Weight Loss After the HCG Diet
So, if you have just finished your HCG round, congratulations! You deserve pat on the back and a high five! Without a doubt, we know it's been a long road, but we hope a great learning process as well. So, at this point, technically the diet is over. Phase 2 and 3 are done with, and you're onto the maintenance part. And hey, if you're new to the HCG diet, or you're just starting, or even if you're considering giving it a try, listen up! You will need this info. at some point. But, what we would like to dive into today is how to keep all this awesome momentum going! At this point, you've lost weight and you feel great. Don't downplay it! You have worked super hard to get to the end of the diet, and so here we are, and it IS the end of the diet. So, no what? Got a plan? Most of us actually really don't at this point.(yikes) On one hand we're so ready to just go back to normal living (and eating-let's just be honest here), but on the other hand, there's a part of us that wants to do whatever it takes to make sure we never end up back where we were. I mean, come on...We didn't do all this dieting just to gain the weight back, right? I think if we are all a little honest, there might be a little fear of going back into the "real food scene" so to speak. There's no rules, and there's no boundaries to keep us in check like we are used to with HCG. It can be a little scary to say the least. So, let's take some time to discuss what's up next in our journey. Do we ever really win the weight loss battle, or do we constantly always have to keep our guard up?
Are we really ready for long term change?
When contemplating how to maintain weight loss, it's important to consider if we are REALLY ready for a change...not just short time during the diet but long term as well...way down the road. Many people jump into the HCG diet to lose weight and lose it fast, but are they thinking about the future afterwards, or are they just thinking about the diet here and now? Gearing up for any diet takes work, but the HCG diet is different. It takes proper scheduling, detailed food planning, dedication, and a whole lot of preparation...not to mention, you have to be in the right mindset. Going into the diet without addressing these important steps can be a recipe for disaster. So, if that much preparation goes into making 26 or 46 days of the HCG diet successful, then how much planning, preparation, etc. should go into maintaining our health and weight for the rest of our lives? Does it matter? It actually matters a ton! If we're not fully prepared to make a long term change, then there's nothing preventing us from slipping back into old habits and ending up right back where we started, or worse (heaven forbid). So first and foremost, whether you are about to start HCG or whether you're getting ready to finish up a round, a conscious decision has to be made and understood that yes, this is a short term diet, but this is also a life change.
How to Eat Healthy Long-Term
Yes, the dieting part of the program may be considered the hard part, and there is a lot more freedom when it comes to food now off the diet, but we can't just completely lose control. This is where a lot of people tend to struggle after the HCG diet. Some individuals are afraid to eat when they finish the program, and then there are those that are counting down the days until they can pig out on whatever they want. In my personal experience as a nurse working with HCG patients, neither one of these viewpoints are really good going into the maintenance phase. There's really a middle ground that should be addressed. Think of it like this, the HCG diet is like a step ladder to healthy eating and healthier food habits....fresh fruits and veggies, drinking water, etc. The facts are this....It is unhealthy to try to attempt to live on 500 calories after HCG. That is considered starvation, and it's extremely dangerous. It won't help you maintain your weight or help you lose more, if that's your goal. You will do a lot of harm to your body as well as destroy your metabolism. Instead, allow yourself more variety of healthier options, and if you do choose to add carbs and sugars back into your diet, do so slowly and sparingly. Allow your body to adjust to these new foods again. For those of you that are just ready to let loose and demolish everything in site, beware. At this point in the program, normal calorie intake is acceptable, but caution should always be taken to prevent backtracking. You don't to end up having to start back where you started, right? Calculating your maintenance calorie amount using a calorie counter app or dieting tool will help you stay on track. And of course, allow yourself some indulgences from time to time... Everything in balance and moderation.
Be Carefree Yet Cautious
None of us are perfect. Everyone has their own issues, struggles, and personal battles. For a lot of us, that struggle may be food. Just because the HCG diet is over doesn't mean that temptation will never arise again. The best way to protect yourself from weight regain is to be prepared and to be cautious. For example, have fun at the party, but don't drink too much that you eat a whopping three plates of food without knowing it. Try to plan ahead...Drink a bottle of water beforehand and even during the party. Maybe, even have a healthy bite of food before you go to avoid overeating. It's important to think like that. There's a way to enjoy food and not "let yourself go" at the same time. Also, be aware of your surroundings.... For example, you wouldn't take someone who struggles with alcohol to a bar, would you? The same is true when it comes to food...choose places to go that have healthy food options and that won't pose a problem for you, or bring your own.
