The HCG diet involves a certain degree of calorie counting, but in spite of the small numbers, a combination of taking the drops on a regular basis and balancing out the food groups in each meal will guarantee both a healthy weight loss and a long term lifestyle change. Just imagine for a moment: the hCG drops diet, which regulate other hormones that inadvertently affect weight management working along with a broad spectrum of nutrients that provide energy and satisfaction. Where to begin, you wonder? It all starts with your plate.
A Dish of a Different Color
Believe it or not, the color of your plate directly affects how you eat, particularly the portion sizes. Lighter colors mean larger portions. Plain white plates are actually the worst option if you trying to decrease serving sizes. The “blankness” of the area gives the optical illusion of holding smaller servings; plus for whatever reason, our natural instinct is to “fill in” the emptiness on the plate.
Thus, you can take one of a few possible solutions:
- Ignore this factor and consistently use a kitchen scale for measuring portion sizes and for staying “within the range” of what is allowable for each phase of the HCG diet. With some self-
- Use smaller plates and refrain from second helpings. This goes along with the aforementioned solution measuring, except you are leaving even less room for error because a smaller plate would naturally mean smaller serving sizes.
- Opt for darker colors or patterns of plates. For some reason or other, the darker shades or busy patterns give the optical illusion of a plate that is almost—if not completely—full. Likewise some individuals want to avoid clutter and that includes the contents on the plate. So less food is the direct result of solving this situation.
Even if these tips seem rather “obsessive,” one dieting tactic to remember is mindful eating. You’re less likely to go over the top if you eat only for the sake of nourishing your body and not out of boredom or stress.
Taking the Guesswork out of Measuring
If you do not have or wish to purchase a kitchen scale, there are ways to “measure” portions in order to keep from overeating. This method also works for busy individuals who have to prepare meals and possibly eat in a rush and do not have time to work with a scale or with measuring cups or spoons. The following is a guide to assist in estimating serving sizes:
- One ounce equals about the size of your thumb. (Think in terms of nut butters or other spreads that are allowed on the HCG diet.)
- One cup of cut-up vegetables or fruit is equal to the size of a tennis ball.
- Three ounces of meat, like chicken, beef, or pork, is about equal to the size of deck of cards.
- Three ounces of fish is about the size of a checkbook.
“All Food Groups Are Represented”
The Millennials would be too young to remember this famous line from the film, “The Breakfast Club,” but forty-somethings and older might recall the comical scene where Judd Nelson’s incorrigible character made a wise crack about a fellow detention detainee’s lunch because the contents included fruit and vegetables and not one single bit of junk food. In all honesty, this rebel-without-a-clue possessed some degree of underlying wisdom to his remark. Nutritional balance helps with weight loss and maintenance. Here are a few reasons to ponder:
- When you incorporate more fiber, like that found in vegetables and whole grains, you will fill up more quickly and feel full for a longer period of time. Likewise, since your digestive system has to “work harder” to break down fiber, there’s a positive effect on metabolism. Some advice to remember is to choose vegetables more often over whole grains because of the starch content that is found in breads and rice. In fact, only a small quarter or less of whole grains should be included at any meal.
- Another food group that helps to maintain satiety is the “fat” group; HOWEVER, this relates only to the “good” fats, like those containing omega 3’s. Examples of this group are avocadoes, nuts, eggs (fried only in a pan coated with olive oil) and olives. There are many health benefits to this group, but you have to be careful when counting calories because this type can add up rather quickly.
- Protein is also required, and your best options are poultry (white meat mostly), fish, and pork (white meat as well). Around ¼ of your plate should be occupied by some sort of meat. Beef is allowable in smaller amounts because you have be cautious of the fat intake and the amount of calories. As a matter of fact, you might consider staying away from beef unless you absolutely need a Steak Day. Nonetheless, this is another food group that also helps you feel fuller longer and is important for the body’s tissue-building purposes.
- Vegetables and most fruits are highly encouraged on this diet plan. As mentioned, in regard to fiber, vegetables contain a good amount, but at the same time, you can also gain valuable vitamins and minerals, especially from the leafy greens, like kale and spinach. Fruits and berries, likewise, are beneficial because they tend to curb the “sweet tooth” without taking in simple, processed carbohydrates. They also contain plenty of nutrients like Vitamin C and potassium. One important tip to remember is to fill up half of your plate with vegetables, whether in the form of salad or steamed.
Now you may have noticed that dairy is not included, and normally, you would only include this during the Loading Phase and perhaps, in small amounts infrequently, during the maintenance phase. Sometimes, dairy products can lead to a gain and then the need to for a corrective day of some kind. So “few and far between” would be the rule to remember.
Typical Well-balanced Meals
To answer the question of what typical day might look like, here are a few suggestions:
- One cup of black coffee (6 oz)
- One or two strips of turkey bacon
- One medium boiled egg
- Garden salad with one tablespoon of salad dressing and garnished with one ounce of walnuts or almond slivers
- One glass of tea (unsweetened or with just a small amount of stevia)
- Three ounces of grilled salmon (or boneless, skinless chicken breast)
- Mixed vegetables of your choice sautéed or pan-seared in olive oil and seasoned
- ½ cup of mixed fruit for dessert (You can probably skip this if dinner filled you up)
Keeping these guidelines in mind about portion control and balance will help you throughout all phases of the diet as well as considering other weight loss programs a regular basis. Both the supplement and the nutrients found in healthy foods will work hand in hand to keep you on the path toward meeting your weight goal.