At some point on the HCG diet, almost everyone has ‘stalls’, in other words, days when you don’t lose any weight on the scale. Most people, regardless of knowing the logical reasons for the standstill, get angry, frustrated, or scared that the protocol is not working. In addition, if the stall goes on for awhile, which certainly can happen, or your weight loss seems to be happening more slowly than you expected, it is easy to think that the HCG protocol doesn’t work, that it is not the right ‘diet’ for you, and to then get frustrated enough to ‘cheat’ on the diet, binge on foods, or even worse, quit altogether. I have been surprised to witness this behavior in both friends and family, even people in their second and third rounds who have been successful with HCG in the past.
The first thing to do when you hit a stall is to be sure that you are POP (perfect on protocol):
- Re-read the allowed foods for Phase 2 (P2) / VCLD (very low calorie diet). Be sure you are eating ONLY what is on the list and nothing else.
- Be certain that your protein portion is about 100 grams or 3.5 ounces of protein. Be sure to cut the fat off of beef, and take the skin off of chicken before you cook it, to lower the amount of fats you consume.
- Keep your fruit to either Apples or 1/2 grapefruit as suggested in the original program. Stop eating strawberries or oranges.
- Be sure that your ‘cracker’ is 20 calories or less and that it has no sugars or extras in it.
- Double check all ingredients on everything you are eating and be sure you know what you are eating. It is safest to eat home cooked foods with organic ingredients.
- Be certain there are NO OILS or FATS in your foods. It is shocking to realize that even a small amount of FAT or OIL can stop your weight loss, even though the calorie count could be low. Most people don’t want to believe this; you will be surprised at the increased weight loss if you cut out ALL fats and oils.
- Be certain that there are no hidden sugars or starches in your foods. Many foods have added sugar or starch that you may not recognize. ‘Cane Juice’, ‘Dextrose’ ‘Corn Syrup’ etc are all examples of sugars that will greatly inhibit your weight loss. Starches include things like Malt, Wheat Starch, Vegetable gum, etc. There are many more names that could hide some sugar or starch; it is important that you are ruthless in eliminating these items from you diet while you are in phase 2.
- If you are taking any supplements, be sure that the do NOT contain oils, wheat, or sugars.
- Be certain that you are drinking more than enough fluids.
- Double check all of your body products including shampoos, toothpaste, and lotions. Stop using anything with oils. Most people think that they can get away with using oily body products. You can’t. Your weight loss will slow down or stop.
- If you are mixing vegetables, stop.
- If you are eating a lot of tomatoes, cut down.
- If you are eating anything outside of the original protocol, stop.
After you have you have double checked all of the items I have listed above and made adjustments, the next important thing to do when you stall is to NOT FREAK OUT. We have all done it. You step on the scale, and your weight hasn’t changed. GRRRRRR! Anger, frustration, upset, disappointment can all take over. Especially if it goes on for 2 or 3 or 4 days! You want to throw the scale against the wall, or kick it, or give up! Definitely you want to EAT since it isn’t working anyways, right?
You have to keep the big picture in mind. 40 days / 6 weeks is a very short time to lose 15-25 pounds. While you are IN IT, it feels like forever, and every single day matters and takes effort. However, if you stick closely to the protocol, YOU WILL lose the weight. Remind yourself of how much you have lost already!
I have observed that many people lose large amounts of weight the first week, sometimes 1 or 2 pounds a day, and they get excited thinking that they could lose 40 pounds in 40 days. I do think that some people may actually do that. However, from what I have read and seen, most women lose about 15-20 pounds in 40 days, or an average of about .5 pounds per day. Men may lose a bit more than this, and people who have a lot of weight to lose may lose more on their first rounds.
Your body balances out the weight loss. In other words, if you have days where you lose 2 pounds, you will likely have 3 days with no weight loss. That will ‘average’ out to .5 pounds per day. Or you might lose .75 pounds one day, .25 pounds another, which also averages out to about .5 pounds per day.
From what I have seen and read, stalls often happen around day 12 – day 14, and can last 4-5 days, especially for people who lost large amounts at first.
It is a good idea to figure out your average weight loss per day. This is easy. Take the total number of pounds lost divided by the number of days it took to lose it. For example, if you have lost 12 pounds, and you are on day 15 when you are weighing yourself in the morning, you lost the 12 pounds in FOURTEEN days. You divide 12 by 14 and voila, your average weight lost per day is about .86 pounds per day. This is a very high average. It is possible you will have lots of stalls, until the average winds up being about .5 per day, or 20 pounds in 40 days. (give or take about 5 pounds).