Do You Have to Exercise to Keep Weight Off?
I'm sure you guessed this one was coming. Tons of people ask if they have to exercise once they stop HCG. We completely understand there are a lot of you out there that may have been drawn to the HCG diet simply because it was an effective diet that did not require any exercise! Then there are some of you, who have been counting down the days until you finish your round and can hit the gym again. As far as weight maintenance, goes the formula is really simple. True health is all about balance. If you're focus is to continually stay and be healthy, most come to find that their weight usually takes care of itself. Forget about having to exercise and focus on something that makes you happy or makes you complete. It can be biking, swimming, walking, yoga, etc. You don't have to become a hardcore crossfitter to look great and stay healthy (although Crossfit is a great workout). Again, the key is finding balance in your life, and finding something enjoyable to fill your time with that makes you feel good. Exercise does have a ton of benefits that don't even have to do with weight loss, but try not to put too much pressure on yourself when it comes to this topic. Finding an activity for personal enjoyment will help relieve stress and boredom. And aren't those the two biggest reasons people overeat and gain weight?! ...
I had a lady once tell me that she recently had knee surgery and could not exercise after finishing her HCG round. As a nurse, I immediately thought of swimming as a great activity for her and her aging joints post surgery. She then caught me off guard by mentioning that she had also had pretty severe back surgery as well and couldn't move well enough yet to swim. She then preceded to ask me, "Will I gain the weight back that I lost because I can't exercise?" To be honest, I wasn't quite sure what to tell her. I mean, I knew that you have to exercise to burn off calories in order to maintain weight, and after considering her unique circumstance, I simply advised her to eat as healthily as she could making sure to watch her portions. I actually had the chance to speak to this particular lady again later on that year, and she told me that she had started sewing again (something she had once enjoyed, but had stopped doing for whatever reason) and she had even started teaching younger more inexperienced sewers at a local business. She found that she had become so preoccupied with her sewing and teaching that thoughts of food no longer plagued her as they once had before. She said she felt better all around, and that it was easier for her to make healthier choices. This conversation changed my opinion about weight loss maintenance and exercise, and really made me look at it from another angle. It's still true, that if you overindulge on food and those calories are not burned off that weight gain will happen, but maybe focusing on a personal activity of enjoyment could be equally as therapeutic as well. It's an interesting thought.
What You Don't Realize That May Be Hurting You...
Another huge part of keeping weight off is not so much external, but internal. How we view ourselves and our body is a HUGE part of being healthy overall. Unfortunately, it's not something that gets addressed much, but diving a bit under the surface sometimes can be key in really figuring out why we have issues with food and why we became overweight in the first place. If we never had lost weight on the HCG diet, would we still love our body as is? If only the "outside" is addressed, sooner or later, something will have to give. Hopefully, one of the most important lessons you have learned or will learn on HCG is that YOU HAVE POWER. Dieting has this horrible effect sometimes on us. We start diets and stop them over and over. It brings us down in a way. They almost always leave us with feelings of guilt, shame, embarrassment...the list goes on. We constantly beat ourselves up because we made a mistake or that particular plan maybe didn't work for us. The HCG diet brings all the feelings to the surface. It's now up to us to recognize them, confront them, and do our best to change things. This certainly doesn't mean, that we're perfect all the time afterward or that we're never going to make a mistake again, but it's certainly a step in the right direction in helping us view ourselves in a more positive light. You CAN do this.
Finishing the HCG diet is a huge accomplishment. Try to channel these feelings of confidence into your everyday life... the workplace, school, at home with family, and don't forget how completely awesome it feels to be healthy on the inside, look great on the outside, and be in control of your life! Remembering these feelings will keep you moving forward. Good luck on your continued journey! We're here for you if you need us!
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