So you finally reached your weight loss goal! Congratulations! Reaching a goal brings a range of emotions; you feel accomplished, excited for the future, and maybe even a little nervous for what comes next. After wrapping up Phase 2 of the HCG Diet, it’s time to start mentally preparing for Phase 3. Phase 3, or the maintenance phase, of the HCG Diet is where you will increase your calories and start adjusting to more food options. It can be tricky maintaining your weight loss during this time, but it’s completely possible.
Phase 3 is the most important part of the HCG Diet. It’s where you’ll learn the healthy habits that you’ll incorporate into everyday life. These are the habits that will keep you happy, healthy and maintaining your weight loss long term. While the task of maintaining weight seems daunting, keep in mind that you’ve already accomplished something great by losing the weight in the first place. Just like how you learned to resist over indulging and caving in to cravings during the 500 calorie portion of the diet, you will learn how to count calories and be smart about a wider range of food choices in Phase 3 & beyond. You can do it. Just read the below tips thoroughly.
Phase 3 Tips
Start Tracking Everything You Eat
There are several ways to track your If you taste it, write it down. If you chew it, write it down. If it’s less than a spoonful, write it down. Don’t have a pen on you? That’s easy. Download My Fitness Pal and track your calories in your smart phone. Tracking your calories will help you stick to your daily limits (see the Increase Calorie Slowly section below for more info on daily limits). On top of that, if you gain one day, you can go back through your food journal and see what you ate the day before that might have caused the scale to go up. You become very aware of how food translates into calories, energy and fat when you start jotting down meals and their nutritional values.
Remember, This is the Low Carb Phase
Phase 3 of the HCG Diet focuses on low carb, not necessarily low fat. Start reading labels and be sure that you are buying foods that are low in carbohydrates. A lot of the options that are listed as low fat make up the lost flavor with additional carbs, so it’s better to buy full fat as opposed to low-fat. A good rule of thumb is to consume less that 100 grams of carbs per day. Most of the carbohyrdates you eat should come from fruits and vegetables. It’s not that carbs are bad, it’s just that right now your body needs the complex sugars from fruits and vegetables to stabilize. Empty carbohydrates from things like white bread, enriched pasta, tortilla chips, and sugary sweets are the types of foods that will make you gain during Phase 3. Continue using stevia as much as possible, it’s the best low-carb sweetener available.
Increase Calories Slowly
During Phase 2, the body gets used to eating 500 calories per day. During Phase 3, you are required to increase your caloric intake to 1500 calories. What most Phase 3 literature doesn’t explain is that this increase must occur slowly. If you increase your caloric intake by 1000 calories over night, you will gain weight. Here’s what we recommend:
–The first week of Phase 3, double what you were eating in Phase 2 and add in a couple new fruits and veggies. Try adding in raspberries and cauliflower. Aim to eat between 900-1000 calories the first week.
–The second week, you can try adding in some plain greek yogurt (sweeten it with stevia and fresh fruit). You can also experiment with turkey burger and zucchini. During the second week you should be between 1000-1100 calories.
–The third week try adding in natural Swiss cheese, ham and bell peppers. Your caloric intake during the third week should be between 1100-1200 calories.
–The fourth week you can add avocado, you can even experiment with condiments and hummus. This is where you should be between 1200-1500 calories.
I’ve created a sample menu to provide additional guidance. It’s meant for the second or third week of Phase 3. It’s a great reference. For a downloadable version, email: [email protected]
Start Doing Cardio
Your metabolism is going through a big transition right now. Not only is it trying to adjust to its new weight, but it’s also trying to adjust to more calories. Your best friend during this transition is going to be exercise, primarily cardio. Try to find a form of cardio you enjoy like Zumba, jogging or swimming. Set a goal to do this at least three times per week. This will make your transition into Phase 3 much easier, and on top of that, it’s great for your heart and this is one of those long term habits that you’ll need to keep your weight off long term. Pick a running program like Couch to 5K and stick with it. Do a zumba challenge with a friend. Whatever form of exercise you choose, it helps if you are training for a specific goal, a race, a workshop, a personal best. Keep moving to keep the weight off!
Be Cautious of Certain Fruits and Veggies
Since you are counting calories and carbs during Phase 3, there are some fruits and veggies that you will want to watch out for. These fruits and veggies are bad for you, they are just a bit high in carbs for the purposes of this phase. Foods like green beans, corn, peas, bananas, mangoes, grapes and watermelon are higher in sugar than other options. In Phase 3, it’s best to steer clear of these things. You can slowly introduce them after you finish maintenance. For a full list of fruits and veggies allowed for Phase 3, send an email to: [email protected]
Beyond Phase 3 Tips
Keep making wise choices. You cannot go back to eating junk and expect to stay at your new weight. You can however, start adding in whole grains like wheat bread and quinoa. You can add back in some of the starchier vegetables you had to avoid in Phase 3. Continue to exercise and count your calories. These are two healthy habits that you’ll need to stick to for the rest of your life. They are the habits of healthy people. Once you’ve stabilized, take the focus off the scale and focus on being healthy each day. Maintaining weight loss long term depends on maintaining healthy habits. If you get off track, get back on track. Allow yourself an occasional treat, but never allow yourself to quit. If you slip up major and you need to lose some weight, don’t be afraid to do another round.
It can be hard finding information on Phase 3, be sure to check out these incredible resources for additional recommendations.
Still need more help? We’ve written an e-book that covers all three Phases of the HCG Diet. It walks you through every phase of the HCG Diet in an easy to read break down.
Check Out: Eat Well Slim Down Recipe Book