I imagine you have heard this before: everyone can lose the weight on HCG, or any diet for that matter. The key, the hard part, is maintaining that weight loss and ultimately, changing your relationship to food. In order to do that, you have to really deal with what is underneath your relationship to eating and food. One of the reasons that I LOVE the HCG diet protocol is because it really gives you the opportunity to break your addiction to food, change your metabolism, and give you a clean slate for starting over. However, if you don’t use this time to deal with your issues around food and your body, those same issues will crop up again, and you will likely gain the weight back.
I led a group for many years supporting women in healing their relationship to food and it was called ‘It’s Not About Food’. Remember this, whenever you feel frustrated about your weight loss, deprived because you want more food, angry at your body or the scale, or afraid that you won’t be able to maintain, NONE of this really has anything to do with food. Except for true real hunger because your dose is wrong, almost every emotion you experience that seems like it has to do with food or weight loss, really has a deep rooted cause. If you can find that cause, and do some inner work and healing, the food cravings, the anger, the impatience, and whatever other obstacles you are feeling will all dissipate. This is the key to getting through a stall, and to ultimately transforming your lifestyle, your health, and your body over time.
Let me give you some examples:
Lets say you hit a stall, and you feel frustrated, angry and out of control. You have already lost 10 pounds in 12 days (which is a GREAT weight loss for 12 days, and the stall could easily last 3-4 days), but you don’t care, you want to see the scale go down. If you take the time to explore the feelings and find out what’s underneath it, you may discover that what you are really angry or afraid of is feeling out of control. And if you track those feeling of anger or fear at being out of control back to their source, you may find a time (probably many times) in your life when you felt out of control and were then hurt or abused (either in small or large ways), and you made a decision to never that let happen again.
You can look throughout your life at situations where you avoid feeling out of control. You may try to control the uncontrollable or perhaps you freak out and get irrationally upset when you can’t get the situation under control. One way that this might show up in your life is not being able tolerate other people being angry at you. As a result, you don’t say how you feel in attempts to avoid their anger or perhaps you get really angry at another when they could potentially be mad at you. Sometimes you do something you don’t want to do in order to appease another or maybe you distance yourself from that person and withdraw in some way rather than communicate.
Another example might be that you are at a dinner party where they are serving a food that you want to eat while on the HCG protocol. You are embarrassed or afraid to say ‘no’ to that food and you feel angry and rebellious because you want to eat what YOU want to eat.
If you explore your fear of saying ‘no’ you may find times in your life when saying ‘no’ was not an option. If you said ‘no’ it meant that you got in trouble, someone left, or people got angry at you. If you explore your own rebelliousness and frustration about not being able to eat whatever you want, you will likely find a whole lifetime of battles between the part of you that wants ‘control’ and the part of you that wants ‘freedom’. Coming to terms with those two parts, creating peace between them, and learning to ‘feed’ and ‘nurture’ both parts is really the key to a lifetime of maintenance and a healthy relationship to food and your body.
Once you begin to explore what is underneath the feelings that seem to be about food or the scale, you will find a whole inner world of emotions and decisions that affect the way you eat when they are not addressed. The issues get clearer when you are on HCG because you don’t have much food to hide behind or turn to. This is a GREAT time to get support in doing some core healing. If you know how to do the work yourself, great! For those of you who are just learning to explore your own inner workings, get support. Find a support group, get some therapy, do some reading, start a journal, and talk to healthy friends. Engage in activities that help you get past the surface feelings and support you in healing the source of your difficulties in how you deal with food and feel about your body.
Once you begin to see the core of what was driving you to eat and to feel frustrated, impatient, angry or afraid, you can begin to ‘feed’ those parts of yourself what they really want and need, other than food. Anger wants healthy expression. Fear wants comfort. Hurt and sadness want tears. Frustration wants an energetic release. etc. Once you identify the feeling and the decisions you have made about those feelings, you can begin to make new and healthier decisions on how to deal with these feelings. The protocol, and your commitment to lifestyle changes in how you feed yourself, will get much, much easier.
Successfully completing the HCG protocol requires a huge commitment. It requires a concerted amount of effort, time, energy, and money. In order to be successful at it, and even more importantly, in order to maintain the changes you obtain, it is really important that you deal with the underlying issues that surface. It really can change your life if you let it, and it really can give you a clean slate. This protocol is worth everything you put into it. Go all the way with it! Really allow it to change your life.
Commit to getting as much support as you need. In addition, along with following the protocol, commit to spending time each day addressing any feelings and emotions that come up and keep reminding yourself that ‘it is NOT about food’!