Many diets fail because the user does not transition from actively losing weight to simply maintaining their newly trim figure. Instead, they return to the old eating habits that cause weight gain. The HCG diet thwarts this issue by including this transition as the third phase of their diet plan.
HCG Diet Phase 3 is just as important as the other stages in getting the lifelong change in weight and health that the diet offers. It is the transition phase to Phase 4, or maintenance. What exactly does this phase entail? Users remain on a less strict version of the diet while discovering new sensitivities and weight management triggers.
Steps to a Smooth Transition
Phase 3 occurs after people have completed the Very Low Calorie Diet (VLCD) phase and have stopped taking HCG. Dieters have an expanded range of nutritious and flavorful options and are allowed to eat almost anything with the exception of added starch and sugars, including all fruits.
One of the caveats of this expanded range of options is that people should only eat when they are hungry. In addition, they should stop as soon as they feel satisfied (no longer hungry) instead of when they are full. Most Americans are in the habit of eating until they are full, so this requires a new way of viewing hunger. No macronutrient counting is necessary.
Some weight fluctuation is expected with people eating much more than they did in Phase 2. However, this should be minimal. If you gain more than two pounds, the diet recommends having a Steak Day. This should help to keep weight off.
The goal of this phase is to relearn how to eat in a healthy manner that will keep weight off without huge restrictions. Many people introduce the new items slowly to look for sensitivities or triggers. Every body is different; Phase 3 allows you to find out exactly what kind of diet makes you feel best and helps sustain optimal health with your unique biochemistry.
When and How to Start Stabilization
When exactly are you ready to move from Phase 2 to Phase 3? The answer differs for everyone but there are a few guidelines. First, one should be completely off HCG for 72 hours. The third phase starts 72 hours after your last injection or dose of HCG drops.
In this 72 hours, you should continue the VLCD plan of no more than 500 calories a day. The expanded range of choices and greater volume does not begin until that 72 hour mark.
At this point, people have been eating very small amounts of calories and a very restricted range of options. The third phase encourages large amounts of healthy fats and protein. These healthy fats can include:
- Olive oil
- Coconut oil
- Fatty meats such as steak
- Avocado and avocado oil
- Fatty fish such as salmon
In addition, dieters eat only whole foods, with a lot of vegetables. Fruit is allowed but only in moderation. Because fruit contains concentrated sugar, it can be a trigger for many people. The only real rule during this time is to avoid foods with concentrated sugar and starch. This includes grains, starchy root vegetables such as potatoes, and starchy legumes. Follow your HCG Phase 3 diet list strictly.
In this phase, you should weigh yourself daily. Fluctuations are normal, although you should not gain more than two pounds above the weight at which you ended the last phase Your body is relearning how to process a wide variety of new things and you are learning what choices are best for your lifelong health and weight maintenance.
New foods should be viewed as a test during HCG Phase 3. Try them and see how your body reacts. If you do not have an increase in cravings or weight gain, these items are likely fine to be eaten in moderation in the future.
If you have foods that you believe are triggers for weight gain or cravings, it is best to leave these until the second week of Phase 3. This will allow you to gain more control before introducing potential problems.
According to several reviews, this can be the most difficult part of the HCG diet. It is also one of the most important. Your attitude and willpower during this phase will set the stage for future phases, in which you eat for health maintenance rather than a drastic weight change.
A New Foods List and Recipes
This phase is a great time for finding new flavors and meals that will help you to sustain good health and your newly lower weight. Experiment with the different foods to find recipes that work with your lifestyle and taste preferences.
Many people find that it is actually hard to eat the necessary amount of calories at first. This is because their body is still used to the high level of restriction in the VLCD of Phase 2. Focus on eating foods high in healthy fat as this will add calories in a way that keeps your metabolism burning.
Try to make this phase fun. There are a wide variety of HCG Phase 3 meal plans out there. Double check to make sure they do not have forbidden foods and have ample healthy fat. Try a new thing every 2-3 days during this stage to see how it suits you.
This is also a time of preparing for maintenance in your workout routine. You can continue any workout that you have been following. However, adding new workouts should be approached with caution. A newly strenuous workout plan could cause inflammation that will lead to water retention that leads to a few extra pounds on the scale. In addition, it may lead to cravings.
In general, people in HCG Diet Phase 3 are encouraged to walk, stretch, do yoga, and otherwise keep active. They may continue their former exercise routines (if they have one) but should not begin anything newly strenuous during this stage. This is a time of learning moderation and maintenance.
Phase 4 will involve more strenuous workouts as well as a diet that you can live happily with for life. Phase 3 is all about preparing for that. There will be a time for exploring fitness options and flexing your newly found muscle.
This phase can be one of the most difficult phases because it does not have the restrictions of the first two phases. You are relearning how to lead a healthy and moderate life, something which is not taught well in Western culture.
Making the Transition Work for You
In general, there are a few pitfalls that people face during Phase 3. Here are a few common mistakes to avoid:
- Introducing new foods too quickly. It can take a day or two to feel the real effects of a new food. Space out the introduction of new foods to really get an idea of how they affect you. In addition to finding out your personal triggers, you can also find out which choices make you feel amazing and energetic.
- Not weighing yourself regularly. Different foods cause weight gain in different people. They may increase inflammation due to an unknown sensitivity, causing water retention. They may increase cravings for items that aren’t on the list. Weighing yourself daily during this stage is the best way to find out which foods will be good maintenance foods for yourself.
- Eating forbidden foods. When you are adding new things, you may encounter new cravings. It is important to fight these rather than giving in. In addition, adding new foods successfully may make you wonder why you cannot add bread, potatoes, and other items that are not on the diet plan.
- Adding new strenuous exercises. This may be tempting because people want to continue their fitness gains and body sculpting. There is a time for that in the HCG diet, but Phase 3 is not it.
- Overly restricting foods. This phase has the end goal of learning what foods will be good for Phase 4 and beyond. You cannot find that out without experimentation. In addition, you should aim to get the right amount of calories for weight maintenance rather than staying on a VLCD plan. Eating plenty of healthy fat and protein will make this easier. It is better to transition off the highly restrictive phases rather than simply returning to normal eating.
Stage 3 is your first foray into a lifetime of healthy eating. This is your chance to find out what eating plan and restrictions will help you to attain your long term goals. Although this two week period can require a great deal of self-discipline and attention to your body, it will pay off in the maintenance stage that comes next.