Summary of the Maintenance Phase
The HCG Diet Maintenance Phase is absolutely critical to the overall success of the HCG protocol, and deviating from the three-week maintenance plan can quickly undo all of your hard work.
Why the HCG Diet Maintenance Phase is Crucial
It takes three weeks for your body to set a new weight point so that your weight doesn't fluctuate wildly when you eat in excess on occasion. During this important time on the HCG Diet , physiological changes are taking place that will promote the permanence of your weight loss by locking in your normal weight so that your body doesn't store fat as easily as it once did. The key to locking in a new normal weight is to keep your weight in a very tight range for the duration of the three-week maintenance phase. In this case, that tight range is within two pounds of your weight on the last HCG day.
Diet and Restrictions During Maintenance
With the exception of sugars and starches — or carbohydrates — you will eat what you want when you're hungry and stop eating when you're satisfied. It's a good idea to use the HCG maintenance phase as an exercise in mindfulness. The more mindfully you make your food choices, the more successful you will be in staying within your new normal weight for the long-term.
Carbohydrates are completely off-limits during the three-week maintenance phase. But other than starches and sugars, you'll now be free to eat what you want. The maintenance phase is also a good opportunity to get into the habit of making healthy food choices. Pay attention to your body, and eat as much healthy food as you need when you're hungry. When you're satisfied, stop eating.
It's important to stay focused on what you can eat rather than what you can't. After the 500-calorie diet phase, you'll probably be happy to forego the starches and sugars and simply enjoy eating all the healthy whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and proteins you like.
The key is to eat as normally as possible. Trying to restrict calories will set you up for failure later on, because your body will be used to fewer calories and will gain weight more easily when you go back to eating the number of calories your body truly needs for energy and optimum functioning each day.
Staying Within Two Pounds
During the HCG maintenance phase, it's critical to keep your weight within two pounds of your last HCG-day weigh-in. Gaining more than two pounds at any time during this phase will prevent your body from setting its new weight point, and when you go back to an unrestricted diet, you may gain all of your lost weight back.
Each morning before you eat or drink anything and after you empty your bladder, you'll weigh yourself. As long as your weight is within the two-pound range, you can continue to eat when you're hungry and stop when you're full. But the minute your weight exceeds two pounds over your last HCG day weight, you'll need to compensate for the excess immediately by instituting a steak day.
The Steak Day
If your weight exceeds the two-pound limit at your morning weigh-in, even if it's only by a few ounces, you'll need to start fasting immediately. Skip breakfast and lunch, but drink plenty of fluids throughout the day. For dinner, eat a large steak…as big as you can handle. Then eat either an apple or a raw tomato later in the evening. The apple or tomato is optional and you may not even want it if you ate a large enough steak. By the next morning, your weight should be back in the two-pound range.
Why can’t you eat anything until dinner?
- Not eating during the day and drinking plenty of water will help give your body a way to flush your system from whatever you ate that caused your weight gain.
- Not eating until dinner will cause you to consume considerably less calories and your body will use your body fat as its primary energy source.
Why a large steak?
- The steak provides a large amount of slow-digesting protein that your body will need for cellular repair while you are sleeping.
- When you go to bed, you won’t be hungry. A lot of research supports the fact that slow-digesting proteins are good appetite suppressors.
- The thermic effect of food is the caloric cost of digesting and processing different macronutrients. Meat proteins have a thermic effect upward of five times greater than carbohydrates or fat. This thermic effect means that a considerable number of calories are burned just digesting your steak!
Why wait to eat your apple or tomato later in the evening?
- It ensures you eat a maximum amount of protein. If you ate an apple with your meal, you wouldn't have as much room for your steak.
- Apples provide your body with fiber and enzymes to keep the large amount of protein you just consumed moving through your digestive system helping to prevent constipation.
- Protein is digested at a much slower rate than fruits and vegetables. The steak will sit in your stomach acid for a few hours before it is digested and released into your intestinal tract. Eating an apple or tomato a few hours later ensures that everything moves through your digestive tract together, instead of having your apple or tomato ferment in your stomach acids and cause uncomfortable gas.
Make sure you don’t perform more than one steak day in a row because this will slow your metabolism down. You should give your body a break and not perform another steak day until the following week. Also, keeping a journal of what you are eating will help you to determine what may have caused you to gain weight in the first place and you’ll be able to adjust accordingly. Eating healthy foods and adhering to the Phase 3 food protocol will help you to maintain. Keep caution foods in mind and don’t have more than one caution food per day or you might want to avoid caution foods for a while. Try not to overeat or under-eat by eating slowly until you feel full. Just make sure you don’t restrict your calories because this will cause weight gain.
It's important to note that you should never step back on the scale after your morning weigh-in. Your weight may fluctuate considerably during the day, and this can be alarming and distracting, even though it's perfectly normal.