If you’ve recently stepped on the scale and were unhappy with the number you saw or have known for a while that you should attempt some weight loss, but regular diets weren’t helping, you may be interested in the HCG diet. There are many questions about the diet, especially because you’re mostly on your own unless you see a medical office each week.
The HCG diet plan has been the same since the 1950s, when Dr. Simeon’s manuscript, Pounds and Inches, was released, prompting thousands to take action against their unwanted weight gain. The diet is very specific in what you can and cannot eat and even steers clear of vigorous exercise, making it very different from most other diet protocols. While the HCG diet itself can seem fairly extreme, those who have done it can count on the diet to help them lose weight quickly and get started on a healthier lifestyle.
How Do You Complete The HCG 500 Calorie Diet?
The HCG diet is a very specific diet plan with a few phases to ensure you lose a large amount of weight in a short period. The diet has four different phases, each with its own rules about what foods you can eat. The most important part of the diet is taking your daily amount of HCG. This amount can be different based on a few different factors, including your weight and BMI, but you must take it daily during the first two phases.
You can take HCG in a few different ways, but injections and drops are the most popular. Injections are by prescription only, while the drops are available in prescription and homeopathic varieties. There are quite a few reviews on different companies you can order from, so be sure you do your research.
HCG Diet Phases
Phase 1: Eat whatever you like for a couple of days to refill your fat reserves. It may seem counter-intuitive, but dieters should not do the diet without this phase.
Phase 2: The very low-calorie portion of the diet, in which you have to follow the specific 500 calorie diet plan.
Phase 3: During the stabilization phase, you can slowly add new foods into your diet but need to avoid starch and sugar.
Phase 4: The maintenance phase where you reintroduce carbs and sugar back into your diet. A return to the real world of food!
You should do the diet a few time if you have a lot of weight to lose, but I should note that if you go back to your usual eating habits once the diet is over, you’ll gain the weight back, so you should use the diet as a way to re-evaluate your diet and move forward healthily.
What is “Phase 2”?
When we refer to the 500 calorie limit prescribed by the HCG diet, we are referring to one specific phase – phase 2. Phase 2, or the weight loss phase, is the most restrictive of HCG’s multiple phases and the one most HCG dieters struggle with. If you’re already familiar with this phase, feel free to skip ahead to our HCG phase 2 food list.
Phase 2 of the HCG diet restricts your caloric intake quite a bit. There is also a list of approved foods and guidelines for when you can eat and how you should combine foods. Here’s a brief outline:
What Types of Food Can You Eat During Phase 2?
The types of foods you can eat on an HCG meal plan are chosen for their fat, sugar, and carbohydrate amounts. You may only eat 200 grams of protein a day, twice a day, and you only eat two meals a day, lunch and dinner. During the 500-calorie diet phase, you can drink coffee, water, and tea as much as you like, given you do not add sugar to your drinks, only stevia.
The food list is short, but it’s necessary, and many dieters recommend buying organic, or all-natural versions of the foods, which are easy to find these days in your regular grocery store. Only melba toast or grissini is allowed, very sparingly, but you can continue to use seasonings as long as they do not have oil or butter.
HCG 500 Calorie Diet Approved Food List
200 grams of protein a day, twice a day, from this selection of foods:
Extra lean, grass-fed beef
Egg Whites (3)
Two cups per day, one cup per meal of:
Two servings per day of:
HCG 500 Calorie Meal Plan & Recipes
The food list for the diet is limited but you don't have to eat bland foods. The HCG diet gives you a new perspective on what you eat and helps you let go of bad eating habits, such as drinking excessive amounts of soda.
We’ve compiled a couple of great recipes to help you through your diet, and give you new options on your meal plans. And for even more HCG recipes, check out our list here. Or for some vegetarian options, click here.
HCG 500 Calorie Diet Recipes
Chicken Stir Fry with Garlic Broccoli
3.5 oz Chicken Breast
10 cloves of garlic
1 cup of broccoli
2 Tbsp Water
1 Tbsp Bragg's Liquid Aminos
Since you are not using oil, you will need to use water and amino acids. Steam the broccoli for about 2 minutes, and stir it in with your cooked chicken into a pan. Add garlic and liquid amino acid to taste.
100 grams of lean ground beef
2 tbsp diced onion
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp green onion
1 tsp chicken bouillon (check for sugar content)
1-2 tsp chili powder
In a pan, combine hamburger and onion and cook until beef is browned. Add in your spices, and serve in lettuce leaves, topping with cilantro.
Strawberry Slush Dessert
3 large strawberries
1 cup of ice
⅛ cup of cold water
10 drops of vanilla creme flavored stevia
Use a blender or food processor and crush the ice until it becomes powdery. Add in your other ingredients and puree until smooth.
HCG Phase 2 Tips & Tricks
What is Apple Day and What is Steak Day?
As you can probably imagine, sticking with the low-calorie HCG diet isn’t always the easiest task. It’s common for people to get sidetracked and even experience plateaus where their weight loss slows or even reverses. There’s a solution for these plateaus – apple day.
An apple day is, for the most part, just what it sounds like. It’s a day where you only eat apples. You are still keeping to the 500-calorie limit (or whichever limit you have set), and there are some specific rules around scheduling that we outline here.
Apple day is an opportunity to take a break from the ins-and-outs of the HCG diet and have a day where you can put your efforts elsewhere. These days help to break up the routine and keep you motivated to stay on track. Many find apple days helpful as mental resets, and the break helps them get through the remaining portion of phase 2.
Or if you don’t like the sounds of apple day, you can try the other common plateau buster, steak day. On steak days, you can eat one type of food (can you guess what it is?). Like apple day, there are some other rules as well, and we’ve included the detailed instructions for steak day in this article.
Dealing With the “Mental” Side
When preparing for stage 2 of the HCG diet, it’s important to keep one thing in mind – it will test you mentally as much as physically. Dealing with phase 2 is very much about having the right mindset and keeping focused on your goals.
Some find it much easier to manage phase 2 if they write down their goals beforehand. Take some time to outline why you are doing this and what you hope to achieve, as this becomes a great reference and motivation when things are tough.
But if you’re having trouble with the monotony, try to spice things up (literally). There are many spices at your disposal to add your flair to HCG recipes, including the ones we mentioned above. Even try some alternative recipes, such as a cauliflower mash to substitute for mashed potatoes. These little tricks help make a difficult diet much easier.
Remember, one day at a time. You don’t have to get through phase 2 all at once, you just have to get through today.
The HCG diet can seem intimidating at first, with all of the rules, limited calorie intake, and even daily injections. With new foods and even ways to get your daily HCG without an injection, the HCG diet has come a long way from the 1950s.