Roughly 45 million Americans start a new diet each year, according to Boston Medical Center. “Yo-yo dieting,” or the tendency to lose weight and gain it back after a failed diet, is becoming more and more common in the US.
The problem, of course, is that restricting calories makes us hungry—and it’s hard to stick to a diet that only gives us the freedom to eat tiny plates of fruits and vegetables.
But if you’re looking to reach your weight loss goals while encouraging long-term health, there’s a better way to do it. The HCG diet helps you feel more satiated after a meal, in addition to plenty of other health benefits. If you’re new to HCG, here’s what you should know.
What Is HCG?
Human chorionic gonadotropin, or HCG, is a naturally occurring hormone in humans. It’s perhaps best known for its benefits during pregnancy, as it helps women increase their metabolism to break down fat to use it as an energy source.
British endocrinologist Dr. Albert T.W. Simeons first proposed it as a weight-loss aid in his 1954 book Pounds and Inches. Since then, researchers have expanded on his studies to outline the HCG diet program we use today.
How Does the HCG Diet Work?
The HCG diet is a low-calorie diet of 500 calories per day over the course of a month. You can opt to do more than one round of this short diet to reach your target weight, depending on your weight loss goals.
Normally, a diet of 500 calories per day would leave you famished, and you might even cycle back to overeating and regain the weight.
However, the magic of HCG helps you feel satisfied instead. HCG injections affect the hypothalamus, which is the part of the brain responsible for feelings of hunger and satiety. With HCG, you’ll feel like you’ve eaten a full meal, even as you restrict your calories.
It’s important to make sure you’ve taken enough HCG for your needs, though, so beginners will want to follow along with this HCG injection dosage chart.
How Much Weight Can You Lose?
The intensive caloric restriction is what allows you to shed weight so fast. Your body needs energy to function, so it burns an additional 1,500-3,000 calories to keep up with your daily activity. And since one pound is the equivalent of 3,500 calories, you can expect to reach your goals fast!
Like most diets, your weight loss will vary in line with your gender, age, current weight, and lifestyle. However, on average you can lose from 0.5-1 pound during a single round of the HCG diet.
What Are the Steps Taken?
The HCG diet happens over the course of one month, but it carries some restrictive rules. Here are the three phases to expect:
- Loading: You’ll take your HCG injections or drops, eating plenty of sources of protein and fats to jump-start your metabolism
- Weight Loss: You’ll begin your 500-calorie diet, along with regular doses of HCG, for 25-40 days depending on your weight loss goals
- Stabilization: You’ll go back to eating normal amounts of food, aside from sugars and starches, and you’ll stop taking HCG
During this time, it’s important to pay attention to signals from your body and to exercise on a regular basis, as you would with any diet.
The Many Benefits of HCG
It’s clear that the HCG diet offers a range of advantages, from fast weight loss to increased metabolism. Beginners will find that the rigid regimen isn’t hard to follow, and the short-term schedule makes it accessible for anyone who wants to avoid long-term yo-yo dieting.
If you’re interested in more lifestyle and health guides, check out our other posts!